You remember the dust up over the simply dreadful letter of Fr. Peter J. Daly about the older form of Mass at first circulated by Catholic News Service and printed in many diocesan newspapers. The paper of the Diocese of Youngstown, OH, The Catholic Exponent, is running some reponses. Here is something rather interesting.
Friday, September 07, 2007 September 7 Letters
To the editor:
I do not understand why the Exponent had to go to Frederick, Md. for an opinion on the Tridentine Mass. We have one of the largest parishes in the United States in the Youngstown area. I believe the opinion expressed was misleading and at best speculative. Our Sunday Masses are always nearly full with both young and old. The real reason people attend is reverence not shown in post-1962 liturgy services.
William J. Merkel
Queen of the Holy Rosary
Father Daly’s column
To the editor:
I am writing in regard to the recent article in the Exponent [Aug. 24, 2007] by Father Peter J. Daly which expressed a very negative (and, I believe, completely uninformed) opinion of the Tridentine Latin Mass offered in his area.
This article has upset a number of people in my parish who are devoted to the Latin Mass and are faithful supporters of the works of the Youngstown Diocese. Father Daly’s sour view of the Latin Mass certainly does not reflect my experience as a priest who has celebrated this Liturgy daily for the past 10 years, nor does the scene he describes bear any resemblance to any of the Latin Mass communities that I have had the privilege to serve.
The article contains too many misrepresentations to correct in one letter, but let me address a few. Father Daly states that the Sunday Latin Mass only attracts about 30 “elderly” people who only like it because it is “short.” At our parish, Queen of the Holy Rosary in Vienna (where the traditional Latin Liturgy is used exclusively), we get about 30 people at our daily Mass; the three Sunday Masses total almost 300 in attendance. The Latin Mass takes at least as long as the new Mass, often longer. Many of our people drive an hour or more to attend; “convenience” is hardly an issue for them.
As far as age is concerned, we do have many elderly people (have you ever seen a parish that didn’t have old folks?), but also many young people and large families. Last year we had five funerals and 19 baptisms, so clearly we are in no immediate danger of “dying off.”
According to Internet sources, the loudest outcry against Father Daly’s article is coming from the very parish that he describes in such negative terms, St. Francis de Sales Church in Washington, D.C. The pastor of that church, Father Vitturino, says that the article completely misrepresents his parish and his own attitude toward the Tridentine Mass and he is demanding that Father Daly print a full retraction. I also understand that the Catholic News Service (CNS) wire service has withdrawn the article from publication, although I can’t confirm this.
In light of this, I would hope that the Exponent could find a way to address the negative impression this article gives. The Youngstown Diocese has led the way in facilitating access to the Tridentine Liturgy for those who are devoted to it, and the people of Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish have reciprocated by being an active part of the diocese (including the Bishops’ Appeals and Capital Campaign).
You don’t have to go to the wire services to get second-hand information about Tridentine Mass parishes; you have a very fine one in your own backyard. If I can be of any assistance in presenting a more accurate picture of the matter, please let me know.
Father Joseph R. Valentine, FSSP
Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish
EDITOR’S NOTE: We thank Father Valentine and Mr. Merkel for their letters. The purpose of running the column was to present one pastor’s view of the Tridentine Mass, on a page clearly labeled “Commentary,” so that others in favor of that Mass could express opinions about and respond to it. We know from the letters and comments we have received through the years that many Catholics like the Tridentine Mass and many others do not. The Exponent is well aware that Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish has a strong faith community and supports diocesan activities. We apologize to anyone there or in the diocese at large who may have thought we ran Father Daly’s column as a deliberate slam against the Tridentine Mass. We should also note that we discovered, after publication, that Father Daly and CNS had asked that the column not be run.