TC Repression in the Diocese of St. Augustine

The cruel implementation of the cruel legacy document of the Francis’ era continues in these USA, this time in Jacksonville in the Diocese of St.  Augustine.

This is from the Bulletin of the Immaculate Conception.

The PDF has an absurd typeface, so I filtered it through Notepad.  I cut out some blah blah…

Dear Parishioners and Friends of the Basilica.

As you may have heard at Mass this weekend or in conversations this past week, the Celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass also referred to as the usus antiquior & more commonly the Traditional Latin Mass, will cease at the end of June.

In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI liberalized the use of the 1962 Roman Missal. Since then, Pope Francis has diverged from Pope Benedict in disposition toward continued celebration of this form of the Mass. Most recently these decisions were in part informed by a survey he’d sent out to the world’s bishops in 2020. Last summer Pope Frances [sic] issued a decree “Traditionis Custodes” to address his concerns and promote unity, [LOL] while giving each bishop — “as moderator, promoter and guardian of the liturgical life of the church” — limited authority within the confines of the document and subsequent letter of clarifications, to apply it based on their judgment and the character of their dioceses. In response to the decree Bishop Estevez established a committee to aide [sic] him as he discerned the best way forward for the people of the diocese while also being obedient to both the letter and spirit of the decree. He spent several months studying the pope’s decree, “Traditionis Custodes” (“Guardians of the Tradition”), listening to the people who would be most affected by any decisions he would make, surveying the responses of other Bishops in the country, and considering the input of committee members & affected priests. The Bishop sought to authorize the continuation of the celebration of the traditional Latin Mass and to that end made a proposal to Rome for particular exemptions. [He didn’t have to do that, of course.  Can. 87.]
Due to the official denial of permission for the continuation of the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass at the Basilica [ummmm…?] and the other restrictions having been put in place by the decree of Pope Frances, [sic] this past week the Bishop issued his decree as to how the Pope’s decree would be implemented locally. You can read the decree of the Bishop on the next pages.
Both the Bishop and I understand that the direction given by Rome will be very painful for some of our parishioners and friends of the Basilica. For those who attend regularly the Traditional Latin Mass, I know important and meaningful this form of the Mass is to you and I am sorry that it will no longer be available to you hear at the Basilica. Some of you will be angry. Others will be confused and feel abandoned. This will take us some time as a parish to process and to heal. [read: “too bad”] Trust that parishioners who attend other Masses here, will be praying for all of you, [Of course they will.  Perhaps with one of the sometimes seemingly endless pre-offertory intercessions in the NO?] and of course we hope that you will continue to worship here and be a part of this parish family as registered parishioners or as ‘Friends of the Basilica’.
This parish has seen many changes in the past 175 years and will be here to see many more in the next century. Some, the people of God will understand and embrace, some will be difficult – As always, we must continue to trust God with His Church and engage all the challenges we face with firm faith and humble obedience to the will of God for ourselves and for the Church as discerned by those the Spirit chooses to lead His Church. Each of us are followers of Christ and together we are members of the Mystical Body of Christ the Church.
Father Blair

The bishop’s decree.  Note a few things.

Point 4. Readings can’t be done in Latin.  This reveals a significant misunderstanding of the very nature of the readings during Mass.  It also reveals kind of fearful animus.

Point 8: Not sure how that is consistent with TC.  But, hey, impose whatever the hell you want when you know people and priests have no recourse.

Point 9: Insulting, much?

Point 10: Apart from being a cheap shot, what would those be, exactly?  “Elements”.   By the way, this “point” expresses nothing other than an opinion with which people are free to disagree.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Liberals, Pò sì jiù, SESSIUNCULA, Traditionis custodes and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. hilltop says:

    They have got to clear the ground of the Mass of the Ages so that it is not there to be compared with the New Mass of the Future that is coming….
    The thing we call the Novus Ordo is on its way out…

  2. Skeinster says:

    I’m sorry to hear this. For various reasons, this was the on-line Mass I watched the most during the lock-down. They feel like old friends.

  3. AugustineFL says:

    I was extremely angry followed by profound sadness and a feeling of loss after this announcement on Sunday. I’m still struggling to manage my emotions over this news.

    How can that which was considered holy for so long be seen by our Pope as wrong? I don’t understand.

    I used to see both ‘forms’ as peacefully coexisting. Francis has made the Novus Ordo intolerable for me. He seems to say that they cannot coexist and that we should only be using the Novus Ordo. Before Francis’s vitriolic hatred toward me and others who attend the ancient liturgy I would go to both ‘forms’ of the mass, even though I greatly preferred the ancient use with its fuller prayers and long tradition that always felt more authentically Catholic and ancient.

    It feels like absolute betrayal by my spiritual Fathers and Pastors. What kind of child of the Church am I? Unwanted and unloved by the spiritual father that is supposed to help shepherd and guide Christ’s flock? Why are we treated this way? Why?

  4. Dan says:

    “It is never proper for elements of the Missale Romanum of 1962 to be brought into the reformed Liturgy”

    I can only assume here he is talking about reverence.

    That last line is really just an exclamation point on the ignorance with which this decree was issued. A bishop who took absolutely no time to listen, dialog, whatever new inclusive word we are using now.

  5. JonPatrick says:

    Just read that the Bishop’s resignation was just accepted by Pope Francis and a new Bishop Erik Pohlmeier has been appointed. I wonder if this will change things.

  6. Lurker 59 says:

    Most people have a good sense for heavy-handed cruelty such that an individual who is little acquainted with the NO vs TLM will read such decrees and come away thinking

    1.) There is a certain cruelness about those who issue these decrees.
    2.) The cruelness belies that the issuers are afraid of TLM for some reason.

    This all only serves to create a distance between the average Catholic and their bishop. Some average Catholic might actually start to look into TLM to see what is up.

    Dollars to donuts that these dioceses have ZERO evangelical activity and are supper chummy with non-Catholic liturgical practices and are fine with those pracitices getting into the NO.

    Point #9 — Sure. How do you even do that, especially in a diocese where the NO isn’t celebrated according to its own norms. How on earth do you catechize people into taking the worse option between the NO and TLM? “Here is a reform. It is worse. Here is why it is a good thing.”

    This isn’t me ragging on the NO — it is just that qualitatively in many areas the NO is not just truncated but a devolution. It is just a fact that the NO is missing elements that TLM has and the NO has elements that make true active participation more difficult. When one considers the NO as its own thing, it can be appreciated, but when you start stacking it up against other liturgical rites? That is where problems begin.

    Perhaps that is another reason why TC is for the shredder — it pits rites against each other and that right there should be abhorrent to any bishop.

  7. Josephus Corvus says:

    In light of #9, we can assume that ALL parishes in the diocese will now have musical accompaniment primarily with the organ, Gregorian Chant will take precedence over all other forms of music, and all parishioners will be able to recite the parts of the Mass the relate to them in Latin – just as the liturgical norms of the Second Vatican Council dictate. Right?

  8. Sonshine135 says:

    Peculiar use of the word “friend”. I don’t recall any friend of mine taking away the very nourishment that feeds my soul. it reads much more like an enemy.

  9. redneckpride4ever says:
  10. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Bishop Estevez issued this less than a week ago. His successor was announced today. It seems likely Bishop Estevez would have known by then that the announcement would be coming soon. Hope his successor will be truly pastoral.

  11. Dustin F, OCDS says:

    This decree is dated 5/18/22. Today, I read that Bishop Estevez’s retirement was accepted yesterday, 5/23. Interesting timing, eh? And I take it that the retirement is effective immediately? Nice parting gift from that bishop to that portion of his flock.

  12. jason in kc says:

    There is a delightful irony to #10’s use of the word “elements,” in that the text of the letter which accompanies TC makes a point of noting that all of the “elements” of the Roman rite, notably the Roman Canon, are found in the reformed Missal. That is admittedly a tendentious reading, but the irony is too good to pass up.

  13. Tarcisius says:

    The bad news for the Diocese is the SSPX just bought and is renovating the large and abandoned Holy Rosary Church so they just inadvertently created an increase in their collection plate. There’s also the beautiful Ordinariate liturgy at St James who is a wonderful priest. My family hasn’t decided what we’ll do yet. We’ll either register with the SSPX at St Michael’s or the Ordinariate but either way there’s no way we will continue to contribute our time talent and treasure to those who treat us like 2nd class citizens. I’m closer to the tomb than the womb and will not have a novus ordo funeral. Sad too be cause we spend a lot of time volunteering for this diocese. Now someone else will get the benefit. Either way we’re leaving the novus ordo elite to self destruct

  14. Ave Maria says:

    St. Augustine will have a new bishop as of July. Perhaps a good holy Catholic one who will love all those under his spiritual care.

  15. Traductora says:

    I live in the Diocese of St Augustine and I can tell you that Bishop Estévez is neither a bad man nor opposed to the TLM. He actually did have events with the Latin Mass communities and he was favorably impressed, probably since many TLM people are involved in diocesan activities (pro-life, care for various groups, education and even the daily activities of their non-TLM parishes).

    When he arrived here, he was immediately under attack by some of the “big dogs” (various pastors), I think at least in part because he was Cuban American and North FLorida Catholics are very estranged from south Florida. He came here at age 16 and went to the seminary in Indiana, and later in Florida was actually in charge of the diocesan seminary here for a number of years and produced good priests.

    I honestly do think he tried his best to save our TLM here, and I think the pastor of the Basilica, Fr.Blair, did as well. The “committee”…I’m not so sure, from what I know of its composition.

    Curiously enough, although he had announced his retirement quite some time ago and plans had already been made for a successor, that went on hold until he could be the fall guy for Rome’s decision (future Pope Cdl Cupich, anybody?). The very next day, they announced his successor.

    I know some bishops simply went ahead regardless of Rome, but he’s not the sort of guy who would do that, and I’m sure he got no support from most of the powerful clergy. So chalk it up to cowardice and beating beaten down, but most of all, assign the blame where it belongs: Rome.

  16. hwriggles4 says:

    Jon Patrick and Greg the Obscure:

    Yes, talk about interesting timing. Looks like the new bishop will be installed in July. Pohlmier is also fairly young for a bishop-elect which could even be more interesting.

    As far as knowing about appointments, my old pastor was telling a few of us about when he got a call from Rome about his selection. I remember him saying he had to keep it under his hat for a few days until the press release. Therefore Estevez could have been informed that his retirement was being accepted a few days earlier. I think others would agree.

    By the way quite a few bishops have some funny stories about what they were doing (or what thoughts went through their head) when they got a call from the Papal Nuncio or Rome.

  17. Tantum Ergo says:

    Right after the Vatican had T/C nailed to the doors of our churches (right over Luther’s Theses) here in Jacksonville, our Latin Mass group invited Bishop Estevez to a Missa Cantata, and after Mass, festivities in our church auditorium. He accepted the invitation and appeared to enjoy himself most thoroughly, and even commented on the reverence of the Mass. What did he see? Young families with lots of kids, and these kids were running around having a great time. He saw the potential growth of the Church. After that experience, we never expected to see a decree of his with the measure of harshness that was the final product.
    Sunday, I found myself cornered by four elderly women. One, who was in her 80s said that she felt like she had been “slugged in the face” not just “hit” or “slapped” but “slugged” in the face.

  18. Antonia D says:

    The FSSP’s TLM is in Ocala, FL (… less than a two-hour drive from St. Augustine. Not sure why the page says Orlando, b/c it’s in Ocala. The FSSP Mass I attend (elsewhere in the country) has people driving in from much further away, and it’s well worth it!

    May God bless and heal all those who are losing their beloved Mass and traditions. This is a terrible blow. You have my prayers for a good change with the new bishop. We need to evangelize even more, and send people to the TLMs that still exist.

  19. Archlaic says:

    Is “Estevez” Spanish for “Cupich”? While he hasn’t forbidden the Usus Antiquor during the Triduum or on some arbitrary Sundays, his decree is marked by the same harsh tone – and, frankly, utter disdain for certain members of his flock – as that of the incumbent of the Windy City… to say nothing of TC itself or the Roche Clippings…

  20. JabbaPapa says:

    Regarding point 10, the Third Editio Typica of the Roman Massal (NO) did exactly that — reintroduced some elements from the 1962 Missal into the NO.

    As to the “liturgy promulgated by the Holy See following Vatican II“, well, interpreted literally that would mean the 1965 Missal, not the NO.

  21. Suburbanbanshee says:

    I don’t know if the Mass first celebrated in St. Augustine was Tridentine or Mozarabic, but it wasn’t the OF.

    The Diocese of St. Augustine is as “ancient” as Catholic things get in the US. So it’s shameful to do these things in such a noble place of history.

  22. Rob83 says:

    Pray for the new bishop and give him the benefit of the doubt until he affirms this, but my thought is this is something desired by the new bishop and he got the old bishop to issue it to take the heat. Certainly the old bishop had to know last week his resignation was about to be accepted.

  23. matt from az says:

    Exceedingly poor judgment on the outgoing bishop’s part—unnecessarily uncharitable.

    This will help the SSPX.

    It also knocks Jacksonville, Florida off of my list of places I’d consider moving to.

  24. AlexWalker says:

    A Catholic from St. Augustine/Jacksonville going to the SSPX chapel here: I wrote Your Reverence about a tangent topic. The pope finally accepted our bishop’s resignation. The bishop-elect seems to at least be a moderate, maybe conservative. Time will tell. The sad part is, the outgoing bishop pulled the grenade pin and handed it to the new guy. To add salt, His Excellency said in an accompanying letter that the local priest (who can no longer say in public the TLM) cannot distribute Holy Communion at the altar rail at his Novus Ordo Mass.

    Good luck chanting the readings in English at the insults monthly Missa Cantata.

    Meanwhile, the SSPX chapel reclaimed a beautiful 100 year old Catholic church from the protestants that can hold three times as many faithful as our old chapel.

    The type-font was so bad in the bulletin that I thought the pastor didn’t want anyone to read it. Thanks for spotlighting this, Fr. Z.

  25. tzabiega says:

    Good news for the Latin Mass community in St. Augustine. I found out from a friend priest who knows the new bishop of St. Augustine that he is known to get upset when other priests get innovative and don’t follow the rules in celebrating Mass, at least Novus Ordo. Usually someone who wants the Novus Ordo Mass to be celebrated reverently should be open to supporting Latin Mass communities.

  26. Imrahil says:

    Unimportant point, and it seems to me to be an English (or even American) thing, but it always strikes me as violating stylistic decency when a bishop signs as “Most Reverent N. N., Bishop of N.”

    That is his predicate, yes. But you don’t give a predicate to yourself. We use the predicate “the Very Honoured” where English uses “Dear”, as a predicate if you will for everyone (every layman that is), and I don’t sign “Very Honoured Imrahil”. Emperor Francis Joseph signed “Francis Joseph, Emperor of Austria and Apostolic King of Hungary”. It would have struck everyone as awkward if he had signed “My Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty, Francis Joseph, etc.”.

    You add your offices (important) and perhaps your titles. No predicates. You might make one exception for Monsignors, technically a predicate, to use that instead of (not together with) “Chaplain of His Holiness”, etc, but that is it.

    If he does want others to know how to address him, he might go for “N. N., Bishop of N., commonly called The Most Reverent”.

  27. Imrahil says:

    Dear tzabiega,

    is that so? In fact, the general experience in Germany seems to be that the Old Rite may be favored by conservative presbyters, but as for bishops, it paradoxically has been treated more nicely by liberal than by conservative ones. Cardinal Müller, though that apparently has changed which is highly appreciated, used to be a case in point (though not as harsh against the ED communities than against the SSPX I suppose).

    Along the lines of “in order to be convincing against leftist deviators – which I seriously want to be -, I do need to also show that I also don’t tolerate rightist deviators”, I suppose.

    That is pre-TC experience, though. Bishop Meier of Augsburg, even though not a hardline conservative, would have been exactly the kind of bishop who, while (as far as I see) doing a good job as a bishop (for a not-hardline-conservative^^), would have at the very best tolerated the traditionalists. Well, last weekend he ordained the FSSP’s deacons.

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