1 APRIL: New Archbishop for St. Louis!

For this 1st of April, thanks to St. Louis Catholic, a good source of trad news, I found this timely piece… with my emphases and comments.

BREAKING NEWS: SSPX Bishop Fellay Named New Archbishop of Saint Louis

In a bold and surprising move, the Holy See today announced that His Excellency Bernard Fellay, General Superior of the Society of St. Pius X, has been named as the new Archbishop of Saint Louis. [No wonder the Bolletino was down for a while…]

This appointment was accompanied by a decree from the Congregation for Bishops that provides immediate temporary jurisdiction for SSPX priests and bishops worldwide. This temporary jurisdiction involves the elevation of the SSPX to a personal prelature, [I am a bit surprised by the use of a personal prelature.  I would have thought there would be a different structure.  But given that Archbp. Burke surely still has some interest in his successor, perhaps he suggested this canonical solution.] but this structure is only granted for 2 years, subject to review.

(The link to the Holy See’s announcement is down, I guess due to traffic, but I will repost it when it comes up again).

A press conference will be held tomorrow at the Archdiocesan Chancery at 3 pm CDT. The SSPX press arm, DICI, posted the following statement from Archbishop-elect Fellay [I don’t think that is the proper terminiology for sede vacante… Don’t they usually become bishops immediately?]:

I am grateful to the Holy Father for this appointment, the confidence it represents, and the acknowledgement of tradition it necessarily entails. This is the culmination of a long and prayerful road of suffering for so many faithful Catholics. I have also to thank my immediate predecessor Archbishop Burke, who laid the groundwork for a real restoration to this most venerable of Sees.

I look forward to the practical re-implementation of Catholic tradition in St. Louis. I encourage all of my beloved sons in the priesthood to reestablish the ancient Mass– the so-called "Extraordinary Form"– in their parishes as soon as possible. It is my intent to make the celebration of the traditional liturgy mandatory in every parish, allowing an indult for one Ordinary Form Mass per Sunday and Holy Day [Well.. this some will say this is not in keeping with the provisions of Summorum Pontificum.  The Holy Father’s provisions seem to allow for only one TLM.  However, lately I wrote to the PCED and received the response that more than one TLM can be celebrated in a fixed way on days of precept, but there must be a possibility for those who want to attend the Novus Ordo.] in order to facilitate the transition to the restoration of the timeless Mass for those who have become accustomed to the newer form.

May St. Pius X and St. Louis pray for us! I ask all of my subjects in St. Louis to pray for me as well.

+ Bernard Fellay
April 1, 2009

WDTPRS congratulates Bp. Fellay!  

This appointment is not without its drawbacks.  It would have been better to solve the whole question of the Council’s teaching on religious liberty before such a dramatic move. 

But, I was not consulted.  

I will go to St. Louis for the installation.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Happy April Fools’ Day!!


  2. Maria Betita says:

    Father Z, correct me if I am wrong but if you go back to the St. Louis Catholic posting at the very bottom of this text the author of the blog wrote “Happy April Fool’s Day”. I did not know if he was referring to the news regarding Bishop Fellay. Just an observation. I love your blog, Father. May God bless you.

  3. Is it possible that this is an April Fool joke? I caught on when Bishop Fellay said that he was ordering, the Exraordinary form to be mandatory:

    ” It is my intent to make the celebration of the traditional liturgy mandatory in every parish, allowing an indult for one Ordinary Form Mass per Sunday and Holy Day”

    Does this sound right to you?

  4. Didn’t even have to read this to know it was an April Fools because I’m signed up for the Saint Louis text message and I didn’t get one yet. But this would be so awesome if it were true.


  5. Chris says:

    Lol Fr. I really believed that! I was about to scream with joy. I don’t know whether to laugh or be angry now. Nevertheless good one father. :)

  6. thetimman says:

    Father, your commentary made it even more believable. Well done.

  7. Anthony in TX says:

    ARRGGG… I was this close to emailing this off to everyone I know.
    Happy April Fools Day, Father. This was a good one.

  8. boredoftheworld says:



    I saw the headline, then I saw the picture, then I blacked out. I don’t remember exactly how the cat got up on the ceiling fan but the bite marks on his tail do seem to match the pattern of my own teeth… I’ll be forwarding his vet bill to you Father.

    Crazy clerical pranksters…

  9. Rachel says:

    Darn, I wish it were true. Oh well….lets keep praying :)

  10. Charivari Rob says:

    Will they fly Father McBrien into town to be homilist at the Installation Mass?

    [I think he will try in incardinate.]

  11. Hanna says:

    As an extremely gullible person, I almost chocked on my sandwich. “What? What?! I can’t believe this! NO WAY! Oh right…April fools.”

  12. mfg says:

    Easter hsd come early! Alleluia, alleluia, praise God from whom all blessings come!

  13. plisto says:

    Quite good joke :-D ! Though around here, the custom is, that the joke must include some moving -for example, people going to see what’s happening… etc

  14. Alessandro says:

    I just made a fool of myself, as I made phone calls, and went to a neighbors house.

  15. TNCath says:

    I bought it for about 10 seconds! Well done, Father Z!

  16. Raphaela says:

    Oh, boo. And I was so sure they’d despatch him to clean up the diocese of Linz!

    (Nice one, Fr. Z. The best April Fool I’ve seen this year!)

  17. Geoffrey says:

    Oh goodness… I almost had a heart attack! How I hate April 1st! ;-)

  18. Terri says:

    harumph…I just called my husband at work to share the great news…I now in charity must call him back, lest he look the buffoon at work – a good one, I guess I am a bit of a sucker for good news…

  19. Terri says:

    now I am laughing wondering what the press would do if it picked this up…:)

  20. Thomas Burk says:

    allowing an indult for one Ordinary Form Mass per Sunday and Holy Day

    If only this weren’t a spoof!

    Well done!

    (I fell for one Apr1 story that I thought surely was a prank, but wasn’t – the iPod “gift” to the Queen.)

  21. Sea Cat says:

    Would have been a better joke if it were: Cardinal Mahoney being transferred to Tehran and Bishop Willimson taking over the archdiocese of Los Angeles.

  22. Poinsot says:

    St. Thomas, Summa Theologiae, IIa-IIae q. 110, a. 3. “Whether every lie is a sin?”
    I answer that, an action that is naturally evil in respect of its genus can by no means be good and lawful, since in order for an action to be good it must be right in every respect: because good results from a complete cause, while evil results from any single defect, as Dionysius asserts (Div. Nom. iv). Now a lie is evil in respect of its genus, since it is an action bearing on undue matter. For as words are naturally signs of intellectual acts, it is unnatural and undue for anyone to signify by words something that is not in his mind. Hence the Philosopher says (Ethic. iv, 7) that “lying is in itself evil and to be shunned, while truthfulness is good and worthy of praise.” Therefore every lie is a sin, as also Augustine declares (Contra Mend. i).”

    And, yes, an April Fool’s joke is a lie if it is speech contrary to one’s mind; the intention of a hearty laugh does not justify an intrinsically evil act:

    q. 110, a. 2. “Whether lies are sufficiently divided into officious, jocose, and mischievous lies?”

    Secondly, lies may be divided with respect to their nature as sins, and with regard to those things that aggravate or diminish the sin of lying, on the part of the end intended. Now the sin of lying is aggravated, if by lying a person intends to injure another, and this is called a “mischievous” lie, while the sin of lying is diminished if it be directed to some good–either of pleasure and then it is a “jocose” lie, or of usefulness, and then we have the “officious” lie, whereby it is intended to help another person, or to save him from being injured. On this way lies are divided into the three kinds aforesaid.”

    This post was profoundly uncharitable. [PUHLEEZE]

    A too proud winner of the Sour Grapes Award

  23. The Astronomer says:

    “This post was profoundly uncharitable.
    Comment by Poinsot — 1 April 2009 @ 2:11 pm”

    Lighten up and have a cream soda. Great one, Fr. Z!!!

  24. Diane says:

    Very funny. But you didn’t get me on that one. I check the bollettino every morning – early [Aren’t you special! o{]:¬) ]

  25. Romulus says:

    Father, I wonder if the new Archbishop (or his seminarians) ever read your blog. I’m guessing there will be deluxe yucks all around.

    Um…does this mean you’re not going to St. Louis? 8-)

  26. Haha!! I love it! And yes, I fell for it.

  27. Paul Haley says:

    Yes, I realized immediately it was an April 1st fool’s joke but the fact of the matter is this is something that is within the Holy Father’s prerogative should he choose to make such a bold and dramatic move. And, interestingly enough, it puts to rest any quibbling about the EF and the OF and the differences between them. However, it does not solve the situation for many SSPX priests who remain in limbo re: incardination in their local dioceses and it leaves aside the status of the other 3 bishops of the Society. Yet it is an interesting thought and a bold, dramatic move by Father Z. who I am sure meant no ill will but perhaps wanted to get us thinking a little beyond the limits of our preconceived notions.

  28. Jean says:

    You got me on that one, Father! LOL!

  29. Mary Ann says:

    So much for my being the first to comment on your other April Fools post, FatherZ. I bought this one hook, line and—well, you know! And I\’m sore all over for trying to pat myself on the back for that first one. That must be why I missed this one…grumble, grumble….Ha-HA! ;-)

    But wouldn’t it be loverly???

  30. Jon says:


    I’m sitting here recovering from a little post-op. To cheer me up, our mutual friend, H.E. of TN, emailed me the link. Before I clicked over, I didn’t think of April 1st or Bishop Fellay. I thought of the Great Zed himself.

    Nearly popped my stitches!

  31. Henry Edwards says:

    One of the more delicious lines:

    “I ask all of my subjects in St. Louis to pray for me as well.”

  32. Fr. Steve says:

    Cruel but great joke.

  33. Mark says:

    Oh man, I am SOOOOOOOO glad I checked these comments right now… I was about to go tell a dozen people.

    WDTPRS: 2009 Winner of the “Gotcha!” Award.

  34. Jeanne Hunter says:

    I completely fail to see the humor of this and I am extremely disappointed with this blog. I believe that to make light of the topic was totally uncalled for…. [Gosh! I am SOOOO sorry! I hope to help you avoid such irritation in the future.]

  35. Can’t we just laugh for a few moments at a funny joke (not lie…) without pulling out the Summa? “Intrinsically evil act”??? Come on….

  36. Steve K. says:

    I think that was hilarious, well done Father!

    BTW, the sour grapes and bitter fruit awards graphics always crack me up.

  37. TJB says:

    You had me for about 0.0465 seconds. I guess because I’ve been pranking people all day I’m on high alert! Nice try though!

  38. Magdalene says:

    Yeah, we would all have to learn to spell schism! This is because the amchurch would formally split off instead of the unofficial split they have now with lip service to Rome. Those who thumb their nose at Rome anyway (Notre Shame) and many others would just throw in the towel and make their own church; many have already just not officially.

  39. boredoftheworld says:

    Why did the chicken cross the road?

    To look up lying in the Summa.

    It forgot to look both ways and was squashed flat by a truck full of sour grapes.

  40. MargaretMN says:

    One better prank would have been Bp. Fellay being named the Bp. of the diocese in which Notre Dame is situated. And Bp. Fellay taking immediate steps to excommunicate the entire administration of Notre Dame.

  41. Father Bartoloma says:

    Very funny! Proving, once again that traditional Catholics have the best sense of humor. [Some of them at least! o{]:¬) ]

  42. The best April Fool’s day for years. The London Daily Mail announced that Pope Benedict was flying in to attend the G wptsit meeting in London. Yesterday Wiki had Bernard Longley already appointed to Westminster, and when the Bollettino went down today, I wondered whether it really was just a coincidental glitch. Maybe Fr Lombardi thought , ‘Oh what the hell!’

    Now please folks back to serious matters, I beg you. Pray for Poe Benedict and for the so far blighted of Blighty. Please!

    And now Father Blake grace a Ches is getting everyone to ask ‘Drop kick me Jesus through the Goal Post of Life’.

    B16 might find that rather amusing.

    Please pray for the Church in England and Wales.

  43. Charlie says:

    Ahaha; I nearly believed it! Good one.

  44. Brian says:

    ROFL!!! Good one! As much as I am a supporter of Tradition, I am extremely glad that this is an April Fool’s joke. I hardly think that it would be wise of the Holy Father to appoint Bishop Fellay as the archbishop of St. Louis. [D’ya think?]

  45. Sal says:

    Loved it. Would that it were true. Then I’d really be loving it.

  46. Allan says:

    Hilarious, thanks! Here’s one from an April Fool’s newscast my son loved:

    “A two seat Cessna 152 crashed in a cemetary outside of town this afternoon.

    Rescue workers have so far recovered more than 300 bodies, and the death toll is expected to rise as digging continues into the evening.”

  47. Willebrord says:

    I actually skimmed the message, then ran to tell everyone in my family! Then I remembered what day it was, and after checking the message, I realized the (admittedly sad) truth.

    Darn. Excellent hoax though.

  48. Ave Maria says:

    nearly had a heart attack Father…

  49. Chris says:

    That’s seriously not funny.

    I was already checking the realestate prices in St. Louis!!!

  50. Elizabeth T. says:

    Very funny! I was a bit confused, but I believed it!

  51. Joe Williams says:

    By the time I finished reading the article, I was thinking, “Sancta Bos! It’s actually true.”

    Would that it were so!

  52. Ygnacia says:

    Ya’ got me…

  53. Dr. Eric says:

    As soon as I saw it, I knew it was an April Fool’s Joke.

    Having written that, bringing in another Archbishop who is a friend to the “traditionalists” would be a great thing in my opinion.

  54. Matt Q says:

    Yeah, you got me too. Darn.

    Hey, this is like telling an innocent man he’s getting out of jail… BAWHAHAHA just kidding.

    We just have to continue to rot in hell, that’s all.

  55. Cory says:

    Stading ovation for a great April Fool’s joke.

  56. GandhianCatholic says:

    Unnecessary cruelty, Father. Lol. I squealed.

  57. Kalona says:

    I’m so gullible.

  58. Stephanie says:

    I am so sad that this is not true :-(

  59. Mitchell NY says:

    Going to the comments page I now realize the truth…Now I have to go back upstairs and tell two co-workers I was fooled…I didn’t like this one.

  60. It is good to read the comments!

  61. Kaneohe says:

    I barked with delight and laughter! Fr. Z you are so good!!

  62. I was waiting for the “April Fools” in your article and didn’t see it, so for a second there I was thinking “What the @#$%???”

    Very amusing indeed ;)

  63. Paul Knight says:

    I fell for it. I’m sure something similar to this will be true some time in the future though, or at least I hope so. Maybe Bishop Fellay could even be made a Cardinal and even a future Pope (a bit unlikely perhaps, but wouldn’t it be great).

  64. Ruben says:

    Good one. That one set me up like a bowling pin. I did though experience a momentary delight in imagining the progressivists running for cover behind their felt banners. Someday…someday…

  65. Paul Haley says:

    The joke would be on them, the perpetrators of this hoax, if His Holiness were to announce that the SSPX is now heading up a worldwide apostolic administration with all four Society bishops at the helm and independent of all diocesan jurisdiction reporting directly to the Holy See with aid and administrative support provided by the Ecclesia Dei Commission for the exclusive purpose of further the goals and objectives of the motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, and consolidating under one jurisdiction all currently independent groups professing loyalty to the Holy See.

    Yah, I know, it’s not going to happen but it sure would upset the ‘ol applecart. Can you imagine the reaction of the modernist bishops? It would make the latest reaction to the excommunications mild by comparison. Cardinal Mahony would have a hissy-fit the likes of which the world has never before seen. Egads, my imagination is into overdrive. See, I told you it got me thinking.

  66. Benedict follower says:

    As a student of Thomas Aquinas I do not think that Thomas Aquinas would consider this a lie but rather a good hypothetical modus syllogistic joke that causes us to think about truths more openly in the end. First I thought that it had to be April Fools joke but then I saw it at St. Louis Catholic without reading to the end, and thought that it IS true, and was thinking how wonderful and perfect it would be to have a mandatory extraordinary form of liturgy in every parish and the indult for the ordinary. A good thought that leads to hope for restoration of the church- that is what some of these parishes and Bishops need who are not open to having the ancient Pius V. implemented universal Tridentine Mass. It takes the virtue of hope to consider these possibilities.

  67. Jason Keener says:

    If things don’t work out in St. Louis for Bishop Fellay, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee is also a vacant see…

  68. Mary W says:

    You got me,too, Father Z! Hilarious! The word “subjects” should have given me a clue, but it didn’t. I’m tempted to email this to my pastor, but this is Lent and that would be cruel.

  69. TJM says:

    He looks pretty snappy! I’d take him for my bishop. Tom

  70. Mary says:

    Does God think this is an appropriate April Fool’s joke? [Oh yes! I assure you He does.]

  71. JML says:


    Based on your readership profiles, we know that somebody in Rome reads your blog. I am wondering if the laughter overheard in St. Peter’s Square may have come from the Papal Apartments.

    Good one!! You had me going!

  72. Timothy Clint says:


  73. RichR says:

    Classic! You had me until the “mandatory EF with one indult OF”.

    With BXVI’s awesome Pontificate, it was not out of the realm of possibility……hee hee.

  74. Ubi Petrus Ibi Ecclesia says:

    If only!

  75. Joseph says:

    Not funny :( I was excited and then crushed.

  76. Melina says:

    Whoah there, Timothy Clint – relax. Laughter is one of the many wonderful benefits of reason…

  77. shadrach says:

    Got me! You wag.

  78. Son of Trypho says:

    Some people have no sense of humour! I thought this was quite funny and it was obviously a prank.

    Now it would have been a bad joke to suggest that Cardinal Kasper has retired and the Vatican has appointed Bp Williamson as his replacement for the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews…

  79. Scotty says:

    Haha…All the things that were mentioned went through my head… “How is this possible?” “Why haven’t I gotten my text yet?” “Why didn’t Drudge have this?” Priceless. When I was a kid living in Minneapolis/St. Paul, all the local radio/TV stations announced that the U.S. had sold the Liberty Bell to Taco Bell…That was priceless too. And, remember who the real fool is: The fool hath said in his heart: There is no God. They are corrupt, and are become abominable in their ways: there is none that doth good, no not one.

  80. Tim says:

    Fr.Z, you had me going for a minute there. Good one.

  81. Matthew says:

    At first I thought, “Ok Father, that’s a good one.” Then, when I saw the congratulatory note at the bottom I thought, “No way!” Then I read the comments… haha.

    But really, I think God has a sense of humour as well. For example, it snowed in Vancouver, BC this morning. And that is no joke!

  82. alex says:

    lol I bought it for about 5 minutes and told 3 of my classmates until we quickly found out it was a joke

  83. John says:

    Just curious. Is it not discourteous to play so profoundly on the emotions of others? This will make many people upset and then relieved. It will also make many people joyous and then sad. It seems that it may have negative effects on people’s health.

  84. Cathguy says:

    Great news!

    And didn’t I hear that because of his experience as a rector Bp. Williamson is going to be in charge of the NAC? [WOW! I didn’t hear that one!]

  85. Supertradmom says:

    I believed it but was reading it out loud, when one of my family members said, \”Mom, it\’s April Fool\’s Day\”. I was sooo disappointed! Really loved it.

  86. John says:

    Another give away was that Rorate Caeli did not have anything on it.

  87. Joshua says:

    I agree with St. Thomas (and every single Catholic moralist between him and the 20th century, Jesuits included) that every lie is a sin. But listen to St. Augustine:

    Setting aside, therefore, jokes, which have never been accounted lies, seeing they bear with them in the tone of voice, and in the very mood of the joker a most evident indication that he means no deceit, although the thing he utters be not true: touching which kind of discourse, whether it be meet to be used by perfect minds, is another question which we have not at this time taken in hand to clear; but setting jokes apart, the first point to be attended to, is, that a person should not be thought to lie, who lies not. – De mendacio

    Now there is such a thing as jocose lies, and perhaps St. Augustine missed that, but it seems jokes like this fall under what St. Augustine was thinking

  88. liebemama says:

    I was totally fooled! I just kept saying to myself: Oh yeh, oh yeh. Then I finally read the comments. Good one, Father!

  89. Antiquarian says:

    The giveaway was the talk of a Novus Ordo “indult.” His Excellency would be flayed alive by his current associates.

    It was hilarious. (Did you know that the Puritans objected to the theatre in part because the actors were “lying” when they pretended to be people they weren’t? Thank Heaven we’re Catholics!)

  90. AnnaTrad says:

    You had me going to the point I was ready to phoned my husband at work until I looked down and saw on my calendar that it was April 1.

    Good when father.

    I do like a good April 1 joke.

  91. BREAKING NEWS….Water has just been discovered on Mars:


  92. An excellent prank, father. It took my about 15 seconds, but for a moment…I was a true believer!

  93. Patrick Nugent says:

    Congratulations, Father!

    This is the first time that I was fooled by in many years. If only it were true!

  94. John Enright says:

    Happy April Fools’ Day, Father.

  95. Kim Poletto says:

    I kept saying, oh my gosh, it can’t be true. Read through it two times before I went to comments and discovered it wasn’t true. Best April Fools ever.

  96. William says:

    This is a despicable joke, and should not be spread across the Internet. Shame on the St. Louis Catholic.


  97. Father… would you reserve a room for me when you get your’s? The C.Ss.R. rectory is full up for the event. Ahem.

  98. William said: “This is a despicable joke, and should not be spread across the Internet. Shame on the St. Louis Catholic.”

    Don’t people understand what a joke is? Please, lighten up!

    Actually, and this is one of those dreaded progressives speaking :), I would really like to see the SSPX be turned into a personal prelature. That would seem the simpliest solution to an unlettered Catholic person like me. But of course, this is the topic for a different blog entry. :)

  99. Tantumergo says:

    The hombre who shot me wus…..The hombre who shot me wuz….
    Father Z….
    Ya GOT meeeee.

  100. Fenton says:

    Thanks a lot Father!

    After seeing this post I foolishly sold the house, quit the job, pulled the kids out of Catholic School, bought a house sight unseen in St Louis and am now halfway to Missouri, sitting in a seedy motel in the middle of Buggtussel, Tennessee with my laptop on a dial-up hook up and NOW FOUND OUT IT WAS A TRICK??!!!


    The wife is really going to be pi**ed in the morning…

  101. Denise says:

    The best April Fools joke ever, Fr. Z! Had me going there for a minute!

  102. Peggy Halpin says:

    Incredulous, we wondered why the news wasn’t at the top of the blog so we went to Rorate Caeli. Nothing. Then to Comments – – of course, APRIL FOOL! Shooooot! We had a good laugh reading all the comments. But WHEN the reconciliation happens these two 80 + year olds will pray “Lord, now lettest thou thy servants depart in peace…..”Luke 2:29. We’er going to hang in there til then.

  103. Good one, Father! I’m glad I read the comments before reposting it on my own blog.

  104. Gary says:

    Now this! And just after I discovered that the word \”gullible\” is not in the dictionary.

  105. Thanks folks!

    It was fun!

Comments are closed.