My thoughts on the “Chronicle” broadcast

My thoughts on the “Chronicle” broadcast

Overall, I’m pretty pleased how the interview came out on tonight’s “Chronicle.” First of all, welcome to anyone linking over their web site. I’m sure some of you disagree with me vehemently while others would like to praise me. Either way I’m happy to have you here. Poke around a bit, make yourself comfortable, register and then join the discussion. You may be interested in the archives over there on the left or some of my published writing or greatest blog hits. Perhaps you want to start a whole new discussion on a topic I’ve not addressed. The place for that is the Discussion Forum.

Okay, so what did those of you who saw the show think of it? I think it was fair and while I grit my teeth at times it was at the inanities of some of the interviewees and not any bad reporting. Congrats to Tony Hill, the producer, for a fine job. My only complaint: I wish it were twice as long. What a tough job, squeezing in so much to so little time.

I’m glad I re-posted the link to the Vatican document on married priests again. That will be a useful response to some of the stuff said tonight. I also thought it was interesting that the wackiest comments came from the people holding the protests at closed churches. A correlation? Maybe.

(And for everyone else here: I’m sorry to be referring to something you can’t have seen because you’re not in the Boston area. I wish there was a way for you to see it or even read a transcript.)

  • Thanks for alerting us to watch Ch. 5’s Chronicle show tonight,Dom. Your comments were the best part of the description of what is happening in the Boston Archdiocese,especially your comment about the fact that the people who are ‘manning’ St. Anselm’s in Sudbury appear to have lost the real reason for celebrating Mass, in rememberance of the suffering ,death and redemption of Jesus who is really present in the Eucharist; and instead, these people appear to be congregating as if it’s a social club(not your exact words but I think this is the meaning you were conveying). I thought that there was far too much emphasis on the rebelling parishes and nothing on those parishes that are merging with parishes that are in close proximity to their parish,e.g. St. Jeremiah’s(within 2 miles of St. Anselm’s)  parishioners are well on their way to merging with St.
    George’s,Framingham, as are many other parishes.In fact, there are many parishioners from St. Anselm’s who are already attending St. George’s Church and St. Bridget’s, both of which are within a few miles from St. Anselm’s which is close to the border of Framingham. Some are also attending Our Lady of Fatima in Sudbury. This view was left out for some reason. Also, the whole section about married priests was distorted because actually at Blessed John XXlll seminary for delayed vocations, there are many men who had been married but their wives died and they are now living celibate lives and studying for the priesthood. Our parish,St. Bridget’s,Framingham, have had many of these seminarians helping in the parish and doing pastoral ministry work at the MetroWest Hospital . Once they are ordained, they go to serve as parish priests in their diocese. Yet, there was no mention about these men who are now living celibate lives for the sake of the Kingdom. Why did Ch.5 focus only on men who broke their vow of celibacy and are now married but want to be given back a position as a priest which they,under their own free will, rejected? I just don’t understand why there wasn’t a more balanced presentation. Certainly the producers at Ch.5 are well aware of parishes that have peacefully and successfully merged with close-by parishes and certainly they are well aware of the many vocations to the priesthood that come from men studying at Blessed John XXlll seminary for delayed vocations.  It seems that Ch. 5 fell into the trap of offering more of the same that is emphasized by the secular press in light of what the secular humanist and agnostics want to see happen in the Catholic Church. The show did cover the Latin Mass in Boston at the German church which is beautiful but that is only a small aspect of what is happening in the parishes that have remained faithful to the Holy See and have been flourishing in the deepening of their faith, especailly those that have an open mind and heart to the teachings of the Pope, especially his magnificent work on the meaning of sexuality, God’s plan for human love, The Theology of the Body. I wonder if the producers at Ch. 5 are updated enough to know about that magnificent work!!! If not, then they have not been doing their homework!!

  • Dom,
      First, let me join you in apologizing to folks on this blog who didin’t or couldn’t see the show and, therefore, have no personal point of reference to this discussion.
        Second, allow me to thank you again for participating in the show as an interviewee and, more generally, in offering me advice and cooperation on this blog and in our conversations and e-mails.  Whatever anyone thinks about the show, it would have been a far poor production without Dom’s contributions and those offered by others on this blog.
        Third, thanks for the compliment, on the show, Dom. I, too, wish I had had twice as much time to address these very meaningful issues on air.  I certainly had the footage to support two shows.  But, unfortunately, the topic is not considered sufficently commercial to justify back-to-back nights on Chronicle.  With respect to the Vatican’s 1997 statement on married priests, I gave it to Peter Mehegan this afternoon and spent 15 minutes talking with him about it and I think the fruits of that discussion were evident in his comments during his chat with Mary Richardson.
        Fourth, my thanks to all who responded to Dom’s overture on my behalf for suggestions to be placed on Chronicle’s website.  In addition to posting a link to Dom’s blog, which I hope will increase the traffic to this site, I listed a number of the books that were recommended.  My apologies that I could not list them all.
        Fifth, Alice, thank you for your heartfelt comments and suggestions over the course of this discussion. They have invariably been informative and thought-provoking.  I thank you for your criticisms of the omission from the program of points that very much deserved to part of the discussion.  The sad fact is that those of us in the TV biz are not able to provide all the news that’s fit to print, but must content ourselves with printing the most provocative news that will fit between the commercials.  I’m sorry that you did not find the result a balanced presentation of the issues.  But, believe me, any lack of balance was not for lack of homework, as i certainly could have included a lot more stuff with which I fairly sure you would disagree.  Balance, of course, is in the eye of the beholder, and I’m rather sure that not just secular humanists, agnostics, atheists, Muslims, Buddhists, or Protestants, but a good number of people who consider themselves faithful Catholics are going to criticize Chronicle for having done this show at all, not to mention having given so much air-time to Mrs. Bettinelli’s brown-eyed handsome man.  Comes with the territory, I’m afraid.

  • Very good show, thanks very much! Way too short of course, left a lot of questions in my mind – or maybe left a lot unsaid due to time constraints.

    Closing parishes was addressed by mentioning how the current generation doesn’t have an attachment to the parishes of their grandparents. Dom did an excellent job with his explanation of why our pews are empty – because we’ve substituted 2000 years of tradition – Christ the King of the Universe and the Jesus of the Eucharist for 30 second soundbites of “Jesus our buddy who we play soccer with”. That was excellent and very true – and with the background music (Mozart’s Mass I believe & guitar choir stuff) and the visuals (Holy Trinity & some pics of the more modern parishes [although ones that aren’t too bad]) – the contrast was stark. 

    Too bad there wasn’t more time to address the celibate/married priesthood question…

    Thank you for the very fair show, it was refreshing to have an orthodox voice to answer the statements made by the progressive Catholic voices – something that isn’t afforded Catholics most of the time either inside or outside of our parishes.

    PS. Nice cowboy hat, Dom!

  • Dom and Holy Trinity were good stuff.

    Colleen, you are right about the contrast being stark. The Latin Mass is just so reverent and beautiful. I’m happy that Chronicle showed lots of that.

    Only thing that could have been better would have been a few words from Fr. Higgins, who says the HT Latin Mass.

    Great job, Dom!


  • Any talk of a rebroadcast?

    What is the dope on Holy Trinity…Is the ArchBishop taking the axe to the Tridentine Mass?

    side note: any Mass can be said in Latin. There’s Tridentine, Novus Ordo and a few others.

  • Thomas,

    As it stands Holy Trinity is to be suppressed on 30 June. While we have been told from Bishop Lennon that the Archdiocese is committed to maintaining the Indult for the ancient Roman Rite, no formal arrangement has been made to relocate the community to date. Issues as an appropriate venue for such a Liturgy (architecturally appropriate with no post VII Sanctuary modifications that is), geographic centrality, sufficient parking and highway access and a sufficient rotation of trained Clergy remain outstanding at this time.

    Mind you both the Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) and Institute of Christ the King (ICK) are willing to come in and shoulder the expense of Holy Trinity if so invited by Archbishop O’Malley. A letter proposing erection of a personal parish staffed by the FSSP as a possible solution was sent to His Excellency’s (Archbishop O’Malley’s) office by the Chairwoman of Una Voce Boston (Christine Quagan) on 2/11/04. It was rejected out of hand by Bishop Lennon with the claim that Archbishop O’Malley wished to continue the status quo of staffing celebrants for the Indult with a small pool of diocesan clergy (currently 3) on 2/24/04. A commitment to continue the Indult was stated in this letter; however, there was no indication of where.

    On 8/6/04, Holy Trinity’s Parish Pastoral Council met with Bishop Lennon concerning the Archbishop’s original Letter of Intent (5/24/04) to suppress Holy Trinity on 6/30/05. During the course of this meeting, the Una Voce proposal of 2/11/04 was again broached. Bishop Lennon reacted as if he never heard of this. Ironically, the Bishop signed the rejection. To say the least it was a bit embarrassing for the Bishop. The meeting abruptly ended after Parish Council members present asked for his Apostolic blessing.

    Following the 8/6/05 meeting with Bishop Lennon, a follow up letter was sent to the Bishop was sent on 8/9/05 to address answers to questions not answered in the 6 August meeting, particularly the Una Voce proposal. A signed copy of Bishop Lennon’s original rejection letter of 2/24/04 was attached for his reference. To date there has been absolute silence from the Chancery regarding specifics of our future status.

    Holy Trinity has received other significant press coverage lately, including a 2/23/05 story on the inability of a day program for homeless men, which meets in the basement of the church during the week, to find a new location; Joe Fitzgerald’s column in the Herald mentioning the Latin Mass on 3/7/05 (in which my wife is quoted and I am pictured, along with our son); and a long article and a favorable editorial in the South End News on 3/17/05. Parishioners have also formed a Committee to Preserve Holy Trinity to lobby against the suppression of the parish.

    Regarding Latin, language is only one aspect of the ancient Roman Rite. The rubrical form is significantly different from the current normative Novus Ordo. The differences, let alone the ad orientem posture of the priest are numerous and should be the topic of another post.

    In nomine sancto ejus,

    Rob Quagan.


  • “Only thing that could have been better would have been a few words from Fr. Higgins, who says the HT Latin Mass.”

    Father Higgins was interviewed for the program (at St. Theresa’s, West Roxbury), but his interview was not used. (Although someone else did say that they heard one sentence from him somewhere. I’ll review the tape.)

    By the way, I was screaming at the TV when the program ended one segment with, “Coming up – should priests marry?” and the background picture was Father Higgins holding up the host at the “Ecce Agnus Dei”! I mean, I was screaming at the TV, “Not that one! You’ve picked the wrong priest!” I thought it was funny and ironic – that they’d show the one of the most orthodox and devout priests in the Archdiocese in a background shot for this question.

    Christine Quagan

  • One of my pet peeves as a producer at Chronicle is the use of what we call “billboards,” the teases for upcoming segments.  Not only do they take precious time away from the content of the show, time that could have been well given in this instance to the interviews we did with Fr. Higgins & Rob Quagan, among others, but they also produce the visual non sequiturs such as the one that had Christine howling at her set.  The billboards are neither written nor edited by the producers of the show’s segments nor are we consulted about their content.  I’m not sure that we actually had pictures of what might be termed “the right priest” for this particular billboard, as none of the active clergy we shot is an advocate of married priests.

    The show might be rebroadcasted at some point in the future, though the odds are not great because the show will probably become outdated before it would be considered for another airing six to nine months from now.

    I’m glad that you found the show fair, Colleen.