“I told you so” can be bittersweet indeed; in this case, far more bitter than sweet, but here goes.
The present pontificate’s subversion of the norms set forth in Summorum Pontificum in the restrictions placed upon the FFI is proving to be exactly as I expected; the first shots in what could very well blossom into an all-out assault against the traditional Mass and those who love it.
“Only a fool can be confident that this same, or a similar, criteria won’t eventually end up being applied in the regulation of the traditional Mass in dioceses (and parishes) wherein the local ordinary (or pastor) is either ambivalent or hostile toward the ancient rite. And why not? Rome has given such men (if they ever really cared about the mind of the pope in the first place) all they need to claim justification for doing so.”
So I wrote back in August, even as the neo-con papal cheerleaders at Catholic Answers were snickering up their collective sleeve while painting such concerns as an unwarranted “freakout in cyberspace” over “Pope Francis’s presumed dark intentions toward the extraordinary form liturgy.”
Sure enough, Rorate Caeli is reporting that Most Reverend Michael Olson, Bishop of Fort Worth, an obviously emboldened prelate who is clearly hostile toward the traditional Mass, took it upon himself on February 24th to forbid the celebration of the Usus Antiquior at Fisher More College.
In a letter addressed to Mr. Michael King, President of Fisher More, Bishop Olson stated:
“You do not have permission to have the public celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass at the Chapel of Fisher More College. This includes Sundays and weekdays. The weekly celebration of the Extraordinary Form is available to the faithful every Sunday at St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in Fort Worth.”
While it was awfully nice of the newly consecrated bishop, who was installed just twenty-six days before writing his epistle, to alert Mr. King of the availability of the traditional Mass on Sundays at 5:30 pm at a parish off-campus, I have some bad news for him:
You don’t have the authority to forbid the celebration of the so-called ‘Extraordinary Form’ of the Mass. Period.
The letter, which might best be put to use as thurible kindling at Fisher More’s next Solemn High Mass, continues:
“You may only have the celebration of the Mass in the Ordinary Form … Failure to comply with the above stated norms will result in my withdrawal of permission to celebrate the Eucharist in your chapel along with withdrawal of permission to reserve the Blessed Sacrament in the Chapel.”
Yes, you read that correctly. The bishop is actually threatening to hold Jesus Christ hostage from a Catholic college in order to enforce his diabolical, yes, diabolical aversion to the venerable rite.
Just imagine the scene as Bishop Olson strides onto the Fisher More campus to seize the Eucharistic Christ from the tabernacle, crozier in one hand, thirty pieces of silver in the other.
Pardon me, Excellency, but this “Successor to the Apostles” thing kind of assumes you’ll model yourself after one of the other eleven. Capisce?
And why, pray tell, is this considered by Bishop Olson as a matter of such pressing importance that it merited this immediate and incomprehensibly harsh attention?
According to his letter, “I make these norms out of my pastoral solicitude and care for the students of Fisher More as well as for your own soul.”
No, this isn’t an early April Fool’s Day joke; this fool is the real deal.
He not only thinks that typing up a document on the computer in his new office is the same as establishing “norms,” one of the first things he committed to writing on his freshly printed letterhead makes it clear that he considers the traditional Mass a danger to souls.
This has all the makings of a case study in the real Francis Effect: A Barney Fife wannabe bishop with a burr under his saddle for the Usus Antiquior attacking with abandon traditional Catholics and that which they most hold dear, Summorum Pontificum be damned.
One expects that Fisher More College will respond to this outrage by making an appeal through official channels, doing everything possible to avoid a flat out showdown with their new bishop, but it’s difficult to imagine this ending any other way.
Let’s keep a close eye on this one; you can bet your favorite hand missal every whack job liberal bishop in the country is doing just that.