ASK FATHER: How can we help priests who are in “hot water” because they are traditional?

From a reader…


I am close with a couple priests who are in “hot water” because of all of this nonsense going around. One a Jesuit and the other a diocesan priest. Both are amazing and holy priests who can no longer pray the Latin Mass. The diocesan priest has been threatened about his use of ad orientem and latin for his Novus Ordo masses.

Aside from praying for them, how else can I support them?

On a side note, I am preparing for marriage. Me and my fiance want desperately to get married according to the traditional rite. Please pray for us, that that can happen and for a blessed and fruitful marriage.

Be assured of my prayers for you.

Thank you for the prayers!

I hope you are able to be married with the Traditional Rite. But, of course, if it has to be Novus Ordo, you won’t be less married. And it can be in Latin.

What can you do for the priests? Pray and fast for them. But do so, too, for the bishop or superior over them. Call upon their Guardian Angels to help.

Be supportive and cheerful. Cheerful is important. Beset and gloomy pulls energy from priests, because we worry about you.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. ProfKwasniewski says:

    The priests might benefit from reading “True Obedience in the Church: A Guide to Discernment in Challenging Times.” This will point them to other resources by which to chart their course.

    Thanks to generous donors, free copies are available for clergy, religious, and seminarians here.


  2. redneckpride4ever says:

    The priest servicing the SSPX chapel I attend used to be a diocesan NO priest. One of the most doctrinally sound men you’ll ever hear from the pulpit. Very adamant about benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, which we have monthly.

    As for the conundrum of this person’s marriage…the new sacramental forms are valid. Allow me to indulge on the current happenings in my life.

    My father is nearing his end. A couple weeks before he took a truly bad turn, he had our local NO parish priest come to the house and received sacramental confession.

    Our SSPX chapel is about an hour and a half away. Our priest was kind enough to say he’d visit my dad for traditional Extreme unction. When we called him at the priory, we explained that we live a minimum of 90 minutes from any traditional priest (IBP and FSSP included). We told him that as a result we went ahead with our local NO pastor for my Dad’s confession.

    His response was a gentle “That’s okay”.

    That should tell you right there that even if the forms have been sadly tinkered with that God will not let his flock fall to the wayside. Do I believe the traditional forms exalt more graces? Indeed I do. But rest assured, a valid Catholic marriage will be fruitful if this person and his/her spouse hold fast to the faith that has been handed down. [NB: A couple is not “more married” if they are married with the traditional rite. The graces that come to them from God for their state in life will also depend one remaining in the state of grace and on how they strive to live that married state.]

    And while I’m at it, I ask that prayers be sent my Dad’s way by all who read this. The child in me is scared to live on without him, but I need to shepherd my family with the help of God’s grace. And I thank God for giving me such a wonderful Dad. [Done!]

  3. Fr. Reader says:

    I’d add something, I don’t know if everyone would agree. Don’t raise the topic at every encounter, meeting or conversation. There are many good and interesting topics, and many good things that have happened or are happening in the world.

  4. If you want to be good to a priest, here are some ways:

    – If a priest has material needs, Universal Gift Certificates, which come in many denominations (i.e., cash) is ideal. Many lovely people give cards, which can be helpful but also not, depending on where the cards need to be used.

    – If a priest needs encouragement, tell him some concrete way his ministry has helped you. As I departed my last assignment, so many people told me lovely things about how I, with God’s help entirely, was able to help them. It is the loveliest, most satisfying and fortifying thing a priest can ever hear.

    – If you want to offer a priest a meal or evening, that is wonderful, but may I very kindly suggest: do not come at him with a list of questions. Yes, we are supposed to be able to explain doctrines and policies and so forth, but an evening of doing so is not “restful.” I enjoy coming over and just having an easy-going conversation and visit.

    – Realize that a priest may not feel right about unburdening himself about the bishop, or the diocese, or higher-ups, with laypeople. We do not want to scandalize you. Priestly fraternity is very important; there may or may not be ways to facilitate that, but it can be tremendously helpful.

    – Sometimes we simply need peace and quiet.

  5. Fr. Lovell says:

    If you know a priest in trouble please share this with him.

  6. redneckpride4ever says:

    Father, thanks to you I learned what nota bene is from my above post.

    Secondly, I think we were ESSENTIALLY saying the same thing. Difference is you went to seminary while I have a “GED in internet theology” at best. ?

    Finally, I appreciate the prayers for my Dad. The priest arrived on Saturday shortly after paramedics showed up. Keep in mind that I live in New Hampshire and the SSPX priory is in southern Connecticut, so this meeting was made about a week and a half in advance. I truly believe Father’s arrival when paramedics were here was God’s will.

    Archbishop Lefebvre was a huge believer in providence, and I see why. God was in full control, and nobody can convince me this wasn’t what He had in the cards for my family.

  7. TonyO says:

    Realize that a priest may not feel right about unburdening himself about the bishop, or the diocese, or higher-ups, with laypeople. We do not want to scandalize you. Priestly fraternity is very important; there may or may not be ways to facilitate that, but it can be tremendously helpful.

    I have sometimes wondered if one of the best things we lay people might do is to set up a group evening with 4 or 5 priests who are perhaps from DIFFERENT dioceses and orders (i.e. who have different superiors they answer to), and then STEP OUT so the priests can talk among themselves but with no lay folk to worry about scandalizing. It seems implausible to successfully pull off, but if it could be done, it might be very helpful to priests who are “in trouble” with their superiors because they are being good priests.

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