Brace for vicious cruelty in Washington, DC.


I received this and, in fairness, it ought to be shared:

Dear Fr. Zuhlsdorf,

Your posting about our parish slightly mischaracterizes what was said at mass today about Cardinal Gregory’s thoughts about the Extraordinary Form Mass at our parish.  If you review the Facebook video of this morning’s EF Mass (2nd Sunday after Easter) you’ll see that what was announced was this: The Cardinal will make a determination after the synod meetings in May.  I asked our people to pray for the good of the parish and reminded them that they always have the right to communicate with their spiritual father.  I did NOT suggest that he had made up his mind, nor did I suggest he’d speak on the matter in May.  I can understand that someone might easily nuance the accurate statement into what they told you, but I just want to be clear for the good of my parishioners.  I hope you’ll consider revising your post.

Father Vincent J. De Rosa
St. Mary Mother of God

It may be that one of you readers who know about the “Facebook video of this morning’s EF Mass” – he didn’t provide a link or time in the video, and I am not going to look for it – might be able to hunt this up.

From a reader…

It was announced at Mass this morning that Cardinal Gregory will issue statement on TC this month and it will not be a happy one. Pray for us in the Archdiocese of Washington, DC!

One of my connected friends in the DC area told me:

The word is that HE, Cardinal Gregory will confine the celebration of the 1962 missal to the JP II Center, a non-parochial chapel.  It will be devastating to St. Mary’s.  Truly the smoke of Satan….

Yes, truly cruel.  It will harm a lot of people at Old St. Mary’s.

I really hope that something miraculous happens “between the bridge and the water”, between the pre-announcement and the announcement, a massive change of heart event, a 180° change of attitude about the people who will be so marginalized and harmed.

All the more reason to consider the Custos Traditionis initiative.


I propose…

… an informal association of prayer and penance dedicated to two petitions offered to the Blessed Virgin Mary, which are

  • the softening of hearts of those interpreting Traditionis custodes (bishops, Roman Congregation officials);
  • the overturning of, or reversal of, or major amendment of Traditionis custodes.

I ask you to join with others, making an informal but serious pledge to do two things for the two intentions, above.


  • recite the beautiful and powerful Memorare prayer DAILY;
  • make an act of physical or material penance for the two intentions ONCE A WEEK.

Aside: I had made some shirts for promoting this with the Memorare in several languages on the back and, on the front, Custos Traditionis – ASK ME

I happened to be wearing that shirt at the grocery the other day and the woman at the checkout asked.  As it turns out she was Catholic and she was very interested to learn that a Sunday Traditional Latin Mass was not far away.  She said she would go.

It isn’t the first time the shirt has presented a change for me to tell someone about the TLM.   The conversation has also sometimes gotten around to other aspects of the Church’s life, too.

Will you be a "Custos Traditionis" and commit to a DAILY 'Memorare' and WEEKLY penance?

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Cri de Coeur, Liberals, Our Catholic Identity, Pò sì jiù, Save The Liturgy - Save The World, The Coming Storm and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. FrankWalshingham says:

    Vicious cruelty is a very kind description.

    Working in DC, I can attest that St. Mary Mother of God Church is a real gem of a parish. Worth the Sunday morning ride on the Red Line down to Chinatown for a reverend Latin liturgy and for orthodox preaching. Prior pastor Father Harris and his young successor Father DeRosa are good and holy priests.

    It is a shame Gregory has already cut off the Tridentine Mass at the National Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. But what can one expect from an archbishop who came out of the Uncle Ted McCarrick-Donald Wuerl stable and the looks the other way when very credible allegations of moral corruption are made against the rector of America’s basilica ?? Just asking!

    As this nice editorial from Crisis Magazine points out, “Wilton Gregory is the Deep Church.”

  2. eudkme says:

    My four children were baptized at Old St Mary’s in DC. The pastor married my wife and I.

    Currently reside in the adjacent diocese of Arlington. The bishop of Arlington recently imposed restrictions on the TLM

    2 months ago my daughter approached the pastor of her baptismal church – Old St Mary’s – and asked if she could celebrate her upcoming TLM wedding in the church. The “pastor” rejected her request. His excuse – since the Arlington bishop had restricted TLM weddings then he would as well – he being a priest Not in the Arlington diocese. Didn’t want to make any waves with the boss across the river.

    Of course we found other sensible pastors in the city that would accommodate us. Not sure how Wilton Gregory’s forthcoming edict will affect that…

  3. hilltop says:

    Dear Father, you may very well not want to post this. I will understand….
    Washingtonian Catholics have been waiting for Cardinal Wilton’s shoe to drop (jack boot to descend) for some time. He was distracted by the excitements of personally participating in BLM protests and then almost immediately after by the complexities and nuances of closing all churches and suspending God’s Third Commandment. But now spring is in the air, no giddy protests of late, a smaller number of the smelly sheep have returned to the re-opened Churches. There’s so little conflict now! Hmm, what can be done?
    I do hope your reader’s news is in error.
    And I will take your welcome suggestions of prayer and fasting. If, however, the intel is close to accurate, then a few points about the new venue:
    While it’s been around since the sycophant-ArchBishop Maida -in his successful bid for a galero- got things going from his perch in Detroit, the then $75 million (!) JPII center now has two BRAND NEW chapels! Each is a Jesuit-decorated doozy! Their decoration calls to mind the graphic designs coming from the last two Roman synods! One altar is a cube! The tabernacle? Whassat? And both are too small to be the place of the vibrant Washingtonian TLM community! No choir loft? No communion rail? Tiny sanctuary? No better place!
    And, the center is run by the “happy-to-take-your-Eminence’s-orders-and-while-you’re-at-it-please-take-all-our-cash-to-bale-out-Detroit’s-debt-obligation-and-we’ll-paper-over-all-the-embarrassing-history-for-you”- Knights of Columbus. These guys are willing dupes certain to buckle under for all time. They won’t even realize that are being used as part a very cruel episcopal ploy. They’ll be happy to curate the Latin Mass and manage its adherents at their remote location until such a time as the Mass is fully suppressed.

    Of course, immediately across the road is the Crypt Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. It too is a non-parochial chapel, is right-sized, (oh yeah, has an organ) and would serve beautifully. But the trads would LIKE it.
    Oh yeah, and there is the dirty fact that it is run by a certain Rector…

    As for Saint Mary Mother of God (“Old Saint Mary’s”): to vacate the Mass of the Ages from Mary’s own namesake Church will be a willful act of destruction with -as the Brits would say- Malice Aforethought.
    Malice and cunning and vengeance and falsehood and weakness and spite (only 6 attributes here) be unto the shepherd who wills any such as this unto his flock.
    What ever happened to Fear of the Lord?

  4. Thomas S says:

    You had almost hoped that the noxious cloud had simply passed over unremarked on. Why now? These men* really don’t believe in God. Mass attendance and vocations are collapsing, but they want to smother signs of life. It cries to heaven.

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  6. manders0623 says:

    I’m a parishioner at St. Mary’s and was there. Here is the link to the video. The mention of TC/Cardinal Gregory starts at 57:10.

  7. PatS says:

    I met Pat Buchanan after Sunday Mass at St. Mary’s in Fall of 2019 when I was visiting DC. I believe this is his personal church and I suspect he’s a daily attender. I believe him to be a very strong trad-catholic and I would imagine he will not take too kindly to be denied a Latin mass. Hopefully he will use his stature to humbly rebuke the Bishop for this antiorthodox action to his home Church.

  8. DCLex says:

    Here is the Facebook video with the announcement at Mass that Father De Rosa referenced:

  9. Archlaic says:

    While I tend to fear the worst in the current ecclesial environment, in light of the pastor’s clarification it is certainly best not to jump to conclusions… Speaking generally, it has been extraordinarily painful in situations elsewhere to see a bishop seemingly “cutting off his nose to spite his face”, i.e. squelching a “stable” TLM in a given parish and then citing declining attendance, low sacramental index, fiscal non-viability, etc. as grounds for “reluctantly and with great sorrow” merging or suppressing the parish and closing the church.  Note that this was possible even under Summorum Pontificum, e.g. by reassigning a pro-TLM priest and replacing him with one non sympatico traditionem and letting nature take its course.  However it is important to consider that not every such instance is driven only by a bishop’s antipathy to the TLM, it may simply be a manœuver to acquire control of a piece of extremely valuable urban real estate.  The case of Holy Trinity Church in Boston is illustrative.
    n.b. the article omits the fact that the Archdiocese originally moved the (indult) Mass in early 2007 to begin this process, but when SP was promulgated shortly thereafter the savvy traddies immediately petitioned the Parochial Administrator for… a TLM at Holy Trinity! It was that “second” TLM that was ultimately moved to the basement(!) of the Cathedral when the Archdiocese was forced to recalibrate its strategy and merge Holy Trinity with the Cathedral parish in order to complete the money grab transfer and liquidation of assets.

  10. Lurker 59 says:

    It is at Timestamp: 57:00

    The decision will be after Synod Meeting with a delegation from the parish on May 14th.

    Though Father Vincent J. De Rosa doesn’t directly state anything, his tone is very much trying to bolster the hope in his parishioners and not have them give in to anger or despair. He even mentions that he was(is?) depressed about what is happening. He largely encourages prayer and, if contacting the Archbishop, which he encourages, to present a sentimental argument on how St. Mary’s has personally helped the individual.

    My takeaway: Baring Cardinal Gregory changing the current direction of his thinking, either by arguments currently being made (and will be made at the Synod meeting (those going are being well prepped)) that for the financial good of the Archdiocese and/or for the spiritual good of the parishioners of St. Mary’s, or through the intercession of Our Lady, the decision will not be one that leaves St. Mary’s alone. Fr. does stress multiple times that a decision has not been made, but there is every indication from his tone and language that the decision that is ‘in the works’ is not an open-ended one.

  11. FatherAnd says:

    Here’s the link. The audio is poor, but the remarks about plans for the ancient Mass begin at minute 57.

  12. TonyO says:

    Having been at St. Mary’s for many, many masses, I agree that it would be a very great loss for the Cardinal to do away with the TLM at St. Mary’s. A loss to the Church as a whole, a loss to the diocese, and a loss to the parish, not JUST a loss to those who assist at the TLM mass.

    While there is, notionally speaking, room under TC for the Cardinal to close down the TLM at St. Mary’s because it is a parish, there is also room for the Cardinal to take other actions that do not have that result. For example, he can easily invoke Canon 87. Aside from that, he could re-designate St. Mary’s to be a shrine rather than a parish, and leave the TLM in placed (and re-configure parish boundaries around to deal with that section of the city. And there are probably 3 or 4 more ways to avoid closing down the TLM, while keeping to the letter of the law. Alternatively, there are good questions about just how lawful TC actually is, questions that nobody in the Vatican seems ready to address explicitly.

    I strongly encourage everyone to pray and sacrifice, as Fr. Z has asked, and I will join in that: grace can move mountains, so it can certainly guide the Cardinal’s hand. However, I also suggest that while we ASK God for a good outcome, we mentally prepare for the possibility of a bad outcome. The forces at work trying to destroy the Church know that TLM is a bulwark against their efforts, and will be tireless in trying to bring it down, so we should not be surprised if we lose some of the skirmishes.

  13. John F. says:

    The first TLM was when I was invited by Fr. Aldo Petrini to visit Washington DC on the occupy his 40th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood. Fr Petrini and Cardinal Hickey were the first clergy I had encountered in my 20 years that didn’t look down on my desire to attend the TLM. May they intercede and pray that Cardinal Gregory’s heart will be softened for sake of Old St. Mary’s

  14. kimberley jean says:

    Does anyone actually ever go to the JPII Center? I’ve never heard it described as anything but a disaster.

  15. Rob83 says:

    Since rumors of liturgical wars emerged locally, an intention has been that the permissions of the demons be reduced against those in power and that the evil being considered not be done.

    On the other hand, there is also the option of subversive obedience should such a thing come to pass. A TLM community could easily become a wandering mob, attending a different Sunday Mass each week and being a blast of fresh air and planting seeds of tradition wherever they went – and in the case of many an urban parish easily dominate the usual attendance.

  16. There’s one thing missing in this conversation, and some St Mary’s parishioners may be free to clarify it, but meanwhile I’ll throw it out there.

    The land on which St Mary’s sits is from the Van Ness family, with the condition that if it was ever to be intended for sale, or used for any other purpose, it would revert to the family’s heirs.

    If St Mary’s loses the Traditional Mass, it loses a major source of revenue (okay, THE major source), and the only thing that has kept an otherwise dying urban parish on the edge of Chinatown from falling apart (or down). Would any bishop want that, especially if its demise fails to serve him in any other way? I think not. Furthermore, even progressive prelates want to keep all the “crazy people” in one place, making them less bothersome for himself. That’s one reason why the late Bishop Sullivan was very supportive of the Latin Mass community in Richmond.

    So if His Immenseness doesn’t want to simply trade one “problem” for another one, he might just retain the status quo, and find someone else to pick on.

  17. DC Barroco says:

    I was at Old St. Mary’s for Fr. De Rosa’s pastoral sermon. It sounded like cautious optimism to put a best face forward to Cardinal Gregory.

    Interesting background about the Van Ness conditional donation of St. Mary’s property. Not that an archdiocese wouldn’t put resources to quash that provision.

    If St. Mary’s were to be merged, it would also effect the Chinese Catholic mission there. I’m not sure that St. Patrick’s or Holy Redeemer would be equipped to take it and Holy Rosary already is a destination parish for Italian language Catholics.

    As for jibes against St. John Paul II SHRINE (not Center), it is correct that the main church lacks a choir loft. Yet the schola comprised mostly of Catholic U. students do well off to the right of the altar. As for a tabernacle, it is built into the mosaic of Redemptoris Hominis Chapel (look at Jesus’ right side).

    While the JPII shrine would be problematic for regular E.F. liturgies as does not have a communion rail. That being said, as I regular attendant there, I have seen many communicants approach the Eucharist on their knees. The Shrine, when acting as a Catholic chapel and museum, has developed a community and has enriching programs, bolstered by the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. That being said, when it was a museum of (generic) faith, it was a $60 million white elephant financed by the Archdiocese of Detroit.

    Perhaps some traditionalists are troubled the be aesthetics but it was created by the Slovenian artist Fr. Marco Rupnik, who has done pieces in Fatima, Lourdes and also JPII’s personal chapel.

    While I have my reservations about the current ADW leadership, I will rely on the maxim “Faith manages” and pray.

  18. Joe in Canada says:

    not “vicious cruelty”, Father. Mercy. Vicious mercy.

  19. grateful says:

    Would facing East in N.O. mass also be disallowed as an option?

  20. kimberley jean says:

    Old St. Mary’s is not the only place in the DC diocese that had the TLM. What does this mean for everybody else?

  21. FrankWalshingham says:

    Pat S: Pat Buchanan has moved from DC. No longer see him at Mass, though I know he would be outraged at what is happening at St. Mary’s.

    DC Barroco: To say that the JP II Center was financed by the Archdiocese of Detroit is an overly simplistic recapitulation of history. Adam Maida and his accomplice Msgr. Michael “Bugs” Bugarin absconded with nearly 60 million dollars of church funds, without getting proper approval or the donating faithful’s blessing. This episcopal thievery led to the AOD losing about 34 million dollars; money “stolen from the poor” as this NCR article recapitulates:

    In the real world, white collar theft of that magnitude would result in people going to the slammer for years. But apparently not when the criminals wear Roman collars. Disgusting!

    After running the JP II Center in to bankruptcy, and pissing away millions of AOD dollars that should have supported the poor and Catholic education in Detroit, Bugarin has gone on to be the evidence fabricating, orthodox priest persecuting episcopal vicar of Allen Vigneron, the current archbishop of the AOD and USCCB president elect. All the facts about priest persecution in the AOD are there to read at

    This week Allen Vigneron followed the lead of Gregory and brought down his jack boots, banning the Latin Mass from archdiocesan parishes in Detroit. Shameful!

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