More news about Franciscan University at Steubenville over Mass in Latin – UPDATED

A very worked up person sent an e-mail which I share:

Yesterday, November 6, Christ the King Chapel at Franciscan University held its monthly Latin Novus Ordo Mass.  However, this particular Mass, celebrated by Fr. Conrad Harkins, OFM, was entirely in Latin, including the readings (which were not later read in English), the homily, and the announcements.  This is a slap in the face to the students and faculty attached the liturgical tradition of Latin in the liturgy.  How can this outrageous behavior be tolerated at a so-called orthodox university? 

 At the very least, Fr. Conrad owes the student body an apology for making a mockery of Latin and the Mass. 

My reaction is this.  I would like to have a transcription of that homily!

Folks, it is not illicit to say Mass in Latin.  The readings are part of Mass.  The readings can be in Latin, too.  Should they be?  Why not, if there is a group of people whose mother tongues are diverse.  People can follow in their booklets or on a sheet.  I rather like the idea that Latin be used in the newer form of Mass and not be relegated merely to the TLM.

The priest preaches in Latin.  Hmmm… if he is not requested to do so because there is a gathering of Latinists present (I have done that) he is either just showing off, which is vain, or imprudent.  Again, I think he would be opening himself to scrutiny about the quality of his Latin, along with the content of the sermon.


At last, I cannot fathom why this would be taken seriously as a "slap in the face".  If the priest was acting with ill will in doing so, his antics should simply be called silly and everyone should move on to more interesting things.  If the priest was just trying to get into the spirit of everyone’s growing interest in Latin, then he should be thanked, but asked kindly to preach in English from now on.


This came in via e-mail:

I was informed by a student present at the Mass who knows some Latin that the homily was not original, but was a text taken from St. Bonaventure.

As for the use of Latin, it was probably not the best idea to do so for the homily and the announcements, as this is not customary in this particular Latin Mass, and it is rather defeats the purpose of the homily and announcements if most of those present do not have enough fluency to understand them.  While there is certainly nothing wrong with saying everything in Latin, it strikes me as imprudent to do so without any notice, especially at the special monthly NO Latin Mass that previously this semester had already been used as a platform against the TLM on campus

At any TLM I have ever attended, the homily has always been in English, and the readings have been given in English at the start of the homily.  The major disservice of using Latin in the manner done is that it is almost certain to lead to misunderstanding.  For students not familiar with the TLM, I could see this as presenting a caricature of what such a Mass is like, while as your e-mailer demonstrates, it has rather inflamed passions on the part of its supporters who see this as a slap in the face. [So… is this the same writer as above?] There may be a perfectly good reason why the celebrant chose to celebrate in this way, but absent an explanation, assumptions are bound to be spreading like wildfire.  It’s a shame, since there was no need for this to happen.

Prayers are in order for the university, I have a sinking feeling things are going to get ugly before all is said and done in regards to the TLM.

Why can’t everyone just get along?


I got this via e-mail from the Public Relations office of FUS.  My emphases added:

Fr. Z,
Unless I clicked the wrong link, I think the comments are now closed on the recent postings about Fr. Conrad’s Mass earlier this week, but can you please add this to that thread?

Many Thanks,
Tom Sofio
Public Relations
Franciscan University of Steubenville

I deeply regret any pain that I have unwittingly caused those who love the Latin liturgy. I too love both the Liturgy and the Latin language, having celebrated the one and having taught the other at various times in my life. 

In a university setting, I thought that those who loved the Latin language would be pleased to hear the Scriptures and a sermon in the venerable tongue of the Latin Fathers, just as those who go to a Spanish Mass are pleased to hear the Scriptures and a sermon in that romance language.

When I read the Gospel in Latin and gave a short word of exhortation in Latin at Franciscan University several years ago, it seemed to please the congregation. 

For the record, the Latin Mass yesterday was not the Traditional Latin Mass, the subject of the recent motu proprio of the Holy Father, but the Novus Ordo Latin Mass. I celebrated the Mass devoutly and had no intention of using it in any way as a commentary on the Traditional Latin Mass. Since the Holy Father has expanded the use of the Traditional Latin Mass, I look forward to the opportunity to celebrate it as I did for the first years of my priesthood.

Fr. Conrad L. Harkins, O.F.M.
November 7, 2007

There it is folks!  It was a misstep.

I have a few things to add as I start wrapping up my own interest in this story.

First, I think it is obligatory, in charity, to accept what Fr. Harkins said.  Take him at his word.  Sure it was not such a great idea to surprise people with even announcements in Latin.  However, do not forget that saying even the readings in Latin was within his right as a priest of Holy Church.  Maybe fewer surprises next time?

Second, I will repeat what I wrote above: I cannot fathom why what Fr. Harkin did would be taken seriously as a "slap in the face".   In my opinion the people who got their noses of out of alignment on this a) should have gone to ask Father what was going on, b) unclenched their backsides a little and c) should collectively write Father a note of thanks for being a priest and then take him out to supper.  Really.  Make peace.

Third, it is sad that this sort of thing gets out and around, but I am pleased that it was resolved amicably and with a gesture of humility on the part of Fr. Harkins.  I believe good Christian men and women will now take the next step and lay this to rest.

Fourth, I think these little tussles will in the long run be of benefit if, and only if, people behave like intelligent Catholic ladies and gentlemen. 

Fifth, I think the FSU staff should get their act together and have the older form of Mass also on campus.  For pity’s sake!  Just do it!

Finally, I applaud Fr. Harkins for the note he wrote.  He earned my respect for stepping up like this.

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  1. bedwere says:

    I invite Fr. Conrad to join the Familia Sancti Hieronymi:
    At our Cenaculum we speak in Latin for one week and homilies are always delivered in Latin. I was told that in the past the Mass was the ordinary form, but this year we had in the extraordinary.

  2. The announcements were in Latin? I don’t know about a “slap in the face” but something seems awry if the announcements were given in Latin!

  3. TJM says:

    I have to admit, I’m a bit suspicious of the priests’ motives. I’d like it if Father Z could critique his Latin. Tom

  4. Jordan Potter says:

    Combox closed . . . ?

  5. Henry Edwards says:

    Off hand, at my admitted distance from the Steubenville scene and ignorance of any of the parties involved, I can come up with only one reason in such circumstances for an exclusively Latin Mass — whether older or newer form — with not only the prayers of Mass but the readings, homily, and announcements exclusively in Latin.

    Namely, to say Latin “in your faces” to those who’ve petitioned for a “Latin Mass” on campus. To say, If you thought you wanted a Latin Mass, here’s what you get. Look how pointless it is. So utterly different from the beauty and reverence you fatuously expected. So don’t complain, about this or anything else, or that’ll prove you don’t know what you want, not even whether you want a Latin Mass or not. So stuff it.

    Slap in the face intended? Y’betcha. Unless someone can suggest another plausible explanation.

  6. Jeff Pinyan says:

    My opinion is that the priest is trying to make Latin “look bad”. Something like… “How could anybody want a Mass in Latin? They can’t understand it. Here, I’ll prove it to you…”

  7. Matthew Robinson says:

    Wouldn’t saying Mass with the willful intent of annoying people and making latin “look bad” be considered
    a sacrilege and likely mortal sin on the part of the priest?

  8. FUS Student says:

    The once a month, Tuesday night Latin Novus Ordo on campus is a glimmer of orthopraxy: Gregorian chant, Latin, reverence…

    Most of the folks who attend are not Latinists and must follow along in a missal, we just want some semblance of tradition here at Franciscan. I am not a reactionary, what Fr. Conrad did was as if he said, “you want Latin, OK, here you go…now choke on it.” It was not offered in a spirit of good will.

  9. Fr K says:

    At our Diocesan Seminary we have the Novus Ordo Latin Mass every Friday. A former Spiritual Director when he was main celebrant at this Mass used to announce at the beginning of Mass the Eucharistic Prayer and the Acclamation to be used; also a brief introduction to the Feast if there was one; all in Latin. The seminarians used to find this very amusing as, unbeknowns to the poor celebrant they were completely mystified by what he was saying! Their standard of Latin was, and still is, very poor indeed.

    The readings were also in Latin and this was to help the seminarians improve their Latin skills as well as providing a ‘living’ expression to what they were supposed to be studying in the classroom. Most of the seminarians would tell me they had not a clue what they were reading. I know the Pope alludes to this problem in his MP; so we must persevere bit by bit. I must say, though, I think that announcements in Latin, although in this case well intentioned is a bit precious. Festina lente.

  10. amy says:

    I know of a priest who was actually going to do something like what is being suggested as a possible motivation here. Not everything in Latin, like this, but sort of springing a TLM (which he really didn’t know how to say) on the people involved in the body where he said Mass (not a parish), people who were sort of curious about it in the wake of the MP. The sense was, “I’ll show them what it is really like, then they won’t want it anymore.)

    A friend said it would be, “A passive-aggressive Mass.” Which was exactly true.

    And no, he didn’t go through with it. And yes, I think it would have been a sacrilege if he had…

  11. Daniel Muller says:

    The only Latin Mass that I ever attended as a child was according to the 1965 Missal and completely in Latin, including the homily. It was at the largest local Catholic university. Personally, I think that it makes sense in an academic context. Of course, it has no didactic purpose as a surprise. As I have stated before, there is no such thing as a surprise in liturgy.

  12. Gavin says:

    This strikes me too as a horrible offense. The priest is communicating the message that the students attending are merely Latinphiles who like the Latin language rather than those who just want to see the mind of the Church respected at Mass. I can see the homily in Latin for a gathering of Latinists, but besides that there’s no cause for it. I’d argue that the readings should always, even in international celebrations, be in the vernacular (even at the EF). Anyway, I don’t think this priest cared about the spirit of the liturgy, only about insulting the students who attended. How is it possible to interpret his actions otherwise?

  13. Trad Tom says:

    I must agree with Henry Edwards: It was a mean-spirited attempt to vilify the hundreds of students, faculty, and others who wanted “the Latin Mass” on campus (not wishing to go to the “parish church” in downtown Steubenville).

    I am saddened at the attitude of some priests, bishops, and even cardinals; I am saddened and confused by Fr. Conrad Harkins. Why would he be spiteful?

  14. Don Schloeder says:

    My daughter is a student at FUS and was present at the mass. She reports that the announcements in Latin prompted laughter from the students at the end of mass. According to a “meet the friars” article in the student newspaper, Fr. Conrad is spending the semester editing a Latin History book, so he is certainly not opposed to the Latin language. He may have just been showing off.

  15. Trad Tom says:

    I must agree with Henry Edwards: It was a mean-spirited attempt to vilify the hundreds of students, faculty, and others who wanted “The Latin Mass” on campus(not wishing to go to the “parish church” in downtown Steubenville.

    I am saddened at the attitude of some priests, bishops, and even cardinals; I am saddened and confused by Fr. Conrad Harkins. Why would he be so spiteful?

  16. Patrick says:

    Rather than guess at motives, maybe someone should just ask the priest why he did it.

  17. David says:

    True, Patrick. He could, afterall, just be a bizarre, absent-minded professor-priest. I mean, last I heard that was a pretty common stereotype.

  18. Papabile says:

    Um…. Masses of the Work are often entirely in Latin for the numeraries and supernumeraries.

    The Daily Roman Missal is a good reference to have for Mass if done this way.

  19. FUS Faculty says:

    Father Conrad’s intentions were indeed malicious. His public rants in the hallways in Egan Hall at the university on July 7th this past summer (following the publication of Summorum Pontificum) included an angry statement that he would seek to celebrate Mass with the sermon in Latin in order to show how ridiculous liturgical Latin is. Last night, he extended this to the announcements with the clear intent to mock those of us who were present at Mass. There is no question about why he chose to do what he did.

  20. Deborah says:

    This same incident happened in Ottawa, Canada a few years ago by an archbishop who certainly was not favourable to the TLM. Needless to say, it did not go over well with the faithful in attendance.

    I certainly will not send my children to FUS and will advise others against it as well. This kind of abuse is unacceptable especially when parents are paying a small fortune to send their children there. I could not tolerate my children being treated so disrespectfully.

  21. Another FUS Student says:

    It certainly seems that Fr. Conrad’s intentions were malicious. I would understand presenting the readings in Latin, but the homily and announcements? He was clearly using the Mass to prove some point.

    And, as it has been made painfully clear, this attitude is prevalent among most, if not all, of the Franciscan priests on campus. In a lecture on papal infallibility, one T.O.R. commented that “a motu proprio is not infallible . . . thank God!” Several people also have been accused of disobedience for receiving Communion while kneeling. For some reason, this university is orthodox down the line, except with regard to Liturgy.

  22. Henry Edwards says:


  23. Former FUS Student says:

    I took a course on St. Francis about four years ago at Steubenville. Fr. Conrad taught the course. He is a first-rate scholar on St. Francis and was president of the Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University. It is my impression from comments that he made in class that he was forced out of the position because he was too conservative or too orthodox.

    I am greatly disappointed by his actions at the Latin Novus Ordo Mass. I am not, however, surprised. I have heard that he does not like celebrating Mass in Latin and only does so when Fr. Scanlan, TOR is not available. (He is certaily well trained in Latin. He got a Licentiate in Medieval History at the Pontifical Medieval Institute in Toronto.) Unfortunately, he drank the Kool-Aid with regard to the Liturgical “Reform”.

    I have a great affection for Fr. Conrad. I loved his class and liked him on a personal level. It is unfortunate that such a wonderful priest (and I truly believe that he is a wonderful priest) should be so mistaken on this point. Unfortunately, he is not the only priest that I have known who convinced himself that the Church was permanently moving away from Latin and that any return to traditional elements of the Mass was mistaken. Perhaps he is like other priests that I have known who had to convince himself that what he grew up with and appreciated was somehow bad now and that it was something to which the Church would never return. I’m sure that there are many who taught themselves to hate the past as if that was the way to sentire cum ecclesia.

  24. Henry Edwards says:

    Papabile: Um…. Masses of the Work are often entirely in Latin …

    Um . Perhaps you missed the difference here.

    A Mass entirely in Latin, all the prayers and the readings, is entirely proper. I personally prefer such a Mass, in either form, since I use a missal and will have studied the entire Mass in advance, in both Latin and English, so I can follow it “live” in Latin.

    The difference here — and the tip-off to the malicious intent — was the homily and sermon were also in Latin. Which would have made sense (a la your missal reference) only if the priest had in advance handed out English translations of his sermon-announcement remarks for the students to follow missal-like.

    See the difference?

  25. RichR says:

    What a shame. I wouldn’t want my child ridiculed for wanting Catholic tradition to be revived. If that’s how things are handled at that university, I know where I will not be sending all of my children to college (and we will be sure to share this information with all of our peers who have kids).

  26. Barb says:

    Father Z and others:

    One of our retired Monsignors went ballistic on us when I innocently asked on July 8 of this year if he had heard that the Pope’s Motu Proprio on the Traditional Mass was out. Among other things he said, “If I have to say the Mass in Latin, then I’ll preach the sermon in Latin, too!” It was said in anger and malice and it was only the beginning from him. He continued his rants periodically from the pulpit, making all of us present who love the Traditional Mass, now called the Extraordinary form, very distressed. And the sad thing is, the little Carmelite chapel where we attend Mass is the best place to attend Mass in the area. Very, very sad. I think we should all pray for the priests who are so upset over the MP.

  27. Paul B says:

    I’ve heard some reports of similar things happening in other places. A handful of academic motu-proprio haters seem to be very, very intent on arguing that praying to God in a language you don’t “understand” (with conversational immediacy) is somehow a horrible thing, and therefore no people except trained Latinists should be allowed to attend a Latin Mass, *even if they ask for it.* I’ve been trying to untangle the pathology of this claim. Can anyone help? For example, how are these people seeing the relationship between language and prayer? Do they reject the distinction between vernacular and sacral language? Would they also say, for example, that unless you can converse in French like a native there’s absolutely no point in visiting France? I just find this absolutely mystifying.

  28. Andrew says:

    Paul B.

    I’ve been trying to untangle the pathology of this claim.

    I hope part of your plan to untangle this “pathology” will include a recognition of a basic fact: the Church wants us to know Latin. The Church does not wish to talk to us in some incomprehensible language. “Those among the laity who study Latin do great service to the Church” said Pope Paul VI. Many popes before him and ALL the popes after him stressed the importance of studying Latin. While I don’t suggest that every catholic should be required to know Latin, I do suggest that it is ridiculous for nearly every catholic to be completely ignorant of Latin. If you can’t find even a handful individuals who know Latin at a catholic university, for crying out loud, then we are in a bad shape indeed. Part of the “untangle” is recognizing the problem and not trying to hide from it.

  29. Paul says:

    This kind of actions says alot more about the priest than it does about liturgical latin and those who want it. The very fact that he’d use the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to ridicule others demonstrates how little respect he has for it. In his modernist mentality, he feels that he can use to Mass to put on his own little show. It’s absolutely disgraceful.

    Disagreeing with the traditions of the church is one thing, but openly mocking the Mass is another thing entirely. This man should be removed from his post immediately.

  30. At Mass Yesterday says:

    This is just the latest symptom of the Friars’ hatred of the liturgical tradition of the Church. Not only will Fr. Conrad’s behavior most likely be tolerated (probably denying any malicious intent, despite FUS Faculty’s report about his comments this summer), but the friars insist on busing students over a mile away to attend the Extraordinary Form of the Mass rather than let it on campus. During the recent vocations fair on campus, the priests of the Fraternity of St. Peter were even denied an altar to celebrate the Extraordinary Form. Their rejection of the liturgical tradition even leads them to act this way toward their brother priests!

  31. John says:

    I personally think it would be neat to attend a mass with the homily and announcements in Latin, along with the rest. Granted, the priest’s intentions in this one don’t sound like they were necessarily the best, but, regardless, it sounds like a cool experience — really like being completely immersed in another time and place. If someone publicized one of these in my area, I’d strongly consider going.

  32. Another FUS Student says:

    Also, these priests love to push the whole “speaking in tongues” thing. Seems like that’s less understandable than Latin.

  33. michigancatholic says:

    Well, if this is mass abuse, bring it on. It’s sure better than liturgical dancers and golf joke priests. (I had to laugh when Daniel said above that there’s “no such thing as a surprise in liturgy.” No, because we’ve been tortured so thoroughly that nothing surprises us anymore.)

    I suggest we all learn our Latin so that we can understand a bit of what goes on and smile about it–very broadly. Download the translation from the internet and take it with you. The bulletin has the darned announcements–that’s what it’s for. You can read, can’t you?

    This priest and others like him are saying, “They want Latin, I’ll give them Latin.” Yes, indeed we do. Bring it on, Padre. And wear buckled shoes please.

  34. Connecticut catholic says:

    Thanks for the info guys. I won’t be sending my kids there either- our home-school group will be interested in learning about all this, too.

  35. When I read the main item, and before I skimmed the comments, my first thought was that it is not necessary to understand, or even hear, one word of the mass in order to render one’s worship to God.

    A priest once told me he had been glad to see the mass in the vernacular because “the people didn’t understand the mass in Latin”. I asked him, “Do they understand it any better, now that it is in the vernacular?” He thought a moment and said, “No”.

    The vernacular mass is a good thing, and so is the bilingual missal. But it is all too easy, when we understand the words, to have the illusion that we understand the mass, all too easy to forget the mystery.

    This is a general comment, not directly related to Fr Harkins’s mass. Without asking him, I have no idea why he did what he did.

  36. Patrick says:

    If this priest was motivated by hatred of the Traditional Latin Mass, then I would respond by telling him that I prefer to hear his homilies in Latin. Sometimes, I wish the homilies around here were in Latin.

  37. Rose says:

    This is a golden opportunity. Now that the good friar has shown himself capable of celebrating Mass in Latin, the students have every right to ask him to accommodate them and celebrate the TLM every week on campus. After this virtuoso display of “Latin” what excuse can there be not having the TLM celebrated on campus? Perhaps the priest is actually hoping that this will catch on.

  38. michigancatholic says:

    I’ve been known to attend mass in other languages on occasion. I love to travel. Never bothers me in places like the Netherlands. Trust me, I probably don’t want to know what they’re saying in the homily anyway in Holland, or Canada or even in the good old USA if I happen to have landed in some parishes.

    Look at it this way: If the priest really did say the whole thing in Latin sheerly out of spite, would the homily have been any good anyway? Probably not. Count your blessings, say a Hail Mary for the guy and get on with the rest of Mass.

  39. I honestly wonder how accurate his Latin was?
    I can’t imagine someone being so malicious as to actually go through that
    much trouble to do something in Latin.

    I would almost think people should thank him and encourage him to do that all
    the time.

    Still, the whole situation sounds so childish.

  40. IMHO, the best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself into it as fully as possible. I’m currently taking a stab at learning Latin. As part of that process I’m listening to our esteemed host’s PODCAzTs and PRAYERCAzT’s. No, I don’t understand all of it, but I’ve seen real improvement in my Latin knowledge.

    I have no problem with Father praying the entire Mass in Latin and doing the announcements and homily in Latin too. It is, after all, a Catholic institution of higher learning where this Mass took place.

    If we expect the S.P. to be fully implemented, I believe more of our young people are going to have to be exposed to Latin. Franciscan is as good a place as any.

    I’m concerned by the numbers of Catholics who are turning on Franciscan and Ave Maria over the issue of what form of the Mass is, or is not, being offered on campus. Aren’t these two of the few Mandatum/Oath of Fidelity institutions in the states? If you don’t send your children to either one what’s left? My dissenting alma mater in St. Paul? I think some folks are being overly critical. Good grief, if you knew the kind of crap I put up with in “Catholic” college! We were so far gone that even a validly celebrated Mass on campus would have been unheard of. I’m actually envious of the students at Ave Maria and Franciscan. I wish I had “problems” like they are currently having 20 years ago when I was in college.

  41. michigancatholic says:

    Yes, Roman Sacristan, but that’s because you are an adult.

  42. FUS Faculty says:

    For the record, I know that the intention expressed by Fr. Conrad last summer was to read, in Latin, a sermon by one of the Church Fathers (during his rant in the hallway regarding the Motu Proprio). I don’t know for sure if that’s what we heard last night, however, I know that Fr. Conrad is capable of writing his own sermon in Latin. Regardless, the use of Latin in this way by a known critic of liturgical Latin in both his homily and announcements makes this a moot point. The purpose of this use of Latin was decidedly not in support of its liturgical use, but as a way of making it seem foolish.

  43. Seminarian, former FUS student says:

    As a seminarian who discovered the Church while attending Franciscan, I am troubled by this discussion thread. First, we really need to know Father Harkins’ motivations. Certainly, there is good evidence that points to his being malicious, but this is still based upon an assumption. I would hate to have judged a heart incorrectly– indeed, judged a heart at all. Second, I certainly understand the anti-“traditional” attitude that some higher-ups on campus do have. It is obvious that there is a certain hemming and hawing when it comes to implementing certain Vatican directives. Can this necessarily be attributed to Father Harkins? Perhaps. I just propose to those who are quick to judge to slow down a bit. And I propose to those at Franciscan who are resistant to our Holy Father’s request to consider the following:

    The Holy Spirit, who on Franciscan’s campus is readily accepted when manifesting Himself through exterior actions (such as speaking in tongues), appears to be skeptically questioned when He offers himself interiorly (ie, through active contemplation and silent disposition required in the Extraordinary Form). We must remember that to receive the Holy Spirit does not necessarily mean to have to speak, but to receive, oftentimes quietly and oftentimes in a state of quietness and littleness that I’m sure St. Therese of Lisieux would find perfectly praiseworthy.

    Veni, Creator Spiritus!

  44. Joshua says:

    To Barb,

    Was this chapel the one at Santa Teresita?

  45. Patrick says:

    Cathy of Alex wrote:

    IMHO, the best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself into it as fully as possible. I’m currently taking a stab at learning Latin.

    I was born in the 1950s. I had two older brothers. Both of my brothers had four years of Latin in high school and four more years of Latin in college. Like my brothers, I attended Catholic schools, but I was not taught a word of Latin. It started to fall by the wayside in the 60s-70s. I now feel a bit cheated by not having some basic Latin classes.

    I have been collecting Latin books when I see them at sales. I own old editions of Latin For Americans and Jenney’s Latin as well as Wheelock, Scanlon and Latin For Dummies. Perhaps Fr. Z (or someone else) has an opinion on the best “starter book.” I do enjoy the anecdotal information, about Roman Civilization, found in the Latin For Americans series.

  46. Nora Cannon says:

    My husband is teaching an adult Latin class during CCD this year. It was suppposed to be a 6-8 week survey – the “basics” of grammar and vocabulary, illustrated by dissecting the Pater Noster, Agnus Dei, and Sanctus. The idea was to give folks a basic introduction so that they could pursue more Latin, if they wished, on their own study time. The class has grown substantially and is to be a continuing group study indefinitely.

    I had 6 years of Latin before I converted – the traditional Gallic Wars, through Virgil and Winne Ille Pooh. I can’t say I enjoyed it though I have never regretted it. These adults studying the language of their Church are eating it up, coming up at places like Kroger or the public library to get input on their pronunciation.

    The goal was understanding and ease; the result may be some folks who approach WDTPRS intensity – all free and voluntary in the back water of the Bible belt. BTW, this same parish raised almost $2000 in a special yard sale this Summer to make sure our pastor could get any training or “stuff” he felt was needed to properly celebrate the extraordinary form.

  47. John F. says:


    You might try the Henle Latin series by Robert Henle, SJ. It is very methodical and easy to follow.

  48. shana sfo says:

    I would ask the home schoolers who plan NOT to consider FUS – to send polite letters to FUS voicing their concerns and decisions, and get as many letters to campus as you can. If they get enough letters from potential ‘customers’ parents (hey, call the students what they are – customers for seats on campus) it may do them all some good.

    It is absolutely no good at all to gripe and complain, and do nothing to let the ones you complain about know the scandal they have caused you. Christian charity itself dictates that we go to our brothers and voice our concerns. If you feel scandalized at this news – WRITE and let them know! Nothing will change if there is no real response.

    Students who heard this Mass and are scandalized – let your folks know and get them involved, especially if they are footing the massive bill for tuition, room and board.

    The more who speak up the better.

  49. Brian Mershon says:

    To the person who inquired where we would send students if not Steubenville… You’ve got to be kidding.

    Thomas Aquinas College currently has a DAILY Traditional Latin Mass ON CAMPUS. Christendom College is planning on having a weekly, and perhaps a DAILY on campus soon.

    So is Wyoming Catholic. I have been told by the President of Univ. of Dallas that they will most likely have the TLM weekly on campus there, even if in the hideous 1970s chapel. And I mean HIDEOUS.

    Those are four examples. To be honest, I cannot believe ANYONE would consider sending their children to Steubenville OR Ave Maria–no matter HOW MUCH financial aid they offer. Why subject your children to the abuse. You are paying a fortune, and even if not, your children are supposed to be getting a Catholic education–and this includes liturgical norms. Vote with your feet and pocketbooks. Don’t write letters to Steubenville; prior to going to any Catholic school, write the school president and insist THE determining factor of attending there is whether or not they have the TLM DAILY.

    If not, then move on. The stupid ’60s, silly ’70s, crazy ’80s and numb ’90s are over. This is the time of Pope Benedict XVI and the reform of the Church, even as the split between priests, bishops and cardinals evidently grows wider and Church grows smaller in true believers.

  50. Ioannes says:

    If the Priests at FUS push the whole “speaking in tongues” thing, do they preach their homilies “in tongues” during such liturgies?

  51. Athanasius says:

    Let me just say, I know Fr. Conrad through many years at FUS. He is a humble Franciscan, and an internationally recognized Franciscan scholar.
    He is not a Traditionalist, but he remembers fondly things before the Council. He often told a story about a retreat center he was at, and how there were priests who told him they were going to give talks about the Council, and they invited him to go with them. Fr. Conrad responded that he had not read the documents, and they retorted “Neither have we!” He is a good priest who loves the Church. His Latin is also very good. That being said, the last time I saw him, he spoke very highly of the charismatic renewal and of experiencing it for the first time. It more or less shocked a friend of mine and I since we had both began in the charismatic renewal and became Traditionalists. Maybe he thinks the quest for the Traditional Liturgy is vain? I don’t know. He thought the 1988 indult was just for old people and once discouraged people from asking for it, but I can not imagine he would hold such a position in light of the Motu Proprio, as I said he loves the Church and would obey the Pope. I seriously doubt Fr. Conrad was trying to mock the Traditional Mass or the cause for Latin in the Liturgy, even if he does lean more charismatic nowadays. He is more ambivalent on those subjects. If anything, he thought the use of Latin completely would be edifying, which was the explanation he gave in his sermon in 1999 when he sang the readings in Latin at the monthly NO Latin Mass. I think it is his exuberance instead.
    If anything was silly, it was when Fr. Brahmwell, a white south African born OMI, began ad libbing in Latin at the monthly NO Latin Mass and making jokes about the weather, and he was rubbing his face in the fact that I was one of 4 people in the Church that understood him. THAT was a slap in the face, since he was violating rubrics.

  52. Athanasius says:

    You might try the Henle Latin series by Robert Henle, SJ. It is very methodical and easy to follow.

    Actually, I would recommend against Henle. Henle is written in that pedagogical style of Latin books that made two generations of kids HATE Latin. It is overly repetitious and boring.

    The best series I have seen for kids is called Ecce Romani. For adults, “The Primer on Ecclesiastical Latin” by Patrick Collins is excellent (caveat emptor, the author is anti-Tridentine and produces texts from the Novus Ordo in Latin, but don’t let that blight the value of the text), and if you want to learn classical Latin, “Latin an intensive Course” by Moreland & Flescher supplemented by “Latina via Ovid” are good tools. Trust someone who has taught Latin for a few years.

  53. Federico says:

    Athanasius: “Trust someone who has taught Latin for a few years.”

    De gustibus….

    I continue to think Wheelock is as good as it gets…my kids (even junior high) eat it up.

    …non est disputandum.

  54. Gordo the Byzantine says:


    Thanks for the balanced perspective. I think the more traditionally minded (I place myself in that category, but on the Bosphorous side of the aisle) often need to develop thicker skins and a sense of humor, instead of ascribing ill intent where none may exist.

    While kicking Charismatics may be fun past time for some (I certainly do not recommend it…if experience has taught me anything, more than likely they will be the ones who in the next few years will sit next to you in the pew at a local TLM), I think it is far more productive to send respectful petitions to BOTH the friars and the bishop on this matter. You cannot just assume that the friars have made this decision on their own, given the bishop’s own views on the TLM. Everybody’s got a boss, as they say, and much of what happens on the campus depends on the good graces of the hierarch.

    As to the orthodoxy of Steubenville, it is unquestionably orthodox and faithfully Catholic. If you know anything of its history from 1974 onward, the transformation (one could say “conversion”) is remarkable…and it is still ongoing. Is it for everyone? No. In many ways FUS is suffering through the growing pains of the Church towards a more traditional expression of faith, especially liturgically. It is a microcosm of North American Church life, with a decidedly orthodox theological leaning. Many who come to FUS do so through the youth conferences (I was one such person over 20 years ago…it was through the conferences that I came back to my Catholic faith.) I believe that they come to the campus with the expectation of living on that mountain top. Others do not come to the campus with any exposure to the conferences and come from every type of Church/Family context – traditional, progressive, broken, wholesome, conservative, liberal, etc etc. The hope of the campus, IMHO, is that it can be a context where both the Charismatics and the TLM’s (and everyone in between) build a common life together instead of becoming too deeply entrenched in their ecclesial ghettos. There is certainly the good, the bad and the ugly in both movements. But when the virtues of both are leveraged into an authentic “dynamic orthodoxy” (an evangelical zeal and personal love for Jesus Christ combined with traditional expressions of worship), it can be a powerful combination. Will it always be the perfect mix of everything on campus? No – especially given the fluid nature of the population.

    But, as a wonderful priest told me recently over tea a few months ago, we will only experience perfection in heaven. (Incidently, he was quoting his now much esteemed former professor at Regensburg.) I think such a view helps to keep one’s expectations somewhat measured.

    In ICXC,


  55. FUS Student says:

    I think what disturbs me is that they tout absolute fidelity to the Holy Father, so when JP2 allowed girl altar boys by golly we got them (lots of them). Extraordinary ministers? You bet, and swarming all over the nave. Summorum Pontificum….hmmm….[cough]…Well, we will bus you “rad trads” out of the ghetto.

    Their fidelity to the Holy Father is shown only to be effective when it can be twisted to their liturgical mentality.

  56. David says:

    The correct name of the author of “A Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin” is John Collins, not Patrick.


    Do you think that the author is anti-Tridentine merely because he gives selections from teh Novus Ordo in his book? Or is there something else in the book or in your personal knowledge that leads you to this conclusion.


  57. Gordo the Byzantine says:

    FUS Student,

    “Girl Altar Boys”? I love it! I’ll use that phrase from here on out…

    I think much of it goes back to the hierarch and his attitude towards the MP and the Tridentine Mass. If there was a different occupant, I think you would see a different response. I’m sure to the administration’s mind, they are not going to make waves by having a Tridentine Mass on campus. They feel that they are accomodating the pastoral needs of students by using a van to bus them down to St. Pete’s. You and I both know that if there are 155 students who are interested in attending the TLM on Sunday, one van (unless it is exceptionally large) will not be able to accomodate 155 students going to St. Pete’s unless they want to start arriving 90 minutes early. A single van driving downtown would have to make a dozen trips or so to get everyone there. This is not exactly condusive to getting other people interested, unless they have cars and can drive themselves. And walking? Only if you wear kevlar. My wife was mugged once walking in Steubenville. It is safer than it was 20 years ago, but it still has a long way to go.

    So I agree with your frustration. The busing idea is nonsense. the University should have the TLM on campus…perhaps as the Vigil Mass on Saturday night. If memory serves, it is not generally well attended anyway. Sunday morning at 10:00am tends to pack ’em in.

    That said, I know many orthodox minded priests who have no desire to bring back the TLM. They celebrate the Ordo of Paul VI with great love and reverence. So what is their issue? In particular, they do not see the restoration of Latin as the primary liturgical language as beneficial to the Western Church. As I have said before, it is unfortunate that many who are devoted to the Tridentine Mass are unable to see its value in the vernacular. A Tridentine liturgy in the vernacular (or at least blended) would be extraordinarily beautiful and reverent and would make the riches of traditional worship very accessible to many, many people. My sense is that you would see the extraordinary form become the ordinary in short order.

    I realize that this is anathema to many of you here. Even the very suggestion of this makes many ardent traditionalists twitch uncontrollably. But the translation and celebration of the Liturgy in the vernacular, when done well as Father Z is helping to ensure with the Ordo of Paul VI, is perfectly acceptable, orthodox and traditional. One could say its principle is even apostolic.

    In ICXC,


  58. Quattour Coronati says:

    1. The Diocese of Stupidville, if my experience from 20 years ago is still true, is a very hard-nosed “flake” liturgy diocese promoted by mean-spirited clergy, one of whom was the liturgical director and professor at a prominent Midwestern Seminar in the early 80s – himself always dyspeptic, scowling, with set jaw and a steely glance (you know the type), who reveled in his role as a petty tyrant. He freely changed rubrics and words, calling Holy Father “the bishop of Rome” in the Eucharistic Prayer, refusing the Ostentation Rite, not even taking the bread and wine off the altar, the bread itself indistinguishable from a whole wheat pizza pie base, raising his hands in the “hands-up” position during the Lord’s Prayer, and celebrating everything Anglican. Many of the seminarians from that diocese were homosexuals.

    2. The test of obedience isn’t to obey what we like, but what we don’t like, if it comes from Holy Father. The MEF is now Church law.

    3. I rather like the idea of Latin as the lingua franca not only of the Church, but of the university, as it was for both institutions up until rather recently. I pray that the offending priest – and his offense was to use the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as a way to make a statement – unwittingly is a portent of the future!

  59. FUS Student says:


    You are correct, most of the resistance comes from the administration. Most of the theology staff that I know (and professors of other disciplines) are fully on board with the Traditional liturgy. Tons of students are also very favorable to the TLM. I would hazard to guess that way more than 155 students want a TLM on campus (the petition drive wasn’t well organized, I didn’t even get my name on it because I heard about it too late).

    I would also agree with you that Latin is not the major issue with me, but 1500 years of organic liturgical development. If the translation were dignified I would prefer a vernacular “1962 missal” over a Latin NO. I do prefer Latin as the liturgical language, but it isn’t a major issue with me.

  60. I am a graduate of Franciscan University–2006. I was there for 6.5 years straight. I’ve been telling people for YEARS that there is junk happening at that University and it would be a scandal if it all spilled out.

    Watch my video on the Easter Vigil campus mass 2006 if you want an idea of what goes on. Mind you, what is up is an edit job.

    I have to tell you though that this is NOT the first time Fr. Harkins has done the Mass in Latin–even the homily. So I am a little suspicious that he had malicious intent. I know him and yes, he knows Latin fluently but I do have reservations about attacking his intent.

    Think about this in the meantime. The University allows the alleged “praying in tongues” phenomenon at Mass–which is illicit. What’s the problem with Latin?

    During the Great Amen, there was what I called “The Bookends.” They would sing a more charismatic version of the “Great Amen” that typically went as follows:

    “A-A-men……King of the Ages……..A-A-men………Lor-D of all!
    A-A-men………” then the chapel singers (called Music Ministers in University nomenclature) would ‘lead’ everyone into ecstatic/free praise which, without fail, turned into the alleged phenomenon of tongues. After they had their moment with this, they’d return to the “A-A-men..etc.” The ‘Amen’ forms the bookends for the ecstatic/free praise.

    It just sickened me.

    Again, I ask, what’s the problem with Latin with this bologna going on?


    I’d be happy to tell anyone anything else they’d like to know about the crap at that University. I know one of the professors was writing a book about it.

  61. “no matter HOW MUCH financial aid they offer.”

    There is little to nothing in Financial Aid at Franciscan University. That’s a whole other war…..

  62. FUS Student says:


    I am so glad I have a car. I have been to mass on campus twice, and that was all I could take. One of the times I took a close friend to mass on campus (an Evangelical convert) she left in tears because it seemed to her to be just a paint-by-number imitation of the Protestant worship she left behind (even down to the same songs).

    I hope that professor (who will remain unnamed) writes that book. The stories he has told me are as appalling as they are incredible.

  63. Ted Martin says:

    I know this priest very well and have a good friendship with him. He has preached a homily in Latin before at Steubeville I believe and this was when I was there, so it was before the Motu Proprio. He is one of the foremost Franciscan scholars in the world, and was formed before the council. So there is no reason to believe that his latin isn’t outstanding. I believe he also taught a Medieval Latin class at Franciscan.

    Give him the benefit of the doubt and assume the best, namely that it wasn’t to slap anyone in the face.

    I love the Missal of 62′ and I think it is best for all of us to keep praying, and charitably defending the Tradition. This situation at Franciscan will pass too. Let us join the wise pharisee as we know that which is of God is of God and will ultimately win out.

  64. Michael says:


    I have a hard time thinking of that place as Catholic after that. How can a university, or a movement, that is so prone to abuse and disobedience be considered Christian? Unless they have no idea what they’re doing.

  65. momof7 says:

    We use Henle and my kids enjoy it. It is repititous, but we find that helpful and we can skip over areas that the kids have mastered. We want to master Latin, not just have a general knowlede of it. Henle is a Catholic text

    I have some of Wheelock’s texts and dont care for them. Wheelock’s isnt Catholic.

    For Kids, you can start out with the Latina Christiana series, very child friendly for the little ones and it preps them nicely for the High School Henle Texts.

    Whichever texts you choose, you have to take alook at your own learning style, what pace do you want to take, do you need reptition where one lesson builds from the previous..

    Most priests I know have recommended Henle because of the drill.. the stuff gets imbedded into your head pretty

    Seton Has them available on their website.

  66. Kevin,

    I think it is wrong to paint too broadly with the “hypocrite” brush. Yes – I agree with you that there are elements of liturgical praxis that do not align well at all with mature Catholic sensibilities. As a one time participant and purveyor of said practices, I can see now in retrospect how driven they truly were by personal tastes, trends and emotions. Some people remain frozen into a certain modality of worship that is very Evangelical and Protestant. This is a problem. How do you disassociate the powerful conversion experience the Charismatic movement often represents for people from the Casio keyboards and guitars? It is possible and it does happen (I am a case in point.) But it requires catechesis on the true nature of worship. And let’s face it – many priests, including some on campus – have not been fully formed in this regard. It is the situation facing the whole Latin Church at present. I believe that things are turning in the right direction, but it takes time. And our Papa Bene is just the man to help lead the Church into an authentic springtime of renewal and restoration.

    BTW, allusions to purported scandals on or off campus are decidedly unhelpful. Ecclesiastical gossip is still, well, just sinful gossip even IF it is published by a university prof.

    Regarding the Charismatic movement, given its nature as a “movement”, it is somewhat fluid. I have witnessed many great efforts on the part of Rome and the local hierarchy to harness its energy and apostolic efforts into a more Catholic trajectory. The Catholic Charismatic community that was my home growing up spawned an Evangelical home church and an Orthodox church. After a change in leadership, they are now very devoted to more traditional forms of Catholic devotion and are coming around on the Mass. It takes a while, but God willing, I hope they start chanting in a few years. AT least that is my hope!

    The CCR was a great source of renewal on the FUS campus back in the 70’s and 80’s. It has in many ways served its purpose, much like adolescence has its purpose. It was a bridge to be crossed into spiritual adulthood, but it appears some desire to keep standing on the bridge, albeit in different places. As one who “crossed” over to more traditional forms of worship, I am grateful for my time in the movement, and have fond memories of it and the people involved.

    God bless,


  67. fxavier says:

    Gordo said: “That said, I know many orthodox minded priests who have no desire to bring back the TLM. They celebrate the Ordo of Paul VI with great love and reverence. So what is their issue?”

    Complete orthodoxy in the Church means accepting the fullness of the Apostolic Deposit. Liturgy is in this Deposit. Byzantines tend to understand this concept more than Latins do. As enunciated by Vatican II’s Sacrosanctum Concilium, liturgy must be organic. From the Jews and the Apostles, we know that liturgy must have 1) Apostolic roots, and 2) organic growth. We know through eminent scholars, like Ratzinger and Gamber, that there has been a break in this organic growth 40 years ago.

    In particular, they do not see the restoration of Latin as the primary liturgical language as beneficial to the Western Church.

    Then they are missing something from Vatican II’s teachings and directives. “Pride of place”?

    As I have said before, it is unfortunate that many who are devoted to the Tridentine Mass are unable to see its value in the vernacular.

    Don’t ask for too much. We don’t want ICEL’s fingerprints on our Missale. We also don’t want the NAB in there too.

    A Tridentine liturgy in the vernacular (or at least blended) would be extraordinarily beautiful and reverent and would make the riches of traditional worship very accessible to many, many people.

    Latin is not the problem. When the liturgy was totally in Latin, the “riches” were more accessible. Do a poll on who believes in the Real Presence today, or who even goes to Mass.

    Also, don’t try and apply Byzantine norms on the Latin Church. It is just as dangerous as applying it in the reverse. V2 never intended the wholesale replacement of Latin. Instead, parts proper to the people may be in the vernacular, including “readings and directives, and … some of the prayers and chants”. For example, the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer) was intended by V2 to remain in Latin.

  68. Hermann says:

    I do not know anything about interna of the Catholic Church in the US (we have our own plates full here in Austria, thank you). One thing, however, I do konw: While being a Latin enthusiast, I should not care to give a sermon in Latin. One requires a certain fluency in a language to be able to pull that off. Benedikt XVI did it, after his election – but I am most certainly not of his calibre. At my alma mater, certain lectures of the Theological Faculty were given in Latin well into the 1970ies. After that, the rot that had crept in in previous decades spred out. – One last comment in re Latin fluency: there are internet communities out there, promoting the use of Latin – I suggest looking into them and recommend, from personal experience, the “Grex latine loquentium”. Benevalete!

  69. FGilbert says:

    I was interested by the comments on the older Mass in vernacular. As a former Anglo-Catholic I can attest to the fact that Anglo-Catholics have been saying a slightly adapted Tridentine Mass in beautifully translated English for decades.
    It also seems to me that lovers of the Old Mass fall for the same red herring that lovers of traditional Anglican liturgy fall for. Except in the Anglican case, it is about Elisabethan English and not Latin. While I was an Episcopalian I always wanted to shout “it isn’t about the thees and the thous!” It is about fundamental attitude and desire. It is about resisting a voluntary impoverishment of worship, replacing the beautiful and timeless with the vulgar and faddish. I say, who cares about thees or thous or latin, just give me the fullness of the liturgy.

  70. Henry Edwards says:

    FGilbert: I was interested by the comments on the older Mass in vernacular.

    There’s actually a serious issue here regarding the language of the liturgy. No doubt, many adherents of the old Mass would prefer that it be possible for it to be celebrated in English.

    I say “that it be possible” because — in our culture at this particular time in history — a faithful and stable liturgy in English is arguably just not possible on any broad scale (despite hot-house exceptions like the Anglican Use liturgy).

    Meanings and interpretations in English change and shift almost daily, and the second law of thermodynamics — inexorable degradation in the physical universe — apparently governs vernacular liturgy as well. Indeed, some might argue that this is a prime reason for the disintegration (as Bishop Bruskewicz and others have called it) currently taking place in the Novus Ordo — rather than liturgical defects proper built into its original design and construction.

    At any rate, regarding the idea of using a faithful and beautiful English translation of the Tridentine Mass, we’ve already been down this road. With the 1965 “interim missal”, largely just such a translation, which at the time was sold many places as the final liturgical fruit of Vatican II. But once the liturgical tinkerers got hold of the liturgy in translation, we all know what happened. Almost surely, the same thing would happen again today, and at the hands of the same folks, if we again started down that same road.

    It seems to me that this is a good and sufficient reason for holding the Latin line for the immediate future, even apart from any desire to pray and think with the mind of the Church using the language in which that mind developed historically.

  71. o.h. says:

    ““Girl Altar Boys”? I love it! I’ll use that phrase from here on out…”

    Yes, what better way to spread love for tradition than to heap contempt on children?

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