always and everywhere... except Gaylord

By Diogenes (articles ) | Aug 13, 2007

Father Rob Johansen blogged the story first, and Father Z picked up on it quickly, but your poor Uncle Di spent the weekend in a slack-jawed stupor, unable to respond.

Bishop Patrick Cooney of Gaylord, Michigan, has forbidden the use of Latin in the Roman Catholic liturgy. Seriously.

This policy, the bishop tells his clergy, will be in effect "[u]ntil other law is promulgated." But other law already had been promulgated. And I don't mean the recent papal motu proprio, which had not yet appeared when Bishop Cooney issued this astonishing directive (although the bishop surely knew it was coming).

"Priests are always and everywhere permitted to celebrate Mass in Latin," reads the 2004 Vatican directive Redemptionis Sacramentum, citing both the Code of Canon Law and the Second Vatican Council.

"Any variation from this policy must be requested on an individual basis from the Bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord," this astonishing directive continues. He is referring to his policy-- the one that forbids priests from doing what they are "always and everywhere permitted" to do.

Confused? Let me explain what's happening here. In canonical terms, Bishop Cooney has just stapled a small neon sign to his forehead, reading: "Sue me."

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 22 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Aug. 18, 2007 2:11 PM ET USA

    p.s. Bishop Cooney is reluctant to have Permanant Deacons and has only recently ordained some because he was written up by Rome ffor not having any. While these good men can at least speak english clearly Bishop for whatever reason does not give them faculties!!! People in the pews still suffer from priests whom they cannot understand!!! A previous commenter stated Cooney, it rhymes with ??? (Looney) Right on.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 17, 2007 8:21 PM ET USA

    ENGLISH!!! The Diocese of Gaylord since its foundation in 1971 has had priests for whom english was a second language. With the search for priests today Bishop Cooney continues to incardinate or ordain foreigners who while they valiently try leave the people in the pews complaining that they cannot understand them. If he wants only english he should train them to speak it clearly.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 17, 2007 12:36 AM ET USA

    It is my experience that the archbishop of my archdiocese often either ignores or breaks ecclesiastical laws when it is to his advantage and the advantage of the chancery mafia. What Bishop Cooney has done in a kind of oafish way is done frequently (albeit subtlely) by too many other bishops more adept at "playing the game."

  • Posted by: - Aug. 15, 2007 1:16 AM ET USA

    Methinks this has already been flagged for follow-up: i.e., when some disobedient priest uses just a little too much Latin in a Mass and becomes severly reprimanded or reassigned. Who says bishops don't know how to handle get tough policy?

  • Posted by: - Aug. 14, 2007 7:12 PM ET USA

    Oh my- I just read the actual instruction by the good bishop. He said all Masses must be said in English. He didn't just out law Latin but Spanish, Polish, Italian, Slovak, Hungarian etc.... Here in Los Angeles we would be up a vernacular creek - too funny.... I don't think Obispo Rogerio will follow suit here.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 14, 2007 1:10 PM ET USA

    Sorry Mauna Kea, but Hell is in a different diocese...

  • Posted by: - Aug. 14, 2007 11:56 AM ET USA

    altar boy - then lets praise God, because hell actually usually freezes over. Hell Michigan that is and since this is taking place in Michigan we can put our trust in God's intervention, for we know, even hell freezes over, so we trust God to intervene and Rome act decisvely and swiftly.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 14, 2007 10:20 AM ET USA

    Yet another proof of the basic sociological principle: "If you don't enforce the law, it will be mocked" The Pope needs to start governing the Church. Grace doesn't replace Nature. The Church is ALSO a human institution (i.e. not just a divine institution). You have to GOVERN, i.e. hire and fire, reward and punish, otherwise chaos follows.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 14, 2007 9:26 AM ET USA

    schismatic in pectore

  • Posted by: - Aug. 14, 2007 8:28 AM ET USA

    My Bishop!!! Ya' gotta love this guy...I'm hoping that his retirement in a couple of years is accepted toute de suite...In the mean time, pray hard for him...

  • Posted by: - Aug. 13, 2007 11:34 PM ET USA

    Feigned surprise, Di? I mean, did you seriously expect that the very same priests and bishops who worked so hard to purge the TLM from the face of the earth would now go out of their way to resurrect it? Or maybe you believe that the same bishops who ignored JPII on this issue will now (out of fear, perhaps?) bow down to BXVI and open their parish churches to us evil traditionalists. It ain’t gonna happen, Di--not now, not in September, and not even if hell freezes over.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 13, 2007 10:46 PM ET USA

    Normally, when I see a move this brilliant, its by a Coyote who buys a lot of equipment from the Acme company. Right about now a large anvil is about to drop on Bishop Cooney's head.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 13, 2007 9:05 PM ET USA

    No, it is worse than "sue me." The good bishop wants to telegraph a not-so-subtile message to his priests that they should toe the diocesan line if they want to be in the bishop's good graces vis a vis parish appointments and similar emoluments. It will take a priest with courage to buck that line.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 13, 2007 8:51 PM ET USA

    The Bishop gets the Rembert award for not being a hypocrite like so many others. This is what we need to see if the Motu Proprio and Redemptionis Sacramentum are suggestions or rules. What I would like is for the good bishop to arrive at the chancery office tomorrow to find all the locks changed and his name taken off the door. That is what would happen with such public insubordination (ever notice that word has ordination in it?) in any serious organization. Shall I hold my breath?

  • Posted by: - Aug. 13, 2007 8:15 PM ET USA

    Actually, His Excellency has forbidden all languages but the current euphonious and inspirational English translation. This is clear by the equal time given to Spanish and Latin musical exceptions. Following another commentator's trajectory, this means that not only the Alleluia must not be said if not sung (as per earlier USCCB dispositions) -- and it seems mighty suspicious that it might "overshadow" the English verse if it is sung -- but any spoken Amens are also now verboten. "Right on?"

  • Posted by: - Aug. 13, 2007 8:11 PM ET USA

    the issue is simple, Dio... The Law is meant to convict us of sin and to lead us to the grace of God... In another place the Law is described as a restrainer of evil... In this case the evil of the suppression of the Latin Mass... Rome, who issued the Law, is now on the spot... Will she fulfill Her annointing and chastise the Bishop, or will She ignore it and bring down judgenmemt on Herself?

  • Posted by: - Aug. 13, 2007 7:40 PM ET USA

    And I hope, and pray, that the invitation to be sued comes to pass. The sooner, the better. The arrogance of some US Bishops is most disturbing and I hope Rome makes an example of him. Rome needs to send the message, loud and clear, that the Church is not a democracy nor is it tolerant of willful disobedience.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 13, 2007 7:34 PM ET USA

    This attitude does not surprise me at all! The only surprise is that it is so up-front about it. I think that there are a LOT more dioceses that essentially have said the same thing only in a more subtle way. The typical - "there's no need for it", "no one wants it", the priests have to request it and then pass some sort of arbitrarily stringent test/examination, "it will take many months for a priest ordained prior to 1969 to be properly learn Latin" (my diocese) , etc., etc

  • Posted by: - Aug. 13, 2007 6:48 PM ET USA

    We are also one of the few diocese in the country where we have been directed to stand after the Sanctus until all have received communion and returned to their seats. Mass confusion... as none of neighboring dioceses do this. Effects in our resort town: half stand, half kneel. Where is the "uniformity"? We obey...... sigh.....

  • Posted by: - Aug. 13, 2007 6:46 PM ET USA

    One hopes that some priests his diocese will have the cojones to sue him---that is, to appeal, as is surely their right, to Rome. Quite apart from Latin, he is also forbidding the use of Spanish even in hymns (including one of the few really beautiful modern ones, Pescador). So maybe if he can't be slapped upside his fat head for being anti-Latin he can be dealt with appropriately for political incorrectness. Unless, as usual, Roma dormit.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 13, 2007 6:32 PM ET USA

    Yes, one can ask in serious jest just which planet His Excellency believes that he inhabits. But jests aside, though how else can one respond in deep humility? I always had great empathy for former Vice President Agnew. Imagine being saddled with a common enough Greek name like Spiro in an English-speaking environment. How many jokes must have been made about his name at recess. And just how many were made for a guy with the last name of Cooney--rhymes with...? So you see....

  • Posted by: - Aug. 13, 2007 6:24 PM ET USA

    Is there no end to the bad behavior of bishops? I know. I'll ask the question in Latin. "Quem ad finem sese efrenata jactabit audacia tua?" (Apologies to Cicero) Sue me, Cooney.