Some time ago I wrote about the implementation of Summorum Pontificum in the Diocese of Portland, Maine. His Excellency Most Reverend Richard J. Malone, Bishop of Portland, set up a chaplaincy structure and assigned a priest. The group of people whom this chaplaincy would serve would need to follow a budget and support the chaplaincy financially.
I wrote in favor of this development.
Now the details of the budget have been released and some people are angry.
For example, there is a website that is taking a very harsh line toward the Diocese and this structure, particularly the budget.
Here is the item with emphases and comments by WDTPRS.
Latin Mass Community to be charged $72,000 for Mass
By John Grasmeier
Since the release of Summorum Pontificum – Pope Benedict’s Motu Proprio removing restrictions on celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass – many local prelates and their diocesan hirelings have gone to great lengths to make life as difficult as possible for Catholics seeking to take advantage of it. From requiring priests to sit for formal Latin language examinations before offering the TLM, to suffering difficult (and even unlawful) permission schemes, traditionalist priests and lay persons have had to suffer all types of dubiously devised obstacles laid out for them by hostile ecclesiastical chains of command. [So far, I agree. I think we have shown how this is playing out fairly well.]
Some who follow such matters may tend to think they’ve heard everything regarding these shenanigans. Others, who know better, realize that when it comes to suppressing of the immemorial rite, never think you’ve heard everything. [Never underestimate the ability of the other side creatively to think up obstacles.]
[This is where this post starts to go off the rails….] In a first (a first not only in anti-TLM hubris, but quite possibly a first in the history of Holy Church) the TLM community in the diocese of Portland Maine billed for their Mass. They are to be charged $72,000 per year, with an initial $18,000 down payment being due on or before July 1st, only a little over 2 1/2 months from the time this is being written.
The 72-grand will go toward the  priest’s salary and benefits,  office supplies and, astoundingly,  rental of the church. Should anyone think this a joke or simply too outrageous to be believed, the following is presented: [It looks like the objection is based mostly on the rental of the church. However, the budget is for more than rental. I wonder what the amount for rental really is.]
[Here is the letter explaining that there will be a budget….]
3 April 2008
Dear Members of the Latin Mass Community:
Christ is Risen & Lives Forever!
As Msgr. Marc Caron, the chancellor of the Diocese, announced to you some weeks past, Bishop Richard Malone has honored me with the newly created position of Chaplain to the Latin Mass Community in south-central Maine effective 1 July 2008. I look forward to serving and working with the faithful who are attached to the extraordinary form of the Roman liturgy. Initially, I will be celebrating Holy Mass in the extraordinary form every Sunday at 8:00 AM at the Basilica of Ss Peter & Paul in Lewiston and at noon at the Cathedral Chapel in Portland. [NB: NOT St. Ipsipisy in Black Duck, or a run down chapel in Tall Tree Circle, but the Cathedral and a Minor Basilica.] Once the Chaplaincy is underway, additional Masses will be scheduled at other locations as the need increases and other priests are available. I also will be available to you for the celebration of the sacraments and sacramentals, including funerals, as needed. [So far, this sounds pretty good.]
I am happy to announce that the Bishop has accepted a request for a patron for the Latin Mass Chaplaincy. We will now be known as the :
St. Gregory the Great Latin Mass Chaplaincy
As Bishop Malone announced, the Chaplaincy will be funded by those benefiting from this ministry, [That is not unfair… on the contrary! It is just.] and the Chaplaincy will continue only if there is sufficient funding to meet its expenses. [Someone has to pay for this. It should be paid for by those who benefit from it.] The initial annual budget has been prepared, which I have approved and accepted. [So, their priest/father figure is acting in their best interest.] The budget for the first year is $72,000.00 and includes salary, room & board, health insurance and pension, travel expenses, church rental, office expenses, and other ministy (sic) expenses. [These are the basics and they are all necessary.]
Prior to 1 July, and before the Chaplaincy will begin, we are required to raise from contributions one-quarter of our annual budget, or $18,000.00. This initial funding is necessary to ensure that we will be financially independent and able to meet our weekly ongoing expenses as the Chaplaincy begins and grows. We must begin our fundraising efforts immediately to raise this initial amount. We have established an account at TD Banknorth in Lewiston that will be used exclusively for the Chaplaincy. Contributions to the Chaplaincy should be made by check payable to "St Gregory (the Great) Latin Mass Chaplaincy" and sent to the following address: Latin Mass Chaplaincy, Department of Ministerial Services, P.O. Box 11559, Portland, Maine 04104. Please be as generous as your means allow.
After 1 July collections taken up at all the Masses of the Chaplaincy will go totally to the support of the Chaplaincy. [That is very good! It could have been arranged that those contributions would be given to the hosting parish!] Also the faithful will be able to register with the Chaplaincy and will have their own envelopes come the New Year. I will also be making regular financial reports to the community. [This is just.]
I will be able to join you and address you after Mass on Sunday 20 April 2008 at the Cathedral to enlist your support for the many important tasks we must undertake in order to build the Chaplaincy so that it will be a vital, growing, and long-lasting ministry in the Diocese. I also hope to answer any questions you may have. Unfortunately I may arrive during the Mass as I must complete my duties in Sabattus first. I hope you will be able to stay for a short reception after Mass so that we may become personally acquainted.
I thank all the priests who have served and who will continue to serve you. They have been a blessing from God. I look forward to meeting and serving you. May God prosper the work of our hands.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Rev. Robert A. Parent
A few things occur to me upon reading Father’s letter and the angry and, in my opinion, acrimonious reaction to it. I understand that they may not be sniping at Fr. Parent, but perhaps at others in the chancery or parishes who may have imposed these conditions.
Any number of parish priests could jump in with stories about how many people come to the parish desiring services for one reason or another and have the idea that everything ought to be free for them, without any personal obligation or expense.
This also happens with payment of tuition in Catholic schools and also Sunday giving. Very many Catholics have it in their heads that the pratice of their faith shouldn’t have to cost them anything.
Having a parish costs something. Somebody has to pay for what you receive. When you go to Mass and there is heat or A/C, someone pays the bill. There are bills for lights and salaries for maintenance and cleaning. The priest has the right to a just salary, room and board. If you expect him to travel, his expenses must be paid.
It strikes me that if a community cannot handle $72,000 per year, how could they dream to handle a whole parish, with all of its expenses.
If a parish priest has a group come into his place and turn on his lights and enjoy the heat or A/C and then know that they will come to a clean church when they return, that parish priest would want to know how it is going to be paid for.
Were it possible simply to do everything and not need to worry about money, that would be a different matter.
I am struck also by the example set by some Protestant groups who practice rather disciplined tithing: 10% of their wages going to their churches. I wonder how many people in the TLM groups around the country are giving 10% of the income to their parishes. If Protestants, with their lack of sacraments, can do this, how much more should Catholics, who receiving infinitely more from their shepherds and the Church be willing to ante-up?
The bishop established this chaplaincy in such a way that it could have a very clear identity and in such a way that, if successful, it could be given and church and made a personal parish. (Remember: if they pay "rent" at a parish, they will also have certain rights, which they would otherwise not have.)
But much will depend on them. I don’t mean just in how they cough up money for their venture, but also in their attitude. They could really spoil this for everyone.
Finally, however, I would have to ask serious questions:
Are there other groups in the diocese that don’t have their own parishes paying expenses in this manner? For example some ethnic group with their own priest chaplain? If there are, are they paying to use some parish facility?
Is the treatment shown to the TLM group the same as that shown to other groups or is there a demonstrable, provable double-standard?
Even if there is, I would have to advise the folks in Portland to leave aside the acrimony and prove they can do it anyway! Noblesse oblige. At least for the time being keep your spirits up and think about that tithing thing.