The following article was originally posted over at the Vox Cantoris blog under the title “Not All Is OK In Oklahoma.”
I’m doing my best to try to not post much about the local Tulsa Catholic ordeal. I never set out to be a reporter or any such thing. Yet, if I don’t document what has been happening in this particular diocese, I don’t think anyone will. And recently, something so beautiful–and, perhaps, even sad–has been occurring over the past month, and I think I would be neglectful to not share it.
But first, a few things. I want to thank my online colleague, Vox Cantoris, for allowing me to share this information with you. My blog, The Hirsch Files, is still currently down for various reasons, and I would otherwise have no way of sharing this story. (Anyone who wishes to still view my blog and its archives can obtain an invitation by mailing me at nobious1 at gmail dot com.)
Next, some background. Since September of last year (2016), I have been covering the incremental dismantling of the Traditional Catholic network in the Tulsa diocese. This has been ongoing ever since the pro-Traditionalist Catholic Bishop Slattery went into retirement under Pope Francis, and was replaced with the young Bishop Konderla–a former college chaplain for Texas A&M University. Since then, under this new bishop, Tulsa has witnessed the ouster of famed exorcist, Fr. Paul Ripperger, as well as the ouster of an order of nuns called the Daughters of Mary, led by Mother Miriam, host of Heart to Heart With Mother Miriam. A wave of subtle and not-so-subtle changes against Tradition has been sweeping across the diocese. For example, Vespers and ad orientum have been cancelled at the downtown Cathedral, much to the delight of the modernist priests in the diocese.
Another recent piece of sad news was the sabbatical of Fr. Timothy Davidson from Sts. Peter and Paul, the location of Tulsa’s diocesan Latin Mass. At this parish, Fr. Davidson oversaw Mass for the Novus Ordo English and Spanish communities, as well as the Tridentine Latin Mass. Not only was Fr. Davidson loved by the community he worked for, but the conversion of his heart towards Tradition became known even to The Remnant. It has been stated that Fr. Davidson left to take care of family out of state; however, one wonders if that is common practice for priests, and if perhaps something else is going on. Fr. Davidson’s absence has left the future of the diocesan TLM hanging on life support.
Which brings us to the recent phenomenon.
Before Fr. Davidson left Sts. Peter and Paul, he made sure to have a legacy plan in place. Out of love for the communities that have formed around the parish, including the Latin community, Fr. Davidson made plans to perpetuate what he tried to build up for the glory of God.
Now, in order to perpetuate the TLM, Fr. Davidson made sure to teach another parish priest how to say the Latin Mass. However, there was a problem. This second priest did not speak English. Therefore, an English-speaking deacon would give the homily. This arrangement certainly has felt a bit dicey for that parish, and understandably, a few families have left the parish for the seemingly more secure FSSP parish across the Arkansas River.
The Latin community’s continuation is also dubious because the Bishop of Tulsa has placed a priest in charge of the parish who is not, exactly, friendly to Tradition. His approach, it has been said, has been rough around the edges, and it appears the new pastor has a hesitation to accept the new parish, being averse to Tradition.
Why do I say this about the new priest, and what has happened?
One of the first things that occurred with the arrival of the new priest was that ad orientum was abolished in the English and Spanish Masses. The altar is a modernist “supper table” once more. Furthermore, the new priest has insisted that it’s okay for the laity to stand to receive communion irreverently in the hand. And, I could be wrong, but I think the new priest intentionally does not help the Spanish-speaking priest with the TLM during communion–though he will dart in and give a homily now and then, darting out again when he’s finished.
Beauty Under Siege
There is still a Spanish-speaking priest officiating the Universal Mass of the Ages at Sts. Peter and Paul. The Anglos at the TLM don’t understand him much, but they do understand his intentions–and struggles–to keep Traditional Catholicism alive. The pressure upon the Spanish-speaking priest must be great, as he has not only the weight of the official parish priest to bear, but also the weight of Bishop Konderla’s disdain for the TLM and the Traditionalist community.
Consequently, as a result of the undoing of the loving work of the former pastor, some families from the Spanish community have come over to the Latin Mass. These families are tired of the modernist subversion tactics, and they seem to be going against the New Order that is being forced upon them by the new parish priest. They are retreating towards Universalism. They are escaping to the true Catholicism that once united the entire world. And, I say again, these families are Spanish-speaking parishioners. They have replenished the numbers of the Latin community.
For years, I can tell you, Fr. Davidson sought to do his best to merge the English-speakers and the Spanish-speakers into one community that would be universal. That is the reason why the Mass was always in Latin. Because it was a universal language that people of different cultures and languages could mutually understand together. Yet, Fr. Davidson just couldn’t pull it off during his tenure. There were hangups in the past, for whatever reason. Perhaps the Hispanic community was hesitant about the idea of the TLM, which was something they didn’t understand. Perhaps they were too comfortable with Mass being said in the vernacular. Perhaps they took Fr. Davidson for granted when he was still in the parish.
However, now it is being demonstrated that a Spanish-speaking priest is trying to carry out the universal mission of the Catholic Church with the TLM. And the Hispanic community at Sts. Peter and Paul are beginning to see that this priest–who can speak their language and understand their culture–is under a sort of attack. And so they come to his aid with their numbers. Are they acting out of love for true Catholicism, which they are beginning to understand now under the duress of struggle? Is this merely a tribal reaction to show support for the Spanish-speaking priest? I cannot tell which is the case, but this phenomenon is happening, and there is much potential for friendship and solidarity between the Hispanic and Anglo community.
This little event at Sts. Peter and Paul is a microcosm of what the Universal Church is all about. It is sad that it takes soft persecution, veiled threats, and struggle in order to come to something like this. But it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen in a church community in my entire life.
At long last, the Anglo and Hispanic communities at Sts. Peter and Paul are finding a place to have common ground. They are uniting under the Latin Mass.
I pray that Bishop Konderla, the new priest at Sts. Peter and Paul, and all modernist priests in the Diocese of Tulsa consider this wonderful thing that has happened in the diocesan TLM community. It is said that Bishop Slattery was once a sort of Baby Boomer bishop whose heart converted. Dear Lord, please let it be the same with this parish’s new priest and bishop.
There is more to the Catholic Faith than just liberal novelties stemming from the late 1960s. The Faith can be as deep as the ocean if you allow it to be. There is no end to the number of profound things that can occur in a Tradition that has been built up for 2,000 years. Catholicism holds a vast arsenal of incredible truths and much potential beyond our imaginations–if only our modern pastors would stop fighting against it.
There is nothing wrong with a Renaissance.