Buffalo, NY: expansion of older Mass

The Buffalo News is reporting that …  you read it.

Emphases and comments are mine.


Latin Mass could expand in Diocese of Buffalo
Major changes unlikelyfor most WNY Catholics
Updated: 08/16/07 9:43 AM

For most area Catholics, the Latin Mass either is a hazy memory or a footnote in church history[The older form of Mass a "footnote"?  Even for the less educated, I can’t think this is even remotely realistic.]

But next month, the ancient rite, set aside nearly 40 years ago in favor of a new, vastly different Mass, will be welcomed back in area churches — thanks to a recent apostolic letter from Pope Benedict XVI.

The letter is unlikely to change [This seems to be following The Party Line.  I suspect this person was coached mostly be someone hostile to the older Mass.] the way most Catholics in the Diocese of Buffalo experience their liturgies. Still, traditionalists [The entry on people’s experiences demonstrates pretty well that the older Mass appeals to more than "traditionalists".] were thrilled by the July announcement.

“It’s lifted a stigma. It’s almost like being freed,” said Al Huntz, president of the local chapter of Una Voce, an international organization of Latin Mass promoters. “For a good many years there’s been a misconception that the Latin Mass and the people who attend were some kind of fringe group.”

Huntz and other local supporters of the ancient liturgy now hope that its restoration will persuade Bishop Edward U. Kmiec to grant them a parish of their own and in the process save a Buffalo church building that is slated for closure.  [A formula that has worked in many places.]

Huntz figures at least 600 local families would be interested in a Latin Mass parish, including some who no longer attend a diocesan church.

“It’s an opportune time to do it,” he said.

Kmiec expressed doubts about how well a Latin Mass parish would integrate into the rest of the diocese, however.

“That has so many different ramifications,” he said.

A parish is “more than just saying Mass on Sundays,” he added. “I just wouldn’t want to say that this is a single focus of a parish.”  [See Rule #4]

Besides, he added, the diocese already offers [Is this an echo of The Pary Line? "We’re already doing enough for these people!"] two Sunday Latin Masses, one at St. Anthony of Padua Church at 160 Court St. in downtown Buffalo and one at Our Lady Help of Christians Chapel at 4125 Union Road in Cheektowaga.

“I feel they’re being adequately served liturgically,” he said.

Latin didn’t disappear

The Latin Mass never totally disappeared. A dissident [Latin connected with dissent.  Ironic.] prelate, Archbishop Marcel LeFebvre, founded the Society of St. Pius X, rejecting the new liturgy and continuing the use of the Latin Mass, gaining a worldwide following.  [And shouldn’t that tell people something.]

The Society of St. Pius X provides priests for Latin Masses in Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel at 231 McKinley Parkway in South Buffalo.

And in 1988, Pope John Paul II, hoping to get LeFebvre’s followers to return, allowed for limited use of the Latin Mass [Two errors here.  First, "the Latin Mass" is an incorrect term.  Second, the provisions of the 1988 Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei adflicta did not say "limited", but rather "generous".] in dioceses by permission of the bishops, leading to the two old liturgies offered locally.

With Pope Benedict XVI’s decree, priests trained in the old rite will be able to freely celebrate it, and parishes can specifically request it.  [No.  People can request it for their parishes.]

The pope’s decision appeared to be another nod toward traditionalist Catholics, who argue that the church went astray following the many changes ushered in by the Second Vatican Council, including the new liturgy.  [This is tendentious.]

Also in July, Benedict declared that other Christian communities were “defective” or not churches at all, drawing criticism from some Protestants who viewed his statement as anti-ecumenical.  [Okay, I think we have this reporter’s view,… and that of his coach.]

But Kmiec said the pope’s recent statements weren’t a rolling back of the liberalizing reforms of Vatican II, a fear expressed by some Catholics.

“I don’t think so at all, absolutely not,” he said.

The restoration of the Latin Mass is a simple “pastoral outreach” to Catholics who left the church for the LeFebvre group.  [Another but very bad error that could have been avoided with 5 minutes more research.]

“He just wants another liturgical form,” said Kmiec. “It’s a generous, hopeful extension of a hand — welcome back.”

Members of the Society of St. Pius X say the pope’s apostolic letter was a start, but they still adamantly object to the ecumenical spirit of the Second Vatican Council and call for its repeal.

During a recent homily at the McKinley Parkway chapel, the Rev. Timothy Pfeiffer, prior of the Society of St. Pius X mission in Syracuse, which supplies priests to Buffalo, condemned Vatican II as being “built on sand.”

Afterward, he elaborated, saying that the council was “not a Catholic movement. The church can’t be ecumenical.”

Pfeiffer also suggested that the Latin Mass would have to become the normal form of the Mass again, instead of the new Mass, which is known as the Novus Ordo and dispensed with traditions such as kneeling at the altar to receive Communion in favor of a more communal celebration of the Last Supper.

“It’s not really possible to mix the Novus Ordo culture with the traditional Mass culture,” said Pfeiffer.

Considered obsolete by some Catholics, the Latin Mass is viewed as the ultimate form of worship by others.

“There’s nothing common about the Latin Mass. It is the best we have to offer to our Lord,” said Elena Greco, who regularly attends the Tridentine Mass in Cheektowaga. “The new Mass is to entertain the people. The traditional Mass is to worship our Lord.”

Brendan Young, born years after the change to the Novus Ordo, has been hooked on the Latin Mass since attending one as a young boy with his grandmother.

Now 17, he takes a special trip each Sunday to participate as an altar server at the traditional Mass in St. Anthony Church in Buffalo. The rest of his family attends the new Mass at their parish in Kenmore.

“It’s definitely more contemplative, more mystical, and I find it a better expression of the faith,” said Young, a senior at Kenmore West High School. “I’m very much at home with the Latin Mass.”

Some liked change

But for James Mudd, born and raised attending Masses in which the priest spoke in Latin with his back to the congregation, [sigh… how cliche] the church’s change to liturgies in English — with lay people participating as lectors, Eucharistic ministers and gift bearers — was a breath of fresh air.

“We were so happy when the Second Vatican Council opened the door to saying the Mass in the vernacular,” said the 79- year-old Lewiston resident.

The Latin Mass “just seems to separate the priest further from the people,” he said. “It is something out of our past. It would be nice to have it in a museum or something like that.”

The bishop doubts the new availability of the Latin Mass will attract large numbers of new people.

“I don’t think there’s a huge demand for this, that every parish will want it,” he said.

Support appears small  [The Party Line again]

The Rev. David W. Bialkowski, one of a handful of area priests current in the Tridentine form, already conducted a survey in his parish, St. John Gualbert in Cheektowaga, to gauge interest.

So far, about 30 people said they would like a Latin Mass once a month or so — not enough to commit to doing it, Bialkowski said.

“I don’t think people are that used to it,” he said.

Bialkowski, who was ordained in 1988, didn’t grow up with the Latin Mass or learn how to celebrate it in the seminary, but he was drawn to it early in his priesthood.

“I enjoy all the reverence, the mystery it communicates,” he said. “It’s a very reverent, quiet type of liturgy. Maybe people whose spirituality is more reserved find it more meaningful.”


Sloppy research + tendentious writing = poorly crafted article

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Rob in Maine says:

    This may be an ill formed analogy, but…

    I was attending the game of our local AA pro-ball team last night, when I funny thought struck me.

    “Why does the catcher, batter and umpire have their backs to the fans?”

    The answer is obvious: they don’t. They are facing the pitcher. So why is ad orientem such a difficult concept?

  2. Matt Robinson says:

    The only problem with the liturgical “renewal” is that it’s guaranteed to be
    dead within 15-20 years.

    …Sheer demographics.

    The most ardent supporters of the “status quo” are in the 60-75 year age range.

    I know of few baby-boomers who are genuinely enthused about their parish
    liturgy. Even in my own family, they invariably “do their duty” but
    are quite indifferent to the faith in general.

    The 60-75 age range incidentally, at least in Canada, constitutes about 70%
    of the church goers in any given diocese from my experience.

    Also of note, all Bishops fall into this age bracket. I think “Status Quo” would
    be the best motto for most Episcopal Coats of Arms.

    The irony, is that this generation was the last one to be raised and given
    their “faith commitment”in the wonderful-horrible “pre-Renewal” Church.

    How then, can we explain why their 100% “renewed” children and grandchildren,
    who were born and bred in the wonderful new liturgy, don’t seem to be inspired in
    the least by their local parish and leave the faith in droves or are at best
    lukewarm and uncommitted?

    Really, if the “old order” was so bad, their children and grandchildren should
    have been far more devout, having had the opportunity to “understand” the liturgy
    from childhood.

    This is the fundamental paradox for supporters of the current
    litugical model.

  3. danphunter1 says:

    The bottom line is that the Latin Language in the Classical Rite or Novus Ordo is not the problem for these people.
    It is really the ecclesiology that accompanies the Classical Rite which is really the same ecclesiology that accompanies the Novus Ordo, that is to obey the Ordinary and extraordinary magisterial teaching of the Church. This has been absent for far to long in most novus ordo churches and the Classical Rite represents to big of a lifestyle change challenge in the minds of the dissenting liberals.
    When they get their keesters in line with what Christ and therefore His Body teaches then these flailing tantrums and rants will cease.
    God bless you and yours.

  4. Vincentius says:

    The war is over. The Summorum is the Church’s Marshall Plan. Commenters like this are like the Japanese soldiers who hid in island jungles for decades after the war. Let’s not let them bother us. Our job is not to do what they did-i.e. turn off millions of souls from The Church because of their intolerence. Let us show magnanimitas as demonstated in Fr.Zs rules. In that remarkable thread of peoples experiences, the only disturbing ones to me was the negative encounters with over zealous traddies. As the more orthodox element, we can address and remedy that problem-beginning with me. Over the next few generations, the SP will create increased attendance and vocations- opening doors to those previously alienated or uninterested, while not shutting out the less traditional elemnet. This is only good for the Church. Deo Gratias.

  5. Vincentius: The Summorum is the Church’s Marshall Plan.

    Well said. I would only alter that to part of the Church’s Marshall Plan.

  6. Rob in Maine: Baseball analogies for the sacred mysteries are always appropriate.

  7. Anon. says:

    I am from Bishop Kmiec’s previous diocese, Nashville, where he would not grant the indult despite the presence of an SSPX chapel in his diocese. I don’t think this is surprising.

  8. Jeff Pinyan says:

    Rob in Maine, that’s an excellent analogy. I’ll have to squirrel that one away.

  9. Jeff says:

    “Do they still sing: “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” at the seventh inning? That’s tradition and even a ritual. Jeff

  10. I recently heard about the comments of a psychiatrist (who is a non praticing Catholic) with regard to the bitterly negative reaction of the 60’s and up generation of priests and bishops to the Motu Proprio. He doesn’t think in terms of conscience but rather in terms of the “Id” as in the “ego and the id”. The ‘id” roughly co-responds to the conscience. He hypothesises that deep in their id these clerics know that what they did to the Liturgy 40 years ago was disastrous. But they can’t face that and their immediate instinct is to eradicate anything that reminds them of what they did. To such priests and bishops, the Motu Proprio must indeed present a major crisis.

  11. Seumas says:

    It is something out of our past. It would be nice to have it in a museum or something like that.”

    The old Mass will survive and thrive, and it will be the liturgical and doctrinal foibles of his generation that end up in a museum–perhaps Ripley’s Believe it or Not.

  12. Andrew says:

    The Summorum is the Church’s Marshall Plan.

    Well said. I would only alter that to part of the Church’s Marshall Plan.

    Another part, I think, is learning Latin. Somehow the Church needs to come around and make Latin much more common than it is right now. Most priests should read and write Latin with ease and much of the laity should know at least some Latin and some of them should know Latin very well. Imagine what that would do to all the arguments against Summorum Pontificum, such as “vernacular is better because it is understood”.

  13. Long-Skirts says:

    “Kmiec expressed doubts about how well a Latin Mass parish would integrate into the rest of the diocese,…”

    Time to get out your chapel veils ladies. Nothing irritates the destroyers/feminists of the Faith more than a Chapel Veil!!


    Oh lowly, little, chapel veil,
    You are my dearest friend.
    For when my hair’s all mops and brooms,
    You cover, end to end.

    And when my hair’s not curling right
    Or when it sticks out straight,
    You gently hold it all in place
    And make it look first rate!

    But feminist, they hate you so,
    You lowly, simple thing.
    To them you are so vile, not veil,
    To praise Our Lord and King.

    And passing by the Church of Seven,
    “Autonomy’s”, their phrase.
    They never know the joys of Heaven,
    Such as, no bad-hair-days!

    For lowly, lacey, chapel veil,
    You tame my hair, so wild!
    But truth-be-told, though I look nice,
    It’s all for the Christ Child.

  14. Andy K. says:

    Dear Fr. Z.,

    I grew up in the Buffalo Diocese. The folks in the chancery often and unfortunately forget that the diocese is more than Erie and Niagara Counties. The fact that the Tridentine Liturgy is celebrated in Buffalo does nothing for those within the diocese who live a very far distance away and would prefer to attend. I recall attending WYD in Toronto and seeing folks from Buffalo. I told them I was from there, mentioned the hometown, and they said I was from Rochester! (grrr…poor geography combined with vincible ignorance….) Anyway, as the diocese is reorganizing, perhaps it would be great to have a Tridentine parish in each vicariate if possible…or at least one in Buffalo and each of the major outlying towns.

  15. Ann says:

    Please, please, dear Long-Skirts. I am not a destroyer. I love tradition and the Tridentine Mass. I don’t want women priests or wacky liturgies. I believe in dressing elegantly and modestly for Mass. But I do not wear a chapel veil! This is no longer required by the Church and is not necessarily the sign of a good and devout Catholic. Please, please don’t imply that everyone who goes to the old Latin Mass must wear a veil!! Please don’t put pressure on women to do so. Do wear one if you want to – I agree they can look lovely. But some of us don’t like or feel comfortable or see the need for this practice. All you people out there thinking of trying the old Mass – please don’t assume that the Extraordinary Mass and chapel veils are inextricably linked! (Sorry this isn’t in verse – my muse is on vacation).

  16. Jim says:

    Dear Fr Zee, thanks so much for your terrific blog, keep up the good work, and we will re-build the church.

Comments are closed.