The Superiors™ of “Ecclesia Dei” and the “Smash!” in Houston.

Whew!   A lot of news today. I’ve been bus this morning writing my new weekly column at 1 Peter 5, now happily under new management.

Let’s see a couple things.

First, in the wake of Traditionis custodes, the superiors of the various once “Ecclesia Dei” communities (those religious institutes established by the Holy See for use of the books of the Traditional Roman Rite – and Francis in his latest interview says it is a different Rite and who am I to judge?) met with each other in view of an upcoming meeting in Rome with their now relevant dicasteries, the Congregations for Religious and for Divine Worship.

Frankly, I wouldn’t shed a tear if they – let’s just call them The Superiors™, kinda Motown – collectively boycotted the summons to Rome.  But they won’t.  I predict that they will be petted a little, lulled.  Then an instruction will be issued by Religious that restricts the formation of their new postulants and by Worship telling then that they had better concelebrate or else.  All in pastoral solicitude and citing Francis’ remark that TC was really a fatherly attempt to “support and consolidate” Summorum Pontificum.

The Superiors™  issued a joint statement.  It’s quite a read.  Though I heard it through the grapevine from multiple sources, in fraternal good will I mention in chief that you can find the whole thing at Rorate.  HERE

I want to highlight a couple of things.

Francis, in TC, said that the use of the Traditional Roman Rite (apparently now acknowledged as such – who am I to judge, not that it was obvious), has caused widespread division and the people who desire it call the Council into question.  We are simply supposed to accept that premise.   That’s an absurd falsehood, of course, and it grieves me that he has been duped into thinking that it is true.   The Sups™, God bless them, wrote in their Communiqué:

The signatory Institutes want, above all, to reiterate their love for the Church and their fidelity to the Holy Father. This filial love is tinged with great suffering today. We feel suspected, marginalized, banished. However, we do not recognize ourselves in the description given in the accompanying letter of the Motu Proprio Traditionis custodes, of July 16, 2021.


Have any mistakes been made? We are ready, as every Christian is, to ask forgiveness if some excess of language or mistrust of authority may have crept into any of our members. We are ready to convert if party spirit or pride has polluted our hearts.


We beg for a humane, personal, trusting dialogue, far from ideologies or the coldness of administrative decrees.


Pope Francis, “encourage[s] the Church’s pastors to listen to them with sensitivity and serenity, with a sincere desire to understand their plight and their point of view, in order to help them live better lives and to recognize their proper place in the Church.”(Amoris Laetitia, 312). We are eager to entrust the tragedies we are living to a father’s heart. We need listening and goodwill, not condemnation without prior dialogue.

The harsh judgment creates a feeling of injustice and produces resentment. Patience softens hearts. We need time.


There it is.  “Stop! In the name of love”

As I said when this goat rodeo began, the people now making the harsh administrative decrees have not had any personal contact with the already marginalized community within their flocks that they are now marginalizing even more?

Where’s the Christian charity?  Heck, where’s even basic worldly fairness?

An example of this can be found in the new diktats from Card. DiNardo for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston sent to me by a priest friend down there.    It’s all online HERE in all its chilling stinginess.    In a nutshell, there were four parishes in the Archdiocese with the TLM with Sunday Masses.  If Papa was a rolling stone, then DiNardo – sadly to say an alumnus of my school in Rome – has done his own roll, and crushed out three of them and also banned all other sacraments with the traditional Rite.

Ken Wolfe at Rorate remarks that:

“[W]hy does Cardinal DiNardo grant permission for protestants to use his cathedral for their “ordinations” but Catholics who attend the traditional Latin Mass cannot worship using the 1962 books at their parish?

“What’s goin’ on?”  That’s a damn good question.

In the past, Card. DiNardo commendably has confirmed in the Traditional Roman Rite and he showed up for the ground breaking of the parish entrusted to the FSSP, Regina Caeli, which has survived today’s pogrom. One might ask, where did our love go?  But, over the span of years since Summorum, how engaged has he been with these people for whom he has the cura animarum.

Cura animarum.

How does TC and the Houston Pogrom contribute to the care of souls?  Really?  If there are some people who have gone astray into some sort of extremism, then doesn’t it behoove the shepherd to go in search of the few? Save them personally rather than through a proxy or an administrative decree?

Pastoral care à la the Cultural Revolution.


In a time when this particular sector of the Church is experiencing growth and evidencing a vital future, now is when you stomp on it?

Cura animarum.

Build back better!

Scatter the old world! Build a new world!
Dasui jiu shijie! Chuangli xin shijie!

I have a vintage poster of this from that time.  Along with my painting of Bl. Miguel Pro, it reminds me of how fast things can go sideways.   Here it is, still waiting for me to find its wall in my new place.


Let’s lighten it up a little, though the lyrics here seem oddly appropriate to the topic.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Cri de Coeur, Pò sì jiù, Traditionis custodes, You must be joking! and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. JohnMa says:

    DiNardo and Zubik are very close, both being priests in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. I would not be surprised if Zubik called his friend and leaned on him.

  2. Congratulations on the 1P5 gig! Yay!

  3. JEF5570 says:

    The DiNardo decision makes me so angry. St. Teresa’s has had the TLM longer than Regina Caeli has even been around. Sugarland to Jersey Village is 45 minutes on a good day and it’s Houston, so there aren’t all that many good days. Why? Why do this? Also, on a day when through the hard work of so many of the sheep of his own flock who’ve worked so hard and persevered for decades in the trenches of pro-life legislation, should be celebrating a major victory, he’s decided to what, knee cap them? Priorities indeed. To think he used to be the chairman of the USCCB’s prolife comittee. God grant him happiness in this life and the next, but it is so hard not to be angry.

  4. pcg says:

    Love Smokey Robinson!

  5. Joe in Canada says:

    It’s consoling to know there are still optimists such as you around, Father!

  6. Ariseyedead says:

    Fr. Z,
    Great post, Father. You were in rare form! Like the James Brown of the Catholic blogosphere. Heh!

  7. Greg Hlatky says:

    Red hat, Red Guard?

  8. TRW says:

    I would like to point out that the beloved hymn,” On Eagle’s Wings”, is indeed the “unique expression of the lex orandi of the Latin Rite. This obvious but controversial statement was unfortunately left out of the final draft of TC only after the last minute intervention of Cardinal Ladaria. When the Superiors of the former “Ecclesia Dei” communities are finally summoned to Rome, they will not only be forced to concelebrate a mass with 37 Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, but they will also be asked, on the spot, to sing ” On Eagle’s Wings” in its entirety( a capella, of course). Failure to comply with this request with be understood as an explicit rejection of the Second Vatican Council and all its solemn decrees.

  9. Ceile De says:

    Interesting, father, that you reference the Chinese cultural revolution which happened around the same time as V2.
    The new simplified liturgy came in sound the same time as simplified Chinese characters in Communist China and simplified spelling and abandonment of Gaelic for Roman script in Ireland, both of which rendered their respective historical literatures inaccessible to all but a few of future generations. What happened on he church was not exclusive to it.

  10. WVC says:

    I wish our side did more of the “clever as serpents” bit. Perhaps they are, behind closed doors where I cannot see, and if so, great! But in public our side look like the timid party locked in an abusive relationship. After a good beating, our side goes, “But never forget how much we honor and respect you, how much we want to adhere to and appreciate your authority, how we would never, ever dare to question anything you’ve declared or that has been declared . . .”

    It does little to inspire. At some point, isn’t calling out an absurdity directly and forcefully the correct response? To ignore the silly and self destructive a better option than to play make-believe community and togetherness?

    Not that our side should stop praying and making sacrifices for the opening of the hearts of those who are engaged in a very wicked work, but in the meantime, why is anyone doing anything to assist with that work or making any attempt to call it anything other than wicked?

    Charity does not equal “nice.” Virtue does not equal “saps of the world.” Being meek and humble of heart does not equal “please push me around and let me tell you how much I like it.” There are far too many saints who have given far too many examples of fortitude in the face of persecution.

    Why can’t more of the others get in the game? Look, it can’t all rest on the shoulders of one good priest’s blog.

  11. Fulco One Eye says:

    How do you spell “insipid groveling “?

  12. TonyO says:

    WVC, I hear you, but I suspect that they are very, very concerned about the extremely real possibility that Rome will simply and completely suppress their orders if they don’t at least seem to submit. If they wanted to go the SSPX route, they wouldn’t have bothered forming a different order or institute.

    And, even more concerning (well, potentially), is that while SSPX was suppressed, that was done badly and (arguably) without proper canonical form, so it may have been technically invalid – leaving them in reality still a validly going concern. But there is no guarantee that will happen again.

    One of the ironic and delectable things about observing – over a long-enough time scale – those who work for their “father below” is that, being evil-minded, they are (at least sometimes) too trapped in wickedness to be EFFECTIVE for their own side. It is humorous to watch bishops and even popes who are inept at delivering legally binding resolutions, because their ineptness is due to their being trained from little bitty seminarians to not believe in the rule books to begin with. Hence often they DO NOT know the rules, and are unable to use them correctly. Francis did it a few years ago in trying to claim the mantle of “infallibility” for “the reform” – which is a clear category error. He did it this time in TC, in articles 1 and 8. Please, God, do not let anyone instruct them in the proper modes of legal suppression.

    Nevertheless, there remains the possibility that SOMEONE in the CDW other dicasteries actually knows the correct steps to suppress an order or institute, and thus it well behooves the Sups to watch their steps and be looking for ways to appear to be submissive without actually selling their souls. (Or just refuse to go to Rome at all, as Fr. Z pointed out being a different sort of option – the burn the bridge option, I guess). If the person(s) who make the ultimate determination is ALREADY dead-set ready to suppress the orders, then they can’t get anywhere by bowing and scraping. But they (probably) don’t know if the decision has already been made, or alternatively if there is some action/words they could (in theory) make that would avoid that outcome.

    I would make a small suggestion to the Sups, if I could: Assuming that they will be directed and required to concelebrate a mass with some cardinal or bishops (and they better assume this is going to be demanded, or they shouldn’t bother going to Rome), to prove they are “in communion” with the Pope and Rome, there is a small act they might make in response: after concelebrating, invite the same cardinal or bishop to say a (solemn high TLM) mass with them, tomorrow, with him (the cardinal) as the deacon or subdeacon. Just to show HE is “in communion” with the Sups. He won’t? Well, what does that say about schismatic attitudes – they got all gussied up to prove they are in communion and the other dance partner won’t come out to dance? Communion is a two-way street.

  13. Felipe says:

    Card. DiNardo, I pray for your eternal soul. May God have mercy on you, unlike the mercy you have shown those poor faithful in Houston. Those little children who are being robbed of their patrimonial inheritance by no fault of their own but because they are under your care. I pray for all these victims of unjust clericalism. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!

  14. WVC says:

    @TonyO – I know it’s easy for me to mouth off online since I’m not responsible for any of these orders, and I have sympathy for those who hold those obligations. At some point, though, the writing is on the wall, and a little unexpected offense is a good defense. I don’t have much doubt that those in Rome absolutely will do everything they can to squash and marginalize all the traditional orders, including restricting the training of seminarians and postulants and force the absurdity of concelebration on everyone. I’m not going to be surprised when there’s an outright ban on birettas and cassocks. If anyone had doubts that this is the direction we’re going, they should reread TC a few more times along with the accompanying letter. It WILL happen, sooner or later, but probably sooner since old men have little patience as they get closer to death every day.

    The question, in my humble and quite uneducated opinion, is whether such authority has any validity. This isn’t a practical matter of suppressing one order for political purposes for the good order of the Church – it’s a clear case of them wanting to abolish the liturgical tradition of the Church and everything that goes with it by means of destroying those who are preserving those traditions. Such a goal is illegitimate. Any orders or directions toward such a goal hold no authority. At the least, such orders are to be ignored. At the best, they should be directly and very publicly repudiated. If a bishop is punished and sent away from his diocese – perhaps he decides to not leave. What is the Vatican going to do? Call in the local police to have him arrested? Okay – then that creates great footage for public view and pretty much gives the lie to the “Church unity” nonsense. God forbid, if a pope starts arresting priests, nuns, and bishops – it’s going to get mighty awkward for that pope.

    How many times did Athanasius get exiled? Five? And neither he nor the faithful of his diocese were cooperative with the Arian heretics – quite the contrary.

    We are living through the era that will help define the limits of Magisterial authority. Those limits obviously must exist – and it will be a hard, sloppy, painful process to hammer them into stone. Just like every other dogma of the Church has come by God’s grace guiding His Church through brutal, often bloody fights. Pretending that this fight isn’t coming, or trying to put it off, it doesn’t help. Let’s just go ahead and get to business.

  15. mpa says:

    Politics is the art of the possible. People forget that at their peril.

    In an organisation where they hold all of the power, and you hold none of the power, pointing to rules and insisting they be followed will only bring your doom more swiftly.

    And in the world of Church politics today, *the Vatican holds all of the power*. A law not received is no law? Maybe, maybe not; and yet when Rome decrees, so it is done.

    The Catholic people did not receive the Mass of Paul VI. They *left the church* over it. And yet, it was law. Illegitimate law, bad law, whatever you like, and yet the Usus Antiquor all but vanished from the world; and when a tiny fraction of a fraction of a percent expresses new interest in it, the entire hellish machinery of Rome roars into action to stamp out the insolent fleas.

    Let us be very clear that *today’s Vatican does not care about souls*. It is a centre of ambition and politics. That enormous, swirling mass of one billion Catholic souls around the planet, for whom the successors of Peter bear the Cura Animarum — we too are regarded only for our usefulness.

    The men who now own the Vatican are not fathers: they are conquerors. You and I can either be useful to them, or we can go to hell.

    Of course, you and I are not the only ones in this position. It goes all the way to the very top. If Parolin ceased to be useful tomorrow, the order against him would be signed tomorrow.

    Indeed, Francis himself is no exception. When his usefulness ceases, he too will be discarded. Do not suppose he is not very well aware of this. He is too experienced and shrewd not to know it.

    The situation is no different for the FSSPs and ICKs. They have never been useful: but now they are an annoyance.

    They may say to themselves: we are important! we matter! But to the Vatican, they are not important and they do not matter. They may say to themselves: we are growing! we are youthful! But their growth is not desirable to the Vatican. They have the “wrong sort of fans”.

    (Those of us who think we can run to the SSPX because of their faculties should brace for disappointment. Those faculties can be taken away just as off-handedly as they were given. The SSPX were useful, briefly, but that’s over now. They will be dealt with, harshly, and soon.)

    Their one and only hope is to “make friends with the judge”. But it is, obviously, far too late for that. God bless their innocent souls for thinking that a grovelling letter would improve their lot. Grovelling only makes them despise you, and it makes them enjoy crushing you more, for almost no-one who attains their sort of power has not developed a taste for cruelty.

    These men have nearly succeeded in remaking the church into a modern liberal democracy, with “dynamic” politics, parliaments, powerless “leaders” who come and go, while the real power remains concealed and untouchable, and unanswerable. And everyone will say that it is wonderful, because it is “democratic” and “modern”. You and I will applaud it, from prison.

    God help us — and God help those men when the Lord comes, at an hour they do not know, to see how they are managing his vineyard.

  16. Sue in soCal says:

    I am having trouble finding publishers for the Missale Romanum, Breviarium Romanum, Pontificale Romanum, Graduale Romanum. The FSSP does have the Missale Romanum, the Breviarium Romanum shows up on an English site, and the FSSP has the Diurnale Romanum. I cannot find the Pontificale Romanum as a book, only as a pdf. The Graduale Romanum shows up at Cantica Nova’s and Paraclete Press’s site but is apparently following the post-Vatican II calendar. Those following the 1962 missal that I found are in pdf form. Does anyone know other sources?

  17. With everything going on both in and outside…a couple thoughts/images come to mind reading not only our esteemed host’s thoughts but those of posters:

    1. Remember Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 4-5-1”? Not the Oskar Werner/Julie Christie movie, but the book itself? The premise being that books were somehow destructive to the control of the population and ownership of said was a criminal act? So, the alternative was immersive and pervasive interactive media sanctioned by the state to distract the people…but there was a band of ‘rebels’ who voluntarily took to the woods (off the grid?) to preserve, by memorization, the works which defined society.

    The saving grace is that despite the current copyright of fungible and changeable for-the-moment ritual and ‘books of happy thoughts’, the traditional and handed-down texts are still out there. I think our host once opined that priests should *MEMORIZE* their rituals against the day when even possession of same would be, as in Bradbury’s novel, be seen as a rebellious and even canonically criminal act. I would posit that even good laity should take up the cudgel and do the same for those parts proper to them. Because, you never know.

    (Side note: back in the bad old 1980, on various BBS systems (Fordham Jesuit being one, run by a friend, Fr. Nick Lombardi SJ…yes, I have Jesuit friends…:)) there was an undercurrent in the pre-1984 days that the basic text of the classical rite was being lost as books were destroyed and was not available in electronic form…I took it upon myself to type in (I had a Missal) the entire text, red and black, from the “Asperges me…” to the end of John’s Gospel. I think it’s still out there somewhere, credited to myself and a couple others. It WILL be up to us…)

    2. Lay people: support your GOOD priests. Pray for the lukewarm or off-the-rails borderline whack-a-doodle priests. The vineyard is overrun with vermin. Thus has it always been. But we have fewer and fewer laborers, both ordered and lay, taking up the rakes, pruning shears, and torches, preferring instead to binge watch the latest numbing program on Prime. STOP IT. Some day YOU will be forced to make a decision. TC has clarified the field a bit. We now know which side is which. Make your choice. One path leads to truth. The other? Leads to acquiescence with the world and reflect the world’s error in its own praxis. Which is which? That, in itself, should inform your decision, IMHO.

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