BE THE MAQUIS: Object lessons in how to obtain the TLM where you are.

Last night (here in Rome) I had an interesting supper with a Roman friend and a couple from the USA who are here on a visit.

They recounted the uphill battle they have had to obtain cooperation of their parish priest for Masses in the Extraordinary Form.

Their tale of patience and bureaucratic obfuscation was both maddening and inspiring. It was madden for the fact that their pastor (parish priest) and their (arch)diocese and even, to a certain extent perhaps also the PCED, are behaving as if Summorum Pontificum didn’t exist and we were still under the Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei adflicta.

It is amazing how, now that Summorum Pontificum is in force, bishops want to implement Ecclesia Dei, isn’t it?

The basic outline of the story goes like this.

A stable group of the faithful, as I understand at least 100 people, formally petitioned their pastor for use of a small and beautiful chapel, the former parish church, which is on the parish property. It would be ideal for the TLM. The pastor effectively responded that, while he was pastor, they would never have one. Period. The assistant at the parish was willing and able, the people were surely a stable group, everything was in order. The pastor straight-armed them in a way that only be described as narrow, boorish and lacking any pastoral concern whatsoever. The main organizer of the petition is an attorney, and so she was careful to conserve a written record of everything that went on in their 2 year slog along with all the correspondence.

If you read my TIPS for writing to authorities, you will understand how the petitioners set about their work.

I was both shocked and simultaneously unsurprised at the blocks placed in their path, the delays in even responding to these petitioners. Sometimes months passed without substantive responses. Requests were responses were sent repeatedly, with dogged persistence. Notes were sent back from the chancery with vague explanations about “organizing” responses and getting canonists involved and various difficulties.

The only explanation I could see by the time I had heard it all is sheer liberal ideological disdain not just for the Extraordinary Form, but for the people who want the Extraordinary Form. I was told that the pastor said, openly, not only that he didn’t like the older forms, but that he didn’t want the sort of people who like it around his parish. I’ll grant you that trads can be pretty hard to deal with in some cases… but that’s no different from any other group of people in the Church.

The long and short is that the local Archbishop eventually appointed a “chaplain” to their group, who will know be their point man in the the matter of their legitimate aspirations. They managed to squeeze ONE Mass out of the pastor of the parish in that perfectly suited chapel.

That’s a start.

A few of the lessons to be taken from the story were these.

1. You must be ready to fight with dogged perseverance for months or even years in the face of infuriating clerical condescension and run-arounds.

2. You must be prepared to continue your fight with diplomacy and a smile. Expressing rage on paper or in person is counter-productive. By doing so, in a parish or to the bishop, you simply undermine your own cause. Your anger becomes the issue. Keep it diplomatic and personable, but persistent and document EVERYTHING.

3. Never never never let up. Keep pressing forward, cordially but relentlessly. Be the woman nagging the judge.

4. You must know well both Summorum Pontificum and also the Instruction Universae Ecclesiae.  Read them carefully and understand the proper roles of all the players, pastor, bishop, Pontifical Commission.

Shifting gears slightly, I will remind the readers about a couple things I have been saying since the day after Pope Francis was elected.

Firstly, we have the provisions of Summorum Pontificum.  We have the vision laid out by Pope Benedict, which is as valid and appropriate now as when he laid it out back when.  You have the resources (if something is lacking, SOLVE THE PROBLEM).  As I have said before, it is time to take the training wheels off and ride the damn bike!   If you want the TLM, work for it.  If it is hard, keep working.  This is NOT the time to ease up.  This is exactly the time to keep pressing onward, petitioning for more and more and more, not just for little crumbs off the liberal cool-kids’ table.  Young priests will be with you.  Support them 250%.

Secondly, don’t whine about how hard it is.  Don’t gripe, bitch, moan, lament, complain and don’t don’t don’t let your frustration with uncooperative obfuscating narrow-minded bigoted pastors and bishops come out sideways in anger or accusations or any other thing that can be turned, by them, into the issue.  Once you lose your cool, that will become the only issue.  It will be their excuse for slowing down even more, blocking, ignoring, and even flat out insulting you.  That’s what they do.  When you are on thin ice, it is smart to tread a bit lightly.

As I have said on many occasions, we can lose what we have built already.  We won’t lose the provisions of Summorum Pontificum.  Those are here to stay.  But, mark my words, in this present environment, liberals have the big mo. They are emboldened. You have to be prudent and smart.  Provisions on paper are one thing, but their observance by liberals who hate what you want (and hate you too) is a whole other pot of stew. As the Fat Man said in his legendary Laws of the House of God: #8 – They can always hurt you more.

You think not?  Just ignore this advice, friends.  And they will hurt you more, if you take a tack that ends in anger, etc.  They will cancel your Masses, block your petitions, put more and more restrictions on what you have until it collapses.

Be smart.  Be the Maquis.  Press on.

Now, as a complete aside, I have learned that there is going to be a beautiful All Souls Day Solemn Requiem Mass celebrated in a small chapel north of Detroit on 2 November. Anyone in the area might want to support the event and show up with big smiles and lots of prayers of thanksgiving along with suffrages for the Poor Souls. The Solemn Mass will be at St. Hugo’s Stone Chapel at 5:00 PM. There will be low Masses before that. Of course priests say more than one Mass on 2 November. The Windsor St. Benedict Tridentine Community Choir will sing. The celebrant will be Msgr. Ronald Browne.

For more information check out their facebook page. HERE

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Be The Maquis, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liberals, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice, Universae Ecclesiae and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. iPadre says:

    The liberals that scream about “clericalism” are the ones who exemplify it the best. Maybe these are the people/ clerics that Pope Francis was talking about!

  2. Eliane says:

    Where this will lead, who knows? But what IF it leads to the point that the Pope of Rome rejects some of us as Catholics? (Those of us who ” gripe, bitch, moan, lament, complain ” — really, Father, do you think we are all that miserable?) I don’t believe even the most corrupt of popes have insulted Catholics to the extent that some were made to feel anathema to the church, at least not until now.

  3. Lepidus says:

    I know what you’re saying, Father, but I can’t help but wonder if on the large scale even that will work. Being “nice” didn’t help the first time around. I’m sure there are many of you readers with similar tales even with the O.F. You start off with decent pastors who implement O.F. as designed. Everything is good: altar boys trained by a holy nun (in habits – not a bus), intinction, confession, saying the black, doing the red, noting that the Sign of Peace is optional – and then his term is up and he is replaced. So you grin and bear it as the resurrecifx is installed. Maybe politely point out something about the girl altar boys and the phrase “no priest can change…on his own”. Always following the recommendations above, even after a sermon where the good father is shaking a book at the congregation saying that {some obscure bishop in Texas} says that Rite III is proper for confession (I mean “reconciliation”). At the end of the day, being the nice guy about all the liturgical abuse got us absolutely no place.

  4. SPWang says:

    Fr, if I may, I would like to relate our story ( to your readership.

    Post 2005, and after a tradversion of my own, the (trad) world was abuzz with what Benedict XVI was going to do regarding the old Mass. I had picked up hints from this site and others on what was to be expected. Taking the initiative I, with a few others, formed a society, set up a weblog and bank account and went to see our local Parish Priest in September 2006.

    After hearing our proposal of having the old Mass ‘Every day and twice on Sunday’ he asked if once a month would suffice “but not on Sunday” and that the priest offering the Mass was to be in “union with Rome.” to which we agreed. Unfortunately there were no immediate options for us to kick off from but we took the PP’s approval and did our best.

    On July 10 2007 (3 days after SP was released) we held our first Mass. It was well attended for a week day and we grew from there. Eventually, after a little thawing and myself joining the Parish Council, we had Mass on the first Sunday of each month which grew to each second sunday to eventually every Sunday by 2010. This was celebrated by a retired diocesan Priest who drove 2.5 hours to say it for us. Eventually, through all this, we now have the services of a much younger priest (OFM Conv.) who has done a marvelous job in servicing our desire for the older form of the liturgy.

    We have had the full Triduum last Easter, many Midnight Masses for Christmas, First Communions, countless Baptisms (kids everywhere here!) and even Confirmations presided over by our previous Bishop with the current Bishop fully supportive of the work we do.

    Although, life isn’t without it challenges. The previous PP who became quite supportive and was on the brink of saying the old Mass again, had to retire due to indifferent health. The replacement PP is far less supportive of our efforts but we will work through it all as we have done in the past and know that when it’s time for him to move on we’ll still be here. ;)


  5. Nathan says:

    Fr Z: “The only explanation I could see by the time I had heard it all is sheer liberal ideological disdain not just for the Extraordinary Form, but for the people who want the Extraordinary Form.”

    First, I have no reason to complain. For those of us who love the TLM, things in 2013 are so much better than they were when I came into the Church in 1980. I am able to attend a TLM close to my home every Sunday, and in my home parish a faithfully dogged priest offers the TLM almost every Thursday night. I can usually find a TLM on the road, and I have observed a generation of younger priests who either support or are open to the TLM. In general, at least in my neck of the woods, Summorum Pontificum has been a beautiful gift that has far exceeded my expectations.

    That said (launching into my complaint even though I have far more to be grateful about), I think one of the more difficult crosses to bear over the years has been precisely this attitude to which Fr. Z refers. I don’t deny that there are difficult Trads (and some of us are notoriously difficult), but I do get a little bothered when we’re the only ones singled out. Are we really any more difficult than the OF parish school parents who publicly dress down the priests and school administrators because they might have to actually prepare their children for First Holy Communion or Confirmation? Are we really any more difficult than the “music ministers” who tell children who want to continue to learn chant that “Latin is divisive?” Are we really any more difficult than the parents of the cohabiting brides and grooms who insist that their little darlings can publicly and openly defy the teachings of the Church and insist on a full Nuptial Mass? Are there really no people at the OF who give the “hairy eyeball” to parents with young children or act sanctimoniously?

    Are we really any more difficult than any other group of sinful men and women in the Church?

    It appears, though, from my vantage point that none of these other difficult people are treated (especially by the clergy writ large) in the same way as Trads. The narrative of the “bitter Trad” appears and reappears and seems to be reinforced whenever we get a concession. I remember when good Cardinal O’Connor seemed to be genuinely frightened, speaking before Holy Mass, in 1994 when we filled St Patrick’s to overflowing for Cardinal Stickler’s Solemn Pontifical Mass. I remember picking up the parish bulletin at a TLM parish in Versailles, France, in 2003, where the bishop had insisted that his remarks be put on the front page telling them how they were disobedient, bad, difficult, and otherwise unworthy because they were attached to the TLM. I remember Cardinal Levada’s remarks at the dedication of the FSSP’s seminary chapel in Nebraska, which could easily have been taken as less than enthusiastic. And I think any of us who have tried to “be the Maquis” over the years could relate similar treatment.

    When was the last time Call to Action or difficult school parents or those who demand everything from their pastors while publicly defying the Church’s teaching were called out from the pulpit or bulletin or diocesan press?

    Father, I think you are spot on regarding what we, as those who love the TLM, have to do. I do hope that you will put up with us occasionally wishing that we weren’t singled out as difficult so often.

    In Christ,

  6. JonPatrick says:

    @Lepidus, yes being nice doesn’t always work but how is the alternative, being angry, going to do any better? It is always going to be a struggle. The Enemy hates the TLM and will do anything to stop it. We live in a Modernist world which has even infiltrated the Church unfortunately. But we are slowly making progress – stories like SPWang posted above seem to be happening more frequently.

  7. Skeinster says:

    What a wonderful post, Fr. Z. Thank you!
    A story to simultaneously inspire/depress: our EF community was formed in 1991, under Ecclesia Dei. We met for eighteen years in the tiny chapel of the local Discalced Carmelite nuns for Sunday Mass. We can never repay our debt to the dear sisters. Various local churches allowed us to have daily Masses, as well. But if we wanted to have the other Sacraments in the EF, we had to make arrangements in other dioceses.
    Finally, after two bishops, the present bishop allowed us to buy a property of our own. We acquired a Korean Baptist church and spent almost a year renovating it. We just celebrated the third anniversary of the consecration of our church. We have three FSSP priests, and our numbers are growing amazingly. Now that we have the facilities, we have a full parish life.

    But recall what I said above: eighteen years. Many of our oldest and most faithful original members died without ever seeing us get a church. Children who were seven or eight when we began now have two or three kids of their own. It took a long time.

    There are so many factors that go into this, as Father pointed out. In the end, perseverance allowed us to slog on until Summorum Pontificorum and a more favorable bishop. Patience and perseverance will get more EF’s as well, but it may take much longer than some of us in this “instant” society may realize.
    In our case, brick by brick was simply showing up every Sunday for years, until it became clear that we weren’t going away.

  8. mamajen says:

    Father Z keeps “singling out trads” because he wants trads to succeed. It’s pretty straightforward to me. Would any good priest say “It’s okay to be a jerk, you’ve been through so much.”? No. And if you think you’ve been through a lot, read about the saints for some perspective.

    As a mom, I give my family advice and instructions that I expect them to follow regardless of what their friends and relatives hear in their families. If my son and his cousin are both misbehaving at Grandma’s house, which one do you think I’m going to admonish more sternly? Who do I have higher expectations for? Hint: the one who I know knows better.

    My parish priest, a big supporter of the TLM, actually lost his job for a while. He has more reason than most of us to be bitter, but he’s not. I don’t know if he reads Father Z, but he certainly lives what Father Z preaches, and I think it’s a tremendous example of putting personal feelings aside to do the right thing. It’s a reminder I need often.

    Maybe it’s time to stop worrying about what other people get away with and start being grateful for the tough love from someone who wants to see us reach our goals.

    / end rant

  9. Nathan says:

    Mamajen, oh goodness! I certainly didn’t write my complaint with the intention of saying that Fr Z is singling out Trads! My complaint was supposed to be that, out there in the trenches, trads are singled out less because they are difficult than because they are trads.

    I am in hearty agreement with your assessment, as well. I know of situations where good pastors do hold their TLM-ers to a high standard, and those have truly been blessings. I also know that it would be better if there were no “bitter trads” out there at all, and we ought to be praying that we are truly “joyous trads,” which there seem to be quite a bit of in the trenches as well.

    You are also correct that we should stop worrying about what other people get away with. And honestly, there is so much to be grateful and thankful for. I hope you would allow me an occasional chance to blow off some steam among like minded folks in the middle of the battle, though. It would be nice if there were fewer occasions of ideologically-driven trad bashing, especially among the clergy. Of course, if I were actually holy, I might think more about it as a chance to share in our Blessed Lord’s sufferings with Him.

    God bless you! You’re helping me to think!

    In Christ,

  10. James Joseph says:

    “House of God” reference number if anyone is interested… ISBN 0-440-13368-8

    Wherein the hospital satirized are the big money hospitals and their associated colleges in and around Cambridge, in the Peoples Republic of Massachusetts.

  11. APX says:

    The way many Trads immediately point to the liberal Catholics and their failings as soon as they’re told they have an attitude problem reminds me of immature children in grade two. Two wrong don’t make a right. Christ was clear when he said that before you judge someone else, remove the beam from your own eye first. This attempt to justify Trads bad attitude because they have somehow been “marginalized” by the liberals is growing tiresome.

  12. Well said, Nathan. You have captured so well and sensitively the feelings of many who have continued to labor with good cheer and good will in this vineyard, even and perhaps especially when the lack of these qualities in others made them all the more necessary in we ourselves.

  13. Elizabeth D says:

    This somewhat describes my pastor even though we actually have a weekly TLM celebrated by other good priest (the pastor does not celebrate the TLM. I believe it was because of not only a longtime “stable group” but also the bishop that we have the TLM). I have definitely pondered how do we get the TLM regarded as something that is really a positive in our parish and of real value, integrate the TLM attendees more in the parish and serve them better pastorally.

    With the SSPX perhaps headed more earnestly toward schism, it is really charity to have healthy traditional communities in the parishes that these might actually feel they could join. SSPX chapel attendees are hardly likely to want to go to a parish where the pastor doesn’t welcome the TLM or its attendees and isn’t interested in them forming community or having traditional type faith formation opportunities.

  14. mamajen says:


    Thank you. I’m glad I was able to help you think rather than offending you, because I certainly don’t mean to offend. I wasn’t targeting you in particular, by the way, just kind of generally responding to what I’ve seen in comments here and on other blogs. Participating as a reader here has been really helpful for me, too. :)

    Sure, trads probably do get unfairly criticized a lot of the time. People jump to conclusions about them, or let their own insecurities color how they interpret and treat other people. It’s just one of those things that we can’t do much about, except offer it up. The devil exists, and there’s only so much we can do. The harder we try and the better we do, the more he hates us, which is sometimes exhibited through other people.

  15. tramtrist says:

    We’ll be there Nov 2nd. Thanks for getting the word out.

  16. Nathan says:

    Henry, you hit the nail on the head in referring to “continuing to labor with good cheer and good will in this vineyard.” It’s grand to see this kind of discussion going on (in a blog combox, no less!) and you tie things nicely with Fr. Z’s overall point of this posting.

    I will remember you, and mamajen, and APX (who is also helping me to think) in my intentions at Holy Mass today. And I ask for your prayers as well.

    In Christ,

  17. APX says:


    My Traditional Latin Mass community has a number of “former” SSPX attendees. They’re the ones causing most of the issues. While they’re attending a EF Mass in complete union with Rome (FSSP), they maintain their “imbibing schismatic attitude” thy acquired from the SSPX. Unless those who come from the SSPX have a conversion of the heart, they will just cause more problems.

  18. mamajen says:


    Greatly appreciated! And yes, of course I will pray for you, too.

  19. e.davison49 says:

    The anonymous (how brave they are!) nitpickers over at that other place have been calling you, Father Z, a “scaremonger”. They need remedial reading or ESL courses.

  20. jacobi says:


    Your solid advice and encouragement is most welcome, we need it!

    The mention of Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae is so important. It reminded me again that thanks to Chiesa and the recent letter by four theologians, we can also add the Papal Bull of St Pius V, Quo Primum, of 1570 to the list of authorising documents. If anything that document carries more authority? It declares that the ancient Catholic Mass can be said “ universally and in perpetuity”. Yes, the Church did not begin in 1969 as some would like us to believe!

    One other suggestion. If the current Church bureaucracy is proving too difficult, another tack could be tried. Any individual priest can, in his own right, at any time and without prior permission, say the Vetus Ordo, ( as the Holy Father has helpfully called it ) as well as the Novus Ordo.
    It should not be so difficult nowadays to find a (young?) priest, happy to do so, and of course, there is nothing to stop your “stable group”, from attending that Mass?

  21. Paul_S says:

    As a complete aside, young adult readers (18-35) of Fr. Z’s Blog are invite to gather for cemetery Vespers and a young adult social, after the Oakland County Latin Mass Association’s Requiem Masses at St. Hugo.

    (and, between now and then, young adults are also welcome to gather next Friday evening for a Low Mass at Assumption Grotto followed by a “St. Crispin’s Day” celebration: text Juventutem Michigan – (313) 736-5463 – to RSVP for the dinner.

    [Thanks for that complete aside!]

  22. Moro says:

    Pardon my ignorance, but what on earth is a Maquis?

  23. APX says:


    The issue with young priests is that the majority of them (at least around here) are not pastors. In order for them to do anything of the such in the parish, they require the pastor’s permission, as he has ultimate say in what goes on in his parish. Some associate pastors have traditional friendly pastors, some don’t. Some pastors don’t want to upset the status quo.

  24. Suburbanbanshee says:

    1. A member of the French Resistance in WWII, or a collective noun for the French Resistance.

    2. A fictional resistance group in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which named itself after the French Resistance.

  25. Midwest St. Michael says:

    From Wiki, Moro (partial):

    The Maquis (French pronunciation: ?[ma?ki]) were rural guerrilla bands of French Resistance fighters, called maquisards, during the Occupation of France in World War II. Initially, they were composed of men who had escaped into the mountains to avoid conscription into Vichy France’s Service du travail obligatoire (STO) to provide forced labor for Germany. To avert capture and deportation to Germany, and to remain free, they became increasingly organized into active resistance groups.

    Originally the word came from the kind of terrain in which the armed resistance groups hid, the type of high ground in southeastern France covered with scrub growth.[1] Although strictly meaning thicket, maquis could be roughly translated as “the bush”.[2]

    Members of those bands were called maquisards. The term became an honorific that meant “armed resistance fighter”. The Maquis have come to symbolize the French Resistance.

    Most maquisards operated in the remote or mountainous areas of Brittany and southern France, especially in the Alps and in Limousin. They relied on guerrilla tactics to harass the Milice and German occupation troops. The Maquis also aided the escape of downed Allied airmen, Jews and others pursued by the Vichy and German authorities. Maquisards usually relied on some degree of sympathy or cooperation from the local populace. In March 1944, the German Army began a terror campaign throughout France. This included reprisals against civilians living in areas where the French Resistance was active (Oradour-sur-Glane massacre, Tulle murders). The Maquisards were later to take their revenge in the épuration sauvage that took place after the war’s end.[3]

    Most of the Maquis cells — like the Maquis du Limousin or the Maquis du Vercors – took names after the area they were operating in. The size of these cells varied from tens to thousands of men and women.

    In French Indochina, the local resistance fighting the Japanese since 1941 was backed up by a special forces airborne commando unit created by de Gaulle in 1943, and known as the Corps Léger d’Intervention (CLI). They were supplied by airlifts of the British Force 136.

  26. As Fr. Z has been kind enough to accept one “complete aside” here is another.

    Readers of this blog living in the San Francisco Bay Area are cordially invited to a Dominican Rite Missa Cantata to be sung by the student brothers of the Western Dominican Province for the First Saturday Devotion of November. As this First Saturday falls on November 2, the Mass will be that of All Souls. More information may be found here:

    A complete listing of Dominican Rite Masses in the Bay Area may be found here:

  27. Elizabeth D says:

    God bless good Dominicans. God bless all Dominicans.

  28. rbbadger says:

    One gratifying thing I’ve noticed about so many of the efforts on behalf of the TLM is that many of them are driven by the laity and not by the clergy. It’s hardly the sort of lay ministry the liberals seem to have imagined! I live in South Korea. A couple of years ago, I was honoured to meet some wonderful young Catholics who are trying to organize a traditional Latin Mass. They’re truly interested in their faith and have been yearing for something more. Some of them have wanted to kneel to receive communion and receive on the tongue, only to be barred from doing so by their pastors. They found a priest in the Daegu Archdiocese who is willing to journey to Seoul periodically to say the TLM for them. That priest learned the TLM while serving in the Korean immigrant community in Ohio. I’ve heard of other attempts made elsewhere.

  29. inexcels says:


    You took the words right out of my mouth, except you said it better than I would have. I second APX as well. I hope some traditionalists take these words and advice to heart.

  30. Jack Hughes says:

    How come liberals always get away with being nasty? I’m not moaning Father but how come they get to be nasty whilst we have the book thrown at us for grouching a little in private?

    I might also point out Father that it WASN’T the Maquis who delivered France from the Nazi’s it was the Allied Army under the command of (then) General Eisenhower, the most the Maquis did was make life a little difficult for the Germans in occupied France. [So what? Analogies limp. I think you know perfectly well what I mean.] It is allegedly the job of the Powers to protect the Church, personally I think that there exists enough evidence to convict them (using Morton’s fork) of either incompetence or dereliction of duty.

  31. APX:

    While I don’t know where you are, in a lot of dioceses, younger priests are becoming pastors a lot faster than they used to. So while you’re correct, you won’t have all that long to wait.

    That said, I’m going to reiterate a point I’ve made before. On top of our genial host’s good advice, I add this: if you want priests to stand up for you, stand up for them. Don’t wait until they “earn” your support: oh, if Father NewPastor fixes enough problems, maybe I’ll show up, maybe I’ll get involved…but not until he really dazzles me…

    Let’s be really clear: just about every single thing that needs fixing in any parish has some constituency that will be aroused when Father NewPastor shows up and starts changing it. You want bells back? Someone will complain. You want Latin? Long-established parishioners will get the vapors. You want a little incense and chant? Your priest will be told (as I was) that he is “trying to kill” parishioners by using incense. All this, before we even whisper things like ad orientem and…(looking both ways)…the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

    And here’s how it works.

    Father NewPastor will be given vivid, detailed predictions of how much it will cost the parish–in dollars and volunteer hours–if he wears a cassock, or changes who’s feet are washed, etc. And when one person leaves, a network of folks will all chatter about it, and it will be a crisis! “Father drove them off with his throwback ways!” And then…can you believe it? He did it again when he gave a homily on contraception!

    Now, sure, Father NewPastor should toughen up and prepare himself for martyrdom. But let’s say he does. Something else will happen. Someone–many someones–downtown will hear about the terrible wreckage he’s causing. Sooner or later, there will be a phone call. Father’s term may come to an end, and he’s up for renewal… You’d be amazed–or, at least, you should be–to learn how little of this it takes to “create a narrative” (to use the current buzz-word).

    Meanwhile, there are any number of priests who, observing all this, will choose the following course. They’ll keep busy doing lots of good, priestly work, they’ll be faithful and holy–but they won’t venture too far off the reservation. Not too many people in general want to be pioneers, and that’s true for priests. They’ll wait and see what happens to Father Whatshedoing, first.

    I don’t wish to be unsympathetic. I’m truly sorry for the trouble the faithful have had over restoration of sanity, beauty and orthodoxy. But for folks who have stories about how hard they’ve had it, I can tell you stories of priests who tried…and looked around for support…


  32. I meant to say something else.

    When the priest I describe tries to fix things, or do “new” (traditional) things, so much of the discussion will be about what it “costs” in terms of loss to the parish. Because that’s all anyone can point to. It will take awhile before anyone can say, but it added new people.

    That can’t be helped, of course; but it gives an advantage to the folks who will be making the argument, “don’t go too fast, or we’ll lose people.” Because, you know what? While Father NewPastor is waiting for the folks who like more tradition to show up, he still has that festival next month, and the people who run the casino are threatening to quit the parish. The bills he’s paying today can’t wait until folks show up next year–maybe.

    So a very practical help is when Father can show, concretely, what the parish gains by taking this or that step. Such as: “here’s 50 people who will come each Sunday if we have the older form of the Mass.”

    But doggone it, they better show up. I had about eight or nine folks ask me to have a daily Mass in Latin–new form–and I did it. I kept it for several years. But do you know most of those folks who said they wanted it never showed up. Thankfully, the daily Mass crowd was fine with it. But really: if you ask the priest to do something for you…

  33. jacobi says:

    I see the difficulties. However the point is that whatever the pastor’s authority is it does not, and cannot overrule that of the Holy Father, as set out in Summorum Pontificum.
    That document says in Art 2 that any priest may say either form of the Mass with the exception of during the Easter Tridium, at private Masses, but , and here is the point, in Art 4, it says that Masses mentioned in Art 2 may be attended by the Faithful who of their own free will, ask to be admitted.

    So the option is there. Now I agree that that might possibly upset a few Neo-con pastors , and I’m sure that maximum tact etc., should be used , on the other hand we are talking here about pushing the boundaries, Maquis tactics, to achieve what St Pius V (and Benedict) declared was ours “in perpetuity”.

  34. acricketchirps says:

    Since you ask…

    You mean to say, Fr. Fox, that some priest somewhere actually gave a homily on contraception?!! Against it?!!!

  35. Kathleen10 says:

    Now I get it. Slow on the uptake, I get the reason to “smile” now. I completely agree with the assessment of how it is. There is some unspoken requirement in place now for liberals, and I’ve seen it illustrated up close so many times. The way it goes is this…the liberal opposition can frustrate you, act as pointless blockades seemingly for the purpose of amusement, and goad you. If you respond with any apparent degree of frustration, YOU have a problem. For reasons I do not understand, the liberal mind despises negativity, when it originates from a “trad”/conservative. Being “nice” has replaced any of the old-timey virtues. Oh they can spin like Tasmanian devils over a liberal cause, we all know the causes, but if YOU make a face…you are certifiable in their eyes. Yes, it is MADDENING, just crazy making. But I see Fr. Z.’s point. It will be the excuse they will use. You (I) will be relegated to the outside, forever in the category of “outliers”, not to be listened to, only placated.
    Thank you also, Fr. Martin Fox, for your observations. It has got to be it’s own kind of “crazy making” to be a priest these days. But it’s interesting to see the same stuff going on in the “religious” world that we see in the secular, the same silly nonsense. I remember as a young person working to earn a degree thinking foolishly that somehow life would be easier when I didn’t have to encounter all these “dunderheads” I encountered every day. Of course once I graduated and graduated again I was surprised as heck to see the same people all standing there waiting for me. Just human nature I guess.

  36. Agapitus says:

    Fr Z:
    It might be helpful to check into both sides of this story. We have a common friend in seminary in the Pacific Northwest who could provide you with the other side of this story. While the parish priest is clearly not cooperative, others on the TLM side have a track record of smearing priests who get in their way. Knowing what I know it is no surprise that there is a lack of cooperation in getting this started.

  37. robtbrown says:

    It is amazing how, now that Summorum Pontificum is in force, bishops want to implement Ecclesia Dei, isn’t it?

    Perhaps so that Summorum Pontificum might be implemented, there will have to be a mandate to use the 1962 Missal exclusively.

  38. I might also suggest that while the wheels of bureaucracy are slowly turning, don’t waste the time just tapping a foot. If you can’t get the extraordinary form, chip away at the ordinary form. If the ordinary form is really bad, it probably has no Latin at all. Write a letter saying, “Our Mass has no Latin at all, which is not what the Vatican II document Sacrosanctum Concilum envisioned when it stated that the use of Latin should be preserved. Like other parishes beginning to recover their liturgical heritage, could we perhaps start with the Agnus Dei in Latin?” If you already have that, ask for the Gloria or the Creed in Latin. Make one point per letter, but send lots of letters. Send staggered copies to the music director, parish council members, and other interested parties (interested as opposed to disinterested, not as opposed to uninterested). Or maybe, “I miss incense at Holy Mass. It would be a real joy to see it return.” Or “I have such fond memories of bells at the consecration; I’d love to hear them again.” Find a “hard case” and try to make it the norm, the way the abortionists started chipping away at the sanctity of life by pulling on our heart strings with stories of babies with horrible birth defects, or 14-year-olds having their third child, and the like. And as Fr. Z says, never give up. One advantage of a bureaucracy is that there are plenty of opportunities for letters. In a diocese, one could write to the bishop, the vicar general, the auxiliary bishops, the director of liturgy, the vicars forane (deans), the seminary rector, columnists for the diocesan newspaper or magazine, the director of broadcasting, and so on– anyone who might have even a tangential interest in the topic. The aging hippies worked hard to tear down what others had worked hard to build, and we will have to work hard to tear down what they have, er, um, well… allowed to grow.

  39. mburn16 says:

    “chip away at the ordinary form. If the ordinary form is really bad, it probably has no Latin at all.”

    I think, of all the things traditionalists will ever be able to get back, Latin is the last/least likely. The Novus Ordo certainly has its flaws, and there is undeniably a substantial (and probably growing) appreciation for what we might say are the principles of “high church Catholicism”. But the end result of these facts, I believe, will be something probably about halfway between the TLM and the OF: incense, regular asperges, prayers at the foot of the altar (although perhaps not quiet prayers)….but also the NO’s reading structure, offertory processions, signs of peace, and the vernacular. Its one thing to restore the ritualism and majesty…another to expect the mass (with the exception of the Kyrie) to go back to a language most people have no comprehension of.

    Of course, any future form of the mass could also be celebrated in Latin.

  40. Fr Jackson says:

    “Be the Maquis” is a pretty cool concept. (And please pardon me if I see some similarity there to what the SSPX should be.)

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  42. sirlouis says:

    In his little speech about Catholics who change their faith into ideology, Pope Francis MUST have been speaking about the pastor in this story.

  43. cyrillist says:

    “Be the Maquis?” Nah. Be the Maccabees!

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