Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Dissent in St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Bulletin

January 6th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

I was holding off on adding Fr. William Spilly to our list of Rochester personalities who have signed the dissenting “What If We Just Said Wait” petition to delay and fight the revised English translations of the Roman Missal, but he just took an almost unthinkable step. Rather than just sign his name to the petition (which he has indeed done), Fr. Spilly has gone as far as to encourage his parishioners to oppose the Missal translations through his parish bulletin. Talk about guts. What follows below is the entirety of Father’s bulletin article. A scanned copy is available below in case I made a typo in transcribing the letter.

When is the Diocese of Rochester going to put its foot down and end the blatant and open dissent from its priests, administrators, deacons, and religious? So far the following have signed this petition: 13 priests, 2 deacons, 12 religious sisters, 18 lay ministers (including Charlotte Bruney and Barbara Swiecki, two “Pastoral Administrators” who run parishes), and countless laypersons.

This open and bold dissent needs to end now.

Here is Fr. William Spilly’s plea for parishioners to oppose the new translations, and sign the online petition (all emphasis is his):

“Now that the holidays are over, we get back to normal, if there is such a thing. I would like to bring your attention something that is about to happen in our American Church, possibly by the year 2011.

Several years ago, the American bishops and other English-speaking bishops began to consider new translations of the parts of the Mass. This was undertaken by liturgical experts of the International Committee on English in the Liturgy. Unfortunately, the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments did not agree with the work done by the International Commission, and overturned their work.

Since Vatican II, there was an understanding that translations used in the Mass would be done according to the principal of “dynamic equivalency,” which allowed for translations according to their meaning. The Vatican Congregation said the new translations would be done according to the translation of “formal equivalency,” which involves a literalist approach of the original Latin texts.

According to the Rev. Michael Ryan, pastor of St. James Cathedral in Seattle, Washington, ‘what is at stake… is nothing less than the church’s credibility. It is true that the church could gain some credibility by giving us more beautiful translations, but clumsy is not beautiful, and precious is not prayerful.’ Some of the new translations would include, when I say ‘The Lord is with you,’ you now say, ‘and also with you.’ The new translation would have you respond, ‘And with your spirit.’ Others include, ‘consubstantial with the Father’ (in the Creed); ‘oblation of our service’; ‘send down your Spirit like the dew-fall’; ‘He took the precious chalice’; and ‘serene and kindly countenance.’

Rev. Ryan has started a website called His statement of concern is as follows: ‘We are very concerned about the proposed new translations of the Roman Missal. We believe that simply imposing them on our people — even after a program of preparation — will have an adverse effect on their prayer and cause serious division in our communities.

‘We are concerned that adopting translations that are highly controversial, and which leaders among our bishops as well as highly respected liturgists consider to be seriously flawed, will be a grave mistake.

‘For this reason we earnestly implore the bishops of the English-speaking world to undertake a pilot program by which the new translations — after a careful program of catechesis — can be introduced into some carefully selected parishes and communities through the English-speaking world for a period of one (liturgical) year, after which they can be objectively evaluated.

‘We are convinced that this approach will address the concerns of those many bishops who feel they have lost their voice in the matter and that it will give a voice to the People of God whose prayer is at stake and who accordingly have the most to gain or lose by the translations

‘We realize that a pilot project of this kind is unprecedented but so is the process by which translations have been approved.’

If you would like to sign your name to this effort, as I already have, please go to the website mentioned above, read the article by Rev. Ryan and an editorial in the National Catholic Reporter, and sign your name if so agree.

Peace to all of you,
Father Bill”

Here is a scan of the bulletin page which contains the priest’s column:

Below are all of the Diocese of Rochester priests, deacons, religious, and lay “ministers” who have signed the petition opposing the revised English translations. Even one name from a DoR leader on this petition would be too much, but we have several:

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If one wishes to seek answers about all these leaders signing this petition, here is the pertinent contact information:

Bishop Matthew Clark

Pastoral Center

Diocese of Rochester

1150 Buffalo Road

Rochester, New York 14624

or call:

(585) 328-3210

Some good questions to ask: What does the diocese have to say about this? Does the diocese agree with or support these voices of dissent? Will the diocese address this topic and fully support the decision of the Vatican and the USCCB? What will be done to stop our leaders from leading this revolt against the Church?

If you contact the bishop, be sure to send along the list of names and a link to the “What If We Just Said Wait” site.

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9 Responses to “Dissent in St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Bulletin”

  1. Tony says:

    It's a who's who of local dissidents! And wow, that priest has some balls to devote an entire bulletin article to attacking the Church's effort to improve the English translation of the Mass.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This is starting to get worse than the time all those Rochester priests signed a petition protesting the Church's language towards homosexual persons.

    Hmm.. You know what… I see a lot of names in common between the two petitions:

    John Phillips
    Peter Clifford
    Joseph Marcoux
    Michael Bausch
    Ed Palumbos
    Robert Kennedy
    William Spilly

    7 of 13 signed both the What if we just said wait, and the gay petitions.

  3. Kelly says:

    This the list of 'news you may have missed' on my blog.

    I hear Gitmo may be available soon – and the weather is so nice there. Would be a good place for the dissenters to have a new worship community all to themselves. Heretics. Did I say that?

  4. Kelly says:

    *meant to say that it MADE the list on my blog …

  5. Gen says:


    Regarding your post and your suggestion.

  6. Anonymous says:

    This priest is a clown.

    2.5 years until our next bishop kicks asses and takes down names.

  7. Gen says:

    If treason, conspiring against the will of the state, is a felony, why isn't treason against the Church? That's exactly what this is.

  8. Rob says:


    I agree with you folks, this thing is getting out of hand. Our priests shouldn't be trying to lead this crusade against the revised Roman Missal. All this is doing is creating disunity and dissent among the lay faithful, and that's going to harm our local Church. Do these priests care at all that their names are visible all over the Web when they sign this petition? They'll never be appointed bishops if Rome sees their names on this list.

    I sent a quick note to the diocese. Something really needs to be done about this.

  9. Sister Emily says:

    HI ROB, Good luck trying to comunicate with the DOR. They have several letters from me and I now think they have a full time buffer there for folks like you and me.

    I now email the Pope (subject 911) I don't get an answer but I have a feeling he knows what is going on here.

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