Why Latin Mass Onlyists are Destroying the Latin Mass

Why Latin Mass Onlyists are Destroying the Latin Mass March 6, 2014

Latin Mass Onlyism: The spirit of Marcel Lefebvre. (Photo credit: Marcel Antonisse, Creative Commons)
Latin Mass Onlyism: The spirit of Marcel Lefebvre. (Photo credit: Marcel Antonisse, Creative Commons)

Here is an analogy, to begin. When I was a Protestant, I would read no version of the Bible except the King James. This was not because I believed the others were invalid translations, or that they were less accurate, but only because I preferred the literary grace of the KJV to everything else. But one of the huge problems Protestants have is with the King James Onlyists in their midst—the folks who believe that the NIV, or the NASB, are perversions of the word of God. Some (like Peter Ruckman) go as far as to claim that the KJV is superior even to the original Greek and Hebrew manuscripts. Some (like Scott Johnson) say that if you were not saved by reading the KJV, you were not really saved at all. Some (like Stephen Anderson) burn the NIV in backyard grills. Some (like Gail Riplinger) come up with wild systems like “acrostic algebra” to explain why the NIV is Satanic.

That all this is poison should be self-evident. I never went near a church that used the King James, because every one of them is full of loons like that. But because I read the KJV, I was often looked upon as suspect: “You’re not one of that crowd, are you?” In a Bible study once, a United Church of Christ pastor glanced at my King James Bible as though it, and I, were a roach. It is near impossible to find a Protestant church, that uses the King James, that does not also believe that the other translations are invalid, even demonic, and that those who read them are in danger of Hell. To read the KJV has come to imply that you believe those other things, even if you do not.

Thus are the King James Onlyists the biggest enemy the KJV has within Protestantism. A great translation, whose cultural and literary influence is immeasurable, has acquired the stink of Onlyism and the anti-intellectual feverishness that goes with it. It is a loss. You cannot simply love the KJV and read the KJV; you must become a faction.



No one ought to have been stunned when it turned out that Fisher More College has had a problem with Latin Mass Onlyists. A ban on the Latin Mass always has Onlyists lurking behind. The Catholic form of Onlyism says that Vatican II and the Novus Ordo are invalid, and those who accept them inferior Catholics, even modernists. (When a Catholic says you’re a “modernist,” that’s roughly the same thing as when a Protestant says you’re “not saved.” It is a curse word. To be a modernist is one step away from being a Mason, which is one step away from being a Jew.)

Last year, when Pope Francis curtailed the Latin Mass for the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, it was because the FFI (see here and here) had been plagued by a faction of Onlyists who were suppressing the Novus Ordo. To do that is against the norms of Universae Ecclesiae 19. The same pope who allowed broader celebration of the Latin Mass also forbade Onlyism among those who say it and attend it. If you are an Onlyist, you have no right to the Latin Mass.

So it also is now, with Fisher More; as Dr. Taylor Marshall explains on his Facebook page. For Dr. Marshall would know, since he actually worked there, and signs his own name to his own posts—which can not be said of the anonymous bloggers and their anonymous sources at the viperous Rorate Cæli, who calls the bishop “intolerant” and his actions a “kind of terror.” Very brave of Someone. (“New Catholic’s” original article may be found here.) As Dr. Marshall tells it, Michael King, the president of the college,

refused to dissociate himself from statements of faculty member Dr. Dudley [who] claimed … that Catholic professors have the duty to teach young people that Vatican 2 is not a valid council. [Let’s see: rejection of Vatican II.] [Dr. Dudley] also endorsed similar positions [with respect to John Paul II and the Novus Ordo].


At the same time, Michael King estranged himself from the diocese of Fort Worth by not allowing the Ordinary Form [Suppression of the Novus Ordo.] (as stipulated by the previous ordinary Bp. Vann of Fort Worth). [Disobedience to the bishop.] He also contracted an irregular/suspended priest without faculties [And violation of canon law.] and hired “trad resistance” faculty while there was no bishop in Fort Worth to check these developments. Mr. King was able to create a community in his image (he affectionately referred to himself the “father” of this community) during the episcopal inter-regnum of the diocese of Fort Worth.

There’s more; and I ask you to please read Dr. Marshall’s full post.

Now, N.C. tries to respond to several of these points. First, he or she asks why Bp. Olson could not simply have allowed the Novus Ordo to be said at Fisher More. But according to Dr. Marshall, the prior bishop had already done that. Mr. King disobeyed.

N.C. also asks why Fisher More’s Latin Mass-loving students should have been punished because of the malfeasance of faculty. That argument misses the point as well. To start with, there are two Latin Mass parishes very near to Fisher More: St. Mary of the Assumption in Ft. Worth and Mater Dei in Irving (the latter of which is run by the FSSP).

Bp. Olson is hardly banning the Latin Mass, as N.C. wants us to believe. Indeed, the bishop specifically points out in his letter that “The weekly celebration of the Extraordinary Form is available to the faithful every Sunday at St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in Fort Worth.” Bp. Olson is not trying to keep students from the Latin Mass, but rather to save them from an environment that has been indoctrinating them into Onlyism.

Third, N.C. claims that the norms of Universae Ecclesiae 19 do not apply here since “the whole cœtus must be heard.” As though one lone soul in a mob of Onlyists would make it all okay. But as Diane Korzeniewski points out, that argument too is flawed. “The instruction,” she says, “doesn’t tell the bishop how to respond. … In the absence of clear guidelines, bishops are going to act in various ways.”

Yes. And so when Bp. Olson acts in the way he does, Rorate has no right to roar as it does. The enemies of the Latin Mass are the Onlyists—not Pope Francis, not Bp. Olson, but a faction of Onlyists and their anonymous defenders who write poison without the courage of their names.



So Bene­dict XVI issued a motu pro­prio in 2007 for the sake of those attached to the usus antiquior who also accept the author­ity of Vat­i­can II. Summorum Pontificum was never meant to prop up Onlyism. Thus Bp. Olson felt that he had to sus­pend the Latin Mass at Fisher More.

But when sus­pect blogs like Rorate Cæli raise the stink that they do, one begins to feel that many who pro­mote the Latin Mass do not do so with upright inten­tions but rather as a sword with which to rend “good” (Tri­den­tine) Catholic from “bad” (Novus Ordo) Catholic. To do so is, in fact, blasphemy against the Mass.

Earler this week, Lisa Graas posted this blog article, in which she explained why folks like those at Rorate Cæli have the effect of keeping her miles away from a Latin Mass:

Who wants to be around people like this, who pounce on everything that doesn’t initially “smell” right as if it is heresy? … Since I have never attended an EF Mass, I have a feeling that I would seem very out of place there and I dread the protests I would receive to my face given the many uproars we see over things like what Bp. Olson is doing. If you don’t play nice with other people, I don’t want to be around you. Sorry. That’s how I feel about it.

Such a plaint puts me in mind of the kind of thin-skinned and self-righteous vitriol regularly published by N.C. N.C. refers to the usus antiquior as “the Mass of the saints.” One would think that no one who attends the Novus Ordo could ever be a saint. One would forget that the Tridentine was not the Mass of St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas. (Or the apostles, for that matter.) N.C. describes Bp. Olson’s actions as “a naked power grab by a young bishop who clearly has a lot to learn about the politics of abusing authority,” and the bishop himself as “an intolerant bishop who should know better.” As though Rorate sits in judgment on bishops. N.C. refers to good people (like Lisa Graas) as “some Catholics who purposely and poorly disguise themselves as orthodox.” As though N.C. is the arbiter of orthodoxy, and not the Church.

Who wants to be around that crowd? It is poison to the soul. If that’s the kind of attitude an advocate of the Latin Mass has—if that’s what you read on their blogs and hear on their tongues—then I don’t want to go near a Latin Mass, either. (For the record, I do attend the old form of the Mass once a month.) I love the Latin Mass; I want it to be more common—just as I loved the KJV and wanted more people to read it.

But what is happening in the Catholic Church is that the Latin Mass is becoming the province of a faction of spiteful, spitting lobbyists. The Latin Mass is becoming associated with those who view Vatican II as an invalid council and think that people who attend the Novus Ordo are lesser Catholics; who act as though the Latin Mass somehow makes them better and superior and more holy, and their halo more sure, perhaps even complete. That (not the Latin Mass itself) is the “danger to your soul” to which Bp. Olson referred in his letter to Mr. King.

Onlyism is—like its Protestant counterpart—the greatest enemy the Latin Mass has. It is Onlyism that is causing bishops, including the pope, to restrict the Latin Mass. It is Onlyism that is causing Catholics who might otherwise learn to love its beauty to stay far away. A great Mass, whose beauty should be preserved, is acquiring a stink from those who reject a council and the new Mass and look down on their brother and sister Catholics.

Those who truly love the Latin Mass must save it from the Onlyists.


The balanced and honorable Fr. Z also writes on this topic here and here. Michael Miller also wrote this much-shared column. (I don’t know that I agree with Fr. Z’s suggestion to Bp. Olson. I think it would be viewed by many as an empty gesture, and their anger at him would increase.)


If you like the content on this blog, your generous gift to the author helps to keep it active. I remember all my supporters in my Mass intentions each week.

Browse Our Archives

Close Ad