Accordingly, I'd like to offer a chance for people in communities across Australia to tell us all about what is happening in your town or city.
And to explain to my broader readership just why the growth of the TLM would be a good thing anyway.
Here is the thing.
Yes, it is beautiful liturgy. In theory it should foster a more general orthodoxy and orthopraxis.
All too often though, TLM communities seem, like any fringe movement, to be susceptible to turning inward and being captured by an extremist fringe; and some individuals in such communities seem more intent on subverting the good initiatives of others than mutual support. Some priests and communities seem to be doing good things on the surface, but when you scratch that surface...
So, does the EF really foster holiness?
As we are once more coming up to the anniversary of Summorum Pontificum, it seems a good time to think about how much impact, directly and indirectly, the Pope's more generous permission for the TLM has had in Australia.
Expectations and reality?
When, back in 2007, the Pope removed requirements for a bishop's permission to say the older form of the Mass, the expectation was that the newly renamed ‘Extraordinary Form’ would spread widely.
The reality, as far as I can see, has been rather different.
The Pope’s more generous permission for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass has, it is true, allowed a number of priests to occasionally say the EF in their parishes. Hard to get a sense of how widespread this is though.
There have been a few major event Masses (as there were pre-SP) in a number of dioceses.
But equally, more than a few priests and bishops in this country continue to strongly oppose and obstruct the spread of the Extraordinary Form; more than a few continue to reject the legitimate requests of groups wanting the Traditional Latin Mass as an option.
As a result, for every new Extraordinary Form community that has been established, often with considerable effort (and there is really only one as far as I know, in Wangaratta), one has disappeared (read Newcastle, victim of newly appointed Bishop Wright’s opposition).
And many of the communities previously operating under unreasonable restrictions on the number of public masses that can be said (such as Hobart, restricted to once a month, and Brisbane, once a week) still seem to be prevented from expanding (though in the later case, regime change will shortly fix this one would hope!).
Has the EF spread/numbers grown?
Here are some of the questions I'd love to see people contribute answers to in the comments box or via email:
- is there a (non-SSPX) TLM in your area?
- do you attend it or not - if not, why not?
- how many people on average attend your EF Mass?
- if your EF community is longstanding, has it grown over the last few years?
- if is new, what problems did you have getting it going?
- do you know of requests for the EF that have been knocked back?
- how many visitors does your Mass get? What strategies does your community have to encourage other catholics to experience the EF?
On the bright side, some good priests continue their good missionary efforts!
Please pray especially today for Fr Terence Mary Naughtin OFM Conv, whose anniversary of ordination it is today.
Fr Terence is, with the permission of his order, currently living in country Victoria caring driving from there to Tallarook (Archdioceses of Melbourne) on a Sunday morning to say a 10 30am mass. He then heads back to Wangaratta and says mass there at 5pm. That makes a round trip of about 430k!
He plans soon to head for Castelhill each Saturday (via plane from Albury) then drive to Wangaratta for the mass at 5pm. More news anon!
Please keep this intention in your prayers.
**I've corrected the information in this section, apologies!
Please do send in your comments. Moderation may be slow over the next few days however as I will have little or no access to a computer, but they will appear eventually!