From a reader…

Our Latin Mass Community has no canonical status in the diocese. The FSSP has permission to be here, and we share (not rent as some communities do) the parish with the “Vatican II Congregation” (that’s how the pastor of the parish refers to themselves in relation to us). We have repeatedly asked the bishop for our own parish, but the answer is always no.

The past couple of years have become frustratingly painful. Our priest is forbidden from hearing confessions in the confessional on Sundays any time before noon (and yes, it’s strictly enforced). He’s not permitted to make holy water according to the Roman Ritual for parishioners, we are absolutely forbidden from giving the FSSP donations on church property and now the pastor of the parish has taken away our Tabernacle Veils (yes, they are ours, they belong to one of our vestment sets. They were using them instead of their old ugly polyester Tabernacle veils).

Below is a copy of the letter our priest sent the pastor asking for an explanation for why he wants our priest and altar boys to remove the Tabernacle veil after Mass (all of whom feel “very very uncomfortable doing so), which went in answered followed by our pastor’s note to our priest about taking away our Tabernacle veil.

I feel like this is the last straw for me. I have tried to be patient, giving the pastor the benefit of the doubt, but I feel like some sort of concrete action is necessary. To me, removing the Tabernacle veil is the equivalent to saying Jesus is not in the Tabernacle. This pains me. What would you suggest?

Okay, I read the attached correspondence, including the pastor’s … response.

First, let me say that the pastor of the parish is the pastor of the parish.  Right?  No matter how thick or weird or whatever a pastor might be, his is the juridical (if not moral or intellectual) authority.

Bottom line: He has power and you don’t.   Liberals always work this way: they dominate and oppress.

What to do … what to doooo… what to doooooo….?

Watch preschool children play together.   This, along with watching a four-way stop intersection, provides insight into our human nature.

Our nature has been wounded because of original sin. Even among the baptized, the effects of original sin remain. We have strong tendencies toward selfishness.

Watch young children color with crayons.  We will see fights break out, tantrums thrown because Becky uses the sky blue crayon that Jeremy was just using. It doesn’t matter that Jeremy doesn’t need the sky blue crayon anymore.  The fact that he was using it makes it his, and no one else has the right to it.

Mary, meanwhile, hides the brick red crayon. She doesn’t plan on using it, but she just doesn’t like the color and doesn’t want anyone to use it.

Meanwhile, Ryan peeled the label off of Derek’s burnt umber crayon, thinking it will help Derek color better. Derek, however, doesn’t want the label peeled off, and begins crying.

Katie, who has no direct interest in the fight between Derek and Ryan, nonetheless steps in to take Derek’s side.

Mayhem ensues.

Mom comes in and takes all the crayons away.

Most of us grow up, and learn how to get along.

We come to realize (usually some time before adolescence sets in) that we have to learn to play well together. This requires sharing.  This requires a degree of tolerance of the likes and dislikes of others.

Some people never quite grow up to learn these lessons.

Some, apparently, even go on to become pastors of “Vatican II Congregations.”

Sadly, unless the bishop steps in to give him a Time Out In The Corner™, I suspect he’ll keep playing silly, childish games.

Perhaps the best thing to do, considering the circumstances, is to take the veils down after Mass, and to put back the ugly polyester ones.  Then have the priest take the good veils (and vestments and anything else purchased exclusively by the EF community for their own use) with him to prevent further game playing.

Oh yes…

… pray that the pastor grow up.

And if you are ever in doubt about the fact of Original Sin, just sit and watch a four-way stop intersection for a while… or children.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Sword40 says:

    We experienced similar problems a few years ago. After we got permission to have a Dominican low Mass once a month, I found our things being moved around or “hidden” so that it was tough to locate items. Found the culprit was a church employee. She didn’t like traditional things. Wanted felt banners and guitars. So she retaliated by making our life difficult.

    She is still there but we found a new FSSP parish in the area. So now we just drive up there and thank God.

  2. andia says:

    Father, you’ve just described my experience with Adoration — and why I am no longer doing it as of Saturday. (Some who has not been there at all in more than 8 months, and only sporadically in the 10 months before that – has suddenly decided he wants “his time back” and no-one else can be there because it’s “His time”–I have been told not to come back because this guy wants his time) –thanks for making it clear what I am dealing with. It makes it easier to be dumped.

  3. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Sometimes, you have to feed a man’s ego to get along. Be very deferential to the pastor. Be especially respectful. Don’t lecture the pastor about all your rights from canon law or Summorum Pontificum. Scrape and bow before the pastor. Do NOT speak or act around the pastor as if the FSSP guy is your “real priest.” As a seminarian, I dealt with elderly Irish priests who were not liberals, and who could be mean, if disrespected in their feifdom. I would always show extra respect, and in no time I would be on their good side.

  4. Orlando says:

    For all prochoice this and prochoice that the left is always exposing , liberal believe in only one thing – their choice, and tolerate no deviation from leftist orthodoxy. There MO is to shout down the opposition , claim victimhood for a particular offended group (unless you are an unborn child), apply the power of the state against you , or brand you a homophobic, rasist , fascist , Neanderthal , meat eating , fur wearing, SUV driving, deodorant wearing , bigot who should be banished from society. The average person doesn’t have the wear withal or intestinal fortitude to fight them. So they simply become embolden and push for evermore extreme positiions , like allow men to use women bathrooms .

  5. Sliwka says:

    Fr, I don’t know about how things work in those USofA but up this way people at a 4-way are most likely to try to let everyone else go first. Over politeness I’m guilty of too.

  6. mthel says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I think the pastor is certainly being uncharitable and needs to grow up, but I do have some empathy for him. It sounds like this TLM congregation may have been forced upon him. I look at this the way I (and probably most other people) feel when in-laws come to visit unannounced. The in-laws are great people, but things that aren’t usually bothersome about a visitor – where the cups are left, where snacks are being eaten, what tv stations are watched, etc. – become the most important concerns in the world. – Yes, I know the remote is on the table in front of me every time I turn on tv, but you could show a little respect and always return to EWTN before turning off the tv! – Basically, because the in-laws weren’t invited, and even though they should be respected and treated kindly and lovingly, the in-laws are expected to ridiculously follow the house rules, even the stupid and pointless ones, even the ones that would never otherwise be enforced (or may not otherwise even exist). That’s how it is for the TLM community. They are like the in-laws. Even though they should be respected, even though they should be treated more charitably, they are the pastor’s uninvited in-laws who just showed up uninvited and now must suffer through ridiculous and stupid rules.

    P.S. I think there are A LOT of TLM adherents who would be thrilled to be in this situation – regular TLM celebrations with only minor restrictions, a priest willing and able to hear confessions (even if he can’t use the confessional), etc.

    P.P.S. Have the TLM parishioners attempted to overcome the pastor’s us vs. them mentality? Has the TLM group offered to buy new tabernacle veils for the parish (and not just the TLM community)? Are they contributing in other ways to the parish? Have they tried to join parish bodies or help at fish fries, etc.? Us vs. Them is a two way street. If the “them” isn’t careful, it eventually becomes the “us”. Try to kill the pastor with so much kindness that he can’t help but accept the TLM community as part of the parish.

  7. Geoffrey says:

    “Vatican II Congregations”?! Good grief!

    Meanwhile, I am encountering more and more Catholics in my diocese who do not know the difference between the “new Mass” and the “old Mass” in Latin! They think Latin = Tridentine and English = new Mass.

  8. TheDude05 says:

    Well that whole situation makes me feel blessed to have my Bishop rather than slightly envious I don’t have the Extraordinary Ordinary. It also makes me happy to have our pastor who while not offering the EF yet has participated in it and I have a feeling with a little more good natured nudging will offer it when we move to our new parish campus.

  9. Father K says:

    It might be an idea to try to find another church. Maybe the FSSP priest could have a chat with the Bishop.

  10. jlduskey says:

    The sanctuary lamp indicates the presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the tabernacle. It’s nice to have a tabernacle veil; it adds to the traditional appearance of the altar. [While both are now associated with the Real Presence, the veil is the stronger symbol.] (The idea that a particular tabernacle veil is ‘ugly’ and ‘old’ is a matter of opinion.) But the veil is not essential. I have seen churches with the TLM that did not have tabernacle veils. But if Jesus is present in the tabernacle, the sanctuary lamp should be lit.
    There can be causes for parishioners to choose a different parish. One important reason for such a decision would be the availability of the sacrament of confession before Mass. For a pastor to forbid confessions when the people want the sacrament to be available and when the priest is willing—that looks very negative on the part of the pastor. Still, if the pastor forbids hearing confessions during mass, that decision should be respected.
    As for Holy Water, can’t the priest bless it before he comes to the church? Would the pastor let him distribute Holy Water that he has previously blessed?
    As for the financial issues, there must have been some agreement between the FSSP and the bishop when the Latin Mass was started in this church. That is the agreement that should specify a lot of the answers you seek, and it should be followed. The words “share the parish” are not completely clear. The FSSP wouldn’t be there if the FSSP (and the Latin Mass) had no canonical status. It could be that your community’s canonical status is that of a chaplaincy, with your priest as the chaplain. The chaplain and the chaplaincy come under the jurisdiction of the pastor. The chaplaincy can have its own vestments and tabernacle veils–those are a matter of personal property and are not automatically owned by the parish when they are used for a particular Mass. Like Fr. Z said, the chaplain (or his helpers) should take their good veils and vestments for storage in some other place. It is possible for a chaplaincy to have its own collection and its own bank account, subject to the rules of the diocese and the agreement with the FSSP and the bishop. This may or may not be a good idea, depending on the circumstances of your group.
    One item in your note looks very incorrect: Catholic congregations are not “Vatican II congregations” nor are they identified with any particular council in the history of the Church. In other words, all congregations are identified with all the councils of the Church. Whoever uses the words “Vatican II congregation” in opposition to a Latin Mass group, simply hasn’t faced the reality of the Church today. The bishop ought to be able to explain this.

  11. stuart reiss says:

    Pray for the priest. A lot.

  12. JonPatrick says:

    The “Vatican II congregation”. The same Vatican II that mandated the use of the Latin language and that Gregorian chant should have a prominent place? (Sacrosanctum Concilium).

    The comment above about getting involved in the parish – that is very important. Join the K of C or help out in parish activities. It breaks down those barriers of being seen as those crazy Latin Mass people, and also gives one a chance to “evangelize” a little about the traditional Mass and why it matters, when the opportunity arises.

  13. Chiara says:

    I second Mthel’s comments. I am a faithful, Novus Ordo Catholic. I belong to a lovely, loving parish with a good pastor. At one point, the local TLM community demanded accommodation at our church. This is not an exaggeration to use the word “demand”. They had a very superior, condescending attitude toward us and our pastor. They had been using a neighboring parish and apparently wanted to expand.

    I was on parish council at the time. After some investigation, we found the TLM community at the other parish did not contribute to the parish monetarily or with their time and talent. They did not treat the pastor or parishioners with charity. They simply used the church, took up space, and complained.

    We are all Catholics, and the TLM community is not on a higher level of Catholicism than the rest of us, or vice versa. We should be treating one another with charity and as loving family. It would make things a lot more Christian if it were so.

    God bless you and your blog parishioners.

  14. Mike says:

    “Vatican II congregation”? For serious?

    The SSPX just keeps looking more and more correct.

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  16. Orphrey says:

    Fr. Z: When your cause for sainthood is being considered, I am sure the commission will refer to this post of yours, especially the analogy to children coloring with crayons, as an example of your canny insights into human nature! :)

  17. cathgrl says:

    Coming from a diocese where tabernacle veils are rare, I’d be happy the “Vatican II Congregation” uses them at all, even if I thought they were ugly. Offering to buy tabernacle veils that are more aesthetically pleasing might not work so well, depending on the Pastor’s taste. He might find nothing wrong with the current vestments and tabernacle veils, or just prefer that style even if he thought new ones were needed.

  18. benedetta says:

    Does kind of seem rather petty, at first blush. The logical conclusion one could draw taking in this controversy is that the pastor is deeply afraid that the presence of the tabernacle veil will connote to his non -EF assisting parishioners that, what, there is something special and/or important about what the tabernacle is doing, and even Who is contained, therein? Which would mean…what, that, everything is changed…? He is apparently afraid that we might contemplate that the Real Presence among us is…what, worthy of such as tabernacle veil, or, altar linens, or, receiving on the tongue, at the rail, or, confession on Sunday…works of mercy towards our neighbor…forbearing from petty harassment of others who do not worship like us…the sky is really the limit I guess…

  19. un-ionized says:

    Sliwka, my little town in central Ohio is like that too. one can never be too polite. i remember in minnesota at 4 way stops it was the custom for the person facing north to use their cell phone to call for pizza for everyone at the stop. (well, not really, but it seemed like it)

  20. APX says:

    I’m a member of this Latin Mass Community, and first I would like to point out that moving to a new church isn’t really a viable option. We’ve been in the parish for about 21 years now; we’re well settled, and we have a very good music program here that relies heavily on the parish’s musical resources that we would lose if we simply moved to a different church. The pastor has been here only 3 years and is nearing retirement, and could still get moved since our parish hasn’t had a pastor that has stayed for too many years. We would like our own parish, or at least a priest who is friendly towards us, but when the bishop put it to the priests for a vote, they voted “no” and the bishop supported their vote.

    Yes, we have tried to overcome the pastor’s “us vs them” mentality, but it only gets stronger. When 40 Days for life comes around, it’s all the Latin Mass people filling up the slots. Legion of Mary? All Latin Mass members. Knights of Columbus? CWL? All contain members of the Latin Mass community. We have, I believe, one Latin Mass member on the Parish Council, and, without going into detail, I can say that our members were contributing financially to both the parish and the FSSP. We also invite them to our stuff, but no one ever accepts our invitation.

    Not being able to use the confessional means that there are no confessions heard during that time, and yes, I’ve witnessed our priest have to turn someone away from having his confession heard before Mass because of it.

    It wouldn’t matter if we bought the parish their own Tabernacle veils. The pastor decided one day he doesn’t want the Tabernacle Veiled during his Masses, which ended up meaning he didn’t want them covered at all. When he asked our priest and our altar boys to remove the Tabernacle Veils after our Mass and leave it unveiled (in the past we removed our veils and put back up their veils until they just started using our veils), both the pastor and the altar boys felt “very very uncomfortable doing so” given what they represent (our priest spent a year preaching about the sacred vs the profane, why the Church does what it does symbolically in Mass and in the Church, etc), and we were all asking why the Tabernacle was no longer being veiled after it have always been veiled), so the priest asked the pastor for an explanation why he wanted the Tabernacle unveiled, to which the pastor never responded to. Instead, the pastor decided one day to take all the Tabernacle veils, including the ones that are our private property, and sent an email to our priest informing him so because our priest and altar boys were leaving the Tabernacle veiled and allowing them to unveil the Tabernacle, since it made them “very very uncomfortable” to do so.

    I remember the first Saturday this happened. I came to the church in the evening during one of the confession times to spend some quality time with Jesus in the Tabernacle and was confused if He was there since the veils had been removed and Sanctuary lamp was burnt out (which it usually is, or is burning so low it can’t be seen because they recycle the burned down candles from the Adoration chapel).

  21. Someone please be the Garrigue says:

    As you know, Vatican II Congregationalists and First Vatican Baptists don’t get on with each other.

  22. Fr. W says:

    The analogy to children is appropriate. How often have we been told by our parents that two wrongs don’t make a right especially after we have defended ourselves by claiming the sibling “started it”. As a pastor whose parish had recently started to celebrate the Extraordinary Form weekly I just offer a couple of thoughts. The veil question is somewhat silly I think. The pastor already has a veil on the tabernacle but the FSSP community changes it to one which matches the vestments they use for “their” Mass. Fine. The pastor seems to have little problem with that. But they are disturbed when the pastor changes it back to the usual one. This is very sad. Another analogy – analogies always limp. I come into your home for supper and notice your curtains or the arrangement of your furniture and find them not to my liking. I redecorate your home in the manner which I find most pleasing. You accept this. When I leave you restore your home to what was before. I return and now am deeply offended. Much more is happening here than what we read. Could the pastor’s improper refusal to let the FSSP priest bless Holy water be a response to some of that community denying the the pastor’s blessing is valid and the Ordinary Form being deficient ( truth be told I think it is)? My guess is that all involved are good people and faithful Catholics. All can become defensive and lose sight of what really we are ultimately about.

  23. Uxixu says:

    Surprised there’s even a polyester tabernacle veil. Having ANY veil in most churches is something to be lauded, actually.

    My territorial pastor denied my request outright for a TLM saying he didn’t think going back in the time was the answer. To preface, I was worming my way in trying to be one of those parishioners they wouldn’t want to say no to… and wound up as President of the local conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. After some dialogue, he back tracked a bit and mostly fell back to how overworked and tired he is and basically said they we wouldn’t be adding anything new for the near future. I truly replied that I didn’t want to add to his burdens and honestly, I empathize with him. From his perspective, he works 6 days a week, 10 to 12 hour days and it’s not good enough… It’s not his fault he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know…. he couldn’t control what year he was born or the year he went into seminary or that everything traditional was scorned there in his formative years.

    That said, I’m not asking him to do anything but allow it to happen on a day and time the church is not otherwise used while I take care of every detail, from the FSSP celebrant invited by the archbishop himself, to the servers and choir, and he’ll get a free extra collection to boot.

    Pray mercy on the souls of those who formed him!

  24. ReadingLad says:

    Thank you Fr Z for your comment re jlduskey – I’d always been led to believe that the Sanctuary Lamp was the definitive sign of the True Presence, rather than the Veil. Now you mention it, I can’t recall ever seeing a veiled Tabernacle that I knew to be empty, but I’m sure the nuns who taught me all those years ago explained that (e.g.) in a large church or cathedral, you could find where the Blessed Sacrament was reserved by looking for the Lamp.

    Re Geoffrey’s comment about OF/EF Vernacular/Latin, I lived in the USA for 3 years and was surprised to find the complete identification of Latin with the ‘Old Mass’ – I never saw a celebration of the NO Mass in Latin, despite the fact it would have been ideal for the multi-lingual parish I attended, especially on Holydays of Obligation. It seems to be more common here in the UK, among ‘more formal’ NO parishes, and perhaps particularly in Oratorian communities.

  25. Supertradmum says:

    Patience…even priests can change for the better…

  26. ChesterFrank says:

    If each deanery had one parish devoted to offering the TLM for at least part of their Mass schedule, this type of turf war might come to an end.

  27. APX says:

    Fr W,

    We were more than happy to change it back to the veils they were using. That is not the issue. They stopped using their veils, and used our veils, which we were fine with. We were more than happy to share our veils, copes, etc when they needed them. Again, not the issue. The issue is, one day the pastor decided he didn’t want to veil the Tabernacle during his Masses, fine. Which then became not to veil it at all, and our priest and the altar boys felt very very uncomfortable being the ones to unveil the Tabernacle after our Masses and leave it unveiled, so what was happening was they left the veil on after Mass, and someone from the “Vatican II Congregation” (really, this is how it is. Stuff is labeled “Vatican II …” Etc,) would unveil the Tabernacle. Not ideal, but no one had to violate their consciences and it seemed like a compromise. The issue came when the pastor wanted our priest and altar boys to remove the Tabernacle veils after Mass the same way we remove the altar cards, which our priest and altar boys felt “very very uncomfortable doing” given what they represent. When our priest wrote the pastor a letter asking for why he wanted the Tabernacle unveiled, explaining why he was asking and how uncomfortable doing so made him and the altar boys, no response was given by the pastor. This was about 7 months ago. About two weeks ago the pastor sent an email to our priest telling him he took away all the Tabernacle veils (including ours, which belong to the Latin Mass Community from one of our vestment sets) and can no longer be used at all because no one knows where he took them, so that it’s impossible for us to veil the Tabernacle during our Mass.

    We’ve been in the church for 21 years, the pastor has been here for only three of them. I would laugh if people stopped putting money in their parish collection envelopes and replaced it with, My donation to the parish will return when our Tabernacle veils return. In the meantime my parish donation is being re-allocated to purchase new Tabernacle veils.”

  28. HealingRose says:

    I thought taking that which does not belong to you (stealing) was not just in violation of God’s commandments, but it is also against the law.

    I would keep careful records of everything and seek out the bishop. This segregation and labeling of “congregation” types is very troubling. Maybe the bishop needs to call both sides together in a discussion that he moderates.

    If all else fails, host a pool party and switch the pool water with water blessed in the old rite, make sure the right people happen to get tossed in, and let God work His power. ?

    Seriously though, this open hostility for veiling what is sacred, restricting confession, prohibiting the water being blessed, and general disregard for anything Latin sounds more like the influence of darker forces. I think maybe the FSSP should consider extra steps to guard the church building and any who enter it against dark influence. This is much more serious than an adult tantrum.

    This “unveiling” or veil war reminds me of an article that was posted a few years ago in one of the blog articles posted on Veils by Lily website. It talks about the significance of unveiling, and not just in regards to women’s head coverings.

    (The above link is to the second article based on the included sermon. The link to the first part is )

  29. jlduskey says:

    In the ideal situation, the tabernacle veil is a strong symbol. The ideal situation is where you can have your own parish where the EF Mass is always used. This situation is not ideal–far from it, from what has been said here.
    When people who attend Mass in the OF do not expect to see a tabernacle veil, the pastor needs to be sensitive to them, too.
    At this parish, it looks like the tabernacle veil is not a symbol of the presence of Our Lord. Rather, it has become a symbol of a contentious attitude on both sides of an argument. In such a case, the pastor is justified to decide not to have any veil on the tabernacle at all.
    It looks like some re-thinking may be in order, in reference to this matter of conscience. It should not trouble anyone’s conscience to remove a tabernacle veil after an EF Mass, to restore the church to the way it was before the EF Mass was celebrated.
    If there is some problem about the supply of candles for the sanctuary lamp, how about if someone donates a few boxes of those candle inserts and offers to take care of the sanctuary lamp on a regular basis.

  30. APX says:


    That’s what I said (re: sounding diabolical), especially since last summer when the parish was planning on showing a rated R movie, Black Robe, which has its R rating for containing substantial sexually explicit content, as part of their Bible Study and I sent him an email alerting him, thinking he just didn’t know, and he blew me off. I’m not one for writing the Bishop over things, but this one I felt warranted a letter, and thankfully he intervened and the while shebang got cancelled “until further notice” which never came.

    Yes, we have had issues with certain traditionalists of a strong right leaning, but our priest has dealt with them individually, some he had to get the pastor banned from the church.

  31. The Mad Sicilian Geek says:

    I see a movie series…

    Veil Wars IV: A New Veil
    Veil Wars V: The Priest Strikes Back
    Veil Wars VI: Return of the Bishop
    Veil Wars I: The Material Menace
    Veil Wars II: Attack of the Laity
    Veil Wars III: Revenge of the Priest
    Veil Wars: Attack On The Veil
    Veil Wars: The Faith Awakens

    Even in his new role, Jar Jar Binks is still universally reviled.

  32. un-ionized says:

    apx, you mean some parishioners were banned from the parish? how did the priests do that? did they somehow get a restraining order?

  33. mthel says:

    APX – thanks for the further clarifications. Didn’t realize the TLM community had been there so long. Also very glad to hear that the TLM group has tried (successfully and unsuccessfully) to integrate themselves into the life of the parish outside of the mass.

  34. mo7 says:

    When I hear stories like this I can’t help but wonder what they are afraid of? They have all kinds of committees trying to plan liturgies that will appeal to people and usually fall flat.
    Soon it will be ten years since the moto proprio. By now, every single church should have a TLM on its regular Sunday schedule. Really we should accept no less. Are they afraid of success? Does the TLM intimidate them? Is it that the church with it’s bare table and tucked away tabernacle can’t choreograph the traditional form? For Pete’s sake, is it the extra work???
    I asked one time if we could have an evening of adoration for persecuted Christians and I was told ‘we don’t do that here’. I think I got my answer.

  35. WVC says:

    Howdy. I am not a part of the TLM community in question, and my actual situation differs completely from the original post (our pastor has been extremely supportive of the Extraordinary Form, offering High Masses himself every Sunday and on Feast Days, and the Latin Mass community has a lot of cross pollination, with folks who attend both Novus Ordo Daily and occasional Sunday Masses along with the Latin Mass and many of the folks participating in parish wide events like picnics, potlucks, square dances, and Legion of Mary meetings . . .etc.). I provided that preface to emphasize my comment and question here is of a theoretical, not personal nature.

    I am against the idea of hobo-Catholicism. While having personally benefitted from it and having great understanding for those who live that lifestyle, drifting around to wherever the Latin Mass might pop up, even if it’s hours away, is not an optimal situation. I’ve developed a firm conviction that parish life is not just a luxury but a true necessity in spiritual growth. The Mass has always existed within the setting of a parish, and much of what is so vivid of the Catholic Faith comes from the roots it plants into the soil. Faith grows in a community, and a community must be rooted, quite literally and geographically, in order to thrive.

    There’s much to appreciate in the old Southern Agrarian philosophy.

    However, while I actually sold my house and moved to be close to my current parish (I found my pearl of great price), I understand the reluctance of many to do the same, especially those with a devotion to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. They say, “but what if our pastor gets replaced with someone who is hostile to the Traditions of the Church?” My counter-argument has always been, “If we drift like tumbleweeds before every ill wind, we will never have any influence. If we grow into part of the parish, we can strengthen our position and mount a defense.”

    So that’s my question. What is a good defense? I read the original post here, and it’s all my fears come true. A pastor comes in with little regard for some of the souls in his care, and does his best to oppose and antagonize those who just want to worship Christ in a way fully sanctioned by the Church. I know people are not perfect (pastors included), and we have to strive for patience. However, given all the examples in the original post and subsequent comments, it seems clear that this is not a small matter of, “we don’t see exactly eye to eye” but a full case of hostility even to the detriment of souls (i.e. preventing folks from accessing sacramental grace in the confessional for no valid reason, disrupting young boys’ sense of the sacred by stealing the tabernacle veil..etc.). There can be no valid reason for these actions, at least not that I can see, other than just to make life difficult for the TLM community.

    I fully support praying and making sacrifices for the pastor to receive every Grace according to his need, but at what point are we allowed to make a stand? At what point does a congregation stand up and start firmly opposing such hostility? I don’t want to come across as a pious fraud – if I thought it permissible I’d knock the pastor on the head (rather soundly) and then offer some prayers on his behalf, but then I’ve always struggled with controlling my anger and knowing when to prudently vent it or dismiss it. It’s enough to say I’m no pacifist.

    Historically, from the congregation of St. Athanasius killing the replacement bishop to the Vendee farmers persecuting the jurist priests, I know there are examples of less than docile actions from congregations in the face of hostile actions by a priest, pastor, or bishop against the Faith. Obviously those are not normative, nor do we live in the same times.

    So what’s acceptable? When writing to the bishop does no good, and attempts to defer, build good will, and find compromise all fail – how does a congregation fight back? Fleeing to another parish is not an option in my book. However, I don’t know how to fight back, apart from moving my tithe to somewhere other than my parish, which is to some degree self-defeating. If it was just me, sure, I’m mature enough (on some days) to look past many a liturgical abuse, but we have a lot of kids in our parish, including 5 of my own. How do I teach them reverence in the face of an irreverent priest? The importance of confession when the pastor forbids it? What principles guard that line between turning the other cheek and whipping scalawags out of the Temple?

    I would welcome anyone’s thoughts. I hope I wasn’t too wordy.

  36. Tony Phillips says:

    I think I saw Black Robe some years back, and thought it was pretty good. I like Brian Moore…I think he lost his faith, but then perhaps growing up in northern Ireland can do that to you. I certainly wouldn’t be averse to showing it in our parish.

    All this business does seem silly–but at least there’s actually a TLM at the parish. That’s more than most parished have.

  37. APX says:

    I think I saw Black Robe some years back, and thought it was pretty good.

    That movie is offensive to God. Would you eat a brownie with a small amount of dog feces baked into it? A glass of water on a hot summer’s day that contained a few drops of cyanide? Most normal people wouldn’t, yet they’ll defend scandalous, sinful movies because “they have a good plot”. How any Catholic can approve of such a scandalous movie, and says it’s a good movie is beyond me. I had the misfortune of having to watch it during a college class and ended up walking out on it.

  38. un-ionized says:

    WVC, you are very smart and thoughtful. I have had experience with a parish that became deeply polarized by an effort to turn it into a Protestant style entertainment center for youth. The public PR juggernaut is unstoppable and the priests simply refused to speak to any of the old people about their marginalization. The parish has lost about an eighth of its members and a quarter of the budget. After much discussion, including a long talk with a canon lawyer about people being told to get out and even receiving threats of somehow being “banned,” I have decided to just get out. There can be a point where the hostility level is unfixable.

    Sorry I can’t be of better help but people need to be where they will encounter Christ. It is very true what you say about the importance of community and it is most distressing to see people lose their support system, especially the elderly and infirm who are unlikely to be able to just start over somewhere else. They just become unchurched at that point, which is where I am now, I hope temporarily.

    Pardon my lengthiness, I am distressed.

  39. hwriggles4 says:

    While I haven’t had experience with the TLM versus the Novus Ordo at the parish level, I have had experience with turf wars between “Spanish Mass” versus “English Mass”. The parish I attend regularly (and am registered) solved this by introducing a “bilingual Mass”, which IMHO is pretty good. The bilingual choir sings appropriate hymms, the congregation dress appropriately, and people are attentive. The priest maintains reverence, and the homily is given twice – once in English and once in Spanish. It also encourages those who don’t know English very well (and those like me who want to improve on Spanish – honestly, this was how I learned the difference between the four Eucharistic prayers – it would take me a few minutes to figure out which one the priest was doing) to improve, and I learned the Creed, the Hail Mary, and the Our Father (i.e. Padre Nuestro) in Spanish. Once in a great while, I will attend a TLM and both the Hail Mary and the Our Father in Spanish have similarities to Latin. Some of the Spanish responses are the same in Latin.

    On the other hand, without taking over this thread, other parishes in my area (I live in Texas) have had issues with having a few Spanish Masses offered on Sunday along with English Masses. Quite a few parishes in my area, the Spanish community is seen as a “separate parish”, and the two groups rarely have activities together, such as the parish picnic, a retreat, a prayer group, etc. In addition (and my Hispanic friends notice this too), that quite a few of the Spanish parishioners (not all) are routinely late for Mass, are not modestly dressed, don’t pay much attention at Mass, don’t tithe, and leave after communion. (There is a group of Hispanics at one parish that assist with maintenance, which IMHO is a good way to tithe). Some of my English-only speaking friends notice this, and honestly, feel like some parishes are just giving handouts. This is one reason some of my Hispanic friends prefer to attend a more reverent Mass, and I’ve even heard stories of priests making announcements about proper attire, reverence, etc. in Spanish.

  40. Gaz says:

    Credo in unam sanctam et catholicam et apostolicam ecclesiam.

  41. un-ionized says:

    andia, I just noticed what you said about Adoration. The notion that someone wants his time slot back is foolish. The norm is for there to be more than one adorer present whenever the Blessed Sacrament is exposed in case of emergency (such as emergency restroom run). And my dern spellchecker wants you to be Nadia!

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