An Open Letter to Most Rev. Michael Olson, Bishop of Fort Worth

I propose a possible way to diffuse some of the tension surrounding Fort Worth’s Bp. Olson and his banning of Mass celebrated according to the 1962 Missale Romanum at Fisher More College.

Years ago, when I worked at the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei“, we had an especially tense and even bitter round of correspondence with an American bishop who steadfastly denied to the faithful any use of the Traditional Latin Mass.  Hundreds of people signed petitions.  He wouldn’t budge. Finally, my boss, Card. Mayer told me that, at some point, we had to stop arguing and try to open hearts.  I round-filed the draft of a conclusive letter I had brought to him and wrote a new one. He signed it and I sent it.  A few weeks later we received news that, not only had His Excellency the Bishop granted regular celebrations of the TLM, he celebrated the first one himself.

It was a gesture of rare healing and true grace for many people.

I am reasonably sure that someone in Fort Worth is monitoring this blog for Bp. Olson.

Therefore, I ask:

Your Excellency,

Would you not go to celebrate a Traditional Latin Mass for the student body yourself?  If you object to some aspects of Fisher More College, could you not offer this Mass at the parish nearby, which Your Excellency mentioned in your letter to Mr. King, St. Mary of the Assumption?

This gesture would heal wounds that are opening up, allay fears, and give great solace to many people near and far, not the least the students of the College.  They are caught in the crossfire.

I humbly ask Your Excellency to consider this petition with an open, fatherly heart.

As a token of my best wishes, I promise during Lent a daily prayer, a Memorare, for you in the heavy mandate that has been entrusted to you as Bishop of Fort Worth.

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Our Catholic Identity and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. COLRE says:

    Bravo Father. What a beautiful and wise letter. A great start to lent. I add my prayers for Bishop Olson and all those caught up in this mess

  2. mamajen says:

    I have added Bishop Olson and all involved with Fisher More to my daily prayers as well.

  3. LeeF says:

    This is a wonderful idea. However re the timing, I wonder if his Excellency will first want to see a change in leadership at FM. Perhaps healing can begin only after the “cure” has been put into effect.

  4. Nicholas Shaler says:

    According to someone on the previous post, he has celebrated the TLM in the past.


  5. cheezwiz says:

    Don’t know if the letter will work, but it’s much more likely to than the “essay exam” approach seen elsewhere.

  6. danhorse says:

    Excellent letter, Father, and a wonderful way to begin Lent, by praying for the good Bishop and all those involved and affected by this situation.

  7. Mike says:

    May we all aspire to such insight, generosity and humility as are shown forth in your letter.

  8. David in T.O. says:

    Smartest thing I read today.

  9. Pingback: An 1849 Colt .31 Caliber Revolver for the Swiss Guards -

  10. introibo says:

    Kudos Father!

  11. AV8R61 says:

    It is such a shame that this controversy has broken out. I live in Fort Worth and attend the Sunday Mass served by the FSSP. Last Ash Wednesday, I attended the EF Mass at FMC celebrated by an FSSP priest. We have a great Latin Mass Community here. The parish that host us is great and the church is a beautiful one. We have started having pot luck dinners once a month and members of the community are getting to know one another. The previous Bishop even attended one of the Masses, although he was not the celebrant. I hope that Bishop Olsen will succeed in addressing any problems solely with the individual concerned, and this will not cast a shadow over the whole community. Great letter, Father.

  12. The Astronomer says:

    Bravo, Father. Well done for the first day of Lent!

  13. Sonshine135 says:

    Kudos Father Z! I like your charitable tone very much.

  14. rodin says:

    Blessings on the peacemakers. Your excellent suggestion may very well spread holy oil on restless waters, at least we can hope and pray that it will. And thanks to Cardinal Mayer for the seeds of peace he has sown.

  15. NBW says:

    Well said, Father!

  16. OrthodoxChick says:


  17. Montenegro says:

    Thank you, Fr. Z. Will also keep Bp. Olsen and all involved in FMC in my prayers. Let us also pray that this dust-up does not keep people away from learning about and attending the TLM.

  18. Good idea Father Z! An olive branch, solace, a salve, some peace, kindness, a refuge. Chase that devil away …
    “Let God arise, and let his enemies be scattered: and let them that hate him flee from before his face.
    As smoke vanisheth, so let them vanish away; as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.” [Psalm 67]

  19. iClaudius says:

    Send him some Mystic Monk Coffee along with the letter.

  20. lisebaur says:

    Fr. Z., You must have been drinking that Mystic Monk coffee when you penned that beautiful letter. Maybe the Burundi Microlot roast.. outstanding depth and the aftertaste is impressively sweet… ( I’m not sayin’, I’m just saying.) I, too, will add a Memorare for His Excellency and all involved.

  21. Susangoe says:

    Hats off to you Fr Z. I will add both you and Bishop Olson. This is where the renewal of the
    church will happen, in the hearts and minds of the Shepards. God Bless you.

  22. joan ellen says:

    Thank you Fr. Z for this wonderful example of a charitable approach to a difficult situation. Prayers for Bishop Olson, you and students at FMC. Surely the Holy Spirit of God does run the Church.

  23. stephen c says:

    Beautiful letter, and, as a grateful person who lives in the diocese you describe in the earlier part of your post (I think you described my diocese – if not, something very similar happened here), I will join my prayers to yours for the good people in Texas.

  24. Pingback: Why Latin Mass Onlyists are Destroying the Latin Mass

  25. Bea says:

    I add my Kudos to all above.
    Strikes to the heart of the matter.
    May his heart and the heart of all involved respond with the love of Christ.

  26. WendyinVA says:

    Thank you for this, Father. Our oldest child is a freshman in Fisher More College’s online program, and has been looking forward to going to Ft. Worth this fall. This has all been terribly distressing. Please keep everyone at the college, their families, and the bishop in your prayers.

  27. MarkG says:

    Great letter!
    Borrowing from the Visa commercial:
    College students who want to go to Sunday Mass… rare
    College students who want to go to daily Mass… very rare
    College students who want to go to daily TLM… priceless

  28. Angie Mcs says:

    Father, beautifully and respectfully expressed. If someone from Ft. Worth is reading, let him see that we all reach out to and pray for His Excellency, to please open his heart to the TLM for his people.

    MarkG- clever way to use a commercial for material wants and turn it around for our spiritual needs.

  29. akp1 says:

    Perhaps if we reacted in this way for all who do things in the Church that confuse us or hurt us, our Church would be renewed. I am trying to react with a Hail Mary instead of a complaint each time I hear of things I’d rather not hear are happening within our Church.

Comments are closed.