Rorate Caeli

First Things First:
It's not about specific persons, it's about the principle - and the grave precedent

Fr. S. Finnegan, of the always gratifying blog Valle Adurni, sees the global forest, not the local leaves. Quite curious that some of those who purport to adore all words of our Holy Father are somewhat obsessed regarding the sin he most likes to condemn: gossip (note: gossip does not imply untruthfulness of facts mentioned).

We are not interested in allegations against individuals, and "he said, she said." We are interested in written words and precedent: it is trickling... will it pour? The flood could reach your neighborhood someday.

[It is written elsewhere on the web] that Michael King, the Principal of the college, has been adopting a more and more extreme line of late, involving very severe criticism of the hierarchy and of the Second Vatican Council, to the effect that several staff and students have left. This, with other things, has caused a financial crisis which may mean that, despite recent heroic fundraising by the students, the future of the college may be rather brief.

But even if this is so, it seems strange to penalise the students if the faculty is at fault. Surely the effect will be to drive students and staff more firmly into the hands of the Society of St Pius X or some more extreme Sedevacantist body. Even if it could be demonstrated that Bishop Olson has the legal right to do what he has done (and I don't think it can), one would certainly doubt the prudence of his action. And most of all we must deplore the lack of charity. The college had sent the new bishop a spiritual bouquet, and rather lamely, he thanks them for their kindness at the end of the letter in which he has dealt them what they must consider the most severe of blows.

He tells the college that his actions are for their own spiritual good, which would appear to imply that the use of the EF must be harmful. Presumably the bishop takes the commonly-held line that the EF is a rallying point for all sorts of undesirable things and people; suppress the EF and you get rid of the problem.

Yet again we must quote those words of Pope Benedict, from the letter accompanying 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. [Source]

In his personal blog, our contributor Dr. Joseph Shaw also weighs in on the rather bizarre idea that somehow cutting the medicine can heal the invalids who are in need of it:

A number of people have commented on the Fisher More College situation, saying that the Bishop's banning of the Traditional Mass on campus is a response to various Bad Things happening in the college. Exactly the same thing has been said about the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.

The people who say this often add that banning the EF seems an odd way to address the problems, and I agree. But while I don't know if the claims about the motivations involved in either case are true, I would like to address the idea that frequent attendance at the Traditional Mass can be a danger to your soul. This argument was often hinted at before Summorum Pontificum, and if it is making a comeback that is a little worrying.
We used to hear a lot about our desire for the Traditional Mass being a 'personal preference', with the implication that this was a bad thing. I can't help being amused by this. Have those who use this phrase not noticed the role of personal preferences in celebrations of the Ordinary Form?

I am by no means saying that everyone who attends the Traditional Mass has gone through this mental process. I do think, however, that the ones which people - perhaps including Bishop Olsen of Fort Worth, Texas, or Fr Volpi, the Commissioner of the Franciscans of the Immaculate - are most worried about, may well have. The ones who those people worry might end up with the SSPX or as sede vacantists; the ones who get a bit worked up about these things.

What I want to say is this: those people, the ones who get worked up, are not going to be helped by being deprived of the the Vetus Ordo and forced to go to the Novus Ordo. If they are really worked up, it is more likely to drive them even more nuts. For them, Pope Benedict's liberalisation of the Extraordinary Form was truly pastoral: it made it possible for them to remain in the Church in a serene fashion, and to make spiritual progress. To calm down, in fact.
Suppose the wretched Franciscans of the Immaculate are as bad as their critics claim; suppose the wretched Michael King, President of Fisher More College, is as bad as his critics claim. For heaven's sake don't deprive them of this spiritual solace, of the Traditional Mass. It is cruel, it is unjust, and it will make whatever theological or political problems there may be much, much worse. [Source]

Some even had had the gall of sending us the following text of the instruction Universae Ecclesiae, as if we did not fully know the text by heart, regarding an event prior to the recognition of a coetus fidelium:

19. The faithful who ask for the celebration of the forma extraordinaria must not in any way support or belong to groups which show themselves to be against the validity or legitimacy of the Holy Mass or the Sacraments celebrated in the forma ordinaria or against the Roman Pontiff as Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church.

First, and this cannot be emphasized enough, this is related to the conditions prior to the recognition of a coetus. Even supposing it can be alleged against an existing coetus, it must be explicitly alleged and proved. It is the utmost abuse of prosecution powers to find reasons for conviction after the punishment has already been handed! An actual canonical investigation has to be opened in such cases, and it cannot be based merely on hearsay or implicit support.

Then, and most importantly, the whole coetus has to be heard - otherwise, this can be a cause for the suppression of a Mass at any time and in ANY place, including yours (yes, pay attention, including yours), if you go regularly to a Traditional Mass. That is, just one or a couple of individuals can cause the end of the Mass for any group - and I am sure you can see the grave danger in this, right? No group of Catholics must live under this kind of terror, the sword of Damocles hanging over their heads because there might be "bad apples" in the group, and always in fear of an immediate suppression of their Mass. What is the Church, a totalitarian state in which the faithful live under permanent terror of a true or false accusation that can bring the shutdown of their Mass at any moment for allegations against individual members of the whole coetus? Is it only the very minoritarian faithful attached to the Extraordinary Form who must live under this regime of liturgical terror? There is no Ordinary Form Mass shutdown for the many, many errors, heresies, schismatic notions, grave liturgical abuses being spread out openly in many regular parish churches, and university campuses and chapels? No, there are rightful procedures in Canon Law to identify apostates, schismatics, heretics, whatever may be the rite, form or use they adhere to, providing them with the right to be heard, to defend themselves and their views, and to repent. And, even if individuals are rightfully convicted, the innocent members of the coetus must be spared.

No, we cannot remain silent because we must breathe. We will not allow ourselves to be suffocated after Summorum Pontificum by dangerous precedents. Once sacred, always sacred, said Benedict - and always free.
Update. After posting, we received the following sad e-mail message from an old reader of ours in a region of the world we cannot make public at the moment: "Subject: The trickling down effect is also happening here. A traditional mass in X [Rorate: name of region redacted] has also been banned regardless of the motu proprio. At this moment we cannot give details because we are trying to solve the problem with the authorities. We have decided not to go public with the details yet and I ask you to please keep it that way but I will keep you informed and will give you all the facts as things unfold, especially if our efforts are unsuccessful."