Thursday, July 06, 2006
Return to Knighthood
Copyright ©2006 Arlington Catholic Herald, Inc. All rights reserved.
This past Sunday, I rejoined "the knights of the altar" at St Lawrence in Franconia, Virginia, where the Mass is celebrated each Sunday according to the 1962 Missale Romanum -- the "Old Latin Mass" or the "Tridentine Mass," if you will. It was my first time serving at Mass with the old books since I left the service of St Mary's in Washington DC in December 2004. (Long story, another day.) Recently I got a note from an attendee at St Mary's. Because it is in the combox of a post from last April, I thought I'd produce it here:
"Those of us who watched the sad joke played out last Sunday at Old St. Mary's have to wonder if we are seeing the beginning of the end. Our new Archbishop, well known for favoring modern trends, has removed the recently installed pastor who was steeped in the Latin Liturgy and replaced him with a priest (bless his kind soul) who had never said the Latin Mass and who suffered a war injury in Viet Nam and cannot kneel! Those of us who have seen the quality brought by the previous three pastors now know what it is like to have a heavy handed Archbishop let us know what he thinks, and who is boss! Now, is there a message there? You bet! And it didn't take him long to do it either! Well, it will swell the crowds elsewhere no doubt, including the independent priests like Fr. Ringrose in Vienna. And, I suspect we will see the rules of not crossing parish boundaries applied for those wishing to attend S. Lawrence's Latin mass."
First of all, Cardinal McCarrick was still Archbishop of Washington when the decision was made to transfer Msgr Smith, so the newly-appointed Archbishop Weurl cannot be held responsible. Leaving aside that some of the most influential Catholics in the Nation's capital (including two Justices of the US Supreme Court) are known to attend Mass there, any decision that would deplete the numbers at Old St Mary's would be against His Excellency's own interests. To wit, Tom Bethell writes in New Oxford Review:
"I am told that the church was never 'wreckovated' because the parish was so poor. The vandalism and destruction -- tearing out the main altar and so on -- that have been so widespread in the post-Vatican II American Church were simply too expensive to contemplate here. Now the church has been tastefully restored, and the good news is that any archdiocesan official who might be tempted to sell it to capture the value of the land will be unable to do so. The Van Ness family that donated the property stipulated that if it ceases to be a church, the land reverts to the heirs."
Soooo... you see, my young stalwart fellow, His Immenseness is not about to give up a prime piece of real estate just to make a really big point to a really small audience.
He didn't get where he is by being that foolish -- Deo gratias.