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28 November 2015
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Letters Extra

Tridentine takeover
10 July 2014

I refer to Mary Geoghegan’s letter (“Unaccountable parish priest”, The Tablet, 28 June ). A similar situation applies in our parish. The incoming parish priest has removed the free-standing altar, installed rails and derides the Second Vatican Council. Seven Tridentine Masses a week and so on … all without reference to the congregation. Sunday evenings are given over to a grand Tridentine Mass with his own imported choir, followed by a get-together in the Hall. This is attended by adherents from all over the diocese.

The bishop only responded to our many requests when I wrote to the papal nuncio and then four of us were invited to discuss the matter with the bishop. Nothing has changed at the parish level, so some of us have decided very reluctantly to attend Mass in other parishes.

It is apparent that we have been sacrificed to the militant Latin Mass Society (LMS) and their adherents. I fear for the Church here in England.
Charles Hartley, address withheld

I found Mary Geoghegan's letter very sad, very dispiriting, but very interesting. It seems to illustrate yet again Lord Acton's letter to Bishop Creighton of 3 April 1887: "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." The only defence for those of us so ignored is to vote with our feet and find a new "home," a parish or other place of worship with an incumbent who actually realises that by "church" we do not mean an institution but a group of Christians, including the priest, who travel together and share the same set of values.
Susan Oakley, Hampshire

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Comment by: James Stewart
Posted: 28/07/2014 13:37:26

The letters of Mrs Oakley and Mr Hartley are surprisingly narrow-minded and intolerant.

The vast majority of parishes in Britain cater for the modern Roman rite and not the old Roman rite. That is a simple, statistical fact.

To think that a couple of parishes, here and there, taking on an old rite mass - not as the main Sunday mass but at odd hours or in the evening - is somehow a conspiratorial "Tridentinist takeover", is bordering upon the paranoid.

But to liken this to where "power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely" and undermines the parish as a "home" and evidences an incumbent who will not "travel together" with his people and "share the same set of values", begins to savour of the pathological.

It reeks of intolerance. It also overlooks the possibility that the priest might actually be seeking to include in his group of Christians "who travel together and share the same set of values", those with differing, but perfectly permissible, liturgical tastes.

Do the new intolerant Catholics think the other 21 rites of the Catholic Church, from Byzantine to Ge'ez, should also be banished simply because they don't like them?

Do they think the liturgically "different" should be treated as blacks were treated in Apartheid South Africa?

Perhaps they think they should be treated like unwanted immigrants and refused entry into the new, narrow-minded little country of liturgical Apartheid?

For goodness' sake, grow up!

Comment by: Trawlerman
Posted: 21/07/2014 15:02:49

It sad that this sort of thing is happening all over the place. We are the body of the Church. A priest who lords it over his parish,alienates his congregation and sets the clock back is not a good shepherd but a closed-minded tyrant.