Father Phil,

I was surprised and delighted to find an orthodox priest in Western Washington. I thought they had all been run out of here years ago. I have read the items on your homepage and I agree with most of what you write. I commend you for sharing your views on some of the problems facing traditional (orthodox) Catholics in this country, today. I think the majority of the Catholics are unaware of the dissidentsí goals and agenda to change the Church in this country. Until recently I was unaware.

It has only been during the past 8 months that I have had the time and resources (Internet) to research what is happening. It is amazing and depressing to see lay people and clergy (including some bishops) openly contradict (almost to the point of rebellion) policy laid out by Rome. Whatever happened to the virtue of humility?

In June of this year the Catholic Theological Society of America held their annual convention in Minneapolis. Members endorsed the conclusion of a taskforce report which said further study, discussion and prayer were needed because "serious doubts" remain about the claims of authority and grounding in tradition attributed to the teaching by the Vaticanís Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This was done despite the urging of Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput to retire the report "as briskly as possible."

Fortunately this action by the CTSA was condemned by Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston and several bishops.

Bishop James T. McHugh of Camden, N.J., called it "decidedly unhelpful in building up the faith of Catholics." (Isnít that one of the primary duties of theologians: to build up our faith?) Bishop John J. Myers of Peoria, Ill., said the report was "permeated with the implication that it is the role of theologians to sit in judgment on the teachings of the pope and the magisterium."

Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston criticized the theologian group saying, "what a wasteland is the professional Catholic theological society as represented by the CTSA." The Cardinal implied the report was a "transparent ruse" because it opted to study the authority of the teaching rather than the doctrine itself. The CTSAís statement on the issue of womenís ordination disputed the infallibility of John Paulís dogmatic declaration on this issue as well as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faithís subsequent statement that, theologically, the issue is closed.

Perhaps John Paul IIís 1990 apostolic constitution on higher education, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, when it is finally implemented, will eliminate actions like this from happening in the future.

In the Spring of this year, the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education asked the U.S. bishops to submit a "second draft" of the plan the bishops approved at their annual meeting last November for implementing Ex Corde Ecclesiae.

The most controversial aspect of Ex Corde Ecclesiae is its assertion that Catholic theologians are to be faithful to the magisterium of the Church as the authentic interpreter of sacred Scripture and sacred Tradition. This norm is based on Canon 812 of the Churchís Code of Canon Law.

Canon 812 has been in effect since 1983, but ignored by the Church in the United States because some bishops and academic leaders contend it conflicts with expectations of academic freedom. Canon 812 states "it is necessary that those who teach theological disciplines in any institute of higher studies have a mandate from the competent ecclesiastical authority."

The U. S. bishops were asked to rewrite their college plan because they failed to incorporate Canon 812: it has only been in effect for 14 years; they have only been debating it for the last 6 years!

I am 56 years of age and have been married to the same woman for 30 of those years. My wife comes from a large family. Several of her brothers gave up their faith and converted to the faith of their spouses. All of her brothers attended parochial schools and were graduates of Catholic high schools.

I have three children: all of them attended Catholic schools. Not too long ago my son became interested in a woman of a different faith. My son said he was considering converting to his girlfriendís religion if they married. He felt that all Christian religions were the same. I asked him to learn about his religion before he made the decision to throw it away. He did this and remains a Catholic. I made an assumption that my children were learning about their Catholic religion when they attended Catholic schools. Instead, they were learning about their Christian religion. My parish has been using an unauthorized liturgy for over a year now: I believe the NRSV is used for the liturgy. Between using inclusive language and trying to make the text more modern and relevant the NRSV has distorted the meaning of scripture and has managed to make it sound terrible: The scripture use to sound poetic and fell softly onto the ear.

It bothered me so much that I started attending Mass at other parishes. I was surprised to find this practice going on at quite a few different parishes. In some parishes the Readings were NRSV and the Gospel was NRSV: at other parishes the Readings were NRSV and the Gospel was out of my St. Josephís Missal.

In some churches they knelt during the Eucharist, in some they sat and in some they stood. Of the five parishes where I attended Mass, Blessed Sacrament in the university district was the only parish to offer a Mass with the traditional liturgy: possibly because they are Dominicans.

This got me researching the changes in the liturgy. My impression is that the feminists and the dissidents put enough pressure on the bishops until the bishops agreed that it was necessary to be politically correct and produce a new translation of Scripture that used horizontal inclusive language: the feminists wanted vertical inclusive language to be used.

In 1992 the U. S. Bishops approved the use of their new Scripture. In 1994, The Vatican disapproved this scripture. A commission of U.S. bishops working with the Vatican put together a new package that was mutually agreeable. It was submitted to the U.S. bishops for their approval in March of this year.

This approval was withheld at their spring meeting in June of this year because a two thirds majority was needed for approval. A number of bishops strongly disagreed with the compromise package worked out by Rome and their own commission. A compromise was attempted by adding an attachment to the package stating they would review this package in five years, with the possibility of modifying it. I think they hope that John Paulís replacement will look more favorably on the dissidents.

This package was finally approved by a majority of bishops on August 11, 1997, with the attached rider, and has been sent back to Rome for final approval.

One of the most vocal opponents of the compromise lectionary is Eirie, Pa. Bishop Donald Trautman. He appears to have a crusade going for incorporating inclusive language into the liturgy. He gets quite a bit of news coverage. The August 1, 1997 issue of the National Catholic Reporter features a speech he gave to the Notre Dame Pastoral Liturgy Conference warning of the evils and dangers of Adoremus. Trautman expressed the need to educate Catholics on the need for more inclusive language in Scripture translations. I guess this is to set us up for the study proposed five years from now.

Since that article I have become a contributor to Adoremus.

The website address for Adoremus is http://www.erinet.com/aquinas/arch/adoremus.html.

Well Father, I think I got a lot of it off my chest. Keep up the good work.

Sincerely,

Joe

********************

Dear Joe,

Thanks for the letter. I am sure you know there are a number of other "orthodox" priests in the Archdiocese. I do try to avoid labels and assume (unless proven otherwise) every Catholic priest is orthodox. Still, as the Holy Father has observed, and your research has confirmed, dissent has become widespread and systematic (cf. Veritatis Splendor no. 4). In a spirit of humility and respect, we must oppose it. The faith of our children depends on it, as your letter also testifies.

Helping a priest get back on the right track is no simple matter. I have been corrected myself both by archdiocesan officials and alert (and in this case) polite parishioners. I reacted in the normal way--defensively--but I did finally see something in what they were saying. None of this is easy and requires prayer and a lot of delicacy.

God bless you in your work.

Fr. Phil Bloom

********************

Another letter about liturgical abuses.

Letter from Fr. Rich Simon, a Chicago Priest who writes to his parishioners about reverence for the Eucharist and the Place of the Tabernacle.

A challenge to dissenters.

The Problem of Dissent in Catholic Universities.

Back to Letters.

Home.