I got a tip from a reader about an interesting situation in Los Angeles about the use of the older form of Holy Mass in the wake of Summorum Pontificum.
As you might guess, there has not been a lot of clerical joy demonstrated in Los Angeles about the so-called "Traditional Latin Mass".
Here is snap shot of one parish.
Keep in mind that the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum warmly enjoins pastors of souls to receive willingly the requests of the faithful for the older Mass.
Here is what my e-mailer sent with my emphases and comments:
Here in Los Angeles, you know the TLM is not encouraged. There has been, though, over the years one parish that has vigorously defended the faith and befriended tradition. Ss. Peter and Paul in Wilmington. The former pastor completely revitalized the church 15 years ago and renovated the entire interior and exterior. He built a beautiful parish hall and gardens and even a stunning perpetual adoration chapel. There are the pictures on the website. [I looked. They’re nice!] The Novus Ordo was said and much latin was incorporated. The people had latin guides and they knew the responses and said them with vigor! [Just as the Council required.]
The pastor’s tenure was up though and the Norbrertines took it over. The SoCal Norbertines have a reputation as being the champions of orthodoxy in the area, but many parishioners have been terribly disappointed for many reasons. After the MP was released numerous parishioners began requesting a TLM, and one of the associate pastors even knows how to say it. Sadly, though, it has not been received well. A somewhat patronizing and condescending letter was written by the pastor (see below). [I include this below.] The pastor said that he would only consider it if 125 people signed a petition [The Motu Proprio does not impose a minumum. One can understand that it might be hard to begin a parish-wide initiative for a small group, but… remember, there is an assistant who knows the older form and not many places in LA where you can find it. It might actually have been a great service to the whole Catholic community.] and committed to attend it 3 Sundays out of every month – and he would not allow them to have it in the church but rather in the rundown, dirty 1950’s school hall a mile away!! [There’s the heart of a pastor for ya.] If, only if they maintained an average attendance of 125 per week for an entire year [!] then "maybe, M-A-Y-B-E" he would consider having it in the church!! And if they didn’t keep an average of 125, then he would pull it and put back the Novus Ordo! [Does this strike you as a willing reception of the request?]
The Sunday they had that announcement, there were already forty signatures by the end of the 10:00 AM mass. Now there are well over 100. Obviously, many people voiced their disgust with the arrangement and so he relented and is now allowing the mass to be held….get this….in the church at 6:30 IN THE MORNING! That means all the TLM young families will have to get their many kids up at 5:30 AM [Yah.. that sounds easy!] – which of course is too early. This is also too early for the many commuters and it is too early for a choir – that means only low masses! I am a long time parishioner and I can say that many of us are very upset. These rules are what you keep talking about. They go against the spirit of the MP. This is such a beautiful church building with a knowledgeable and devout congregation. It would be a perfect place for the TLM community. Maybe you could give this some PR and put the heat on. [I prefer to create light, rather than heat. Though WDTPRS is ready to put fire to certain feet on occasion, bringing things into the light of day remains the best way to make people reflect.] The people want it, they have a church and a priest even, but still they are being thwarted. There are empty slots in the afternoon they could have had in it or it could have been substituted for a later morning mass. There is no reason for this. Below is the bulletin announcement and some pictures of the church and the website with more pictures. One last irony was that in the same letter the pastor laid down these rules he spoke of how the Norbertine charism is to promote good liturgy. [Yes, that is indeed the case with the solid Norbertines I know.]
Here is what the 7 October 2007 bulletin of that parish says:
Update on the
On July 7 His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI issued an Apostolic Letter allowing any priest to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass using the version of the Roman Missal which was originally promulgated by Pope St. Pius V and which was revised and reissued by Blessed Pope John XXIII in 1962. (The so-called “Tridentine Mass” is simply the Mass celebrated using this older version of the Roman Missal. It is celebrated in Latin. It was the norm in most of the Church until Pope Paul VI published the revised Roman Missal in 1970.) According to the Holy Father’s Apostolic Letter, beginning September 14, 2007 the Mass may be celebrated using this Missal “in parishes where there is a stable group of faithful [There’s that BAD TRANSLATION again. Perhaps it was the lousy translation, the inaccurate "stable group" canard that spurred the pastor to say that there had to be 125 people for a year?] who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition”. This means in practice that if there is a sufficient number of parishioners who request it and are willing to attend it regularly, the pastor may arrange for the Mass to be celebrated using the Missal of Blessed John XXIII on a regular basis.
Therefore, after consultation with superiors, the office of the Regional Bishop, [Who was without doubt more than enthusiastic about the older Mass being at that parish, I’m sure.] and the Pastoral Advisory Board, the “Tridentine Mass” will be celebrated in the church on Sundays, beginning the first Sunday of Advent, on December 2nd of this year. It will be celebrated at the earliest Sunday Mass hour which will be at 6:30 am. [Convenient. This strikes me as a way of saying, "Hey you… GET TO THE BACK OF THE BUS!"] (This means that the 6:45 am Mass gets moved back 15 minutes earlier. The other Mass hours on Sunday stay the same.) This change will be on experimental basis for six months until June 1, 2008. If it remains constant with about at least 100 people attending, it will become a permanent fixture after June 1st. If with time it begins to dip well [vague] under 100 showing a waning of interest, then the Ordinary Form of the Ordinary Rite as it is now currently celebrated in English will be reinserted at 6:45 am. So if you want to attend Mass celebrated the way it used to be before the Second Vatican Council, [INSERT BIG SHRUG AND SIGH HERE] mark your calendars for Sunday, December 2nd at 6:30 am. There is no longer any need to sign any petition in the bookstore.
Father Raymond Perez, O. Praem.
A couple things.
First, the pastor did actually do something. People got the Mass onto the schedule. That is good.
Now, without being snotty about it, it is time to ork with the pastor to get that to a different time slot for the sake of the children. The older Mass tends to be well-attended by young families with more than one child. That time slot is little better than cruel.
Some delicate attention needs to be given to this situation. I suggest a firm application of the Rules of Engagment, especially Rule #4.
If the pastor of the parish reads this:
I applaud that you decided to work with this group. Can you not now open your heart to these good people and help them out with a better time slot? For the sake of their children? Be good to these people. They will be rocks of dependability in the parish on every level and this Mass will enrich everyone’s live. Make it a little later.