SS. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Mission
P.O. Box 7352
July 10, 2003
Mrs. Tracey Trott
14356 Curvin Drive
Stewartstown, PA 17363
Dear Mrs. Trott,
Mr. Art Noel gave me a copy of a letter that was written by Rev. William J. King, the judicial vicar for the Diocese of Harrisburg, regarding his canonical opinion of SS. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Mission. Mr. Noel asked me to write to you regarding the letter of Rev. King.
SS. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Mission is an association of lay Catholics who have been incorporated in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the purpose of restoring, against the will of the local ordinary, Bishop Nicholas Dattilo, the Ecclesiastical Traditions of the Roman Rite to the Diocese of Harrisburg. Our primary focus at this time is to make available the Tradition Roman Rite of the Mass and to offer sound catechetical instruction in the Catholic Faith to children and adults. The names of Pope John Paul II and Bishop Nicholas Dattilo are included in the canon of these Masses.
The Traditional Roman Rite of the Mass, sometimes called the Tridentine Rite because of its codification by Pope St. Pius V after the Council of Trent, is firmly dated in all its essentials to the time of Pope St. Damasus I (366-383) and, at that time it was held as immemorial custom. The noted liturgist, Msgr. Klaus Gamber, stated that every reference to the Traditional Roman Rite by papal authority has historically regarded it as an “Apostolic Tradition,” which makes it part of Divine Tradition. It is an offense to common sense in the extreme to suggest that canon law, a form of human law, can legitimately be employed to suppress the offering of the Traditional Roman Rite of Mass by any bishop. But that is exactly what Novus Ordo canonists have argued since Vatican II. Rev. King is not the first to offer this intellectual and moral offense against justice.
I have enclosed for your consideration the canonical opinion of Rev. John Huels and my reply to his opinion, entitled Reply to a Conservative Catholic Canon Lawyer, that was written about two years ago. This is important for two reasons. Firstly, Rev. Huels was a noted canonist who had been an instructor in canon law at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, previous head of the Servite Order, and most recently, professor and vice-dean of canon law at St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada. His canonical opinion, appended to the back of my reply, was published by the Canon Law Society of America. Rev. Huels’ position is basically a better articulated and more authoritative expression of the same opinion of Rev. King. Thus, the reply to Rev. Huels should apply equally as well to Rev. King. I was unable to continue any discussion with Rev. Huels because his long history as a homosexual predator was exposed, he resigned his position at St. Paul’s citing “depression”, and was subsequently laicized.
The second reason why it is important is because these arguments were presented to Bishop Nicholas Dattilo by Msgr. Mercurio Fregapane who formally requested the bishop to provide an authoritative opinion by virtue of his office regarding the theological and doctrinal soundness of the arguments. Msgr. Fregapane was summarily and unceremoniously retired for reasons of “health” after making the formal request. Bishop Dattilo has never responded although he has a strict moral obligation to do so.
I have also enclosed a copy of our last bulletin from the Mass for your information.
If after reading the Reply to a Conservative Catholic Canon Lawyer, you have any questions, I would be happy to address them as best as I can. And if I cannot adequately answer your questions, I will find someone who can. What might be better for clarification of the issues is a public debate. This affords the opportunity to expose each side of the issue to a through cross-examination. You may want to suggest this to Rev. King. You might also ask him to take the Reply to Bishop Dattilo as Msgr. Fregapane did.
I would like to close by saying that the charge of “schism” leveled by Rev. King has been made before. Bishop Ferrario, of Honolulu on January 18, 1991 made the charge of schism against several lay Catholics and formally “excommunicated” them for doing the same thing that we are doing in the Diocese of Harrisburg. The “excommunication” was nullified on appeal to Rome by Cardinal Ratzinger on June 4, 1993. Apparently, Rev. King does not distinguish the difference between disobedience and schism. He would accuse the “man born blind” in the gospel of St. John, chapter 9, of being a “schismatic.”
As for the Sunday obligation, I frankly wonder if Rev. King even knows what the obligation actually entails. Be that as it may, Rev. Msgr. Camille Perl, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission of Ecclesia Dei and no friend of Catholic tradition, wrote a private letter on September 27, 2002 that was published in part in the Remnant. Msgr. Perl wrote a follow up public letter on January 18, 2003 that was intended to provide further clarification of the private letter written in September. In the letter of January 20, 2003 Msgr. Perl said:
“In response to the question, Points 1 and 3 in our letter of 27 September 2002 to this correspondent are accurately reported. His first question was "Can I fulfill my Sunday obligation by attending a Pius X Mass" and our response was:
"1. In the strict sense you may fulfill your Sunday obligation by attending a Mass celebrated by a priest of the Society of St. Pius X."
The Office of Bishop Dattilo has confirmed that any parish has the standing “permission” of Bishop Dattilo to conduct an ecumenical prayer service in the sanctuary of a Catholic Church with Mohammedans, Talmudic Jews, and Novus Ordo Catholics to pray to their “common god.” Since Jesus Christ is formally expelled from these prayer services, it remains a mystery as to what god these prayers are directed. It is little wonder that Bishop Dattilo, who has the hubris to believe that he can nullify the First Commandment, would have any trouble prohibiting the Traditional Roman Rite of the Mass.
Sincerely in Christ,
D. M. Drew
SS. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Mission
Encl.: Reply to a Conservative Catholic Canon Lawyer
Bulletin, SS. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Mission
cc.: Bishop Nicholas Dattilo
Rev. William J. King
Mr. Art Noel