Wednesday, August 13, 2014


The above photo is Adam Shaw who is a News Editor for

His article below is well written but has some rather serious accusations in it and makes these without actually interviewing those he accuses and he does seem as a young upstart to be jumping to conclusions over circumstantial evidence. It could be a case of immature (not actual) paranoia!

As chief shepherd of one of the largest and most diverse archdioceses in the world, Timothy Cardinal Dolan has a plate full. I am sure he knows more about the religious politics of his diocese than this young, upstart reporter. I am sure there are some confidential things that are unknown about those things that Adam Shaw reports.

The same is true of the Franciscans of the Immaculate. None of us has the complete story Those who are neo-traditionalists hoot and howl over the Vatican's investigation of this religious order in the same exact way as those who are post-Catholic continue to do so with the Vatican's much needed investigation and clean-up of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) much to this group's protestation and deflecting. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. If there are problems, I hope they are brought to the light and we are told (similar to the much, much too late of the very, very conservative religious order "The Legionaries of Christ"). Pope St. John Paul II misread that situation completely and mishandled it until Cardinal Ratzinger was elected pope and took action.

Shaw also indicates that as Cardinal Bergoglio in Argentina, Pope Francis was not friendly toward the traditionalist crowd that was there. Keep in mind after Cardinal Bergoglio became pope, his successor in  Argentina held and interfaith service in the Cathedral there that was then disrupted in the most vile and sacrilegious way possible by so-called traditionalists Catholics. This tells you that if these were the kinds of the traditionalists Cardinal Bergogolio was dealing with, it is no wonder that he had an antipathy towards them.
[A woman attending a ceremony that marks the beginning of the Holocaust, left, tries to stop ultra-traditionalist Catholics from interrupting an interfaith event at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Buenos Aires, Argentina, late Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013. The small group disrupted by shouting the rosary and the "Our Father" prayer, and spreading pamphlets saying "followers of false gods must be kept out of the sacred temple." One of the protesters took over the microsphone and starting spewing epitaphs. The annual ceremony brings together Catholics, Jews and Protestants to mark Kristallnacht. (AP Photo/Rodolfo Pezzoni,DyN)]

But dispite these sorts of neo-Catholics in his former archdiocese and certainly the bad impression they made on him causing his suspicion of this movement and their off-the-wall motives, if Pope Francis were so opposed to tradition and the traditional Mass of the post Trent period, why in the world then can any priest in the world who visits Saint Peter's early in the morning 7 days a week be allowed to celebrate the 1962 Missal at any of the numerous altars that are there? I saw this several times on my three month sabbatical in Rome last fall. And more solemn celebrations of the 1962 Missal take place there in the small, but humongous, side chapels and even at the Altar of the Chair directly behind the papal altar and celebrated by cardinals and bishops.

In addition to this, one of the highest ranking cardinals in the Church and certainly one of the closest aides to Pope Francis, Cardinal Pell will celebrate a Pontifical Solemn Sung Mass according to the 1962 Missal wearing the much dreaded by those opposed to this missal, Cappa Magna for an October conference on Summorum Pontificum in Rome!
In Adam Shaws last five words in his article which below, he writes, "I hope I am wrong." Adam Shaw, you young upstart, you are wrong as a reporter and as an editiorialist!

After having read my comments first and my take on this article and its serious flaws and omissions, here's Adam Shaw's "jumping to conclusions" report:


The 'Pope Francis Effect': The war on conservative Catholics in New York

When Cardinal Bergoglio was elected pope in 2013, many traditional Catholics were wary. Recently, their pessimism is being justified as "The Francis Effect" makes itself felt across the world and in America, most notably in the Archdiocese of New York
So-called "traditional" Catholics prefer to attend the Mass as it was celebrated before and during the Second Vatican Council (1962-5), before the liturgy was radically reformed in 1969.

The Tridentine Mass, which was the ordinary form of the Mass from 1570-1969, is said in Latin, often accompanied by Gregorian Chant and incense, and emphasizes the sacrificial aspect of the Mass.
I hope both Pope Francis and the New York Archdiocese will cease their attack on a community of people that mean no harm and who support the Church through thick and thin.
In contrast, the post-1969 Mass simplifies prayers, places more emphasis on the communal and removes language deemed to be an ecumenical barrier to Protestants. Many celebrations also use the vernacular instead of Latin, and have a more simplistic style and are frequently accompanied by modern music.

Although suppressed immediately after the reform, the older rite was legalized by Pope St. John Paul II in limited circumstances in 1988, and then freed up entirely by Pope Benedict XVI in his groundbreaking 2007 document "Summorum Pontificum," in which he also expressed his desire that the solemn celebration of the traditional rite would consequently rub off on the way the new rite is celebrated.

Yet Pope Francis is having none of it. In his Archdiocese in Buenos Aires, the traditional rite was non-existent, and he was described by an Argentinian journalist as "a sworn enemy of the Traditional Mass." Since he ascended to the papacy this has been shown to be true in a global sense.

Apart from his dive away from the traditional liturgical style of Benedict in papal masses, Pope Francis has dismissed Catholics who attend the older rites in Latin as 'ideologizing' and being guilty of 'exploitation.' He also banned the Franciscans of the Immaculate -- a worldwide traditional Catholic order -- from celebrating the old Mass freely. Apparently, the attitude of "Who am I to judge" does not apply here.

No wonder then that some bishops and cardinals are seeing the winds of change at the Vatican and are acting accordingly.

In New York, under the leadership of the once moderately conservative Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Archdiocese was a place that allowed the traditional mass to be said without hassle after Summorum Pontificum.

However, since Pope Francis arrived, Dolan -- commonly referred to as "America's Pope" -- has shifted to the left, so much so that even the New York Times has noticed. Dolan has become a spokesman for Francis' view of capitalism, has softened on gay rights, been an even stauncher advocate of amnesty for illegal immigrants and incredibly -- criticized ObamaCare because it didn't provide free health care to illegals, putting him to the left of Nancy Pelosi.
Now he's turned on the traditionalists.

There are three churches in Manhattan that celebrate the Traditional Mass. One -- Our Savior's near Grand Central, had its pastor removed by Cardinal Dolan and replaced by a priest who could not say the old Mass, so it has been stopped.

Earlier this year, it was announced that the internationally-renowned Church of Holy Innocents, the well-attended hub of traditionalism in the city packed with masses, devotions, and regular confessions, all within one of the most beautiful churches in the archdiocese, has been recommended for closure by an archdiocesan commission.

The news shocked traditional Catholics all over the world and has become an international symbol especially as it is well attended and in good financial state.

Church closures and consolidations should be about getting rid of churches that are losing money or have no one attending. Masses at Holy Innocents are frequently standing room only, and documents I was shown suggest that Holy Innocents has run a surplus for the last seven years, and has no debt. This is in contrast to some parishes with no threat of closure that have 6-figure deficits, while other parishes openly dissent from Church teaching free from any scrutiny from the once-conservative archdiocese.

Holy Innocents, devastated by this news that they are earmarked for closure, have organized petitions and are saying daily rosaries and novenas to pray for the preservation of their beloved church.
Consequently at a recent Mass, Rev. Justin Wylie, a priest from South Africa who worked at the U.N. for the Holy See and who said regular masses both at Holy Innocents and at the third place of traditional worship -- St. Agnes -- compared the situation for traditionalists in the archdiocese to Reformation England and Cromwellian Ireland. Wylie asked traditionalists "why are you scurrying about like ecclesiastical scavengers, hoping for a scrap or two to fall from the table for your very existence?" and called on them to peacefully assert their rights as baptized Catholics.
This was apparently too much in the era of Pope Francis.

Sources told me that a letter was immediately sent to the papal nuncio to the U.N. and, incredibly, to Wylie's archdiocese in Johannesburg, scolding Wylie for his comments and threatening to recommend Wylie's priestly faculties be removed -- an extremely serious move that essentially prevents a priest from acting as one and is usually reserved for very serious accusations like sexual abuse, not upsetting a cardinal.

Sources say that after the letter was received, Rev. Wylie, in a move that sounds more like something from Inquisition-era Spain than from modern day New York, was then silenced,  forbidden from celebrating Mass publicly, and told to pack his bags and leave for South Africa as soon as possible.
Msgr. Edward Weber, head of the Priest Personnel office for the Archdiocese, who would normally be responsible for such a letter, denied that the letter existed when I spoke to him by phone, despite previously being reported on a traditional blog as saying the order came from the Cardinal's office. Weber told me he had been misquoted.

Later, the archdiocese admitted in a statement that there had indeed been a letter, but said it did not come from the Cardinal's desk, and it did not threaten to remove Wylie's faculties. When I asked if they had threatened to recommend that he have his faculties removed, the archdiocese did not respond.

Wylie's silencing and banishment is devastating for traditional Catholics. Not only is Wylie a renowned preacher, known for solemn celebration and exceptionally beautiful homilies that are so revered they are frequently uploaded to YouTube, he was an important priest both at Holy Innocents, and also at St. Agnes, where he celebrated three out of four traditional masses a month. His move consequently threatens the regularity of the ancient rites there too, as Rev. Wylie's censuring has had a chilling effect on priests who would consider taking over his role.

This chilling effect has spread to non-clergy too. Many of those, clergy and lay people, with whom I spoke who provided me with information and documents on the situation first demanded anonymity in fear that they and the people with whom they are associated would be retaliated against by Cardinal Dolan's administration.

"There will be retaliation if our names appear in your article," one source told me. "We have already received hints of this [from the archdiocese]."

This it appears, is an all too real example of "The Francis Effect," where dissenters are pandered to and enemies of the Church have their bellies scratched, while those who sacrifice for the Church, battle on the front lines, and just wish to pray at a good liturgy steeped in the traditional beauty of the Church are attacked, insulted, and if they dare so much emit a squeak of annoyance, find themselves cast out of the Church.

I hope both Pope Francis and the New York Archdiocese will cease their attack on a community of people that mean no harm and who support the Church through thick and thin.
Unfortunately however, I fear we may be seeing the latest in a long series of pernicious events under the banner of "The Francis Effect."

I hope I am wrong.


Anonymous said...

Although Mr. Shaw's photo looks like I've got a half century or so on him, I detect no evidence of immaturity in his article. Indeed, I seen no fault at all in it. Let him who is without . . . cast the first . . . .

Actually, although the byzantine chancery apparatus in the Archdiocese of New York--from the bowels of which this closure recommendation came--undoubtedly resents a dynamic parish like St. Agnes where orthodox liturgy and faith and charity are equally vibrant, my guess is Cardinal Dolan is too mature to allow them to maneuver its closure.

Rood Screen said...

This article seems reasonable and well-written. I see no problem with it or with the author.

What good Catholics want is reverence at Mass and truthfulness in catechesis. Such Catholics must seek these things with charity, and the sacred pastors must respond appropriately to these requests. If there is suppression of rightful requests, then grave evil is afoot.

Perhaps there really is a "hermeneutics of confusion".

TomO said...


It does not help Pope Francis to deny the obvious in the name of defending the Pope. It would be better to just admit his faults and present his positive qualities. This is a prime example of why people say this blog treats Pope Francis the way MSNBC treats President Obama. I don't hate the Pope but I will stand up for the FFI and I won't pretend he is a friend of Tradition.

Cameron said...

Cardinal Pell will not wear the cappa because cardinals and bishops are not allowed to do that in Rome.

Pater Ignotus said...

Mr. Shaw is either naïve or is pretending to be naïve in order to hype his complaints and make it seem that the "Big Bad Bergolio" effect is driving a conspiracy to punish traditionalists.

Shaw writes, "Sources told me that a letter was immediately sent to the papal nuncio to the U.N. and, incredibly, to Wylie's archdiocese in Johannesburg,..."

There is noting "incredible" at all in a copy of a letter concerning a priest being sent to his home diocese. In fact, this is standard operating procedure.

If a priest is working at, say, a Catholic college outside his diocese and a complaint is made about that priest to the college president, a copy would, under virtually any circumstances, be sent to his ultimate superior, his diocesan bishop.

Regarding Fr. Wylie, I would suggest that he forgot one important thing. He is not the Archbishop of New York and Cardinal Dolan is. It is all well and good - even necessary - for a priest to disagree with the local ordinary in private. However, when the doors are opened, it is the local ordinary who is in charge. For a priest to proclaim publicly that a policy decision is wrong is an overstep. And, as should be, there are consequences to ignoring the chain of command.

Pater Ignotus said...

And there's more to the Shaw Story.

NCRegister, 4 January 2014: "Adam Shaw, writing at, unleashes a juvenile diatribe against Pope Francis is which he calls the Pope a "snob" and against prosperity." - Pat Archbold

"This statement is a perfect summary of Francis’ papacy, a primary theme of which has been a peculiar dislike of prosperity. His first major document, -- “Evangelii Gaudium” -- was a prime example of his disdain for those who are not content to soak in poverty or to submit to socialism." - Adam Shaw

"I won't go into detail about the silliness of this caricature of Evangelii Gaudium (I have covered some of that here) but suffice it to say he takes quotes out of context and applies them universally which the Pope clearly wasn't doing in context." - Pat Archbold

rcg said...

Where I depart from Adam Shaw is in his portrayal of motives. This is where the Church is injured by the same misguided secrecy that exacerbated the abuse crisis. If Fr Wylie made a public statement that needed correction it should be made publicly. The actions taken against him seem very disproportionate especially when we have priests such as Fr Pfleger who teach contrary to Church teachings for YEARS not to mention the LCWR and nearly every South American Bishop. It appears Cardinal Dolan is what we called a weather vane in the military, so he won't push back on anything.

I do not think his fears are unfounded. It would only take a weak bishop in any diocese to rescind the permissions for TLM and, like Stalin, dare Pope Benedict to enforce SP.

It is also slightly offensive to use a photo of Argentine right wingers, who are often linked to Nazis, as a straw man for a discussion about traditionalist concerns.

Rood Screen said...

Pater Ignotus,

I think if you would just try to understand situations like this from the perspective of the other side, you would be in a better position to offer thoughtful comments, even without abandoning your own positions. Listen first, then understand, and finally apply the Gospel. This is a winning approach for everyone.

Pater Ignotus said...

JBS - I offered a critique of one point of Mr. Shaw's rant which seems to indicate that Mr. Shaw is unaware of a standard practice in the Church.

It is not necessary to understand his perspective to show that he is, on this point, lacking understanding.

It is also not necessary to understand Mr. Shaw's perspective to react, as Mr. Archbold did, to Mr. Shaw's "juvenile diatribe" against Pope Francis.

Rood Screen said...

Pater Ignotus,

I agree that your critiques of this fellow's statements are reasonable, and I agree that you need not understand these statements to respond to them. I also think a wise man can increase the effectiveness of his comments by demonstrating a genuine care for, and understanding of, opponents.

Pater Ignotus said...

JBS - Mr. Shaw is not my "opponent" in this matter. And it is not necessary to understand him beyond the article Fr. McDonald posted here for our perusal and comment. I'm not his psychoanalyst or his spiritual director, for heaven's sake.

I do understand that his finding it "incredible" that Fr. Wylie's diocesan bishop should be informed of the complaints being made against him in New York reveals a lack of familiarity with practices that are standard in the Church and in many, if not most, large organizations.

George said...

You have to keep in mind that we are talking about the diocese of New York, one of the most liberal in the country. Mr Shaw should in all fairness have interviewed Cardinal Dolan about these issues he writes about. It would be good to ask the Cardinal about the state of Catholicism in New York. The good and the not so good. What percentage of Catholics attend Mass every Sunday? How many believe everything the Church teaches on the most fundamentally important matters today(abortion, same -sex marriage etc.). New York is a state which has gotten rid of the death penalty but has one of the highest abortion rates in the country. I would like to hear the Cardinal's opinion on why the most faithful,devoted tradition-oriented, Catholic families and religious orders are producing the most vocations.
By the way, Fr Phleger was disciplined. Cardinal Francis George suspended Father Pfleger from administering any of the sacraments of the Sacrament of and from his active ministry as pastor of St. Sabina's Parish in 2011. George had suggested that Pfleger take the position of president at Chicago's Leo High School, but Pfleger said he would consider leaving the Catholic Church if forced to leave his parish. Cardinal George replied, in part, "If that is truly your attitude, you have already left the Catholic Church." The Cardinal did lift the suspension however a month later.

Marc said...

I was in New York a few weeks ago. In the midst of discussion about which parishes to close and combine, they are undergoing a massive, nearly complete renovation of St. Patrick's Cathedral. So, from a financial perspective, it is difficult to see why there is a need to close parishes.

I went to Holy Innocents in Manhattan for Mass. It is a vibrant, diverse congregation that was nearly full to capacity for the Sunday High Mass. The priest offering Mass when I went was a new priest (I gather from his giving first blessings after Mass). So, from a practical standpoint, there is no indication as to why this parish should close.

There might not be an overt war against the so-called Traditionalists, granted. But, if that isn't the case, it is hard to explain the reasoning behind selecting this parish for closure given the multitude of other options. From that perspective, it seems to me that a priest has every right to inform his people of the situation, including those aspects that might not seem favorable toward the bishop. If the bishop doesn't want to look badly, maybe he should take a different, more obviously logical course of action.

Pater Ignotus said...

Marc - A priest has no right to oppose a diocesan bishop publicly in matters of policy. He can make his opinions known to the people and to the bishop before the bishop makes a decision, but when the decision is made, the bishop's word is law.

If he chooses to oppose the local ordinary publicly, he knows there will be consequences - even so-called "incredible" consequences.

An extern priest - one who is incardinated in a diocese other than the one in which he is working - is a guest in the diocese in which he is working. He should be the last to oppose publicly a policy decision established by the local ordinary.

A lawyer in court can argue his/her case till he/she is blue in the face. The judge, however, has the last word, and the lawyer knows it. Should that lawyer choose, after a decision is reached by the judge, to vilify, calumniate, or otherwise attack the judge personally for the decision, there will be consequences.

The attorney can choose the route of foolish, harmful "martyrdom," or he/she can accept that the judge, not the attorney, has the right and the obligation to render decisions.

None of us, including, I suspect, Fr. Wylie, knows all the facts in the case of the New York churches. To say, "They're spending lots of money at St. Patrick's Cathedral, therefore Holy Innocents should not be closed" is not a valid argument.

Rood Screen said...

A bishop's decision to suppress a parish or sell its church should be respected, but such a decision can also be respectfully appealed to the Vatican. Pater Ignotus is not entirely wrong in noting that a visiting priest is in a very different canonical position from an assigned parish priest/pastor.