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Monday, October 10, 2005

A Latin Mass Parish? Suuuuuuure.

Yesterday afternoon I was wishing I had something to be sarcastic about, some incident to recount with a bitter edge.
I got it.

I attend the Tridentine Dialogue Mass every Sunday at 5pm. The celebrant is a 70 year old diocesan priest whose orthodoxy and Philadelphian-Italian temperament have landed him in a tiny, unedifying parish in Ajo. Ajo is about 3 hours drive from Tucson. Every Sunday Fr. Rego celebrates a couple Novus Ordo masses in exile, then drives a few hours across deserty Indian reservation to show up for confessions and the Latin Mass at 5. Usually he has a few morning masses Monday-Wednesday, then heads back to the "hell-hole". His withering terminology, but I can't help but concur. This morning another old and sickly priest passed away, Fr. Clark Moore. He also celebrated the Latin Mass fairly regularly, but has been known to say some odd things from the pulpit so we never went to his unless necessary. Another retired priest, Fr. DeVine, is filling in. So that's the set up.

Nobody is really happy with the arrangements. Father is old, his Tucson flock appreciate him but would like daily access to the sacraments i.e. a parish. And what happens when Father kicks the bucket? So in a disorganized fashion Fr. Reo has been petitioning the bishop for a parish within the city limits. This same bishop has been complaining of priest shortages, shutting down parishes, or placing nuns as parish coordinators. Mark Balustreri, who instigated the (Canon) lawsuit against American "Catholic" politicians, has been helping us out and probably been the only thing that forced the bishop to take us seriously, with our "rightful aspirations" for a Latin Mass. So seriously, that he agreed to meet and address our concerns tonight.

Bishop Kicanas attended Mass, and read the readings in English. But first he prefaced them with "In the Universal Church, we read about....while here today we read....". Sigh. His homily was pathetic, as usual. When we went to the parish hall he declared this was a meeting to answer our questions: everyone would get only one turn to have their say. So we saw from the beginning this wasn't for a resolution to the question of whether we, who were humbly asking permission in full communion with the Holy Catholic Church, the Pope, the Bishop himself to have a little Latin Mass PARISH. This was about diplomatically massaging us into complacency and urging us to patience. The very first question was "What is your opinion of a Latin Mass parish?" He said he had no opinion. He had to talk it over some more with the other bishops, and see whether this was really what was good for the church. He is afraid of division. Unity is of prime importance, apparently. See, there are lots of schismatic madmen out there causing disruption in the Church (none of them here of course! he'd add soothingly). Of course you can't judge a group by its extremes. He had no misgivings about the community talking to him right now, but the bishops just weren't sure whether promoting the Latin Mass is good for the unity of the Church. Some were cautious, some not so cautious. He admitted that the Tridentine Mass has been encouraged and promoted by the Vatican. Dad said he didn't understand why, if the only problem the bishop could see was a problem common to all rites and all human endeavors anyway, it was reasonable to be wary of a Latin Mass parish. The Bishop didn't answer. Immediately our choir director chimed in and asked what we as a community had to do to gain the Bishop's approval and confidence. Again, no answer. In fact, he never even glanced over at our side of the room again. With only one shot per person there was no chance of anyone forcing him to quit dancing round the subject with his reiterations of caution and the "importance of collecting many opinions to make a prudent judgment on the matter". 'Twas all very irritating. Effectively, he's trying to stalemate us. If he doesn't say no right off, we might wait around and not take it to the Vatican in a lawsuit. He's certainly not going to say yes unless it becomes convenient for him to do so. People kept emphasizing that the movement was a serious movement, that it was growing, that it wanted to grow, that it was devoted. Wrong thing to say. He doesn't want it to grow. He wants it to die quietly. When a gentleman bought up that all the Novus Ordo masses he'd been to were irreverent and included abuses, the bishop had the gall to say *his* Novus Ordo mass was reverent, and challenge that the abuses were as widespread as the whole room maintained. Pfft. There's plenty of abuses at his masses and every NO mass in Tucson. Sadly, this was as much a failure on our part for lacking organization. The latter half of the meeting was about people gushing over how attached to the Latin Mass they were. It did not force the bishop to face the issue at hand. He was free to say, Hey, you’ve got a community or two going here, be content! What more do you want? Nevermind the mass times have a somewhat random quality, that the churches are too small, that we don’t have access to the other sacraments, that our elderly and unhealthy celebrants do not have any assurance of succession. How exactly the meeting ended I don’t know, I had to go outside and babysit. But quite frankly, the bishop isn’t going to give us what we want unless we take steps to sue him or perhaps until Pope Benedict issues some sort of mandate he would deem politically imprudent to ignore. Unfortunately, Fr. Rego thought the meeting was encouraging. He has no intention of suing, he wants a good relationship. We’re all working at cross purposes here…and such a pity too, because we’re not a schismatic group…

I'm so glad I'm moving back to the Norbertines. Abuse free NO sacraments on a daily basis sure beats this desert.

Comments [2]

Anonymous Anonymous:

>> "We’re all working at cross purposes here"

Sounds like a familiar story! I sympathise with your predicament. One certainly does feel they're hitting their heads against a brick wall sometimes. Unfortunately I don't think Pope Benedict will be doing anything soon (at least) - I maybe wrong, but from reading his comments in recent years, and comparing them to ones he's made as Pope, I feel he is more interested in undertaking a reform of the reform, rather than allowing universal indults.

Tue Oct 11, 02:58:00 AM GMT  
Anonymous Anonymous:

In the mean time let us not loose any hope. It is our love for the Mass that keeps us let us pray and not only for the Latin Mass but for the NO and for the abuses to go away, as well as for priests to be faithful.


Mon Nov 07, 07:40:00 PM GMT  

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