Yesterday I attended Holy Mass in one of the “new locations” offered by the Arlington, VA Diocese for the celebration of the TLM. I have to admit that I was impressed by the redesign of the space. Formerly a school gymnasium (and not on the property of a Catholic parish), this space was, in the span of a few weeks, turned from a utilitarian hall into a somewhat proper looking “church”. It is obvious that some money had been spent installing a new wood floor. Additionally, a sanctuary was constructed with an honest-to-goodness altar rail. At the head of the space was a lovely altar constructed against a custom-made backdrop. The hall itself was arranged with a mix of oaken pews and chairs.
As I suspected, the new gym/church was filled to capacity – I guess somewhere between 150-200 people at each of 2 Sunday Masses. There was a choir in the back of the hall. In many ways this place resembled a Latin Mass community from 15 years ago – from the time when Summorum Pontificum had unleashed the ancient rite and people were eager to build beautiful churches for Our Lord. The only problem is that this community was here because they were forced out of an actual beautiful church. They were sent to this place by the bishop who, just following orders, began an implementation of Traditiones Custodes. That document states that celebrations of the TLM may not take place in parish church buildings because if you love the Mass of the Ages, you must be
punished brought to your senses and “return to the Novus Ordo”. A subsequent letter from Rome states that pastors of such parishes may not even advertise the Mass times in bulletins.
OK, all of this is known to the kind of folks who would be reading this blog. So why do I bring it up?
We know that the so-called “Pope of Mercy” is anything but merciful to faithful Catholics wishing to worship in the manner of their faithful ancestors. If you’ve been reading this site, you know that I (along with not a small number of my fellow Catholics) believe that this Bergoglio isn’t even a legitimate pope. I will say it again. We have had anti-popes in the history of the Church – somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 of them. This is not a new nor is it a shocking concept. And we knew for some time that certain bishops, under pressure from Rome to quash the TLM, have drawn up plans to put TC into practice. We even know that the target date to completely shut it down is sometime in 2023-24.
What I did NOT expect was the letter that was handed to me as I left this place. In addition to the parish bulletin (which does not list the Mass times for this “chapel”), I was handed a separate sheet of paper. I’m going to paraphrase the letter here to avoid getting anyone in trouble.
Are you joking? Seriously, Father? There are several false premises at work here. We could start with the premise that anything found in the evil document Traditiones Custodes is binding on anyone. We could continue with the premise that shunting the people of your parish into a gym ten miles away is a “positive effort”. Finally, as a lawyer friend remarked to me, “[The virtue of] Religion is inherently political because it has serious political implications.”
Again, I feel for these priests. I really do. I am sure they never anticipated being in this position. God send Thine Holy Ghost upon these men, Thy priests, to guide them in all they do.
But do you not realize that taking that added step of requesting people not share pictures sends a very definite message? It comes across as cowering in fear. If there really is nothing wrong with the situation, if this really is a positive effort, why try to shut down the flow of information? “We’re being shut down. Let’s take our punishment and die off quickly and quietly. Don’t even talk about what’s being done. Just. Go. Away.” I expect it to be followed with a “Thank you sir, may I have another!” Is that what Fr. intended in his message? Perhaps not and I will give him the benefit of the doubt. I believe he thinks he is doing what must be done. But it is certainly not a good look and it bodes very poorly for this and other similar Latin Mass communities.
My point in sharing this is to point out, if it wasn’t already obvious, that the screws are tightening. We know what they’re doing and what their goal is and if it wasn’t already apparent, it should be by now. When they tell you we cannot even attract attention to the Mass that was celebrated for 1900 years but the videos of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament being blown to the ground in the wind abound on social media, there is a problem. When they tell you not to take a picture and share it, it is only a short while before they tell you not to write about it and then they’ll say we can’t discuss it among ourselves because “someone might hear…”
For the record, I took a picture of this gym/church yesterday shortly before I was handed that letter. I won’t post it – not because I think it is imprudent but because it is out of focus. No matter though as identical pictures are online already and a quick internet search will lead you to at least one.
And to those who say that Bergoglio is Bergoglio and we can’t do anything to stop him; perhaps you are right. But I’ll be damned if he gets away with it without someone calling him out on it every day he remains on this earth. And that goes for the men who comply with his plans of destruction.
St. Pius V, pray for us!