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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