|Full Traditional Parish Life Most Beneficial for Diocese & Faithful|
|FSSP Superior General Grants First Public Interview|
|REMNANT COLUMNIST, South Carolina|
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A Remnant Exclusive...
Fribourg, Switzerland, July 5, 2007—The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) elected now 37-year-old Fr. John Berg as Superior General for a 6-year-term last July 7, 2006, during their General Chapter at their mother house in Wigratzbad, Germany. The Very Rev. Fr. Berg, an American, is the third Superior General of the FSSP, and is one of the youngest Superior Generals of any group of priests in the Church. Nearing this the first anniversary of his election, Fr. Berg graciously granted an exclusive interview for The Remnant readers. As part of an effort to present Remnant readers with insights into the thinking of the leaders of the traditional Catholic movement, we've made the effort to interview several key people on various sides of traditionalist issues, most recently Bishop Bernard Fellay of the Society of St. Pius X, and now Fr. Berg.
Shortly after the time of his election, The Remnant wrote of Fr. Berg's fidelity to Tradition and the Faith of our Fathers, as well as his obvious natural gifts and traits for leading this youthful and growing traditional clerical society of apostolic life of pontifical right. In this present interview, Fr. Berg responds to questions about the FSSP and its health and growth, its challenges, and the personal experiences he has seen in his first year traveling the globe visiting Fraternity apostolates. He spoke especially of the growing number of bishops requesting FSSP priests and the growing demand for personal Traditional parishes and parish-like settings throughout the world, and in some unlikely places.
Fr. Berg also provided some illuminating answers on the specific question of FSSP concelebration in the Novus Ordo liturgy, as well as his perspective on the potential role the FSSP may play in assisting the Church and Her priests upon the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum, the long-awaited motu proprio liberalizing the use of the Traditional Roman rite. He also said that even prior to the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum, the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei had written several bishops clarifying that the 1988 Pope John Paul II indult had authorized with generosity all the sacraments, rituals and devotions of the 1962 books—not only the Traditional Latin Mass. B. Mershon
Q: Please tell us a little bit about yourself, Father.
A: I was born in 1970 into a Catholic family. I attended Thomas Aquinas College (TAC) from 1989 to 1993. It was while I was at TAC that I first came to know the Traditional Mass. And it was then that I discerned a vocation to the priesthood during the last two years I was there. I was able to serve the Mass each day, and that was when my discernment happened.
I wasn’t very fervent before attending TAC. I had gone to Catholic schools, but I didn’t have a very serious education in the Catholic Faith.
After college, I went directly to the Fraternity seminary in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in 1993, which was the first year we had a seminary in the United States—the first year of Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary. I had already done my philosophy, so, after the year of spirituality, I went to seminary in Wigratzbad, Germany, for two years.
I finished my studies with three years in Rome where I received a license in theology at the University of Santa Croce. At the same time, I had some pastoral work as the first chaplain for our church in Rome, San Gregorio dei Muratori.
Following my time in Rome, I returned and taught dogmatic theology at our North American seminary for a year. In 2000, I was assigned to our apostolate in Sacramento, where I remained for five years.
Just this last year Bishop Weigand erected the church there into a full non-territorial parish. Then I went back and was teaching at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton last year. Finally, I was elected the third Superior General of FSSP by my confrères this past Summer in July 2006.
Q: You have had one year under your belt as the General Superior for the Fraternity. What is your opinion about the state of the FSSP currently?
A: After 19 years of existence, we have a lot better foundation than in our earlier years. We now have two seminaries that were both built from scratch in Europe and here in Lincoln, Nebraska. One of our goals from the beginning was to have a formation, not just for those in Europe, but for those who would be better able to discern in North America. The cultures are certainly similar, but each has different traditions, mindsets, political histories, and demands for apologetics.
A lot of effort and resources, not only financial, were put into these two projects. Sending men for the necessary formation to staff the seminaries has been a large investment, but perhaps the best we have made.
So for the Fraternity, I think we are rounding the corner now just a little bit. We still have to send off some more priests for further education in order to make sure we are able to staff the seminaries as much as possible with our own priests. We are better off now in that way.
But I don’t think it is any surprise that there is still a fair amount of work to do in what is most fundamental to us—that is, the formation of our priests and their sanctification. In his letter to open the Fraternity’s General Chapter this past Summer, Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos rightly stated that 18 is the age a maturity, and that when one reaches it his identity is very clear. The founding years of an order are no easy time, so we are grateful for the work that has been done.
As far as our health in other domains, I think it varies quite a bit from country to country. In North America, things are very strong, and they have been from the beginning. We are thankful for the generosity of Bishop Timlin [former Bishop of the diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania], who first welcomed and supported us, and others such a Bishop Bruskewitz, and Archbishop Chaput, who quickly did the same.
In Canada, we are especially grateful to the former Archbishop of Ottawa, Bishop Gervais, who at the time graciously stepped forward from the start and said, “Let’s make this a full-time apostolate. Let’s make it a full-fledged parish.”
The fact that the Fraternity of St. Peter now works in 35 dioceses in North America and that 28 of these are full-time apostolates provides solid evidence that these chapels and parishes are beneficial to the life of a diocese and do not cause the divisions which some at first might fear.
Q: After one year as Superior General, what has been most surprising to you?
A: The thing that has surprised me the most, or perhaps that has been the most revealing aspect, is that what people seem to really thirst for and need with the Traditional Mass is to have a full-time priest there and having a parish set up.
I was in Sacramento for years where we were able to purchase a church with a school, a hall and a rectory on the premises. Having all of this there, I did not realize how difficult it is in other places that do not enjoy it.
The indult given by Ecclesia Dei has been in existence for 19 years. I think there are many bishops who have tried to be generous with the indult situation of one Mass each Sunday in a location, or they maybe even have a variety of places within one diocese. But in the end, such a situation is not the thing that is really helpful and doesn’t give a good picture of the Catholic life to those who attend, which is what families desire and need, and certainly deserve to have—that parish life—that idea that you have a place where you feel at home.
What has been interesting is that we have been invited by all sorts of dioceses in the United States and other countries. It is clear that no matter what their character is, those bishops who have allowed and set up quasi-parishes or full-time chapels as apostolates have been grateful for it because these dioceses have seen what the response has been from the faithful.
Instead of going off in a corner of the diocese, these faithful, when they have all of their needs met, have embraced the bishop more, and become involved in the life of the Church much more, especially supporting things like pro-life, catechesis and other initiatives. These are the places where the work is really successful.
In those places where the bishop has allowed the Tridentine Mass on Sunday only, a kind of refugee-type mentality often sets in for the faithful of not really ever belonging anywhere. That is of course not good for the children who are involved, nor for those who end up attending it. And that kind of situation is not ultimately good for the diocese either, nor for the life of the diocese, because it never makes those Catholics feel at home, nor assists those Catholics to participate fully in the life of the diocese.
In the United States, we have been able to do that [set up personal parishes including traditional devotions and sacraments], and that has been a good thing. In some other countries, it is still a bit of a struggle.
What is interesting is that we have been able to do similar work in what would be considered not very Catholic cities. We will send a second priest, for example, to Amsterdam this fall as the work for our priest for the sacraments and catechesis there has been overwhelming.
The actual diocesan pastor of the church in Amsterdam was not too pleased at first, but has now said he can see the Fraternity priest and Latin Mass have brought about great fruits, and now supports that the Fraternity’s responsibility there progressively increases. A great number of people have been coming back to the Church and entering the Church, and I think they have been able to see that even in places like Amsterdam, there is really a thirst for the Traditional Latin Mass. That would be one of the surprises.
The other surprise is just to think how much of a misunderstanding there is as to what the Latin Mass is, and what it will bring to the Church. Again, in places where bishops have allowed it, the other parishes of the diocese have not been emptied. It remains something for the Catholics who wish to attend it, and which brings a good number of people back to the Faith as well.
Q: During a time in the Church in Western Europe and the U.S., when there are entire dioceses that frequently have no priestly ordinations each year, there have been 153 men request applications to the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter in the United States January through March 2007. Why do you think so many young men are attracted to vocations to the traditional priestly societies?
A: If one looks at the diocese and institutes where they are attracting a strong number of vocations, the young men are receiving a very strong priestly identity—one that really underlines the supernatural side of the priesthood. This is not true only of the Fraternity, but also of places like St. Gregory’s in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Sometimes I think we end up short-selling the youth and thinking what they really want, what is going to attract them, is this type of life or that—as if the priesthood is nothing more than being a social worker or a counselor. That is just not going to attract vocations. Men can go ahead and do that in other areas [without the sacrifices of the priesthood].
But in the end, it is the strong priestly identity that attracts them. Yes, they will end up doing a lot of natural things that are good—and they will end up needing to have a lot of natural virtues—but the priest’s job is about the supernatural life with the sacraments and everything else.
We’re fortunate enough to have a number of things [in the FSSP] that emphasize those elements, such as the priestly identify at the altar which is so stressed by the rite, and Thomistic theology which sees the priest’s fundamental act as offering sacrifice. It clearly underlines what the work of the priest is—what his essential work is. And that finally is the element which is most attractive about the priesthood: being able to deal with the things that are holy all the time; with the things that are most essential.
Having been a priest now for 10 years, I can’t imagine being a man and getting up every day and working 10 hours in a secular job on what is not most important. And I know there are men who have to do that according to their duty in state. But the priesthood is always dealing with the absolute essentials—with salvation.
That’s one thing that I think is fortunate about the way we form priests. It is centered around preaching and the sacraments: being dispensers of the mysteries of God as St. Paul says, is what is essential. Fortunately, the rite we use really emphasizes that role of the priest within the sanctuary, which a lot of men are looking for as well.
Q: Do you believe that if the Pope’s motu proprio liberalizing the use of the Traditional Roman missal might spur vocations in the dioceses where it is accepted according to the Holy Father’s intentions?
A: Sure. I think that it will increase vocations. It is difficult to speculate on something that we don’t know the contents of [at the time of this interview], but if there really is a liberalization of the Mass and priests know that they can go ahead and offer it, then I think that it will be something that will be good for vocations. And we can be sure that fact is not lost upon the Holy Father.
There has been so much speculation about the document and I know very little about its contents myself. But one of the things I do know from talking to the Cardinal [Castrillón] is that it’s not meant to be just a sort of carrot in front of the nose of the Society of St. Pius X.
It is really intended to be something that is going to influence the life of priests, and through that, the life of the Church. A number of those who have seen the document have stressed the former motivation, but in all of my talks with the Commission Ecclesia Dei in the months of preparation rather this latter point has been stressed.
Q: Have you found any countries aside from the United States where the laity have the same hunger and thirst for holiness through the traditional sacraments and devotions?
A: Yes. I think there certainly is this hunger in other countries. There are a lot of families in France, which certainly is a country that has shown a great hunger, and in Bavaria, and other places where more Catholic traditions have been kept. We’re fortunate to have a seminary there where the people have continued to really try to maintain a Catholic life.
I would say one of the things that you see more in America than in other places—although I would be hard-pressed to give you any concrete numbers—is that it just seems to be more open to large families.
To compare the situation in Europe and America by numbers is still somewhat false because it is unimaginable for a lot of Europeans to travel more than 20 minutes for a Mass no matter what it is. Whereas, when I was in Sacramento, and in nearly every indult parish and place where I’ve been in the U.S., we had people who would travel 2 ½ hours one way every Sunday just because they thought it was so important for their families. There is a willingness to travel and to sacrifice for the education of their children that is perhaps more typical in the U.S.
Q: Is it a mission of the FSSP, or of specific FSSP theologian priests, to attempt to show the “hermeneutic of continuity” with certain difficult passages of the Second Vatican Council in the light of Tradition? For instance, religious liberty, ecumenism, collegiality and inter-religious dialogue?
A: This is a mission that was given to the Fraternity from the protocol at its very foundation. I would say that it is carried out at two levels. Any Society that forms priests to go out and do work has to form them in accord with what they think those priests are going to face. For example, a missionary order is going to form its young men so they are ready to go out into that area of the world where they are going to be assigned.
In the Fraternity of St. Peter, our men know they are going to serve a particular group of the faithful within the diocese, and that there are particular types of objections that are going to be there. Certainly, some of these objections are going to be from people who have really spent a lot of time studying the documents of Vatican II. But often times, there are going to be cases where the documents haven’t been read, or sometimes, the presentation of what the text really is, or what it really says is only from a second-hand source with its own interpretation.
The problem with theological study today is not so much that it’s the study of the Second Vatican Council, but sometimes it is the mindset, which is a very modern attitude, that the only thing that is important is what happened in the last day or the last week.
If you look at the modern media, nobody remembers what the President did two weeks ago. In fact, politicians recognize this and make use of it. They simply wait things out.
The same thing has happened, I think to a degree, within theology. We forget that there is the extraordinary Magisterium, but also the ordinary Magisterium by which all things are measured.
There is a danger of forgetting the full span of the Magisterium and giving greater theological weight to what was is said at a Wednesday audience than to what has been stated dogmatically at a given Ecumenical Council simply because it took place more than 1,000 years ago.
The main thrust of theology that is presented at our seminary is to take all the documents of the Church and to put them into the perspective of the Magisterium, in its extraordinary statements and by the universal teaching of the Church as found in the ordinary Magisterium. With regard to the documents with passages that are unclear within the Second Vatican Council, there should be no cause for scandal. They simply need to be read in light of the full teaching Tradition of the Church. Of course, ultimately, these two cannot contradict. This is the work that needs to be done.
I think then [it is essential] to teach people to have a historical perspective. There is vocabulary used within the Council of Ephesus, for example, that is corrected or adjusted by the Council of Chalcedon regarding the hypostatic union, which needed to be put into its proper context. It shouldn’t be so surprising that there are at times teachings that need to be given a coherent interpretation by the Church as the years go by.
The second part of our efforts is to send more men for further studies. We now have one man from North America doing theology at the Dominican House of Studies (in D.C.). We constantly have one or two doing further studies—most of them are in dogmatic or moral theology. To a certain degree we do focus on it [Vatican II in light of Tradition] because we do want to be able to address the people we will serve and wish to give them a right understanding.
It’s mainly about looking at whatever the subject matter might be, whether it is the sacraments, or it’s the Trinity or it’s marriage, or whatever it might be, and to look at that truth with the full teaching and doctrine of the Church. That, I think, is really the only way we’ll ever come to a right vision of things—that is, to read them in the right way.
Q: What is your response to those criticisms of FSSP priests who sometimes concelebrate the Novus Ordo at the request of a bishop for his annual chrism Mass? Also, what is your response to those priests, bishops or laity who use this concelebration issue as a yardstick for orthodoxy or unity?
A: My first comment is that this subject demands much more than an interview response and I will only make a few comments even though this will leave plenty of room for further distinctions.
Within the Church and society today, the important thing to remember as far as harmony and unity within the Church go is that the primary source of unity is the Faith. As we know from our catechism, unity is founded upon the same Faith, the same sacraments and government, and one could add the bond of charity, of course.
I think that all too often, what ends up happening is that we can take shortcuts with regard to unity. This is something that can happen, for example, within ecumenical practices where two groups come together and pray somewhere together and think that is going to make unity present there.
In the end, it just ends up being an event, unless there are these deeper elements. If I am not mistaken, this idea was pointed out fairly recently by the Council for Christian Unity that such events must not overshadow the real fundamental work which must be done.
And the unity that is there within the diocese and the harmony between priests in the diocese within it is not founded upon, and never has been within the Church, the use of one specific rite. The way in which it is done is through the three elements listed above and the day-to-day interactions of the priests.
It is analogous to two people who are married. It is the day-to-day work; there is not simply one event or moment, such as bringing home flowers, which maintains that unity.
But you know the thing that needs to be worked on is really working continuously, side-by-side with the other priests of the diocese who are there. That is the thing I think is important—to show them the same Faith—the three elements of the unity of the Church, and the real enduring charity that is there for your fellow priests with whom you work, one that is genuine, not one that is just based upon one act.
Therefore, the decision that was made by the Holy See was to offer that option, this is an option given to every priest in the Catholic Church. There is no option as to being united with the local bishop and to striving to “be one,” but there is no obligation to pose this or that act, unless one were to count the Profession of Faith, which is confessed in certain cases and which underlines that the faith is the fundamental bond of unity.
The other thing is to stick with the historical fact that the sign of unity within the Church is to receive Holy Communion from the bishop. This is the historical sign of unity; otherwise one would have to argue that the Latin Church lacked something essential for over 1,000 years.
Q: Prior to Vatican II, have Eastern-rite Catholic priests historically concelebrated with Latin-rite priests?
A: In the past, Eastern-rite priests would never have concelebrated in the Latin rite. They would have attended, but not concelebrated. Even the Masses at St. Peter’s were most often done with the Holy Father in attendance.
In Europe, the Fraternity recently had a sort of reunion on our patronal feast day, June 29 in Wigratzbad, in which over 70 Fraternity priests attended. We had a totally liturgically united Mass. In fact, the seminarians will be included, but only the priests will serve the Mass. The acolytes were priests. I sang in the schola.
It could be said that this is a sort of hierarchical “concelebration” that also occurs at each Solemn Mass with the deacon, subdeacon and acolytes serving the priest. In no way did the priests feel that they were being excluded from the celebration that was taking place. Of course, they were each able to celebrate their own private Mass at the beginning of the day.
Not one of them would want to miss out offering these Masses not only for the sacrifice offered for the Church at each, but also because of the intimacy which the rite underlines so well between Christ and the priest as he leans over the altar just a few inches from the host and chalice and utters the words of consecration.
Q: After one year as the General Superior for the FSSP, what do you see as your greatest challenge personally and for the FSSP?
A: My primary job is the sanctification of our priests. The same challenges are always there. We live in the modern world with its own particularities and its own dangers. Also, I need to make sure our priests are placed in such a manner and location that will be best for their sanctification and to grow as priests rather than simply expanding because there is such a great need in places.
We also continue to try to perfect the formation given in seminary. We are staffing two seminaries, which is very demanding. This next year, we expect to finally break ground on the chapel at the seminary out in Denton, Nebraska. This is another challenge, although only a material one.
A secondary challenge, with the document due any day, will be to present our own experience of 19 years: that it is by being generous and giving a stable parish-like life that will best integrate the faithful who desire the Traditional Mass into the life of the diocese.
Q: What effect do you think the motu proprio freeing the Traditional Roman rite will have on the traditionalist movement and on the Church overall?
A: One of the challenges is for us to look at it squarely in the eye and say, “What will best serve the Church”
The Fraternity was founded at the beginning by men who thought that there was a huge value in the traditional seminary formation. That was the reason they had gone to Ecône (Switzerland) in the first place.
The second thing that they saw was that the Traditional Latin Mass was something that would really contribute and was extremely important for the good, the health and life of the Church. One of the goals of our founders was that the Traditional Latin Mass would always be able to have an accepted place, not just as an exception, within the Church. If this comes about because of the motu proprio, then a great deal has already been done.
I have already spoken to some American bishops who have had a variety of different requests for the Fraternity to come and set up a parish-like life, or to do training classes within the dioceses themselves to train priests where they think they’ll have quite a few priests interested in learning it.
We’ve even been asked to contribute some articles in the diocesan newspapers so the lay faithful will have a better understanding of the Traditional Mass and not be scandalized by the existence of two different calendars, by the fact that the rite is different, and other things like that. We’ve been asked to give an overall catechesis and education not only just to priests, but in more popular writing so that the Catholic who has never had any exposure to it, nor has seen it can understand why the Holy Father has chosen to do this, and how and why it is a good thing for the life of the Church.
I think it will be interesting to see what the demand is with the different dioceses. There will be a number of things along those lines [previously delineated] that we’ll be asked to do, and we need to be prepared to do them.
The final thing is that the training for priests we just began at the seminary for other priests [in conjunction with Una Voce America] was a real success. I just got through talking to Father Goodwin who ran it, and he said they were very, very pleased with it, and that the overall atmosphere was positive. There have been a couple of letters written by priests who attended which attest to this, and we have been encouraged to provide more sessions.
One of our concerns of course, like many others, is that when the Traditional Latin Mass is done, that it is done really well, and that the priest who offers it can truly profit through it spiritually. That was part of the idea of offering this training session.
It was not supposed to be a class on just the rubrics, but to teach the priest who is interested how to really pray it in all its different forms—for the Solemn Mass too. It would be a great shame if what is produced as a result is just the bare minimum here and there and not the rite in all its beauty and splendor.
More than one bishop has told me that he will be happy to have his priests offer it, but will make sure they are tested beforehand to be sure that it will be done right. This seems to be important.
For the Fraternity, it has never been about guarding the territory and getting whatever we can. But it has been really about saying, “What will be the best situation for the Latin Mass to really profit in this area?”
There are some dioceses, for example, where at the request of the bishop, we began serving a community there for one Sunday or a couple Sundays a month. Eventually, we told the bishop that we had found a priest of the diocese willing to offer it regularly there and that we would train that priest and then he could say it, and this would provide more for the lay faithful. We are more than willing to do that as we’re requested.
But with the shortage of priests in most dioceses and the fact that the document will include all the sacraments, it is likely that we will be asked to serve in a fuller sense in many places.
Q: How many priests were registered to attend your training sessions for diocesan priests in the Traditional rite? Does the FSSP have more training sessions planned?
A: There were three sessions for priests this Spring. Each one was set for only 15 priests as we wanted to have no more than a one-to-three ratio for learning the rite. I know at one point all three sessions were filled, but I am not sure of the actual total that attended.
We’re hoping to do this again in the Fall. I do not know that the date has been set yet. Any priest could contact Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary or the North American District in Scranton to know more details. The experience has also encouraged us to produce a video which should aid those who wish to learn the different forms of the Mass. This has been greatly supported by Bishop Bruskewitz.
years, we have periodically taught priests how to offer the
Traditional Mass. One of the great things about having a seminary in
the United States is that it is always open to priests who want to
learn the Mass and they are always free to set up an appointment and
come and stay with us. Sometimes, it is even more beneficial because
it is more one-on-one.
Editor, The Remnant: Excellent interview. Very glad to know that such a reasonable and articulate young man is, by the grace of God, at the helm of the Fraternity of St. Peter.
San Diego, CA
Editor, The Remnant: I am a member of the SSPX Chapel in Post Falls where you spoke recently, I read the interview with FSSP's new superior general, Fr. John Berg. I have to wonder, though, why you were not more pointed with him on some of what I consider, anyway, to be some major issues:
1) Why no real questions about the oath or pledge which FSSP priests must make regarding the validity of V2 and the acceptance of all the documents which came out of it?
2) I was a bit disappointed that you did not steer him to explain more explicitly what concelebration obligations are placed upon the priests of the Fraternity.
3) I was also a bit disappointed that you did not question him more in depth about SSPX. Since Cardinal Hoyos has stated on at least two occasions that the Society is not in "schism," shouldn't these Hoyos remarks have been taken up with Fr. Berg, at least in passing?
Editor, The Remnant: Since the Motu Proprio has now been issued, I would like to suggest a follow-up interview to see if there will be any changes in the FSSP because of it, e.g., more parishes staffed, public contacts with the SSPX to work out a mutually beneficial program etc.
Editor, The Remnant: I attend Mass with the SSPX at St. Thomas More, Sanford, Florida. I think this interview reveals what Archbishop Lefebvre and the SSPX have stated all along and that is that the FSSP doesn't seem to realize the gravity of the errors of Vatican II and the Novus Ordo (New Mass). I have also read that modernism is being taught in the FSSP seminaries and I ask that in future interviews that this question be asked as if this is true then the FSSP seminaries are NOT completely traditional. It is NOT just the Mass BUT the entire Catholic faith that has been changed and this is what the SSPX is so concerned about and it is what every Catholic needs to know to save their soul. I strongly suggest Catholics read the "Open Letter to Confused Catholics" by Archbishop Lefebvre for more information. Thank you for doing this interview and I hope you do more with the FSSP in the future.
In Jesus &
Editor, The Remnant: The interview elicits a sense of the unknown, with a tinge of anticipated excitement. Maybe satan is beginning to wag his tail nervously more than ever. I can see the Blessed Mother shaking her finger, and speaking with tones of warning. The devil may have entered the gates of the Vatican in '65, but only for a time. After all, St. Athanasius and his martyrs struggled mightily with Arius and his ilk for centuries. The Church rights itself with the help of the Saints in Heaven-St. Thomas, St. Peter Damian, St. Pius X-Pray For Us!
Editor, The Remnant: Excellent interview with Father John Berg! St. Stephen, the 1st Martyr parish in
Editor, The Remnant: The FSSP has brought the sacred Mass of St. Pius V to many priests and to thousands of the faithful, and is to be complimented for doing so. But, by their silence in the face of Ecumenism, Religious Liberty and Collegiality, they have conceded the validity of the outrageous novelties rampant in today's Church, novelties that have not only confused the faithful, but have left in their wake indifferentism, a homosexual priesthood, and a contempt for all things taught by the Church prior to the elevation of John XXIII. The FSSP, therefore, bears a measure of culpability for these novelties foisted upon us by Modern Rome. I think that future interviews with the Very Reverend John Berg would be a waste of time unless the silence of the FSSP in the face of these novelties, dare I say heresies, is seriously addressed.
Editor, The Remnant: I can see that a serious obstacle in taking advantage of this wonderful motu proprio is that many of us don't know how to find out which priests would be willing to offer private masses if asked, and most priests don't know which faithful might want to attend their private masses. It might be useful to have an internet site where such a list could be posted, at least initially. Would the FSSP be in a situation to offer such a service? Perhaps the bishops wouldn't object so much to it coming from FSSP. As one who has often traveled long distances and across dioceses on Sundays, I would certainly appreciate help in knowing closer mass locations.
Editor, The Remnant: attend the FSSP mass in Oklahoma City and after reading this interview with Fr. John Berg, I was concerned with the thought of concelebration of a Novus Ordo by a FSSP. I attended a Novus Ordo mass for almost thirty years and I don’t see, for many reasons, how a traditional priest can step in and celebrate a Novus Ordo mass and not trample on many of the truths that he has been taught as a traditional priest. Here are a few examples: Novus Ordo priests: 1) maul the host with all their fingers after it has been consecrated; 2) face the people instead of the Tabernacle (if the Tabernacle is actually placed in the center of the altar) for the entire mass; 3) leave out half of the prayers that is said in a Traditional Mass or say prayers whose meaning have been completely altered; 4) distribute communion to women who do not have their head covered or dressed very immodestly and most of all people do not kneel or receive communion on the tongue. So with all this being pointed out, I do not see how you can even compare these two masses and put them on the same playing field.
The Novus Ordo mass as it is celebrated today is full of sacrileges, irreverence and even the basic gist of the whole mass is to put the people’s comfort and feelings before God. Even with the motu proprio, I see the lines between the two masses becoming blurred and the Catholic people becoming even more confused about which is the best mass because there is no way to truly cross over from the novus ordo mass to the Traditional mass without there being an enlightenment about the fact that there is ACTUALLY such things as sacrileges, consecrated thumb and fingers of the priest, mortal sins, and the fact you can’t receive communion out of the state of grace. I could go on and on, but living most of my life as a novus ordo catholic, I can attest that most of the faithful don’t know a fraction of their faith or even less about the grandeur of their Catholic Church. If in the future it does become a reality that novus ordo Catholics are attempting to come to a Latin mass, I believe that is the responsibility of the priests to make sure that the basics of Catholic faith and morality be included in every sermon and that there be no laxity towards dress codes, modesty and letting the faithful know that communion must be received in the state of grace. I hope and pray there will be no concessions by Traditional priests to water down the guidelines or make people feel that the two masses are equal, just to make the novus ordo people feel more welcome. Even with the motu proprio, we will have to be even more careful about having to preserve our traditional, wholesome faith.
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