Trouble for Boston’s Latin Mass

Trouble for Boston’s Latin Mass

What’s going on with Boston’s Tridentine Mass? For the past couple of years the Latin Mass community at Holy Trinity Church in the South End have been fighting the Archdiocese of Boston’s plans to close the parish, but during that whole time the Latin Mass has never been in question. But the new parish administrator, Father Thomas Naughton, has twice in the past month celebrated an English-language Novus Ordo Mass in place of the regularly scheduled Tridentine Mass. Naughton says it was a scheduling error, but the skittish folks of the Latin Mass community said its a deliberate attempt by the archdiocese to break their resolve to fight the closing of the parish.

tone said that on Aug. 13, six parishioners walked out of the service when they heard that the Mass would have to be given in English rather than Latin, due to a scheduling error. This Sunday, attendance at the Latin Mass, which was again said in English, was down by more than 100 regular attendees, according to Stone. Stone said that most parishioners she talked with seemed to believe that the scheduling errors were deliberate. “Three of them left because they said, ‘Oh, this is just the beginning,’” she noted about the first time.

“They’re not walking out on the church, they’re walking out because of the way they feel that this is being done intentionally,” said Stone.

The parish’s closing date had been pushed back several times and is now indeterminate. In addition, there was a controversy over the former parish administrator, who had transferred $176,000 to the other parish he was administrating, St. James in Chinatown, which is ironically slated to remain open and receive the Latin Mass community.

Whether or not the archdiocese is deliberately trying underhanded tactics to break the people’s resolve—and I will go on the record as saying I seriously doubt it; they didn’t do anything like it at other parishes that were actually in revolt—the archdiocese must recognize the perception is growing that they are. They need to address this quickly and firmly and publicly. They need to re-affirm the importance of having the Indult Mass available on a regular basis in one place at the same time every week. They also need to assure these people that whatever happens, appropriate accommodations will be made for them. Otherwise the impression that Church leaders favor liberals over conservatives will continue, and I don’t think the current leadership of the archdiocese wants that.

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  • I’ve been waiting to see what would happen to this parish, and I am not a bit surprised at the recent developments.

    The archdiocese put in a parish administrator who is opposed to the Tridentine and who does not like Latin as it is too close to Rome. Might as well have put in an administrator from the Paulist Center.

    Please remember to keep Fr. Naughton in your prayers.

  • It is bothersome that some walked out of the Mass. Knowing the limbo that the members of Holy Trinity are in, I tend to think that the ones who walked were furious and felt that there was nothing else that they could do to protest the fact that no one bothered to arrange for a priest to say the Tridentine. Although there may be a few in the pews who will not attend Mass in English, I believe most of them do believe that the ‘Mass of the Roman Rite’ is valid. Probably they went to a 5 PM Mass at another parish to fulfill their weekly Mass obligation.

    What has been done and what is being done to this community (of which I am not a member, but have attended Mass there a few times in the past) is a sin. Why would the Archdiocese put a priest in charge who is opposed to the Tridentine? There are a couple of priests around who can say the Tridentine and who would probably love the assignment – also there is the option to have an FSSP priest come in permenantly. The Archdiocese says no to both requests.

    Rob, I haven’t been to HT in a couple of years so I didn’t know about Fr. Naughton citing the Paulist Center as a model of ecumenism, but I am not surprised at that.