This past Sunday your Tatler, for the first time in some time, attended missa antquior, the Latin mass, at a small mission church on a Tewa pueblo, joining the schola cantorum doing the chants. There were a decent number, 50 to 60, in the pews and plenty of children squealing and squawking, music to the ears of a former Episcopalian.
In the church’s bulletin however, one only sees mass times for Novus Ordo, the modern mass in bad English, even though the Latin mass is celebrated at that church weekly or more. An oversight? Hardly. His tarnished Grace, Archbishop of Santa Fe John C. Wester, a devotee of Pope Francis, has slavishly followed papal orders making it difficult, if not impossible, to celebrate the old Latin mass in his diocese though it is entirely valid.
The pope, clamping down on the old rite, antithetically insists his diktats will somehow bring “unity” to Holy Church by making outcasts of Latin rite adherents. Archbishop Wester concurs, and prosecutes the pontiff’s orders.
Other prelates however have disagreed with the pope, notably Cardinal Dolan of New York, not at all a Latin mass enthusiast, but who nonetheless ignores the anti-Latin rules from Rome, even going so far as to praise one Latin mass church in his diocese for bringing many Catholics back into the fold. In other words, ahem, bringing unity.
Not here in the Archdiocese of New Mexico, though. Here, we who love the old mass are invisible. Our mass is invisible. Our celebrant is invisible. Our servers are invisible. Our worshippers are invisible. We were kicked out of our first church to a much more out of the way mission.. In Archbishop Webster’s diocese, we are personae non gratae, but still come to mass and donate substantial fungible dollars. Only those are visible to the Archbishop, who never stops clamoring for more of them to pay the legal bills and awards for the sinful behavior of clerics under his watch.
On a grimly optimistic note, our archbishop, as well as the pope, are well into antiquity, which brings to mind your Tatler’s oft-expressed aphorism: there is nothing wrong with the Holy Catholic Church that cannot be remedied by a good flu epidemic.