Abp. Donaghue Defends TLM

Archbishop Donaghue Defends Traditional Rite Amid Controversy

Not long after Archbishop John Donaghue’s celebration of a Pontifical Solemn High Mass in the Tridentine Rite in his Atlanta Archdiocese, a favorable article on the Latin Mass Community appeared in the Georgia Bulletin (the Archdiocesan newspaper), which set off a firestorm of letter-writing.

Archbishop Donaghue, who has been very supportive of the traditional Latin Mass community and has permitted the Fraternity of St. Peter to minister to the spiriual needs of traditional Catholics in the Archdiocese, was met with virulent criticism in the pages of his newspaper.

The volume of letter writing to the editor of the Bulletin was so heavy – and the tone so unfortunate – that the Archbishop himself was forced to issue a statement clarifying his intentions regarding his permission for a Traditional parish.

As the Atlanta Archdiocesan website states:

“In its February 12, 1998 issue the Georgia Bulletin published an article on the Saint Francis de Sales Latin Mass Community. It occasioned considerable discussion in the form of letters to the editor.

After two weeks of response, the newspaper had to terminate the discussion in order to devote the space to other topics. At this time Archbishop Donoghue offered a written statement of guidance on the matter.”

Archbishop’s Message

March 9, 1998

My dear Friends in Christ,

Prompted by the recent discussion here in the pages of the The Georgia Bulletin, and throughout the local Church, I wish to offer some guidance concerning certain aspects of the Church’s teaching about the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy.

Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II granted permission for bishops to allow the celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of 1962, or in the fashion that is commonly called the “Traditional Latin Mass.” The Holy Father not only granted this permission, but has also requested that bishops be generous in allowing the celebration of the Latin Mass within their jurisdictions. I believe he did this according to the will of the Holy Spirit for the Church, and for the edification and inspiration of her people. I am honored to be able to participate in this gift to the Church and to bring it to this Archdiocese.

As to the use of Latin: the preservation of spoken Latin prayer as well as the offering of the Latin Mass, are suitable means by which the historic foundations of our particular rite within the Catholic (universal) Church are preserved. This is the will of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council who wrote, “The use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.” The study, preparation, and practice of the traditional Latin Mass, in accordance with the indult of the Holy Father, fulfills this wish of the Council Fathers perfectly.

Finally, it is not to be denied that the Second Vatican Council desired that the Mass be offered in the vernacular, and we do this, faithfully, according to the Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI. This form of the Mass, the novus ordo, or new order, is the official and prevalent form in which the Eucharistic Liturgy is celebrated in our local Church,as it is throughout the world, and enjoys the acceptance of all obedient Catholics.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend John F. Donaghue
Archbishop of Atlanta



Letters of support for Archbishop Donaghue can be sent to:
The Most Rev. John F. Donaghue
Archbishop of Atlanta
680 West Peachtree Street, NW
Atlanta, GA 30308-1984


You can follow the controversy – including letters to the editor posted on the archdiocesan website – via the follwing URLs.

Latin Mass Discussion board on the Archdiocesan website: (This link includes the letters originally published in the Georgia Bulletin)
Archdiocese of Atlanta — Latin Mass Discussion

The original Georgia Bulletin Article that sparked the debate:
Georgia Bulletin Latin Mass Community

Prayers for Archbishop Donaghue are requested.