Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Latin Mass

~from The Catholic Virginian (guess who's quoted again? And the headline is faulty.)
There is likely to be little change in the worship practices in parishes of the Diocese of Richmond despite the recent announcement that Pope Benedict XVI, through his letter “Summorum Pontificum,” is permitting the faithful to have easier access to the Latin Tridentine Mass.

In fact, Mass in the Tridentine rite has long been the rule for at least 15 years at St. Joseph’s Church in Richmond and at St. Benedict Chapel in Chesapeake each Sunday. Those who wish to worship in that rite have the opportunity to do so. St. Joseph’s has an average attendance of 800 on Sundays and at St. Benedict’s Chapel the average attendance on Sundays is 300.

In at least one parish — St. Benedict’s in Richmond — Latin is used during part of the Sunday liturgy at both the 8:30 and 11 a.m. Masses.

It is unlikely that there will be a groundswell of Catholics who will urge their pastor to begin a special liturgy on Sunday in the Tridentine rite. Most people are happy in their parishes and find joy in the worship in their native language (be it English or Spanish). Many linger afterwards for fellowship because they feel part of a Christian community.

Few priests in the Diocese of Richmond know how to say a Latin Mass. Those ordained after 1965 were never trained in the seminary to celebrate the rite which has limited appeal. Most would be reluctant to want to say Mass with their backs to the congregation — a mandatory rule of the rite.

“Where there are groups that want it, it’s going to be a real pain in the neck,” said Jesuit Father Tom Reese of the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University in Washington, adding that some will pressure their pastor to offer the Tridentine Mass.

Hopefully this will not happen in the Diocese of Richmond. Priests everywhere are being stretched too thin as it is. Some have two or more parishes in which they minister. It is unfair to expect them to add an extra Mass to their already busy schedules. People might want to think twice about approaching their priest and putting this demand on him.

In his edict Pope Benedict made it clear that the new Mass from 1967 remains the norm and that the Latin Mass is permitted if a priest is willing to offer it.

While through this apostolic letter Pope Benedict seeks to restore unity among many disenchanted Catholics who have longed for the Tridentine Rite, some Church leaders are concerned that in reaching out to this minority, he may alienate the larger number of Catholics who like Mass as it is.

As in all things, let us all practice charity.
Right, and you just flunked your own huffy pronouncement.

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