A Young Priest Sets the Record Straight for the Catholic Left


This past week Sulpician Fr. Phillip J. Brown, rector of the Theological College, the national diocesan seminary of the Catholic University of America, thought it a good idea to grant an interview to the dissident media outlet the National Catholic Reporter. The topic? Is there a “Francis effect” noticeable to Fr. Brown among the current crop of seminarians, and if so, what does it look like?

In the article, Fr. Brown and the NCR present the all too common false narrative of the Catholic Left: namely, that those already ordained to the priesthood in recent years are not really interested in works of mercy and pastoral care, but rather only about traditionalism, and matters such as wearing the cassock and Communion on the tongue.

The following response is courtesy of Father Kyle Doustou, a priest of the Diocese of Portland, Maine. It is presented here with his permission.

A Young Priest Sets the Record Straight for the Catholic Left

The National Catholic Reporter article, written from an interview given by the out-going Rector of my former seminary, is very hurtful. The men who were formed in and ordained from Theological College over the past 10 years are some of the best and most pastoral men and priests that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Inventing a false dichotomy between a love for the Church’s traditions and a love for the people of God is a manipulative, ideological tool used to push forth one’s personal agenda.

I have known Father Brown for many years, and have a great deal of respect and admiration for him personally, but this public interview he gave with an openly dissenting “Catholic” publication warrants an alumnus response.

As one of the many cassock-wearing, Communion-on-the-tongue-receiving, Latin-loving, Extraordinary-Form-Mass-saying young priests that have passed through the halls of Theological College, allow me to say plainly to anyone who would agree with the tone and sentiment of this article that you have deliberately and painfully pigeon-holed men who love the Church and cast us to be pompous little monsters simply because we have a different theological/liturgical outlook than you.

You condescend towards us as if we were not thinking, opining, and sincere men.

You gossip about us, ensuring that we are “put in our places” and “taught a thing or two” by your confreres.

You confuse our strong convictions with arrogance and accuse us of being staunch when we are trying more than anything else to be faithful, helpful, and loving.

But let’s be quite honest…you don’t really know us because you never took the time to get to know us. You saw us when we were in the seminary chapel or over breakfast…but that’s about it.

Have you seen us at 2:00 AM in the hospital?

Have you seen us working late into the night on a funeral homily?

Have you seen us giving up our one day off a week to visit with a lonely elderly parishioner?

Have you seen us on our knees at night before the tabernacle weeping because we just buried a child earlier that day?

Have you seen us celebrate four Masses on a weekend, hear hours of confessions, and still show up to Sunday evening Youth Ministry?

Have you seen us wear the same pair of socks two days in a row because we simply ran out of time to do laundry?

Have you seen us muster a smile even when we’re exhausted, or miss Christmas with our families because we’re assigned 300 miles away, or forget to eat dinner because there’s another meeting to go to?

The answer is no. What you see are the cassocks and birettas and fiddleback chasubles and accuse us of being “out of touch.” Well the reality is, you are guilty of the very thing you accuse us of. You ignore our humanity, our struggle, our sincerity, and you fixate on external things to make your judgments.

As difficult as it is at times, I love being a priest with my whole heart. Not because it offers me an exalted status or any privileges, but because it offers me, and the people I serve, the means by which to attain salvation. I love the people I serve to death, and I would do anything within my means to help them. If you look at my cassock and presume otherwise, I can only feel sorry for you.

Myself and the other men who were indirectly insulted in this interview are the ones on the battlefield. As parish priests, we work hard, sacrifice hard, and try daily to live solely for God in Jesus Christ. Instead of insinuating that Theological College had to somehow put up with a decade or more of rigid, overly-conservative, and ideological seminarians, why not offer us a word of encouragement and perhaps even a prayer or two?

(Photo Credit: CC Watershed)

Posted on May 14, 2016, in holiness, liturgy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 245 Comments.

  1. Bravo Fr. Doustou! Well done. And God bless you for your fidelity to the priestly ministry, we need many more good men like you in the priesthood.

  2. Albert Hodges

    God bless you, Father Doustou!

  3. Andrew Bissinger

    Well said Fr. I am a convert and was welcomed in the church during the changes. Quite frankly ,I miss some of the “old stuff” parishioners complain of. I am very involved in parish life and minister to 75 elderly in a nursing home and make home visits so my pastor can tend to other matters. I hope and pray for the folks who have so much negitive to say, when they have no idea what they are spewing.

  4. God bless you, this generation of priests is the saving grace of the Church, both liturgically and pastorally.

  5. We do also get he other side of this too. I can’t tell you how tired I am of being told that because I attend a Mass in the vernacular I, and the people who attend, and the holy priests who celebrate, are lacking in reverence.

    • Tamsin, I agree with you and while I don’t doubt that priests who consider themselves more “traditional/conservative” are dedicated to service and ministry of others giving many hours of their time, it’s the general condescending tone toward our Holy Father, priests, media outlets and the rest of us Catholic faithful who are seen as “liberal” that dishearten me. I personally enjoy some of the Latin included in our liturgies or Adoration, but I also have loyalty to the Pope who I feel is a wonderful Shepherd of the Church. When in my 20’s I used to be active in a faith community that met after the Tuesday evening Novena was over to discuss faith matters further. It is a pretty “conservative” parish, but fidelity to the Holy Father stressed. I pray there can be more unity than divisiveness in our Catholic Faith.

    • Many of them are lacking in reverence. It is unfortunate. Not all though, just want to make that clear. Those Masses I’ve attended in the ordinary form (that is vernacular) have been very reverent. But those are the ones who also normally do a Traditional Latin Mass at another time that Sunday. There are many parishes that are very liberal and do lack reverence in the Mass. It’s a total shame. And there are many people who truly believe the Masses they attend are reverent when indeed they are not. I believe the reason they do not know is because they’ve never really seen a reverent Mass before. I know some converts who only attend the Latin Mass. I also know other converts who have never attended a Latin Mass. I ask them, “how was the Mass” at a parish I know is very liberal and they say, “I love it” without knowing that an irreverent Mass is not something to love. It’s truly sad.

      • What’s bewildering to me is that the texts (scripts) that these priests (performers) get, have the capability to touch the hearts, minds and souls of people. They are ‘way beyond fiction. Yet some guys read them as though they are counting out denominations of money bills.

    • Hey, it’s the other way ’round. The damned Romans who tortured and killed The Best Man Whoever lived (Jesus, God Almighty) spoke Latin. Why, for God’s sake, would we use the language of the hated oppressors of Jesus and His followers?

  6. The Church (both Roman and Orthodox) has Tradition (as opposed to tradition) because that is what the Apostles handed down. Changing that changes the Church.

    One does not go to a hospital and expect it to make one feel all warm and cuddly, one goes to be healed, and that often involves pain and discomfort.

    The Church is the hospital for our terribly ill souls. The medicine should not be diluted, the therapy not lessened because they make us uncomfortable.

  7. I read the article the priest is referring to. Honestly, there is not much to take offense at. This defense overreaction speaks volumes.

    • Frankly, your smug dismissal of Fr. Doustou’s observations strikes me as speaking precisely this: we won, so shut up. And yes, I read the NCR piece and found it as offensive as did Fr. Doustou.

      • I’m one of you, Bob. I’m not sure I know the “we” you are referring to.

      • Well said, Bob Harper!! Brian, apparently, believes that if one is unfairly portrayed, defense of oneself is automatic guilt. This is ludicrous! Imagine an innocent man being charged with thievery and being told his vehement denial is proof of guilt!! You sound awfully judgmental, Brian. Be careful not to deny it strongly because then I could say that you are therefore guilty of what you deny.

      • Joni, there is a difference between a reaction and an overreaction. In my opinion, this article is an overreaction to what was originally written.

      • I think it speaks volumes about how Brian is being treated for voice simple disagreement. He speaks calmly, as it were, and is told by you both, how much he seems to hate the Church.

  8. Thank you for The Meal-and all the other kindnesses you offer in the Name of Jesus, Sacramental and Secular.

  9. Fr. Lawrence Goodwin, CJM

    Maybe Fr. Brown has not seen you doing all of these things because he was himself doing many of the same things that you mentioned.
    It seems to me that sometimes people who are interested in the “Extraordinary” form of the Mass with all of the things that often come together with this Mass (vestments, a very high ecclesiology, concern for moral purity often defined narrowly through sexual morality) end up causing division rather than unity. There are good theological reasons why the Church did what it did at the 2nd Vatican Ecumenical Council. Being passionate about extraordinary vestments and making it a hill upon which to die very often leads to divisiveness. All these things are called extraordinary because they are not ordinary. The Person of mercy is the beauty of the Church. Not admittedly beautiful but temporal vestments that call attention to the person of the priest.
    I think the point is that we as the body of Christ should not let vestments be the hill upon which we die. For the sake of clairity and unity let go of being passionate over using extraordinary vestments and join the “ordinary” Church and be a myrter for mercy.

    • And what exactly is an extraordinary vestment? For that matter, what’s an ordinary vestment? I’ve seen priests wear ugly and attractive chasubles; gothics, neo-gothics, conical, and Roman (fiddleback), etc – are any of these ordinary? I consider division to be sourced from those who fixate on whether a priest wears a cassock or ornate chasuble and then uses this fact to accuse him of loving people too little and things too much. Both his work and prayer should be beautiful.

    • Vatican II did NOT call for the change in the liturgy, the removal of altar rails, the jettisoning of chant in favor of the “four hymn sandwich”, for the priest to face the people, or for any of the other liturgical innovations that moved us from worship of God to focus on humanity. None of that had any theological basis formed out of the documents that were approved by the council. The laity have suffered enough wandering in the desert of bad catechisms, loopy liturgy abuses, and weak homilies that do nothing to help form consciences in line with God’s revelation to us. As for calling attention to the person of the priest, that has never been nor should it be the point of Holy Mass. He offers with and on behalf of the community he’s serving, and if he’s the focus, then something has gone very wrong.

      Besides, this dispute isn’t really about “vestments”. It’s about Catholics who realize that somewhere after the second Vatican council a hermeneutic of rupture was foisted on us. Since both Popes St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI have explicitly stated such and called for a reform of those so-called reforms that did damage to the Church, especially in the West, it’s time to toss the whole “spirit of Vatican II” bilge and recognize that what vestments are preferred is the least of our problems.

      I do realize that some who prefer the older liturgy and devotions are harsh and divisive, but many, many more are not. They’re just tired of being treated as marginal by a Church that has many rites and is supposedly welcoming.

      • Fr. Lawrence Goodwin, CJM

        Extraordinary vestments are the vestments worn at a celebration of the extraordinary Mass.
        It is true, V2 did not call for all of the changes we have today. But it did not exclude them. Here we are with what we have, which is good and holy. The point I am trying to make is let’s be one Church. Leave the extraordinary behind and be unified around the gospel and not let vestments and liturgy divide us. Join the ordinary Church.

      • Father, with all due respect, what are you talking about? “Leave the extraordinary behind…”? On the contrary, we should seek the extraordinary, the sacred, etc.

        Please don’t assert rupture where we should see continuity. The Second Vatican Council was one of 22 ecumenical councils in the Church’s 2,000 year history. Orthodox, traditional, charitable, and humble young priests like Fr. Kyle Doustou understand this very clearly and have so often been given grief by their brother priests, seminary rectors, or even bishops at times for simply seeking this continuity and restoring a sense of the sacred. And to Fr. Kyle’s point, it has not stopped them from being the caring and humble pastor their flock wants and needs.

        Let’s STOP with the false dichotomy and the dismissal of the extraordinary.

      • Justin Goddard

        “Extraordinary vestments are the vestments worn at a celebration of the extraordinary Mass.” So the same vestments worn at a celebration of the Ordinary Form become ordinary. How strange. The extraordinary form is good and holy. To say otherwise would be contrary to the Chruch’s teaching. “Join the ordinary Church.” It sounds as though someone is seeking division and schism. Why?

      • Doyle Baxter

        In an around this comment, there seems to be great confusion about what the term “extraordinary” means and it is being applied it to things inaccurately. In church law, there are two kinds of jurisdiction, ordinary and extraordinary. The word extraordinary has a sense that is far closer to its Latin origin: beyond ordinary. Not above or higher than, but beyond. In the church, extraordinary things are always exceptions to the ordinary rules. For example, a priest, an ordinary minister of holy communion should distribute communion. In the Novus Ordo, if need requires, he can call upon the help of extraordinary ministers of holy communion. They are ministers who are not ‘normal,’ not the ordinary person for the job, but someone who can do the job in light of changing circumstances. From this example, we get a far better understanding of the word extraordinary. It doesn’t at all indicate something that ought to be regarded with awe or terror (like the English connotation of the word betrays). So all of that being said, there is absolutely no such thing as extraordinary vestments. Frankly, there are beautiful and ugly vestments and that the long and the short of it.

      • Who doesn’t like Grand Opera? The Music is stunning, though only a select group can understand the languages and the bombastic gestures of the performers. The plots are ancient and arcane-as is the clothing and sets-though all the emotions are human. Who doesn’t like Broadway Musicals? The Music is memorable-“toe tapping”- and in the modern genre; just about everyone can understand what the performers are saying. The plots deal with all the human foibles and are in a contemporary idiom most of the time: clothing, setting, gestures, etc. IMO, more people learn about the “human condition” from the Broadway musicals than the Operas, which had their place. Using these two art forms, which I love, I can’t help forging an analogy to the two current Western forms of the Sacrifice of Jesus. Fortunately I know Latin and a few of the modern languages. I’m in hog heaven, liturgically. Yeah, I know, some comparisons limp.

    • I do not believe the rector is a parish priest. Therefore, he is not out ministering to people in the same way. He is a professor.

  10. Dennis Dixon

    Amen…. Thoughts and prayers are with you always. Thank you for your.”yes”!

    • Fr. Lawrence Goodwin,CJM

      Liturgy guy…I did not make up the term “Extraordinary.” This is anther name for the Tridentine Mass. When I say “leave the Extraordinary behind,” I am of course referring exclusively to the Extraordinary for of the Mass…the Tridetine Mass. We should always seek extraordinary examples of people living extraordinary evangelical lives.
      Again, all I am trying to say is that we do not do ourselves any favors by being a Church that has two forms of the Mass in the Latin rite.
      For the record I did not say that the extraordinary form is unholy or not good. I said that the ordinary form is good and holy. I believe both forms are good and holy. What I am saying that having two forms within one rite is confusing and somewhat divisive.
      In an effort to be unified let’s come together and celebrate in the Roman rite the out of the Roman Missal.
      Not only is V2 an orthodox, charitable and traditional movement of the Holy Spirit it expresses orthopraxy. I also agree, V2 was not a rupture in orthopraxy it is an expression of continuity.
      Where the rupture may be seen perhaps is in the way some of the faithful have continued to refuse to celebrate In the Roman Missal…or the “ordinary” form.

      • Fr. Goodwin, you espouse the divisive and (I believe) toxic views that are being challenged by this very guest post. You say, “we do not do ourselves any favors by being a Church that has two forms of the Mass in the Latin Rite.” I hope you realize that this very opinion you hold was opposed by both St. John Paul and Pope Benedict, and is opposed by Pope Francis. Your opinion, when expressed by rectors and superiors in seminaries, is toxic to our young, orthodox and tradition loving seminarians.

        In all humility you may wish to revisit the very history of the Roman Rite (read Dom Alcuin Reid, Fr. Fortescue, or Michael Davis) and please take to heart (and to prayer) the words of our pope emeritus:

        “There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal.  In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture.  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.  It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.”

      • Why not ditch the ugly V2 mass and just have one mass… that of the 1962 missal?

      • I like your comment Fr. Lawrence.

        My mother did not practice any organized religion, and I did not get to go to church.
        When I was a young girl, I visited this neighborhood church out of curiosity.

        This man in strange dress showing his back to us chanted a strange spell and soon brought out a spooky smoking lamp and I couldn’t breathe. I was completely spooked and decided never to go back there.
        Years later I married a Catholic man and converted to Catholic. Luckily, by then they celebrated mass in English.

        You know especially during mass, the church is filled with multitude of angels, Holy Mary Mother of God, all the saints? We are sacrificing Christ on the altar and that is the time the veil that separates heaven from earth is removed, so it is the mass of heaven is going on. Do you really think a mere human language makes any difference? Using Latin during the celebration of mass, separates congregation from fully participate in spirit because their heart can’t move not understanding what priest says.
        It is the vanity of clergies who insist Latin Mass. In orient it is called a spiritual materialism.

      • Not vanity. It is the language of the Latin Rite. It wasn’t vanity to offer the Holy Mass in Latin in the 4th century, or the 8th century, or the 12th century, or the 16th century, or the 19th century, or now here in the 21st century. Religions often have liturgical languages. I have several blog posts related to this very topic. Would you like me to provide you the names so that you can research this further?

  11. Normally, c 7% of a priest’s weekly time (168 hours) is spent in the Sacral Sphere, where only the ordained are permitted to function. The rest of the time (93%) he’s doing other things-teaching, chancery duties, counseling (outside of the confessional), raising money, organizing activities, newspaper, etc-that are secular, and which can be done by the non-ordained. Those of us who are involved with similar mundane tasks, for the most part, have families to which we retire, and do not begrudge the clergy their passion for sacerdotal accessories-vestments, liturgical hardware, incense, and the choreography of the Coming and Going of the Holy Sacrifice.

    • Fr. Lawrence Goodwin, CJM

      Liturgy Guy, all three of the last popes do support the use of the extraordinary form, as do I. The priest who wrote article that we are discussing is the one who pointed out the divisions. All I am saying is that it is unfortunate that we, who celebrate the Roman rite can’t celebrate using the same Roman Missal of 2011. Personally, I don’t like many of the translations of this new missal. I like the old Missal. But I would never consider using the old missal. My point has been in all of this, the fact that we have some people who refuse to use the Roman Missal of 2011, us an unfortunate distraction. I think we would do ourselves a favor, those of use who celebrate in the Roman rite to all use the same missal. Let’s all get on board and use the Roman Missal of 2011.

  12. My point is that there is no such thing as extraordinary vestments, and there is no such thing as extraordinary Mass. There is the Ordinary FORM (Novus Ordo) and the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Ritual, and both are valid; and the EF may be celebrated at any time without prohibition by a bishop (motu proprio Summorum Pontificum). Any style vestments may be worn celebrating either form. Are there ordinary vs. extraordinary amices, albs, and cinctures? Obviously not.
    You have invited people to join the “ordinary Church”. No thank you. This appears to be your construct of what you think the Church is. Instead, I desire to be a member of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church – and she breaths with both lungs, and thus permits both the ordinary and extraordinary. Sameness does not equal unity – instead, the ability to embrace the diversity you reject is what makes Mother Church truly Catholic.

    • Fr. Lawrence Goodwin, CJM

      Matthew, your idea of “breathing out of both lungs” is a quote of JP2 which refers to Eastern and Western rites of the Catholic Church; not so much about the extraordinary and ordinary forms. The reason the Church has allowed the continued use of the Tridentine rite is because some of the faithful after V2 had some trouble accepting the changes. It was and continues to be a pastoral effort on the part of Rome to keep everyone in the fold.
      This of course begs the question of whether the Church intends to keep giving the dispensation perpetually to celebrate the Tridentine rite even as the Roman Missal is updated as it just was in 2011.
      Rome fought long and hard to standardize the Missal in the 1400’s (or 1500’s?). The French had a Missal as did the Germans and another of other city states at the time. The study of liturgy from this time is facinating. There is great value in having a standardized Missal in the vernacular.

      • The Church breathing with both lungs is applicable to many areas where Mother Church permits a plurality of practices (devotions, rites, vernacular languages, etc. etc.) for the benefit of various customs or traditions. Also, the Roman Missal wasn’t changed or “updated”, it was simply translated from Latin to English to reflect formal equivalence of the sacred language rather than dynamic equivalence. Also, the TLM is not a rite, it is a form. But my insistence on accuracy aside, I’m not afraid of diversity in the Church – my experience is that those who seek to suppress valid and permissible practices either have an agenda or suffer clericalism.

      • “There is great value in having a standardized Missal in the vernacular.”

        That is the view espoused by and forwarded by none other than Martin Luther. Prior to the coming out party of the Consilium in 1948, there was never any real serious talk about moving toward a vernacular liturgical experience.

        The Church has always taught and always expected that the Mass (Ordinary Form) would be celebrated in Latin. It wasn’t until the abuses and misinterpretation of the Conciliar documents which allowed for the indult of the vernacular to become the normative action.

        If you’re intellectually honest about all of this Father, and not simply forwarding an agenda of “vernacular above all else” you’d understand that the use of Latin is not, nor has it ever been divisive, but unifying. If I as an American assist at an OF Mass in Uganda today, I would have no idea what was being said. The same would apply if I were in China, or France, or Germany, or Sweden. However, prior to the Council, let’s say 1963….I would know exactly what was going on and what was being said, because the Mass would have been in one, universal language that I could recognize. I would have a hand missal (perhaps, although I don’t use one today when I assist at the EF, because believe it or not, I understand Latin) where I could access the readings, proper and ordinary.

        It is wholly and completely disingenuous to think that for one second the Mass is better off in the vernacular. Babel was a punishment, why are we punishing the faithful by creating a neo-babel with the liturgical action?

      • Latin: the mortar between the brickwork of Mother Church.

      • I prefer the inspired languages: Hebrew and Greek. Latin-the language of the hateful murderers of Jesus-was the vernacular and unifying tongue at the time the Church’s cowardly governors, fearful-IMO-for their survival, saw fit to join the Roman Empire with all its pomposity, royalty, ritual, and political intrigue, which has lasted until now. I do not believe that what has occurred since then has been the positive will of the Blessed Trinity. I do believe that whatever form of governance, or cultural ingredients are present, the Body of Jesus, God Almighty-on earth-will survive, and nothing will prevail against it. Stumbling pitifully at times, but present.

    • Franklin,

      “I do not believe that what has occurred since then has been the positive will of the Blessed Trinity….”

      It’s a good thing then that we don’t accept the beliefs of one human person as inspired truth, unless it is deemed to be so by the Church, herself.

      • IMO, what has happened in the Church since Jesus, God Almighty ascended, is more the result of the use/misuse of human free will and The Holy Trinity’s permissive will. There has been mountains of speculation as to why The Holy Trinity has permitted-and permits-the tremendous variations of evil in the world.

  13. Humbling and encouraging. Our lovely parish is growing for a reason-THIS exact heart and commitment. You see, the priest who embraces fully the reasoned and tried traditions while living fully in the power and truth of the Holy Spirit is the wonderfully blessed, fully-realized leader the Church exists to produce and in turn build up the Body of Christ. We are to build a strong Church on a Rock “precept upon precept and line upon line”, but then to a progressive and arrogant lberal-dogma ascribing to Catholic that old Bible exhortation is probably outdated and not at all contemporary and therefore must be dismissed.

    • Fr. Lawrence Goodwin, CJM

      Matthew, ok, if you prefer using that terminology, that’s fine with me. I suspect you are getting at the point that the Mass is not updatable. I’m down with that. However it is only in the Roman rite where there are used two missals.
      On this feast of Pentecost, it is fitting that we should be discussing a point of unity. I have a question for you, as you consider the fact that the subtitle of the article we are discussing, “a new priest puts the Catholic left on notice…” how did it come to be that we have use two missals in the one Roman rite?

      • Fr. Lawrence Goodwin, CJM

        There are two things that I have never been been accused of…clericalism and repressing legitimate expressions of faith. :o).
        I have tried not to confuse the terms rite and forms. Sorry if I confused you.
        Again I ask, what were the events that led up to Rome giving the bishops the right to give dispensations in their respective dioceses to use the Tridintine Missal?

      • First I want you to explain extraordinary vestments and why these mysterious things should be abrogated.

      • Fr. Lawrence Goodwin, CJM

        Matthew, my question is what we’re the events that led us to the point were we use two missals in one rite. By that I mean the Roman rite is the only rite that uses two “Masses.” The Tridintine Missal and the Roman Missal. How did we get place?

      • Fr. Lawrence Goodwin

        I hate spell check.

      • Doyle Baxter

        Good day Father,

        I wanted to respond to something you said in the replies to this comment. You say, “Matthew, my question is what we’re the events that led us to the point were we use two missals in one rite. By that I mean the Roman rite is the only rite that uses two “Masses.” The Tridentine Missal and the Roman Missal. How did we get place?”

        This is not a question of Missal, really. There is only one Missal–the Roman Missal. It just has various editions (1952, 1962, 2011) that are currently allowed to be used. Nor it is it a question of rite. All of the editions of the Roman Missal are very obviously all the Roman Rite. Rather, the question you raise is a question of ‘form.’

        So I think a better way to ask your question is this: “What are the historical circumstances that have led to there being multiple forms of the mass of the Roman Rite?” But we would wrong to just ask about ‘forms,’ for indeed there exists also the Anglican Use of the Roman Rite and the Roman Rite According the Mode of the Congo. So what seems to be happening is a diffusion of the Roman Rite into various Uses, Forms, and Modes. What are the historical circumstances that lead to this phenomenon?

        Before the Council of Trent, the Roman Rite was just one amongst perhaps 30 to 40 Western Rites. In a way that foreshadows the liturgical reforms of the 20th century, the 16th century church ‘invented’ a rite (that is historically derived from the Roman and Gallican Rites) and imposed it universally upon the Western Church–effectively transforming the Western Church into the Roman Church (in terms of liturgical rite only; from a jurisdictional perspective the Western Church had been the Roman Church since the 11th or 12th century). Some of the rites were able to be retained if they could prove 200 hundred years of antiquity and then they could only be celebrated in very specific geographic locations.

        I think that both the Council of Trent and the II Vatican Council were wrong to impose an artificially contrived rite universally upon the Western Church. That being said, there were very good reasons for doing so. Trent wanted a uniform mass everywhere in Europe in order to draw a clear distinction between Protestant services (or in some obscure cases, masses) and the Catholic mass. This is a noble goal, but I think the natural growth and development of liturgy suffers as a result. Similar things can be said of the II Vatican Council, though the artificial nature of the liturgical changes is much more evident. Trent took two rites (the two most populous which incidentally ‘looked’ very similar), mixed them together, and imposed them upon the Church universally. The II Vatican Council took that rite and cut out all but the most essential parts (this is most clearly demonstrated by comparing the offertory prayers of the 1962 and 2011 editions of the Missal) and then universally imposed that upon the Church. Both councils had VERY good reasons for doing the things they did, but that does not mean that we cannot assign ‘blame’ for making a fault and stunting the usual and natural evolution of liturgy.

        So to return to your question (as reformulated above), “What are the historical circumstances that have led to there being multiple forms, uses, and modes of the Roman Rite?” The answer is simple. We are (and have been) trying to impose one, universal rite upon the Church and the Church is Herself resisting this imposition. The faith of the church is universal, but her rites are not. They are incredibly particular. The rites stem from the cultures and societies that create them and the rites themselves become ways of expressing the individuality of a society within the broad diversity of the Church. Thus, rather than lamenting the fact that the Roman Rite is fracturing into various modes, uses, and forms, we should look with awe upon the natural evolution of liturgy. It is happening before our very eyes.

        Further, we should not even be perturbed if there were various missals floating around within the same rite. In the Eastern Churches, for example, they have the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (used for ‘everyday’ liturgies) and the Divine Liturgy of St. James (used for more solemn feasts), but this is only tangentially related to the above discussion.

        I look forward to hearing your take on my historical approach to the rites of the Church.

        In Christ,
        Doyle M. B. Baxter

      • As long as the basics-reverent Bible readings; inspiring talk by minister; THE MEAL-remain, the busied activities of the Martinets of Mass Manners, with their wardrobes, rituals (scripts and choreographies) may proceed. They don’t bother me none. TV and the Internet keep me informed about what’s happening in the Church-local and otherwise. Usually, when people get their fill of one form of presentation, they get in the wind and move on to something different (another Roman Catholic parish).

  14. Rocco Scarfone

    GOD bless you Father

  15. Margaret Cronin

    Please be sure we are all speaking in the name of God not man. I don’t remember anything in Jesus’ words about what to wear. I do remember Him telling us over and over to love one another. I think there is plenty of room in the Church for all those who love the Lord, no matter what their preferences may be. There is more destruction done from within the Church than from the outside world. Please let’s get back to loving each other and accepting our different ideas, talents and opinions. Like any Father, God would prefer His children to be respectful of each other regardless of their views.

    • IMO, somehow St. Paul’s “Armor of God” imagery from Eph 6,10-18, has woven itself into the priest’s vesting prayers. For each piece of priestly clothing he puts on, there is a concomitant prayer.

  16. Thank you Father, for your honest and love for God and his people!

  17. Darlene Kerfien

    Thank you for standing up for the truth.

  18. Michelle Galantino

    Wow, really great article!

  19. God Bless you Father and I hope there are decades more of young Priests to follow with the same conviction. The Church needs you to survive and I need Priests like you to shepherd me.

  20. Mary Vidrine

    May the dear Lord bless us with many, many more Priests like this.

  21. Liturgy guy, thank you for making all those comments!!!

  22. Thomas R Espinoza

    What Truly irks me here, is that everyone wants to be “RIGHT” and we tend to forget what our true life meaning is here on earth, and that is to be “Christ Like”, and just like Christ these new priests seem to be bringing Christ’s message of “LOVE” in the same way he did, and the establishment of the Old Guard could not hear Christ’s new message either….so beware, the Son of God the Almighty Father, Jesus Christ’s message is again, that of “LOVE”, not disharmony, discord, or disagreement, or even to bring down the Old Way’s. but to bring the word of salvation for all souls, bringing the word of “GOD” to his people, each and every one of us thru His Almighty and Unfathomable LOVE and MERCY. Amen and may God Bless each and every one of US……

  23. I LOVE the Latin Mass. My boys served the Latin Mass for years and loved it with all of their hearts. We got closer to our Faith and therefore to God. Then, because I was standing up for my kids who were being excluded from Faith Formation classes, we were kicked out of that parish that we loved. The priest is a traditionalist. He is the Gestapo of that parish, not the Pastor.

    • What do you mean you were “kicked out “??

      • It’s a long story but he was yelling at me and said, “You are no longer welcome here as far as I’m concerned.” Killed my faith and that of my husband and six children too.

      • Raymond F Rice

        Well on that day you and your family cried and so did Jesus!! He wants you back and free from the troll who said this!!

      • The other thing I should say is that there is much division in that parish and I think that it has been brought to the attention of our Bishop more than once. It is very sad to see a Catholic Church be so against one another. Another thing I should mention is that these kids who don’t act good in public DO in the presence of this priest. But it’s scandalous to me because he knows, as do their parents, but as long as things LOOK a certain way it’s allowed–even encouraged. We were trying to live an authentic and heroic Catholic life when he did this to us, yet those other families are still there. I think that is one of the troubles with the TLM–as long as it appears that the priest, servers, choir, what have you are holy, it’s acceptable. We wanted to REALLY be holy. Now other boys get the opportunities that my boys should have gotten and squander them. It just hurts me on so many levels.

    • “Kicked out of the parish”? Terrible expression. Priests, Pastors, Monsignors, Deacons, whatever their titles, are representatives of their Bishops; they are his “A Few Good Men.” If they are a cause of disruption in the Roman Catholic Church, contact their/your bishop. With all the disturbance in the Roman Catholic Church in the past 25 years, I believe that our bishops will be quick to respond to complaints from parishoners

      • I went to our then Bishop who was transferred less than a week later (not because of this), and he said that the Priest must have felt pestered by me. Our current Bishop had him apologize but it was far from sincere. I would like for him to be moved so that we can attend Latin Mass again but this has not happened. We are not the only family that he has done this to either. Several good families have left that parish, or been made to leave, because of him. I just can’t believe what he has done and gotten away with, keeping his reputation intact while ruining mine, and I will never be the same. My family was the real CATHOLIC deal. He got rid of us though and favors families that swear the “F” word in public and those who get young teenage girls pregnant then get married to them outside of the Church. My boys really wanted to be priests. They sincerely were good people–even when no one was looking. Not anymore, they’ve been ruined and it breaks my heart everyday.

      • You would hope that bishops would be quick to respond to parishioners’ complaints. But if a priest is not accused of certain types of misconduct involving minors or money, nothing happens. In my personal experience, bishops and their subordinates, whom you must go through as you move up the food chain, are very skilled at nodding sympathetically with furrowed brow, even letting on that they “know” there are problems with a particular priest. You leave the meeting feeling that at last you have been heard and something will be done. But no action is taken. Your patient waiting never yields a return call or letter. They circle the wagons and protect their own. And after all is said and done, you end up being the one defamed. In some ways the secular marketplace handles grievances more justly than the Church does.

      • “Protect their own”-in the context of the topic-describes a malevolent attitude toward the truth. Centuries of the in-house CYA process is finally-hopefully-coming to an end, but not soon enough for some of us.

      • Wow Suzy, You really hit the nail on the head with that one! That is EXACTLY what has happened. I really want to write a letter to Pope Francis about it but don’t know if he’d even get it. It just feels like nobody hears me or understands. I feel that I’m in uncharted waters but I know that this isn’t the first time an injustice needed to be sorted out–just the Priest Scandal alone should be a clue to our Bishops that they need to stop sweeping things under the rug and really take care of the dirt that accumulates. I will keep on trying to seek justice–not in a vengeful way but a charitable one.

  24. Fr. Lawrence Goodwin, CJM

    Liturgy guy. The first and last sentence are not in conflict. I support the use of the extraordinary form for the same reason that bishops give the dispensation to use the extraordinary form. The reason that bishops still give the dispensation for use of the extraordinary form is to keep the people who have difficulty accepting the changes of V2 in the fold. I support that pastoral decision. My hope is that one day everyone in the Roman rite will use one missal.
    For the record I am not sure what views of mine you find “toxic.” I have not said anything disparaging about people who celebrate with the extraordinary form. Again, my hope is that one day we who are in the Roman rite, will come together with joyful holiness around the Roman Missal in its most recent iteration. What is toxic about that?

    • Father, there is quite a bit incorrect in your comment.

      First, with Summorum Pontificum the faithful need not get authorization to celebrate the Traditional Mass. Any priest capable of offering the Mass of John XXIII (the 1962 Missal) can do so. What you reference is no longer the case…and primarily because of uncharitable bishops who refused to permit a Mass that had never been abrogated.

      Your first and last sentence are in contradiction because while you intellectually acknowledge the right to celebrate the Mass using the 1962 Missal, you make the appeal that what is best is for all to celebrate the Novus Ordo Missae of Paul VI. Now you are entitled to this opinion, but it does not reflect the will of Holy Mother Church, nor that of the last three popes.

      The “changes of V2” have nothing to do with the Mass of which you speak. The Novus Ordo Missae promulgated in 1969 was the work of the concilium, as a response to the Council, but a separate affair. The Council never called for the Roman Canon to be optional, the offertory prayers to be removed largely due to their sacrificial language, the removal of the prayers at the foot of the altar at the beginning of mass, etc.

      You may hope that one day all the faithful abandon the Gregorian Mass which has been celebrated for fifteen centuries, but that is not the will of the Church or millions of the faithful.

      What you have said that is toxic is what I have noted: a hubris that hopes for the day that the Mass of the Ages, the Mass celebrated by ALL canonized saints of the Roman Rite Church, quietly “go away” simply because you prefer the Mass of Paul VI.

      You might say it nicely, but, your views…for the reasons already noted and their detrimental impact upon the Church for decades…are toxic.

      I will pray for you Father because you are a priest of God, and I would ask you to pray for me as well.


      • Fr. Lawrence Goodwin, CJM

        Liturgy guy. In fact each bishop does have the rite to restrict to only one Latin Mass per week. JP2 gave each bishop the rite to say no to any and all Latin Masses. It was Benidict who imposed the order that at least one be said. I really don’t have the aversion to the Latin Mass that you seem to think I do.
        Really my hope is that one day there will not be the need for 2 or more missals within one rite. I really do see the beauty of the Tridintine Mass. It is akin to the beauty of many of the Easter Rites that make a beautiful appeal to the Holy Spirit, sometimes better than the ordinary missal of our day. It could be said the ordinary missal uses too many images of the Roman Imperial military. I get all that. I really do love mystery and see where the Latin Mass does a good job of that. But there is great value in the images of empowerment of the laity and their baptismal call to ministry in the ordinary Mass. This the Latin Mass doesn’t do this as well as the ordinary missal. There is value in both. Personally, I would like to see some sort of hybrid of both that is appropriate for the 21st century faithfilled Roman Catholic.
        The fact that any form has been in use for 500 years or 10 years is not reason enough alone to keep or let go of any Missal. Perhaps a blend of the Tridentine, Roman and something from the Alexandrine Rites? Our Church should be at once a sign of the times and a definer of the times. The Church is a living organism rather than a static organization and therefore adapts to the given culture. I suspect many people who are inspired by the Latin Mass may not like the idea that the Mass can, or should adapt to a given culture. But this historic ability of our Church and liturgy to do just that is one of the greatest features of our eternal Church.

      • • The Roman Catholic Church doesn’t create Truth, just expresses it in Unchanging Dogma, “Articles of Faith,” so that we may understand those things necessary for salvation in Jesus. All the other bells and whistles in the Roman Catholic Church, that have been accumulating over the millennia-artifacts of human minds and hands-are fungibles, stuff that may either be revamped or discarded. IMO, not knowing the difference between the “Unalterable” and “Alterable” has been the cause of great confusion in our Roman Catholic Church.

      • Thats not true, Mr. Liturgy guy. If anyone asks to have the Traditional Mass, all they need to do is ask for it. It was never outlawed by V2. In 2007 the Pope made it much more wide open for people who wanted it.

      • Daniel, what did I say that wasn’t accurate? I never said that the Traditional Latin Mass was outlawed. Have you confused me with another commenter?

    • The greatest growth in the Catholic Church is among those who attend The Tridentine Mass. The new rite will eventually die out as the “experiment” it was.

    • Fr. Goodwin, What seminary did you go to? And what time frame?

  25. Fr. George McBride

    Amen Brother that was the best. God Bless+

  26. The problem, Father Goodwin, isn’t that we now have a Mass in the Vernacular. The problem is the “new mass” is not a translation of the 1962 Missal, it’s a completely new mass. If they had just translated the missal, word for word, into English, no one would have had a problem with that. The problem is that the new mass is a completely different understanding of the sacrifice of Calvary. and that is not a minor point. So if you’re so concerned about unity. Go back to the mass that’s the truest expression of it’s intention. Say it in English for all we care, but recite the 1962 missal as written

  27. Is there anybody here who doubts that the Eucharist, whether taken in the hand or on the tongue is any less the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ? Is there anyone who believes the words of the Consecration are any less valid whether said facing or turned away from the congregation? Anyone who believes that prayers said in Latin (and poorly understood if understood at all by most Catholics today) are understood more clearly by the Holy Spirit? I grew up in the Latin-speaking Church. I learned all the responses by heart. But the Apostles did not “leave us” a mass in Latin. Latin was not Christ’s language. Want the Eucharist as Christ spoke it? Then speak it in Aramaic, the common speech of Judea c.33 AD. Confession is no less Confession when spoken sitting in a chair face-to-face with the priest with a box of tissues handy — because repentance often brings on tears — than it is kneeling in a dark box. Shame on those who are dividing the Body of Christ over these matters, creating false issues. As one of our parish priests said during a recent sermon, one of those “modern’ sermons that some no doubt would find insufficiently inspiring: “I am neither a conservative Catholic nor a liberal Catholic.I am a member of the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ.”

    • Thanks Bill Marvel. Christ said “Do this in memory of Me”, and in my lifelong Catholic education have not heard a claim that the “this” included Christ facing away from his Apostles, or demanding that the bread they are sharing not be eaten by hand. Those that admonish for not engaging in behaviors that are a departure from the basics of Christ’s example are frustrating and, in my view, unnecessarily divisive. I don’t oppose their vision of reverence, but if I’m doing what Christ told me to do, in the way He did it, I shouldn’t be admonished.

      • I too had a lifelong Catholic Education and only recently have learned the following information about the two points you make.
        The point of ad orientum is that all are facing Christ … including the priests … the Apostles were aALREADY facing Him at the Last Supper In the example of the apostles facing Christ the priest also faces Christ in this manner. Someone who is leading you somewhere does not get you there by facing you, they are headed in the same direction as you. Thus the facing towards Christ on the Crucifix and present in the Tabernacle is taking us to whom we are headed.. in this manner the priest standing ad orientum is following exactly in the footsteps of the first followers of Christ….
        Every scrap bit crumb of the Eucharist is fully Christ body blood soul and divinity, the direct placement of Christ on the tongue eliminates the middle man and the possi ility of Him being wiped off on pants inadvertantly or brushed down on the floor to be trodden. It is not a departure from His example but a full recognition of the entirety of who th Eucharist is and the desire to acknowledge that.

        I do believe though that the devil loves chaos and will take even all of our good intentions to create division particularly gleefully when within the people of Christ’s church

      • I guess for some men, expressing love for another Man (Jesus, God Almighty) is a form of homosexuality. It’s not. It’s a form of well-ordered love. Get real and let your love for Jesus motivate you to do something in the world out of love for Him. Check out the manly saints, past and present. They have not hesitated to proclaim that their love for Jesus spurred them on.

    • The metaphors that are used when referring to the Church are really confusing. You use “The Body of Christ (Jesus)” and others call it “Holy Mother Church.” And in this age of gender confusion, some folks will probably have no problem.

  28. If I may, I speak for those of us who have squirmed in the pews over the years, at the ghastly hymns that now prevail in so many parishes today

  29. If we ALL remembered and/or were taught about the sacredness of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and acted like we were truly in the presence of Jesus, all this dissension would go away.

    • “Mass” is an awful synonym for “Jesus” as in “The Sacrifice of Jesus.” Where did the word “Mass” come from and why has it been universally accepted to replace “Jesus”?

  30. I appreciate that he values these often challenging instances that are truly already a given to the pastoral life of religious and clergy alike. I am sorry that he feels undervalued and unrecognized as he struggled to minister at times, while being faithful to the form of life he has committed himself to. But this is nothing new or surprising to us ministers of compassion and mercy isn’t it? What he misses out is how those who are traditionalists in liturgy and material symbols do actively critize those fromt the left and those who may not necessarily be aligned with the left. One time my brother friar posted a photo of him wearing a habit on with a stole, minus the alb and chasuble. This berretta-wearing priest calls him out on FB, “Dude where is the alb and chasuble. At least wear a chasuble will ya.” Little did he know that my brother friar went out of his way to preside over Mass to a community who re-organized themselves on that day just to attend Mass. There were no vestments available in the chapel. They were lucky to find a double-sided stole, hosts and a chalice and candles. Fidelity to our vows is not exclusively and primarily seen through what we wear as he argues; it’s the fruit of what comes out of our work because of our vows. Next time he sees a less than perfectly dressed up priest for Mass or sisters who are no longer wearing their habits, he must be ready to accept them as genuine as himself. After all, from any part of the spectrum who are we to judge? The rubrics were never meant to give anyone power to judge — left, center or right.

    • • The Roman Catholic Church doesn’t create Truth, just expresses it in Unchanging Dogma, “Articles of Faith,” so that we may understand those things necessary for salvation in Jesus. All the other bells and whistles in the Roman Catholic Church, that have been accumulating over the millennia-artifacts of human minds and hands-are fungibles, stuff that may either be revamped or discarded. IMO, not knowing the difference between the “Unalterable” and “Alterable” has been the cause of great confusion in our Roman Catholic Church.

  31. Thats very good. Its nice to hear of the good work youre doing, raised a pentecostal one of the best christian speakers on bbc r2 is Father Brian D Arcy not only in what he says but the love and warmth with which he says it. Bless you

  32. hdlmatchette

    embracing tradition is different from what many TOB, HV Catholics do, which is try to defend tradition at the expense of other people’s intellect and scientific evidence. tradition is not closed to those two things.

  33. Now that!!!!! Is a priest!!!

  34. I’ve seen how hard priests work. Some people focus on the small things like cassocks, and liturgical form because of their lack of spiritual maturity. Thank you for choosing the priesthood and saying with love, a yes to all the exhaustion and sacrifice. So many people do love, cherish and respect the role of priesthood. Please know that, and pray for the spiritually immature who fail to see the beautiful daily sacrifice of your life for their peace and salvation. We love you too, and we pray for you too!

  35. Hang in there, Father. The workings of the Holy Spirit are evident in your thoughtful response.

  36. Sepelini Maae

    Why is everone here fighting? Please, for the Love of Mother church, quit your bickering.! We have enough Schisms outside the Church, we need to focus on the Church itself. Don’t you think that this is part of the reason why the Holy Father had the Year of Mercy come about? Our WITNESSING is T E R R I B L E!
    PLEASE!! Let us just focus on what we need to DO which is ABOVE all this Nonsense:
    Our DUTY in Accordance to Our State of Life.
    And PERFECT it.
    Im the worst sinner there is, but with all humility, I ask all of you my fellow brothers and sisters to stop taking up words against one another. There is no more apparent time than N O W for us to stand together. There areMUCH MORE important things to consider like Our YOUTH for example, they need us now more than ever. Please stop this. Please.

  37. Thank you for this profound defense of the traditional priests!
    Our family has been in an FSSP parish for seven years and I cannot tell you how valuable our dear priests are to us and to our parish. Let’s just say that they are an extension of family. The amount of time and energy that they extend to each parishioner is beyond average…totally sacrificial.From regular Catechetical instruction to our youth, countless field trips with youth group that always begin with Mass, and/or Adoration and Rosary; hours spent hearing Confessions, Communion to the sick and dying, counseling to the engaged to participation in potluck dinners and parish outings. The list goes on yet, the most beneficial aspect of attending a traditional Mass is the beautiful reverence and preaching of the Truth. It is never about Father, it is about Our Lord and His honor and glory.
    I cannot tell you how blessed we are to be a part of such an edifying parish where it is evident that our priests’ first mission and only end is the salvation of souls.
    God bless you Father Doustou!

  38. Hello Liturgy Guy,

    Thank you so much for posting Fr. Doustou’s response! This article is wonderful.

    However, I think it might be good to change the headline. Saying the remarks are directed specifically toward the “Catholic Left” seems to contradict Fr. Doustou’s warning that we should not categorize priests, or any Catholics for that matter, according to a political, ideological, or personal agenda.

    I have already had a friend suggest that Fr. Doustou’s remarks are too divisive based only on the fact that his words appear to be addressed to the “entire Catholic left”. I think that misinterpretation could easily be avoided if the headline were changed.


  39. We all make choices in life. As a mother, wife, grandmother and sister,and Aunt, I juggle many different roles. I could never understand why a priest needs a housekeeper or cook. It is only 1 person living in a rectory. I have 4 adult children, their spouses and 7 grandchildren. If you don’t think we understand what you all do in clergy. I don’t think you understand what we MOTHERS all do. I am not complaining. I love my life and I love the Lord, but let us all be honest!

  40. I write a blog for Catholics who care: http://www.letitallstarthere.com. I applaud the “young priest” who gave people some insight into the life of a priest. Many people simply don’t know how priests live.

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