Archd. of Milwaukee: norms for Summorum Pontificum

The Archbishop of Milwaukee, His Excellency Most Rev. Timothy Dolan published norms for the Archdiocese for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

My emphases and comments.

Archbishop promulgates guidelines for Extraordinary Form celebrations

In order to ensure an orderly implementation of the norms of Summorum Pontificum, Archbishop Dolan has promulgated diocesan guidelines for liturgical celebrations with the use of the 1962 Missal. These norms are effective immediately.


The motu proprio issued by Pope Benedict XVI entitled Summorum Pontificum allows for the exercise of discretion [A curious phrase.  Does the MP talk about "discretion"?  The MP says that pastors of parishes are to receive willingly requests from the faithful.  I suppose at that point he uses discretion, the power or right to decide or act according to one’s own judgment.] in the use of the 1962 Missal at parishes. The applicable text reads as follows:

Art. 5. § 1 In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful [The Latin says "where there is stably present a group…"] who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962, and ensure that the welfare of these faithful harmonizes with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the guidance of the bishop in accordance with canon 392, avoiding discord and favoring the unity of the whole Church.
§ 2 Celebration in accordance with the Missal of Bl. John XXIII may take place on working days; while on Sundays and feast days one such celebration may also be held.
§ 3 For faithful and priests who request it, the pastor should also allow celebrations in this extraordinary form for special circumstances such as marriages, funerals or occasional celebrations, e.g. pilgrimages.
§ 4 Priests who use the Missal of Bl. John XXIII must be qualified to do so and not juridically impeded.

Art. 6. In Masses celebrated in the presence of the people in accordance with the Missal of Bl. John XXIII, the readings may be given in the vernacular, using editions recognized by the Apostolic See.

[Now we get to the meat…] To ensure an orderly application of these norms the following guidelines are to be observed:

•    The request for celebrations in the extraordinary form arises from a stable group [Remember: that is not quite what the MP says] who have adhered to this usage over time. The use of the extraordinary form is not used with groups that reject the validity of the ordinary form. The extra-ordinary form is not to be used only at the discretion or personal preference of the pastor/priest without a request from the people[There is a lot of debate about this point around the world.  Some strongly argue that the priest can, in fact, implement the older form of Mass even without requests.  I believe Card. Castrillon holds this view.]

•    The use of the extraordinary form is not to be used if it will create a divisive or elitist spirit in the parish. [This "elitist" label is an unfortunate addition to these "norms".  But let’s try to put a good spin on it.  It is likely that this is aimed at the people who prefer the TLM.  But, we can also take this to mean that there shouldn’t be a bunch of snooty supporters of the Novus Ordo who take on an elitist attitude!  I am not convinced that is what the author intended, but the language bears this interpretation as well.] Prior catechesis for the whole parish, not just to those who are making the request, is required. [Should be going on anyway, actually!  This is a good idea.] The extraordinary form is not to be used as a “novelty” or “teaching tool.”  [RIGHT!  Holy Mass is not a "didactic moment".  Sure, people can learn many things from Mass at many levels.  Attending a TLM could open eyes about certain aspects of the Novus Ordo.  But Mass is first and foremost to be an encounter with MYSTERY.]

•    Since the norms require that the priest celebrating in the extraordinary form be qualified to do so, there needs to be an assessment of readiness for such celebrations. Priests who were not trained in the 1962 Missal, or who have lost touch with the rituals therein, are to demonstrate their qualifications prior to such a celebration. The priests of the Institute of Christ the King (St. Stanislaus Parish) will be delegated to make such assessments and provide assistance as needed.  [This seems on the surface to be reasonable, since we don’t want some priest running off half-cocked who will make a mess of things.  But again there is a possibility of a double standard.  Who is overseeing the competence of priests who use the Novus Ordo?]

Okay… well.  Not so bad, really.

I am pleased that this seems to concern mainly public celebrations of Holy Mass.

The only thing that causes concern is the suggestion of a double standard in some of the language here.

First, there was the "elistist" comment.   Yes.  This is a problem.  There are some who prefer the TLM who get pretty snooty about it.  It is possible to argue that the TLM is superior to the NO without getting snooty.  However, there are an equal, nay rather, greater number of people who sneer at the TLM, preferring the NO.  They take an an equally "elitist" attitude.  Furthermore, some elitist supporters of the Novus Ordo actually have been in positions of influence in the Church for a long time.  Their treatment of supporters of the TLM has been somewhat less than just or kind over the years.  So, to my mind this word "elitist" should have been left out.

Also, the "assessment of readiness" is troubling.  I repeat: it is not unreasonable to require that a priest be competent to celebrate Holy Mass in his Rite.  I am glad that the document did not mention competence in the Latin language.

In fairness we must therefore ask two questions.

What vigilance will be exercised for celebrations of the Novus Ordo?  Will there be an equal oversight concerning competence? 

Still, that leads to the other question.  Since priests of the Latin Church now have faculties to use the 1962MR, will the ordinary also make sure that his new priests and his seminarians know the older form?  In fact, it is necessary and proper that oversight of competence of priests to say Holy Mass in their Rite should include both uses and not just one.  Otherwise, would that not be a confirmation that there in fact is a double standard?  That an elitist attitude does in fact exist, but in favor of the Novus Ordo?  "You don’t have to learn that Mass."

And yet the thoughts of the faithful about whether the Novus Ordo is valid need to be assessed before they may be allowed to have a TLM.  Troubling.  I will write more on that elsewhere.

Is this not all a subtle admission that the TLM is of greater weight and substance in some way?  That it is harder?  More demanding?


In any even, consider the contrast between these norms and those recently issued in on the other side of the world in Manila. 

You folks in Milwaukee have it pretty good.

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  1. TJM says:

    “Elitists” in my parish prefer Kumbaya to Veni Creator Spiritus.” This terminology is a classic example of language being turned on its head. Although not a bad statement I expected better from Archbishop Dolan. Tom

  2. Richard says:

    One wishes that the bishop were taking affirmative steps to make available training in the UA, instituting it as part of liturgical formationin seminary, etc.

  3. David says:

    Are there regular TLMs in Milwaukee, now? If so, where? Thanks.

  4. NY seminarian says:

    Hmm, as a new york seminarian, considering that Dolan is hot favourite to take over from Egan, i read this document with great interest.

    The fact that a bishop feels the need to publish ‘norms’ after the Motu Proprio troubles me, as if the older form of the Mass is something potentially nuclear!! However, having said that, i find it difficult to disagree with a lot of the stuff that he is saying, and i suppose erring on the side of caution is not a terrible thing. We all know snooty TLM-ers, or the temptation to ‘play around’ with the Old Rite and treat it as some novelty, so i can understand his concern.

    Dolan is known as a good guy, so i think its fair to read this document as a warning against genuine abuse, and not an attempt to stifle use of the Classical form.

  5. TNCath says:

    I’m trying to be positive about Archbishop Dolan as well. He has always been known as one of the good guys who plays by the rules and wants the best for the proper celebration of the Extraordinary Form. Let’s face it: he has had a huge mess to clean up since his coming to Milwaukee about 7 years ago.

    It is no secret that it has been widely circulated that Archbishop Dolan will soon be appointed the next Archbishop of New York. I wonder if the timing of the publishing of these norms is one of many things Archbishop Dolan is doing to “clear off his desk” before the announcement takes place?

  6. Timbot says:

    Actually, there is another very good qualitative difference in that, unlik eother dioceses, where competence is assessed by hostile review boards, the priests of the institute have an interest not only in assuring the proper celebration of the Gregorian rite, but also training, instruction, and direction in fostering its use. Therefore, the assignment of this particular arrangement my actually add further impetus to the application of SP in Milwaukee.

  7. Chris C says:


    There is a TLM here in Milwaukee just about every day.

    Here is our parish website:

  8. Dan says:

    Millions of Catholics recall the days when the TLM was their normative Mass…the Mass that the Church taught them to cherish and to which they were taught to hold fast. Today, those Catholics have witnessed their beloved Mass reduced to you-must-jump-through-hoops-to-receive-the-limited-opportunity-at-which-to-assist status.

    No wonder many Catholics simply bypass such nonsense by assisting at TLMs offered by the SSPX and additional TLM groups. Say what you will about such entities, but at least they offer Catholics the opportunity to assist at the Traditional Roman Mass without having essentially to beg for said opportunity.

    What a monumental liturgical debacle we have on our hands in the Latin Church.

    There is only one way out of this nonsense…the Holy Father, if he truly desires that the TLM be offered in each Latin parish, must…

    1. Offer the TLM publicly and with great frequency.
    2. Employ his great authority to compel seminaries to teach the TLM.
    3. Make it loud and clear by his words actions that the TLM will return in a big way to Latin parishes throughout the Church.

    Either that, or at the snail’s pace which Summorum Pontificum has even been acknowledged by relatively few bishops (then shackled via diocesan “norms”), it will take decades before the TLM is available weekly to more than a small percentage of the Faithful.

    The reality is that with few meaningful exceptions, Summorum Pontificum has been treated as a dead letter by the Latin Church’s bishops.

  9. Trevor says:

    I think its a good idea that he let the ICRSS determine competence. They’ll of course have high standards, but I think they’ll be more willing to say the priests are competent once they meet the minimum conditions.

    If I were a priest, I’d dread the thought of going before the “Diocesan Liturgy Committee” which is probably composed of the silver-haired, “innovative” priests and nuns. You could probably be fluent in Latin and memorize the rubrics, yet you’d still not be “competent” to say the TLM.

  10. This is certainly an admission that the TLM is “harder” and “more demanding,” but we must be more specific. I can only speak from my own experience as a recently ordained priest who is making an effort to learn the EF so that I can fulfill the request when it comes. My reflection has been that the difference of difficulty and demand is from a shift of culture. I’m a religious priest who was brought up in a world in which “personal creativity,” “inclusiveness,” and unisexism where far more important than faithfulness to ritual or praying with the Church. Therefore, it is a “hard” and “demanding” shift to learn the exacting prescriptions of the EF after so long a time in which ritual elements like hand placement and voice modulation where supposed to be a matter of “my ministerial persona.”

  11. Virgil says:

    Question: Isn’t Dolan’s statement, and others like it, and even SP, self-contradictory?


    If a group stably present in the parish has “adhered to the usage over time,” then obviously the parish is already using the Extraordinary Form.

    Or does SP mean that there exists stably a group of people who want to assist at the Extraordinary Form, but have never been given the opportunity?

  12. Robin Lennon says:

    Elitism among NO attendees: I’m amazed at the animus expressed against Latin, which is STILL the language of our Church. Yet these same people try to mix different languages into each Mass (so no one can understand the entire Mass) so as not to be divisive. Doesn’t Mass in Latin with prayerbooks in bi-lingual prayerbooks translating into each individual’s language take care of unity problem many parishes are experiencing?

    They refuse to look at history, and continue to go through contortions to take care of problems that have occurred due to non-mandated changes since Vatican II was used to hijack the Liturgy!

    I would love to attend an EF, and look forward to OF/NO masses that conform to the actual VII guidelines. In the meantime I try to be an active participant never leaving my pew!

  13. Robin Lennon says:

    well…other than going to Communion most of the time, of course.

  14. Virgil says:

    Two observations from my twenty years living in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee…

    Several seminarians I know BEGGED to be taught Latin and Greek at St Francis Seminary. They were told they could take electives at Marquette on their own time and their own dime.

    I also know of a few priests (duly trained up by the good fathers at St Stans) who have been using the EF for daily mass ever since the Motu Proprio. Dolan may be refering to these guys when he uses the word “elitist.”

  15. IvoDeNorthfield says:

    “The request for celebrations in the extraordinary form arises from a stable group who have adhered to this usage over time.”

    If a parish hasn’t offered the EF since VII, how can it have, among its parishioners, a stable group of people who have “adhered to this usage over time”? Would such a group they have to commute to the nearest EF parish for a few years before they can request an EF in their own?

  16. Mitch says:

    The fact that he is addressing it seems to indicate people want it and he can no longer ignore totally. And this seems to be popping up here and there more often. To all those who say there is no call for it in the US, just wait a few more years……

  17. Sieber says:

    At our seminary, here in a large Western archdiocese, a professor of homiletics and liturgy was asked if the EF would be taught. He said, “No, the bishops who support this seminary have made no such requests…there have been no requests…no.”
    By the way, Latin is an elective. I actually know a transitional deacon who took a semester of it.
    Our Ordinary turns 73 this month…..24 months & counting. Seminarians are being told that a list of local priests and bishops is being drawn up in our archdiocese. This will be whittled down to five, forwarded through channels and it will be from this list that the next Ordinary will be chosen.
    Heaven forbid!

  18. Matt Callihan says:

    Like NY seminarian, the fact that a bishop feels the need to publish ‘norms’ after the Motu Proprio troubles me. However, I’m glad there is at least a public afirmation that Summorum Pontificum exists in the Milwaukee Archdiocese.

    The topic of this thread has application to those of us in the Pittsburgh Diocese. Here in the Pittsburgh Diocese just after SP was promulgated the judicial vicar, who has been put in charge of all things relating to the TLM, sent a letter to priests stating that they are not to celebrate the TLM until further directives from the diocese are published. That was in July 2007 and there has been silence since that time, despite repeated requests for the TLM. A “stable group” of us faithful have identified priests who are willing and able to say the TLM for us but they will not do it until further directives are received. We have been patient and reasonable but are beginning to question this approach.

    I’m glad to see that Milwaukee has broken silence on the issue of SP. It seems rediculous to me, however, that most of the documents promulgated by the Church in the last 45 years are forever in need of interpretation and additional norms. What is the point of promulgating documents which nobody can agree as to their meanings? And when asking the promulgator there is rarely clarification, if any. I also find it a very serious matter that local dioceses, such as Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Manila and Erie, just to mention a few, are attempting to assert authority over one who holds universal jurisdiction. Roma locuta est.

  19. Mark says:

    “However, I’m glad there is at least a public afirmation that Summorum Pontificum exists in the Milwaukee Archdiocese.
    I’m glad to see that Milwaukee has broken silence on the issue of SP.”

    I’m not certain as to what extent that matters. Example: Fr. Z reported more than 16 months ago that Bishop Farrell of Dallas had “broken silence” on Summorum Pontificum and issued norms. Today, Summorum Pontificum remains a dead letter in Dallas.

    At least one young man in Dallas, who is new to the priesthood, wished to offer the “Latin Mass” in both forms. His pastor has prevented the young priest from doing so. The young priest, convinced that he will fail to win the bishop’s support, has dropped the matter.

    Again, I’m not sure that “broken silence” and issued norms mean a great deal (at least in certain dioceses).

  20. JF says:

    Like Fr. Z, I too am glad to hear that the TLM is not to be used as a teaching tool, if only that were the case with the NO as well. One of the most disappointing aspects of the GIRM is its over emphasis on the “catechetical nature” of the liturgy. IMO, this emphasis destroys the beauty and in part, the mystery of the mass. There is much more power in the symbols and actions when they are used subtly and implicitly rather than in an ostentatious, over-shown manner. It comes off as gimicks, rather than liturgy. In some NO parishes, I think the priest cares more about the external symbols than what they themselves signify.

  21. TomS says:

    I just read on a Google search Fr. Z’s commentary from September 2007 on Bishop Farrell’s statement regarding Summorum Pontificum.

    “This sounds very much like “The Party Line”. Okay… I know.. I am too cynical. It just seems strange there there is so much desire to control priests in this matter when the document clearly frees priests from the constraints placed on them before. Those constraints were what made Summorum Pontificum necessary, after all. His dictis, I want to believe that the offers to help priests with training are positive, though I am extremely suspicious of the “review” process. I hope we get positive reports in the future.”

    Well, we await a positive report from Dallas. Fr. Z was right to have been cynical. There is much hostility in Dallas to the “Latin Mass” in either form.

    I telephoned the Dallas Chancery a couple of months ago. I was informed that the bishop hasn’t moved on SP as he awaits “official word” from the U.S. bishops as to whether they plan to implement SP.

  22. mpm says:

    I tend to agree with the (consecutive) posts of NY Seminarian, TNCath, and

    Also, might not Archbishop Dolan be taking a leaf from the pages of most U.S.
    “self-regulatory” bodies, whereby once the regulator has established the
    minimal guidelines, all else is permitted? Who knows what sort of opposition
    may have come from the bishop’s presbyterium?

  23. big bertha says:

    ”The extra-ordinary form is not to be used only at the discretion or personal preference of the pastor/priest without a request from the people. [There is a lot of debate about this point around the world. Some strongly argue that the priest can, in fact, implement the older form of Mass even without requests. I believe Card. Castrillon holds this view.]”

    I suspect that Cardinal Castrillon’s views and opinions don’t hold much support or influence at the Vatican at this moment in time!!!

  24. TJM says:

    Ah, big bertha has re-surfaced after a notable abscence. Father Z, you should really be consulting big bertha for the most up-to-date Vatican gossip. NOT!Tom

  25. William of the Old says:

    FYI——Just recently, an new apostolate for the TLM was established in Sheboygan, Wi. (Archdiocese of Milwaukee) under the care of the ICKSP.
    Mass in the EF is now being celebrated at 3:00pm on the 4th Sunday of each month at Holy Name of Jesus Parish, Sheboygan.
    The first Mass of this new apostolate was celebrated on January 25th, the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul.

  26. Jason Keener says:

    I live in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and belong to the Oratory that is staffed by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

    The good news is that interest in the Extraordinary Form seems to be growing in Milwaukee. St. Stanislaus Oratory is seeing quite a few new members, many of them young. Some diocesan priests and seminarians have come to the oratory to be trained in the Classical Roman Rite. Also, Father Meney of the Institute will soon be traveling to Sheboygan and Kenosha to offer the Traditional Latin Mass one Sunday a month.

    I wish that Archbishop Dolan would have given some praise to the Extraordinary Form or some encouragement to those interested in the Traditional Latin Mass.

    Unfortunately, the “divisive” spirit mentioned by Archbishop Dolan has often been caused by bishops themselves who for years supported an agenda of rupture that ignored the liturgical sensibilities of many faithful Catholics.

    Also, the Traditional Latin Mass is a gift for the whole Church TODAY and the FUTURE. The Pope’s Motu Proprio was not promulgated just to accommodate Catholics who “adhered to this usage over time,” as Archbishop Dolan seems to imply. Anyone can request a celebration of the Mass in the older form, regardless of what usage they adhered to in the past. Moreover, Pope Benedict pointed out in his accompanying letter to Summorum Pontificum “…it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form [the TLM], felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them.” Cardinal Hoyos has also indicated that it is the Holy Father’s wish that the Traditional Latin Mass be made available in every parish.

    Unfortunately, too many bishops are still keeping the Extraordinary Form at arm’s length.

  27. RANCHER says:

    I completely understand that the point of this posting was not cocaine vs crack cocaine. However, since the two forms of this coca derivative were mentioned a bit of explanation based upon my 42 years in law enforcement. Both are BAD. Crack is worse in that it produces an almost unimaginable intensity due to its potency and much more frequently than cocaine hydrocloride leads to extremely violent behavior. It is on the intense adverse effects of crack that sometimes more serious criminal sanctions are based. However, many states DO NOT distinguish between the two in terms of sentencing. Now back to those commenting on the real reason for the ost.

  28. The priests of the Institute of Christ the King (St. Stanislaus Parish) will be delegated to make such assessments and provide assistance as needed.

    The key paragraph is the one concerning the qualifications of the priest, as this is where a diocese can establish a gauntlet if it so chooses. In Cincinnati, a priest wanting to celebrate the EF must submit his credentials to a panel of three men with liturgically liberal inclinations. It has had its desired chilling effect, as I know of not a single new celebration of the EF here since SP was promulgated. In any event, the fact that Milwaukee has delegated this function to the Institute of Christ the King and added that its priests will “provide assistance” is a refreshing contrast.

  29. Would it not be very “unRoman” and an imposition on his successor for Dolan to issue these guidelines if he were in fact to be transferred to NY soon?

  30. B Knotts says:

    Given that even the “good guys” are, contrary to the Holy Father’s clear intention, and with questionable authority, erecting a maze of red tape to hamper Summorum Pontificum’s implementation, it seems that the only hope for the average Catholic to have reasonable access to the Traditional Mass is for the SSPX to be regularized as a personal prelature or apostolic administration, which is largely independent of the local ordinary.

    This is why I think Benedict has acted on the excommunications. Too many bishops are acting as obstacles to his plan to bring about a visible hermeneutic of continuity.

  31. Steve says:

    “You folks in Milwaukee have it pretty good.”

    This is quite an amazing sentence considering what Milwaukee had to endure for those many sad years under Archbishop Weakland.

    I went to the Jan. 25th Mass at Holy Name of Jesus in Sheboygan and it was awesome! Everybody who can travel to it should attend.

  32. William of the Old says:

    On October 8th, 2008, the ICKSP was raised to Pontifical Right. I don’t know what implications this has for their apostolates; Father Z, care to comment/speculate?

  33. William: That means that still have to work closely with the local bishop. They can’t just do things on their own. So, from that point of view, little has changed.

  34. Braadwijk says:

    I applaud Bishop Dolan for using a priest he knows is qualified to say the EF to judge the competence of the priests who wish to use it. It shows he supports the wishes the Holy Father and means well with the implementation of the Motu Proprio. It’s also perfectly reasonable to me that he wants to keep the raddy traddies from causing scandal to the faithful. The MP was just as much as separating wheat from the chaff as it was about setting right past wrongs, and I believe Bishop Dolan sees this as well.

    What I do find troubling is the blatant double standard. I think it’s just a habit of the JPII-generation, one they will struggle with for a long time before they get it. Why the set of norms to amend the Pope’s set of norms? That which is not explicitly forbidden is not up for grabs to be regulated and used to put up road blocks to the desires of the Holy Father, even if one is motivated solely out of the fear of abuse or the ugly side of the more traditionally-minded. I’m actually having a very good ongoing discussion with the chaplain at my university about the the MP and the lifting of the excommunications. He’s a young JPII priest, and the mentality seems to be the same. He’s not hostile to us at all, but the fact that we are not the sometimes/only-on-special-occasions/outside-the-norm Mass or “those” other Catholics who need special permission just doesn’t seem to sink in. He also has trouble realizing the way we were treated for decades, including the notion that the Mass was abrogated in some unofficial and unspoken way, is entirely unjust and WRONG. The reconciliation isn’t going to be the problem. It’s the hard feelings left over on both sides and the suspicions each has of the other that will take a long time to fade away. I fear this double standard will remain until the current seminarians establish themselves.

  35. Former Altar Boy says:

    Fr. Z.,
    Last year there was talk (rumor?) that the Holy Father was going to issue a letter that better explained Summorum Pontificum. Have you heard anything about whether it is still expected? (We know you have your own sources in Rome!)

    Unrelated question: Can a bishop from a Pontifical Right or personal prelature every be made bishop over a diocese?

  36. Jason Keener says:

    William of Old,

    Religious orders and associations of the faithful that are officially sanctioned and approved by the Church can be approved either by a local diocesan bishop (diocesan right) or by the Holy See (pontifical right).

    If a group is of diocesan right, they are somewhat restricted in their ministry to the diocese, and most groups start at this level. If a group wants to begin spreading into other dioceses, it usually seeks to become of pontifical right.

    Even if a group is of pontifical right, it still must have the permission of the local diocesan bishop to spread into his territory (e.g., to establish houses or ministries in his diocese).

  37. moon1234 says:

    Just how does “no private masses in EF” reconcile with “The EF has never been abrogated and may be said by any priest without permission of his ordinary”?

    Bishop Dolan is basically naking conditions upon a priest before saying the EF. This violates the spirit and intent of the MP. I would think this could be ignored by a priest. The same argument could be said for restricting which mass a priest may say in private.

    Not allowed to say = Abrogated.

    This is anti traditional. Thank God more bishops are not like this. The Bishop should offer training and not issue restrictions and conditions.

    I fell sorry for the people in the diocese of Milwaukee. At least there are Pro TLM bishops in the Madison and Rockford diocese so the drive is shorter.

  38. GOR says:

    “You folks in Milwaukee have it pretty good”

    Debatable Fr. Z – very debatable. In comparison to Manila, perhaps…?

    I’ve lived in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee for almost 40 years – so from Ab. Cousins (retired 1977) through the Ab. Weakland tenure (1977 – 1992) to the present. The appointment of Ab. Dolan in 1992 was greeted with hope and relief by many in the archdiocese. Let it be said first of all that Ab. Dolan is a nice man, warm, gregarious, personally devout, orthodox and well-intentioned.

    He inherited a mess which even a St. Ignatius would be hard-pressed to clean up. The combination of the abuse scandal – reaching even to the Archbishop’s office – and the liberal Weakland agenda created a perfect storm for his successor. The liberal effects of the Weakland years are pervasive throughout the archdiocese. Many (most?) of the clergy are still in the Weakland mould even today. As in most US dioceses there is a shortage of priests, with many pastors servicing multiple parishes. Vocations are scarce and there are few upcoming candidates to relieve the shortage. The diocesan seminary has effectively been shut down.

    That said, to many in Milwaukee Ab. Dolan has been a disappointment. His actions, or lack thereof, are seen by many as of a ‘diplomatic’ nature rather than those of a forceful leader. Ab. Burke he is not! When Ab. Burke (then Bishop of LaCrosse, WI) took a strong stand on Catholic politicians supporting abortion, Ab. Dolan took it lightly. When asked to comment he was dismissive of it, saying something on the lines of: “Well that’s just Ray talking…”

    That remark told me a lot about Ab. Dolan. From then on I expected that we would not see radical changes in the archdiocese, that appeasement rather than confrontation would be the order of the day. He has not vigorously confronted the liturgical abuses in the archdiocese, which still continue. Yes, to his credit he has invited the Institute of Christ the King into the archdiocese, but apart from that has shown little personal interest in promoting Summorum Pontificum.

    The timing of his ‘instructions’ is also odd. Why now – eighteen months after SP? The wording is hardly a ringing endorsement of the Holy Father’s intentions. Is this another ‘diplomatic’ move – an effort to please all sides, while offending none? Like many here, I have felt that for Ab. Dolan Milwaukee would be a ‘temporary assignment’ – a stop on the way to greater things. If the rumors are true, we may be right.

  39. Ioannes Andreades says:

    Virgil’s points are entirely accurate, as are those of moon1234. The refined parsing of the term “attachment” is really troubling. For so long, people were left with the understanding that the TLM was illegal, even though this wasn’t accurate. The document seems to me to be unsatisfactory on balance.

    Have a friend living in Milwaukee, and I know it’s not GOR, though my friend could have written the same comment.

  40. Luigi says:

    I’ve always liked Abp. Dolan as far as I’ve known him. His book, Priests for the Third Millenium was good as I recall, though I read it not long after it came out. I also heard him speak at the Basilica of the Assumption in Baltimore last fall. He was excellent.

    That said, I see potential trouble here:

    “The use of the extraordinary form is not to be used if it will create a divisive or elitist spirit in the parish.”

    This seems to be an invitation, unintended I assume, for liberal Catholics to create havoc in any parish where the EF is offered. We’ve gotten a glimpse this past week of just how nervous the liberals in the Church are about any apparent shift toward tradition. It isn’t difficult to imagine them deliberately “creating a devisive spirit” in parishes that offer the EF in Milwaukee.

  41. Origen Adamantius says:

    “The extra-ordinary form is not to be used only at the discretion or personal preference of the pastor/priest without a request from the people. ”

    I believe the idea here is that Dolan does not want renewed zeal to fracture his already problematic diocese. Where a priest in his zeal for the tradition and his liberation from an intolerant clerical climate “imposes” the extraordinary form on an unprepared congregation without offering them the ordinary form.

    Bishops should be challenged on major issues particularly when there are gross violations of liturgical norms and vacillating attitude of dogma and morals. However, nitpicking every action they take does not seem beneficial to anyone.

  42. B Knotts says:

    “Where a priest in his zeal for the tradition and his liberation from an intolerant clerical climate “imposes” the extraordinary form on an unprepared congregation without offering them the ordinary form.”

    This has happened, where, exactly? You must have some examples, right?

    “However, nitpicking every action they take does not seem beneficial to anyone.”

    Analyzing (quite mildly, I might add) an episcopal document that appears to, at least somewhat, impose restrictions on a right explicitly recognized in a papal instruction is hardly nitpicking.

  43. Matt says:


    I believe the idea here is that Dolan does not want renewed zeal to fracture his already problematic diocese.

    I can’t imagine renewed zeal could cause a fracture, it could perhaps expose a fracture that already exists…

    Where a priest in his zeal for the tradition and his liberation from an intolerant clerical climate “imposes” the extraordinary form on an unprepared congregation without offering them the ordinary form.

    Such a move is not permitted by SP as I read it, nor would it be a charitable act, I don’t see any reason to fear this likelihood, and if it were to occur, the Bp. could quickly resolve it.

    Interestingly this scenario is not unlike the “imposition” of the Novus Ordo.

  44. JW says:

    Jason Keener, you said there is going to be a monthly TLM in Kenosha at some point? What church? I’m going to guess St. James as it has the traddy reputation? I would totally like to know where and when so as to offer my support of it. I like to try to get to a TLM once a month, and would love to do so in the city I actually live in (K-Town!) rather than make a 45 minute commute to Milwaukee.

  45. dominic1962 says:

    “I’ve always liked Abp. Dolan as far as I’ve known him. His book, Priests for the Third Millenium was good as I recall, though I read it not long after it came out. I also heard him speak at the Basilica of the Assumption in Baltimore last fall. He was excellent.

    That said, I see potential trouble here:

    “The use of the extraordinary form is not to be used if it will create a divisive or elitist spirit in the parish.””

    If you read “Priests for the Third Millenium”, this statement of Archbishop Dolan’s should not be suprising. While it was a pretty decent book, I found his constant attempt to be smack dab in the muddled middle to be a bit off putting. It seemed that for every criticism of liberal foolishness he had to throw one at the Traddies. Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it is not as if there are no pitfalls to watch out for but I think he could have done without insinuating that wearing a biretta was a sign of craziness or that if one did like the traditional ways they had better watch out for putting too much faith in cloth covered cassock buttons and French cuffs. An Archbishop Burke or Bishop Finn he is not.

    Now, I’m not questioning the good Archbishop’s personal holiness or orthodoxy, but it seems that the book itself is a handbook for the neo-Conservative cleric.

  46. GregL says:

    I live in Archdiocese of Milwaukee. When Archbishop Dolan was appointed bishop of this diocese, I held
    out great hope for change/orthodoxy to come based on what I read about him. Instead, my dialogue with
    the bishop has only been a bishop who doesn’t want to rock the boat with his priests/pastors in the
    diocese. This only explains this type of letter sent too. As they say in he business world there are
    managers and then there are leaders. Archbishop Dolan has fallen into the camp of a manager. This
    diocese was in such great need of strong direction/leadership after Archbishop Weakland lead it for
    almost 26yrs, many had only hope for real/orthodox direction finally. I will continue to pray for our
    dear archbishop and all our priests. It’s my hope one day the priests of this diocese and of the world
    will learn & love to say the NO Mass as reverantly as those priests who say the EF Mass – What a reverant
    transformation from one to the other.

    I’ll conclude by saying this, by studying the type of men/bishops being appointed to key Archdiocese’s
    by the Holy Father, they seem to be men who are in love with EF of the Mass and actually celebrated it.
    There has been no evidence that Archbishop Dolan has or plans to ever celebrate the EF or to go to great
    lengths to see this form of the Mass/EF grow in the diocese. With these observations and those above, I
    predict Archbishop Dolan will be going no where soon, even to NY.
    Pax Christi!

  47. Dave Pawlak says:

    I am in Milwaukee as well. Perhaps my Archbishop could do more. OTOH, we have many more seminarians, and the new Rector is a solid priest. I think things are getting better here, but I will be an old man before the damage caused by Abp. Weakland is completely undone, no matter who is in charge here.

  48. Andy K. says:

    To those who want Arc. Dolan to do more…

    What would you have him do!?

    —99% of his priests are from the Weakland era.
    —At least half (more likely 3/4s, at least) agree with Weakland. I know of pastors that still invoke his name in the EP. His name FIRST!
    —The diocesan offices were staffed with all his minions
    —He cannot grow priests/officeworkers

    So, what would you have had him do? Come in swinging? Just alienating the ENTIRETY of his priesthood?

    All of you SIT BACK and just say “he should do more.” What, I pray thee, should he do!? And, how would you propose he implement it??

    He’s got the seminary going again, he’s got a decent rector, as far as I know, he changed the rector who oversaw the destruction of the cathedral, he’s trying to invigorate/catechize with his TV show and such, and he’s on a fund-raising binge for the Catholic schools.

    So, to you all Arch. Dolan nay-sayers, what would you have him do, how would you do it, and what do you do with the priests who would refuse it?

  49. Joshua says:

    Let us be clear, Archbishop Dolan did not suggest that it was the novus ordo partisans who are the “elitists” and I strongly resent the suggestion that the “elitists” are those who support the 1,500 years of our liturgical traditions. Those who should be given that moniker are those who have turned the Ordinary form into something never intended by Vatican II. Abolishing Latin? Removing all traces of Gregorian chant? Halting all seminary instruction of the Missal of 1962? Telling the laity for three decades that the Latin Mass was abrogated?

    It is a very real shame that faithful Catholics should even consider being apologetic for requesting our pastors to offer the Tridentine Mass or for having the temerity to urge our local hierarchy to implement Pope Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum. Where is the justice after all these years? Where is the charity, where is the obedience?

    And no, I will not be called an “elitist” by someone from the devastated vineyard in Milwaukee as it became under Archbishop Weakland. [And yet that is precisely what will happen when a snooty approach is used. It is sadly necessary for supporters of the TLM to be seven times seven time more vigilant over the way they argue for the TLM.]
    Pray for our Pope and may God bless and keep him.

  50. Anonymous says:

    GOR and Andy have it: while the Abp. has not been a stalwart rock, he DID inherit one of the Augean Stables.

    Yes, he re-worked the Sem, which was a cesspool. But he did NOT replace the Weakland-ite top-level staff, (many of which were arguably complicit in the scandals.)

    Maybe his worst fault is not listening to older, well-traveled, and world-wise advisers; on the other hand, the Archdiocese is still kinda viable, despite the assault of the Gates of Hell.

  51. Jason Keener says:


    I don’t know where in Kenosha the Extraordinary Form Mass will be offered. I could try to find out. Feel free to email me at


  52. Joe says:

    I want to thank the earlier post from the person from the Pittsburgh Diocese. Bishop Zubik was appointed here not long after Fr. DiNardo issued the letter restricting the EF Mass to St. Boniface church – in Fr. DiNardo’s own parish – that Fr. DiNardo does not celebrate.

    I like Bishop Zubik, but sometimes I wish I could ask the good bishop – or any bishop – and ask him specifically what is going on and request an explanation for the hostility to the Extradordinary Form.

  53. JFN says:

    I laugh at all of these comments refering to the 1962 Missal as the “Classical Form” or the Traditional Mass, and especially of the 1962 Liturgy being the Liturgy celebrated for the last 1500 years. ARE YOU KIDDING ME. And for those of you who are seminarians I’m shocked. Please, please take a class in the history and developement of the Liturgy. A.G. Martimort’s books would be a good start. There was VERY good reason why the liturgy had to be renewed at Vatican II. The reason was that the liturgy had accummulated and accrued elements that drew it AWAY from the true Tradition. And therefore needed to be brought back. If you were to look at documents like the Church History of Hippolytus, or some of the mystogological homilies of the church father’s you’d see this. Just because the church did something in 1950, does not mean it did it that way for 1500 years. Please get a sense of history and stop this nonsense. You are dividing the Church. We have a renewed Liturgy. Thank God. Please stop speaking in ignorance and learn about our history.

  54. Nathan says:

    JFN: “Please stop speaking in ignorance and learn about our history.”

    Welcome to the blog of spirited liturgical discussion! If you continue to read this blog, I think you will see a lot of informed dialogue on the history of liturgical development.

    In fact, I learned to love the Tradional Latin Mass through learning about its organic development and the remarkable continuity the 1962 Missal has with the way Roman-rite Catholics have served at Holy Mass for millenia. Fortescue’s work is unparalelled, and pretty convincingly shows how similar the TLM is to how Rome said Holy Mass as early as 500 A.D.

    To try and be a bit more pithy about it–if St Peter were to come back to earth and walk into a Catholic Church today, would he be more at home in a TLM or the “normal” OF Mass as celebrated in the U.S.?

    In a TLM, he would find a Canon that used (if the scholarship I’ve seen is accurate) the same words he used (in Greek likely, but possibly Latin). Pope St Gregory the Great edited (mostly removing portions of) the Roman Canon, but came under fire by the Roman laity for doing so. St Peter would perhaps encounter some of the same formulas for collects and secrets that may have been in use in the Divine Mysteries of the Apostolic Era.

    If you applied the same standard to St Augustine, I would venture to guess that he would find a Pontifical Mass that was exceedingly similar to what he offered in the TLM–with differences primarily in the Offertory and the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar. In fact, he would likely hear the same Epistle and Gospel as he used. He may even recognize some of the chant used (although I’m stretching it here).

    Now apply the OF–St Peter and St Paul would have never heard the Eucharistic Prayer before, if the priest used EPs 2,3,4, or the special penitential ones (EP 2 is not the “Hippolytan Canon–it has only a few of any similarity). They would have never heard the offertory prayers, nor had convergence in the readings. If they were in an English-speaking country, they would not understand why the Mass was translated as it was. And they would have never heard any of the music.

    I’ve heard the “remove the accretions” discussion before, and it simply does not hold up to a systematic examination.

    In Christ,

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