Well, one clear aspect of the pontificate of Pope Francis is that groups associated with the traditional latin mass had better watch their six. Father Z gives us the latest details:
The source of these reports seems to be the blog Rorate Caeli, which provides a copy of the letter that Bp. Olson sent to Mr. Michael King, who is the President of Fisher More College.
Here is the letter, which I found at the aforementioned blog:
None of us are privy to the conversation, mentioned by the bishop in his letter, that took place on 24 February. I have no idea what the tone of that conversation was or how many conversations took place.
However, I am appalled at the tone of the Bp. Olson’s letter to Mr. King. Frankly, it reminds me of a note an authoritarian seminary rector would pin on the mailroom bulletin board about student attire or lights-out time, rather then gentle pastoral solicitude of a diocesan bishop in the era of Pope Francis. I am shocked at the suggestion that this decision is taken for the sake of the souls of the students and the president himself, as if the Extraordinary Form were somehow spiritually harmful.
That said, what we don’t know about this situation could fill volumes.
For example, I discern in the bishop’s second point, the one about his granting faculties, the possibility that the priest who had been saying Mass at Fisher More on a regular basis may not have had any faculties at all, from any bishop or religious superior. I suspect that there is more to that poorly phrased second point than meets the eye.
Also, while some Catholic college and university chaplaincies also have the canonical designation as a parish (e.g., St. Paul’s at the University of Madison), Summorum Pontificum doesn’t seem to apply as clearly. The Motu Proprio doesn’t seem to apply to college chapels and chapels on military bases. That said, the spirit of both Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae communicate something far different from the tone, at least, of the bishop’s letter.
Again, what we don’t know about this situation could fill volumes. I, at least, don’t know who the priests were who were saying that Mass for the students at Fisher More. Were they of the SSPX or some independent group? Were they preaching things that were improper (e.g., attacking Pope Francis from the pulpit, directly attacking the Novus Ordo as invalid)?
More will come out, and soon.
In the meantime, it is hard to imagine why a letter with such a menacing tone would be sent to a layman about something which soon-to-be St. John Paul II described as a “legitimate aspiration”. You will recall that Bl. John Paul asked, nay rather, required by his apostolic authority, that respect be shown to those who desire the traditional forms of the Roman Rite (cf. Ecclesia Dei adflicta, 6c).
My first hope and prayer, and petition to the Guardian Angels of those involved, is for cool heads and a positive resolution to this conflict so that the students and staff of Fisher More will be able to have their legitimate aspirations respected according to the will of St. John Paul and Benedict XVI.
The Moderation Queue is ON.
A priest friend forwarded information from HIS priest friend in Dallas. Thus, I will edit a great deal and use bullet points. These things either happened or they didn’t and can be verified one way or another:
- In May a prof of FMC (Fisher More College) gave a talk and denied aspects of Vatican II
- The FSSP priests withdrew their services at FMC some time ago.
- Taylor Marshall, married with several children, resigned his job at FMC without another job.
- At Thanksgiving, 2013, Fr. Nicholas Gruner, the suspended Fatima Priest, said Mass at FMC.
- These things took place when the Diocese of Fort Worth was vacant.
- “This is NOT about hatred for the TLM.”
All of these points (except the last, which was an opinion) suggest dysfunction which the new bishop needed to address.
It may indeed be that this is not about “hatred for the TLM”. If that is the case, then Bp. Olson will surely want to make that clear in some way.
One commentator, below, observed that the bishop said that students could go to a parish, off-campus, where the TLM is offered, thus suggesting that he doesn’t have a problem with the TLM itself.
I hope that is the case. The tone of the bishop’s letter certainly fueled that suspicion. Getting some of the details out will help diffuse some of this tension about an “attack by a bishop on the TLM”. It may not be that at all, though I still scratch my head about this.
Go here to read the rest. PopeWatch is absolutely certain that Pope Francis is, in general, a tolerant man. PopeWatch is unclear at all as to whether this tolerance extends to Catholics who wish to attend the tlm. It is entirely possible that the Pope isn’t involved at all in this action, and the action itself may not be directed against the tlm, but one can’t blame those who attend the tlm from wondering if Summorum Pontificum is in the process of dying the death of a thousand cuts.