In the ongoing saga of the shutdown of the Latin Mass, I had occasion to hear from a few parishioners of a large Latin Mass community today. In the interest of anonymity, I will not identify the parish, parishioners, nor any of the other key people involved.
These parishioners had an opportunity to meet with their bishop recently. He came to them. This, I must say, is more than what the Holy Wilton of Washington did before shutting down the TLM in his see. Apparently he, Wilton, was too busy to accept the invitation of parishioners of Old St. Mary’s in DC to come and see their good parish and all their good works. No, this bishop deserves credit for at least coming to his flock.
All in all, I am told, it was a positive experience with both shepherd and sheep espousing mutual love and respect for each other.
This is a very good thing. One would hope that a bishop loves the people he is called to lead. And for as much garbage as we give them (and some of them, many even, deserve a lot worse than a few colorful words on a blog post), we remember that they are successors to the Apostles. But perhaps that’s why their foibles deserve greater scrutiny.
Back to the meeting in question… One parishioner informs me that the good bishop answered every question posed to him. Again, this is good. No one likes a coward and taking the time to face down questions like a man is a good sign.
But, my source tells me, the most telling thing is what this bishop did not say. His Excellency spoke about “pride in being Catholic”, “insuring that valid sacraments are offered in his diocese”, and “nurturing the spiritual needs of his people”.
He did not say in anything approaching unequivocal terms that he would preserve the celebration of the venerable and august rites of the Church in the Latin Mass.
To divulge more than this snapshot would possibly betray my source’s trust so I will not share more details.
Friends, pray for the bishops. Pray for virility and pray for humility – for them and for us.
One thing that did come out in the course of my conversation with one parishioner is that there is sometimes – and I have noticed this myself – a disconnect among members of trad parishes. Listen guys, if the unimaginable comes to pass, don’t you think you’re going to need to rely on a tight community to get through tough times? Wouldn’t it be better in your charity to reach out to fellow parishioners you don’t know rather than to let them languish with their families when you have access to an underground Mass and they don’t? I’ve been in my own TLM parish four years now and still don’t really know many people there. And I see the same group every day. How are we to survive if we don’t form these bonds now? And we will need to survive because, positive meetings with the bishops aside, the worst is yet to come. As my source put it, “How are we so sure this [meeting] wasn’t the PR stunt ‘pastoral visit’ before the hammer drops?” I have to say, there is merit to that question. For all the talk that we on the trad side of things are somehow disloyal to the Church because of our desire to worship as our ancestors did; there have been far too many betrayals from chanceries on the other end of things to count.
So my advice to those who contacted me is this. Pray. Pray always and pray often. Entrust your very lives to the Blessed Mother. She WILL take care of you. Fast. It cannot hurt. And finally, strengthen the bonds of communion with your fellow trads.
Our Lady of Akita, pray for us!
St. Francis de Sales, pray for us!