Steubenville: update on celebration of TLM on campus

This came via e-mail:

I wanted to give you another heads up about TLM here on campus at Steubenville…  It’s being celebrated "regularly" now, once a month, and more than one priest has expressed an interested in learning to say it.  It seems that Fr. Scanlan’s particular objections aren’t being heeded…  As well, I’m not sure how much you know about households here on campus, but a number of households are popping up, in particular the Equites Lux Sacra, who are explicitly fond of the Extraordinary Form, and say so in no uncertain terms in their "Covenant" or constitution.  The ELS actually claim attachment to TLM as one of their household charisms.  This has actually been met with excitement and pleasure by the director of households, Fr. Morrier.  He said that this new household was filling a niche that needed to be filled with the TLM being allowed and celebrated on campus.  So things seem to be looking up in this regard!

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  1. Kradcliffe says:

    That is wonderful news! There’s every reason to be optimistic that this will grow on the campus… and that it will be a group of *happy* young Catholics who are attracted to the EF for all the right reasons.

  2. What I want to know is why didn’t the University advertize this historic event on its web site?

    Yes, I checked regularly. There was no press release on it.

  3. Brian says:

    Excellent! I will be attending Steubenville in the fall, and I hope to altar serve for the Extraordinary Form, so it’s very good to see it’ll be done monthly, and hopefully more frequently than that in the future. And the new household was an great idea on the part of the student body, who I have found to be more traditional than the faculty.

  4. FUSJunior says:

    I recently heard rumors (from a rather trustworthy source) that, at some point, a Low Mass might be celebrated weekly. Either way, the university is thankfully moving in the right direction!

  5. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    What about the Masses at the local parish church (St. Peter, I think). Is there any hope of gaining an every-Sunday T.L.M. in the Diocese of Steubenville? It is completely surrounded by dioceses which have it every Sunday.


  6. Clara says:

    It’s true, praise God! Except–I don’t believe Fr. Mike has been opposed to the TLM; I believe it
    was other priests but in the interest of charity they probably should remain unnamed. But just keep the university in your prayers :)

  7. PMcGrath says:

    For those of us who have never been to Steubenville: What’s a “household” there?

  8. It has always been a long-standing yet sadly unsubstantiated rumor at the University that Fr. Scanlan was dead-set against the Extraordinary Use of the Roman Liturgy. That goes as far back as I can remember (and that is going quite a ways).

  9. Households are basically Christian fraternities and sororities, though I am more fond of the more canonical explanation. They are private associations of the Christian faithful dedicated to becoming holy and mature men and women of God.

  10. Bill Redic says:

    Mr. Symonds,

    I leave it to you to judge whether the following statement suffices to establish “that Fr. Scanlan was dead-set against the Extraordinary Use of the Roman Liturgy”:

    “Frequently, particularly the daily liturgy, would operate almost like three rings – I don’t want to call it a circus – but Barnum & Bailey had three rings for it – and there were times when you would find some people singing in the choir loft, some people praying the beads and reading devotions in the pews, and then the priest and the altar boy doing something; and so there was a sense among much of the clergy at that time – ‘we can do better than this.'”

    This is transcribed from a pre-1998 episode of the long-running EWTN broadcast series “Franciscan University Focus”; I have the videotape.

  11. I am not surprised to hear this. Franciscan University is a very solid orthodox school. I have been saying for a long time that adherents to orthodox charismatic worship would be very receptive to the ancient form, were they allowed to be exposed to it. Just as people attend at different times High Mass and Low Mass there is nothing inherently illogical about attending both charismatic and Traditional Latin Masses.
    To find that a household has been established with a charism to the TML is even better, helping to expand the TML use on campus even more.
    I will be attending the Youth Conference this summer. I pray that in some future year at least one of the three Masses said at each conference will be a Mass in the Extraordinary Form. I expect it will be many years from now, but pray I may live to see it. When that happens I will truly know that we have but two forms of one rite.

  12. Mickey says:

    I was at Steubanville this past weekend for a conference, and I was moved to tears by the piety of the young people there…particularly during Holy Mass. They are so very beautiful in their love for Christ!

    The Holy Mass in the Ordinary Form was very ordinary: there was simple music and a simple setting (the chapel was obviously built in the 70’s). But several things stood out: the piety of the faithful and the “non-obviousness” of the priests (there were 8 concelebrating the 0830 Mass). That an 0830 Mass was packed…packed…at a college campus was another wonder.

    It was not hippy-drippy…far from it.

    We arrived in silence…many young people were there 20-30 minutes before Holy Mass began to pray in silence before we began. Once Mass began, the choir/band of 9 students sang with such joy on their faces they literally beamed with light…and the faithful joined in with similar joy. Joy not in an obnoxious or “Jesus-freak” sort of way, like some places I’ve been to, just simple radiant pious…Catholic joy.

    Then the priest prayed the entire Mass from the Sacramentary…praying the black and doing the red. There was no “show,” no altering of the words (I was following along in my Missal), just prayer on behalf of the people. He prayed the Second Eucharistic Prayer. The homily was appropriate to the readings and engaging.

    The people assisted in the Mass properly and piously. They seemed to know where they were and acted / prayed accordingly. They bowed their heads at the Name of Jesus, and at the mention of the Incarnation during the Credo. The Angus Dei was sung in Latin and English.

    When I went to present myself for Holy Communion, I noticed every person in line bowed or genuflected before Our Lord’s Body before receiving…and not a small number received on the tongue. The young woman in line in front of me dropped to her knees to receive Our Lord.

    At the end of the Closing Song, after the exit procession of the priests, the entire assembly dropped to their knees in silent prayer, almost in unison…and there they stayed. And prayed. In silence. FIve minutes later when I finally rose to reluctantly leave, at least half of them were still there. Conversation and fellowship didn’t resume until we got outside.

    I am in the military and have assisted at Holy Mass in all sorts of places and settings…from the grandest basilica cathedrals to the most humble chapels in the field. I have assisted at Holy Mass with priests from many countries and varied liturgical orthodoxy. I’ve assisted at Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form and the Ordinary Form, I’ve even assisted at Holy Mass in the OF in Latin. I have been an altar boy under a very liturgically orthodox monsignor when I was a boy. I tell you this because it’s my hope that in some way this might provide me with a measure of credibility with what I’m about to say…

    I cannot remember a time when I have been so touched by the Lord during Holy Mass as during this one. God has bless the Franscicans at Steubanville, and the students there as well.

    Mark my words…God will use those people to change America. They already are doing so one heart at a time.

  13. Ron says:

    As a former student of Franciscan University of Steubenville, I have to say it is surprising to see them allow the Extraordinary Form. It is great that it is being made available! Once a month, however, is ridiculous since they have enough priests for 3 daily Masses (I think they have three). That shows their reluctance. Hopefully they will, in time, have a daily Low Mass.

    The faculty there is another story. They are definitely not traditional, with a great reliance on the New Theologians and referencing John Paul II/Vatican II almost exclusively (didn’t we have other Popes and other Councils? Yeah, I thought so too :) ). I had one, maybe two, professors who seemed to teach from the whole Tradition, who used St. Thomas, and from whom I actually learned. If you’re going there for theology, just keep it in mind. The same guys Fr. Garrigou LaGrange thought were in error – De Lubac, Von Balthasar, etc. – are the same ones exalted there as exemplars of Catholic theology.

    And campus policies and financials are insane. Don’t count on much student aid at all. If you get into a bind, don’t expect them to help you very much. Sadly, the institution is run just like a secular business.

    But as far as Catholic universities go in this day and age, it’s at least not (usually) falling into heresy and public dissent.

    On a happy note, thanks be to God for the traditional Latin Mass – and traditional households – on campus.

    Pax Christi tecum.

  14. Joseph says:

    Dear Mickey,
    Thank you for your touching account. Your experience doesn’t completely match up to mine, but I’m glad to here.

    As for Ron, I would hope that he realizes that the faculty on the whole have been quite supportive. Many of them love the Traditional Mass. I don’t know why you would consider them “unorthodox,” I have yet to run across a blatant heresy from a theology professor, for example.

    Please pray for us!

  15. Ron says:


    I never said the professors are unorthodox. I do think the theology faculty is, by and large, modern. Do they at times get close to heresy? I think so since I think some of the New Theologians come deathly close, such as Von Balthasar’s premise of universal salvation in “Dare We Hope That All Men Be Saved.” Von Balthasar, along with De Lubac, are darling sons at Franciscan.

    Most often, however, the professors just reflect a general modern “squint.” John Paul II is exalted and the previous Popes not often mentioned. The Ecumenical Council of Trent? Most often you only hear of the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council. I had to read most every constitution from Vatican II but I don’t think one class required reading from Vatican I or Trent.

    All I am saying is that while Franciscan may be by and large orthodox they are definitely more modern. A college like Christendom is an example of a more traditional theological faculty. I did have one more traditional Thomist at Franciscan and he was great.

    The Tradition is more than just the period of Vatican II onward but Franciscan tends to specialize in the period following Vatican II.

    Pax Christi tecum.

  16. Mickey says:

    Forgot to add…if I remember right, the bulletin for the Steubenville chapel had a schedule for a weekly Mass using the 1962 Missal. Sunday at 7pm.

  17. Joseph says:

    Ron, Thanks for the clarification.

  18. Clara says:

    I won’t counter the administrative stuff–it is a nightmare for most, though for some reason it all works out all right for me–but I think the faculty is pretty orthodox. JPII was pretty dang great, and I hear plenty about previous popes too…but a lot of Catholics now have a great love for JPII, and Benedict XVI. I don’t see the point in knocking them for that, because it’s not like they’re discrediting other popes by saying such things. Besides, there is definite support from the faculty.

    Mickey–I’m glad to hear about your experience here. I know there was a bio-ethics conference that weekend so maybe that’s where you were. Though I’m not charismatic myself (after having tried it out years ago), I’ve been impressed with the sincerity of the devotion here at FUS. A lot of times you see the problem of people relying on “gifts” for a spiritual high, but I don’t see that as widespread here. I hope that that love for Christ and the Church will spread into a love for the older form of the rite as well. Again–pray for us, please!

  19. It has taken quite a long time for the University to get where it is at now, so I am not surprised at all to hear of ‘piety’ and such. What these people don’t see are the students talking in the Chapel like it was a hall with Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament on the other side of a curtain. I was there for that.

    I can only tell you from 6.5 years of being there, it is all a facade. You will find pockets of realism but the rest is a facade.

    I wholeheartedly concur with the remarks on the financial aid.

    I’m not surprised that someone has the tape. Yes, I’d love a copy. However, that still doesn’t prove that Fr. Scanlan was against the E.U.R.L. at Franciscan. It doesn’t say much, but neither does it definitively prove it.


  20. Brandon says:

    First let me say that I LOVE Fr.Z’s anti-spam words….

    On the faculty:
    I find that the faculty is very supportive of the Tradition and traditions… And all of my professors (I’m PHL/THE dbl), save one, have relied heavily on the extensive history, and the one definitely taught it, though did rely on JPII, de Lubac and von Balthasar.

    On the staff:
    Again, every rule has exceptions, but I have found that they are also fantastic. I was in a huge bind at the beginning of last semester after my financial backing suddenly dropped out on me after *literally* 30 days. I spoke to the financial aid department, and within 3 weeks, had gotten enough grants for that semester and this so that I only had to take out $3,000 in loans. This, plus, a commitment from the department that they would work with me in subsequent semesters to make sure I was set.

    On the students, re: piety:
    Yes! Most students on campus are actually Catholic, which was one of the most exciting things coming here. However, they seem to focus more on the nouveau Church-ness, than the ancient history and tradition. Many dismiss things prior to VII by implying that the Church was somehow backward or didn’t have a full understanding of the Theology of the Holy Sacrifice or what-have-you. So, generally, yes, the faith of the students is genuine and beautiful, but it seems shallow, and based on “gifts of the spirit” which, IMHO are overdone here (I fully except a firestorm from this comment).

    On the Mass:
    There is certainly no weekly TLM here on campus. The bulletin Mickey saw was most likely in the week prior to the most recent celebration on Sunday at 4 (a regularly scheduled Mass-time).
    Most priests say the mass properly, agreed. However, evidenced by an article I wrote recently for one of our campus newspapers, and my blog, *and* by my attendance at last Sunday’s 4pm Mass…. The priest ad-libbed the “Behold the Lamb of God;” he added about three sentences after elevating the Eucharist, before calling us to attention. — As well, Father’s homily was primarily about the importance of the dismissal rite, and how it was, and I quote, “the most important part of the Mass.” He then preceded to flub…. No, to completely re-do the dismissal rite all by himself. Completely ad-libbed.

  21. Ron says:

    It’s good to see some critical thinkers here.

    Kevin, I agree with what you said: “I can only tell you from 6.5 years of being there, it is all a facade. You will find pockets of realism but the rest is a facade.” Right! There are some really good, orthodox Catholics there striving to really be faithful to Christ and to do whatever He says, to be true to the entirety of the Faith. There is also a lot of fanaticism, emotionalism and other such things. There are a lot of bad things that go on there too without any sort of action taken by the university.

    Brandon, you said much better what I was saying. “However, they seem to focus more on the nouveau Church-ness, than the ancient history and tradition.” THAT is my whole problem! Again, this goes back to Pope Benedict XVI saying Vatican II was not a rupture but must be interpreted and understood only in continuity with the whole Tradition before it. While I understand having to read Vatican II documents, and writings of more modern Popes, I should also be getting a firm theological education based on the whole Tradition – which I was not. Even one time when I tried to rely more on previous Popes I was basically told that whatever John Paul II said was more authoritative than what came before…not in so many words but that is the way I was pointed to go by a professor.

    Looking back, would I have gone to FUS? No. I would have gone to Christendom. There is something to be said for not only keeping the Tradition in mind but also a campus that is more formal, more orderly and more disciplined in what it allows and expects from its students.

    But I thank and praise God for the TLM being offered on campus at FUS. May God increase that good work there.

    Pax Christi tecum.

  22. avecrux says:

    As a graduating MA Theology student, I must say the theology department is a very mixed bag. I have had a couple of very, very good professors who take into account the entire tradition. Others who …well, lets just say I have to be very judicious in answering their exam questions as written without compromising my faith. Vatican II was taught here as a CHANGE in the teachings of the Church. (Rupture – discontinuity – defended by using Cardinal Newman and terms like “evolution of doctrine”.) We were given articles from America magazine to read in order to dissuade us from “Cardinal Ratzinger’s” view of ecclesiology. In at least 4 of my classes, “scholastic” was a term of derision. There is a lot of good here, but there is danger, too…which, when wrapped in a reputation of orthodoxy can be very problematic. I am leaving with a whole new understanding of their use of the term “dynamic” orthodoxy.
    I think the arrival of the EF Mass is a great blessing from God. He will use it to help purify the institution.

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