Summorum Pontificum 7 years on. Wherein Fr. Z rants.

Today is the anniversary of the implementation of Summorum Pontificum.  The Motu Proprio will surely be recognized as one of the most important achievements of the too-brief pontificate of Benedict XVI.  It has already created a huge knock-on effect in many younger priests and seminarians.  It’s fruits, and those of Benedict’s “Marshall Plan”, will manifest themselves in years to come.

That said, I remember where I was when Summorum Pontificum went into effect, on 14 September 2007.  I was in England, visiting my good friend Fr. Tim Finigan, who was, then, at Our Lady of the Rosary in Blackfen, Kent.  On that day we had a wonderful Solemn Mass to mark the occasion and I was privileged to preach.  I concluded that sermon saying:

Our attachment to the extraordinary form of Mass is therefore grounded not in nostalgia, or curiosity, or a fear of modernity, or suspicion of Vatican II, or downright stubbornness, but rather in the conviction that this form of Holy Mass draws us into a participation in the mystery of Christ, the incarnate Word, who saves us from eternal death.

Liturgy has no higher goal than to promote holiness.  And so we are thankful for the gift of Summorum Pontificum.  We accept the challenge the Holy Father has given us to extend this older form of the Roman Rite to all those who seek it and to celebrate the Roman Rite with devotion.  May it promote in us the holiness which is Christ’s gift to the Church.

That was then.  This is now.

I have been curious about how things have been at Our Lady’s Church in Blackfen since they very recently – beginning of September, I believe – acquired a new parish priest, a Fr. Fisher, whom I don’t believe I have met.  Fr. Finigan has moved to Margate after quite a few years at Blackfen.

I’ve been wondering if Fr. Fisher would be maintaining the regular celebrations of the Extraordinary Form in continuity with his predecessor.  I was informed that he knows how to celebrate Mass in the traditional form.

That said, more than one person (Fr. Finigan is NOT among them) has written to me with concern about some swift developments in Blackfen.   People are pretty upset there right now.  I’ve had a lot of information come in which, as I was writing, I decided not to post at this time.   Let two items suffice.

  • Fr. Fisher announced that he is terminating Extraordinary Form Masses at Blackfen at the end of September.
  • The Tablet (aka The Bitter Pill) is now available in the back of the church.

What’s my point?

First, I have real affection for that parish, since I spent good time visiting and I know some wonderful people who have been involved there.  I am concerned for them.  This is happening after two weeks of a new regime.

Second, everyone who has what St. John Paul called “legitimate aspirations” regarding the traditional expressions of the faith need to be vigilant and to work ceaselessly to expand opportunities for the older, traditional form of Holy Mass and the sacraments.  Help seminarians and priests get training.  Encourage them.  Work hard to make sure that everything is in place and available.  Keep expanding the pool of priests who know what to do.

Why do I harp on this all the time?

As its says in Scripture, “surrexit rex novus super Aegyptum… there arose a new king over Egypt, who knew not Joseph”.  It is increasingly evident that, in many corners of the Church today, the enemies of what Pope Benedict accomplished are feeling emboldened.  What has been gained, through patience and the hard work of years, can be swept away be a single sweep of a new pharaoh.

So, I will offer the following.

First, I don’t believe that Pope Francis will rescind Summorum Pontificum.  I have little doubt that it has been suggested to him by his inner circle.  I don’t believe that His Holiness would consider this a big enough issue to deal with.  He has much bigger fish to fry.  That’s doesn’t mean that others, the far more political, sensing changes in the wind, won’t try to curtail what Summorum Pontificum established.

Second, be exemplary Catholics.  Do not just drive to a church where you have the older Mass on the schedule and then drive away, forgetting about the place until next week.  Yes, that’s exactly what 98% of regular parishioners do too.  Be involved in the life of the parish as a whole so that you have some influence when or if the blade hits the meat.  Be involved, be present, be visible.  Be especially attentive to projects that involve corporal works of mercy.  Exceed expectations.  Be engaged with the parish priests.  When something is good, tell them.  Be cordial.  Go out of your way.  Make sure they know you and appreciate your presence.

Will all this require sacrifice?  Yes.  But it is what you should be doing anyway.  Right?  So it’s going to be twice as hard for you as it is for others who don’t care about these things.  So what?

Next, people who have these “legitimate aspirations”, as St. John Paul described them, should get their heads into the mental place wherein they can deal with being persecuted – again – without becoming bitter, discouraged, hostile, aggressive.  In many places, it’s simply a fact that we are already scorned as second class citizens.  Don’t confirm unfair and even sinful prejudices by being a jerk.  St. Paul told the Romans to treat their enemies with kindness and, by doing so, heap hot coals on their heads.  Don’t just check out either.  You have to be engaged and be … well… holier than ever.  So: GO TO CONFESSION.

I sense that, in some corners, things could get tougher really quickly.  It’s buckle-it-on time.  Even if the situation where you are isn’t so dicey, it’s still buckle-it-on time.

You remember the story of Nehemiah, I hope.  The Persian King Artaxerxes gave Nehemiah permission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem which was surrounded by enemies, Philistines, Arabs and the like.  They were infuriated.  While the workman strove to get the walls up before they could be attacked, “aedificantium enim unusquisque gladio erat accinctus…  each of the builders had his sword girded at his side while he built.”  A trumpeter stood by on watch.

I, for one, do not assume that anything is going to be smooth.  I take my queue not only from what happened to Israelites after the death of the friendly pharaoh, but also from Nehemiah.  I’m buckling up. I sat down today, after some discouraging news, and made a list for myself of a few things I am resolved to do, or to do better.  Change has to begin with me.

Get your heads into the game, my dear readers.   Get organized.  Be vigilant and prayerful and active active active.  All hands on deck.  As Jack Aubrey might put it, get ready for a blow.

And now, on that cheery note, I shall make pesto from basil in honor of this happy anniversary.  The Widow is chilling in the fridge.  I will pray, in a special way for His Holiness Benedict XVI.  I will also raise a glass to Benedict, whom I thank with great fondness for the gift to the whole Church that is Summorum Pontificum.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ACTION ITEM!, Be The Maquis, Benedict XVI, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Olympian Middle, Universae Ecclesiae, Wherein Fr. Z Rants and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. tominrichmond says:

    Sadly, this is probably not an isolated occurrence. Good priest who implements SP leaves parish, new priest undoes the good work, brick by brick.

    An excellent example of why orders like the FSSP and ICK, and others, are so important to maintaining the traditional Roman Rite in it’s entirety.

    Hopefully someday we can get to a point where it’s no longer “cuius parochus, eius ritus” but that day is not now.

  2. Netmilsmom says:

    Biblically, this is all cyclic. God gives us gifts, our leaders get comfy, they turn away from God, the people, liking comfort too, turn away from God then when they need Him most, God turns from them. People get the smackdown and are horrified. People repent and beg forgiveness, God forgives them and the cycle starts again.
    Pitifully, we are at the smackdown part. BUT prayer, consecration and confession will make it a bit easier on us until then,

  3. incredulous says:

    His Excellency Archbishop Wenski was present in choir and provide the homily at the weekly Missa Cantata (1962 missal) of the Mission Corpus Christi in Miami today. He gave a particularly moving sermon on the Cross.

    This mass is approximately 20 years old, I believe. There was standing room only and the attendees ranged from babies to elderly.

  4. Down here in Ave we are blessed to have three priests (including the great Fr. Matthew Lamb) who regularly say the EF: Sunday’s and two days a week. Since its a college town, hopefully a lot of the college kids will leave with a love of it when they move on from here.

  5. benedetta says:

    Well said, Father. A happy anniversary to all and especially, a Blessed Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. I indeed remember where I was seven years ago at this time. I too am immensely grateful to Pope Emeritus Benedict, and will forever be. I agree that the times are sobering for Catholics, but, thanks be to God, we still have countless witnesses and helps on the path to holiness to help us continue, and even to thrive, whatever may come.

    qui exhortatur in exhortando, qui tribuit in simplicitate, qui præest in sollicitudine, qui miseretur in hilaritate.

  6. catholiccomelately says:

    Thank you, Father Z.
    We are offering our verbal …. and physical ….. support to what our new priest is trying to accomplish. Some of the Spirit of V2 folks are still reeling …. but we carry on. In prayer for you and all our priests, bishops, and cardinals. And for Francis — & especially, Benedict.

  7. Lin says:

    I miss Pope Benedict XVI and pray for him daily. It is scary out here in the trenches! Two years ago, a progressive took over our parish and everyone has left (including my husband and I) except for the sick and elderly. Three priests died within the last month and we had no ordinations in the diocese this year. I would estimate the average age of all active priests in our diocese to be around 55 years of age. Cardinals are making statements about Islam and/or gays that are either inaccurate or at a minimum misleading. And today Pope Francis adds more confusion with his wedding ceremonies today. On the plus side, MASS today was heaven on earth.

  8. Matthew Gaul says:

    I am always sorry to heat about things like this. A googling shows this new priest was known to say the EF prior to his transfer. Unless it’s someone else.

    Goes to show that minority rites (or forms), are always in danger. We have to cherish every liturgy.

    The EF community is blessed to have your practical wisdom for sustainable growth.

    Prayers for this parish, and for whomever is behind these machinations.

  9. marcelus says:

    Fr . says:

    “First, I don’t believe that Pope Francis will rescind Summorum Pontificum. I have little doubt that it has been suggested to him by his inner circle. I don’t believe that His Holiness would consider this a big enough issue to deal with. He has much bigger fish to fry. That’s doesn’t mean that others, the far more political, sensing changes in the wind, won’t try to curtail what Summorum Pontificum established.”

    Indeed, for those who doubted, if he has not done it by now, he will not do it . Besides, considering how close to BXVI he is, there is no way on earth he will ever do cancel it.

    A humble suggestion from a Latin American. TLM is known in LA or celebrated masssively.
    No traditional orders have come to LA except the FSP in Mexico & Peru .I remember when SP was issued by BVXI, there was only one priest in Buenos Aires who could celebrate TLM, Francis had a hard time finding one, that was in the news at that time as I recall.

    Being traditionally catholic countries where until not long ago, you had to be catholic, nominally at least, to be president, if you ask anyone on the streets.:” what is a traditional catholic?”, 7 out of 10 will answer: ” ohh , it’s those people who were catholic, left thwee Church and follow Lefebre and say Mass in latin”.That is it.

    On the other hand, we do not have the “liberal-conservative ” issue you have in the North. Is more of a in the middle situation here . So generally, people never knew TLM and not because somebody banned it or went against it.

    Your bigger fish to fry is here I think.

    50% of the world’s catholics live inLatinAmerica.

  10. YoungLatinMassGuy says:

    No offensive action ever goes as planned, Father, and nothing worth doing is ever going to be easy. The allies in world war 2 got stuck in the Bocage right after D-Day. Where they expected to be on D-Day+3, they finally arrived around D-Day+20. There were many setbacks. In that parish you mentioned, it is a setback no doubt.

    I’m playing the long-game myself. I hate to say it (I really do, honest and truly!) but the current demographics do not support the Ordinary Form of the Mass. The numbers for the future just aren’t there. (Where Europe is today with Mass attendance, America and the rest of the West will be in about 30-50 years.)

    Simply put: I’m a going to outlive and outbreed the other side. All I (Myself in my late 20s) have to do is sit back and wait.

    Older people, who were in their 30s and 40s during and right after Vatican 2, who were filled with optimism and hope for the future (And gave us horrific liturgical abuses, leading to what can only be described as the single greatest apostasy in the history of all of Christendom…), who have attended the Ordinary Form of the Mass, and are used to it, are now, fifty years later, in their 70s, 80s, and 90s today. They are “old”, and they are dying off.

    Likewise, their children, and their grandchildren, who are now in high school and college are leaving the church in droves. I don’t think there has even ever been this many people (or even this many people as a percentage of the total) just “up and leaving…” the Church in the last 2000 years! By the time they hit their early 20s, they’re out the door and the secular world has got its claws firmly in them. I should know, I’m in that demographic. I think the fastest growing religion on Earth is “ex-Catholic” to be honest.

    I think that in 20 (Or maybe 50) years (when I’ll be where those who are dying off are right now) from now, the only Catholics left standing will be those who go to the Extraordinary Form. They’re the ones who go to Mass more often than just Christmas and Easter. They’re the ones who teach their children about The Faith at home. They’re the ones who pray together at home as a family. They’re the ones who produce solid Catholics for the future.

  11. marcelus says:



    TLM is not known in LA or celebrated masssively.

  12. Augustine Thompson O.P. says:

    Perhaps most important in earning the respect and support of local clergy is for those attached to the older liturgy to avoid anything resembling a sense of entitlement based on past or present victimhood. We have all seen that attitude plenty of times.

  13. Gerard Plourde says:

    Excellent advice, Fr. Z. And it is also excellent advice for those of us who regularly worship in the OF who would do well to not treat the faithful who revere the EF as “second class citizens”. The Mass and the Eucharist (in both valid forms in use by the Latin Rite, the “usus antiquior” and “novus ordo” as well as in the liturgies of the Oriental Rites) nourish and sustain us not merely to deal with the difficult struggles we encounter in our own lives but also to make us and our struggles a “city on a hill” as a means of evangelizing the world of the love and saving power of Our Lord and Savior through the Church He founded.

  14. mysticalrose says:

    Thanks for the fervorino, Father. It is much appreciated.

  15. Central Valley says:

    The only extraordinary form mass offered in Bakersfield, Ca is with the SSPX now. A shame considering the halcyon days of San Clemente.

  16. CharlesG says:

    Couldn’t a coetus at Blackfen petition the new PP to offer an EF mass? It wouldn’t necessarily be at the same time, but under SP, wouldn’t the PP have to accomodate?

  17. Allan S. says:

    Friar Thompson, the difficulty with your proposed response is that we are “entitled” to this Mass; that was entirely the point of SP- to create a legal framework within the Church to protect the rights of the faithful. The promulgation of SP is, in and of itself, proof that this protection was required.

    You seem to be suggesting that an uppity minority needs not to insist too strongly on a right it shouldn’t have had to defend in the first place. Where have we seen that before?

  18. Excellent choice of fizz, Father.

    The best approach to the Tablet is to make one’s way to the table at the rear of the church. Lay one’s coat down on top of the Tablet and inspect the pleasing display of brochures and noticeboard information.

    Then, ever so casually, pick up one’s coat, with Tablet/s concealed within, and leave.

    I cannot see that this is ‘stealing’, any more than a French person sticking potatoes up a German military vehicle’s exhaust pipe during WWII was ‘malicious damage’.

    But I am willing to be corrected on this. I am also willing to hear other techniques used by parishioners to remove offensive materials from their churches …

  19. lsclerkin says:

    Yes, Father.
    Getting my prepper head around this..again.
    This most importantly.

  20. LeeF says:

    The laity can only do so much, positive or negative. Presumably every diocesan priest who says the EF has clerical friends. If each can recruit a couple friends to learn the EF so as to be able to cover for him on occasion, that would be not just a backup plan for the present, but also for the future. The laity of course could offer to pay for the training of said priests in the EF. After all, unlike say Spanish, a priest, even one who never took much/any Latin in seminary, only needs to learn to say the Mass, not give homilies in Latin, let alone read and write generally. Obviously laity can encourage other priests to learn the EF as well, but I think fellow priests would be the best recruiters.

    The problem I imagine, aside from lack of interest, is facing the disapproval of other fellow priests or the ordinary, and also not being willing to be drawn into disputes and strife in the traditional continuum to the right of the EF.

  21. Augustine Thompson O.P. says:

    Allen S.,

    “Entitled to something in the Church” (that is, having a right or privilege under canon law) does not equal “entitlement,” which is an attitude, not a jurdirical right. Entitlement is an attitude which dismisses others because they are victimizes, or simply not victims, and so are inferior to the one asserting “victim” status. It says to pastors: I despise you and what I think you stand for, because the way I have been treated gives me rights over you. This attitude is ugly and evil. You know this strategy, I am sure, because feminists and others use it again the Church. My post had only one meaning: do not imitate those who play the “I am entitled to X, because I have been treated badly and so am a victim.” If you take that approach, good luck with your local clergy!

  22. Thorfinn says:

    Invite family, friends, acquaintances to experience the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

    Post-Vatican II:
    How many Catholics have ever been to a single one?
    How many Christians? non-Christians?

    The EF of the Mass can be a powerful evangelical tool beyond revitalizing a segment of the already-faithful: it may help some understand aspects of their faith and the OF better; it may intrigue those for whom the OF comes across as banal. And the more people who attend it even once, occasionally, or regularly, the stronger, more mainstream, and more resilient it will be.

    Have a Latin Mass for Dummies one-pager for people you invite: what is this EF? why Latin? why is the priest facing that way? why all the ceremony? why sacrifice? how am I supposed to participate and why? why can’t I hear half of what’s going on? why do we stand/kneel at each point? is any of this Scriptural? (Honestly the same type of basic catechesis is needed for the OF.)

    Handouts to follow the prayers of the Mass are good, but they presuppose the attendee knows what’s going on, and the Mass is still very difficult to follow on the first go – trying to keep up with the priest in the Latin while also reading the translation and having a moment to reflect on what and why is impossible. Thus the one-pager.

  23. Mike Morrow says:

    How appropriate that Great Benedict XVI chose the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross for the effective date of Summorum Pontificum! It is a feast whose Propers are unchanged since centuries before the Council of Trent.

    People today should be filled with hope and encouragement.

    Pius XII was pope when I entered local Catholic school. Before I finished its eight years, John XXIII had come and gone, and Paul VI was effecting a transformation the likes of which was inconceivable when Pius XII passed in 1958. I literally despaired of ever seeing the ageless liturgy again.

    The 1984 and 1988 restorations under John Paul II, very limited though they were, were great but wholly unexpected developments. It was so encouraging to find what I thought would never ever again be possible…approved celebration of the TLM with an approved society of priests (FSSP) dedicated to it. The decades-long struggle of the marginalized and now-sacrificed FSSPX was, however, almost totally responsible for triggering this turn of events.

    Great Benedict XVI will be in history be recognized as pope most responsible for revitalization of the Church’s future for the twenty-first century. There are setbacks, of course. But as one who in the mid-1960s saw absolutely no possibility ever for repair, I see what exists today as paradise…wonderful, and still almost unbelievable.

  24. Scott Woltze says:

    The odd thing about the Blackfen situation is that back in June Fr. Fisher stated in the comments section of a blog post, “Let me reassure you I have no intentions of walking in and abolishing the 10:30 Mass.” You can find it at the Linen on the Hedgerow blog under the June 1st entry.

  25. Marc M says:

    “Have a Latin Mass for Dummies one-pager for people you invite: what is this EF? why Latin? why is the priest facing that way? why all the ceremony? why sacrifice? how am I supposed to participate and why? why can’t I hear half of what’s going on? why do we stand/kneel at each point? is any of this Scriptural? (Honestly the same type of basic catechesis is needed for the OF.)”

    Yes. This. I looked for something like this before my first TLM and could not find anything really helpful anywhere online. And the experience was pretty much lost on me.

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  27. Hank Igitur says:

    Concerning Los Angeles, the FSSP are coming:

  28. jbosco88 says:

    From the parish newsletter (online). Very very sneakily done.

    “The date of my Induction as Parish Priest has been set for Sunday, 9 November. Bishop Patrick will be coming to celebrate the Mass. On that day the 9am and 10.30am Masses will be cancelled and there will be one single morning Mass at 10am, with a reception in the large hall afterwards. Evening Masses will remain as usual. We will sit down and get planning together in due course.”

    Just like the Church of England – a Pope in every parish.

  29. jbosco88 says:

    So I would be confused, the 10.30 still there in November yet reports of ending in September?

    I hope we get clarification!

  30. jacobi says:

    The congregation at Blackfen should be clear that any group of the Faithful can insist on the Usus Antiquior and at, I presume, a reasonable time on Sunday. It’s interesting that Fr Fisher knows the Usus Antiquior but is stopping it. That suggests that the local bishop’s hand is behind this, and might well be one of the reasons why Fr Finigan was moved.

    All the more reason why the availability of the Usus Antiquior should be insisted on, and at a reasonable time. If that is not agreed to then an appeal should be made to Rome.

    Now you might say what good will that have? The point is that we may well have here an attempt to stifle the Ancient Mass slowly and without too much fuss. There is therefore every reason to bring this issue out into the open. If the Usus Antiquior is being stifled, lets us then know about it.

    The Church generally is in a mess at present. This coming Symposium on the Family will be critical.

    If we are to get a move back to the 60/70s “Spirit” ideology, then the sooner we know it the

    The reintroduction of the “Tablet” a publication which is by any standards on the extreme liberal if not Relativist wing of the Church, is ominous. It has incidently been stopped in my parish, hardly a conservative parish by the way, but more importantly, as far as I can see, in my local Cathedral parish also.

  31. SPWang says:

    “…get ready for a blow…”


  32. Bosco says:

    Dear Father Z.,

    You observe:

    “First, I don’t believe that Pope Francis will rescind Summorum Pontificum. I have little doubt that it has been suggested to him by his inner circle.”

    That ‘inner circle’ became ‘inner’ because they were called and appointed by Pope Francis. I therefore presume that if rescinding the Summorum Pontificum has been suggested to Francis by his personal appointees it is because he shares the same inclination.

  33. Titus says:

    It’s the same story everywhere, especially with rotating pastors. “Oh, nice traditional parish you’ve got here. It’d be a shame if anything happened to it.”

  34. Skeinster says:

    What Augustine Thomas said. In spades.

    Whether we like it or not, we survive and thrive on Attraction. Therefore, we must be Attractive.
    Whining, blaming, playing the victim, forever going on about VII, considering OF attendees second class Catholics, Gnosticism- all Not Attractive.

    Now, the situation is so much better than it was 20 years ago. But there is still so much room for improvement. Not fair that we have to be super extra perfect, but there it is.

    Father, do you have a word of advice for those of us in actual EF parishes? How we could help things along? Other than not indulging in the above…

  35. Thorfinn says:

    “I therefore presume that if rescinding the Summorum Pontificum has been suggested to Francis by his personal appointees it is because he shares the same inclination.”

    Pope Francis has a diverse circle of advisors. Some may not be favorably inclined toward the TLM, but we know for certain that some are favorably inclined. So they are not “yes men” whose every idea we can hold as reflecting those of the Pope.

    It seems to me Pope Francis expects every bishop to be Catholic (even if they’re evangelical – ha!) Not perfect, nor yet heterodox, but Catholic. Even if they engage in theological speculation that might be considered regrettable, or prefer this or that pastoral practice. Orthodoxy and fidelity to Christ and his Church is taken as a given, as it is indeed a minimal bar that each successor to the apostles should easily clear.

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  37. Cordelio says:

    I definitely don’t feel entitled to the Mass of All Time based on present or past victim-hood (except perhaps based on being a victim of original sin), but rather by virtue of my Baptism. Will that put me in any better stead with my local clergy, I wonder?

  38. Kennedy says:

    Having read the above comments, I have to say that the world most of you live in is very different to mine, except for that of Marcelus. I’m in Kenya and thinking back to Sunday Mass yesterday, I’d say that less than 1% of the congregation would have a clue about Latin or any memory of the Mass before the post-Vatican II reforms. If there was an EF Mass in our parish I’d expect very few people to attend. We have very prayerful Masses in Kiswahili or English and, while I appreciate and miss the old days, I honestly feel that the EF would alienate most of the faithful Catholics I know. Mass in the vernacular was/is a great aid to evangelisation.

  39. Allan S. says:

    Kennedy – respecting your assertion that Mass in the vernacular has been a great aid to evangelization, I must respectfully point out that the math on that point rather supports the opposite argument. The use of the vernacular has Balkanized the Mass, and deprived all the faithful everywhere of the ability to be at home assisting in the Mass – the same Mass – anywhere in the world. The unifying force of language has been lost.

    Even if your assertion – that nobody understands Latin (and therefore could not learn enough of it, unlike Catholics for two millennia) were true, we could still then claim an equality of understanding on that basis.

    Your argument rather reminds of of the Holy Father’s public comments about what a great gift the new liturgy has been for the Church since the Council. We must live on different planets; on mine, vocations are devastated, parishes are closing, the Enemy rules sacristy after sacristy, – devastation on an unimaginable scale everywhere. I challenge you to cite any single statistic or objectively, verifiable piece of evidence that shows the Church is healthier after the Council. Just one.

  40. djc says:


    I agree with you. Even though I love this blog and believe every Catholic who wants to worship at an EF mass should be able to do so, 95%-99% of the mass goer’s I know haven’t even heard of SP.

    What I don’t understand for the life of me is why so much of the hierarchy is so down on the EF. The population who wants the EF, though growing, isn’t really that large. Can’t, in Christian charity, those with an attachment to the EF be taken care of?

    I prefer the OF (chanted by someone like Fr Z….), which I know is a minority position on this blog, though I don’t feel ostracized at all by those here who prefer the EF.


  41. jacobi says:

    When the Church first came to my part of the world some seventeen centuries ago, we didn’t speak Latin but rather a language, the nearest modern survival of which is probably Welsh.
    Now we managed the Latin Mass. I trust you are not suggesting the locals in your part are any less able?

  42. Per Signum Crucis says:

    More facts needed, please. On the one hand, Fr. Z states that the EF is being discontinued at Blackfen; but a few commenters are under the impression that the new PP is EF-friendly – and there is apparently an online statement by that PP that he does (did) not anticipate changing things anytime soon.

    Until more details surface, I would only observe in relation to the rotation of priests that “the Ordinary giveth and the Ordinary taketh away”. Has it not been ever thus? Fr. Finegan’s own remarks ahead of his move stressed obedience to his Ordinary.

  43. Uxixu says:

    @Kennedy, I’m going to disagree there. The last generation largely discarded the heritage of 15 centuries of traditions of the Roman Church, from the subdiaconate & minor orders to the Roman Canon, often against the express intent of the Council Fathers, who only ever mandated a partial vernacular (the readings). The bulk of the liturgy was never intended by the Council to be in anything other than Latin. We’re bleeding young Catholics just about as quick as they’re confirmed. Trying to out MegaChurch with contemporary music, big video screens, and youth days has been anything but a success. I won’t blame it ALL on the Council, which I perceive as an attempt to circumvent what they saw coming, but I’ll say in many places along with the versus populum and wreckovations of glorious churches, it was pouring lighter fluid on the hot embers.

    We finally seem to be coming out of the nadir in Los Angeles, with Archbishop Gomez and the chancery apparently being most welcoming to the FSSP. That said, I fear for recent developments in my parish (converting the Confessionals into “Reconciliation Rooms” amongst others), which I dread. I have been wanting to take a greater part in parish life anyway so am jumping in with both feet per Fr Z’s recommendations, likely local KoC and Vincent de Paul society to start with an eye towards more.

  44. acardnal says:

    marcelus wrote, “No traditional orders have come to LA except the FSP in Mexico & Peru .”

    The FSSP has a mission in Columbia.

    Mike Morrow wrote, “The 1984 and 1988 restorations under John Paul II, very limited though they were, were great but wholly unexpected developments. It was so encouraging to find what I thought would never ever again be possible…approved celebration of the TLM with an approved society of priests (FSSP) dedicated to it. The decades-long struggle of the marginalized and now-sacrificed FSSPX was, however, almost totally responsible for triggering this turn of events.”

    I agree. I think without the existence of SSPX and its consistent growth of vocations and Mass attendees since its founding, the TLM/EF would have died quietly.

  45. benedetta says:

    My sense of things is that ultimately the simple gestures of Pope Francis in the early days of his papacy in rejecting some liturgical vestiture emboldened dissenters who already had been engaging in outright destruction of the faith on a grand and detailed scale for decades. Their calculation was that, regardless of this Pope’s actions as a Cardinal, and certainly dismissive and regardless of his other actions, words and teachings, that they could push, bully, and resume doing whatever the heck they wanted and forget everyone else, as before, as it has always been, for some of us, our whole lives. So, when he utters something remotely in their alternative ballpark, they leap on it and so encourage others in the uncomprehending msm to leap to it as well. No matter that Pope Benedict said practically the same exact thing. No matter that Pope Francis’ actions and words do not remotely support their disembodied agendas. They say it is so because they are the relativist dictators who tell us it is so and no one may disagree, we must obey, we all know that all too well, at many levels of daily life as practicing Catholics in our times.
    As American Catholics and European Catholics have become acclimated to so many weird things and being told it’s all about VII, then, if we see a Pope refusing a stole, like our priest doesn’t bother with the chasuble, the message from the “Catholic” media talking heads and everyone is: see he is one of us. So they just go back to their program of harsh bullying and manipulation, as before. Resume their stations.
    Further, when they see Catholics who recognize the reality of the liturgical celebrations of our sacraments, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, for what it is, shaking their heads at some of the Holy Father’s actions and statements, and, some, crying out and reacting to this, sometimes harshly or angrily or sadly, then, they are that much more enthused and it confirms that they have chosen the correct tactic in their war against the Church to finally remake it into their images.
    All of what I have been seeing confirms what I observed ages ago. That some are into the Alinsky before they believe in the communion of Holy Mother Church. That is the be all and end all for some who are empowered.
    They are busy telling others that the “Church looks like a scold” and so many things. That the “Church is unwelcoming”. That there is a pr problem, one of image.
    So when we all collectively exclaim, quite often, for this group, the Alinsky method works again, for what they are looking to acquire. Authentic Catholics appear harsh, they look like they are on Pope Francis’ team.
    When indeed as we see from what happened with the parade shenanigan, Big Money 1% was the Big Scold behind the scenes that double crossed. And, Big Money/Big Bully/Big Media said, “No” to prolife. They were unwelcoming. They excluded. Now I ask you, how Pope Francis is that? Some trad blogger ought to count up the statements and actions Pope Francis has said about the scourge of abortion (“horrible crime.”..) and throw that out the next time someone says we have to be so many things. Because let’s face it, telling prolife they can’t come to the parade is not very Pope Francis, now is it? Not merciful. Actually quite unmerciful!
    So let’s see what happens. It’s not over, far from it. And no one can deny the reality that not all young people are shrugging off attending Mass after confirmation — there are some great young people out there, living the Faith, on the terms of the Church, with great, abundant joy, far from scolds (LOL) and desire the sacraments celebrated worthily as they appreciate the dynamics of grace interacting with their daily lives. Alinsky and minions will never be able to finally finish off the Church in this country, that’s for sure.

  46. Pingback: A Message To The Parishioners Of Blackfen, London, England. | Mundabor's Blog

  47. Genna says:

    I stand to be wrong, but this appears to be a case of power and control. That is, an archbishop, who happens to be a devotee of V2, determined to impose his will on the faithful. That the numbers at Blackfen may gradually fall away merely regarded as unfortunate collateral damage and the fault of an uppity congregation needing to be subdued. The answer will be obvious if/when altar girls and EMHCs start appearing. I begin to fear for other TLM parish priests in the UK.

  48. HighMass says:

    Oremus, Dear God please grant that the TLM is here to stay, as 45+ without it we felt like lost sheep with no sheppard….and when we received a German Sheppard his Pontificate was too brief.
    God Bless Pope Benedict!

  49. Per Signum Crucis says:


    Fr. Finigan has already introduced an EF (Low) Mass at his new parish so I do not think it is a case of suppression or control by Archbp. Smith in that respect. As for the situation at Blackfen, I’ve already noted that there seem to be few hard and fast facts about the apparent discontinuance of the EF there and I can’t at present find an up-to-date online newsletter to either confirm or deny. I assume the archbishop would have taken Blackfen’s circumstances into account when selecting the new PP but maybe there are specific reasons why, even if only temporarily, the EF is not being offered. Let us wait and see.

  50. Per Signum Crucis says:


    Regarding a TLM one-pager / FAQ / Q&A, I too think that is an excellent idea.

  51. Tony Phillips says:

    Question: is the Fr Steven Fisher who’s gone from Plumstead Common to Blackfen the same Fr Fisher who was at Ramsgate a few years back, before Fr Holden arrived there? If so, as I recall, he instituted the EF at Ramsgate and I’d always thought was responsible for its re-introduction to this area. Can’t imagine he’d undo everything in Blackfen.

    I never got up to Blackfen, though I met a couple from that parish about a year ago. They were not of traditionalist mindset and felt very alienated in their home parish. They said there were many others like them; some were attending other parishes.

    I’m sure it’s hard being a parish priest, because you’ll never be able to please everyone. On the other hand, you’ve got to try to. [HUH?!?] I think those of us who are devoted to the older mass need to be acutely aware that other people may have different sensibilities and avoid any appearance of imposing changes on people. We don’t like the fact that a certain pope felt he had the authority to make massive changes to the liturgy and force them upon the church (thank you, cowardly bishops!); we should take pains to make sure that no one feels anything like that is being done to them now. Maybe that means singing ‘Shine, Jesus, Shine’ at the other mass. Maybe it means making the Tablet available. Which I like reading, by the way–it’s got more to it than the Catholic Herald or the Universe.

    Of course, I’m within reach of Margate too so now I’ll be able to see what this Fr Finnigan is like. [Finigan] If I can manage to pass all those micropubs without stopping, that is.

  52. Tony Phillips says:

    Response to ‘HUH’:
    That’s right, a good parish priest will try to accommodate everyone, even those whose views on parish life and liturgy differ from his own. A bad one won’t.
    So…is this the same Fr Fisher or not? [A priest or bishop who tries to please – you wrote “please” – everyone is doomed to fail in his mandate.]

  53. marcelus says:

    For those TLM fans out there, here is a FB link with pictures of TLM in Argentina. These pictures show TLM held in different cities, Mar Del Plata, Mendoza, Tucuman, San Juan, Cordoba, Buenos Aires, etc.Though not massive (not many people know It exists or where it is celebrated), it is alive and well. Also consider that NO here is solemnly celebrated, so no complaints there either. Ohh this ‘evil’ Pope who banned TLM in his country! !

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