From a reader…
Our parish has a 1 year ordained assoc pastor trained in TLM and would love to say it. Pastor is 62, new to us, would probably have a stroke if assoc pastor said TLM. How can I help(not in pastor’s graces)? I don’t want to harm the assoc pastor by creating a firestorm. Also, pastor heads deanery.
Sometimes the best help you can render is through prayer. Pray both for the young associate and for the pastor’s change of heart.
The young associate is probably savvy enough to understand the pros and cons of offering Mass in the Extraordinary Form if the pastor is opposed. After all, he survived the crucible of seminary formation.
While supporting the good young Father, trust his judgment. Don’t push the issue too much. He may have determined the best course of action is to avoid, for now, using the 1962 Missal, at least publicly, at this time and in this parish. I’m sure Father appreciates the support of kind parishioners, but it would be unwise to put any sort of pressure on him to go against the pastor’s wishes.
The best support could simply be that of an extended hand of friendship. Let him know that there are those who hope for better times. They will support him if and when he sees it opportune to move forward with any plans. They will also support him if he deems it unwise to do so for some time. Let him take the lead.
Meanwhile, write a supportive letter to the bishop about this good young priest! It will go into his file. Don’t mention the Extraordinary Form, or any quarrels you’ve had to land you outside of the pastor’s good graces. The the bishop what a delightful young priest this associate pastor is. Remember: bishops tend to only get letters of complaint. Obvious letters of support will get his attention and, in time, could pay off. They wind up in a priest’s file and counterweigh any difficulties in the future.
Keep the letter simple. Something like:
“Fr. Moneypenny is a good, kind young priest with superb preaching skills and a great attitude. Thank you for sending him to us!”
Rather than, “Thank you for assigning Fr. Moneypenny to us. He does things right by the book unlike that crotchety old Fr. Mankiller who mopes around in his burlap chasuble preaching about socialism. Fr. Moneypenny wears his biretta every chance he gets and doesn’t tolerate that kind of wishy-washy liberal nonsense.”
That second letter, no matter how well-meaning, might get read by the chancery folks in an entirely different light than it’s intended. It will go into his file too, along with a snarky memo about how they ought to “stretch” this priest… as if on the rack.
Keep in simple. Be positive. Avoid controversial topics. Sometimes people – in their zeal – hurt priests more than they can imagine. Believe me. I know this from personal experience.