Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Rocco Palma writes the following today in his blog, Whispers in the Loggia, about the new bishop of the very liberal, heterodox Diocese of Rochester:

Capping weeks of speculation surrounding Bishop Salvatore Matano, at Roman Noon this Wednesday the Pope named the 67 year-old prelate – head of Vermont's statewide diocese of Burlington since 2005 – as bishop of Rochester. While Rochester under Clark had been an outlier among Northeastern dioceses in its normative embrace of a progressive post-Conciliar ecclesiology, as was universally expected, the incoming bishop comes from a rather different cloth. And much like last week's appointment of the now Bishop Leonard Blair to the archbishopric of Hartford, the choice of a fairly conservative figure with an extensive background in law and administration will be seen in some quarters as a clash with the prevailing "Francis narrative" on the wider scene."

And to boot, while Bishop Salvatore Matano was in Vermont, he celebrated the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. This will certainly send chills and disappointment down the spines of the radical feminists in Rochester, both male, female and transgendered. It will create agnst for them as they see their hope-for kindred spirit in what they thought was going to be the type of men Pope Francis would appoint to dioceses like theirs vanish. This will cause great antipathy and disillusionment as they desired a bishop stuck in the 1970's for a Church still mired and stuck in the 70's. This isn't going to go down with the progressive heterodox wing at all!  God is good!

This comes on the heals of the new Archbishop of Hartford who has very strong orthodox credentials. Both bishops appointed by Pope Francis, who just this week also celebrated an Ordinary Form Mass in an extraordinary way at St. Peter's and then celebrated an almost completely Latin Mass in the Ordinary Form remembering the deceased cardinals and bishops of this past year.

I see a trend here and I am sure that those wild-eyed progressives still stuck in the 1970's spirit of Vatican II will begin to turn on our conservative Holy Father and the very orthodox men he has appointed as bishops recently. In fact, as you read in a previous post, the National Chismatic Reporter (NCR) had a triade agains the Holy Father for his appointement of Archbishop Leonard Blair to Hartford. This is a good sign folk!

Yes, the next thing you'll know Pope Francis will be talking about the very real influence of the very real devil; he'll be calling Catholics to pray the Rosary and make visits to the Most Blessed Sacrament and attend Benediction as well. He'll call the Church Holy Mother and the Bride of Christ, sure signs of the true nature of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, where the Bride of Christ is permanently wed to the Bridegroom Jesus Christ.

And on top of that, this Pope might even call all Catholics to recognize they are sinners in need of repentance and God's mercy through the Sacrament of Penance. Before you know it, he'll be talking about real temptation and real sin and real infidelity to the Magisterium and say that all of us are sinners who need to go to confession regularly after a thorough examination of conscience!

Oh, wait, Pope Francis has been doing this constantly since his election almost 8 months ago and also has been calling for fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church which is, for coloring book Catholics, the pope and the bishops in union with him, but not just the living ones, but the ones from our 2000 year tradition. He's calling for fidelity to the Deposit of Faith as he finds new ways to hand that faith on to the generations of Catholics, who through no fault of their own, were coloring book Catholics.

God is good!


Anonymous said...

Yes rejoice!

Matthew Clark was one of the most awful bishops in the United States. Thanks be to God his reign has ended.

Bill Hobbs said...

I lived in Rochester for 5 years and had the opportunity to get to know Matthew Clark. You will not meet a person who takes his faith or pastoral responsibilities more seriously.

John Nolan said...

I doubt whether Pope Francis knows much about the situation in North America (and probably even less about Europe) so the key players in the appointment of bishops are the nuncios and the Congregation for Bishops. Marc Ouellet has his finger on the pulse.

Another consideration is that there are few liberals in the up-and-coming generation to choose from.

Mike Lutz said...

I'm not going to take potshots at Bishop Clark, who was a good man with arguably a flawed perspective on the Church. But I do welcome the news that our new Bishop is of a more traditional mien.

Joseph Johnson said...

His mitre looks just like one I've seen Bishop Hartmayer wear.

Anonymous said...

Clark was bishop of that city for far, far too long. The new bishop inherits a diocese in decline. AG

Joseph Johnson said...

Over on Fr. Z's blog, he mentions that this bishop celebrated an EF Mass and then remarked, "If this is what it takes to fill our churches then so be it. I will do whatever it takes to fill our churches."

I wish more bishops viewed the EF (and what it has to offer the Church) the way this bishop does rather than trying to ignore it, or, worse, by saying that there is no interest in it (despite evidence to the contrary).

John said...

If the Diocese of Victoria (BC) can be brought back to orthodoxy—and believe you me, we were pretty far gone!—Rochester can be brought back, too.

Please pray for our Diocese. Our much beloved Bishop, Most Reverend Richard Gagnon (now Archbishop-elect Gagnon), a wise and holy pastor, has been transferred to the Archdiocese of Winnipeg.

May God give us a good and wise bishop.

Gene said...

Joseph, Yeah, but a "whatever it takes to fill our Churches" attitude is not very encouraging. How about hot dogs and hamburgers at Mass? Dancing girls? Free beer? His statement does not indicate any meaningful appreciation for the EF.

Joseph Johnson said...

As I typed that comment I had the very same thought as you. I had to remind myself that this comment was made in the context an EF Mass so I want to believe it should be narrowly construed!

As I typed that comment my thoughts also were on the high attendance that was reported at the last EF Mass offered in Augusta, Ga. but with the bishop (at that time) later reportedly coming in and announcing to the parish that there would be no more Latin Masses. My thoughts were also on my own home parish in Waycross, Ga. where we had 110 in attendance at a 2008 EF Mass (partly because I was allowed to publicize it beforehand). At the second one in 2009 we had about 35 people with no publicity being allowed. Then the standard word from Cardinal Maida all the way down to local parish priests all around the country is "There's just no interest in the Latin (EF) Mass." These same types will also tell us that we should not "promote" the EF Mass. 'Sounds like a concerted effort to me . . Thankfully, this new bishop of Rochester appears to be of a different mindset.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Joe in the first EF Mass we had on September 14, 2007 in the midst of a thunderstorm with Tornado watches, we had almost 200 in attendence. We continued to and have continued to advertise the EF Mass which we have the Frist Sunday of the Month and it has continued to decline in attendence. The last one had 30 and not all of them my parishioiners. Even we we have upwards to 60 about 30 are mine, compared to the 200 that were all mine. I think that the EF Mass at the time had a great mythology surrounding it and that's why people were eager to go. Others had nostalgic reasons. But the vast majority of church-going Catholics prefer the vernacular Mass and they did in 1966 when the vernaculuar was first introduced in drips and drabs.
I think the solution to our liturgical crisis is not recovering the 1962 missal, that is never going to happen, but making sure our current missal is celebrated with dignity and reverence. That will take a while to accomplish, but having the 1962, which I like, although I prefer the vernacular too, is helping in bringing about true liturgical reform envisioned by Vatican II

John Nolan said...

Fr MacDonald, I think you have hit the nail on the head. as soon as the liturgy was diversified, enabling people to pick and choose, it was inevitable that most would not prefer an elevated form with a high culture (chant, polyphony, Latin etc.) since this is not something they experience in their daily lives. They live on a diet of commercially produced popular 'culture' with its emphasis on instant gratification and banal sentimentality, and its strongly anti-intellectual ethos.

It is true that at an EF Mass nowadays you find a lot of young people and young families, but they are not representative. A Novus Ordo Mass celebrated in Latin with Gregorian chant and everything sung that can be sung is a truly wondrous thing. The same entirely in English, with the missal chants and again with everything sung that can be sung has the same ethos. Both also make sense musically. The sung Preface dialogue, Preface and Sanctus are balanced by the sung Pater Noster and Embolism, with the congregational sung participation. But even the English version is so far removed from most people's experience and expectations that they would find it off-putting.

I have sung at Missa Cantatas in the Old Rite where there were more in the choir loft than in the congregation, knowing that earlier that Sunday the same church would have been full for the four-hymn-sandwich. Depressing, but no more depressing than the undoubted fact that most people prefer pop drivel to Beethoven.

Gene said...

Again, popular preference should not be the determining factor. The Church is supposed to educate…catechize. The Church should point people beyond themselves and attempt to draw them beyond the mundane and banal to something higher and more profound. The Church and her Bishops and Priests have become too lazy and to defensive to truly catechize and teach about the EF and traditional Catholic identity.
The same has happened in education…egalitarianism rules. Schools and teachers make no effort to truly draw students beyond themselves and the slop that is their culture.

"No one ever went broke underestimating the bad taste of the American public." P.T. Barnum

"Students' tastes should be formed, not consulted."
Flannery O'Connor

Robert Kumpel said...


I don't think it's entirely fair to ascribe "nostalgia" or "mythology" about the Triedandtrue liturgy to the one-time high attendance it drew. I have witnessed weekly Tridentine Masses that filled churches as large as yours beyond capacity. All over America the same thing is happening at many different parishes, when the priests are willing and the bishops don't get punitive about it. I think the decline in attendance can be ascribed to two things:

1) The Diocese of Savannah has had a long period of the "Amchurch" or "Spirit of Vatican II" mentality enforced in its parishes. Something that entrenched isn't going to go away easily.

2) There just isn't a large Catholic population here. If there was, you would be able to draw a larger crowd with more enthusiasm for this Mass and the contagion would be palpable. That doesn't mean you should give it up. I hope you will continue to offer this Mass.

I also wouldn't be so certain that the recovery of the 1962 Missal is never going to happen. After the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum, one official in the Vatican (I forget who) went so far as to predict that in a few decades, the Ordinary Form would disappear.

I don't know if that will happen, but it cannot be denied that the fastest growing sector of the Church is the traditionalist camp. The greatest numbers of vocations come from traditionalists. About the only families obeying Humanae Vitae and multiplying enough kids to keep the Church going and provide vocations are the traditionalists. And Traditionalists are the ones who seem to be most successful in catechizing their children in a manner that sticks.

I wouldn't write off 2000 years of success because of the decadent era we're living in now.

Robert Kumpel said...

I have to add Father, I too prefer the Ordinary Form because it's easier for me. I can come to Mass half awake at an OF Mass and go through the motions without giving the Mass much thought. However, when I attend the Extraordinary Form (or Traditional Latin Mass or Tridentine or "Triedandtrue") something different happens. Something awakens inside of me. I am stimulated to a greater sense of awe and reverence. I cannot slack off. The majesty of God forces itself into my psyche. I cannot help myself: I must get into the Missal and participate at a level I just don't bother with at the Ordinary Form. I pay deeper, closer attention. I am forced to shed my laziness and meet God in a way that just isn't possible in the Ordinary Form.

Yes, the Ordinary Form is nice and comfortable. I'll even say I like it. However, the Extraordinary Form pulls me out of my comfort zone. I don't like it. However, I love and respect the Extraordinary Form. It reaches me in a way that the Ordinary Form will never measure up to.

Joseph Johnson said...

Fr. McDonald,

"But having the 1962, which I like . . (as should be obvious, I like it too, Father) is helping in bringing about the true liturgical reform envisioned by Vatican II." I agree with you so strongly, Father, that I wonder if you even realize HOW RIGHT YOU ARE in this statement.

Because the liturgical culture of both priests and laity has been so affected and malformed by what has happened since about 1965 (almost 50 years), to even begin to understand what things could have (and should now) be like it is necessary to rebuild the liturgical culture and piety in the current Catholic populace (both clergy and laity).

We are too far removed from the era of the Tridentine Mass to expect the majority of today's Catholic population to easily understand why the Church might prefer to restore certain liturgical practices (like chant or ad orientem) with SHOWING them and allowing them to first regularly have access to what we once had (the Tridentine Mass).

This has already happened for me and for a lot of people (both priests and laity) and so the Church didn't need to explain or justify the new English translation to me. The Church would also not need to explain the restoration of chant, Latin, Communion kneeling on the tongue or ad orientem to me (or other folks exposed to the EF), either--I am ready for all of these things RIGHT NOW in the OF because of my familiarity with the EF. More people need the EF experience if we are ever to expect a sooner and easier acceptance of the Reform in Continuity of the OF. It will be MUCH harder to simply make these changes to the OF and then expect most people to accept such changes without the EF as a starting point. This is why I have a hard time taking anyone seriously who says they support the Reform of the OF in Continuity if they are not already familiar with (and a supporter of) the EF.

Pope Benedict XVI knew exactly what he was doing when he promulgated Summorum Pontificum. It's not just about reconciling the SSPX and the EF for the EF's sake--it's a CRITICALLY IMPORTANT part of his plan for reform of the OF.

Bishops, priests and laity need to see this critical connection and GET WITH THE PROGRAM!!!

It's about REBUILDING a liturgical culture or ethos that, in the majority population of Catholics, no longer exists. . .

Anonymous said...

"I think the solution to our liturgical crisis is not recovering the 1962 missal, that is never going to happen, but making sure our current missal is celebrated with dignity and reverence." I agree with Fr. McDonald.

I would add that the improvements to the English translation of the current missal are a start . . . an important start . . .now what is needed is to follow the letter, and not the "spirit," of Sancrosanctum Concilium more closely. This is true, in part, in the areas of liturgical music, the recovery of Latin in the liturgy, and a closer adherence to the "quality" of the Mass that reflects and respects its transcendent nature. We must remember that Mass is not primarily a community "experience," it is to worship God.

But have no doubt, this will be vigorously opposed by those who wish to transform what we believe by transforming how we worship. They fully understand that adhering to the letter of SC does not aid them in accomplishing their goal to transform the Church in a more modernist direction.

Pater Ignotus said...

Robert - If you are "half asleep" at the celebration of the mass in the Ordinary Form, that is a fault that lies within you, not the mass.

Gene said...

Ignotus, the fault lies in neither the parishioner nor the OF; it lies in the Priest. Most Priests I have observed celebrating the OF are unenthusiastic and seem bored and in a hurry to get through it. They are also sloppy. I have fought walking out a number of times, but make myself stay because I know I should. I am not the only one who feels this way. I have talked to many others who attend Mass in an obligatory manner because of the uninspiring nature of most Of celebrations. This is a part of the reason so many feel that receiving the Host is all that is important and they hurry in late and leave early after they receive. This is not good and cannot be the intention of the Church.

Athelstane said...

"Matthew Clark was one of the most awful bishops in the United States. Thanks be to God his reign has ended."

I honestly can't think of a worst one, setting aside sex abuse coverups. Now Hubbard moves into first place, followed by Lynch.

If you didn't support women's ordination, you had no chance of being accepted to seminary in His Excellency's diocese. Which might explain why two women members of the Women's Ordination Conference ended up as administrators of parish clusters in Rochester.

Pater Ignotus said...

If one is not inspired by the Word of God and the Real Presence of God at mass, one will not be inspired by an enthusiastic priest who take his time.

"Blame the priest" is just another example of scapegoating.

Robert Kumpel said...

Pater Ignotus is not wrong to rebuke me. I appreciate his correction. Regardless of how a priest approaches the Mass, it should have no effect on how I approach the Mass.

However, I must in all honesty, stand by my complaint that I am simply not inspired by the Novus Ordo in the same way or to the same depth as I am by the TLM. Further, I just don't understand the outright aversion so many priests seem to have for this Mass. As good Pope Benedict wrote, "What was sacred for prior generations, remains sacred and great for us as well, and cannot be suddenly prohibited altogether or even judged harmful."

Pater Ignotus said...

"I am simply not inspired...". Where is it written that the mass exists for the inspiration of Robert Kumpel?

This is precisely the kind of exaggerated individualism that is so corrupting in our culture. "I" don't like to hear preaching on abortion, so "I" don't go to Fr. So and so's masses. OR "I" Don' like to hear preaching on Social Justice, so "I" don't go to Fr. So and so's parish.

I am not worried that certain people are "not inspired" at mass. My concern, like Good Father McDonald's, is that each mass is celebrated well, that the preaching is faithful to the Tradition, and that the People of God have the saving mysteries of Jesus Christ communicated to them.

Gene said...

Ignotus, that is nonsense. It is not scapegoating.

Robert Kumpel said...

Well, Pater Ignotus, I have never avoided a Mass because I did not like to hear social justice homilies or because I don't like to hear preaching on abortion or any other subject, for that matter. In fact, the last homily I heard about abortion was over 15 years ago.

If you are offering Mass in a way that is faithful to Tradition and communicating the saving mystery of Jesus Christ, then God bless you, I have no problem with that. I hope you will not condemn me for having a preference for the older Tradition. I don't get it very often and not getting it doesn't keep me away from Mass.