Fort Worth Bishop Michael Olson has revoked permission for Fisher More College to “have the public celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass” in the College chapel, as originally posted at Rorate Caeli and elaborated upon by Father John Zuhlsdorf on his blog. Some commentators have suggested that disputes at the College about Church teachings may be the context for the bishop’s actions.
In a private letter addressed to Fisher More College President Michael King dated February 24, Bishop Olson memorialized a decision communicated to King in a meeting to restrict the celebration of the Mass at the College to the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. He wrote that, without compliance with the directives in his letter, he would withdraw “permission to celebrate the Eucharist” and “permission to reserve the Blessed Sacrament” in the College chapel. Bishop Olson expressed his care for “the students of Fisher More College as well as for your own soul” in the letter to King.
Following this news, some blog writers expressed concern about what appeared to be a severe restriction on celebration of the Extraordinary Form, which is central to Fisher More College’s identity. But Bishop Olson’s letter notes that the Extraordinary Form is celebrated at a church nearby to the College, which indicates his concern only about the Masses celebrated on campus. And former Fisher More Chancellor Taylor Marshall posted an open letter on Facebook that provides some context to the brewing controversy and discusses his reasons for resigning from his post in June 2013.
Marshall writes that he resigned from the College “when moral, theological, and financial discrepancies came to light….” He noted that five out of the eight College board members at the time also resigned.
Marshall also explains Bishop Olson’s decision in light of Benedict XVI’s motu proprio Summorum Pontificum:
Regarding Summorum Pontificum in this situation. It doesn’t apply here since the college chapel does not have a priest requesting to say the Latin Mass and the chapel therefore falls under the direct pastoral control of the bishop. It’s the case of a layman (Michael King) asking for it. Those accusing Bishop Olson of breaking canon law or despising Summorum Pontificum should be more careful. Moreover, be assured that Bishop Olson supports the FSSP in his diocese and has nothing against the Extraordinary Form.
Fisher More has not published a statement on its website mentioning Bishop Olson’s letter, but the College has begun to post links addressing various points about the College and its chaplains and speakers.
The Cardinal Newman Society has been carefully evaluating developments at Fisher More since September and will continue to monitor the situation.
UPDATE: In addition to the ongoing situation at Fisher More College explained here, the College president announced on April 4, 2014: “At this time, it appears unlikely that the College will continue residential operations as presently configured at the Fort Worth campus. However, we still hope to preserve the College undergraduate program in some form so that our mission can continue.” The Cardinal Newman Society will continue to watch and make updates as needed.
In addition to the ongoing situation at Fisher More College explained here, the College president announced on April 4, 2014: “At this time, it appears unlikely that the College will continue residential operations as presently configured at the Fort Worth campus. However, we still hope to preserve the College undergraduate program in some form so that our mission can continue.” The Cardinal Newman Society will continue to watch and make updates as needed. - See more at: http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/TheNewmanGuide/RecommendedColleges/FisherMoreCollege.aspx#sthash.kWskV9kX.dpuf
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