The ongoing application of Traditionis custodes – D. San Diego and D. Motherwell

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Two pieces of news come to my box today, along with the news that Card. Burke is off the ventilator and moving out of the ICU – Laus Deo!

Bp. Toal

On 8 August in the Scottish Diocese of  Motherwell, Bp. Joseph Toal, with the generous and open heart of a true shepherd of souls, suppressed the TLM in Cleland, telling people to go to the Novus Ordo where they live.  Not controlling at all.    Now he has also suppressed the Mass at Coatbridge, reducing it from monthly to 1st Saturdays only. What a “guardian of Tradition”!

By contrast, something I didn’t think I would see is happening in San Diego, where there is an ultra-liberal bishop, idolized by the Fishwrap (“brilliant mind and the heart of a pastor”), Robert McElroy.   There were Masses at St. Mary’s and St. Margaret’s in the northern part of the diocese.  With the excuse that “the Extraordinary Form has become a source of division” – a premise we are just supposed to accept – McElroy euthanized those Masses.  In the south, there is a personal parish staffed by the FSSP, St. Anne’s.  However, given the size of the diocese and the distance people would have to travel, he has received requests from people to consider another place in the northern part of the diocese.  He wants a committee of lay people to find an “appropriate” location is that “non-parish” setting.   That’s not nothing and that not nothing is a little unexpected, given that this is Bp. McElroy.

It is truly a sad situation.  Find a “non-parish” setting for the Mass that has been celebrated continuously for centuries.

Where’s the charity for these people, who are the most marginalized group in the Church?  Has either Toal or McElroy ever gone to be with these people who want the Traditional Mass?  Have they celebrated Mass for them?

Imagine a bishop saying to a group of, say, Catholic Afghani refugees, “Find a place on your own, but not in a parish.”  What a “guardian of Tradition”!

I suspect that if there were a handful of authentic Catholic Afghani refugees shipped to San Diego, the bishop would do Olympic-level floor exercise routines to reveal his pastoral heart for them.

Perhaps the folks in San Diego and in Coatbridge, Scotland should buy a church that’s being sold.  Maybe they could build one.   Maybe they could get some pointers from the SSPX priest in San Diego who celebrates Mass at a hotel.

Friends, we have to pray for these bishops.  Pray, and fast.  Pray, fast, and take on additional mortifications and performance of works of mercy.  GO TO CONFESSION!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Kathleen10 says:

    It became obvious about 5 or so years ago that hearts and minds would be revealed, and they are. No fence sitting is going to work from here on in. There are two major acts done by bishops that will reveal exactly what is in their heart, mind, and soul. One is what they do about the cruel and frankly, diabolical, Traditiones Custodes. Do they continue to support and maintain the Mass of the Ages, or take steps against the proper worship of God Himself, and thereby deprive the flock so cruelly as to be obvious.
    The other is vaccine mandate exemptions. It is abhorrent, as an American, for it to be considered it now increasingly necessary to find a piece of paper which states we are sovereign over our own bodies. What an appalling thought! After all, how long will the people in charge honor such a piece of paper, which might as well be from our mothers, saying we are exempt and have a right of refusal to put something in our own bodies that we do not want. We now need permission to have such sovereignty? This is absurd. God gives us sovereignty over our own bodies. Be that as it may, if vaccine exemption papers from our bishop or priests will be helpful while we address the issue, okay. Will bishops do as the Colorado bishops have done and provide them? Or will our bishops decide that we do NOT have sovereign rights over our own bodies, and we must inject our bodies with chemicals we do not want. This as the FDA is going to rush approval, despite the factor of time obviously so limited that approval is meaningless.
    This is how we will find out, these two ways, what our particular bishops are made of. Will they rise to the occasion? Or manage to squeeze under the lowest bar we have for many of them already.
    We’re finding out about the first one, and the second one is about to be revealed.

  2. HvonBlumenthal says:

    It was Bishop Toal who removed Fr Matthew Despard from his parish.

    Fr Despard’s book Priesthood in Crisis was published before the McCarrick story broke and revealed a great deal about the way such things happen in Europe.

    The book was suppressed by Amazon and is unobtainable on the Internet but I had the presence of mind to keep a pdf in case you or any of your readers want a copy.

  3. hilltop says:

    Storm clouds gather in the Archdiocese of Washington….

  4. DCLex says:

    …out of the ICU. Hurray!!

  5. summorumpontificum777 says:

    Who knew that Oceanside and Escondido were the modern-day equivalents of Wittenberg and Geneva? Thank God that the courageous McElroy is in place to suppress the subversive theological radicals of exurban San Diego county. McElroy’s letter to his diocese (8/2/21) is quite triumphalist declaring that celebration of the TLM must “not occupy a mainstream role in the liturgical life of the diocese or signify a coequal status for the pre-Conciliar Mass.”

    Seriously, San Diego is the only diocese in California to shut down TLMs. What does that say? It suggests that McElroy is alone among his confrères in accepting the underlying premises of Traditionis Custodes. Let’s face it. None of this really has anything to do with the Latin language or the Missals of Pius V or Paul VI. Both Andrea Grillo and Pope Francis have used the metaphor of the TLM attendees “blocking the path” of the Church. And what path is that? Is it any coincidence that the only bishop in the Golden State to spring into action and suppress TLMs is that same one who has stridently advocated downplaying the USCCB’s opposition to abortion? Or the same one who has led the way in embracing Fr Jim Martin’s vision of a Church that embraces homosexual activity and “marriage”?

  6. kurtmasur says:

    @HvonBlumenthal: I would be interested in the pdf. Please email me to my same username that you see here followed with at yahoo dot com.

    @Father Z: “I suspect that if there were a handful of authentic Catholic Afghani refugees shipped to San Diego, the bishop would do Olympic-level floor exercise routines to reveal his pastoral heart for them.” Sadly, Father, they need not even be catholics. In fact, bonus points if they are anything but.

  7. majuscule says:

    Thank you for mentioning the pdf of that book. I did a little sleuthing and found an ePub and Kindle version here:

    It seems to be free and the ePub version downloaded fine for me on my iPad.

    Just mentioning because it’s hard to share email addresses in a forum like this. I’m glad to see the book is available!

  8. HvonBlumenthal says:

    @majuscule that’s very good news about the epub.

    I think you may find that it isn’t actually possible to download the kindle in practice.

  9. Luke23:39_43 says:

    I attend Mass at the SSPX Mission at the hotel and am grateful for it; the non-Traditional setting matters not. We have a fantastic priest and a wonderful community. I’m fairly new to the mission; from what I understand, the mission rented a chapel until perhaps a couple years ago when developers were going to tear it down.

    The mission functions through a dedicated group of volunteers, including the men who arrive early to set up everything and stay late to break everything down.

    I’ve seen some new faces since Traditionis Custodes, too.

  10. summorumpontificum777 says:

    The SSPX has its role to play, and God bless them for the work that they do. But the real tragedy of Traditionis Custodes is its modus operandi of getting the TLM out of diocesan parishes. The notion that the TLM should not and cannot be part of “mainstream parish life” is what’s been seized upon by McElroy and his ilk. The idea is very clearly to quarantine the traditional Mass in a sort of ghetto in hopes that it withers away. One wonders whether the granting of faculties to SSPX priests for confessions & marriages was less about mercy and generosity to those on the margins and more about a cynical long game to create a destination for trads to get them out of diocesan parishes where they might be asking for TLMs, promoting pro-life activities and opposing liturgical abuses, “pride” Masses, etc. The Holy Father’s money quote in his letter accompanying Traditionis was his assertion that TLM attendees are “blocking the Church’s path.” They perceive, accurately, that the typical TLM attendee stands in opposition to the direction in which they want to take the Church.

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  12. Peter O says:

    Having been baptized at St. Margaret’s (in the OF), and grown up there, I witnessed the guitar rock and roll Masses in the 1990’s give way to a very reverent liturgical culture that included both the OF and EF. I heard that one of the non parish locations suggested for TLM use was a disused diocesan building far away from where most people live in north county. This situation is not good. The TLM will not be able to be stopped, but these types of edicts will prevent people who are unaware of the TLM from being able to easily discover and access it in a local parish.

  13. Joe in Canada says:

    The bishops who are allowing any TLM are just waiting for this fall when the Holy Father publishes a clarification stating that Traditionis custodes should be interpreted to mean that the FSSP and such orders are to be shut down.

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  15. TonyO says:

    After the shocking “this is effective immediately” provision in TC, the one that most smacks of clear injustice is the provision of removing TLMs to locations that are not “parish churches”. How so? Because it is manifestly the case that a large portion of the motivation of those who want the TLM is that they want a mass that has more of the sense of the sacred. And the ideal SETTING of that mass – while not absolutely necessary (both the TLM and the Novus Ordo can be said on the tailgate of an army truck for a company of soldiers going into battle) – is also not irrelevant to said motivation: the normal (i.e. normative) setting for the Mass should be one of beauty, formality, and propriety, such as to assist in lifting one’s mind and heart to God. A hotel conference room or gymnasium cannot do that. Whatever ELSE is true of Francis’s motivation in getting the TLM out of parish churches, the EFFECT of forcing these masses into vastly inferior settings is an affront to the sensibilities of those who go to the TLM.

    Francis is fond of using a metaphor of “the Church is a field hospital.” I wonder how he would feel about it if a bishop put that into practice by telling ALL of his priests to say every single mass at ad-hoc locations like gymnasiums, office buildings, homes, hospital emergency rooms, etc. With no STABLE location week to week. You know, “like the early Church did”. And sell the cathedral to promote this. Let a bishop of Rome try to sell off St. Peter’s to a “church of the New Age” sect, to carry out this theme of going “back to our roots”, and see if he wakes up with all of his limbs attached. And yet St. Peter’s was built for TLM.

  16. TonyO says:

    The bishops who are allowing any TLM are just waiting for this fall when the Holy Father publishes a clarification stating …

    @ Joe in Canada,

    While I have heard such reports of a follow-up document, (well, rumors, really), I have doubts that there will be such a document. At least, not coming from the office of Francis himself. Maybe from CDF, but even that I doubt. Francis is CLEARLY NOT fond of making himself clear about things, nor of circling back to previously issued documents in order to re-state the points already made. Both his managerial style, and his mental framework, is “hagan lio” – make a mess – say something, and let the mess work its way out on its own. Based on previous practice, he is far more likely to do what he did with Amoris Laetitia: focus attention on some specific bishop or conference of bishops and the way THEY “implement” TC, and say something like “yeah, what they did”.

    Or just remain silent and let bishops continue to make a mess. He seems to like that, too.

  17. Simon_GNR says:

    A former parish priest of the parish in which I live is now p.p. of a parish in the Diocese of Motherwell. I wonder what he makes of this. He was not much of an enthusiast for the TLM as far as I know, but he must have a certain attachment to traditional practices as he regularly provided the ritual of Benediction with some of the traditional hymns in Latin.

  18. Semper Gumby says:

    HvonBlumenthal and majuscule: Thanks.

    Bp. McElroy a few years ago said that faithful Catholics critical of James Martin SJ and his latest book were a “cancer of vilification” to be “purged.”

    There are some faithful bishops, God bless them. But, for many bishops today “purging” appears to mean dressing up in leather, sipping cognac, and loading the Mass of the Ages on a slow train to Sobibor. Silly totalitarians. That train, one way or another, will never, ever arrive at Sobibor’s “Pachamama Macht Frei” gate.

    In the meantime, as we go about our daily lives in our fair towns armed with our CCWs such as a Rosary, we now have the glorious God-given opportunity to nudge a friend and say, “Look, there’s Chad. He looks great. A spring in his step and a song in heart. He must have gone to Confession and Holy Mass at a Holiday Inn Express.”

  19. Semper Gumby says:

    “Imagine a bishop saying to a group of, say, Catholic Afghani refugees, “Find a place on your own, but not in a parish.” What a “guardian of Tradition”!”

    Good point by Fr. Z.

    If one clicks the link above, they’ll notice that the Catholic presence in Afghanistan is minuscule, and now almost non-existent. Meanwhile, there is a far larger Protestant presence.

    A few centuries ago Jesuit missionaries in North America (mainly in the area of the Great Lakes and Upper Ohio Valley) bravely, sometimes at the cost of their lives, brought the Good News of Jesus Christ to tribes both friendly and hostile. Today, most Jesuits spend their time parading pagan idols through the Vatican or yukking it up with late-night talk show hosts. Those are the consequences of not guarding tradition.

    Meanwhile, some overzealous Catholic laity on the internet bellow “Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus!” Ok, that’s good, clean bombastic fun but such belligerent tribalism rarely, if ever, accomplishes anything.

    God bless Catholic and Protestant missionaries (clergy, laity or military- mostly American) who are bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to dark corners of the earth.

    Romans 10:15, Luke 10:8,,Acts 16:6-7.

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