The traditionalist Catholic blogsophere is all a-twitter over the fact that Bishop Olson of Fort Worth has told the campus of Fisher-More college that they may no longer offer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. No one knows exactly why the bishop has made this decision, but everyone is guessing and everyone assumes the bishop will eventually "explain himself."
Let's get one thing straight first.
The bishop doesn't need to explain himself.
When you were a kid and your Dad decided you were not going to do something, did he have to explain himself to you? No. No, he didn't. He could if he chose. If he thought you would learn something, or if he thought you were mature enough to take a lesson, he might. But if he knew you just wanted to have a fight, he might even make a point of NOT explaining himself.
Because the location in question is an oratory, bishop has the right to do this by canon law. Given the nature of traditionalists, given their innate tendency to hew more and more closely to the SSPX as it becomes clear that the Extraordinary Form will never again be the Ordinary Form, it is pretty clear why this action had to be taken. Bishop doesn't want yet another traditionalist group to go SSPX in his diocese.
Given the argumentative nature of the traditionalist community, there is absolutely no percentage for the bishop in explaining why he has taken the actions he has taken. Indeed, from the bishop's point of view, it would be uncharitable to do so. Remember, this whole conversation was supposed to be under the veil.
We can safely assume the Mass was forbidden because of some failings at Fisher-More. No bishop - let me repeat this: NO BISHOP - is going to publicly discuss someone's sins or failings. Period. That's just not what ordained men do. You would think "traditionalists" would already know this.
So for all you lay people "waiting for an explanation", I recommend exhaling, taking another deep breath, and moving on with your life. If this episcopal order grounds itself in a problem that needs healing at Fisher-More, you are not part of the situation and you won't get an explanation. Get over yourself. You're not that important.
This whole thing was supposed to be handled sotto voce, but some idiot on the Fisher-More side figured a new bishop could be pressured into reversing himself. So that idiot released a copy of what was supposed to be a private, non-scandalous order, and thereby generated a scandal. The idiots - and here I am being as charitable as I can be - the idiots at Rorate Caeli decided to try to turn this teapot into a tempest.
How successful have they been? Well, let's just say that Rorate Caeli's attitude, and the attitude of all their confreres in this little imbroglio, is precisely why the bishops of the United States have learned to hate traditionalists and oppose everything they stand for. If RC's hope was to destroy the EF Mass in the US, they have made great strides towards their goal.
If anyone at that website, or any similar website, thinks they can win members of the USCCB over to the EF form by ganging up on one of the newest bishops in the nation, they have no understanding of episcopal collegiality. At all. Just as older brothers don't like seeing younger brothers beaten up by the bully on the block, so older bishops don't like seeing one of their newest brethren beaten up in the blogs. If anything, in any diocese where the local bishop was even THINKING of bringing in the EF Mass, the traditionalists have just forced him to reconsider that rash tendency in judgement.
Traditionalists, listen up!
You just screwed yourselves.
It just came to my attention that one of the websites leading the nervous nail-biting on this non-story wrote this just yesterday. How incredibly ironic! If one were into conspiracy theories, and if anyone really thought there were people in the Fort Worth chancery office out to "get" the EF Form of the Mass, then wouldn't they quietly release the letter to traditionalist hot-heads, knowing that those same hot-heads would most certainly create exactly this kind of brouhaha and thereby trash themselves with the bishops?
That is, wouldn't it be incredibly ironic if the traditionalists in this instance were caught by the same trap they claim is constantly being laid against orthodox seminarians?
Now, I don't think there is any conspiracy theory necessary. I'm certain that someone at Fisher-More thought it would be a good idea to release this letter to other traditionalists in order to "pressure" the new bishop of Fort Worth. But whatever the case, the brilliance of the EF movement is in its response to the red meat. The result is the same.
I've removed the second update because it may be based on a hoax letter originating from a TLM website that will remain unnamed.