Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Good news, I think, from Monterey

California Catholic Daily reports that Bishop Richard Garcia has announced that regular Tridentine Masses will be celebrated at two locations in the diocese of Monterey, California, starting in September, as soon as the motu proprio takes effect.

I'm chronically suspicious of any official sponsorship of the Tridentine that offers it only at a few specified locations. There have been too many decades of episcopal opposition to the rite to get over that attitude quickly. It can be a way of keeping the rite marginalized in out-of-the-way places, instead of putting it before the faithful in larger numbers in their normal parishes.

On the other hand, supposing that a bishop is sincerely trying to comply with the Pope's wishes, he might very well choose to get things rolling by arranging for the rite to be available as soon as possible in one or more places. And since it can't start again everywhere at once, if only because most priests don't seem to know enough Latin to properly perform even the Latin Novus Ordo mass let alone the Tridentine, it has to begin in those few places where circumstances permit.

There are some pitfalls. For instance, the priest who has been identified to re-learn the Tridentine and offer it near Paso Robles is 80 years old. What does it say about the rite if it is only offered by the old and perhaps crotchety (as I encountered recently in Santa Clara)?

On the other hand, if the Tridentine is to be truly reintegrated into the normal life of the Church, the laity have to be educated in it again. In order to actually participate in a Latin mass, you have to know how to follow what is being said. If the Tridentine is reintroduced too early, before people have a chance to learn what's going on, there could be a backlash -- an understandable one, too.

But it's a start. Thank you, Bishop Garcia. And Deo gratias.