Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Traditional Mass in Arlington

I get asked from time to time, about a particular local issue, which is why I decided to include it here.

In the wake of the Holy Father's 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, which removed any juridical and other silly-nonsense-bureaucratic impediments to the celebration of the "extraordinary form" of the Roman Mass (also known as the "Traditional Latin Mass" or the "Tridentine Mass" or simply the "Old Mass"), there are currently seven parishes in the Catholic Diocese of Arlington which celebrate it every Sunday. They are:

Holy Trinity, Gainesville, 12:30pm
Saint John the Baptist, Front Royal, 12:30pm
Saint John the Beloved, McLean, 12:00pm
Saint John the Evangelist, Warrenton, 12:30pm
Saint Lawrence, Franconia, 12:30pm
Saint Michael, Annandale, 6:15am
Saint Patrick, Fredericksburg (Chancellorsville), 1:30pm

This is an increase from two locations before the motu proprio was released.

While admittedly celebrated at times that are less than convenient, it is a reflection of the demand for this form of the Mass, usually from members of the faithful who come from outside the parishes in question. This will change when the demand for the Old Mass comes from inside the parish, and/or once it is better attended, not to mention supported financially. Presently, it is estimated that the total attendance at all locations on a given Sunday, is around one thousand. This represents less than one-fourth of one percent of the total faithful of the diocese.

There has been talk in some corners of the diocese, that the Bishop of Arlington is working to prevent the Old Mass from being more accessible. This is a flat-out lie. Priests who want to learn this form of the Mass in the last two years, have been accommodated to a fault. In addition, pastoral assignments have been arranged specifically to facilitate continuation of the Old Mass in at least one location.

It has also come to the attention of this writer, that one priest of the diocese is propagating this slander, and has gained a small but tenacious following among the laity. He does not represent the views of his confreres, nor have his followers been able to back up their claims when pressed to do so.


Unknown said...

St Andrew the Apostle in Clifton ( offers a Sunday Mass (10:30) in Latin but I am not sure if you would consider it is a TLM. The parish search recognizes that Mass as an English Mass.

David L Alexander said...

I believe that Mass uses the reformed Missal (the "novus ordo" if you will). Several parishes in the diocese have offered one for years.

Unknown said...

Ahh...I see. Well, then I need to get to various TLMs to make sure I understand it properly so that I can appreciate it more.

Mass in the vernacular is good but Mass in a form and language fitting the "unversal" in the RC is better. If I could truly participate in any Mass at any location - that would be ideal.

Thanks for the clarification though.

Anonymous said...

Hint! Hint!

David L Alexander said...

It's always the anonymous ones.