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Thursday, January 6, 2022

Open Letter to Bishop Michael Burbidge, Diocese of Arlington, Virginia on Access to the Traditional Latin Mass

Editor's Comment: Many bishops around the country are acting in haste to implement the illegitimate motu proprio, Traditionis Custodes, and the responsa to the dubious dubia. The shepherds have much reason to go slowly before joining a good ole boys' club (literally) to hammer the faithful for loving the holy Mass celebrated by the saints for millennia. Instead of providing a fish, many are giving us a serpent, instead of bread, a stone. They are engaged in a hopeless task, because, as Gamaliel said to the Sanhedrin, if it's from God they will find themselves fighting against God. Anyone who has ever attended a Tridentine Mass can testify to the fact that it's from God. There's no question that it gives all honor, glory, and praise to our Creator through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Please join me in letting your bishop know that you want what the English martyrs wanted, the holy Mass! Let us pray and offer Masses for our shepherds!

Most Reverend Michael Burbidge,
Bishop of the Diocese of Arlington
200 North Glebe Rd. 
Arlington, VA 22203

Your Excellency:
As this difficult year of 2021 ends, I’m writing with a heavy heart. I was surprised and disappointed at the speed with which you embraced the pope’s uncharitable crackdown on the faithful who attend the Mass of the Ages (TLM). While Pope Francis talks incessantly about mercy and unity there seems to be no mercy for those of us who love the TLM and no unity as he instructs bishops to throw us out of the churches. That creates an apartheid in the faith with some of us treated as untouchables unworthy of entering the temple of the Lord. The instruction to ban announcements of the TLM in parish bulletins borders on the ridiculous! And the timing of the announcement at Christmas is almost breathtaking in its cruelty. One feels as if Pope Francis hates us in the same way Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell, Queen Elizabeth I and her agents hated the recusants in England. The TLM and its adherents cannot be left alone, but must be crushed!


While you discussed in your podcast of December 20th the fact that you were going to meet with the pastors who currently offer the extraordinary form in their parishes, shouldn’t that have been the FIRST thing to do rather than to announce so precipitously that the pope’s draconian acts “must” be implemented? Shouldn’t a serious evaluation of the legitimacy of the motu proprio and the responsa with consultation from liturgists and canonists be the FIRST approach? Is it true that every papal decree “must” be implemented and with warp speed urgency?

Following your announcement, liturgist and Thomist professor, Peter Kwasniewski, told LifeSiteNews that there is “much to be upset about in the bishop’s unnecessarily rapid ‘implementation’ of the CDW responses.” He went on to point out the, “tremendous amount of commentary that points to canonical flaws, errors, and inconsistencies in the CDW document that make it worthy of critical examination and may result in a judgment that it is not pastorally advisable to implement it in a given diocese – especially one that has so many clergy and faithful who are attached to the usus antiquior, not only the Mass but also the other sacramental rites, which are immemorial and venerable expressions of the faith of the Catholic Church.”

Dr. Kwasniewski points out an obvious reality that these draconian actions damage the credibility of the hierarchy. “It is not easy, nor is it desirable, to convince Catholics who have worshiped for years with the traditional rites, as fully authorized by the recent popes, that suddenly they are no longer allowed to do so, and that doing so would be wrong or dangerous.... As Ratzinger said, this kind of thing makes a mockery of the Church’s own teaching authority.”

Exactly! If, as Pope Benedict said, the TLM was never “abrogated” how can it now be abrogated by Pope Francis with the stroke of a pen?

I remember clearly the 2002 Dallas meeting of the bishops’ conference when Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz recommended that the relationship between the sex abuse crisis and dissent be studied. His motion could not even get a second from a single one of his brothers. The result of the meeting was to put the onus of clergy sex abuse on parish priests and lay volunteers. The bishops exempted themselves from scrutiny, disgracefully avoiding their own contribution to the crisis. Their actions caused Bishop Bruskewitz to describe them later as, “this hapless bench of bishops.” 

I’m aware that the Dallas meeting happened before your episcopal ordination, but, sadly, the “hapless” inaction of so many of our bishops and their willingness to enable the liturgical abuse of the flock continues. Are those of us who love the TLM really a source of disunity in the Church? The survey used to make that claim, showed nothing of the kind according to Vatican correspondent Diane Montagna who apparently received a leaked copy. Why has the Vatican refused to release the survey? Is this the transparency we were promised?

Your Excellency, the laity know we are being lied to. How does that encourage trust and unity with our shepherds? We are not the enemy. We are faithful sons and daughters of the Church just as those who refused to follow the Arian bishops of the 4th century. History will not judge our modernist persecutors kindly. We need bishops who embrace the courage of St. Athanasius and St. John Fisher. Athanasius refused to bend to an erring Church leader, John Fisher to a secular one. But they both shared in a common commitment to the will of God and the Holy Spirit. Do you really believe that obedience to an abusive decree that suppresses the liturgy offered by St. Jean Vianney, the patron of parish priests, and so many saints of Holy Mother Church, is the will of God? Not all obedience is laudatory.

Canon lawyer, Cathy Caridi, on her blog, Canon Law Made Easy, discusses the “loophole” in Traditionis Custodes. The document does not abrogate the TLM and it contains an inherent contradiction. It acknowledges the authority of the local bishop as guardian of liturgical life in his diocese with the “exclusive competence” to regulate it; but then requires him to get permission from the Vatican to allow the TLM for priests ordained after its promulgation. Caridi concludes that the document was written “in a hurry” by someone who didn’t know what he was talking about from the perspective of canon law, Church history, and liturgy.

Your Excellency, please defend your flock. The laity have rights and one of those rights is access to the TLM, a Mass attended by the saints of two millennia. My Confirmation patron, St. Dominic, celebrated the TLM. The patrons of our diocese, St. Thomas More and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton attended it. Please don’t make us orphans cast out of our churches to go wandering looking for a home. We need you to defend us! May God give you the grace to do it.

Sincerely in Christ Jesus,

Mary Ann Kreitzer

P.S. I’m publishing this on my blog as an open letter urging readers to pray and have Masses said for you.


Aqua said...

Mary Ann,

Mark Docherty, Non Veni Pacem, blogged about a Feast of the Epiphany homily from Jorge Bergoglio. Taken one way you might be discouraged by it, as with so much that emanates from the Christian halls of power see days. Taken another way, I find encouragement in it because I take it the precise opposite of how it was likely intended. However it was intended, I a, encouraged, especially after re-engaging with my Christian fundamentals in the video link below.

With your permission - I cross post my comment from his blog. It speaks my mind on this present moment of darkness which is but a harbinger of imminent Light!

- X Post -

“We do well to ask: where are we on our journey of faith? Have we been stuck all too long, nestled inside a conventional, external and formal religiosity that no longer warms our hearts and changes our lives? Do our words and our liturgies ignite in people’s hearts a desire to move towards God, or are they a “dead language” that speaks only of itself and to itself? It is sad when a community of believers loses its desire and is content with “maintenance” rather than allowing itself to be startled by Jesus and by the explosive and unsettling joy of the Gospel. It is sad when a priest has closed the door of desire, sad to fall into clerical functionalism, very sad.” (Jorge Bergoglio, from his homily on the Feast of the Epiphany 2022).

“New ways, New paths” - yep, I agree. It is time.

Not a terrible homily, actually. Time to open the doors of Clerical functionalism to new ways, new paths … out with the unjust old hidebound Vatican II and return to our roots of our forefathers, in the communion of Saints with Jesus Our Lord and the Mass of Ages of Pope St. Pius V. Perfect ... all of it perfect, just as you would expect from the merciful Jesus who gave us the precious Deposit of Faith

If read that way, then I agree with every word of that homily.

Either way … our politics and disputes fade into meaningless baubles in the face of THIS - THIS is what we Catholics are about and always have been.

I urge you to watch this from Mel Gibson - the rest of the Story ...

Jesus! King of Kings! EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW!

umblepie said...

An excellent post. There seems almost a correlation between the civil tyranny threatening the well-being of its people, and the religious tyranny threatening the adherents of the Traditional Latin Mass, and its very existence. The civil and religious despots seem to have been trained in the same school. I do not speak as a theologian or sociologist, but as an ordinary sinful layman, of advanced years, who through God's mercy loves the Church, and is only desirous of persevering in the Faith to the end. Love to be effective, has to be reciprocated, but how can loyal and faithful Catholics reciprocate love with a Pope who seems to bear only malice towards them and their deeply held beliefs and tradition? I will remember Bishop Burbridge in my prayers.

rohrbachs said...

Rident stolidi verba Latina.

Seriously, I heartily recommend procuring

to follow alongside any Mass (novus or antiquor).

In my mind, the Latin is an honorific to the testimony of the first martyrs witnessing to Jesus, without which there would be no Church. Jesus' light shines out to all ages because because of these martyrs dynamic testimonies. Thought experiment: what if all of a sudden, "Mr Big" decides it is not 2022 at present but the year "1" instead this year? Whether we call it "Anno Domini" or "CE", our deepest monument is that of the dating to Christ. We must defend this dating with the Latin Mass! Far from being "static", it thrusts us back to the "stillpoint" (as Eliot would say). All ages bend the knee to "Anno Domini".

Andrew Dunn said...

Several years ago, when Burbidge was named bishop of Raleigh, us Philly people were celebrating because Philly born and bred Burbidge was now a bishop. At that time, I was told by someone that he was a politician and this was a social climb up the ladder. Looking back on that, I think that person was right. Why else would he be sucking up to Bergoglio by quickly implementing this satanic agenda. If any priests, bishops or religious are reading this, YOU are held to a higher standard than us lay people. YOU will be judged - hard - when you pass away and if your decisions led someone to leave the Catholic Faith, well... let's just say that won't be good.