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Society of St Pius X
Fr Glen Tattersall FSSP has done the cause of the traditional liturgy and ecclesial unity a great disservice by his summary dismissal of the book, Priest Where is Thy Mass? Mass Where is Thy Priest?: The Seminary Interviews (Kansas City: Angelus Press, 2004).
As someone with ten years experience as a freelance book reviewer, whose work has been published in a variety of journals ranging from Who Weekly and The Australian to Quadrant, the Critical Review and Oriens (Journal of the Ecclesia Dei Society, of which I am at present a contributing editor) I can honestly say that your news item was the first instance I have encountered of a book being condemned without even being named!
Moreover, there is a latent contradiction in the position Fr Tattersall adopts. On the one hand he claims that the book "does no service at all to the cause of the classical liturgy [sic], which in fact stands on its merits"; on the other hand he obviously doesn't believe this so-called "classical liturgy" stands on its merits because he feels the need to protect it from the taint of association with the marginalised, persecuted and misunderstood priests who have contributed to the book, some of whom have themselves been the victims of canonical (not to mention theological and liturgical) abuses on the part of their bishops.
Again, an honest appraisal, even one that finally positions itself against the general tenor of the work, would at least acknowledge these facts.
There are many traditional Catholics from both sides of the 1988 division working with genuine good will to seek and secure a reconciliation or at least a cessation of mutual hostility. In this light, Fr Tattersall's cursory dismissal of the real sufferings of the priests mentioned in this book (who have taken up the sort of fight of which he and the FSSP are the beneficiaries) is most unhelpful.
Your item stands in stark contrast to the moderate, charitable and sympathetic tone your founding editor adopted towards the Society of St Pius X and its adherents. I think justice demands that you at least give space to this more conciliatory view.
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 18 No 4 (May 2005), p. 14
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