Fisher-More denied ability to offer TLM March 3, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, episcopate, error, General Catholic, Latin Mass, persecution, sadness, scandals, self-serving, SSPX.
Some commenters already brought this up in another post, but Rorate has a screaming headline concerning Fisher-More College in Ft. Worth, and some decision by the Diocese of Fort Worth to deny Fisher-More the ability to have the Traditional Latin Mass on campus.
You guys know how much I respect Rorate. But I think in this case their zeal for the TLM, and perhaps a less than full understanding of the situation, may have skewed their coverage a bit.
As commenter Skeinster noted, there are problems at Fisher-More. Problems so severe, I privately regretted having supported their fundraising drive last fall (I had heard inklings at the time I gave that support, but came to know much, much more shortly thereafter).
A lot of people who live outside Texas, and even many within the state who reside outside the Metroplex, do not know how close together Dallas and Fort Worth are. It’s only about a half hour drive from downtown Dallas to downtown Fort Worth. As such, our local Traditional Latin Mass community shares a lot of people between the two cities. And, the priests of our FSSP parish provide a TLM in the Fort Worth Diocese on Sundays. Some priests from our parish have taught classes at Fisher-More.
But they have stopped doing so. In fact, many long-time faculty have left Fisher-More. This is not solely related to their financial woes. In fact, it has to do with really severe problems with the college’s administration, and in particular, the college president Michael King referenced.
I know many exceedingly good traditional Catholic families who have (or, I should stress, had) children at Fisher-More. I know some folks who have taught there. I know some who are still employed there. All are unfailingly stalwart supporters of the great Tradition of our Faith and all recognize the hideous crisis now afflicting the Church. But many – most – have increasingly grave concerns regarding Fisher-More and especially the direction Michael King is taking the college. Well-known traditional Catholic academic Taylor Marshall left Fisher-More last summer over these same concerns.
These concerns center on Mr. King taking an increasingly severe stand regarding the Council and the changes that have occurred in the Church in the past 50 years. I am not privy to all the details – perhaps some of those who are could chime in – but the level of excoriation for the Church and Her leaders has reached a state that even many good, traditional Catholics are scandalized by the rhetoric. And, from what I have been told by many, no dissent from Mr. King’s “direction” is tolerated. Those that voice doubts or express concerns are dismissed, virtually on the spot. This applies to both faculty and staff. As such, the college has lost many longtime faculty and administrators and even the college’s founder has been sidelined. Again, I have had all this confirmed to me by numerous sources. Many students – very solid, traditional Catholic students – have left the university as it seems to be heading towards such extremism the students fear scandal if they continue their studies.
In addition, many parents feel that they are being told one story by the administration (Mr. King), but that the reality is something quite different. Many parents feel misled.
I’m not saying Bishop Olson’s solution is fully appropriate or justifiable. It seems severe. And naturally, it was aimed at the TLM. If this was absolutely necessary and the ONLY way Bishop Olson thought he could solve the problems at Fisher-More, he should have explained why his action in that regard was uniquely necessary. He should also explained under what authority he, as a bishop, managed to undo a papal act liberalizing the availability of the TLM. Bishop Olson has now caused some degree of scandal among the faithful, who feel their rights trampled upon.
After Bishop Vann departed, the vicar general of Fort Worth had already restricted the TLM at Fisher-More. It could be Bishop Olson followed the recommendations of his staff, some of which probably aren’t too fond of having a traditional Catholic college in their diocese. And even if this act is intended to be some charitable attempt to recall a wayward sheep, it does seem harsh and uncharitable towards students and others at Fisher-More who have come to depend upon the TLM. Fisher-More was an attempt to build a traditional Catholic college, but without the TLM either on campus or immediately available on a daily basis, it would seem one of the prime reasons for the college’s existence was just wiped out. Close as Dallas and Fort Worth are, asking college students to drive 60 miles round trip every day to assist at the TLM in Irving is a bit much.
I also think it was an unfortunately clumsy statement – a truly foolhardy statement – to associate removal of the TLM with “the good of your own soul.” I think folks are reading a connection there that may not be intended, but it’s too easily made by this very brief, very unspecific document.
Nevertheless, there has been growing concern locally both over King’s draconian style of administration and his seeming desire to make Fisher-More an informal (or formal, who knows?) appendage of the Society of St. Pius X. That may not be King’s intent, but it is the impression many have. In addition, I am told that even though they managed to stay open this spring, Fisher-More’s finances are a wreck and the college is living on borrowed time. These issues may seem unrelated, but they are not. In fact, they are tightly intertwined. That’s all I’ll say about that.
So, make up your own mind. Hopefully we’ll get some more details in the comments from those close to Fisher-More.
UPDATE: I’m shutting down comments since I cannot monitor overnight. I think this has been talked about enough.