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The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter Continues with its Inexplicable Personnel Policies April 9, 2018

Posted by Tantumblogo in Dallas Diocese, error, foolishness, General Catholic, huh?, Interior Life, Latin Mass, priests, sadness, scandals, the struggle for the Church, Tradition.
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We’ve gone to Mater Dei in Irving since 2010.  Just about 9 years.  In that time, we have had 10 different priests pass through, and 7 departures.  It was just announced over the weekend that our pastor of that entire time will be leaving, just as the capital campaign to construct a new church he led to the point of buying property is coming to fruition.  I really don’t get it.  It is also probable that some or all of the 3 other priests at the parish will be reassigned.  Come this summer, the parish of well over 1000 souls may have an entirely new set of priests.

It’s not just Mater Dei.  One very good priest has been moved 3 times in the past 4 years. Fr. Romanowski built up the apostolate in Guadalajara from scratch and became an integral and much loved part of the community, but was transferred to Naples, Fl last year.  We’ve had an increasing number of priests assigned to Mater Dei for just one or two years – just when they get to know many of the people and can start to supply that kind of rare spiritual care so badly needed, they are transferred.  I know there are certain reasons for this, a lack of priests, the desire to prevent the priest from developing a cult of personality around him, and the need to match up available personnel with the needs of many disparate parishes/communities.  Nevertheless, I think this post-conciliar trend of constantly transferring priests is, overall, more destructive than beneficial and it needs to stop.

In the “bad old days” before the Council, priests were often assigned to a parish for life.  The local parish priest became an integral part of the community he served, he knew the families and their idiosyncrasies, the needs of particular individuals, the trouble spots and the souls to rely on.  Fr. A. A. Gitter was pastor of St. Anthony in Harper, TX for nearly 50 years.  People grew to know and trust their priests, to love them for their strengths as well as their faults. That’s all entirely out the window now, either the parishes are so big even a longtime priest hasn’t a prayer of meeting more than a handful of his flock, or, in the rare cases of smaller parishes, priests are rotated in and out every few years.  There had been an idea that while the vicars and assistant pastors at Mater Dei might be changeable, the pastor was going to stay the same for an extended duration. In fact, such had been clearly communicated as being “the plan,” at least as our priests understood it. Well, so much for that idea.

While this kind of thing might be accepted practice at Novus Ordo parishes, they are very destructive at traditional ones.  While the lay bureaucracy may more or less run day to day affairs with the priest as sacramental administrator and CEO of St. Temporary’s Inc., that is not the case at traditional parishes.  It had better not become the case.  Traditional parishes are run much more like pre-conciliar ones, where the priests are intimately involved in the day to day administration of the parish as much as they are in the spiritual lives of the souls in their charge.  Thus when the pastor is transferred away in the middle of a major capital campaign and building project, there is no chance there won’t be significant disruption.  It’s also more than a bit unnerving, to the point certain skeptical souls might wonder just what they are buying into with such transience in leadership at such a key time.

I don’t know about the politics involved in this announcement of departure, and really don’t want to know.  I know there are some who are dissatisfied with the current pastor, but they’ve been dissatisfied with EVERY pastor.  For some people, the stereotypical bad-trads I’ve been dismayed to learn do exist, and in our own parish, no one is ever good enough.  And some of those people have loud voices.

I believe this is the 5th year in a row where we’ve had a priest change at Mater Dei. Last year all assistant priests were replaced, this year we’re losing the pastor.  This kind of turnover can increase the distance between priests and their people.  Some souls take a long time to get comfortable and come to trust someone with their inmost secrets, even in the privacy of the confessional.  Some souls require more intimate care.  Both and much more are badly disturbed by this kind of constant turnover.

This might seem like carping and whining to those who lack a permanent, regular TLM, or a TLM-specific parish.  And perhaps it is.  But I also know these changes are not “required.”  There are alternatives.  There are other parishes that haven’t had close to the priestly turnover we have.  Mater Dei has been blessed with phenomenal growth and great spiritual blessings, and much of this, I believe, can be attributed to the quality of priests we’ve been blessed to have.  Perhaps it’s time for other people, in other places, to benefit from their ministrations.  Then again, people are not just cogs that can be picked up from one locale and dropped into another with exactly the same results.  Communities have personalities and needs and ambitions just as individuals do.  Most, but not all, of the priests assigned to Mater Dei have been good fits for the community, but that doesn’t mean they’ll fit in as well elsewhere.

Thus, I find it rather incredible that a pastor who has seen about 400% growth in parish membership and an equal increase in income would be transferred away, but there it is.  I don’t want to sound ungrateful, the Fraternity has been a tremendous blessing for our family, the diocese and the entire region, but I think Mater Dei deserves some stability in the priest department for some years now.  In fact, given its tremendous, almost unprecedented growth, steadiness in leadership is especially needed.  There are dangers of the parish community losing what makes it so special, what attracts so many souls in the first place.  Over the Triduum, I was shocked both at the number of people I’d never seen before, and the number wearing shorts, T-shirts, and flip flops – or similar.  Mini-skirts –  on Good Friday.  I’ve seen an oddball or two every now and then do similar, but this time there were quite a few people dressed very, very casually.  Inappropriately.  Whether that is a sign of a community beginning to lose it cohesion or a sign that a whole new class of people is being attracted to the traditional practice of the Faith and its incredible ability to convert hearts, I don’t know.  I guess one could also say that such signs point to a need to a change in leadership. I suppose we’ll see.

All I can say is, no matter who the new pastor is, he had better speak Spanish.  This continues to be a pressing, unmet need.  Too bad Father Michael Rodriguez is unavailable.

I say all of the above entirely on my own.  None of this comes from the pastor, Fr. Longua.  I wish him well and will pray for him.  He did an extremely good job in an exceedingly difficult role.  I’m sure he’d rather I write nothing on this matter, but I’ve got a big mouth.

 

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Comments

1. c matt - April 9, 2018

I guess Hollywood’s nightmare pope is a rational Catholic’s dream. I only saw a small trailer for some episode where he was out-Machiavelling the Italian prime minister. But I liked what I saw – couldn’t be worse than the current putative occupant, eh, no?

2. c matt - April 9, 2018

Sorry – meant for the post below.

3. Baseballmomof8 - April 9, 2018

Sorry to hear of your loss… once again. It does seem rather odd that the Father of the parish is yanked out Willy nilly and replaced at the whim of the powers that be…. the parishioners end up feeling very much like the children of those whose parents engage in serial marriages… “this is your new dad now…”

4. Tim - April 9, 2018

The same thing happens in the SSPX parishes.

5. Fran Rooker - April 10, 2018

My initial reaction:: look for who the priest has to please (hint, local Ordinary) and then consider how a burgeoning trad parish compares to the NO parishes around it. Not too surprising that a “phone call” can produce a personnel shift that creates ruffles in an exemplary parish, no? I lack enough experience to consider a similar scenario in SSPX-world.

Dismas - April 10, 2018

I’m not an insider so I can’t know the policies of the SSPX regarding priest changes. But from experience it would seem that those changes are made (I’m not saying “exclusively”) mostly with a view to avoiding a situation where the chapel (SSPX venues are not parishes, though the term is frequently used to describe them) becomes attached to the person as opposed to the Faith.

You hear it said that the average SSPX priest is left for about seven years in one priory. Those priories, relatively small in number, can serve quite a few chapels, where priests are not in residence. This alone contributes to a certain degree of turnover.

It is a pretty different dynamic from the diocesan world as you point out, Fran. I think what you describe is pretty right-on. I don’t think that influential attendees at SSPX masses have quite the traction with a far-away superior that might be brought to bear on a local Ordinary.

I apologize in advance if this offends some, but I think that the SSPX is interested in seeing the numbers grow at their chapels and priories. While I am sure that the leadership of the FSSP is similarly interested in growth, maybe that is not quite the case in terms of the bishops they serve in every instance.

6. skeinster - April 10, 2018

Yes, this was a shocker, and sad, but my take was more that he had gotten the parish into shape in its new church and was now available to go “plant” somewhere else. But I could be wrong.

I hope the capital campaign has developed a momentum of its own, and will continue as it’s begun. I know that even though I won’t be there, I’ll still be sending in my pledge.

What the practice was when seminaries were consistently full, no matter how attractive that was, is really not applicable in these days.
Maybe in thirty or forty years… I still see it more as a numbers problem- too many new adherents and not enough priests than deliberate policy. But again, I could be wrong.

I think what you saw at Holy Week were mostly “Chreasters”- the Truduum is a big “experiential” draw.So, people show up without doing their due diligence..

7. pak152 - April 10, 2018

“Over the Triduum, I was shocked both at the number of people I’d never seen before, and the number wearing shorts, T-shirts, and flip flops – or similar. Mini-skirts – on Good Friday.”
It would not surprise me in the least that individuals who showed up dress in this manner were not regular attendees and had heard about Mater Dei and traditional Catholic practices at Easter. They may not have been aware that what they were wearing was disrespectful. Ideally the ushers should have taken these individuals aside and explained to them that their dress was inappropriate in a polite manner. maybe Mater Dei could have a set of cloaks etc on hand for these attendees

Randy the Redneck - April 10, 2018

Yup. That same phenomenon occurs in the SSPX chapels as well. While it causes one to wince, the bright side is that at least they are there witnessing authentic Catholicism.

You are right, I believe, in saying that any inappropriateness is likely not intentional. Rarely you will see some of these folks show up again on a “regular” Sunday. When the self-appointed “dress police” accost them you never see them return. The priests admonish the laity about nominating themselves impromptu for this role…but you know us Trads! Ready, Fire, Aim.

skeinster - April 10, 2018

Or as we say around here:
“Yes, you can scold that person for being inappropriately dressed. But if Father finds out, you will wish you hadn’t”

Tim - April 10, 2018

I’ve been in “trad land” for 18 years and not once have I seen a priest or lay person(SSPX, FSSP, ICK, Diocean) “acost” someone who was inappropriately dressed. I’ve heard priests give very pointed sermons on the subject with violators in attendance.(cudos!, that’s their job!). My experience in these years says that the “mean spirited” trad is mostly fictional. And after being in a Diocean/FSSP “shared”(more like FSSP must kiss feet of Novusordite) for 13 years it is exactly the other way around. The Novusordites there were most conniving, viscous, intolerant and uncharitable people I’ve ever encountered. The hated tradition with a passion.

Camper - April 10, 2018

Actually pak, like Randy says, it isn’t a good idea for an usher to do it. Really the priest should do it.

dthy - April 10, 2018

They were probably from other places and were unaware of how to dress appropriately. It is unfortunate that most parishes don’t post dress code information in the backs of their churches or in the bulletin and no one ever says anything. This is just one of many issues that needs to be addressed in a more universal way.

8. Cordelia A. - April 10, 2018

To your point this is why the charismatics develop these massive communities. They rarely move their pastors and as a result their parishes become almost like a prelature within the diocese. Take Christ the King in the Midwest. Same pastor forever! And they have basically exported their spirituality around the world as a result now serving as the mothership.

c matt - April 10, 2018

At least some regular NO parishes seem to keep their pastors for a while as well. The last three at my former parish “died in office” so to speak – they remained the pastor until illness precluded them from performing their duties. We’re talking a sizable parish in a large urban area, not just a rural quirk.

9. jmj3376 - April 10, 2018

I definitely will miss Fr Longua. He has went out of his way in kindness for our family in different ways. He has been an awesome spiritual advisor, one I feel I can trust especially in matters that at times are unclear to me. I live in Sherman, and he even met me in Allen once to talk so I wouldn’t have to drive so far, plus he had an errand there also. Yes, I hate to see him go. But I trust in God’s Providence. Hopefully at least he’ll get transferred to a town or city where the drive back and forth to places is quieter. The drive is horrendous going to Mater Dei, with the construction and traffic!

grandmaintexas - April 12, 2018

I am also very sorry to know that Fr. Longua has been transferred. While we live a long way from Irving we attended when we could. Father also went out of his way to help my family on several occasions. He is a wonderful priest and I am sorry to know he won’t be at Mater Dei. I agree the practice of uprooting priests every few years is not helpful.

10. Diego Martinez - April 10, 2018

Problem is once the FSSP priests are launched from seminary they are basically in a free fall. Not great leadership skills on the whole so they have to rotate them frequently to make sure the parishioners in a 10 year period- at least get one chance for a good sane priest. Unfortunately FSSP priests are either burnt out and angry / or totally green being formed on social media and developing their own cult followings and-or ambitious climbers. They need to make the founding elders of the community more accessible and empowered for ongoing formation and counsel. Our era in HMC depends upon it.

Tim - April 10, 2018

The SSPX priests do have the advantage of having bishops to form them and to turn to when needed. FSSP/ICK/Diocean are at the mercy of the modernist prelates.

Chris Whittle - April 10, 2018

Exactly. Once the FSSP priests are ordained they will only be assigned with specifically-defined duties at the explicit consent of the local ordinary. This is why they aren’t accepting too many seminarians anymore.

Camper - April 10, 2018

Mr. Martinez, maybe you have more experience with the FSSP than I do, but honestly, you sound like a troll. I am not accusing you of being a troll, but your experience with the FSSP is so different from mine that you sound like a troll or a hack from a chancery that hates traditional priests.

Diego Martinez - April 11, 2018

Camper(Fr.?) – with all due respect you are probably FSSP priest to single out my comments as being a hack. The title of this post is: “The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter Continues with its Inexplicable Personnel Policies” so that was the theme that was commenting on. No doubt very difficult to work so hard in the good work of tradition – but if you are part of the current leadership then this would be a good opportunity to read these comments from the people who do need to see this community’s leadership acting with more stability just one person’s opinion but if you have eyes to see and humble ears to hear then you could see these comments are hardly alone. Strange that you would single me out. Just ignore if you don’t like it.

Diego Martinez - April 11, 2018

Ps. Not from a chancery and do prefer Latin Mass / TLM priests – support it & them profusely over the years- experience in various apostolates- and not looking to catch them out in the slightest- no foe here- I assure – but thus FSSP should find my comments as a support for what they are about and a criticism/call to get act together in North America- and to be fair this does not seem to be so much an issue in Europe from what I have seen

Diego Martinez - April 11, 2018

And also to balance-impressive seminaries in US and Germany- both excellent. But then they lob the priests out and do not seem to be able to continue the formation in North A. And so we conclude..We’re starting to question the NA leadership. If that is hack then so be it but there is truth in there

Camper - April 11, 2018

Well, sir, maybe I was a little too hard on you. Maybe I should apologize. I tried to be charitable. I am just a layman and I have no formal connection (employment, etc) with the FSSP. My experience with the FSSP priests has been so impressive that it is hard to see much fault with them at all. They are probably all extraordinarily busy, which might explain occasional oversights. On the other hand, I agree that this policy of constantly shifting priests around might not seem like the wisest. Another case was the location of the FSSP’s apostolate in Phoenix, when the two FSSP priests were attacked (one murdered) by the maniac.

Camper - April 11, 2018

I’m not accusing anyone here of being a troll, but I find this criticism of the FSSP shocking or pretty close. They seem like wonderful priests whose superiority is probably only matched by those in the ICKSP and IBP. Never really seen any clericalism in the FSSP, but then my experience is limited. Really, does anybody think that those of us who have had experience with the FSSP are perhaps a little spoiled? I do. My two cents.

Diego Martinez - April 11, 2018

Well- good sir you DID accuse me of being a troll and a hack for specifically my notes from my reporting of FACTS from experience. You also accused me of being anti- traditional priests. What is shocking then is that you have seemingly missed the fact that several people on just this one blog entry alone have had difficulties with this community. Doesn’t mean we haven’t been blessed by FSSP’s existence but as one person said on this combox section and I quote they do have their “shortcomings” and another said they seem to be “tone deaf” to listen to how to improve. Again this post entry is about FSSP “Contunues with Inexplicable Personel Polcies’ so that also implies it’s not a new problem. Then is a little hard to believe that you find yourself only ‘shocked’ by my comments. Which COULD make one think you may be part of the inner workings of the problem and this very defensive about the examin. But I am never one to assume. I do accept your apology for lack of charity (that was an apology was it not?) regards and forgiveness to you. We should be big boys and men and all be able to work together.

Camper - April 12, 2018

Yes sir, it was an apology. Take care!

Camper - April 15, 2018

With all due respect, maybe it would be more accurate to say that you only seemed like a troll. I think I tried to avoid actually accusing you of being one. Just trying to be precise. But again, you are not a troll. Take care.

Dave Byrd - April 17, 2018

Broadly speaking I echo your sentiments. I recently ended nearly twenty years of attendance at fraternity Masses, including the final five spent as a parishioner of MD. While there I made a significant commitment to the community both in terms of time and otherwise. My attitudes toward the state of the Church and liturgy have not changed, despite my experience. I suspect a wider problem of culture. There is no justification for the basic people management issues. The fraternity is thirty years old and MD the flagship parish. I had quite a bit of contact with Fr. Longua regarding the problems and they only got worse.

11. Magdalene P - April 10, 2018

I know that the assistant pastor in Littleton, CO. was to be transferred last year. He had been there for many years. He also had been in an accident and was recovering from serious injuries and so had all his medical needs and personnel close by. He did not want to go; he did not want to leave his home and the many souls he was caring for. He ended up leaving the FSSP. Many people were upset by that but he found another diocesan parish to live at and has started a Saturday morning TLM on the northside of Denver.

12. Canon212 Update: How Lame the ‘Conservative’ Catholic Press Is Before the Holy FrancisMonster! – The Stumbling Block - April 10, 2018

[…] CHANGING OUT PRIESTS EVEN MORE OFTEN THAN REGULAR […]

13. Restoration - April 10, 2018

What you describe is sadly typical personnel mismanagement that I have consistently observed since first attending an FSSP apostolate in 2008. The order desperately needs a lay COO-type who can help advise the District superiors in these matters. A military veteran with personnel experience would be ideal. The FSSP leadership has little to no training in managing large organizations and the result is foolish and costly personnel decisions. There are so many examples and these are just the ones I have observed first-hand!

1. The moment one first calls the U.S. headquarters, an unfriendly secretary answers and acts like you are bothering her. She should have been fired years ago, but the FSSP tolerate poor performance and behaviors from their lay staff.

2. A holy but nearly monastic pastor is assigned to a parish where a crazy woman in the congregation stalks him. Despite complete support from the parish, the FSSP administration let the situation get worse and worse and allowed a single deranged individual to devastate the community. The priest eventually left for another traditional order and is doing well, but it took years for the community to recover. Totally unnecessary outcome that could have been resolved with prompt action but no leadership was shown.

3. A long-time donor writes the FSSP for the first-time ever to politely ask for a meeting to discuss a potential new apostolate. He receives a terse, one-page response that declines a meeting. Talk about an unforced error. An experienced executive would at least have taken the meeting as a gesture of good will, but the FSSP makes amateurish mistakes years after they should have enough experience to know better.

4. A wonderful deacon was assigned to apostolates that turned him off to the order to such an extent that he departed the FSSP. Given that the education of a priest costs thousands of dollars, it was as if $100,000+ of donations just walked out the door. Reaction from the FSSP: Nothing. No corrections, no apologies. No changes to their failed personnel policies and gross mismanagement.

5. The clericalism and arrogance of their young pastors is evident in their refusal to seek counsel from experienced laymen in each apostolate who might have some worthwhile wisdom to share. I’m not saying they need to form a parish council, but a wise pastor would make use of good men who wish to be helpful.

I could go on, but you get the point…

The tone-deaf nature of the FSSP leadership has been seen for so many years, across multiple superiors, in so many places, that I believe to be a chronic problem that is pervasive in the order and one that needs to be addressed at the highest level and remedied at the seminary.

Judy - April 11, 2018

Perhaps you should have begun this post with “In my humble opinion,…”

Tim - April 11, 2018

Why? Is the FSSP infallible?

Joseph H - April 11, 2018

Precisely the problem-they cannot tolerate critique or seem to humble themselves to take a simple suggestion much less correction. There are so many great in that community but unfortunately there is no forum among these 30-early 40 somthings that have been running it to even say the slightest critique or need of the flock. Then it does seem those 30 – 40 somethings in charge play mind games with the elders who do have enough well earned grey hair and battle tested wisdom. There are so many of the faithful that need them and they only seem to listen to those that they don’t feel threatened by. Modernism at its finest. They do seem to allow the elders to influence the seminaries but they need to stop with the fronting. We get it- you’re learning on the job 30 – 40 somethings. But you’ve got some 60 somethings stuck on a trophy shelf collecting dust so as not to expose your shortcomings. I am a layman who has tried to rally them for decades to no avail. They really do need a strong traditional bishop to help them.

Tim - April 11, 2018

“They really do need a strong traditional bishop to help them.”

They were promised one by 1998….20 years later….??????

Even if they get one he will be hand picked by the modernists and would most likely undermine them.
They are in a difficult position.

Judy - April 11, 2018

Because this is one person’s opinion, from their perspective, with their limited information. It’s pretty easy to question the coaches while sitting in the cheap seats.

Tim - April 11, 2018

I wasn’t aware that the FSSP charged admission to Mass.

Tantumblogo - April 13, 2018

Sure. I recognize that, and tried to provide some nods to that in the post, that there could be very good reasons behind this.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t disruptive and upsetting for both the priests and people affected.

And sorry if I am replying in the wrong spot, I can’t see the threaded comments right now. Something fouled up with WordPress.

Dave Byrd - April 17, 2018

But it’s not just one person’s opinion, I am afraid. Again, perhaps I would have put things differently than some of the other posters, but I certainly have seen enough to walk away without having anywhere to go.

tg - April 11, 2018

I have had problems in dealing with clerical staff in trying to pay the pledge I made. I won’t go into it. No one has been rude but they have problems. (I was told they only have part-time staff.)

14. Elizabeth Dreisbach - April 10, 2018

Love your blog! Stumbled across you when researching the Bishop Olsen letter to Ft. W parishes.
I’m a Mater Dei parishioner and am sad to learn that Longua is leaving. Great pastor. Recently he approved our Creation Committee. Hugh Owen will be visiting us and I hope you can attend. April 22, 1 pm.
Trying to get Dr. E Michael Jones to visit us too.
Hope to meet. I usually attend 9:30 Sunday Mass.
Pax Christi

Judy - April 11, 2018

There is no 9:30. Probably not a good idea to give out too much information about yourself online that reveals your routines. Your name is not very common.

15. Numbskull - April 11, 2018

Don’t you guys get it?? Rome wants them to FAIL.

TB12andTina - April 11, 2018

Yes understood – but they have that Lord of the Flies mentality which can turn in on itself / so you have Rome wanting it to fail and the devil hating it and wanting it to fail so what else is new? Our domestic churches are facing the same. We love the Priestly Fraternity probably as much or more than anyone and still they need to sharpen up their tools in America. Gird your loins-It’s game time let’s Gooooo

Tim - April 11, 2018

Yes, now that they did fail in Rome’s initial intent……to undermine and destroy the SSPX.

AIN’T. GONNA. HAPPEN.

A very unholy intent by the Roman Authorities.

TB12andTina - April 12, 2018

And we are partial to FSSP for their interest in obedience to The Church and that came at great cost to them which none of us will ever know what they go through. You are right they are in a dicey situation (which is not a pass for them to be unorganized) and we all must really pray for them and pray for SSPX in their discernment and fortitude. Hugely cheering them both on-realizing these days that both are crucial to our narrow path reality. Appreciating your comments here.

Tim - April 12, 2018

What the SSPX goes through is an even greater cost. False “suspensions” and false “excommunications”, constant calumny and slander, the never ending drum beat of “disobedience”. Archbishop Lefebvre practiced the highest and most difficult form of obedience, obeying God before men. I like the FSSP, but it is easier to compromise with the modernists than to stand firm with the truth and endure the uncharitable fury of the modernists. Both groups play a role for the ultimate defeat of the modernists. The modernists can’t win as they hate and mock God with their wicked liturgy and “teachings”. They have the power and buildings, we have the faith. As you, I pray for both and support all efforts to restore tradition and sanity. Please don’t buy into the old lies of “disobedience” and “schism” concerning the SSPX. The SSPX by what they do day in and day out manifest true obedience to the Church. The modernists practice disobedience to the Church day in and day out.

16. David - April 12, 2018

Tantumblogo

Sorry to hear Fr. Longua is being reassigned. I lost a good pastor when he became a bishop, and my mother was depressed years ago when an excellent parochial vicar was accepted (After much screening and permission from the local ordinary) to the Air Force chaplaincy.

Being reassigned during a capital campaign, not good – It’s hard for a new pastor to get up to speed, and for others involved to develop a working relationship. It’s like getting a new boss, navigating a reorganization, or starting a new job.

I know in many dioceses, quite a few parochial vicars are transferred every 1 to 2 years, partially for a parochial vicar to get experience, and Fr. Longua has probably been a good mentor and role model. The FSSP probably doesn’t have the problem of a newer priest being more orthodox than the pastor, which can create friction personality wise.

I am sure FSSP priests receive good formation. I have only met a few, and I have been impressed. Most orders have careful screening – bigger doesn’t mean better.

I recall during my own discernment years ago with an East Coast Archdiocese – the application was 20 pages alone, and that was before interviews, physicals, references, etc. It was similar to the process when I applied for a direct commission.

I may come to the newer Sunday evening Mass from time to time at Mater Dei.

17. Gc5341 - April 12, 2018

Sorry to hear that Fr. Longua is leaving. He is a holy priest and a good man. I am thankful that Mater Dei parish exists in this terrible time of confusion and darkness in our world. Fr. Longua delivers homilies that truly help the soul. He also gives good counsel in the confessional.

Don’t cry that his time at Mater Dei is ending. Smile that Fr. Longua was there nine years. Let’s pray for this holy priest and also pray for the next pastor.

18. Ralph - April 13, 2018

I think to understand the mindset in transfers with the FSSP, one has to remember their charism is a missionary one, not a diocesean one; their order is the size of a small diocese, spread out across the globe. They have to take into consideration the needs of all, again I repeat, all the faithful under their care and not just little ol’ us here in Texas. While we like the stability of the same pastors over the years reassignment benefits the priest as well as the faithful; keeps a a real spirit of detachment for everyone and in some cases pumps new life into the apostolate. I know it’s hard for us to comprehend the way it works but that’s why we’re lay people… A good book to read on the missionary spirit is “The soul of the Apostolate” by Dom Chautard.
Fr. Longua is a rock solid priest; the fact that Mater Dei more than quadrupled in his time here is a testament to this. I am grateful that Mater Dei got him for so long (nine years is record!) and I wish him the very best and am happy for wherever he is assigned, Maybe helping another parish to grow is what God and his superiors need him to do.

Judy - April 14, 2018

Your reply is the absolute best, and just what I think the priests involved would tell us. How often have we been reminded to not trouble ourselves, to remember that we are in God’s hands?

19. not a Latin-Masser - April 16, 2018

Are most or any of the priests native English speakers or even, gasp, native-born Americans ? If so, count yourself blessed on those counts.

Tim - April 16, 2018

No, they only speak latin. The sermons are sometimes difficult to grasp.

Camper - April 17, 2018

Tim is being facetious. Most readers don’t need this pointed out, but trads are considered so strange that some do. In North America, I think all of them are.

Judy - April 16, 2018

Yes, most of the priests are native English speakers. The readings are normally repeated in English just prior to the homily. And the preaching is absolutely wonderful, always challenging us to go deeper in the Faith.

20. Frank Silver - April 17, 2018

A day will come when you will realize that the FSSP is under the complete control and domination of the Modernist elements on Rome. Rome is allowing the FSSP to exist for one and only one reason––they offer an alternative to the SSPX. That is why they are generally located in places that compete with SSPX Chapels.

You are well aware the fact that Rome is developing a Latin version of the Novus Ordo Mass. They are not oblivious to the fact that most FSSP parishioners attend the FFSP churches because the Mass is said in Latin. They know nothing about Vatican II.

The Modernists were hoping that the SSPX would have collapsed by now, but instead it’s only growing (as is the FSSP). Nevertheless, at some propitious time in the near future, the FSSP priests will be requested to offer both the TLM and the Latinized Novus Ordo Mass to the congregation. Eventually they will be told to only celebrate the Novus Ordo Mass––and all FSSP priests will obey.

Whatever is happening with the re-assignment of priests in you parish may have nothing to do with Rome’s future plans. And while Im not a betting man, I would probably be willing to wager that in some way that is yet unclear, it’s all about harming the SSPX. I say that because that in spite of the many holy men who now serve as FSSP priests, that is what that fraternity is really all about.

Tim - April 17, 2018

You are correct sir, I’ve been in both “camps”. The FSSP priests we had would tow the Novus Ordo line publicly but then tell you the exact opposite in private….one told me that is for CYA purposes.(I once went on a SSPX Ignatian retreat and our FSSP priest would tell people that the confessions are “invalid” and that they’re only in “partial communion”, whatever that means. I asked him privately if I was sinning by going to this retreat and are the confessions really invalid….he said, “Of course not, the confessions are perfectly valid and the SSPX gives the best retreats in the world and that my 1st retreat was one of theirs……1984 double-speak???)Those that attend for aesthetic reasons are known as “smells and bells” Catholics. Latin, incense, bells, and pious ceremonies are all “cool”, but traditional DOCTRINE is a tough nut to swallow….we want the superficials of the past, but cling to our comfort filled modern lives. Sorry, but there is a complete disconnect there.

That being said I know very good priests in the FSSP and the FSSP does serve a purpose that the modernists did not anticipate back in 1988…..they introduce people to tradition who aren’t psychologically ready for for frontal resistance to heretical prelates….that is difficult to do for the average Catholic…these weasels in the Vatican know this and play “obedience” to the hilt with the ignorant masses. Many(sadly, not all) are inspired to study tradition beyond “smells and bells” and finally realize that a beautiful liturgy is not enough…..you must have solid DOCTRINE, with no compromises with the modernists. Does this happen in FSSP parishes, yes, some, but from what I’ve seen when they get sniffed out, the hammer falls hard. I knew a very solid, no compromise FSSP pastor who really ran a great parish. The diocese planted moles in his congregation to report back on sermons, etc. He was gone soon after and was replaced by a very liberal FSSP priest, the parish was never the same.

On another note, I’ve got news for you, there are parish politics and imperfections in the SSPX as well. Shangri-la doesn’t exist here on Earth.

If(big “if” in my opinion, I know some who I can confidently say will NEVER cave on that) the FSSP does betray the TLM in the future under the guise of “obedience” it will swell the ranks of the SSPX. True obedience is resistance to error and to obey God before men. God bless Archbishop Lefebvre for having the courage and fortitude to do so when he did….he was indeed an instrument of God.

Frank Silver - April 18, 2018

Tim; Thank you for that very thoughtful response. It actually confirms my own earlier experiences with the FSSP. Like so many of us who recognize the growing heretical behavior being pushed by the Modernists in Rome, I believe that the priests and the parishioners are also trying to follow the true teachings of the Church, despite the fact that I’m convinced they are being used by Rome and will be re-directed at the right time. At this time it seems that all we can do is pray.

Tim - April 18, 2018

Pray indeed! One thing I’ve always said to folks in these “trad turf wars discussions”….I pray for the day that the SSPX, FSSP & ICK are no longer needed, because the Church will have returned to sanity!


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