A young priest recounts his experience and aspirations

Our Lady of Clergy 01For decades priests have done all sorts of goofy things to Mass and bishops did little or nothing to safeguard our sacred worship.

Almost a year ago Robert Card. Sarah called for priests to celebrate Mass ad orientem more often, where possible, prudently and with catechesis.  The left had a spittle-flecked nutty.  In many places bishops and others came down on the heads of the priests who took up Card. Sarah’s call.

However, inroads are being made.

The importance of ad orientem worship cannot be over emphasized.

Also, many seminarians and young priests are deeply interested in our traditional sacred liturgical worship.  They want it.  However, in the present climate, which I sense is slipping back into the Reign of Lib Terror that many of us (now older) men experienced into the 80s, traditional priests and seminarians who are in that vector are concerned that they will be punished for their “legitimate aspirations” as St. John Paul II called them.  Libs talk about “mercy”.  To borrow a phrase,  I do not think that word means what they think it means.

Today I got a note from a young priest in these USA.  I’ve redacted it to protect him.  He has been bullied from above and fears retribution (with my emphases and comments):

I was recently asked to serve as a sacred minister in a TLM. My initial reaction was to say, “no,” in fear of what some of the ramifications might be. But after prayer, and realizing that it is something I’ve always wanted to get involved with, I’ve decided to help. I’m nervous, I’m honored, and I’m thankful to you and your blog for giving me perspective on the ancient Mass. You know, I’ve heard so much recently about, “going to the periphery.”  [In fact, the realm of the traditional he been turned into a periphery by the lib left.  And far from going to the periphery in charity, they continue to abuse those who simply want to be Catholic.] And when I look at my [d]iocese, I realize that the group of people that seems to be at the farthest edge of a [d]iocesan periphery is the TLM community. The community was moved around but finally received a pastor to provide for them. There are tons of programs in our diocese for all kinds of organizations and groups. However, it has always seemed that the TLM community is passed around or constantly in flux.

Even though this might be the case, I’ve found that the level of devoutness, and sincere love, and understanding of the Church is manifested fiercely and sincerely by the TLM community in general. There is so much they could teach the majority population of Catholics here in my diocese! I suppose I’m writing this to you because I want to say, “thank you.” Thank you for being open and honest about your priesthood and how the TLM has sustained it.

It’s given me the courage to start this journey and I hope to offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form sooner than later… for my family, for the TLM community who sit at the periphery of my [d]iocese, and for the greater glory of God.

(Fr. Z, please do not use my name or [d]iocese. I’ve only been a priest for [a few] years, and my love for Tradition is a thorn in the side of those who run my [d]iocese. They have a lot of power and pull, and it has already impacted my assignments. You should have seen the uproar I caused when I offered the Mass Ad Orientem. I was threatened if I didn’t stop. … Thanks for all you do. And pray for me…its hard out here for a young priest.)

I assure you of my prayers, young Jedi.

I know that the readers here will stop and say a prayer to Mary, Queen of the Clergy, for you right now:

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

Priests and seminarians: I’ll always defend your anonymity.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Be The Maquis, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liberals, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests, New Evangelization, Priests and Priesthood and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Boniface says:

    Prayers for this priest have been sent up…

  2. Christine says:

    Prayers for this priest and all priests struggling to be faithful. We should also pray for all the unfaithful priests and bishops that this Pentecost they can be filled with the Holy Spirit.

  3. This is a bittersweet post. It is wonderful this young priest understands and loves Tradition as it is part of the Faith whether or not those who disagree think it is. God love him and those like him. Prayer offered today and everyday from now on.

    If we changed a few words here and there, it reminds me of watching the movie “The Pianist”. A man whose soul had the gift of music. The powers that be torturing him because who he was. He suffered terribly and had to hide who he was to save his life. Many along the way kept his anonymity like Father Zuhlsdorf is doing for this priest.

    We must pray hard for the angry dictators who infest Church Lib. Their way, at times resembles those in the movie who tortured those trying to follow their call.

    There was one man in the film who was part of the oppressive group. He recognized God in the man’s music. He, then ( a Catholic btw) kept the man in hiding , fed and clothed him and kept his ANONYMITY.
    He helped him to finally escape with his life by keeping his anonymity.

    The Pianist was a Jew, the Nazi officer a Catholic .

    Our times, they are hard. But Our Lord didn’t promise us easy. He guaranteed hard. He wants us to “Embrace the suck” as the Marines say. To find glory in suffering , there’s the rub!

    St Maximilian Kolbe, pray for our priests who are suffering under tyrants. Give them the humble bravery you offered in your suffering … Amen.

  4. LarryW2LJ says:

    It saddens me to the core that a young man, who desires to do something that is truly not sinful and is something that is such a good is reviled by those given authority over him. And yet, politicians and others who openly defy Church teaching and who gleefully flaunt their disobedience; are allowed to receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Savior with nary a whimper.

    I must pray harder and fast more.

  5. bibi1003 says:

    I’m so thankful for this young, brave priest. God bless him and give him courage for this good fight! And thank you, Fr. Z, for giving him a place where he can ask for prayers anonymously.

  6. yatzer says:

    Prayers for this young man and all like him, including Father Z.

  7. Robster says:

    I have great respect for TLM. I would be more involved in it were it closer, but the nearest ones are 20 miles in either direction. If they are doing a sung mass, I will go. I must, however, say I have gotten an impression from more extreme folks of the TLM group that disparages the the OF seemingly in principle. I would make the distinction that if the OF is badly done, it does not mean it is inherently a bad form. Ditto for TLM. Why is it Fr. Z, that the low mass seems to be done so rapidly? As if the priest had a pressing appt afterward? It’s one of the turnoffs for me. [Maybe the priest has an appointment afterward. Also, what is rushed for some is not rushed for others. Priests who labor over Latin, for example, say Mass at a rate that is halting. Priests who know Latin well can use the language at a normal pace, which might seem fast to someone who doesn’t know the language. Also, a sound ars celebrandi suggests that Mass should be celebrated at a pace which allows the different “parts” to be held in relation to each other. At the same time, it should not be pushed along too quickly. Experience eventually provides the balance.]

  8. bsjy says:

    just google the princess bride

  9. iamlucky13 says:

    “You should have seen the uproar I caused when I offered the Mass Ad Orientem. I was threatened if I didn’t stop.”

    This might be on the border of a vindictive emotional response, but I hope whoever would threaten a priest for celebrating Mass in a way that has been clearly upheld as legitimate will at some point have a chance to reflect upon how pathetic such a response is.

  10. OldLady says:

    Dedicated priests are to be celebrated. These days, the more priests are opposed the more they seem to be on the right path…read In Sinu Jesu, I found it a very hope filled, beautiful, extremely moving read. The power of Adoration and the power of one priest to move others along their spiritual journey will always be absolutely awesome to me. You guys really are miracles, I don’t know how you do what you do! I sometimes wonder if priests and the laity realize how much the Church needs every single one of you. So easy to take blessings for granted……

    [The above-mentioned book is very good.]


  11. Kerry says:

    Robster, St. Agnes Church is St. Paul, MN, from where we moved, and which was, I believe our host’s home church for some time, draws people from, IIRC, 40-50 zip codes in the Twin Cities. (Some people I believe drove 50 miles from Wisconsin). Here in SD, our normal drive is 35 miles one way. A regularly scheduled tradition Latin Mass is 60 miles one way. (Please forgive me if I sound condescending; I mean only to express mileage, not scorn.) But 20 miles in either direction…?! Zowie!
    (Towns here have been described as being one day’s drive distance by horse and wagon.)

  12. Liz says:

    Prayers for this young priest and others like him. God bless him and God bless you, Fr. Z. This is very encouraging.

  13. Robster says:

    Fr. Z, thanks for the response. Kerry, I appreciate the dedication of those who will go a great distance to attend any mass. I am not a dedicated attendee of TLM, but I like to go occasionally, especially if it is sung. I appreciate both forms.

  14. PTK_70 says:

    What could possibly be so wrong with celebrating Holy Mass ad orientem now and again, regardless of the form of the Roman Rite?

    There are bishops who “get it.” There are bishops who understand the importance of “safeguarding our sacred worship” (gotta love that expression). Perhaps whenever bishops gather together for this or that conference, the ones that “get it” might take the opportunity to engage in some gentle persuasion vis-a-vis their brother bishops who perchance don’t….

  15. Royse87 says:

    God bless you and stay the course, Father. I pray the mother of God would soften the hearts of your diocesan leadership.

  16. majuscule says:

    Even where a bishop supports ad orientem and the TLM, if it’s a large enough diocese in a liberal enough area, a priest who attempts ad orientem or edges towards offering the TLM will experience the hardness of the hearts of not just lay people but priests “of a certain age.” These young priests must know their rights and come armed with people (even if only a few) who will support them, speak up for them and most importantly, pray for them.

    I have heard that a seminarian with very traditional ideas who is soon to be ordained already “has a target on his back” because he wants to offer the Traditional Latin Mass. Fortunately he does have support from the pews, even if it isn’t in his first parish assignment.

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