The Roanoke Times has an article about the Motu Proprio and older form of Mass.
Do you remember The Party Line? "There is no interest here. Priests can’t do this. We’ve already done enough for these people. I’m in charge!"
My emphases and comments.
Area priests see little demand for Latin Mass
Church leaders likely would need special training to perform the old-style ceremony.
By Pamela J. Podger
Several [Doesn’t sound like very many.] Roman Catholic priests in Southwest Virginia are thankful demand for the old-style Latin Mass hasn’t [!] emerged here because they are already stretched thin trying to serve rural parishes.
This summer Pope Benedict XVI allowed freer use of the traditional Latin liturgy. Some regard his July 7 apostolic letter as a way of healing a rift with Catholic traditionalists. [Sigh… do we have to go through this again? This was not the only group of people the Motu Proprio concerns!]
Although Latin is woven occasionally into regular services, [It’s NOT about the language, Pamela.] the pope’s action means that priests no longer need special permission from bishops to perform the old-style Latin Mass. The 16th century Tridentine Mass had been commonly celebrated [There’s an understatement for you.] for 1,500 years but was modernized during the Second Vatican Council in 1962.
In Virginia, just two churches in the Catholic Diocese of Richmond ["]practice["!] the Tridentine Mass; St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Richmond and St. Benedict Chapel in Chesapeake. The Richmond diocese encompasses an area that includes all of Southwestern and southern Virginia. [So… two places in that whole region. Not very many.]
In the Arlington diocese that covers Northern Virginia, the Tridentine Mass is celebrated in two parishes, [Again, not very many.] St. Lawrence Roman Catholic Church in Alexandria and St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Front Royal. At this time, the diocese is aware of at least two other parishes considering it, according to diocesan spokesman Soren Johnson.
In Southwest Virginia, refresher training would be needed before local priests would be able to do the old-style Latin rite with ease. Monsignor Thomas Miller at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Roanoke recalls the Tridentine rite when he was a youth altar server at a Winchester church.
"I’ve been a priest 36 years, and I’ve never celebrated a Latin Mass and haven’t had any language training for over 40 years," Miller said. "We already do four weekend services. The thought of adding an additional service and having to learn an entirely different way of conducting it is not an attractive process." [A valid issue for a busy priest.]
Catherine Combier-Donovan, director of the diocese’s office of worship, said demand for the Latin liturgy was less than expected. [!]
"We thought we would get a lot of calls, but it has not been very much," she said. [!]
Where it would be offered depends on the interest from parishioners.
"It is not done just for the sake of nostalgia, but to respond to the spiritual needs of the community," she said.
The diocese isn’t offering training [Perhaps it should?] in the Tridentine rite, so priests who want specific training would have to contact seminaries and universities.
"The difficulty is very few priests would know how to celebrate it or have the proficiency in Latin that is necessary," she said. "Some might have further interest in pursuing further education." [They make this sound like learning Quantum Mechanics.]
The shortage of priests means they travel to several churches to perform Masses. [Well… "practice" is needed before a performance, I guess.] The number of Catholics is growing more rapidly than the vocations to the priesthood.
There are 118 active priests for 152 parishes in the Richmond diocese. [That, friends, is a problem.] And Southwest Virginia has fewer priests to serve more parishes than elsewhere in the diocese.
In July, priests received assignments that added new parishes to their duties. For example, the Rev. Rene Castillo now has three churches that he serves, including St. Gerard’s Catholic Church in Roanoke, St. John the Evangelist in New Castle and Church of the Transfiguration in Fincastle.
The Rev. Joseph Lehman and one other priest from Our Lady of Nazareth in Roanoke take turns doing services at Resurrection Catholic Church in Moneta, celebrating Mass and administering the sacraments. They also serve Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Rocky Mount.
Lehman said there may not be a need for every parish to offer this rite. He envisions a regional site where people could travel for the Tridentine Mass. [One?]
Recalling that his Latin study was 38 years ago in high school, Lehman said he would need more training. Still, there hasn’t been much call for the traditional Latin Mass in his parishes.
"I probably would not be able to pray in Latin," he joked. "I have a hard enough time praying publicly in English." [!]
Chris Barrett, pastoral coordinator at Resurrection Church in Moneta, said he grew up with the Latin Mass. As a pastoral coordinator, he is charged by the bishop to provide pastoral care, management and coordination of ministries.
"I grew up with the Latin Mass, and I have fond memories of it," Barrett said. "I treasure in my heart some of the Latin responses, but I have no desire to pray in that fashion any more."
He said the priests typically weave Greek or Latin into special services during the holy season of Lent.
"One of the things people like about the Latin is that it accentuates the mystique," he said. "There is plenty of celebration of the sacred mysteries in any language."
Demands for the old-style Latin Mass would burden priests in this region, he said.
"The priests are overwhelmed with duties and responsibilities," Barrett said. "There is really no good reason to add this to their responsibilities."
For heaven’s sake! What a pessimistic article!
Did the reporter not have any interest in any of the positive things she could have dug up with a few phone calls?
I am reminded of the character in the Little Abner cartoon who always had a little dark cloud hovering over his head everywhere he went.