Laudetur Jesus Christus! Gelobt sei Jesus Christus! Sia lodato Gesù Cristo! Praised be Jesus Christ!
Pope Francis surprised many people with his decree concerning the Latin Mass on July 16. I want to reassure our people that the Archbishop supports our work in both Old St. Mary and Sacred Heart and has granted us the necessary faculties as required by Pope Francis. If you have not thanked him, please do!
The Catholic Church is made up of twenty-four united Churches that comprise the East and West. Each has very diverse practices, liturgies, and devotions. Nevertheless, they are all united under the person of the Pope, who in charity is to guarantee the unity of the Church. As Our Lord told St. Peter, “confirm the brethren in the faith.” It is not a common form of worship that unites these various Churches, but rather it is the common creed that we profess. Most importantly, it is the Holy Eucharist, confected validly in all Catholic liturgies and rites, that brings about this vital union so close to the heart of Christ.
There is nothing wrong with diversity that is authentically Catholic. This has never been a source of division in the Church. At our parishes and elsewhere, most people simply wish to pray to God in a manner that is best suited to them based upon what the Church offers us. Unfortunately, some on both sides, have adopted a judgmental attitude and have said hurtful and false things. In my own personal experience, as a twelve-year-old, my parish priest said very harsh things about me for simply asking him a question about the Latin Mass. A sense of superiority is not limited to just one set of people but infects all peoples and groups. I recognize that some who attend the Traditional Mass have said hurtful things, but this is by far the minority. As I learned in the seminary and in my time as pastor, one does not make a policy for a whole people based on the bad actions of one or a few. You deal with the problem rather than avoiding it with a harsh policy. This is all the more stinging as we watch what happens in other parts of the Church, where open dissent to the teachings and practices of the Church is met with silence or tacit approval.
I pray that whatever anger we may have, that this is used ultimately for charity and a good outcome, rather than vengeance and wrath. We must remember that suffering is part of the Christian life, and it is the only and surest path to Heaven. We don’t choose the best sufferings and crosses for ourselves. These are rather fashioned for us by Christ Himself. God always brings good out of evil and suffering. We may not understand God’s plan completely, but He can take any lemon thrown at Him and turn it into lemonade.
During this time, know that we will continue to meet the needs of all those who come to us. We remain committed to our mission of providing the very best that the Roman Rite has to offer in the various traditions of our parishes. I believe that our parishes are healthy. Of course, there is never complete agreement or contentment; that does not exist in any organization or group. However, by and large, I find in our parishes people genuinely committed to holiness, to our parishes, to each other. This was demonstrated to me when someone who attended the German Mass told me, concerning the Pope’s decree, that he felt like his family was being attacked. We all stand together and look to the Lord under this Catholic Faith that we profess. I want to affirm each of you in this, call you to even greater perfection and holiness, and strive to support each other in this journey to Heaven that we make together.
Please be assured of my continued prayers for you, please pray for the Oratory, and pray for all those most affected by this decision from Rome.