August 08, 2007

Extraordinary Form: Exclusively Urban?

How many priests in rural areas are going to have the opportunity or the ability to offer the extraordinary form of the Mass after September 14th?

Very few rural areas offer the Tridentine Mass now. There are entire states without it: North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Utah among others (according to the list by Ecclesia Dei )

The areas that do offer the Tridentine Mass are, largely, concentrated near urban centers.

I'm thinking of the wide areas of the Plains, Western Mountain and Desert Southwest states where there is a shortage of priests. A single priest may be serving 2-3 parishes that are 20 or more miles apart. If the faithful of their parishes request the extraordinary form, and the priest feels he is not adequately trained, how is he going to manage the training? Who can cover his parishes if he has to travel in order to learn the extraordinary form? Will he even be able to fit the training in timewise since a lot of these priests spend a great deal of time in the car bringing the Sacraments to the faithful?

Will the rural faithful be deprived of the extraordinary form because the logistics of trying to bring it to them will be too great?

I don't have any answers to these questions. Maybe someone reading this does. Maybe it's just too early to be asking these questions. But, as someone who spends a lot of time in very remote, rural, areas, I've seen first hand the challenges Catholics and Catholic priests in some areas of our Nation face on a daily basis in order to receive and give the Sacraments of Holy Mother Church.


Blogger Richie D said...


In your opinion and experience,
do people who attend Adoration on a regular basis more likely to prefer the Latin Mass? If that is the case, my suburban, upper middle class Parish has no more than 40 regulars at weekly Adoration. Can I infer that there are only 39 parishoners who would want the Latin Mass? (I'm the odd man out in this hypothetical.)

Do you foresee a Parish, anywhere in the U.S., where the local pastor will decline to offer the Latin Mass because "not enough parishoners" desire it?

August 08, 2007 11:36 AM  
Blogger Ray from MN said...


I believe that Summarum Pontificum states that it must be a stable group and no definition has been given yet for what "stable" means.

But a priest, except for during the Triduum, has the right to say the 1962 Latin Mass any day privately. (no definition of that either).

A priest may refuse because he doesn't feel that he is qualified to say the Mass in Latin.

But if he is qualified, the spirit of the MP and SP would be that he should accede to the requests of his parishioners (or visitors).

August 08, 2007 11:44 AM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

I think until more guidence and better translations of SP are available there are a lot of unanswered questions. I wrote this post because I've yet to hear anyone even discussing the rural access to the extraordinary form issue in the way I put it.

It is clear that SP itself does not have a # of parishioners assigned to the stable parishioner. However, I can see some people trying to assign a number in order to get out of doing the extraordinary form. Let's see: I have x parishioners and only y want it an x is greater then y by z etc.

I think the priest feeling he is not qualified to say the Mass in Latin is a weak argument. Why? Because, I think they should strive to learn as much as possible so they can. Clearly, they were able to learn the Mass in their vernacular right? I don't think that it's easy-even if it is your native language.

I see priests constantly learning to say the Mass in a second language(around here) Hmong, Spanish, and Korean. If a man can learn that, he can learn Latin. Will he be able to carry on a conversation in Latin? Maybe not. But, if he can pronounce the words tolerably well and read that's enough.

August 08, 2007 1:19 PM  
Blogger swissmiss said...

I don't know if those going to Adoration is the correct sample to be looking at. I would love to hear Mass in Latin (other than the NO we are already blessed to have at St. Agnes), but with little ones, find it hard to make it to Adoration on a regular basis. The parish my aunt attends has Perpetual Adoration, but doubt many of those folks would even care about Mass being said in Latin (IMHO, just knowing my aunt and her friends). It's too bad that there is this seemingly artificial numbers barrier to having Mass said in Latin because I think if the Latin Mass was offered, not to quote Kevin Costner, people would come. Rural areas may be a different story. Most parishes I attend on the weekend in Wisconsin are in a cluster of three with just one priest. Hard to find a "work around" with priests spread so thin already. Maybe this could be an apostolate of some lay group or Order to develop a program to instruct priests on the Latin Mass and they travel to the priests to instruct them. Maybe the guys in seminary could go this as a service project. Just my wishful thinking ;}

August 08, 2007 2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live a 16 hour drive from the nearest Latin Mass in my province. I am sure there are several people in my parish that would like to have the TLM but Father has never been trained in it although he attended it when he was a kid (he is 52)but that's not quite the same. Our bishop doesn't even like us kneeling at the consecration so I am not holding out much hope there will be support in our diocese. Yes, I know it's up to the priest but he is already so busy I don't want to bother him with yet one more request. However, if a group forms in our parish to request the TLM - I will be there!

August 08, 2007 2:27 PM  
Blogger Terry Nelson said...

Richie - I have already heard of pastors saying they will never offer the TLM even if the entire parish were to request it.

August 08, 2007 4:30 PM  
Blogger Anita Moore said...

The areas that do offer the Tridentine Mass are, largely, concentrated near urban centers.

Interestingly, the only two indult Masses in Idaho are 300 miles away from the main population center in Boise.

However, I have good reason to believe that will change after September 14th. :)

August 08, 2007 4:43 PM  
Blogger Ray from MN said...

There are four "Tridentine" Masses currently being offered in Minnesota at the present.

One in South St Paul and a recent newspaper report says that about 300 attend each week. Many of those come from Wisconsin and rural areas of Minnesota.

I've talked to several people at St Agnes who say they live in Wisconsin.

There's one every First Sunday in Rochester and one every First Saturday in Mankato.

But the tiny town of Flensburg in west central MN has one every Sunday morning.

August 08, 2007 6:55 PM  
Blogger Adoro te Devote said...

Ray ~ The Mass at St. Agnes isn't's Novus Ordo.

I'm familiar with the one at St. Augustine's (never been there, though...NEED TO GO THERE ASAP!) Does anyone have a legitimate 1962 missal, wannat go on a field trip?

I heard of the one in Flensburg, but not the Rochester or Mankato ones. Are they Tridentine or NO Latin Masses?

August 08, 2007 7:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in a rural area and have not heard anything about it yet in our parish, but I am hopeful. Won't the seminaries now be obligated to train seminarians in TLM? I can see it being gradually expanded by newly ordained priests. We are lucky in our diocese to have had many ordinations relative to the size of the Catholic population -- and if all goes as scheduled, more to come next year. As I read accounts on different blogs, I realize how blessed we have been in so many ways.

August 08, 2007 9:01 PM  
Blogger Ma Beck said...

Are you serious??
I wonder why they call it the "Latin High Mass", such an odd term?

For what it's worth, I quite enjoy the Latin NO as a second-best.
I would love to visit SA one day.

August 09, 2007 12:01 AM  
Blogger Ma Beck said...

(Google, google, google.)

Adoro, the ones in Mankato and Rochester and Tridentine.

August 09, 2007 12:05 AM  
Blogger Anita Moore said...

There are four "Tridentine" Masses currently being offered in Minnesota at the present.

In a state that populous, that's IT?

Just remember: there's already enough provision for the Tridentine Mass; the MP was superfluous.

August 09, 2007 12:13 AM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

There are some exceptions to the Tridentine being offerred far from an urban center-but they are rare occasions.

I probably should not have put "exclusively" in my title-oh, well.

August 09, 2007 5:51 AM  
Blogger swissmiss said...

The 10am Sunday Mass at St. Agnes is a Latin NO. It is done with reverence and beauty, with well-trained altar boys. I attend Bible Study at St. Augustine's but haven't been to their Latin Mass. They did do a bit of remodeling (marble floors, etc!) on the altar over the summer, so look forward to seeing it in a month when Bible Study starts up again.

There are many folks from WI who attend St. Agnes. Actually, there are people from all over the state. I've heard that people drive in from the Dakotas, but don't know this as a fact.

August 09, 2007 7:19 AM  
Blogger Ray from MN said...


You're right about St Agnes. It is a Novus Ordo Mass, said in Latin and ad orientem, with the priest facing the crucifix, away from the Congregation.

But the feasts, the Mass readings and the rubrics are Novus Ordo, in Latin. But they refuse to have the "handshake of peace." And only male servers.

Rochester and Mankato are indeed Tridentine Masses, but only once a month.

August 09, 2007 7:40 AM  
Blogger Ma Beck said...

I feel sorry for the rural faithful. When I lived in Fort Pierce, FL, I ended up in a Byzantine rite Church just to avoid liturgical dance.
Of course, I didn't speak the language and had no one to explain it to me, so I just quit going, eventually.
Bad times.

August 09, 2007 9:20 AM  
Blogger RAnn said...

If one considers the blogosphere to be representative of normal Cathoic thought, 90% of parishes would have masses in the extraordinary form after September, and those masses would have every pew filled. However, unlike the blogosphere, most normal Catholic parishes are filled with families where both parents work outside the home, where children attend Catholic or even public schools, and where people prefer the mass in English. Priests are limited by church rules as to how many masses they can offer per day. Should a small group (proportionate to the size of the parish) be able to dictate that mass be offered in the way they like, even if the overwhelming majority of the parish DOESN'T like that mass and the priest doesn't want to celebrate in that way, especially if doing so means eliminating a mass that is well-attended?

I could be wrong on this, but my guess is that when all is said and done, the MP will have made a much bigger splash in ST. Blog's than it will in most real parishes.

August 14, 2007 12:16 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

rann: Is a parish where the Indult is offerred now an abnormal parish? I don't get where a parish with most parents working outside the home, where children attend schools and the Mass being in English negates the possibility of the extraordinary form being an option.

Clearly, the "weighing" of the needs of the parish and ability of the priest are issues to take into consideration. I don't think anyone is saying that they aren't.

It remains to be seen the impact of the MP-that is for certain.

I would not say the blogosphere is representative of "normal" Catholic thought. I would not even say that it is representative of all Catholic thought since anyone these days can call themselves Catholic and not practice. Do I think most Magisterium faithful Catholic bloggers want to give the extraordinary form the opportunity it deserves? Yes.

I wonder back in the 70s how many parishioners had a "choice" when the decisions were made by people operating under erroneous assumptions to turn the priest around, rip out all the statues, start the Mass in the vernacular under the guise of Vatican II-even though Vatican II did not mandate any of it.

I think one of the great things about the MP is it DOES give the parishioners an explicit direct say in something that could be great. However, it still respects how Mass is being said now. 30-years ago, I don't think that balance was explicitely present.

August 14, 2007 2:43 PM  
Blogger RAnn said...

Cathy, none of those things negate the possibility of the extraordinary form of the mass. My point was that the image one would garner of the average Catholic using the blogosphere as the sample group is a very different image than would be garnered in the average parish.

As far as whether a parish where the indult is offered now is abnormal, I don't have enough information to answer that question, but if it is a parish that draws a large number of people from outside its geographic boundries or if it is a parish organized for the purpose of offering the indult mass, then I'd say it is abnormal because most parishes are geographic and draw relatively few people from outside their boundries.

August 14, 2007 9:36 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Rann: Thank you for your comment. In my area, a lot of people go to Mass outside their territorial parish boundary because their territorial parish may offer a Mass with a lot of liturgical abuse/errors.

August 15, 2007 4:26 AM  

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