Wednesday, 5 March 2014

In Fairness to the Bishop of Forth Worth

An excerpt from an email I got today, which I post with a goodly number of personal details about the writer removed for anonymity's sake. Be content that I am content that s/he knows what s/he is talking about:

You probably don't remember me, and I hate to email about Fisher-More as a reintroduction, but this situation is driving me crazy and I can at least try to help somewhere (i.e. your little corner of the blogosphere) in a world gone mad. I was X from Y-Z. I do not want to drudge up all the unpleasant memories, but I would like to stress that the suppression of the EF makes perfect sense in the context of Fisher-More. The liturgy had become a weapon to attack the hierarchy, and a real danger to people's souls. (I write this as a cradle trad who [...]) The Mass as worship of God was eclipsed by the Mass as ideology. Y-Z was a very, very ugly year, and I am happy to have escaped with my Faith intact. For the good of Michael [King's] soul and those of [the] students, they needed the wake-up call that the Church is more than a particular form of the Mass or even a particular rite. In an environment as insular as FM, this was the only way - even if it has led to the bishop being crucified.

Thankfully, the bishop has not actually been crucified, which I mention because sometimes cruel people do have the bright idea of crucifying Christians, including at least one Ukrainian protester I read about last month. However, I imagine the Bishop has received nasty mail. In fact, I know he has, for I read one man's boast that he had sent some. I think that is a real shame, and I wish it hadn't happened even though I personally can't understand how suppressing the EF (while not the NO, which can be seriously messed with and too often is) can ever be a good thing. I will just have to take the cradle trad's word that in this unusual situation, it is.


Kathryn Rose said...

With regards to Bishop Olson, he is by no means attempting to quash the Extraordinary Form. I agree with the letter submitted by your reader, and would like to add my own two cents, that Bishop Olson is a longtime friend of my family, that my father went to seminary with him, and as a family long committed to attending the Tridentine Rite we know that the good Bishop is fully supportive. The Catholic World Report has an excellent article on what's at stake (

Bishop Olson recommends Traditionalist devotees to St. Mary of the Assumption - when he was Vicar General we had the good fortune to attend Mass there with him, as he knew it was our preference. The officiating priest was a bit surprised to see the Vicar General of the diocese at his Mass and afterwards wanted to know if he was in trouble, but then-Father Olson assured him that what he was doing was a fine thing and received the diocese's heartiest approbation.

Our prelate is very generous, with good sense as well (must have done something right to achieve bishopric at such an early age), and we trust his prudential judgment implicitly, so I hope that you have not received a false impression that he just fell off the apple cart. Obviously it's a sticky issue, but I think he has the matter well in hand.

Seraphic said...

Thank you, Kathryn Rose, for the inside scoop!

I'm struck by the poor priest being worried that he was in trouble, which illustrates how jumpy we 21st century lovers of the EF can be! But I'm happy to read that your Bishop thinks well of the EF, and I hope he weathers this storm.

The more I read about the story from people who know the bishop or the president, the more it seems that there is a cult-like situation happening at F-M. Perhaps the sooner the college closes, the better. There are healthier communities for students and families who love the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

It would be so nice if (big sigh) there were more parishes who offered the EF as one of its ordinary roster of Masses, for then fewer EF-loving Catholics would become isolated and cliquish and odd.

Another solution would be to offer more Masses that are music-free, ad orientem, and do-the-red-say-the-black, with lots of opportunity for silent prayer, and no jokes, so that sensitive people have a Novus Ordo that doesn't make them (us) wince.

Seraphic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sheila said...

Our parish has an EF and a Latin Novus Ordo too! I wish it were one of the quiet ones, though .... instead it is fancied up with lots of polyphony. Most people love it, but we are quiet-Mass lovers and find it over the top, no matter how "traditional" it is.

The 7 a.m. is good and quiet though. Early-bird Masses usually are. Just hard to get yourself there on time!

Our parish also has all the "problems" they love to brag about: too many people at every single Mass and not enough pews, too many noisy babies, not enough parking. It's a very conservative-Catholic area.