Newpaper of the D. of Youngstown corrects Fr. Daly’s dreadful letter

You remember the dust up over the simply dreadful letter of Fr.  Peter J. Daly about the older form of Mass at first circulated by Catholic News Service and printed in many diocesan newspapers.   The paper of the Diocese of Youngstown, OH, The Catholic Exponent, is running some reponses.  Here is something rather interesting.

My emphases.


Friday, September 07, 2007
September 7 Letters

Tridentine Mass

To the editor:
I do not understand why the Exponent had to go to Frederick, Md. for an opinion on the Tridentine Mass. We have one of the largest parishes in the United States in the Youngstown area. I believe the opinion expressed was misleading and at best speculative. Our Sunday Masses are always nearly full with both young and old. The real reason people attend is reverence not shown in post-1962 liturgy services.

William J. Merkel
Queen of the Holy Rosary

Father Daly’s column

To the editor:
I am writing in regard to the recent article in the Exponent [Aug. 24, 2007] by Father Peter J. Daly which expressed a very negative (and, I believe, completely uninformed) opinion of the Tridentine Latin Mass offered in his area.

This article has upset a number of people in my parish who are devoted to the Latin Mass and are faithful supporters of the works of the Youngstown Diocese. Father Daly’s sour view of the Latin Mass certainly does not reflect my experience as a priest who has celebrated this Liturgy daily for the past 10 years, nor does the scene he describes bear any resemblance to any of the Latin Mass communities that I have had the privilege to serve.

The article contains too many misrepresentations to correct in one letter, but let me address a few. Father Daly states that the Sunday Latin Mass only attracts about 30 “elderly” people who only like it because it is “short.” At our parish, Queen of the Holy Rosary in Vienna (where the traditional Latin Liturgy is used exclusively), we get about 30 people at our daily Mass; the three Sunday Masses total almost 300 in attendance. The Latin Mass takes at least as long as the new Mass, often longer. Many of our people drive an hour or more to attend; “convenience” is hardly an issue for them.

As far as age is concerned, we do have many elderly people (have you ever seen a parish that didn’t have old folks?), but also many young people and large families. Last year we had five funerals and 19 baptisms, so clearly we are in no immediate danger of “dying off.”

According to Internet sources, the loudest outcry against Father Daly’s article is coming from the very parish that he describes in such negative terms, St. Francis de Sales Church in Washington, D.C. The pastor of that church, Father Vitturino, says that the article completely misrepresents his parish and his own attitude toward the Tridentine Mass and he is demanding that Father Daly print a full retraction. I also understand that the Catholic News Service (CNS) wire service has withdrawn the article from publication, although I can’t confirm this.

In light of this, I would hope that the Exponent could find a way to address the negative impression this article gives. The Youngstown Diocese has led the way in facilitating access to the Tridentine Liturgy for those who are devoted to it, and the people of Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish have reciprocated by being an active part of the diocese (including the Bishops’ Appeals and Capital Campaign).

You don’t have to go to the wire services to get second-hand information about Tridentine Mass parishes; you have a very fine one in your own backyard. If I can be of any assistance in presenting a more accurate picture of the matter, please let me know.

Father Joseph R. Valentine, FSSP
Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish

EDITOR’S NOTE: We thank Father Valentine and Mr. Merkel for their letters. The purpose of running the column was to present one pastor’s view of the Tridentine Mass, on a page clearly labeled “Commentary,” so that others in favor of that Mass could express opinions about and respond to it. We know from the letters and comments we have received through the years that many Catholics like the Tridentine Mass and many others do not. The Exponent is well aware that Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish has a strong faith community and supports diocesan activities. We apologize to anyone there or in the diocese at large who may have thought we ran Father Daly’s column as a deliberate slam against the Tridentine Mass. We should also note that we discovered, after publication, that Father Daly and CNS had asked that the column not be run.


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  1. Jacob says:

    I think the width of the ‘Letters’ bar at the top of the letter is causing the text of the letter to extend into the black margin. I can’t see it after it runs off the white background…

  2. Karen Russell says:

    Jacob. I had the same problem, but I discovered that “highlighting” the text made it all visible.

  3. Martha says:

    “We should also note that we discovered, after publication, that Father Daly and CNS had asked that the column not be run.”

    I don’t believe any serious attempt was made to prohibit further publication of said article. The exact same text was published in our Joliet Diocesan paper just a few weeks ago.

  4. Nicola says:

    I live about 15 miles from Queen of the Holy Rosary Church, although I’m not a
    member I attend Mass there approximately once a month. Fr. Valentine
    (a wonderful priest)is absolutely correct it is a thriving parish. Attendance
    at the TWO daily masses are better than some churches get on Sunday. The High
    Mass on Sunday is glorious.

  5. Mary says:

    Since the motu proprio came out (and before), I’ve read a lot on the traditional Mass, and a lot of the “antis” insist that “only the elderly” want it. This of course is untrue, but even if it were true, think about the attitude that underlies it: Does “made in the image and likeness of God” have a sell-by date?

    When John Silber ran for governor of MA back in 1990, he commented once that, “when you’re ripe, it’s time to go.” He took a lot of flak for it, but I haven’t seen anyone objecting to the same attitude (minus the bluntness) voiced by even priests and bishops. I don’t suppose these people advocate letting the elderly float out to sea on icebergs when they’ve outlived their “usefulness,” but I still find the attitude unedifying, to say the least!

  6. Larry says:

    Just to add to Martha’s reaction to the line “We should also note that we discovered, after publication, that Father Daly and CNS had asked that the column not be run”…

    Who’s the “we”? The editors, one would assume, no? With whom did Father Daly and CNS talk when they requested that the column not be printed? With someone on the editorial staff? With someone within CNS?

    How in the world can we understand that statement, given that it seems to imply that the editor was in the dark at the time of publication, and/or that editorial staff knew that it shouldn’t be printed yet submitted it nonetheless?

    The cynic in me might tend to think that this one looks like someone’s trying to put on a remorseful posture, while attempting to not take responsibility…

  7. Tony says:

    Anyone from New Jersey:
    Was there a Fr. Valentine who helped out at Mater Ecclesiae, and if so, is this the same priest? I seem to remember a wonderful young priest by that name who helped out a few times.

  8. Mark says:

    Regarding the Editor’s notes:
    So does putting the word “commentary” at the top of the page eliminate the paper from all responsibility for it’s content? I’ve heard that excuse before and I don’t buy it. It does, after all, choose which opinion, response, or crackpot theory it wishes to put on that page. It’s not like it’s a cork bulletin board to which it has no control.

    Perhaps it made a mistake and thought this was a typical “opposing viewpoint” – say so. Perhaps the only opposing viewpoints that are out there like this ;) . But don’t claim it’s the reader’s problem for taking the article for what it really is.

  9. dcs says:

    Tony asks:
    Was there a Fr. Valentine who helped out at Mater Ecclesiae, and if so, is this the same priest?

    I’ve been going to Mater Ecclesiae for six years now and I don’t remember Fr. Valentine ever filling in (it’s very possible that he did and I just wasn’t there). As far as young priests are concerned, I can recall Fr. Fryar and Fr. Pendergraft filling in for Fr. Pasley, and of course Fr. Bartoloma has been the deacon many times.

  10. Dani says:

    Just as a note — some folks (not necessarily here) are stating that Fr. Daly is from “Frederick, MD”. Fr. Daly is a priest in Prince Frederick, MD, which is an entirely different city, which happens also to fall in a different archdiocese. Frederick, MD, is in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, while Prince Frederick, MD, is in the Archdiocese of Washington.

    Just a point of clarification.

  11. mj says:

    I do not mean this is any rude way, but I think the paper knew exactly what it was posting.

  12. Richard says:

    Delighted to see that you Colonials still have a town called Prince Frederick, presumably named after the father of George III (against whom you so improperly rebelled).

  13. c eaton says:

    I am so glad you printed the editorials from the Catholic Exponent, and the editor’s note after Father Valentines letter. The editor’s note is such a “lame excuse!” I feel very bad for Father Valentine, whose parish is practically in the backyard of diocesan offices. And a beautiful parish it is! Do they not read commentary before they print it? Of course, they do. They could have taken the wonderful opportunity they had to educate us by doing an article on Father Valentine’s parish, with Father Valentine explaining lots of things about this mass. He is right there, for heaven’s sake! It is an insult to Father Valentine,his entire parish, our former Bishop, Thomas Tobin, and dreadfully disrespectful of Pope Benedict XVI that the Catholic Exponent printed Father Daly’s column BEFORE the Youngstown Diocese Catholics had an opportunity to read an article about the Extraordinary Form.On Saturday, there was a great article in secular newspaper, The Canton Repository which had only positive things to say, even letting us know at the top of the article that the mass will be on TV on Friday morning on EWTN, with the times, and the repeat times. How ironic a secular newspaper gave us the scoop! Thanks to Charita Goshay for her article. By the way, I faithfully attend a “well-executed” ordinary form mass at a Canton ohio parish. Contrary to Father Daly, I believe lots of people will come.

    C. Eaton

  14. Charles R. Williams says:

    C. Eaton,

    Which parish?

    Are there people in the Canton area who sing Gregorian chant?

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