FEEDBACK: If a priest cannot say Mass in the Extraordinary Form, is he properly trained?

A young priest took exception to what I wrote the other day about seminarians who are not given training by seminaries for the use of the Extraordinary Form.

I am a young priest (age 30). Thank you for demeaning my priesthood in your blog post on Aug. 28, 2012.

Not all of us are blessed to be able to go to seminaries that teach the Extraordinary Form, but that does not make us malformed priests. [“Malformed” is your word, not mine. I referred to training. Read more closely and then think it through.] Even if I had learned it, I could not make use of it (at least not at this time) because it would mean I would have no one at Mass. [Is that so?] I am weaning my people off “All are Welcome”, which is/was the least of the liturgical problems at the parish I am at (for only five months now). If I were to start the EF Mass, I would have to close the parish. [But that is really a different issue, isn’t it? What you can do, practically, in parish X doesn’t mean that you can’t know how to celebrate the EF.]

Thank you for undermining the dignity of my priesthood (which was part of your concern in your rant) [Father, you need to develop some critical reading skills – together with learning the EF.] by telling the world that I am a malformed priest. [“malformed” is your word, not mine.]

First, the original post concerned the responsibility of those who must attest that the men are properly trained, not the responsibility of the ordinands.

Second, you didn’t have EF training in the seminary in your day? Boo hoo. I wonder what you would have thought of the seminary I went to in the ’80’s. Sonny, you have no idea.

Third, I taught myself. Later, I found help to polish the rough edges.

Clearly, you were upset by this. Now, get over it. Step back and think it through.

I’m right.

You seem to understand that having had the EF training in the seminary would have been a good thing. So you didn’t have it. So, we priests move forward and try to fill in the blanks in our formation. I had to. You have to.

Do yourself a favor. Teach yourself. It’ll take some time and work. People out there will help you get the resources. People here will pray for you.


From a reader:

If the young priest who wrote you wants to learn the EF but doesn’t feel he has the funds to buy the necessary text, please let me know. I would be more than happy to help.

I don’t want money to be a barrier for him.


From a reader:

Peace be with you! Thank you for your blog post to the priest who wrote you about his training in seminary.

I, too, will help this priest as much as I can outside (and including) prayer.


From a priest:

Just a quick note of thanks and encouragement. After I read the young priest’s rant this morning I wanted to offer some words of encouragement and thanks. I too am a young priest (29 years old), and I was not taught the EF in seminary. Thanks to your blog I have grown to understand the riches of the EF and I went to Low Mass training a year ago with the FSSP. I have been blessed to offer low and high Masses at neighboring parishes, and low Masses on my day off. Like the young priest who wrote to you, I am not in a parish where I could offer the EF publically. The people would probably not mind, but the pastor (I am an assistant) and the staff would be furious. After training I sent my availability to various parishes that offer the EF and they have been eager to sign me up when my schedule allows.
Learning the EF on my own and offering it as often as I can has influenced the way that I offer the OF. The people who composed the OF had attended the EF all their life, so they had a context to understand the OF. Priests today who don’t know the EF don’t know the context for the OF Mass they celebrate daily. Priests who aren’t trained in the EF are not properly trained. (It goes without saying this is no indictment of their personal holiness, or effectiveness in serving our Lord, it is simply to say that they are missing out on a piece of what could help them as priests.) Thanks for your blog. Fr.


From a reader:

Running a day late and a dollar short – as usual – so only just read yesterday’s posts. Re: the feedback for “is a priest properly trained”, and noting your updates, might I ask you to remind your readers that Una Voce America has for several years offered “scholarships” to priests who wish to attend weeklong course offered by the F.S.S.P. ….

Thanks again for all of your good work – perhaps one of these years we can chat about fixing the Red Sox and the Twins over a martini or two!

I think that conversation may take more than two.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Linking Back, Mail from priests, Priests and Priesthood, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.