“Dear Traditionalists,… “

Three years ago today I posted this. I haven’t changed my mind.

I had this from a reader. He said he was not advocating these things. However, liberals will advocate them.

I’ve got some other suggestions.  But first the wacky liberal stuff:

I have an idea for a blog topic – how about brainstorming with your readers on the top 10 changes that Pope Francis will make that will shock the Church and the world. I would orient the discussion around the Pope’s “vision” that the Church is for the poor and should itself be poor. For example, here are some ideas I had:

1) Pope Francis will live at the Lateran Basilica as an example that he will live a simple life away from the Vatican.
2) Pope Francis will allow the ordination of women deacons in service to the poor.
3) Pope Francis will sell the Vatican Museums to a private company and give the proceeds to the poor.
4) Pope Francis will get a petition from the English speaking bishops and will rescind use of the 2010 RM because the language is too complicated.
5) Pope Francis will repudiate Humanae Vitae since too many children tends to perpetuate poverty.

Yep. This is precisely what liberals will push for, hopelessly. [In fact, they are pushing for some pretty subversive thing, but I don’t think they will get their way.  That doesn’t mean that there won’t be a lot of damage.]

What do I think we should push for?

As many celebrations of the older form of the Roman Rite as possible in as many places as possible as soon as possible.

It’s ‘grind it out’ time.

I am getting some defeatist email.

Those of you who want the older form of the liturgy, and all that comes with it, should…

1) Work with sweat and money to make it happen. If you thought you worked hard before?   Been at this a long time?  HAH!  Get to work!  “Oooo! It’s tooo haaard!”  BOO HOO!

2) Get involved with all the works of charity that your parishes or groups sponsor. Make a strong showing. Make your presence known. If Pope Francis wants a Church for the poor, then we respond, “OORAH!!” The “traditionalists” will be second-to-none in getting involved.  “Dear Father… you can count on the ‘Stable Group of TLM Petitioners-For-By-Now-Several-Months” to help with the collection of clothing for the poor!  Tell us what you need!”

3) Pray and fast and give alms. Think you have been doing that? HAH!  Think again.  If you love, you can do more.

4) Form up and get organized.  You can do this.  Find like minded people and get that request for the implementation of Summorum Pontificum together, how you will raise the money to help buy the stuff the parish will need and DO IT.  Make a plan. Find people. Execute!

5) Get your ego and your own petty little personal interpretations and preferences of how Father ought to wiggle his pinky at the third word out of the way.  It is team-work time.  If we don’t sacrifice individually, we will stay divided and we won’t achieve our objectives.

At the midway point of SEAL training, BUD/S, there is a “Hell Week” to see how much you want it to keep going.

Do you want this?  Do you?  Or, when you don’t get what you want handed to you, are you going to whine about it and then blame others?

The legislation is in place.  The young priests and seminarians are dying to get into this stuff.  Give them something to do.

And to those of you will you blurt out “But Father! But Father!… I don’t like your militaristic imagery”… in order to derail the entry, here’s a new image from your own back yard.

Pope Benedict gave you, boys and girls, over the course of his 8 years, a beautiful new bicycle!  He gave you a direction, some encouragement, a snow cone, and a running push.  Now, take off the training wheels and RIDE THE DAMN BIKE!

Comment moderation queue is ON.  Don’t be surprised if I don’t let everything through.  This is my rant.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "But Father! But Father!", Be The Maquis, Classic Posts, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liberals, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Si vis pacem para bellum!, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, Wherein Fr. Z Rants and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. MattH says:

    On the get involved front, here’s one strategy I’d like to see more traditionalist men follow:
    1. Join your local Knights of Columbus.
    2. Volunteer at a few events.
    3. Attend the business meetings once in awhile. The 2nd or 3rd time you are at one, point out that the founder of the Knights, Venerable Father Michael McGivney, as a priest of the 1880s, would have celebrated the TLM. Invite all the members to an EF Mass to experience the liturgy as the founder celebrated it.
    4. Offer to head up a project or two.
    5. Then repeat invitation in item 3 above.
    6. Serve as a Council officer. If you do well at that, consider serving as a District Deputy and as part of your state staff.

    I’m sure a similar strategy could be outlined for any major Catholic organization. My point is, traditionalists can help steer the direction of these types of groups but only if you are willing to join, and invest the time to build some credibility.

  2. Royse87 says:

    AIRBORNE! Lets get to work

  3. msc says:

    The problem is, as a severe introvert, I have no way of finding other like-minded people in my parish. If there are any advocates for the V.O. that have organized, they need to find ways to make their presence known to others. And sorry Matt H., I can’t join the Knights: I personally have a few too many objections to their organization and functioning.

  4. Sonshine135 says:

    MattH.- You get a Sonshine gold star.
    The perception that the Knights are just a bunch of old guys playing poker and having spaghetti suppers has to stop. Venerable Fr. McGivney gave us a wonderful organization that takes care of widows and orphans, provides for retirement, and is the ultimate opportunity for men to sharpen men. The time to get involved in these things in as young as possible. Some of the best Councils and Assemblies are those ran by 20 and 30 somethings. I think your suggestion as noted above is a wonderful idea. You can come to my Council and be Church Director anytime.

  5. CatherineTherese says:

    msc – start a facebook page and/or blog. Cultivate community in a way that similarly orthodox may find each other more comfortably and unobtrusively… the types who are already looking, or inclined to look.

  6. The Masked Chicken says:

    Why not start, “Talk Like a Roman Day?”

    MsC – I thought about starting a blog and if I did it only on Church topics, it would be read by 8 people. My life is too boring for a blog about my life. If I wrote about research topics, I might as well take off my mask, since my research is very well known. For the really introverted, I recommend a group blog. Facebook is data mining paradise and I won’t go near it.

    Someday, when everyone’s life settles down, we will start a Catholic gaming site where all the cool kids can hang out.

    The Chicken

  7. AnnaTrad says:

    What worked for us was to organize into a like minded group who would and could not rest until we got what we needed, so we would write the Bishop about every 2 or 3 months always, never criticizing but with great respect. We got many rejections but we never gave up and would write the next letter with a different slant. This went on for 12 years until the Bishop at that time granted all we asked for and more. We saved as much money as we could so when we were given our own parish we had a health account to do what was needed. The most important thing is to keep trust the our Lord knows all that you need and all things will happen in His time not ours so never give up.

  8. iPadre says:

    Another thing those people who want the TLM need to do is get off their back ends an attend those that are being offered. Too much complaining that Father so and so doesn’t offer a TLM. Make the sacrifice and drive to where the do have it!

  9. “Too much complaining that Father so and so doesn’t offer a TLM. ”

    Presumably because he doesn’t want to. But why should a priest who’s unenthusiastic about the TLM–and hence likely not well qualified to celebrate it–be encouraged to do so? The TLM and its advocates are better served if it’s celebrated only by enthusiastic and well-qualified priests who are personally devoted to it. Surely common experience with the OF shows the effect of celebrants whose devotion to the liturgy is not conspicuous. From this perspective, might the greater danger to the advancement of the TLM be too many celebrants, rather than too few?

  10. JBS says:

    I think the more traditionally-minded did a poor job taking advantage of Pope Benedict’s papacy, despite the best efforts of Fr. Z. We were waiting for mandated change from above. Learning our lesson, we should now plan for the future, while quietly accomplishing what we can in the meantime. If some day we get another pope sympathetic to the Roman liturgical tradition, then reverence-minded priests should waist no time “going ad orientem”, re-introducing some Latin and Gregorian Chant, etc. God bless Pope Francis, but I’m looking to the future.

    As for promotion of the EF missal and ritual at this time, I prefer to trust Fr. Z, but I admit that I fear of a coming wrath from a new generation of “post-liturgical” bishops. It seems unlikely that episcopal appointments in the near future will be tolerant of the EF, and it’s unclear how much protection the Holy See will afford the EF, or those priests who use the older rites against the bishops’ wishes.

  11. Giuseppe says:

    Chicken, if you start a Catholic gaming site where people can hang out, just remember that the name Halo is taken…

  12. JBS says:

    It’s good to waste no time, too.

  13. HeatherPA says:

    Father Z,
    May I suggest that you have a monthly “sponsor a seminarian/priest FSSP training” setup like you had for the armor for the Swiss Guard so we can all donate to send a deserving priest/seminarian to learn the EF in Nebraska at the FSSP retreats? I would give gladly to that, a lot!

  14. Grabski says:

    Latin preparation is an impediment. Is there a way to celebrate in the EF but in the new English translation

    [Not at present.]

  15. Grabski says:

    Insufficient Latin preparation at present, that is.

  16. Dear Father Zuhlsdorf ,

    I really, really, really, like this side of you. Rolling our sleeves up and getting dirty is what our Church needs. Desperately needs.

  17. HeatherPA says:

    Grabski, you can do a Mass Setting in chant that is mostly in Latin. We have that at a daily Mass. It is very pretty for the OF Mass.

  18. Grabski says:

    Indeed. Before JP II instituted Ecclesia Dei, St. Agnes Parish in Manhattan celebrated the OF in Latin. Beautiful, spirit moving

  19. robtbrown says:

    iPadre says:
    Another thing those people who want the TLM need to do is get off their back ends an attend those that are being offered. Too much complaining that Father so and so doesn’t offer a TLM. Make the sacrifice and drive to where the do have it!

    I know people who drive one hour each way to attend a Sunday TLM. And I have old friends from high school who drive 2.5 hours each way. I have also met lay people at Clear Creek who have come from the East Coast for a visit–another came from Australia.

    So I must ask you: Since when is the responsibility for saying mass in the hands of the laity? By positing responsibility for the TLM on the backs of lay people, aren’t you excluding the fact that the mass is primarily the responsibility of bishops and priests?

    The simple truth is that for years priests and bishops refused lay requests to say mass in Latin (even a Novus Ordo). Sometimes the refusals have been insulting.

    1. Paul VI used to say mass once a year for the gypsies–nothing wrong with that. When a group of Catholics went on pilgrimage to Rome, requesting the restoration of the Latin mass, however, he refused to see them.

    Keep in mind that Papa Montini returned Bugnini to power. Also that with the collapse of life in the Church he did little except cry–presumable over the fact that his liberal humanist buddies did what others had warned him they would do.

    2. In the late 80’s a Commission of Cardinals, appointed by JPII, recommended to him that a Sunday Latin mass be said in every parish. He tabled the document. (Summorum Pontificum was the beginning of an attempt to implement the recommendation.)

    3. In 1971 a group of us at KU asked the parish priest for a Latin mass. He agreed on the stipulation that it be a high mass once a month. One of the professors (chemistry) had taken a chant class at Notre Dame, and he headed a small chant choir (and, no, we weren’t very good). The mass, which the pastor scheduled for the least popular mass time on Sunday, was packed, with people standing in the aisles (no exaggeration). The second and third masses were also well attended, though not as well as the first. Then the archbishop (Strecker, rhymes with Wrecker) said no more Latin masses.

    4. In the early 80’s, following Dominicae Cenae, I wrote the same archbishop asking for a Latin mass. He never replied. Rinse. Repeat. Then I wrote the Apostolic delegation in DC to mention my experience. I received a reply from Clemente Faccani, then a gofer in the office (later Nuntius to the Seychelles). He told me that many had experienced problems with the mail (maybe he was thinking of Italy). It was an insulting reply.

    5. I could go on and on about my experiences with priests and bishops over a request for a Latin mass, including one priest who decided the answer to my request was to invite me for a hamburger.

    So it’s not a matter of the laity getting off their butts, but rather of the priests and bishops.

  20. MAJ Tony says:

    @Grabski, regarding celebrating the EF in English, well, as Fr Z said “not at this time” but recently, the Anglican Use resurrected a modified version of their rite that is very close. It has to be the closest to the EF that there is in English. The only notable differences that I have noticed are a few added prayers and responses.

  21. Bernard Brandt says:

    I could go on about the fact that for the last thirty years, I have given up any hope that RC priests in my archdiocese (Los Angeles, CA) would serve a Latin mass (either Novus Ordo or Ritus Antiquior).

    But that would fall into Douglas Adams category of “True, but unhelpful.”

    So instead, I will simply point out the obvious: in order for there to be a Latin Mass of any sort to take place where I live, there would have to be two prerequisites: A clergy which knows Latin well enough not to sound illiterate or stuttering when they say said mass, and a hierarchy in the local Ordinary which would have enough knowledge of Tradition or the Magisterium to know that such masses are licit and are in fact encouraged by that Magisterium.

    I am sad to have to tell you that at least out here, neither condition obtains. And we have extensive precedent which indicates that if a pastor were so foolish as to offer a Latin Mass, he would soon be transferred to a parish in Compton or East L.A.

    These facts are all the more bitter, in that there is a SSPX chapel within a mile’s walk of my home. So far, I’ve not attended.

    I’ve commented before about this regrettable tendency of yours to offer hope to people who quite frankly have none. I believe that Rudyard Kipling made a particularly pungent comment about such a tendency:

    The toad beneath the harrow knows
    Exactly where each tooth-point goes.
    The butterfly upon the road
    Preaches contentment to that toad.

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