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Guide to help attain the TLM in your parish August 25, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in attachments, Basics, episcopate, General Catholic, Latin Mass, Liturgy, persecution, priests, sadness, scandals, secularism, Tradition, Virtue.

The Latin Mass Society has a helpful guide available to souls desiring more access to the TLM, perhaps in their own parish.  The main portion of the guide is here.  Not only are there some general recommendations copied below, but also much discussion of common objections raised by opponents of the TLM and how to do with the stonewalling and opposition frequently encountered. I know many readers have lamented lack of availability of the TLM in their diocese or local area – this guide may help you to see that pastoral need addressed.  And just because your diocese already has a TLM, or even a TLM-specific parish, doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to ask for the Mass in your local area!

Under Summorum Pontificum, every lay person has the right to request the TLM, every priest has the right to publicly offer the TLM, and priests and bishops are to do all they can to accede to every reasonable request for the TLM from the faithful. We all know that is not how it works in practice, but with much patience and prayer, there has been a good deal of positive growth in the availability of the Traditional Mass.

The step-by-step guide, below:

1. Establish a ‘stable group’. Members of the group do NOT have to reside in the same parish. They do NOT have to have an attachment to the Traditional Mass going back to 1969. They must rather be a group sufficiently committed and sufficiently local that if a Mass were established for them, they would support it. There is no minimum size fixed for such groups, but to be taken seriously you need to show that numbers are at least in double figures. Your local Latin Mass Society Representative should be informed at this stage and should be able to put you in touch with other people who will support your project. [Well I don’t know if many places in the US have a local LMS representative.  But I’m sure you can contact them to find out.  I will say, when we asked for a Novus Ordo Latin Mass, we had dozens of names, and good attendance until a completely unnecessary controversy over the reception of the Blessed Sacrament from an Extraordinary Minister brewed up.  Then it went into the tank and never recovered, but such would never occur at a TLM]

2. Write to the parish priest. You need to choose a parish either where most of the members of your group live, or one where an additional Mass would be easiest to establish (i.e. one where there are not too many Sunday Masses taking place already), or one where the priest is most friendly to your cause. If this Parish Priest is unable to help you it will be up to the Bishop to suggest to nearby parishes that they may accommodate your group if that is the best way forward.  [I will say two things.  In most dioceses, expect a huge amount of pushback. Most dioceses are not complying with the provisions of Summorum Pontificum, and treat the matter as if availability of the TLM depends on some kind of gracious indult from the bishop.  That is very different from how SP reads, but that’s the reality.  In addition, picking a parish where you know, with certainty, there is a priest who desires to offer the TLM himself is key, especially a pastor. If it is simply the vicar, and a young one at that, but the pastor is opposed, you are unlikely to make any headway]

3. Include with your letter a simple petition in its support (‘We the undersigned support this request for a Sunday Mass in the X area celebrated in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite’), and get all the members of your group to sign it, and include their postal addresses. KEEP COPIES OF WHAT YOU SEND[Indeed]

4. If the parish priest does not respond within a fortnight, send your letter to him again; it may have got lost or forgotten about. Politely suggest that if you do not hear back from him within a month you will take the matter to the bishop, in accordance with the provisions of the Motu Proprio. [Good advice]

5. If you receive a negative response, you may be able (politely) to help your parish priest to overcome any misunderstandings about the Motu Proprio with the aid of the FAQs below. If his response remains negative, or if he does not respond at all, you must write to the bishop explaining that you have applied for the Traditional Mass under the Motu Proprio and are passing the matter to him as the Motu Proprio requires. Include with your letter to the bishop a copy of your letter(s) to the Parish Priest, and your petition.

6. With the Bishop, as with the Parish Priest in step 4 and 5: if there is no response after a fortnight, write again with a month deadline. If there are objections based on a misreading of the Motu Proprio, you may be able to respond with the help of the FAQs below. If, finally, there is a negative response or no response at all, you need to write to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.

7. For this step, you should get in touch with the Latin Mass Society office. We will advise you on the wording of your letter, and we can arrange hand delivery in Rome, which will give your letter more force. You will need to include with your letter all your previous correspondence: letters to and from the parish priest and the bishop. [Great advice, and a step I never took.  I strongly recommend going this route if you encounter stonewalling]

It is of the utmost importance that all of the letters from your side are polite, succinct, clearly written, and well informed about the Motu Proprio. [And don’t rant about the Novus Ordo]

Will you get a response? The PCED may, or may not, acknowledge your letter. They will read it, however, and they will be in touch with your Bishop. They will seek to negotiate with the Bishop, and this may take time, and may result in an offer from the Bishop of a Mass in a different church than originally anticipated, in a rota of churches, or with some other arrangement. Such offers, even if not ideal, should be accepted if at all practical, and used as a basis for the establishment of a community committed to the Traditional Mass, which will demonstrate to the Bishop and local priests that allowing the Traditional Mass will not cause problems and divisions in the diocese.

If there is no response, and no progress, then after a year has passed it would be legitimate to go through the whole procedure again. [Oh boy!]

Polite persistence is the key to success.

————-End Quote————-

As the guidelines above mention, there is a FAQ at the link that addresses how to overcome common misconceptions and excuses used to oppose the offering of the TLM.  But unless you are incredibly blessed, you can expect to encounter a great deal of resistance.  As for going through the process over and over again, year after year, that will probably have only a low probability of success if you encounter an initial refusal, but it never hurts to try.  Since many dioceses are large, geographically, it is not reasonable to put forth that since there might be one parish offering the Traditional Mass, that is enough.  In some dioceses, traveling to that one location might require hours of travel.  But such is the attachment to this Mass, that some people do so, week after week, and sometimes more frequently than that.  Holy roller zealouts, what could they be thinking?

If you encounter resistance regarding the potential for the TLM to cause division, especially arguments that say, to the effect, that it is wrong for their to be different forms of the Mass as that might encourage an elitist or separatist attitude, there are many easy replies to make.  First of all, why is it acceptable to offer the Mass in every language under the sun rather than Latin?  Does having Mass in Spanish or Vietnamese somehow make those communities separate or elitist?  You can also counter with, if we must accord to the norm, then shouldn’t most Catholics endure lousy catechesis, use contraception, support abortion, and all the rest, since that is what most “Catholics” do today?   Another argument is that Latin is the official, universal language of the Church, it ties in with our great patrimony and offers the benefit that the TLM can be understood and participated in everywhere in the world on the same terms.  It is in fact really vernacular Mass that is novel and which tends to cause division, since instead of having one universal Mass offered in one language throughout the Church, there are now literally hundreds of different missals in different languages, with slight (or great) differences of translations and emphasis throughout all of them.  This has turned the Church into a tower of Babel, with dramatically less, not more, liturgical fluency across cultures.

There is lots more, but that’s enough for now.  Just know that by requesting a TLM you are not being a rabblerouser, elitist, or troublemaker.  You are being a faithful soul striving to improve the availability of the form of the Liturgy that has been used in the Church throughout the world for centuries, and you are doing so because you know enormous Grace will be the result.  So don’t let rejection get you down, be faithful, polite, and persistent, and most of all, pray!


1. David L Alexander - August 26, 2014

In all humility, this may fill in a few of the gaps.

“[I]f you can’t imagine why you don’t have access to the Traditional Latin Mass in every gosh darn parish in the universe, as of one day after the Pope said you could, or you want to know what has to happen to have one anywhere at all, you should read this.

Then you should read it again. Slowly.”

man with black hat: The Latin Mass: Why You Can’t Have It

2. Steve - August 26, 2014

Whenever I read “how to attain the TLM at your parish” articles, I reflect upon the following:

Everything that you need to know about the collapse of the Latin Church revolves around the disappearance from parishes of the Traditional Roman Mass.

From the early centuries of Holy Mother Church until the day that the Novus Ordo was forced into our parishes, it was unimaginable…utterly unthinkable to Catholics that one day, the Traditional Roman Mass would all but disappear within the Church.

Not even The Twilight Zone would have presented an episode that featured such nonsense.

Unfortunately, the “nonsense” in question became reality.

Catholics are forced to beg their bishops and priests for the opportunity to worship God via the Mass that Holy Mother Church had always and everywhere looked upon and safeguarded as a priceless spiritual treasure.

Latin Church parishes are devoid of the Traditional Roman Mass.

That is all that we need to know in regard to the collapse of the Latin Church.

3. Tradical - August 26, 2014

I once read that a sure way to get action is to rumour that the sspx has been approached by some faithful for a mass centre.

I do not know if this is simply an urban legend but the sspx does not normally enter an area unless requested. For example, I know one place where they go for just 4 or 5 people who asked.


4. Woody - August 26, 2014

Too many are too comfortable with the NO. I recently saw a funny column written by Father Clifford Smith complaining about how the people in the pews were not getting involved in the Mass. It was as if they were sitting on their hands is how he put it. Holy cow, you’d think they were at a TLM, quietly praying while Father said the prayers on their behalf. And here I thought the vernacular NO Mass was suppose to make everyone get up and get involved, just like they do at protestant gatherings! You get what you sow. Want the people to be involved at Mass? Bring back the TLM.

5. richardmalcolm1564 - August 26, 2014

There really is no substitute for finding and cultivating a sympathetic priest, especially if he is not too badly overworked. Obviously, this is more likely to be the case if he’s under, say, 35. A lot of it is about building a good relationship with him.

And when you do, SUPPORT him! Fund or help arrange his training. Buy him altar cards, maniple, biretta, and altar missal as necessary. Supply trained servers. Make sure your people turn out. The priest offers the Mass, but it’s a group effort to make it work.

6. Steve - August 26, 2014

We would not require “guidelines” and strategies to attain the Traditional Roman Mass if Pope Francis would simply offer said Mass…or at the very least, exhorted bishops to implement Summorum Pontificum.

Bishops and priests go to great lengths publically to follow the lead in regard to Pope Francis’ actions.

“Who am I to judge?”…downsizing their living quarters…demonstrating their “humility”…it’s all the rage within the Church.

Should Pope Francis back the Traditional Roman Mass with unmistakable actions, then you can rest assured that a great many bishops and priests would follow suit.

Someday, a Pope will implement Summorum Pontificum via his actions.

Please, Your Holiness, become that Pope.

7. D.O.T.C.O.M. (@DOTCOM_MOM) - August 26, 2014

†JMJ† Requesting a TLM in my parish has been on my heart & mind for some time now but I hadn’t a clue of how to go about making such a request! I feel this post is an answer to a prayer! Thank you SO MUCH Tantum! God Bless you!

8. Kurt - August 26, 2014

It seems to me that one strategy is to request it for weddings and funerals, to be offered by a visiting priest. I think a pastor is less likely to tell the family that they can’t have the TLM for their semi-private celebration.

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