SS. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Mission
P. O. Box 7352
February 7, 2004
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Prefect of Doctrine of the Faith
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Piazza del S. Uffizio, 11, 00193
Dear Cardinal Ratzinger,
I am the chairman of SS. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Mission. The Mission is an association of lay Catholics dedicated to the restoration of the Ecclesiastical Traditions of the Roman Rite to the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. To this end we have purchased a church in the historic district of York, PA and provide for the regular offering of the Traditional Roman Rite (Tridentine) Mass, the daily practice of a holy hour of adoration and reparation to the Blessed Sacrament with the reading of Vespers and Compline, catechetical instruction for both adults and children, and the sponsoring of speakers for public lectures.
The local ordinary, Bishop Nicholas Dattilo, has refused to fulfill his obligation to care for our spiritual needs which has necessitated our taking the initiative to see that we have the Catholic sacraments, Catholic doctrine and Catholic morals without compromise and according to the traditions of the Roman Rite. Bishop Dattilo has refused communion with the Traditional Catholics of SS. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Mission. He has refused to permit the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter to operate in this diocese. The papal flag is displayed in the sanctuary of SS. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Chapel, located at 129 S. Beaver Street, York, Pennsylvania, and the names of Pope John Paul II and Bishop Dattilo are included in the canon of the Traditional Masses offered in this chapel.
Rev. William J. King, JCD, the judicial vicar and spokesman for Bishop Dattilo has published the unsubstantiated allegation in the diocesan newspaper and parish bulletins against the Traditional Catholics of SS. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Mission that “many of their doctrines and practices contradict Biblical revelation and authentic Catholic teaching,” and that “their theology contains certain doctrinal errors.” He has also described us as a “dissident sect in schism with the Catholic Church.” Rev. King has refused an offer to specify these allegations or defend these statements in a public forum where he could be directly questioned.
This is a public accusation of heresy and schism against Catholics who hold the entire Catholic Faith whole and inviolable in its doctrinal and moral integrity. The Catholics of SS. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Mission appeal to your Excellency to examine these accusations to determine their merit. Rev. King must be required to substantiate his accusations with a specific charge that is supported by real evidence, or he must be required to publish a retraction and an apology in the same forum with the same degree of emphasis that the false accusations were made. Failing that, we ask that your office examine these documents and determine if they contain any error of Catholic doctrine or morals.
I have enclosed for your information that statement of our corporate purpose of SS. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Mission, the letter of invitation to Bishop Dattilo to consecrate our church, a document formally submitted to Bishop Dattilo by one of his priests for determination of any theological error.
We remain loyal Catholics in doctrine, morals, liturgical worship and in all disciplinary matters that do not restrict our practice and defense of the Ecclesiastical Traditions of the Roman Catholic Church.
Sincerely in Christ,
SS. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Mission
Encl: Rev. King notice in the Catholic Witness, the diocesan newspaper
Letter inviting Bishop Dattilo to consecrate SS. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Chapel
Rev. King letter of February 3, 2004
Reply to a Conservative Canon Lawyer, A Defense of Our Rights to the Ecclesiastical Traditions
Two front page articles from the York Daily Record, the local newspaper
cc. Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, President Pontifical Commission of Ecclesia Dei
Bishop Nicholas Dattilo, Bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg
Rev. William J. King, JCD, Judicial Vicar, Diocese of Harrisburg