QUAERITUR: Can FSSP priest say Mass in the Ordinary Form?

From a reader:

My diocese has a priest shortage, [you are not alone] and the priests we do have, many are well-passed retirement age in their 80’s and getting close to their 90’s. There’s a major concern that in the near future our diocese will experience an even greater shortage of priests because the amount of priesthood vocations are significantly less than the current rate that we are losing priests. [That is the situation in many places.]

The bishop in trying to handle the numbers is inviting two priests from the FSSP to our diocese. I’m assuming he believes people will choose the EF Mass rather than a communion service when no diocesan priest is available, and we already have a significant Latin Mass society in our diocese, which would free up a diocesan priest.

Also, I was reading a statement released by our bishop regarding lay-led funeral liturgies outside of Mass for when there’s no priest available to offer a funeral Mass (a common occurrence in the rural parishes), which made me sad because I think Catholics deserve to have a Funeral Mass unless it would cause scandal.

This made me wonder if, given the priest shortage that’s only going to get worse, would (or even could) a priest from the FSSP offer an OF Mass in such or other special circumstances if an EF Mass would not be best suited?

I cannot speak for any FSSP priest and whether or not he would say Mass in the Ordinary Form, but he certainly could do so.

As priests of the Latin Church with faculties to say Mass FSSP priests can use either form of the Roman Rite.  However, as priests of the FSSP they have a particular apostolate which involves the use of the Extraordinary Form.

It could be unfair to pressure a priest of the FSSP to use the Ordinary Form, because of the identity of the group to which he belongs and their particular apostolate.  It seems to me that this is one reason why some bishops might hesitate to bring them into the diocese.

However, it may be in the future, and not so distant, that having Mass in any form will overcome any resistance to limit Mass as much as possible to the Ordinary Form.

Communion services aren’t Mass.  Nothing is comparable.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    I understand the FSSP’s need to protect themselves against this type of pressure, but I really wish they would reconsider concelebrating at Holy Thursday’s Chrism Mass. Being present with the diocesan priests would seem like a great opportunity to be a part of the clergy community and spread the great news about Summorum Pontificum. Refraining from being there may come across as elitist. It’s not like a priest is sinning by celebrating the OF Mass. Nor is it something that must necessarily open the door to abusing this “biritualism”.

    Just my thoughts. I know the issue is very complex, but I think both higher and lower clergy need to start working to trust each other in this OF/EF co-existence.

  2. OUChevelleSS says:

    Father–I attend an FSSP parish and there was concern about my upcoming wedding, whether my family (mostly non-Catholic) would be better exposed to an English Mass or not; the priests at my parish wouldn’t be able to celebrate it, which put us in a tough spot. I thought it was due to a promise as part of their apostolate, so I was curious about your post. Then again, maybe the issue was that they didn’t know the OF. (In any case, it’s irrelevant, since our Nuptial High Mass will be in the Extraordinary Form).

  3. don Jeffry says:

    “I’m assuming he believes people will choose the EF Mass rather than a communion service when no diocesan priest is available…”
    There should be no communion service when there is a EF Mass. The people are obligated to go to the EF Mass if there is no OF Mass. A communion service would be extremely wrong to do for it offers an alternative to an obligation.

  4. Choirmaster says:

    I’m all for such priests offering Mass in the OF! I would even consider breaking my EF streak to witness such a celebration: a study in continuity, I’m sure.

    Although I think…

    having Mass in any form [overcoming] any resistance to limit Mass as much as possible to the Ordinary Form

    …would be a more useful development.

  5. rfox2 says:

    I’m not 100% sure about this, but in speaking with an FSSP priest that I know fairly well, the priests of the order are not allowed to celebrate Mass in the ordinary form. I believe that is written into their Constitutions, not to mention their particular ministry. Celebrating the EF is their raison d’être.

    If that’s the case, it’s not only improper to ask an FSSP priest to celebrate the OF, but it would be contrary to their existence as a priestly order. However, I’m sure that an FSSP priest who is also a pastor of a parish would be willing to allow the OF to be celebrated at their parish by a non-FSSP priest.

  6. I have known FSSP priests to serve as concelebrants at their bishop’s annual chrism Mass.

    Although they do not reject the OF Mass in principle, I do not know of any FSSP priest who would actually celebrate an OF Mass himself (as the only or principle celebrant).

    I know one FSSP priest who is definitive in affirming publicly the validity and efficacy of the OF Mass. When asked why he does celebrate it himself, he replied that, on each and every occasion when he celebrates Mass, he simply wants to offer the Holy Sacrifice in the very most perfect way he can, and never offer to God anything less than his very best.

  7. Maybe I’m getting in over my head, but…

    Fr. Z has often quipped that priests aren’t ordained for a particular book. Does the FSSP believe differently? Does their charism really make celebration of the OF of the Mass illicit for its priests? What would be the appearance of a religious order or confraternity that charged its priests not to celebrate the EF?

    If the priests of the FSSP are priests of the Roman Rite, they should be allowed to celebrate any licit form of that Rite.

    [I believe they are “allowed”. However, because the belong to a group with a specific apostolate, which includes being an attractive alternative to the SSPX, they therefore don’t say the OF.]

  8. Mercier says:

    I have never heard of an FSSP priest celebrating the OF, as the principal celebrant. However, as Mr. Edwards said some do take part in the Chrism Mass. My understanding is that this was not the case until the infamous protocol of 1999 where they were forced to allow this by the CDW.

    It should be noted though that under an order’s particular constitutions members may be constrained from even celebrating the new rite. This opinion comes from no less than Bp. Stankiewicz dean of the Roman Rota. Source: http://benedictines-immaculate.blogspot.com/2009/08/visite-mgr-guido-pozzo.html

  9. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Isn’t the obvious answer to allow FSSP priests to help out and say Masses anywhere they are needed by saying the Extraordinary Form/the Tridentine Mass? Its not like the EF is outlawed.

    The one problem that presents itself are altars that make the EF difficult to say. Well, then, bring an altar, folding platform, the needed vestments and supplies. Where there’s a will there’s a way. The sheep are starving. Do something!

  10. Supertradmum says:

    The FSSP priest with whom I am a personal friend has agreed to say the OF, as needed, as he is in a parish with both, another priest saying regularly the OF. That was part of the agreement with the bishop of the diocese where he works, that, if needed, he would be willing to say the OF. I do not actually know whether he has actually done this, but the situation is such that he has been asked to be open to this and has agreed. I was under the impression that the Order has always been open to both forms, as needed, in an area. Perhaps an FSSP priest can clarify whether it is part of the Order’s charism to say both as needed..

  11. Mercier says:

    ^Supertradmum: First off let me say I am not in any way affiliated with the order. From what I have read the members of the order were not permitted to say the NO at all including concelebration of the Chrism Mass. This lasted until 1999 where 16 Fraternity priests in France wrote to the CDW behind the superior general’s back to overturn this policy. The CDW intervened on the side of the French priests, and then interfered in the elections of the superior general of the Fraternity. The old policy of not permitting any celebration of the NO had majority support within the order when the CDW intervened. At this point I am not sure what the opinion of the Fraternity is on this issue.

    An account with copies of the letters from the 16 priests, the superior general, and the CDW can be found here: http://www.vancouvervtms.com/wd/TradLatinMasses/Commentary/Protocol%201411.htm

  12. Supertradmum,

    The liturgical charism of the FSSP is devoted exclusively to the traditional (EF) Roman rite, according to the statement at http://fssp.org/en/liturgie1962.htm

    So far as I know, at no time in its history has the order ever as a general matter “been open to both forms, as needed, in an area.”

    The only I example I personally know–of an FSSP priest who celebrated both forms regularly in a parish–is one who after not so long a time left the FSSP and became a priest of the diocese. (Perhaps others know of different examples.)

    At any rate, I fail to see this as a question of two forms of the Roman rite that not only under UE “stand alongside each other” in a juridical sense, but moreover are on some kind of liturgical par.

    For instance, one of these forms is reported in virtually every diocese of the world to suffer in practice from various serious problems, while virtually every celebration of the other form that one hears about is described in glowing terms by people of the most exacting liturgical sensitivities.

  13. Supertradmum says:

    Thank you, Henry Edwards. The priest I know has actually never said the OF, but there seems to be some agreement as to need in an area where there are very few priests. Perhaps your statement and mine are not mutually exclusive. However, I do think that some bishops have asked, at least in theory, for this openness. Again, it would be nice to hear from FSSP priests on this matter. Thanks for clarifying the “charism” part.

  14. mwk3 says:

    @Tina: ‘Isn’t the obvious answer to allow FSSP priests to help out and say Masses anywhere they are needed by saying the Extraordinary Form/the Tridentine Mass? Its not like the EF is outlawed.’

    Indeed! The EF is not some mysterious quasi-cultish rite but the liturgy of the Church. Frankly, I think it is time some people become irritated (and it is already happening).

    One of my Fraternity friends gave me the impression that no FSSP priest can be compelled to say the OF. He was very clear about this (in fact, mentioned it as one of the main reasons he was happy to be in the Fraternity, having previously been a diocesan priest). Maybe I misunderstood, though, but it was his very adamant understanding that he would never have to say the OF ever again.

  15. asperges says:

    Mons. Pozzo told us that according to the letter accompanying the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, the roman rite exists under two forms and that no priest “can refuse to celebrate in principle, in either form» (link quoted by Mercier above).

    What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. No-one seems to think it odd that many OF priests refuse point blank to celebrate or have anything to do with the EF. The pressure should not be on those priests who are attached to the older rite. Similarly the document “Universae Ecclesiae” was immediately waved in the faces of traditionalists to say “Look, this now proves the OF is as good as the EF!” The very opposite of what the document intended to convey.

    Sheer humbug and manipulation. This kind of nonsense is deliberately aimed to put people unnecessarily on the defence when none is needed.

  16. Maltese says:

    Why not just worship the Holy Sacrifice in the EF as your ancestors and the greatest Saints did for over a 1,500 years? Why pressure this Priest to worship in a deficient rite, that does little to generate wonder in the Holy Sacrifice?

  17. TrueLiturgy says:

    This issue was raised by the FSSP Priests at one time. The Pope has clarified that the FSSP Priests may celebrate the OF if they desire. Their superiors do not wish it. The superiors prefer to be in chior for the Chrism Mass. All that said, since they are of Pontifical Right, no Bishop may force them to say the OF.

  18. BobP says:

    I agree with Fr Z. One of the reasons why Latin Massers choose the FSSP priest over a diocesan priest or an SSPX priest is because the FSSP priest is perceived as a specialist of the EF and in communion with Rome. One equates FSSP with the EF. You wouldn’t make an appointment with a cardiologist for a foot problem, would you? How would that look to his heart patients?

  19. asperges says: “What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. No-one seems to think it odd that many OF priests refuse point blank to celebrate or have anything to do with the EF. The pressure should not be on those priests who are attached to the older rite.”

    And, vice-versa, it would seem? I do, after all, get the sense that there are people about who want very to have pressure put on parish priests to say the EF whether they want to or not.

    Personally, I find it disturbing what any priest would say that he “will not say” one or the other form of the Roman Rite.

  20. Jackie L says:

    I remember hearing (maybe from WDTPRS) a few years ago about a FSSP priest in Indiana who was leaving the order to become a priest of the diocese, I thought he said that while still with the FSSP he helped with communion at the NO mass on occasion, and may have even celebrated it on occasion while still with the FSSP.

    What I don’t understand, is if you have one group which is growing, and one which is shrinking, why would you have the growing group take on characteristics of the shrinking group?

  21. Pachomius says:

    Tina from Ashburn, not everyone likes the EF, or particularly wants to go to the Mass celebrated in that Form. It would be the opposite of the spirit of SP/UE, in imposing the EF on people who neither asked for nor wanted it.

    I do understand that for those who prefer the EF, it can feel much the other way around, and if you want it you should have it so far as I’m concerned, but matching an unfairness with an equal and opposite unfairness serves no-one. And just think of the division and strife it would cause for the bishop, who would be accused of imposing this Form whether the parishioners wanted it or not, with or without their consultation or consent…

  22. Jack Hughes says:

    I sometimes joke that if the local FSSP Priest concenlebates on Holy Thursday then he needs to re-read the GIRM every year :)

  23. Lucas says:

    In my very humble opinion, if FSSP priests offered to say the OF in addition to the EF, more Bishops would be open to them coming into their diocese.

    Not that I’m in favor of that, I just think it would be true.

  24. trad catholic mom says:

    It makes no sense to me at all for FSSP priests to celebrate the OF. If a diocese is lacking priests for masses and has FSSP priests available let them celebrate the EF. OF masses extremely outnumber EF masses in the US ( I can’t speak for anywhere else in the world). Why the few priests we have available that are able to offer a diocese the EF should instead be made to offer the OF is beyond me. As it is there is a severe shortage of EF masses.

  25. Panterina says:

    Well, for one thing they have to be trained in how to celebrate the OF. And they also have to demonstrate a sufficient knowledge of the vernacular. ;-)

  26. David2 says:

    … and very few Churches built for the celebration of the older form of the rite have the necessary space to accommodate liturgical dancers and giant puppets …

    I know of at least one occasion on which a FSSP priest “filled in” at a neighbouring NO parish. This was on the understanding that he would only say the EF. He said he didn’t have any idea how to say the Novus Ordo because he’d never been trained so to do. He was not “idonei”! The pastor of the parish in question, and the laity were uniformly grateful and appreciative.

    The solotion, to my mind, is to do exactly what the above FSSP priest did. An EF Mass is clearly preferable to a Communion Service or the like. My understanding is that faced with the choice between the above on a Holy Day of Obligation, the faithful are obliged to attend the Extraordinary Form. If the laity attached to the Novus Ordo don’t like it, they should offer it up; and perhaps ask themselves some tough questions as to why one of the most significant fruits of the “spirit of Vatican II” has been a priest shortage.

    So in short, let the FSSP be faithful to their charism. Those poor things forced to “endure” the EF on occasion should shut up, pray and be grateful for the vocation of the priest. You never know, they might even gain some special graces.

  27. Supertradmum says:

    This is an old reference, 2007, but Father Berg, then already head of the FSSPs, stated this in response to a question at http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/mershon/081016 : So in your tenure thus far, you haven’t had any bishops categorically state that your priests must concelebrate or you aren’t going to be allowed in our diocese?

    No, I haven’t had that happen in any country. (Berg)

  28. vivaldi says:

    In my experince, FSSP Priests loathe the new mass just as much as SSPX Priests do. The difference being the FSSP Priests cannot openly criticise the New Mass because they depend on Novus Ordo Bishops for their existence. If FSSP Priests start saying the New Mass it is their death.

  29. NewCatholic says:

    I do not know if this is related to the passion with which we, traditional-minded and conservative Catholics, try to live our faith and that may explain a relatively dominant position on the web by which we somewhat compensate the minority position we have in most of the Church – but this may lead some to the common mistake of assuming this virtual dominance could be reflected on the ground. It isn’t. In fact, the position of the new liturgy is so dominant, so overwhelming, so widespread throughout the Latin Church worldwide that it could explain the mindset of that reader and/or his bishop (I should say new “liturgies”, and without any malice, due to its intense variety and, for lack of a better word, “diversity” throughout the world and, in fact, even in each diocese).

    On the other hand, there are particular Societies and Institutes dedicated to the sanctification of its members by preserving the purest legacy, liturgical and otherwise, of the Latin Church.

    These (the absolutely overwhelming and, in many cases, suffocating presence of the “Ordinary Form” and the specific calling and charism of the members of certain societies and institutes) should be the perspectives with which one should see this question. If the bishop wants good, conservative, priests celebrating regularly both the traditional and the new rites and reducing the problem caused by “priest shortage”, then perhaps he should consider improving his seminary – those particular societies and institutes really should not be taken into consideration if the main concern is “priest shortage”. (I write “priest shortage” because I assume that the questioner is an American, and there is no “priest shortage” almost anywhere in America, except for some territorially large dioceses and a few other places – there is ineffective allocation of resources, which, if corrected, could lead to some “discomfort”; there is actual priest shortage in most of Latin America, Africa, and Asia, and in parts of Europe, not in most American dioceses, at least not yet.)

  30. NewCatholic says:

    “On the other hand, there are particular Societies and Institutes dedicated to the sanctification of THEIR members by preserving the purest legacy, liturgical and otherwise, of the Latin Church.”

  31. APX says:


    One of the reasons why Latin Massers choose the FSSP priest over a diocesan priest or an SSPX priest is because the FSSP priest is perceived as a specialist of the EF and in communion with Rome. One equates FSSP with the EF.

    This is true; I’ll agree with you on this. That said…

    You wouldn’t make an appointment with a cardiologist for a foot problem, would you? How would that look to his heart patients?

    No, but the cardiologist is still a doctor and, say for example, he’s out camping and comes across a pregnant woman who goes into labour early and starts crowning before she can get to the hospital. Do you think the cardiologist is going to say, “Sorry, I’m a cardiologist. I don’t do childbirth. Why don’t you ask an ob/gyn or general practitioner and have them deliver your baby? Oh, there isn’t one available to do it? Here, I have a book with the instructions on how to do one when there’s no doctor available. I’ll just give it to Joe Blow over there and get him to deliver your baby for you.”? How would that look???

    I would wonder about the charity of anyone who questions and gets upset over a doctor assisting in a special circumstance that’s still in his field, but out of his specialization. Personally, I wouldn’t care what others think about me for doing what I believe to be the right thing to do given the circumstances. I would explain why I did what I did, and what the positive outcome that came from it, and the negative outcome that was avoided, but I wouldn’t get hung up about what people would think of me with the exception the Just Judge whom I would be accountable to.

    From what I can gather from what the questioner is asking about, they’re wondering about special/emergency circumstances when there isn’t another diocesan priest available and the two other options are the FSSP priest, or layperson.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that there’s a priest shortage (I live in Canada, and the majority of our priests are either visiting priests on missions or sabbaticals from other countries) and it has an effect on unforeseen circumstances such as funerals. I can’t even imagine a “lay-led funeral service outside of the Mass.”
    On the FSSP and the OF Mass, I don’t think they should be forced to offer it. I don’t think they should have to be forced to offer to say it should the need arise. There is a priest shortage, and I would hope out of their own charity, the priest would be willing to help out in a pinch such as with funerals, especially if it meant the difference between having a priest offer Mass and having a “lay-led liturgy service.” I wouldn’t have a problem if he tried to encourage the family to have an EF Requiem Mass, and explain what it is and why they’re done, but if the family isn’t having it (I could understand this. My first EF Mass was disorientating enough under normal circumstances. A funeral might not be the right time to introduce the family to a different form of Mass in a language they’re not used to.) I think the priest should do the pastoral and charitable thing, and offer to say the OF Mass for the family.

    I also don’t think his superiors or any other members of the fraternity should chastise him in any way for doing so. What does that say to people? They’re still part of the Catholic Church, which is going through various crises at the moment. They should be willing to go out of their comfort zone just a bit when their priestly help is needed. As far as what I can gather, saying the OF Mass isn’t a canonical crime, the FSSP do accept it as valid, and the translation is being corrected. Furthermore, if they’re the one offering it, it’s going to be reverent. Possibly one of the most reverent OF Masses most laity have ever been to. It really shouldn’t be that big of a deal to offer the OF Mass on the odd rare occasion.

    @ David2
    let the FSSP be faithful to their charism. Those poor things forced to “endure” the EF on occasion should shut up, pray and be grateful for the vocation of the priest.

    Wow…just wow… See, I love the EF Mass and the FSSP, but it’s attitudes like that which makes loathe most Traditionalists. I just had to deal with our Latin Mass society’s schola director who felt the need to brag to me after Mass that she refused the bishop’s request to teach the diocesan choir how to sing Gregorian Chant and polyphony. I can’t stand “traditude.”

  32. JP Borberg says:

    Hold on, if there are only FSSP priests available to say Mass, why do they have to use the new rite? If the FSSP are the only option does anyone have the right to demand they NO Mass? Since when have beggars been choosers?

    I mean, if Eastern rite priests were called in to help would they be forced to say the NO too?

    Or am I the only one who thinks that introduce people to a little culture might actually be drawing something good from the priest shortage?

  33. Supertradmum says:

    New Catholic,

    There is a serious priest shortage in America and in Europe. In 2015, for 100,000 Catholics, my home diocese of Davenport will have only fifteen active priests. And, there are other places where this is the case. Arundel and Brighton in England has about 17 seminarians and over 120,000 Catholics and most of the acting priests are old, some working way beyond retirement age. Do the math. It is common in the Midwest of the States not to have two priests in a parish, but only one. My old parish in England has over 800 people on the books, about 300 who come to Mass and two priests, who serve three other parishes as well-four parishes, two priests. In Canada, my old, dear pastor in Alberta, has seven parishes, five of which he visits weekly on a rotating basis, saying five Masses on a weekend. I do not know where you live, but wherever I have lived there is a serious priest shortage.

  34. NewCatholic says:

    Sorry, Supertradmum, it is not a shortage compared to the priest shortage elsewhere, that is, comparatively: by all means, do the math, look at “Catholics per priest” ratios in the major dioceses in the three largest Catholic nations; America’s position is enviable:


    The American and Western European situation is shocking compared to the abundance of the pre-Conciliar decades. And the prospects for the future are mostly dark – I will grant you those. Whose fault is it?… One need only look to most Latin Mass communities, true furnaces of vocations…

  35. David2 says:

    There’s a certain chutzpah here, isn’t there?

    Spend decades doing things that appear to undermine vocations and turn away solid orthodox men from your seminaries, and then ask the FSSP to pick up the pieces, provided they ignore their charism …

    Once upon a time, the FSSP was just about the “only show in town” in some parts of the world, for priests who wanted to say the older Mass licitly. Post Summorum Pontificum, that is not the case. A man would not be in the FSSP if he wanted to say the new Mass.

    “Beggers can’t be choosers” sums it up quite nicely. I doubt we’ll ever see Fr McBrien offering a Solemn TLM, and we respect that choice. To not respect the specific charism of the FSSP says, in effect that the extraordinary form is somehow second-rate or inferior, which clearly it is not.

    Indeed, one might see this as somewhat providential, exposing people who would otherwise be reluctant, or even antagonistic, to the riches of tradition. Some who come to mock may stay to pray.

    In my opinion, the spirituality of the FSSP is like a young sapling at the moment, it needs to be protected from the protastantized zeitgeist in the Church until it is strong enough to take root and foster a widespread return to tradition.

  36. Jim of Bowie says:

    David2, you should get the Gold Star of the Day.

  37. muckemdanno says:

    If a priest belongs to a “society of apostolic life” which has a rule to use only the Old Missal, then a priest must use the old rite. In S.P., The pope grants all priests the rite to use either missal, but he grants to societies such as FSSP the right to make laws that its members must use the old rite. I believe that FSSP has done exactly that. So an FSSP priest, per the laws of FSSP, must use the old missal. He can’t use the new missal.

    From Summorum Pontificum:

    Art. 3. Communities of Institutes of consecrated life and of Societies of apostolic life, of either pontifical or diocesan right, wishing to celebrate Mass in accordance with the edition of the Roman Missal promulgated in 1962, for conventual or “community” celebration in their oratories, may do so. If an individual community or an entire Institute or Society wishes to undertake such celebrations often, habitually or permanently , the decision must be taken by the Superiors Major, in accordance with the law and following their own specific decrees and statues.

  38. muckemdanno says:

    So, really, there are some priests of the Latin Rite who can use either rite (such as parish priests) and there are other priests of the Latin Rite who may use only the Traditional Missal (such as FSSP priests.)

    In other words, every priest is allowed to use the old missal, but some priests are forbidden from the use of the new missal.

  39. Hieronymus says:

    Sooooo, after 40 years of “renewed” liturgy, vocations have dried up. [I don’t think that is true everywhere. In my native place the seminary is so full that they are now housing men at the old convent of a nearby parish. But it is true that vocations are not at “replacement” rate yet.] And yet, the traditional seminaries are filled to capacity and expanding….And some of you think that now the traditional orders should be taking up the new rite to fill in?!?!? Unbelievable.
    The process of divine selection is playing out. Let the new liturgy die with the revolutionaries that forced it on the church.

  40. old_sage says:

    Maybe that’s what the liberals want to achieve…softly-softly involving FSSP priests in the NO liturgy / rites.
    Vivaldi said, “FSSP Priests cannot openly criticise the New Mass because they depend on Novus Ordo Bishops for their existence”. From what I’ve read on the web (and I sure don’t believe a lot of the strange stuff I’ve read), the FSSP ‘founders’ came from the SSPX, so you can only wonder why they left the SSPX.

  41. Maltese says:

    “…the spirituality of the FSSP…needs to be protected from the protastantized zeitgeist in the Church until it is strong enough to take root and foster a widespread return to tradition.”

    Very true! And let’s not forget that this protestantization, with respect to holy mass, the greatest prayer in the Catholic faith, started with Paul VI:

    “Pope Paul VI’s intention was to assimilate the Catholic liturgy to the Protestant…” [Alfons Cardinal Stickler]

  42. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:


    Perhaps the Priestly Fraternity is best known of the traditional orders, but there are others. Maybe we here should do two things: 1) Consider why orders set up with the express purpose of saying the older rite woud need to be required to use the newer rite — (Yes, I know that it has partly occurred here, but to understand their reluctance is only part of the question); 2) To consider the other orders and institutes and such. In fact, why don’t we make a list of these orders, so we can see how well tradition fares: little mustard seeds bursting out all over everywhere.

  43. ALL: I know there isn’t a full moon right now, though I was tempted to imagine that there was.

    WARNING: Exercise some self-editing before posting here. I am itching to ban someone today. Moderating your tone about just about everything and everyone would be a good idea.

  44. I think that part of the debate here leads back to a simple question– why is a priest ordained? My answer is that they are ordained to serve. A priest is often not called to serve in the way that pleases himself the most, or in the way that is most fulfilling for him, or the way that is most convenient for him. He often has to lay aside his own desires for the sake of the sheep, just as Christ did. It may also not be for him to decide what is best for the sheep or what they need most. It may be that on a given day, a priest who prefers the extraordinary form is called to serve by showing that the ordinary form can be lots better than it is normally offered. The priest who offers the weekly extraordinary form Mass near me also offers ordinary form Masses during the week at another parish with the same reverence and sobriety that he brings to the extraordinary form. Every priest needs to be ready to lay down his life for the people, and that is not always pleasant for him.

    I think part of the problem here too is the idea that even an occasional ordinary form Mass is going to do violence to an FSSP priest’s charism or purpose. That defines such a thing far too narrowly and is inconsistent with the general calling of a priest. Every priest has to be ready to go where he is needed and do what he is needed to do, and when one signs up for God’s army, he doesn’t always get “what he signed up for,” so to speak. One elderly priest in my diocese joined a religious order which was dissolved shortly after he joined, and he wound up as a diocesan priest.
    As I often say, one does not have to like everything he must do, but he must do it nonetheless.

  45. albinus1 says:

    One of things that has occured to me about the priest “shortage” is that perhaps it is really only a “shortage” in comparison with what many of us regard as “normal” or “proper” — i.e., the situation of relative clergy abundance in the mid-20th-century American Church. But looking over the whole history of the Church, perhaps that mid-century situation — the one that our parents and grandparents, and many of us who are old enough, came to regard as “normal” — was, in fact, a historial aberration due in part to a number of social and economic factors in addition to ecclesiastical ones. After all, when Catholics in the US were predominantly found in immigrant/ethnic and working-class communities, there were fewer opportunities for a bright, ambitious — and, yes, devout — young man to get a good education and enter a respected profession. Unfortunately, much of the current parochial and diocesan structure in the US was built during that time of relative clergy abundance, and was predicated on regarding it as “normal” and likely to continue. We all see what has happened now that that has not proven to be the case.

    While I am not disputing the disastrous effect that the post-Vatican II period has had on vocations, I wonder whether we are actually returning to a clergy/faithful ratio that is historically more common, and that, while vocations are picking up and will continue to do so, we will never return to the level of 60-70 years ago.

  46. Alice says:

    JP Borberg,
    “I mean, if Eastern rite priests were called in to help would they be forced to say the NO too?”

    As far as I know, the answer to that question is “yes.” If Priest’s Wife is reading, she can probably give more details, but it’s been my experience that priests serve in the rite of the people.

  47. John Nolan says:

    @ Alice

    The ‘rite of the people’ is an unfortunate turn of phrase – I presume you mean the rite of the Church in a particular locality and cultural milieu. One of the regrettable things about the last 40-odd years is the tendency, now increasingly challenged, of the liturgy to be regarded as a bottom-up construct, a way in which a particular community chooses to worship. I know quite a few priests who are bi-ritual concerning the OF and EF, and let’s face it, if you can celebrate the latter the former is a doddle. I have heard foreign priests struggling to celebrate in English, which is one reason for both priests and people to be familiar with the OF in Latin.

  48. Dan says:

    I was under the impression that Pope Benedict’s letter accompanying Summorum Pontificum answered this question:

    “Needless to say, in order to experience full communion, the priests of the communities adhering to the former usage cannot, as a matter of principle, exclude celebrating according to the new books. The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness.”

    I see no reason why any Catholic priest would refuse to say either form of the one Roman Rite. Sure, all may have a preference, but if there is a need to say either form on a certain occasion all priests should be able and willing to do both.

    We often discuss the baggage that certain liberals bring to the Church, but there is also a lot of psychological baggage that some traditionalists need to jetison as well. As one who attends both forms on a regular basis, I have to say that I often find attitudes among “traditionalist” congregations to be very distateful … as a priest friend of mine who has been saying the EF for 25 years told me, “I don’t know what it is about this Mass, but it sure does bring out the nutcases.” Uncharitable? Maybe. Honest? Yes.

    I think we should all be comfortable following the lead of Pope Benedict…insisting on exclusivity for either form is not consistent with his “Marshall Plan” for the Church universal.

  49. dcs says:

    it’s been my experience that priests serve in the rite of the people.

    The traditional Latin Mass is part of the Roman Rite, so it is the rite of (most of) those who belong to the Latin Church.

  50. dcs says:

    I see no reason why any Catholic priest would refuse to say either form of the one Roman Rite. Sure, all may have a preference, but if there is a need to say either form on a certain occasion all priests should be able and willing to do both.

    Diocesan priests are ordained to celebrate the Roman Rite, which has both ordinary and extraordinary forms. Priests of the FSSP are ordained to celebrate the traditional Mass and Sacraments. That is the difference.

  51. BobP says:

    “Well, for one thing they have to be trained in how to celebrate the OF. And they also have to demonstrate a sufficient knowledge of the vernacular. ;-)”

    Indeed. There seems to be a higher demand of Spanish-speaking priests in my area. Now if all Catholics could accept the EF or at least an OF in Latin…

  52. Pachomius says:

    JP Borberg, the difference it seems to me is that an Eastern Rite priest is part of a different church (albeit one that is still part of the Church, if you see what I mean), whereas an FSSP priest is not. An Eastern Rite priest therefore wouldn’t celebrate the Latin Rite at all, since he isn’t a Latin priest. And I’m not sure if he would be allowed to minister to a Latin parish, anyway, what with being a priest ordained into an Eastern Rite.

    Presumably, he could get biritual faculties, in which case he would presumably celebrate whichever form he was trained in – most likely the OF.

  53. APX says:

    @dcs says:

    Diocesan priests are ordained to celebrate the Roman Rite, which has both ordinary and extraordinary forms. Priests of the FSSP are ordained to celebrate the traditional Mass and Sacraments. That is the difference.

    Hmm…then that would suggest that any priest who started out diocesan and was originally “ordained to celebrate the Roman Rite” but then decided he wanted to join the FSSP, was accepted and went to their seminary is free to celebrate both forms because he wasn’t “ordained to celebrate the traditional Mass and Sacraments.”

    What you’re saying is flawed because there aren’t two separate ordinations to the priesthood where one is “ordained to celebrate X” and one is “ordained to celebrate Y”. Once a priest is ordained a priest, he’s a priest. It’s not like the FSSP re-ordain former diocesan priests.

  54. JP Borberg says:

    Thanks Alice John Nolan and Pachomius,

    I’m aware a priest have some sort of licence to celebrate a given rite (there’s a technical word for it which I admit to not knowing) so an Eastern Rite priest can just waltz in and say a Latin rite Mass.

    What I was asking was along the lines of whether, if a priest is invited to a parish to celebrate Mass because they don’t have a priest of their own, the priest needs to change his rite to suit the congregation, or if the congregation needs to man up and accept the rite of the priest? I think this is the question Alice tentatively answered.

    Personally, I’ve only ever experienced the OF, EF and the traditional Dominican rite, and I’d jump at the opportunity to attend a Sacred Liturgy in another rite. I believe that is a healthy attitude.

  55. jlduskey says:

    With regard to concelebration, I think we need to look more closely at the reasons for having a concelebration. There ought to be some kind of restriction so that it will be clear that the normal way of celebrating mass is to have one priest who is offering a sacrifice. Concelebration should not be done if the only reason for it is participation in a social event. Such a usage would promote confusion about the priesthood, creating the impression that the principal celebrant is the leader of a social group, and that the other concelebrants are demonstrating their membership in that group.
    There are a few good reasons for concelebration. If there is a priest who, because of some disability, is unable to perform all the duties of a priest at a public mass, it may be best for him to celebrate with another priest. If there is some compelling reason due to restrictions of time and space, such that a priest would be unable to offer mass on his own, he should be able to concelebrate with another priest. But it should never happen with such a large group of priests (say, for example, more than 10 or 12) that they are not all specifically known to each other.
    And, since a concelebrated mass is really one mass and not several, there should be only one intention and one stipend. I believe there is such a restriction as this in canon law.
    Given these kinds of restrictions, it would be easy to see why any priest (not just an FSSP priest) might want to avoid participation in a concelebrated chrism mass on Holy Thursday. But perhaps it is the FSSP priests who have a real focus on the sacrificial priesthood and who want to avoid turning that priesthood into a social event.
    And, I think, it is the lack of focus on the sacrificial priesthood that has led to a decline in vocations in some places and among some groups of priests.

  56. vivaldi says:

    @ Maltese. The Priests that left the SSPX to form the FSSP did so after the 1988 Episcopal Concecrations whereby excommunications were imposed upon the Bishops. The excommunications have since been lifted and many believe they did not actually exist anyway as the concecrations were considered necessary for the continuation of the Traditional Priesthood. God willing, Rome will soon condemn the errors that have plagued the Church in recent decades which will pave the way for not only a regularisation of the SSPX canonically but also the restoration of the Liturgy and the transmition of true doctrine.

  57. robtbrown says:

    It’s not a matter of a priest having been ordained for the FSSP but rather the Constitutions, which clearly state: The particular aim of the Fraternity of Saint Peter is to achieve this objective through the faithful observance of the “liturgical and spiritual traditions” according to the dispositions of the Motu proprio Ecclesia Dei of July 2, 1988, which is at the origin of its foundation. Thus the conclusion that no FSSP priest can be forced to celebrate using the 1970 Missal.

    Almost 40 years ago, when 4 of us discovered the Abbey at Fontgombault, we were told that the abbot had been asked by the bishop if he, owing to the priest shortage, could furnish some priests for Sunday masses at nearby parishes. If memory serves, his answer was similar to that of the FSSP: If any want to do it, they can–but no one will be ordered to do it because that is outside the concept of the monastic vocation.

    IMHO, this brings us to the main flaw in the Church of at least the last century: The willingness to forgo some aspect of Catholic life (both lay and clerical) for expediency. And so Latin was dropped (and versus populum celebration introduced) because it was an obstacle to the Progress of Man Ideology and Protestant Ecumenism (the two are not mutually exclusive). Benedictines worked in parishes. Dominicans studied theology intended to undermine St Thomas. Religious whose constitutions centered on the community life were given assignments with little or no community life. And in the US the diocesan priesthood was reduced to parochial assignments.

    In all this the obvious conclusion is that the attempts to make the clerical life more pastoral have in fact made it less.

  58. mitch_wa says:

    When I was interested in seminary (a while back, I’m married now) I contacted the FSSP with some questions. I was really interested in their seminary, and they told me that they generally don’t accept people who have an interest in celebrating the OF. And that FSSP priests typically never celebrate it and are discouraged from doing so. I even asked if ones siblings were getting married and wanted an OF wedding or if a parent passed away and the family wanted an OF funeral would one be allowed to celebrate it. The contact for potential seminarians said no, not that it was impossible but discouraged to the point it was impossible. He recommended I check out a different program. It left a bad taste in my mouth, that’s for sure.

  59. If a priest truly believes with all his heart and mind that the TLM is the one and only perfect worship of God inspired over the centuries by the Holy Spirit, then perhaps one can understand an unwillingness to celebrate Mass in any other form, even once.

    Except in the case that’s he’s come to this belief–as I believe happens–only upon learning to celebrate the TLM after having previously ordained as an ordinary diocesan priest, and therefore is obliged by his promise and vocation to celebrate the OF Mass.

  60. robtbrown says:

    mitch_wa says:

    In so far as, the Constitutions of the FSSP say that the Fraternity exists to promote use of the 1962 Missal, I wonder why you should have been offended when you were told use of the 1970 Missal would have been discouraged. Would it have left a bad taste in your mouth if you have visited the Jesuits, asked about the possibility of living in a cloister with community liturgy, and were told that would be discouraged?

    Keep in mind that there is a huge supply-demand difference between the OF and the EF. In the case of the former, supply exceeds demand (cf. empty pews). In the case of the latter, demand exceeds supply. Also remember that for years Catholics have asked priests/bishops for Latin masses and were given a rigid no. The problem is not that FSSP priests refuse to use the 1970 Missal, but rather that most other priests refuse to use the 1962 Missal.

  61. robtbrown says:

    “mitch_wa” says should be:


  62. Ezra says:

    It left a bad taste in my mouth, that’s for sure.

    Like robtbrown, I find this hard to understand. What did you expect the FSSP to say? “We like lace and bells, but are indifferent about which rite of Mass our priests use”?

    The Church has countless religious orders and congregations where celebration of the Extraordinary Form was – and in many cases still is – “discouraged to the point it was impossible”. The FSSP, which was founded for those sons of Archbishop Lefebvre who considered the 1988 consecrations a step too far from visible unity and obedience, has a charism which is centred on the Extraordinary Form and adherence to the Church’s traditional teachings and disciplines. While many FSSP priests would doubtless echo Pope Benedict’s criticisms of the liturgical reforms, none deny the validity or legitimacy of the Novus Ordo. Where’s the problem? It’s not as if aspirant seminarians who want to celebrate the Novus Ordo are starved for choice.

  63. APX says:

    @Henry Edwards

    If a priest truly believes with all his heart and mind that the TLM is the one and only perfect worship of God inspired over the centuries by the Holy Spirit, then perhaps one can understand an unwillingness to celebrate Mass in any other form, even once.

    That would raise a lot of red flags for me given that the OF Mass is perfectly valid, and when celebrated with reverence and the way in which it was intended to be celebrated is just as perfect worship of God. Would said priest be willing to say to the Pope that the OF Mass he celebrates is not perfect worship of God??

    Except in the case that’s he’s come to this belief–as I believe happens–only upon learning to celebrate the TLM after having previously ordained as an ordinary diocesan priest, and therefore is obliged by his promise and vocation to celebrate the OF Mass.

    I just checked the promises made during ordination and I don’t see any “promise and vocation to celebrate the OF Mass.”

    Aside from the promise of obedience to the bishop and his successors, this is what I read:

    -Promise to discharge the office of priesthood in the presbyteral rank as worthy fellow workers with the Order of Bishops.

    -Promise to exercise the ministry of the Word worthily and wisely, preaching the Gospel and teaching the Catholic Faith

    -Promise to celebrate faithfully and reverently the mysteries of Christ handed down by the Church, especially the sacrifice of the the Eucharist and the sacrament of Reconciliation, for the Glory of God and the sanctification of the Christian people

    -Promise to implore God’s mercy upon people entrusted to their care by observing the command to pray without ceasing

    -Promise to be united more closely every day to Christ the High Priest, who offered himself for us to the Father as a pure sacrifice and to consecrate themselves to God for the salvation of all

    I don’t see anything that specifies which form of Mass. I’m very curious about the promises made during Ordination according to the 1962 Order of Sacraments. Something tells me there’s nothing specifying a certain form of Mass, and that they’re ordained for the ENTIRE Roman Catholic Church.

    While I can understand and I appreciate their attachment to the traditional Mass and its Sacraments, if something happens that prohibits them from being able to celebrate Mass according to the 1962 Missale Romanum (ie: natural disaster wipes out the church where the FSSP celebrates Mass and destroys everything in it, including their 1962 Missal, and the FSSP House goes too along with their back up Missals. The internet, phone lines, mail service, etc is down too, so it’ll be a long time before a replacement can be acquired. However, St. Agatha Parish managed to survive said natural disaster, but Father got injured and can’t celebrate Mass. To keep a long story short, the only other priest who can get to the parish is Fr. Old Mass, but only the new Missal is available, and the people really need Mass.) Is he going to step up to the plate and set aside his attachment to the Traditional Mass and saying the ordinary form of Mass for the people, or is he going to stand by his Fraternity and refuse to celebrate Mass unless it’s the traditional form?

    Like I said, I don’t think any priest should be forced to say either form of Mass. I think this comes down to being willing to do what God wants and asks him to do, and what it means to be a priest.

    I don’t know. There’s just something about being overly attached to one form of celebrating Mass that a priest wouldn’t be willing to celebrate another perfectly valid form of Mass should the need arise that just screams excessive pride to me.

  64. Tom T says:

    I have posted this information on Fr. Z`s blog once before, however in light of the current discussions and in an effort to maybe bring sides together, I`ll post it once more. There was an article in the May 16th, 2011 new service CNS called ” Benedicts Reform of the Reform” wherein the President of the Pontical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal Kurt Koch the Vatican`s top ecumenist states that the Pope`s long-term plan is not to simply allow the old and the new rites to co-exist, but to move toward a “common rite” that is shaped by the mutual enrichment of the two Mass forms. The aim is to revisit VatII teachings in liturgy and the sacrificial dimensions of the Mass. Having said that, how that will effect the FSSP`s constitutions and how soon all this is to come about, is yet to be seen. It dose give hope to ease some of the tensions between the two rites. The sooner the better. Pax

  65. robtbrown says:


    I don’t understand why you insist on referring to a promise at Ordination. Please read the text above from the FSSP Constitutions about why the Fraternity exists. There are priests in the FSSP who were ordained for a different religious order or diocese.

    With diocesan priests and the OF, there are a few points to keep in mind:

    1. More often than not, the mass priests say (and are attached to) is the one they were trained for in seminary. Many of those priests who joined the FSSP after ordination received training in the 1962 Missal.

    2. The bishop has jurisdiction over public liturgy in his diocese and in many cases owns the parishes. Of course, the pope’s jurisdiction is universal and can supercede that of the local bishop. Thus the problem some bishops have with Summorum Pontificum.

  66. vivaldi says:

    A Priest once told me this of the Novus Ordo Missae; It is perfectly valid, perfectly licit and perfectly awful. Perhaps some commenters could keep that sentiment in mind when trying to comprehend why one may believe the EF is the perfect form of worship.

  67. I’ve asked two FSSP priests if they could celebrate the novus ordo. They each answered no, it would be a betrayal of everything the FSSP represents. They would be expected to leave the FSSP.

  68. Fr_Sotelo says:

    I think Andrew Saucci hit the nail on the head. We priests are ordained to serve the Church, to bring souls to heaven. If the faithful wish to assist at Mass either in the EF or OF, they should not have to justify to the clergy their desire for either form. Rather, priests of the Roman rite should strive to know both forms of the liturgy and be prepared to offer either one devoutly and accompanied with good, Catholic preaching. Theoretically, that means that even the FSSP should be prepared for the rare need to attend to the faithful in the OF, even if their charism is to preserve the richness of the EF.

    The charism of an order, or a religious society or institute, should never be a pretext, IMO, to take on an “I don’t do windows” stance on matters which the faithful reasonably request and which the Church says is permitted.

    That said, I also understand that the FSSP priests already take on so much work, and so practically speaking the OF should never be demanded from an FSSP priest, even though theoretically the Church grants permission for both forms and expects respect for both form.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  69. APX,

    I did not anticipate that the two points I mentioned previously would seem controversial to anyone.

    There surely are those, priests and otherwise, who might not argue that the mere validity of a rite necessarily assures its perfection as worship of God.

    These may well include diocesan parish priests, ordained knowing only the OF, who have since learned the EF, and now believe it to be “the perfect form of worship of God inspired over the centuries by the Holy Spirit.”

    Surely it is obvious that such a priest, if serving in a typical mainstream parish with a largely or even solely OF schedule, is (as I put it it) still “obliged by his promise and vocation to celebrate the OF Mass” to meet the spiritual needs of his current flock.

  70. Tom T says:

    Decree of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, 10 September 1988.
    In virtue of the faculty granted to it by the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei concedes to that which is called “Fraternity of St. Peter”, founded July 18
    1988 and declared “Ponitifical Right” by the Holy See, the faculty of celebrating Mass, and carrying out the rites of the sacraments and other sacred acts, as well as fullfilling the Divine Office
    according to the typical edition of the liturgical books in force in the year 1962; namely the Missal, Ritual, Pontifical and Roman Breviary. This faculty may be used in their own churhes or oratories; otherwise it may be used with the consent of the Ordinary of the place, except for the celebration of private Masses.
    Anything to the contrary not withstanding.
    From the seat of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” on the 10th day of September, 1988.
    Augusta Cardinal Mayer
    Constitutions of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter- FSSP
    1-Nature and Spirit and Aim of the Fraternity
    (d) Achieving this Aim
    #13 The parochial ministry is a work to which the Fraternity devotes itself if a bishop requests of it such services. This ministry will be the object of agreements with the diocesan bishops in order to
    permit the Fraternity to excercise its apostolate according to it`s proper charisma. The Fraternity
    will not refuse other forms of apostolate which would present themnselves if they are conformed to
    it`s proper charisma.

  71. robtbrown says:

    I have a good friend who is a very good tennis player. His wall is full of plaques indicating tournament victories–he has even won with the likes of me. I always kid him that he’s the only doubles partner I’ve ever had who can miss three straight shots, then tell me what I’m doing wrong.

    IMHO, that’s what is happening here. For 40+ years mass acc to the 1962 Missal was not provided for those who wanted it–in fact, even Latin Novus Ordo was not available. Priests (often under pressure) and bishops not only routinely refused requests for it, but fed Catholics a constant stream of gruel that muddled Catholic doctrine as well as the history of the Latin language. Catholics who wanted Latin mass often faced a Sunday round trip of at least 50 miles–a old high school friend drove 350 miles. Those studying for the priesthood were often persecuted if they mentioned they liked Latin liturgy.

    Now, thanks largely to the efforts of Cardinal Ratzinger, a priestly Fraternity exists to provide EF Latin mass. To question whether those those priests should be available to say a vernacular Novus Ordo ignores the events since the Council and distracts from the real question, which is: Why aren’t most other priests available to say mass according to the EF?

  72. robtbrown says:

    I do agree that providing the Eucharist for the people is of paramount importance. And so if a parish is temporarily without a priest due to illness, etc., with an FSSP priest the only possible substitute, he should offer fill in, using the 1962 Missal.

    That would ensure that the people would have access to the Eucharist.

    Re the US priest shortage in general: When I was in Rome, it was common knowledge that Poland had more priests than was needed and that the Church in the US had been offered Polish priests, one archdiocese as much as 30. The US bishops declined the offer.

  73. Fr_Sotelo says:

    robtbrown: You asked, Why aren’t most other priests available to say mass according to the EF? My answer would be that there is simply prejudice, still, against the EF Mass. Much of this is prejudice is based on ignorance of the Catholic Faith and ignorance of the Church’s liturgical heritage.

    And some of this prejudice is provoked by the very devotees of the traditional Latin Mass, who used their long-standing suffering as an excuse to denigrate the OF vernacular Mass. This is sometimes explicit ridicule of the OF which focuses only on the dissenting priests and not those priests who have made sincere and wholehearted efforts to properly offer Mass in the OF.

    Sometimes the denigrating is couched in a pseudo-theological discussion, as if the actual offering of OF Mass which is a concrete and particular event in time, space, locale, culture, language, etc. can somehow be stereotyped and universalized so that it is easier to “refute” and denigrate as unCatholic and unorthodox. These discussions on the Novus Ordo take on this spirit, which the parish clergy of all stripes find to be unconstructive and silly.

    To use myself as an example, I am quite sympathetic to the EF Mass and its propagation in the Church. However, when I read many posts in these comboxes about the Novus Ordo and how it is less than, imperfect, defective, etc. than the EF Mass, I just roll my eyes. I often wonder if many who denigrate the Novus Ordo realize that most Catholics do not see their negative points as describing their experience of the liturgy throughout the worldwide Church, the “catholica” to use a theological phrase.

    Most priests tell me that while the vast majority of their experiences with “Novus Ordo” Catholics are pleasant or uneventful, they cannot say that about the devotees of the Tridentine Mass, who as a whole they find to be difficult, contentious, and who lecture them incessantly about the Novus Ordo.

    I had a run in with an EF Mass devotee this weekend. He did not know that I offer the EF Mass and love the EF Mass. He was an out-of-towner, who gave me a long lecture at the door of the Church about how the confession schedule should be on the parish telephone recording (giving me detailed explanation of the importance of Penance as a sacrament, because he obviously knows more about this than me, since all of us Novus Ordo priests are stupid and unlettered), and that my phone recording only had the Mass schedule. He made clear, numerous times, that he was “very disappointed” that he had not heard the confession schedule on the phone recording, and that this is why Catholics don’t go to confession (although I always have plenty of confessions).

    I think you get my point. While we devotees are constantly making this impression upon the Catholic clergy (and bishops), they will continue to say to us, and the EF Mass, NO THANK YOU.

  74. Tom T says:

    Fr. Sotelo, I agree with with you about the long standing anger that seems to have boiled over from traditionalists Catholics as myself who can attend any Mass with the celebration of the
    Eucharist done properly and reverently. Unfortunatly this has not been the case. I personally have experienced many irreverently celebrated Masses that left me feeling disgusted, saddened and at times even in disbelief. I realize of course, that my belief and love of the Eucharist is enough to compensate any disfunction of the celebrant however, I have seen blatant abuses that turned the Holy celebration into a side show which is why the Holy Father intends to re-visit some VatII teachings on the liturgy and sacrificial dimensions of the Mass. I assure you I pick and chose very carefully, the churches I attend Mass. I believe your inference and judgement about the experience with the man at the door after Mass may have been more about something else going on in his life than about you or your qualifications and knowledge as a priest. However, I was not there so I can only guess. From my own personal journey through Vat II, it was very hard on me to adjust from
    the Tridentine to the Novus Ordo. I was an alter boy who learned latin, knew what it meant, and served Mass daily growing up. I later attended a seminary from grade school all during the Latin Mass. I obediently accepted the changes and adjusted. Then came the abuses. Then, I learned
    that communion in the hands, Eucharistic ministers, of which I am, and alter girls were supposed to be allowed only in rare cases of exceptional need and not the norm as it is today. The fact that you even cited in your last and first paragraphs that the bishops have refused to allow and in some cases that I have documented said absolutely no when EF Masses were requested by the faithful has not helped ease the anger. I think if you`ll consider the fact that most people in the Church are younger and have no idea what the EF is, coupled with some older people who have just given up and are resigned that this is the way it is going to be, would more than likely account for the experience that you had talking to priests who have relatively few complaints. Well, Father, just my thoughts. I would`nt condemn all of us. Pax

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