I’m going to be taking efforts here not to make this a plea for commiseration, but here we go:
The diocese in which I reside (so as not to identify anyone, I won’t indicate any further than this) has never been quite friendly to those favouring the traditional Mass, or anything smacking of Catholic tradition. Lately, however, I’ve become involved in a group seeking greater use of the TLM, and considering that the bishop, then past his retirement age, saw no need for anything traditional in the diocese. Thus, we decided to wait for the news from Rome that we’d have a new one before approaching him with our aims.
That happened just this week. Upon hearing the news, I rummaged the Net for his CV, any news articles about him, any of his writings or homilies, anything. I didn’t find much. But what I did find made me weep.
This poor diocese was hit hard by the modernization and iconoclasm for which Vatican II was used as an excuse. The ranks of the clergy were diminished. Many of those clergy we do have seem untrustworthy. The abuse scandal, also very pronounced here, was like the nail in the coffin. Now, we have half the parishes we did ten years ago, and even those have trouble getting people there on Sunday. Reverent liturgy is rare. The sisters doffed their habits and left the schools, which are now scarcely distinct from a public school in curriculum and ethos. As a colleague indicated once, Catholicism in this diocese is moribund.
From what I found out about the new bishop, though, I’m worried nothing will change. I hope for a pleasant surprise, of course, but it looks rather unlikely. We get not the evangelist, the Francis de Sales or the Dominic, that we so desperately need, but rather another bureaucratic type, one even with a few questionable associations. Perhaps this diocese does evangelize, but whatever it’s doing isn’t working. So how about rediscovering our traditions?
I attend a thriving Traditional Mass community in a neighbouring diocese, and inquired of some friends there how to deal with the situation here. My friends here say that the assistance of the bishop is invaluable to getting priests to say the Latin Mass. Most of the younger priests here perhaps would say the Traditional Mass were it not for fear of repercussions from the chancery. Many have indicated a particular fondness for it to me.
So, what to do? Send letters detailing our aims and hopes, of course, but be prepared to deal with non-cooperation or even hostility? Offer all the suffering I receive at the hands of the Church for the spiritual benefit of the bishop and his clergy? I’m just kind of heartbroken by this.
Anyway, thanks for reading.