Opinion: In defense of Bishop Austin Vetter

The Bishop of Helena is only doing what he believes to be the best way to implement the pope’s motu proprio in his diocese, and this is entirely within the rightful exercise of his apostolic authority.

Bishop Austin A. Vetter (left), Diocese of Helena, Mont., and Bishop Peter F. Christensen of Diocese of Boise, Idaho, arrive in procession with bishops from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska to concelebrate Mass at the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome Feb. 6, 2020. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

In Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge, Private Desmond Doss makes this iconic remark: “With the world so set on tearing itself apart, don’t seem like such a bad thing to me to want to put a little bit of it back together.”

This is indeed a noble sentiment, and one that deeply resonates with every human heart. And yet, so many good people continue to ally themselves with forces of division and destruction. In the name of something they deem to be a justifiable cause, they are willing to take aim at anyone who stands in their way, and to tear brother apart from brother on their “holy crusade”.

The Diocese of Helena, Montana, has recently become ground zero for just such a display. My bishop, the Most Reverend Austin Vetter, has come under attack by a Latin Mass society that, several years ago, I helped to establish. “Latin Mass Montana” has issued a combative and unfair news release, claiming that Bishop Vetter has reneged on his promises and has now taken a position that “is one of the most aggressive of all the global responses to Traditionis Custodes.”

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf recently jumped into the fray, and he uncharitably labeled Bishop Vetter as a “cruel young bishop” who has “crushed his faithful.” This negative and reactionary response is but one among many that we are witnessing in the wake of the recent motu proprio on the Tridentine rite and its accompanying responsa.

This is not doing the traditional Catholic movement any favors. Rather, it is confirming Pope Francis’ observation in his letter accompanying Traditiones Custodes that there is, in fact, a widespread “comportment that contradicts communion and nurtures the divisive tendency.” Catholics who call themselves “Traditionalists” have repeatedly denied this, stating that the pope is unjustly pigeonholing innocent Catholics who just want to worship with “the Mass of the Ages”.

However, anyone who has had boots on the ground and spent any significant amount of time in Traditionalist circles knows this is nonsense. Denigration of the Novus Ordo Mass and Vatican II is commonplace, and to assert otherwise is dishonest. For the Traditionalist, it is a competition between rites, “altar against altar.” Otherwise, there would be no need for the compulsive distinctions of “superior” and “inferior”, “more pleasing to God” and “less pleasing to God”.

The recent attack on Bishop Vetter is a perfect example of this. What is remarkably absent from Latin Mass Montana’s announcement is that this “aggressive” bishop has encouraged the complete restoration of a sanctuary at its principal location, complete with altar rails. In place of the Tridentine rite, he has asked the pastor to celebrate the Mass of Vatican II in Latin, ad orientem.

Ignoring these constructive gestures seems to strongly indicate a distaste for the new rite in se, and an ideological attachment to the old. Not only this, but Latin Mass Montana and Fr. Zuhlsdorf have gone further and called into question the motives and integrity of Bishop Vetter himself.

This is a step too far. Our bishop is not “aggressive” or “cruel” or out to “crush us.” He is a good man from a good family. He is devoted to the Catholic faith and a loyal son of the Church. Since he took over the helm of our diocese in late 2019, vocations to the priesthood have already increased. He has no animosity toward the old rite, as evidenced by his desire to allow and support its celebration up until the last possible moment.

Bishop Vetter is only doing what he believes to be the best way to implement the pope’s motu proprio in his diocese. He is not depriving the faithful of a reverent Mass; only a certain ritual practice, and this is entirely within the rightful exercise of his apostolic authority. The Church’s law and history should make this self-evident.

Did Christ say that the world would know us as his disciples by our ritual purity? Or was it by our love for each other? Christian charity draws men together, impelling them toward unity of mind and heart. It demands humility and submission (under-the-mission-of), because without these there can be no gift of self. If we do not empty our-selves as Christ did (Phil 2: 5-8), we can have no part in him, and we will inevitably find ourselves alone and desolate, trapped in the chilling cold of our own ego.

Let us cease from tearing down our fellow Christians, and especially those who represent Christ on earth. We will have our disagreements, but let us disagree honorably, and not resort to personal attacks and accusation. Our Lord convicts and admonishes, but he never accuses. By conforming ourselves to him who is meek and humble of heart, maybe we’ll have a better chance of taking this world in hand and “putting a little bit of it back together.”

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About Andrew Bartel 4 Articles
Andrew Bartel is a lay Dominican of the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus. He lives with his wife and their three children in Montana, where he works as a glazier. He is also pursuing a degree in English and Philosophy.


  1. “However, anyone who has had boots on the ground and spent any significant amount of time in Traditionalist circles knows this is nonsense. Denigration of the Novus Ordo Mass and Vatican II is commonplace, and to assert otherwise is dishonest.”

    Missing context is that this usually comes from those that frequent SSPX and Sedevacantists who have zero chance of obeying TC and it only hurts the loyal like FSSP, ICRSS, and diocesan priests who celebrate the TLM without denigrating the novus ordo.

    The only way to deradicalize the liturgy is to emphasize this and try to foster traditional liturgy in normal parishes instead of pushing the faithful who want reverent worship into fringe communities.

    • Missing context is that this usually comes from those that frequent SSPX and Sedevacantists who have zero chance of obeying TC

      I’m not going to claim you’ll never find someone in a canonical TLM community who expresses criticism of the modern rite; whether it qualifies as “denigration” requires some commonly accepted definition of the term. But it may be telling point that Andrew’s experience of traditionalism, as related through his own account published here several weeks ago, really was in a family that was sede or borderline sede.

      Your larger point is correct, though: Not a single SSPX, SSPX Resistance, or sedevacantist chapel is going to be affected by any of the suppressions pursuant to TC, save possibly to make their parking lots a little more crowded. Which underlines that there’s a bigger agenda going on with TC.

  2. In place of the Tridentine rite, he has asked the pastor to celebrate the Mass of Vatican II in Latin, ad orientem.

    One good deed cannot balance an unjust one.

    He could have permitted the traditional rite by derogating TC restrictions under Canon 87, as many other bishops (including mine) have done. It’s reasonable to ask why *his* judgment in this regard is correct, and *theirs* are wrong. But then he certainly doesn’t have to pay the gas charges of the faithful who will now be forced to drive out to Billings or Coeur d’Alene for access to the liturgical rite they have raised their families on.

    I understand the journey you have made, Andrew, but I do wonder if it hasn’t shaped you into not only an unduly prejudiced stance against the traditional rite, but also a misunderstanding of its appeal. If the question were merely “reverence” or aesthetics, there wouldn’t have been such a dramatic shift away from Reform of the Reform Masses to TLM’s after 2007. A Latin ad orientem Mass in a beautiful church will not get me back the Judica Me, the Roman Offertory, the ancient Roman Sunday collects, Ember Days, or Septuagesima (which just started yesterday). It also gives me no guarantee that the Mass will retain even what traditional elements His Excellency has deigned to permit once a new pastor or a new bishop arrives: that’s the fundamental problem of the new rite’s instability. I have seen it happen more times than I can count.

  3. Oh, please, spare us the outrage, these new bishops don’t have a clue & to go vs the man who named them… They see what has happened to gomez, chaput and any others who are “labeled” by the inner circle…

  4. Did he not say he was being forced to do this? I thought that Is what I read. IF he said, that, he is lying. Every bishop has the authority to allow it, or NOT allow it.

  5. JMJ
    Hear, hear! I so appreciate your well-thought out and moderate views. I have felt heart-sore for the dedicated attendees of the 1962 Mass who have in some places had the rug ripped suddenly out from beneath their feet. But as a fellow Catholic in the Diocese of Helena, I’ve also been impressed that although Bishop Vetter has no direct experience with that form of the Mass (no dog in the fight, per se), he has been trying for months to keep its head above water for the sake of those few faithful, and, I understand, really exerting himself to find legitimate ways to keep making it available to them. But he stalled as long as he could. If we are to follow the spirit of the law and not the letter only, then our bishop believes the course he has taken is the correct one, at least for the moment. I beg all the Tradition loving Catholics out there to be patient, thank God for their tribulation, and wait to see what beautiful things He brings out of all of this for them and the whole Church. An offering of obedience is best, and if God truly wills the celebration of the 1962 Mass to return, nothing but obedient surrender and complete trust in God is going to bring it back! Just wait and see! God bless you, Andrew. Thanks again for a great article!

    • Thank you Laura for your refusal to rush to judgment. Last I heard, it was a sin against charity to assume bad motives, which I see too much of in this controversy. Bishop Vetter has prioritize his vow of obedience and acted according to the dictates of his conscience. I really don’t see how anyone can possible have a just quarrel with this. It is sad to see how a “woke” culture has managed to develop in our church – how anyone with opinions or tastes differing with ours is simply beyond the pale.

      • Diane – traditionalists are “woke” now?!? This is not about racial prejudice, or civil or human rights (even if you are to use that silly term charitably). You might rather consider that many of your brothers and sisters are actually “awake” (Ep 5:14) and what disturbs many in the Church authority is that they like it better when the sheep are sleeping. They are much less problematic that way. Earlier I was only addressing the essayist here; I do not know Bishop Vetter so I cannot comment on his decision directly. But I do know that the people of God generally do have a quarrel when one of their great shepherds unshackles them with sincerity and another puts the shackles back on while other shepherds go hither and thither shackling and unshackling based on region – all in one “Apostolic” “universal” Church, or should I say now a “synodal” church since we are all being encouraged to change our terms and even introduce secular terms at will.

    • I’m not saying we have to chop heads off like Elijah or like Judith, but we can’t sit around doing nothing. Read the Book of Judith and tell me if God wants us to always be sitting around rending our clothes.

    • You are right Laura, an offering of obedience is best. Bishop Vetter IS our Bishop and through our prayer, fasting and obedience all will come to be as it should. It takes real faith to believe through prayer, fasting and obedience that God, Himself will reveal His will. After all, the church survived this long and will continue to flourish in His divine will ultimately. I trust in Him that and will honor Bishop Vetter!

      • Amen to that, Kathleen. All the saints believed that obedience to the Pope was of paramount importance. Adam’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden led to humanity’s plunge into darkness. In every sinful act there is this very same disobedience. How did Jesus overcome the bad effects of Adam’s disobedience? By being fully obedient to the Father’s Will – even though his own will might have been different. “Not my will but thy will be done”.

        • “Amen to that, Kathleen. All the saints believed that obedience to the Pope was of paramount importance.”

          Obedience to a reigning pope is of paramount importance, but it is not always possible. The pontificates following Pope Formosus are demonstrable proof of that… unless we are to believe that the Church changes its teachings from one pope to the next.

          Pope Formosus (891-896) believed that he was a valid pope. Stephen VI (VII) ruled that Formosus was an antipope and invalidated all his acts and ordinations after putting his corpse on trial, mutilating it, and having it thrown in the river.

          Subsequently, Romanus, Theodore II, and John IX ruled that Formosus was a true pope. When Sergius III became pope (after having been deposed), he ruled that John IX, Benedict IV, and Leo V (along with Christopher) were antipopes. He also restored Stephen’s condemnation of Formosus and annulled all his acts and ordinations, declaring him to be an antipope.

          There were many priests and bishops who opposed, and disobeyed, Stephen and Sergius because those priests and bishops were ordained by Formosus (or ordained by those ordained by Formosus), and they refused to get re-ordained, as ordered by Sergius. They also refused to believe that Formosus was an antipope.

          Surely you don’t believe that it was possible to obey each successive, contradicting pope as to the legitimacy of Formosus. That would entail accepting him as a true pope, then later holding him to be an antipope, then changing to hold him as a true pope, then later changing again to consider him an antipope, then changing yet again and considering him to be a true pope, all in the space of 20 years.

          In other words, one would have to change opinions no less than 5 times, depending on who was pope.

          Formosus either was, or was not, a true pope. The popes who proclaimed him an antipope were either right or wrong. If they were wrong, there was a duty to disobey them in that matter.

        • In that case, Mal, I wonder how your standard applies to Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires and stonewalled the clear directive from Pope Benedict XVI to make the old rite of Mass available to those in a parish who requested it? Wasn’t he guilty of disobeying the Pope?

  6. The parish I last attended held a weekly (during the week) Tridentine Mass which many of the altar servers served at (we had an all male program). When a new pastor arrived he thought he would still say Mass in Latin using the Novus Ordo (which was really a transition to no Mass in Latin). The altar boys were aghast and so were those in attendance. Mind you neither of these were “Traditionalists” nor were they argumentative as much as they were confused. They attended the new Mass in English regularly on the weekend (prayed ad orientem). They knew instinctively that this Latin hybrid (old/new combo) was a hybrid. They had come to love the Latin Mass in se. The author of this article also “doth protest too much” using the gospel of Christ against his brothers in a condescending manner. Is his contention that the love Catholics share is greater in the average new Mass parish these days, where in fact there is plenty of descension to go around? The “Traditionalists” that I know may be a bit insulated but they love greatly; further if they see themselves as so ritually pure, why do they confess their sins so much more often so as to be ritually forgiven? Nice try though with the a kinder, gentler, Pope Francis “you’re a legalist Pharisee” routine.

  7. It’s not enough to have a reverent Novus Ordo Mass. So many prayers were either scrapped (such as the Judica Me Psalm 42 at the beginning of Mass) or completely rewritten (such as the Confiteor). The liturgical calendar was altered, removing many Octaves, changing feast days (Christ the King) to different dates, etc. Traditional Catholics desire the full Tridentine Mass and liturgical calendar – why must it be denied? Why can’t we have the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar (Judica Me) or the Last Gospel (John 1)? Please try to understand the pain of losing all those beautiful prayers.

  8. My sense is that the contemporary Catholic Church has speciated, and confected a subculture where “membership” is “signalled” by deposing the authority of scripture and tradition, reaching now to the point of literally “re-writing scripture” (as the Bishop of Rome has done in the Itslian translation of the Lord’s Prayer), and asserting that tradition is outlawed. This ascendant cult submits only to the “position power” of contemporary office holders, who themselves, as declared by the Pontiff Francis’ spokesman Rev. Rosica, prefer “the rule of men” and not the rule of scripture and tradition.

    • Scripture and true tradition is important to the Catholic Church. Some superficial or cultural aspects of a by-gone Church structure may not be treated as important. Some protestors, however, do think otherwise, and they pretend they are real thing.

      • Mal:

        I await with interest your explanation of how the “New Order of the Roman Rite” of 1970 is a “true tradition,” and your corresponding implication that the Mass of the Roman Rite before 1970 is in your estimation “false” or “not a tradition.”

        And I wait while comprehending the truth of what Pope Benedict XVI intelligently and generously stated, that what was held sacred in previous generations cannot be outlawed in a subsequent generation.

        • The changes involved the addition of more scripture passages and prayers. They brought, to our attention, more of our Lord’s words.
          As one diocesan website wrote: “All this is wisely ordered in such a way that there is developed more and more among the faithful a “hunger for the Word of God,”(14) which, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, leads the people of the New Covenant to the perfect unity of the Church. We are fully confident that both priests and faithful will prepare their hearts more devoutly and together at the Lord’s Supper, meditating more profoundly on Sacred Scripture, and at the same time they will nourish themselves more day by day with the words of the Lord. It will follow then that according to the wishes of the Second Vatican Council, Sacred Scripture will be at the same time a perpetual source of spiritual life, an instrument of prime value for transmitting Christian doctrine and finally the center of all theology.”https://www.peterboroughdiocese.org/en/life-and-faith/novus-ordo–ordinary-form-of-the-mass-.aspx
          As one who attended thousands of the old Mass in my younger days, I can tell you how much more meaningful the Mass became when the change was introduced.

          • The changes involved the addition of more scripture passages and prayers. They brought, to our attention, more of our Lord’s words.

            No, I am afraid that this is not an adequate characterization as it stands. The changes also involved the removal or substantial alteration (centonization, etc.) of *most* scripture passages and prayers that were in the traditional Roman Rite. Only four of the old Sunday collects survived, and not all of those were even kept on Sundays, for example. Likewise, the old rite reads from Wisdom 5 and 10 many times each year — but neither chapter has *any* place whatsoever in the new lectionary. Examples can multipled at length.

            And therein lies a tale. Because, as has been noted by scholarship which has delved into these omissions and alterations (as by Lauren Pristas, for example), it’s clear that there was a major theological shift of emphasis in the resulting complexion of the rite. Chiefly, in minimizing any references to the Four Last Things – what Consilium members called “negative theology.” It’s at least worth discussing what that looks like, why it was done, and indeed whether that was a prudent exercise, or indeed one that was even called for the Council Fathers.

          • Mal, I wonder how you would account for the fact that a large majority of people who attend the current rite of the Mass do not believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist and have no idea that the Mass is a sacrifice?

          • I must add that besides the additional readings from scripture there have been some prayers that have been removed. But the addition of readings and some prayers have been a blessing. This includes the Psalms between the first and the second readings. As One priest put it: “The Responsorial Psalm provides a prayerful meditation between the two passages from the Bible.” It bridges the first reading (taken from the OT) with the second reading(From the NT).
            I must also add that in my younger days I did consider the TLM to be holy and meaningful which is how I feel about the NO today. I used to see people praying the rosary or reading novena prayers during my TLM days. Gladly, I do not see that distraction today.

  9. From the article:
    “Did Christ say that the world would know us as his disciples by our ritual purity?”
    In First Corinthians St. Paul, who was chosen by Christ, wrote about keeping the liturgy pure and free from pagan practices and behaviors. St. Paul says:
    Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. (1 Corinthians 8:1 RSVCE)
    He also says:
    9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. (1 Corinthians 8:9-12 RSVCE)
    There have been abuses of the NO Mass that often go uncorrected. CWR has covered this. Abuses are often justified in the name of the “spirit of Vatican II.” The “spirit of Vatican II” advocates have done their part in delegitimizing Vatican II. Too many people puffed up with worldly knowledge who show no concern with the consequences of their actions. If TLM advocates are getting testy, it is because they see the clear double standards on the part of the Church hierarchy. Where is the love for the faithful Catholics?

  10. TC is basically Francis punishing the FSSP, ICKSP etc and the communities they nurture for the sins of the SSPX and Sedes, who will ignore TC anyway. This, coupled with Francis ignoring the Schismatic tendencies of zero German s and their Synodal Way, lends credence to the belief he is acting out of hatred for the TLM rather than a desire for unity. The Bishops should use Canon Law to loophole TC into oblivion and just wait out the end of this corrupt Pontificate.

  11. “For the Traditionalist, it is a competition between rites, “altar against altar.” Otherwise, there would be no need for the compulsive distinctions of “superior” and “inferior”, “more pleasing to God” and “less pleasing to God”.”

    Wow! Never heard it said like this before but it is so true.

  12. What a bad-faith argument. You know perfectly well that the ancient Roman rite is not a mere “ritual practice” to be discarded. You are defending a grave injustice and abuse of power. Shame on you.

    Meanwhile the SSPX will be enjoying many more refugees from your bishop’s terrible decision to slam the door on the faithful who only wanted to worship in the same rite of their ancestors.

    This result was obvious, which totally obliterates the supposed reason for the decision.

  13. “I AM OF THE OPINION, TO BE SURE, that the old rite should be granted much more generously to all those who desire it. It’s impossible to see what could be dangerous or unacceptable about that. A community is calling its very being into question when it suddenly declares that what until now was its holiest and highest possession is strictly forbidden, and when it makes the longing for it seem downright indecent. Can it be trusted any more about anything else? Won’t it proscribe tomorrow what it prescribes today?“ Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

    The Bishop of Helena thinks he is the branch manager of a tyrant pope, not a successor of the Apostles. He’s not in line with Vatican II.

  14. I am so glad that I avoided this Traditionalism thing altogether. I was initially open to it, but after seeing how angry, elitist, and stressed out the movement made people feel, I just opted to remain a simple, normal Catholic following legitimate authority placed over me. Makes me a lot happier, and it keeps me focused on my relationship with Jesus.

    O Lord, my heart is not lifted up,
    my eyes are not raised too high;
    I do not occupy myself with things
    too great and too marvelous for me.
    But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
    like a weaned child with its mother;
    my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.

    • MR, you are blessed that something very dear to you is not being taken away. If devotees of the TLM are angry and stressed it is because that which we hold dear, which presents us with our most sincere form of worship of God, is being violently ripped away by administrative fiat. If I came into your house and started relieving you of your most treasured possessions you too would react with anger and stress. You are mistaken. “The movement” as you call it does not induce anger and stress. The movement, the TLM, presents quite the opposite. It is the actions of Francis that are creating the anger and stress.

    • Congratulate yourself for being wonderful, and cancelling millions in one stroke.

      Efficiency and self-gratification all in one.

    • “but after seeing how angry, elitist, and stressed out the movement made people feel”
      You are not the only one who has noticed this, MR. Obsession leads to this.

    • You might want to read about St. Stephen and his appearance before the Council. You can read his speech to the Council in Acts 7. By modern standards he would be overqualified to be called an angry Traditionalist. The answer that he got from the people was to be stoned to death, just like many of the prophets before him who were killed for their prophetic witness. Christ’s woes in Matthew 23 make it clear that the life of a true prophet is not a popularity contest.

  15. What this Bishop has done is deprive Catholics of liturgical seasons and a cycle of readings that actually makes sense. He deprives them of Collects over 1500 years old, and deprives them of more psalmody, connecting us to the very prayers of Christ, than is EVER offered in the new rite. This is pathetic.

  16. Andrew, one must not paint everyone into the same corner, character and container…some may have this ‘in se’ dimension, but not all. No broad stroke rigidity, please.

    Is there really nothing else that Jesus could have done other than what has been put in place, no ways Jesus could not be accompanying with mercy; this is the perfect witness of Christ Jesus?

    I am surprised that the Holy Spirit is said to be 180 degree changed from what He was in Benedict XVI and all others before and with him…I thought He Divinely Revealed that “He is the same today, yesterday and forever”??? Or is the Judgement being proffered that the Holy Spirit was not in Benedict, but another spirt/s??

    May the Beloved lead, the Kindly Light.

  17. Andrew, it is not a matter of ritual purity, but that the Beloved’s previous and ancient Divine Liturgy and Apostolic Tradition continuity is no longer Tradition or proper; lacking as it is in the ‘unique’ that constitutes the Living God’s Liturgy – I wonder if the Holy Spirit realizes He was a bit off for the first 2000 years and has only now gotten it right???

    This was expressed by one author in this manner: “Pope Benedict XVI wrote, when promulgating Summorum Pontificum: “What earlier generations held as sacred remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.” Not so, apparently, according to Pope Francis. In fact, his new motu proprio expresses the exact opposite: “What earlier generations held as sacred must be considered by us as harmful and therefore must ultimately be forbidden.”

    Further, in the MP, one reads: “I take the firm decision to abrogate all the norms, instructions, permissions and customs that precede the present Motu proprio, and declare that the liturgical books promulgated by the saintly Pontiffs Paul VI and John Paul II, in conformity with the decrees of Vatican Council II, constitute the unique expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite.”

    What is the “unique”? Uniquely divisive? Uniquely rejective of what the Holy Spirit witnesses was His Lex Orandi and Lex Credendi for 2000 yrs prior? Is being UNIQUE the essence of what constitutes the Triune Beloved’s Divine Worship? I guess the being sacred and great is to give way to the unique, but is that unique authentically sacred and great? – seems that Saint John Paul and Benedict/Ratzinger tried to get the Reform of the Reform so that this uniqueness might be present. With all the abuses which are not unique but ubiquitously great and profane in the Offering of the NO, we need a new MP to get the Holy Mass into the uniqueness that Vatican II actually constituted…Blessings!

  18. This is quite the pathetic defense. This bishop went above and beyond in the area of cruelty. There is zero justification for suppressing all traditional Latin Masses. None.

  19. Missing too is the beauty of candlelit Rorate Masses at daybreak, the awe-inspiring spectacle of procession at Epiphany High Mass, Solemn Candlemas celebrations. Missing too are the laser-like focus on redemption and the horror of sin through repetitive 1-year epistle/gospel lectionary readings. Missing are schola, organ, chant. The reverent awe and piety stemming from the presence of Jesus at the representation of His holy sacrifice – replaced instead by handshakes, hugs, and peace-giving signs. This and more. Lost but not forgotten. Never surrender.

    Canon lawyer Fr. G. Murray was interviewed on TC and the Responsa by D. Montagna; posting is at Remnant Newspaper.

  20. In defense of Father Z

    Fr. Z quotes a Franciscan University student (published in First Things): “In a Church where 70 percent of the faithful no longer believe in the Real Presence, legitimate ­differences between charismatics and ‘trads’ pale in comparison to the differences that separate orthodoxy from heterodoxy. Faithful Catholics of all stripes increasingly find themselves allies against the common foe of a corrupt Church and a post-­Christian world…”

    She argues that a new synthesis is building among young charismatics and traditionalists, just as Fr. Z. has pointed to a similar conjunction among trad Catholic, charismatic, and Evangelical Christians.

    Fr. Z. notes opposition to this synthesis: “Some in the episcopacy view the movement toward greater reverence and tradition with alarm and disdain. Pope Francis’s recent motu proprio Traditionis Custodes,…betrays this sentiment. Nostalgic for their vision of the 1970s Church, the Holy Father’s advisors cannot seem to understand either the charismatic zeal or the love of tradition that characterize many of today’s Catholic youth.

    “Frankly, what the ‘advisors’ see terrifies…them because – as it may be – they are no longer true believers. What they see makes them feel guilty for their loss of faith. So they attack it… no.. they attack the people who obviously do believe and are ready to stand up for their Faith, who want something that isn’t watered down with buzz words….”

  21. This is heartbreaking! I have been planning on moving to Montana for a better future for my autistic children and had been looking at the nice parishes there that had the Latin Mass, now it’s all over. After experiencing the beautiful Traditional Latin Mass, I cannot give it up. Sadly, the Latin Mass is already hard enough to find in other States and most locations are in big cities.
    Why hurt a portion of your faithful flock, Bishop Vetter?

    • Not all TLM parishes are in big cities. The FSSP has parishes, for instance, in both Ocala, Florida and Vienna, Ohio, the former in a medium size town amid an area of horse farms, the latter a rural parish also.

  22. “Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason-I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other-my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen.“ – Martin Luther

    I propose Martin Luther as the Patron Saint of all traditionalist circles who courageously defy the authority of ecumenical councils and Papal decrees to have any impact on their personal understanding of the liturgy.

    • “I propose Martin Luther as the Patron Saint of all traditionalist circles who courageously defy the authority of ecumenical councils and Papal decrees to have any impact on their personal understanding of the liturgy”… which happens to be the same personal understanding of the liturgy for hundreds of years and shared by thousands of saints and dozens of popes (as opposed to 5).

      And of course Martin Luther is apparently already the patron saint of many Catholics who attend the new Mass, most especially the Catholic Church in Germany, so he’ll have both sides if such a proposal is granted.

        • What is the definition of the term “radicals on the right”? Before 1960, who would be classified in the category “radicals on the right”? How do the “radicals on the right” differ from the general population of Catholics prior to 1960?

    • History is not my strong suit, but I recall the Tridentine Mass being established at a council in Trent as a “counter” reformation against Luther. Not only this but Benedict XVI who was greatly involved in Vatican II (intimately) and pope, “loosened” (that what Peter’s do who love all their flock) the stranglehold against the Latin Mass. Your grouping all “traditionalists” as one unholy heretical species is worthy of your attachment to Luther just as it is unfortunate and uncharitable. Once again; I know many who accept Vatican II but also worship in the Latin Mass – those are the ones that stymy you and are being utterly ignored by Rome especially because they are being so successful. Let’s be straight – this authority of the Church today would never accept even a regional evangelization and reform of the Church through the Latin liturgy even if it was greatly successful in the Spirit.

    • In that case, don’t forget to include a certain Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, he completely ignored the specific instructions of Pope Benedict’s motu proprio,”Summorum Pontificum,” and went to great lengths to make sure that the old rite of Mass was denied to those legitimately requesting it.

    • To me Martin Luther played a role similar to that of Jeroboam when the kingdom of Israel was divided because of King Solomon’s disobedience to God. A worldly Church leadership often becomes a corrupt Church leadership.

  23. Be careful, Andrew, painting in such broad strokes about a large group of people makes you sound arrogant. . .and ignorant. I am a member of the Saint Richard TLM community and an acquaintance of yours. To the best of my knowledge, your experience of TLM communities outside of the SSPX / SSPV communities is extremely limited, at best.
    My husband and I have spent the last 15 years in diocesan TLM communities all over the US and a few in Europe and do you know how many conversations that “denigrated” the Novus Ordo I remember among many people we met? Not a single one. Do you know what I do remember? The families, their interests, their children, where they went to college, what they did for fun. I remember people who felt loved by their Pontiff for allowing them the ability to worship in a manner that best represented their hearts to their Incarnate God. They had confidence in their faith and in their presence in the Catholic Church. Denigration of the Novus Ordo was not on their minds or ours. In fairness, I will share that among intimate friends and in the privacy of our home or theirs we have shared our grievances about the state of the church and the role we believe the NO to have contributed to that state but that is a very different thing from making this subject fodder for general discontented conversation among our group as a whole, which has literally NEVER happened.
    I recognize an insidious slight of hand in lumping Latin Mass Montana and Fr Z as subjects in the same sentence. You know very well that LMM has nothing to do with Fr Z. Anyone can take what LMM published and write an opinion piece on it, as you did yourself. Any Intellecutally honest person knows those opinions are separate from the original piece. I would encourage you to get out of the blogosphere and into real life. Show up at our coffee hour (I have seen you there maybe 2 brief times in 5 years), get to know our hearts before you publish denegrating comments about our intentions for all the world to read.

    • Thank you for your comment and feedback, Celine. You might have given your response a little more reflection before posting it, however. You are painting me, my character, and experience with broad strokes in the same way you are accusing me of doing. Arrogant? Ignorant? Extremely limited experience (how would you know)? Insidious?! Also, I spend almost no time on the blogosphere. I heard about the news release and subsequent media reactions through word of mouth. You will find I have no blog or social media accounts.

      I have in no way personally attacked you, your husband, or anyone else associated with the Extraordinary Form in the diocese. I am sorry you have taken my general criticism of the traditional movement so personally. You are all wonderful people, whom I respect very much. I readily acknowledge there are many people like you. My criticism was directed primarily at the public news release of Latin Mass Montana, which was written in a way that was imprudent and imbalanced, provoking reactions such a that of Fr. Zuhlsdorf. As Catholics we should be more generous and charitable to our bishops, even if we think they are making poor decisions.

      God bless you and your family, Celine. Thank you for your criticism, I will certainly take it to heart.

  24. I am hurt and disappointed in Andrew’s unfair representation of the faithful in the Diocese of Helena who attend the Tridentine mass. I am one of them. I, and the vast majority of people I attend mass regularly with, do not hold the viewpoint that there is a fierce battle or war going on between the Novus Ordo mass and the Tridentine in our parish. Rather, the TLM is a rich and beautiful part of our Catholic heritage that we deeply love. We are very saddened by its suppression. It has not been a cause of division to our parish. The SSPX is near by, if we had no respect for church authority and wanted to join a truly divided group, that’s where we would be. Maybe Andrew should spend more time having honest conversations with “boot on the ground” folks if he is going to cast aspersions on us. I warmly invite him to do so. I think his letter only adds to the division he speaks about.

    • I am very sorry to have hurt you, Deirdre. This was certainly not my intention. I cast no “aspersions” on those in our community who love the old rite. My criticism was directed at Latin Mass Montana’s news release/opinion piece, and at the negative culture that is frequently found in the traditional movement. It is certainly not a minority; the influence of people such as Archbishop Vigano, Taylor Marshall, Michael Voris, et al., have created a widespread hostility toward the hierarchy that is highly toxic. I know this from frequent personal interactions with Catholics in the traditional movement.

      You are probably not be one of these, but just because you may not have encountered many personally does not mean that they do not exist. I know of an FSSP priest who had to cancel coffee and donuts after his Masses because, in his words, they had turned into “bitching sessions.” This is the problem, not good people like yourself.

      None of us are immune from criticism, including myself, and so I thank you for your perspective and feedback. May God bless you, and hopefully I’ll see you around!

      • Surely you know that dissatisfaction with hierarchy is not limited to traditionalists or the suppression of the Latin Mass. Largely because of family considerations, I am lucky to attend six Latin Masses a year. The last nine years have an unremitting assault on the doctrine, liturgy and culture of the Catholic Church. The faithful have every right to be angry.

  25. I’m sad to see these restrictions on the TLM. However, being an SSPX refugee and subsequent supporter of the Fraternity of St. Peter, I have experienced firsthand the division and elitist attitudes of many in Traditionalist circles, while simultaneously suffering in my local Novus Ordo parish with cheesy “music” and general hoakiness. But I have also witnessed, in recent years, small steps toward tradition and reverence, particularly with the younger, newly ordained priests. They are the ones that need our support; they (and we) are often outnumbered by the liberal parishioners who have invaded every aspect of the parish, from the music, religious ed, right on down to the office manager and pastoral assistant. The fight against modernism and watered-down faith is in these parishes. We need TLM people on our side, with their voices, pushing back against the liberal tide. When they are worshipping in another, separate TLM Mass, it’s neither effective nor helpful to the local priest nor to the cause of traditionalism. If we just have “Mass,” there could be a clear, united front. And for what it’s worth, Mass isn’t about us and what we want or like or prefer, it’s about worshipping God in the manner the Church has provided for us. The Eucharist is still the Eucharist. When we make the Mass all about what we want, it puts the focus on ourselves instead of the action on the altar.

    It’s worth repeating: the fight is in our local parishes.

    • JMJ
      Porter Girl! Thank you for that comment!

      Without any intention of offending anyone, after many years of befriending people in traditional Catholic circles and observing what goes on, I have discovered that the “easy way out” is really to become a “Trad”! The hardest and loneliest fight of all is to stay in the “mainstream Church” and work as hard as we can to bring reverence and beauty to our liturgies, education and support to our priests, and to patiently endure all the abuses, ignorance, and the weaning of our fellow congregants from the sentimental attachments they have formed to what is not sacred or suited to the worship of God.

      I have personally experienced over the last 15 years that there is so much a lay person can do to educate themselves and offer their help to a priest and parish, especially in the area of providing sacred music at Mass, holy church appointments and decor, catechesis blurbs in the bulletin, workshops, Religious Education, study groups, and so much more. But it is the hardest way and you have the fewest friends who understand the importance of that struggle. Many would rather move to an FSSP parish or an SSPX one in order to be with like-minded people who already have things rolling along the way they like.

      But then we would be acting like Vatican II didn’t have anything to teach the Church. “it’s a pastoral council, not a dogmatic one.” people remark, as if that means it can be completely disregarded. I’m sorry, but the whole Church for the first time in history gathered together where they discussed first the need for liturgical reform as of highest priority, and all but 4 bishops voted YES on Sacrosanctum Concilium (which must, of course, be read in the context of the Tridentine Mass)… The Mass is not a static reality, but has been in flux since the beginning of the Church. The Council of Trent codified the Mass as they did according to the historical knowledge they had of the earliest Christian liturgies and their desire to be faithful to that. Since then, however, new documents came to light that had been long lost, and in order to make the Roman Rite more true to its origins (as Trent desired to do) that new information needed to be taken into consideration and applied to a reform of the Mass.

      If we don’t believe the Church has the authority to modify tradition (with a lowercase “t”) in what She understands to be in the best interests of the faithful, we will only hurt ourselves and our children if we don’t open our eyes and hearts to better understand what it is that we have been given as a gift and how God wills to be worshipped. If the Holy Spirit guides the Church, then we can trust. If we don’t believe that, then we will be suspicious of everything and end up alone.

      Isn’t so much of the conflict for Traditionalists (all of us, really!) that they struggle to trust? They struggle to trust the Church; therefore they struggle to trust God. Sometimes they decide they would rather trust their own intellects over both and end up outside the Church. As one Catholic apologist stated, we can exit a train from left or right, but when we get out, the only important reality is that we’re all not on the train anymore. We act like there has never been a Church council with uncomfortable aftermath, like this is the first time in history, but history shows that this always settles out; it just takes time.

      Porter Girl, you are right that more time brings more holy vocations to the Church, men with a deep sense of reverence and an enthusiasm for the sacred and the service of God. The support of our Tradition-loving Catholic brothers and sisters would enrich and quicken the progress of our parishes toward a more worthy celebration of the Eucharist. My Mom likes to say, “In the midst of all the mess, Jesus still comes (in the Eucharist)! Wow!”

      I’m not saying the Novus Ordo is a perfect liturgy. I think there is no such thing as a perfect liturgy outside of Heaven, and it’s good to strive to do our best always while always recognizing that our efforts will still fall short, but God will judge us according to our dispositions and faithfulness. Let us be faithful and fervent and work our fingers to the bone so that we won’t show up at the judgment seat of Christ and have to admit we’re the one who buried our talent when we could have done so much more. Let’s be UNITED. Let’s be CATHOLIC. Let’s go down swinging if we have to, but swinging with the Church, not at it. No one was ever canonized for having a victim mentality.

      • “I think there is no such thing as a perfect liturgy outside of Heaven…”

        With all due respect, the above is a shocking statement coming from a Catholic. Does it include the first liturgy? You know, the one offered by… God Himself? That wasn’t a perfect liturgy?

        If Padre Pio’s liturgy was not “perfect,” in what manner was it “imperfect”?

        “And for what it’s worth, Mass isn’t about us and what we want or like or prefer, it’s about worshipping God in the manner the Church has provided for us.”

        True, but that statement should have been made in the 1960s and is the reason many Traditionalists reject the new order of Mass.

        The Church has provided for Roman Rite Catholics an ancient Mass that, in the 1960s, was tampered with by those who thought the Mass was about them, and so they changed it to what they liked and preferred.

        The new Mass is an anomaly in the history of the Church and will one day be abrogated. In God’s time. Stuck in one period of history, it has no future, as is evident from the apostasy of many of its attendees and its most ardent supporters (think people like Joseph Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop Weakland, all devoted “new Mass-goers”).

        And, naturally, the new Mass is disappearing in huge portions of Europe, as fewer and fewer people are interested in attending and the priests are dying, with no replacements. Think Holland, Belgium, Ireland, France, Germany, et cetera.

        • JMJ
          Dear DJR,
          like Our Lord saying that no man born of woman was greater than John the Baptist (excluding of course Our Lady and St. Joseph), so my comment about no perfect liturgy excluded the Last Supper. It also depends on how you understand “Heaven” and wherever Jesus went, Heaven was present on earth, so I don’t consider the Institution of the Eucharist to have been “outside of Heaven”, in a manner of speaking. Aside from Our Lord, who is God, I don’t believe it’s possible for a human to offer or participate in Mass in a fully perfect manner unless God were to grant that as a particular grace, because there are always mistakes made, or imperfect intentions/dispositions present, faults we may unwittingly commit even when we are trying to do our very best. But I see what you mean. There is definitely more than one way to look at that topic. 🙂

      • Laura, if you haven’t already done so, may I suggest that you read Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Second Vatican Council’s document on the sacred liturgy approved by the bishops. There’s a striking contrast between the modest measures propose there and the actual reforms that followed, as you’ll see.

        • JMJ
          Thank you, Glenn! I have read Sacrosanctum Concilium a number of times, which is why I bothered to mention it at all. It’s important to realize that the implementation of the reforms went haywire, but the actual reforms were totally in line with tradition and within the authority of the Church to implement. It wasn’t meant to be a shocking change. Obviously there were modernist liturgists hiding waiting in the wings to sabotage the reform. People complain that SC was very vague, but if you read it in the context of the only form of the Mass they had then it makes more sense and is a lot more moderate than if you read it in light of how things often are in NO liturgies now. The liturgy that the Church wants us all to have is the Latin Novus Ordo, ad orientem, with the proper chants accompanying, the readings in the vernacular, and as much reverence and dignity as ever the liturgy deserved and called for. The NO is not a broken attempt or an inferior form. It’s a little like what Chesterton said about Christianity that it “has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.” It’s more difficult now to celebrate the NO the way it was always meant to be, because the abuses have become the norm in many places, but that doesn’t mean we should take the easier path of going back to what came before, and just scratch the whole idea of reform. Things are improving, the younger priests coming in are by and large quite passionate about doing things according to the true mind of the Church, and I see a lot of new growth and food for encouragement! We just have to keep our hand to the plow and it will all sort itself out. I’ve met Catholics who grew up with the 1962 Mass and attended their first Novus Ordo celebrated properly and they said to me, “Who would have a problem with the NO if it was like this?” Who indeed? Priests and bishops are not the only ones who have influence about how well or how poorly the Mass is celebrated. We all need to be pro-active to advocate for what is good, true and beautiful, educate ourselves and others, and offer as much concrete assistance in our parishes to bring proper liturgy about as we can. I think we’d be amazed at how quickly and effectively our concentrated efforts to do just that would bring about good fruit!

  26. Celine, you write: “My husband and I have spent the last 15 years in diocesan TLM communities all over the US and a few in Europe and do you know how many conversations that “denigrated” the Novus Ordo I remember among many people we met? ”

    This I do not doubt at all, Celine, but Pope Francis has not had the same experience.

    His experience is likely Cdl Cupich or the like handing him several large, accordion type folders filled with clippings from One Peter Five, The Remnant, Taylor Marshall, Peter Kwasniewski, Fr. Z etc, etc, assorted blog clippings and scapings from the comment boxes and so forth. At this point the denigration of the Novus Ordo is practically a literary genre in itself.

    I do not consider myself a Trad, but recently served the Dominican rite Latin Mass practically every morning for the better part of two years, and have a deep appreciation for the beauty and reverence of the usus antiquior.

    However, often when reading articles from the above cited sources I would wonder to myself, “Why do you want to see the TLM suppressed?” How could there be any other result when its enemies were routinely presented with evidence in print that its proponents are schismatic in tendency, very articulate, learned and widely read. This is a manifest threat to the unity of the Church, which popes are concerned with practically above everything else.

    In the light of such mountains of evidence, put yourself in the pope’s place. What else could he do and still have a clear conscience? The same sort of thing goes for Bishop Vetter. He has had an indication from the Vicar of Christ on earth and is implementing it according to his lights.

    If you want utterly to turn the situation around, the way to bring the power and wisdom of Christ into the situation is to stop complaining against Christ ( which you do when you complain about his representatives on earth-“He who hears you hears me”), obey Him without demur, praise Him unreservedly for the situation just as it is, and watch things happen.

    If I have ever said anything against this pope, and I have, I retract, disavow and repudiate every last word of it. He clearly did the right thing for he could have done nothing else.

    • Lee, I guess I’m in trouble, since I read some of those authors and publications regularly, and I can’t see anything incendiary or schismatic in them at all. By the criteria you set forth here, I wonder if any reform of the liturgy could have taken place prior to VII, since you seem ready to censor even the scholarly and measured work of Peter Kwasniewski and other similarly reasonable writers. There are, of course, some very unkind traditionalist cranks on the internet, but I for one can’t distinguish their tone from the snarky insults, sneering and condescension that I regularly encounter in “mainstream” publications such as American, Commonweal, the National Catholic Reporter, etc. And I don’t think Pope Francis need any prompting from Cardinal Cupich regarding the EF of Mass, since he wasted no time after his election in denouncing and insulting its adherents as “rigid,” “narrow,” “neurotic,” etc. But that also came as no surprise, given his vehement hostility to the old rite as archbishop of Buenos Aires, where he effectively prevented his predecessor’s generosity in Summorum Pontificum from being implemented.

      For the record, I am a member of a regular diocesan parish in Metuchen, NJ, where I am an assistant organist, Knight of Columbus, CCD and RCIA teacher and cantor. I manage to attend the EF of Mass perhaps 2-3 times annually, although that will probably not be possible anymore in light of the Pope’s harsh and punitive restrictions. Interestingly, I’ve been labeled as an arch-traditionalist myself, simply for insisting that the rubrics be adhered to in the current Roman Rite, free of priestly improvisations, unauthorized readings, etc. And as for the suggestion that I so often hear that it’s possible to celebrate the new rite in Latin with incense, chant, etc., I suggest that you try requesting that sometime in most parishes. The hostility and obstructionism I’ve encountered on such occasions is indistinguishable from the same response to requests for the EF of Mass. I can’t believe that all of this doesn’t explain at least partially why some “traditionalists” are as angry and frustrated as they are.

      • As you have pointed out Pope Francis can be quite vicious in his public speech. His public tongue lashings are given to anyone who stands up for the historic Church teachings and are not restricted to TLM advocates. People only have to go to “The Pope Francis Little/Bumper Book of Insults” to see his ill tempered remarks.
        Pope Francis also makes a big deal about dialog, while he and many in the Church hierarchy stonewall faithful Catholics. I do remember the statement about “rabbit holes.” Complete gaslighting. The “spirit of Vatican II” types show a real vocation for bridge burning when it comes to the faith of our fathers. The CWR article “Liquid Catholicism and the German Synodal Path” by George Weigel does an excellent job covering this subject.

    • “…Cdl Cupich or the like handing him… clippings from One Peter Five, The Remnant, Taylor Marshall, Peter Kwasniewski, Fr. Z etc, etc, assorted blog clippings and scapings from the comment boxes and so forth…”

      Such speculation may be true. If true, why didn’t Francis make mention of that in his letter accompanying TC? Instead, Francis claimed justification to be the purported ‘survey of bishops.’ The Vatican to date has not yet revealed raw data results of that survey. Some bishop conferences have reported the survey appeared on conference web sites but was not sent to bishops individually, so many bishops were surprised to learn that such a survey existed. The response rate to the survey has been estimated liberally at less than 50%.

      IF the web sites you mention were the impetus behind the TC, that does nothing to explain that Francis, as cardinal in Argentina, did not honor his predecessor’s MP which liberalized TLM celebration. He apparently detested the EF then as he apparently still does today.

      If the web sites you mention were the impetus behind the TC, why did Francis choose to discriminate and make desolate the faithful who are not Fr. Z, the Remnant, Taylor Marshall, or Dr. Kwasniewski? Did Jesus not command to Peter to “Feed my sheep?”

      The ‘hearing you, hearing me’ phrase does not counteract or overrule numerous other scriptural admonitions re wolves in sheep’s clothing and numerous other scriptural warnings or remonstrances by both Jesus and the apostles regarding false shepherds, prophets, and myriad pharisaical leaders?

      If the above speculation is true, why did Francis choose to desolate many Catholic faithful rather than put notice upon Fr. Z., Dr. K, Marshall, and The Remnant? Why punish a flock for a few shepherds? (Those shepherds have done nothing worthy or excommunication. If Nancy P. or Joe B., Fr. Martin, Cardinal Hollerich et al are not seen fit for excommunication, neither are any other professed Catholics.) I submit no reasonable and logical argument can explain the logical inconsistencies and the cruelty expressed within TC and the Responsa. I submit that no reasonable logic can explain the Vatican’s (illicit BTW) proclamatory right to micromanage notices or times of parish activities within parish bulletins in the approximate 1/3 million churches throughout the world.

      What more ‘right things’ could Francis do? He can continue to turn. Eventually he’ll come full circle and perhaps realize where he may have been wrong. He is not a saint yet. We are all free to speak truth. We are all members of the Body of Christ.
      Speaking truth is not a sin.

      May God have mercy.

  27. Maybe so for some but certainly all. This is equally as true on the Novus Ordo only crowd as well. I’ve been told by some that everybody is who wants to receive on the tongue is just seeking attention or acting holier than tho. I’ve live in Montana for over 20 years and have attended mass in Butte/Bozeman/Helena areas depending on where work takes me. It seen like there is no concinnity in any of the Masses. Half the time depending on the Parish everybody either stands when the priest says let us pray for the “may the lord accept the sacrifice at your hands” prayer they either stand or remain seated. One parish use chimes for the consecration tuned to g.c.e. The same notes and order as the NBC television network so when the priest elevates the host everybody I hear NBC. At some places everybody stand for the Eucharistic prayers and no one kneels, others everybody kneels. I seen the faithful with their hand in the Orans posture same as the priest during the father and the concretion. I’m not saying this is evil or immoral or any of that but it is distracting. At least the few times I’ve been to the Latin rite mass it been consistent. At one mass I attend right before covid the Eucharistic minister was a 20 something women in Yoga pants with visible camel toe and crop top and a sheer Tshirt. If the bishop wants to do away with the Latin mass in the name of unity, he could at least address the liturgical abuses at the same time. If he want to reign in the faithful maybe he should do the same with some of more out their priest. Just look at the mess with the priest in Arizona and baptisms.

    • JMJ
      Dear James,
      I guess you missed the Bishop’s tour through the diocese last year where he visited every district and had an open meeting where anyone was welcome to attend and ask him questions. He clearly laid out his directives to the priests at their annual meeting to eradicate liturgical abuses (which he enumerated, and boy was that a long list) still being committed in our diocese and to get everyone on the same page, celebrating Mass in a dignified, reverent and unified manner. The liberal priests are having to give up a lot of things they were getting away with before, and while the rest of us may have to wait a few years before ad orientem, communion kneeling, and such things are made to be the norm for the Diocese of Helena, the Bishop told us that he is open to such improvements. First he has to get everyone going in the same general direction and then he can implement more reforms. He has his heart in the right place. I don’t agree with everything he says, but I can tell he is trying to do his best for us and to be a good shepherd. If he believes something is in our best interests, that’s what he will do. We may not agree with his strategy, and we don’t have to, but to say he is out and out wrong is entering onto dangerous ground. Also, no attention has been given to the significant exception Bishop Vetter has made in granting the traditional parishioners of St. Richard’s weekly access to the Latin Novus Ordo celebrated ad orientem, and receiving at the new communion rail which will be installed soon (along with a high altar, gorgeous new tabernacle – installed already – and more beautifications to the sanctuary), which he has for the time being not allowed in any other parishes (minus the Latin part – he is fine with Latin). He is giving them the Mass the Church wants us to have and isn’t making them wait until everybody else in the diocese is ready to get on board. This is a big deal, and I’m surprised there isn’t more excitement about it! I’M excited!!! 😀

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