Meeting in D. of St. Augustine on Motu Proprio: older Mass better for people with ADD

Do you remember the perfectly dreadful statement on Summorum Pontificum made by the Diocese of St. Augustine in Florida?   It stirred up quite a negative reaction, and with good reason too.  Bp. Galeone spoke about it in the radio and a public, open meeting was set for Tuesday 18 September. 

There is a report on a blog, Barque of Peter.  I think he would want me to share his notes of the meeting, which I do below with my emphases and comments.

Crash and Burn- The Diocese of St. Augustine Meeting on the Motu Proprio

I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t witnessed it for myself! I went to the meeting 9/18/2007 about the implementation of the motu proprio in the Diocese of St. Augustine with guest speaker, Fr. Thomas Willis Diocesan Director of Liturgy. If I had to estimate, I’d say about 70 people were there. Among which were two deacons and three priests. I knew that there may be some controversial topics brought to the floor but I never expected this:

First, the man who was MC for the event introduced the topic and ground-rules of the discussion. He stated that there wouldn’t be discussion of what constitutes a "stable group" nor discussion about what "ideoneus" means. [Odd.  Both of those seem to be at the crux of the issues.  Even if they had been hesitant to talk about things needing clarification from Rome, they could have discussed the bad translation (i.e., "stable group").] The MC stated that the people gathered are a "minority devoted to the traditional mass which no longer wishes to be treated like lepers" [Well that sets a nice tone!] and mentioned that the traditional liturgy had been "banished to diocesan exile". Then he stated that Fr. Willis was representing Bishop Galeone.

When Fr. Willis came to the podium he stated that he had prepared a talk on the subject of the motu proprio but will not give it since the MC’s introduction made his talk seem contradictory. With much protest from the audience, Fr. Willis conceded to give his speech but said that he "does not give any permission for his talk to be recorded". Mind you, he was invited to speak, it was not his meeting per se not to mention that this meeting was advertised on the local radio and bulletin board outside the Cody Enrichment Center. He also asked if anybody was from the secular news media. All present that I could tell stopped recording, including the local Catholic radio station- EWTN affiliate WQOP which was prepared to record the meeting.

He said that he has been subject of much personal ridicule over the internet being called "the terrorist", and mentioning that it had been mentioned that tonight was the night challenge him. The people in the audience convinced him to go ahead and give his talk anyhow.

Next, Fr. Willis gave "a history of the Roman Mass" [What the…?!?] saying that in the early 20th Century some monastic orders in Europe were given dispensation from the Vatican to use "experimental liturgies", these were supposed to be kept under wraps (I’ve never heard of that before) but that laypeople from the village came to hear the Mass in their native tongue and the trend caught on. Thus was the groundwork for the liturgical form. He also mentioned that "useless repetition" was eliminated with the New Mass. He said that the Novus Ordo is more of a restoration of the Mass of the early Christians. But we’ve heard that so many times before.  [So what?   This is all entirely IRRELEVANT.]

Fr. Willis mentioned that before motu proprio Ecclesia Dei Adflicta was issued, that then diocesan Bishop John Snyder met with the prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship who presented to the bishop a stack of letters sent to Rome stating that the bishop hadn’t acceded to the requests of the faithful for the traditional Mass.  Fr. Willis said that Bp. Snyder pointed out that most of the requests weren’t from locations postmarked in this diocese. He also mentioned that most of the requests for the Latin Mass in this diocese have been few and far between.

Fr. Willis said that he did not send the Memorandum to the clergy of the Diocese of St. Augustine. He said that the bishop penned most of the memorandum himself, and it was sent out under his name but he did not issue it himself.  […. huh? ….]

Some of the questions from the meeting from the audience were about how a priest is to be trained. He said that the bishop told him personally that he doesn’t want to make it impossible for a priest to prove himself "qualified".  [You know… a lot of things don’t have to be impossible for them to be unreasonable hard.] He said a priest would have to show [How?] that he can use the rites appropriately before being able to use the Mass just as he does before he is ordained. [Okay… so are we going to have official reviews of how priests are saying the newer Mass?] When asked what the diocese is going to do to help priests who want to say the extraordinary form, Fr. Willis said there’s a website to go to for that information but he isn’t sure of its origin. Someone mentioned that the website may be He told one of the audience members that if a priest desired to go to the FSSP for training that he may do so- it’s up to the priest.

Some people asked why the diocese seems so negative about the situation and why not take a more proactive response to the motu proprio. I would say they were the questions that we’d all expect to be asked along with some frustration about the memorandum that was sent out.

Fr. Daniel Cody was in attendance and asked what sort of help the diocese would be able to offer to a pastor who needs help with the Latin Mass. That was certainly encouraging to hear from a priest, whereas another priest was present who said that he dislikes the Latin Mass and refuses to say it.

Fr. Willis said that if anybody wants to know why the pope called the pre-Conciliar rites the "extraordinary form", and the post-Conciliar rites the "ordinary form" that they should ask the pope themselves if they get the chance.  [Hmmm…. ]

One person, mentioning himself to be a convert to the faith and who said he’s in his 20’s, stated that he believes that most younger people are "afraid of the Church officials"- afraid of what young people will be treated like if they make their voices known about their love for the traditional Mass. [OKAY… PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT FOLLOWS] Fr. Willis followed this comment up by making the most shocking comment that he made all night. It was a study from Creighton University saying that people who have ADD can focus better at the Latin Mass with all the silence than at the Novus Ordo where there is more "active participation". [&#%0@*^!?] The whole room took that comment very personally and became very upset. I never heard him recant or say to the effect "I’m not speaking of you as individuals". He just said it and let it go (to the best of my recollection) while the whole room was in a flurry. I could not believe that a diocesan official would be so bold. Many people, including myself, took that comment to heart and it is quite saddening. However, I suppose now I know why he didn’t want to be recorded.

In all, it was a social disaster. It was obvious to me that the people who asked the more poignant questions were looking for straight-forward answers, and perhaps to have their voice heard after decades of silence.

Our Lady of Sorrows- Pray for us!

I better wrap this so that you folks with ADD can go find a quiet Mass in Latin somewhere.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Raymundus says:

    Though no comments have been posted, I can see them turning real nasty real fast…

  2. Richard says:

    All this BS the dioceses are trying to pull is going to backfire in their faces big time. On the one hand there is such underhanded tactics to block the implementation of the MP and then on the other there is their line of saying the MP is unneeded because there is already sufficient celebration of the extraordinary form of the Mass in their diocese. The time is coming when they won’t be able to fool a four-year-old with such a line. Even people who don’t care about the MP will get turned off by such insincerity.

  3. Geri says:

    First of all, let us pray for Fr Willis who is in a very difficutl situation.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)

  4. Geri says:

    And secondly, although I wasn’t there, and don’t know tone of voice, or intent, let’s look at the offending assertion.

    It does seem more than probable that it would be easier for the ADD or HDAD to focus on the Extraordinary Form.
    This would be because it is more than probable that it is easier for ANYONE to focus on the Extraordinary Form.

    I’d be interested in looking into this study.

    If you look at it, I think it might make a good case for use of the EF at ALL children’s Masses and school Masses, no?

    ANyone for translating that abomination, the Children’s Lectionary, BACK into Latin?

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)

  5. Joe says:

    I tried to read the whole post, but I just couldn’t focus enough to get
    through to the end….can someone summarize?

  6. dcs says:

    You know, I think that if I were going to elementary school today, I would probably be diagnosed with ADD, and if my wife and I sent our kids (who are generally pretty well behaved at the TLM) to public school, they would probably be diagnosed with ADD too. But a weird comment nevertheless. I wonder where one would even find a sample population large enough to make a decent study.

    Geri writes:
    If you look at it, I think it might make a good case for use of the EF at ALL children’s Masses and school Masses, no?

    Perhaps they should try it at one school and see if the number of kids with ADD goes down. My tongue is only partly in cheek.

  7. Henry Edwards says:

    Perhaps those who can focus their attention long enough on the task should write a note of thanks to Fr. Willis. It occurs to me that people like him are invaluable to the Holy Father’s effort toward an “interior reconciliation” in the Church by restoring the traditional Mass to the heart of its life. At least, by demonstrating tangibly who needs most to reconcile to what.

  8. I find the comment about ADD genuinely amusing….

    I would have though the New Mass with all the liturgical dancing, streamers,
    handshaking, legions of “ministers” in the sanctuary, constant noise,
    speaking and distraction, would be a trigger for ADD in the average parishoner.

  9. John says:

    For a thorough history of the Roman Rite, I recommend, “The Mass of the Roman Rite: Its Origins and Development (Missarum Sollemnia),” Vol. I and II by Rev. Joseph A. Jungmann, S.J.

  10. Chironomo says:

    It is reports like these that I seriously hope will be brought to the attention of the PCED, if not of Benedict himself! The newest trend I see here and in several other reports like this is that Bishops are sending out “instructions” under the authority of their Diocesan Liturgy Director or committee, without actually being signed by the Bishop (the Bishop wrote it himself, but didn’t issue it himself?). This allows for some degree of deniability when Rome comes a-knockin at their door. This whole incident is unforgiveable in the truest sense of that word. Can someone please step in here and clear this whole mess up?

  11. James says:

    So THAT’S why I love the traditional Mass! I should have KNOWN all this time my ADHD was at fault!

  12. RBrown says:

    Fr. Willis followed this comment up by making the most shocking comment that he made all night. It was a study from Creighton University saying that people who have ADD can focus better at the Latin Mass with all the silence than at the Novus Ordo where there is more “active participation”.

    That is merely a continuation of the progressive strategy of the 70’s. Anyone who likes Latin liturgy, is against women’s ordination, or in general favors Catholic doctrine is psychologically unstable. Various pop psychology phrases were trotted out: Resistance to change, problems with community, etc.

    The irony is that anyone with ADD would probably prefer the Dinner Theatre liturgy of the past 30 years: There’s no need to concentrate because of one performance after another–guitars, signs of peace that are anything but peaceful (and sometimes done twice), celebrants using contrived gestures that they think will make the mass meaningful”. etc. Further, these efforts to manufacture emotion can be considered examples of what St John of the Cross calls Spiritual Gluttony.

  13. Henry Edwards says:

    Anyone who likes Latin liturgy, is against women’s ordination, or in general favors Catholic doctrine is psychologically unstable.

    There was a (from the 1970s into the 1990s) — hopefully now past — when seminarians with such suspect tendencies frequently were were sent to psychiatrists (ordinarily non-Catholic ones) for diagnosis and treatment of whatever psychological disorders caused such deviations — until they either were cured or in terminal cases had to be expelled from the seminary as being “too rigid” for the priesthood. For instance, it sometimes turned out to be a sublimated mother or father problem that caused the perverse affinity for Latin, saying the rosary, genuflecting surreptitiously before the Tabernacle, etc.

  14. RBrown says:

    Maybe someone should write an article “Liturgy as a Collection of Distractions”.

  15. Daniel Latinus says:


    There was an Orthodox woman who posted on a nautically-themed message board that her young son, who IIRC, had Asperger’s Syndrome, was terrified by a rather happy-clappy celebration of Mass according to the Ordinary Form.

    I understand he had no difficulty with the Byzantine Liturgy in his home parish.

  16. ClaireC says:

    I think the observation about people who have ADD prefer the Latin Mass to be inspired. It seems to me with the ADD epidemic in our schools (and society) we have found the real cure for ADD–the Traditional Latin Mass. No more ritalin! Unfortunately, that would put some drug companies out of business;-).

  17. CarpeNoctem says:

    Wow, thank God for the internet. I presume that these quotes are reasonably accurate. If these were my views, I would not want these comments recorded for posterity either.

    With the internet, folks like this speaker have nowhere to hide. They and their positions are not above criticism, as they would want you to believe… and in cases like this, where they are obfuscating and mis-stating the facts, we all get to see the folly of trying to defend the indefensible.

    In cases like this, where one is obstinate in their opinion, there is nothing short of divine intervention which can thaw the heart and enlighten the mind. I suggest we all say a little prayer to the Holy Spirit.

    If this summer’s events have proven anything, it has proven that time is on the side of tradition. Even in places like this where people feel like they are being treated as lepers by their shepherds, I have faith that their rightful desires will be vindicated fully.

  18. Papabile says:

    If people with ADD or ADHD are better able to focus on the extraordinary use, then we should have one in EVERY SINGLE PARISH on Sundays.

    What better way to reach out to those children with this disabling disorder? Estimates say 3-5 percent of children have ADD or ADHD.

    (not sure I agree with that, but it’s a useful stat.)

  19. Deborah says:

    Would Fr. Willis be offended if we did a study to prove that those with schizophrenia prefer the Modern Mass? This offends both those who are afflicted with the disorder and those who are not.

    Two words come to mind – SOUR GRAPES. My advice for Fr. Willis – Cheer up Father! All of those negative thoughts are not life-giving to the community.

    Let’s go about building the TLM and don’t even get these people involved. We don’t need their permission. Time to separate from the goats.


  20. danphunter1 says:

    I challenge Father Willis to a cage match.
    No holds barred.
    Father Willis if you read this give your availibility.

  21. Karen Russell says:

    Hmmm. My daughter (now a young adult) has ADHD. Since I haven’t been able to attend an Extraordinary Rite Mass myself in 40 years, I cannot report her reaction to it. However, I do know she strongly prefers a reverent and correct Novus Ordo Mass to the more experimental varieties (and she has been exposed to a number of those, sadly.)

    And I am in complete agreement with Matt Robinson’s statement above re the effect of the experimental liturgies on a normal adult.

    It is possible that the observation itself is valid.

    BUT, thrown out in the context described above, it comes across as an enormous put-down of everyone who prefers the traditional rite.

    What an appalling statement!

  22. Maureen says:

    “They do not know what they are saying.”

  23. Fr. Brian Stanley says:

    Fr. Willis’ response is so depressingly hostile, especially in that he prefaces his comments by stating that he is speaking for his bishop.

    I think that people have to prepare themselves for continued hostility in the face of many bishops’ responses to the motu proprio. In my own diocese of Kalamazoo, where the bishop has given an insightful and nuanced response to the motu proprio, I still dread the upcoming convocation of the presbyterate next month, the topic of which is the tensions and need for dialogue between the generations within the presbyterate of our diocese. The tendency to be dismissive of differing points of view is such a hallmark of the previous generations of priests, many of whom are in positions of authority and influence in diocesan chanceries, is such a prevalent tendency that one comes away from such presentations as Fr. Willis’ without hope, not having experienced or participated in anything that resembles charitable and sincere dialogue.

    Fr. Z’s five rules about the motu proprio are so important to remember. Rome was not built in a day, and a positive environment for the motu proprio is not going to materialize overnight, or for that matter, any time soon. This is very much a generational issue, and it will require patience, forbearance, and frankly, a willingness to accept this particular cross. Fr. Willis’ cynical and insulting dismissal of those who support the Holy Father’s motu proprio is typical of what can be reasonably expected.

    This hostility will not change until there are personnel changes in a lot of chanceries, and this, folks, will take at least a generation. An apt analogy: the motu proprio is our passage through the Red Sea: there are at least forty years ahead before we get to the Promised Land. I pray to God I live long enough to arrive there.

    Let us keep our eyes fixed upon the Lord, and not dwell to long upon such insults. Our Lord bore many more difficult hardships and suffering for our sake: can we do less than our part along the Via Dolorosa?

  24. alan m. rees says:

    I was the “MC” who organized the meeting and presided on September 18th. The meeting was sponsored by the Adult Education Ministry at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church to inform our parishioners regarding the Motu Proprio. As such, it was not appropriate to debate the meaning of “idoneus” or to question the authority of our bishop. We already have 76 signatures for petitioning our pastor and we were eager to hear from Father Willis what the diocese has planned to support requests from multiple pastors for assistance. The focus of my remarks was on the Holy Father’s intent and I was looking for a positive response from Father Willis. The text of my introductory remarks is included below. Unfortunately, Father Willis refused permission for the local Queen of Peace Catholic radio station to record his talk.

    “Good evening and a warm welcome to visitors from other parishes. The topic tonight is the Holy Father’s Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum de-restricting the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass. The extensive EWTN programming over the past few days on the Motu has provided an excellent lead-in to our program tonight.

    But first, a word about why we are here tonight. We are not here to conduct an autopsy on Vatican II or to debate the merits/demerits of the Traditional Mass versus the Novus Ordo. Nor are we here to dispute, like lawyers, possible loopholes and ambiguities in the Motu Proprio, such as the correct translation of “idonei” (“sufficient” as opposed to “competence in” Latin) or “coetus fidelium” (two, thirty or even fifty persons as constituting a stable group of faithful). Above all, we are not here to question the authority of the bishop to regulate and monitor the liturgy within this diocese. Many present do have, however, legitimate concerns about how, when, and where, the Motu Proprio, removing restrictions on the Traditional Mass, is to be implemented.

    ** I must point out that it is necessary that we have some ground rules– At all times tonight, we will present our views in an orderly, dignified, and respectful manner. The discourse will be rational and not emotional. There will be no interjections or applause. There are no winners or losers. And remember that the meeting is not about us – whether it be Father Cody, Father Willis, you, or me, or even Bishop Galeone or Pope Benedict. It is all about the Divine Liturgy and we will conduct ourselves accordingly.

    Before introducing Father Tom Willis, the diocesan director of liturgy, who will tonight outline the response of the diocese, it would be profitable to briefly examine the intent of the Motu which took effect on July 14th, a day long to be remembered in modern Church history. The Motu does not authorize the use of Latin (this already exists in the Novus Ordo) but is a critical step in the organic development of the liturgy faithful to Vatican II. It is by no means an isolated document but is rooted in the course of events following Vatican II. Its issuance was highly predictable in that Pope Benedict, and earlier as Cardinal Ratzinger, left a paper trail of books, articles, and addresses, emphasizing the importance of the usus antiquior and the Tridentine mass. In 1998, in an address on the 10th anniversary of John Paul II’s Motu, Eccclesia Dei, he referred to fear of the older liturgy as a divisive element in the ecclesial community. He said:

    “If the unity of faith and oneness of the mystery appear clearly within the two forms of celebration, that can only be a reason for everybody to rejoice and to thank the Good Lord. ……. We should be able to persuade the bishops that the presence of the old liturgy does not disturb or break the unity of the discourse but is rather a gift destined to build up the Body of Christ, of which we are all servants.”
    [The key here is reconciliation and unity of the 2 forms of celebration.]

    Two years later, in 2002, he was even more explicit:
    “It is important that the proscription against the form of the liturgy in valid use up to 1970 should be lifted. Anyone who now advocates the continuing existence of the liturgy [prior to 1970] or takes part in it is treated like a leper; all tolerance ends here. There has never been anything like this in history; in doing this we are despising and proscribing the Church’s whole past. [….. now Cardinal Ratzinger gets even more blunt….] I must say quite openly that I don’t understand why so many of my episcopal brethren have to a great extent submitted to this rule of intolerance, which for no apparent reason is opposed to making the necessary inner reconciliations within the Church.”
    God and the World: A Conversation with Peter Seewald. Ignatius, 2002. p. 416.
    [Again, reconciliation and unity, and not divisiveness]

    Both Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger urged bishops to be generous in granting indults for celebration of the traditional mass as permitted by Ecclesia Dei (1988). If the bishops had been generous, the present Motu would not have been necessary. The fact that Benedict spent three years preparing for this move freeing the Tridentine Mass from the restrictions imposed by indults underscores his commitment to de-restriction. His explanatory letter accompanying the document is forcefully explicit. Furthermore, to forestall any possible misunderstanding, the Holy Father summoned 30 cardinals and bishops to Rome for a private briefing in the apostolic palace just prior to its promulgation. Two Americans were present — the eminent canonist, Archbishop Burke, and Cardinal O’Malley. When Archbishop Burke returned from Rome, he relayed the express wish of the Holy Father that the Extraordinary Form should co-exist and serve to support the faithful celebration of the Novus Ordo.

    The Holy Father’s intent is clear – two usages of the one Roman Rite – Ordinary Usage (the Novus Ordo) and Extraordinary Usage (the Roman Missal of Saint Pius V aggiornato (brought up to date) by Blessed John XXIII) – existing side-by-side, equal, and mutually enriching each other as two expressions of the same Lex Orandi. Due honor must be given to the Roman Missal of Blessed John XXIII for its venerable and ancient usage, hallowed by almost two millennia of tradition. There is no contradiction between the two forms of the Roman Rite. What was sacred is still sacred. Pope Benedict seeks the unity of the two usages and reconciliation within the heart of the Church and views the Alternative Form as a necessary counter-weight to the “grievous deformations” that have crept into the Novus Ordo and as a critical step in initiating a liturgical reform that is faithful to the Second Vatican Council. The Traditional Mass will, in revealing the very essence of the liturgy, exert a “gravitational pull” on the Novus Ordo drawing it toward greater solemnity and reverence. In the history of liturgy, there is growth and progress but never rupture and no hermeneutic of discontinuity. Liturgies are not made but grow organically in the tradition of centuries.

    Our obligation as laity is to formulate requests to our pastors in a respectful and orderly manner and not make unreasonable demands on our overworked and overcommitted priests. Likewise, we hope that the diocese will respond in a generous manner by making every effort to provide the necessary resources. How will you assist priests to achieve the level of competence in Latin and the rubrics required of them? Will this involve an invitation to a community such as the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter to serve the diocese? How can the new bud blossom in the living plant of ecclesial liturgy?

    We are a minority in the diocese faithful to the ancient mass, which wishes no longer to be treated as lepers. The equality now accorded to the two usages should allow its repatriation from its banishment in diocesan exile in remote and inconvenient locations, far removed from most of the Catholic population. People cannot want and love what they do not know! As more experience the beauty and transcendence of the Alternative Form, attendance will surely grow.

    In conclusion, I quote Father John Zuhlsdorf, who is well known to many present tonight:

    “Our attachment to the extraordinary form of Mass is grounded not in nostalgia, or curiosity, or a fear of modernity, or suspicion of Vatican II, or downright stubbornness, but rather in the conviction that this form of Holy Mass draws us into a participation in the mystery of Christ, the incarnate Word, who saves us from eternal death. ….. We are thankful for the gift of Summorum Pontificum………. We accept the challenge the Holy Father has given us to extend this older form to all those who seek it.”

    We look forward to hearing from you tonight how the diocese will encourage and support the implementation of the Alternative Form as various parishes take the initiative and petition their pastors.”

    Alan M. Rees

  25. Augustin says:

    to paraphrase H.L. Mencken – The”Spirit of VatII” crowd wanted a lot of “active participation” from the laity. And now they’re getting it good and hard.

  26. Rachel says:

    Ok, time for me to comment. I was there and I agree that Fr. Willis was
    abrasive and flustered. The introduction by the MC caught him completely off
    guard and his “history” was completely irrelevant to the subject at hand.
    The young had the last word though (the fella in his 20’s spoke last) and I will
    let the bishop know what we feel about it. As for as the ADD comment, there were
    people laughing at it: the young folks who were there (some one shouted out
    “thats all the young folks!”). We will wear this as a badge of pride :)
    explains everything! (lol…the geeks, the medievalists, the conspiracy theorists,
    etc..who love the traditional Mass). Well, we have our work a head of us and I
    plan on setting up meetings (workshops) teaching people about the Mass/sacraments.
    My fiance and I spoke with Fr. Willis after the meeting and we offered him and the
    diocese our services since..according to Fr. Willis, its all up to us. Pray for all
    of us here :)

  27. Henry Edwards says:

    It seems to me with the ADD epidemic in our schools (and society) we have found the real cure for ADD—the Traditional Latin Mass.

    The best news here is that — by Fr. Willis’ own admission — there are now so many more people needing the TLM than some of these fearful bishops have thought!

  28. DoB says:

    Rachel, what a splendid reaction. Our Lord will bless you with abundant fruit. Forge on.

  29. TJM says:

    Pardon me, is Father Willis a Roman Catholic priest?
    If so, he should really consider another line of work.
    He doesn’t sound very pastoral or caring and definitely
    doesn’t believe in the the Church’s rich liturgical
    tradition mandated to be preserved by Sacrosanctum
    Concilium. Tom

  30. “I find the comment about ADD genuinely amusing…”

    As the father of a young man with a similar condition, I find it repugnant. The speaker’s behavior, whatever the merits of his position (and I suppose I have to be polite at some point here), was boorish, ungentlemanly, and an insult to anyone whose concerns brought them there.

    The only consolation, is how clear it is that the status quo is getting nervous. Poeple who get nervous get careless.

    Need I say more?

  31. Jeff Miller says:

    I would not have suspected that this would turn into such a soap opera in my diocese. But it is quite interesting how Fr. Z and the blogs have had such an impact on this.

    Reading through the comments I was glad to hear that already 76 people had petitioned the pastor of St. Joseph;s for the extraordinary form. That would be great since it is much closer for me than driving downtown to Immaculate Conception for the extraordinary form. I must admit though that St. Joseph’s celebration of the ordinary form of Mass drives me crazy with the banal music and clapping. Once towards the end of Mass they had a bunch of kids come out to the sanctuary and sing some Hawaiian song ins semi-Hawaiian dress with the girls swaying their hips like hula dancers.

    I have been somewhat surprised at Fr. Willis’ reaction. I remember going to a Mass at his parish during the interregnum to pray for the cardinal selectors and it was quite beautiful with the Litany of the Saints sung in Latin. Though I really didn’t like the style of the new church he had built with the altar extending on something like a runway where people can sit on three different sides. Though I guess if you sit all the way back on either side you can see the priest Ad Orientum.

  32. BobP says:

    A nice reassignment to the friendly Middle East may be forthcoming.

  33. Henry Edwards says:

    Alan Rees,

    I read your magnificent opening statement with a growing feeling of gratitude and pride — that we who love the traditional Mass were represented so well; you did us all honor!

    And, actually, with just a touch of sympathy for poor Fr. Willis, unnerved as he must have been that his preassigned position doomed him to look so pathetic by comparison. One can well understand why he did not want his statement recorded.

    But we should give credit where due. Perhaps he’s onto something with the discovery that the TLM is a cure for ADD. Just look around, folks, at the next TLM you attend. Considering how all those folks suffer from ADD, their single-minded concentration during the Roman Canon — so silent you could a pin drop — will seem if not a permanent cure then surely a miraculous regression of their usual symptoms.

  34. Elaine says:

    Those of you who were there, I am still confused as to why Fr. Willis was put off by the MC’s introduction. I don’t really understand.

    So what is the result? Will this church (St. Joseph’s) be able to offer the Mass in the Extraoridnary Form?

  35. Red Cardigan says:

    No offense meant to those who have, or have family members with, Attention Deficit Disorder.

    But the only ADD I have is “Attende, Domine” Disorder.

    The symptoms are:

    –increasing impatience with egregious liturgical error
    –a strong desire to cover my ears when songs by Haugen/Haas/et al. are being sung (which is pretty bad since I’m in the choir)
    –a “reverence radar” that beeps loudly in my head when the celebrant gets too “folksy” and forgets things like, oh, I don’t know, the CREED…
    –very low tolerance for Mass experimentation
    –the tendency to respond to Father’s “The Lord be with each and every one of you, my brothers and sisters, here today” with “Et cum spiritu tuo” (and the surreptitious use of Latin responses whenever I can get away with it)
    –a habit of checking the diocesan website several times a week looking for the so-far nonexistent statement on the Motu Proprio (sigh)

    Hear us, O Lord, and have mercy….

  36. With much protest from the audience, Fr. Willis conceded to give his speech but said that he “does not give any permission for his talk to be recorded”.

    Memo to everyone: if ever you attend a meeting like this, and the speaker says he “does not give permission for his talk to be recorded,” ignore him. Laws vary slightly from state to state, but generally, no one has the right to tell you that you cannot record a public speech. The speaker has the right to refuse to talk if he doesn’t want to be recorded, but you have every right to record his words if you want to. Here in Illinois, the one restriction is that if you are recording a phone conversation (something I did frequently as a newspaper reporter), you must inform the person at the other end that you are doing so. Beyond that, in any public address, the speaker may not forbid you to record it.

    Recording someone’s speech protects both the listener and the speaker: it ensures the speakers’ words can be reported accurately in subsequent correspondence. The writer can’t misrepresent what the speaker said, and the speaker can’t say, “I didn’t say that” if he said anything embarassing. In my experience as a reporter, the only people who don’t like to be recorded are bullies who don’t want to be held accountable for what they say. Like Fr. Willis.

    It is unfortunate that EWTN radio and other media knuckled under to Fr. Willis’ totally unreasonable request.

  37. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    The only comment I will make about ADD, is that most children seem to behave and pay attention much better at the TLM than the NOM. Children generally do have a shorter attention span then adults, yet they seem to have no problem participating at the TLM. And while I am open to the argument that some of this might be because of differences in parenting styles between NOM attendees and TLM attendees, I really do believe the TLM is better for children. The NOM tends to have too much noise, and confusion going on. I often feel this is why so many NOMs take the children out of the Church for the Liturgy of the Word and Homily. It is almost unbearable for a child to sit through. I will add that after spending years only attending the TLM, I also find the noise, distractions, and chaos of most NOMs, to be something I can not sit through. If that means I have ADD, then so be it. I prefer peace, order and tranquility when attempting to pray.

  38. Brian Day says:

    Alan Rees,

    Thank you very much for posting your opening statement. It was very eloquent and it puts this discussion in its proper context.

    Given what was written, I would wager your adult education program is top notch.

  39. EDG says:

    I was at the meeting, and I thought Alan Rees’ (the MC) comments were excellent – so excellent they made poor Fr. Willis (who was visibly nervous) practically apoplectic, even though Alan was just giving a short summary of the MP and was not in any way advocating for anything. As for the comment about lepers, this was the only interjection of opinion, and anybody who lives in the diocese will recognize it to be absolutely truthful.

    Two things were of interest to me. First of all, there were several laypeople present who had obviously come because they thought this would be an opportunity to oppose the old use. There is a lot of fear out there among this bizarre new class the bishops have created, the “lay ecclesial ministers,” that if the old use becomes popular, they’ll lose their jobs. This, of course, is true. But we have to reassure them that it’s not being imposed anywhere, they can go or not, as they wish, and they can keep their “jobs” at the Novus Ordo. Many of them are rather up there in years, and I’m sure the Novus Ordo will keep on limping along until the end of their run.

    I was also somewhat disappointed that the bishop did not have the courage or conviction to come to the meeting, if he is really opposed to the old use. I found myself actually feeling rather sympathetic to Fr. Willis, who is nothing but a typical VatII bureaucrat, full of the usual hollow answers and the strange adoption of the VatII/Protestant idea of “3rd century apostasy” as his liturgical guideline, and was forced to go out there and defend something that was not even from his pen. Of course, aside from mentioning that the bishop had written some of it, he didn’t reveal to us exactly where the document came from (found under a rock someplace?), but I would assume it came from one or the other of a couple of more aggressively modernist priests here who are close to the bishop. Not from Fr. Willis, though, and I really found myself feeling sorry for him by the end of the meeting.

    Furthermore, I think his ADD comment was actually backhanded praise – what he meant was that the Tridentine Rite was more focused, while the NO is all over the place and actually can be distracting. However, the comment didn’t come out the right way, particularly since he had said a number of other things that depicted devotees of the old use as devious, disobedient, and possible child molesters (this is based on the comment about how priests in good standing, such as FSSP members, coming to the diocese to give training would have to be evaluated on a case by case basis to see if they met diocesan “child protection guidelines,” something that to my knowledge is not applied to other speakers who are invited to local churches and events).

    But now we’re collecting signatures and planning our campaign, so the dreary meeting actually energized us. God works in mysterious ways.

  40. Mike in NC says:

    I will give Fr Willis the benefit of the doubt and assume he was speaking in his capacity as advocatus diaboli. [tag closing sarcasm]

  41. Well, it makes sense in light of Alan’s introduction why Fr. Willis became
    so flustered. The dissenter’s views only appear cogent when contrary
    opinions are suppressed – hence the need to suppress the TLM since 1969.

    Here was a young, eloquent, educated and faithful man introducing
    a priest whose own words betrayed him as being an uneducated buffoon.

  42. RBrown says:

    There was a (from the 1970s into the 1990s)—hopefully now past—when seminarians with such suspect tendencies frequently were were sent to psychiatrists (ordinarily non-Catholic ones) for diagnosis and treatment of whatever psychological disorders caused such deviations—until they either were cured or in terminal cases had to be expelled from the seminary as being “too rigid” for the priesthood. For instance, it sometimes turned out to be a sublimated mother or father problem that caused the perverse affinity for Latin, saying the rosary, genuflecting surreptitiously before the Tabernacle, etc.
    Comment by Henry Edwards

    Servi dominati sunt nostri.

  43. Stu says:

    As a now diagnosed individual with ADD, I would hope Father Willis in the interest of charity would advocate more Masses in the Extraordinary Form for those of us who are afflicted with such a malady through no fault of our own. ;)

  44. I’m alarmed by the number of Ordinaries who appear not to be in control of
    their own Dioceses. We’ve seen on this blog more then one statement in response
    to SP that was, supposedly, composed by a layperson. What the heck
    is going on? I’m sure Bishops are as busy as anyone else but if they are going
    to use a member of their staff to compose these responses they should be making
    sure they sound reasonably intelligent before they are released.

    If hiding behind the excuse of “well, I didn’t write it” is their way of
    avoiding fall-out, unpopularity, and the perception that they may not know
    everything, then I really despair in the fact that we seem to have a lot of gutless leaders.

    Well, I shouldn’t be surprised. We quit, as a society, teaching our men to be men
    about 40 years ago.

  45. Tim Ferguson says:

    ADD = antiquioris devotionis desiderium?

  46. EDG says:

    Cathy of Alex:

    I agree. I’m actually a little surprised that Bp Galeone – who I think is very good in some other respects, and who has even stood up to his gutless fellow Florida bishops by asserting positions that are anti-abortion, anti-euthanasia, and in support of Catholic marriage – didn’t come to the meeting himself, and in fact is avoiding making any comments on the matter.

    Through Fr Willis, he announced that he didn’t plan to say anything else about it. No guidelines for fulfilling his supposed “requirements,” no information on training, no information on his standards for priests, nothing. I was, in fact, quite disappointed in him. If he wants to oppose the MP, he should do so openly and accept responsibility for it.

  47. Craigmaddie says:

    or in general favors Catholic doctrine is psychologically unstable

    That was the reaction when I “came out” as liking the traditional Latin Mass: that obviously I was somehow ‘troubled’ and my attendance at the “Latin Mass” was a symptom thereof!

  48. Barbara from Italy says:

    Would someone be kind enough to tell me what ADD and ADHD stand for …excuse my ignorance …I don’t live in the States.
    Love this blog. always in my prayers Father.

  49. RBrown says:

    Attention Deficit (Hyperactive) Disorder.

  50. Brian Day says:


    ADD = Attention Deficit Disorder
    ADHD = Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

    See: Wikipedia

  51. alan m. rees says:

    The word “LEPERS’in describing those advocating the continuing existence of the liturgy in use up to 1970 is in a quotation from Cardinal Ratzinger — God and the World, Ignatius, 2002 p.416. I take no credit or blame for it!

  52. RC says:

    I’m suffering from Arrogant Diocesan Dingbats.

  53. Johnny Domer says:

    Whether or not Fr. Willis exactly meant what it seems, at first glance, he said, I must say that, if anything, the Novus Ordo As It’s Commonly Celebrated seems like it would be far more suited to somebody with ADD, because there’s a constant stream of talking, music, noise, activity, etc. In fact, that’s the thing that saddens me about the initial reaction some teenagers have towards Extraordinary Form Mass: it’s boring, it’s quiet, it’s not as entertaining (they don’t say that, but I think that’s what they mean subconsciously) as Lifeteen Mass. Kids nowadays (of which I am one, I’m a college student) are raised on a steady diet of constantly-stimulating entertainment, with television, video games, etc., and I think it definitely has shortened our collective attention span such that the Old Mass can seem less attractive. As an aside, that’s why I so strongly dislike the Lifeteen approach to Mass; it feeds this immature need for constant entertainment that many young people have today, and it does so in the one area of life that requires the most reflection, peace, and calm, i.e. prayer. I would argue that the Old Latin Mass is much more suitable for people of a more quiet, reflective nature, and that it is useful for developing such an attitude in one’s prayer life; I certainly think it helped me in this regard.

  54. Larry says:


    Raymundus’s first post seems to have nailed the tone here.

    Many of the comments I’m reading on this page really are making me squirm. Father Willis’s comments may not be ones that stand up to scrutiny; they may be illogical, when examined critically; they may be personally repugnant to some… but his hands are still the hands of a priest. He consecrates the Host, he administers the sacraments… can’t we at least offer him the respect he deserves, given his vocation?

    From Father Z’s rules of engagement: Let us be gracious to those who have in the past not been gracious in regard to our “legitimate aspirations”. Show genuine Christian joy.

  55. chris K says:

    It was a study from Creighton University saying that people who have ADD can focus better at the Latin Mass with all the silence than at the Novus Ordo where there is more “active participation”.

    Just demonstrates that the Latin Mass is organically more inclusive and therefore universal.

  56. woodyjones says:

    I was reading the article but got distracted one third of the way through it…

    Oh, yes, by the way, my son (who was once diagnosed with ADD) reports to Quantico this Saturday to start Officer Candidate School for the Marines. I ask everyone’s prayers for him.

  57. Piers-the-Ploughman says:

    Excellent presentation Alan Rees; you spoke eloquently and honorably for our Lord and all of us.

  58. I was an organizer the meeting. I would
    like to say that Bishop Galeone has been a tremendous blessing to our diocese. He
    cleaned up a pro-homosexual “ministry”,
    excommunicated a “rent-a-priest”, and has
    been a staunch defender of Humane Vitae.
    He is not an ogre, but a good and holy man
    who simply does not understand those
    attached to the TLM. His radio appearance
    recently indicated that he felt that TLM
    people are attached to the Latin LANGUAGE,
    and that if the abuses of the Novus Ordo
    were addressed, there would be little
    desire for the TLM. He simply doesn’t see
    the value in the older form of the Mass,
    but sees TLM advocates as rebels against
    the abuses that have crept into the new
    form… I just don’t think that the
    “Reverence light bulb” has lit up yet.
    Yes, the reference to ADD afflicting
    those who prefer the TLM was insulting.
    My rather loud comment when Fr. Willis said that
    was “The POPE??”

  59. PNP, OP says:

    This meeting, brothers and sisters, is what the death keening of a left-fascist generation sounds like. As my fav Flight-Attendant-Theologian, Barbie, says, “Buh-bye. Buh-bye now.”

    Fr. Philip, OP

  60. Paul Murnane says:

    It’s quite apparent that Fr. Willis was not prepared for such a reasoned set of opening comments by Mr. Rees, and of course and the mention of Fr. Z at the end probably flustered him even more. May God bless you, Mr. Rees, and your efforts at your parish

  61. Tim F says:

    Dear Friends,

    It is my experience here in Michigan that many opponents
    to MP when push comes to shove (with all fraternal
    charity)do not even understand what the Mass is!

    Once you get past the deluge of expected complaints:
    Latin is a foreign language, no priest can say the TLM,
    nostalgia, Vatican II got rid of this blah blah blah.

    Remind them this is how Catholics of the Latin Rite
    have prayed since the time of Pope Damisus. If what they are
    praying in their modernized parish doesn’t conform the
    Faith transmitted through the traditional Roman mass.
    It is they who are in error and need to conform.
    WELL… that is if hope to retain the Catholic faith and
    communion with Peter. Just a thought.

  62. As I have commented before on other posts, I simply don’t understand the opposition to the Tridentine mass. I don’t get where the bishops and priests who are working so hard to oppose the Holy Father’s clear instructions, and to inhibit and interdict those who desire to implement Summorum Pontificum are coming from.

    I’ve long been taught a simple rule: never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. What I’m hearing, notably including what Fr. Z. has so heroically documented on this blog, cannot be adequately explained by stupidity.

    So, other than malice, what concerns motivate opponents of Summorum Pontificum?

    And if malice is really the answer, what’s the reason for that malice?

    It’s a sincere question.

  63. Chris says:

    Just reading this did 2 things. 1/I was extremely uncomfortable about the attitude of Father Thomas Willis. He did not have to be that way. How can a Priest be so scoffing about the Mass. How can one get through to someone like that? Its plain that emotion and something else sneering cynicism was present at that meeting. So deceiving.
    2/Also the poor people listening! How upsetting and hurtful for them!
    Sad. pray for him…
    I grew up with Priest’s sneering at the Old Mass during the 1970 80s. Whe I witnessed the Old Mass I saw they had deceived me.

  64. Paul and Chris, I think what you and all of us are seeing here is the impact of two contrasting worldviews. As each worldview is a congerie of deeply held internalized beliefs, practices, and language, adherents of different ones not suprisingly often have a very difficult time communicating clearly with one another. As Richard Bohler noted above, HE Bishop Galeone is having difficulty understanding the attachment to the Tridentine/Johannine Mass. So,the reaction should be to explain your viewpoint, how the ancient Mass is not only a reaction to the poorly celebrated Novus Ordo, which in part it surely is, but even moreso it is appreciated on its own terms: the Mass of the Centuries, the Mass of the Saints, the Mass of Inspiration, which has inspired the greatest art, music, architecture, etc.

    This confusion on the part of the bishop is clearly shared by Fr Willis. This much is excusable. Calm conversation patiently carried out will resolve the issues between all parties. Praying more, being silent more, and giving the most charitable interpretation to everyone involved really works wonders in such situations.

    Insulting one another is extremely poor behavior.

  65. Sid Cundiff says:

    The bigger picture: Our real opponents don’t hate the Mass in the Extraordinary Form (MEF). It’s just a symbol for them of what they really hate. They don’t hate “the old Church”; their hatred isn’t just an adolescent tantrum. They hate THE Church. Many are homosexuals, who hate those who forbid their particular lust. One daughter of Lust is Hatred of God.

    Now they are losing their campaign to destroy The Church, as Nero, Diocletian, Cromwell, Robespierre, Sade, Buonaparte, Bismarck, Lenin, Stalin, the Spanish Republicans lost their campaigns. Expect them to go down fighting and whining.

  66. Okay, folks, I think I will wrap this up now.

    I removed a few of the sharper comments out of fairness to Fr. Willis.

    Remember, everyone, we should feel free to tackle positions people hold, and shun attacking them personally.

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