Thursday, December 3, 2009

St. Patrick's Says "Sorry. No".

The Traditional Old Mass was requested recently of Father McGahagan, Administrator over at Saint Patrick's in Wilkes-Barre.

The person who requested it was an old friend of McGaghan, and still he refused.

I can understand his refusal to me over a year ago, he didn't know me from a hill of beans. But to refuse his old friend who heads up the local pro-life center?


It wasn't even a refusal.

When I asked him, he just LOOKED at me, as if lobsters were crawling out of my ears.

Then I asked him again to at least consider it. Again he just looked at me, and blinked. He didn't even respond.

So guess what?

St. Pat's gets no more money from me.

You win some, you lose some, right Father?


Christian said...

Perhaps if you got a group of parishioners together to ask politely, rather than one person alluding to the presence of a group, he might see the wisdom more clearly? If he is new at the parish he probably doesn't know many parishioners from Adam. If he is only an administrator, and is unqualified to celebrate it, he may see his presence there as being too shortlived to learn the Use. If you are new at the parish, he may not see you as being part of a group of parishiners.... I know there are arguments against these ideas, but I'm just saying, you have better luck if you have a sizeable group of parishioners together who are at a minimum -- interested-- in seeing what it is all about....

Christian said...

I know you read his blog faithfully, but I write this for those who don't. Fr. Z over at posted the following today on this same subject:

Once upon a time I had an experience similar to what I think is happening here while I was working for the Pont. Comm. Ecclesia Dei in Rome.
We were having a terrible exchange with an American bishop. Volley of letters letters went back and forth across the Atlantic. People wanted the old Mass, and he refused absolutely. They petitioned. He rejected. They sent us the copies of the petitions. He would deny there was any interest. He would say he never got petitions. We would mail back copies of his acknowledgment of the petitions. He wrote stern letters telling us to mind our own business. We wrote back saying that this was our business. It became uglier and uglier.

One day a letter came from him that was so nasty it simply couldn’t be borne.

I wrote a draft of a response entirely proportioned to the tone and content of that bishop’s letter. My draft was intended to end the debate.

When the Cardinal came that afternoon, he called me in to go over the various drafts that had to be finalized and then sent. At last we came to my draft to that bishop.

Card. Mayer, nearly 80 at the time, had been a monk, an expert at the Council, an abbot, professor, curial Secretary, Prefect. He is perhaps the holiest man I know. He has a practically perfect grasp of English. He would normally make subtle changes in the language of all the letters he would sign. There was no question but that he could: he was the Cardinal and all the letters I wrote became his letters. He was ready to hear a reason for or against a change, but he was usually right with each "suggestion".

So there was no surprise at all when my tough-minded letter came to the fore that he said,

"Here you write X. Do you suppose instead we could say Y?"

We went on to the next word in that manner… and the next… and the next, until – both of us chuckling a bit – there was nothing at all left of what I had written. The page was filled with corrections and cobwebs of lines and marks.

At last, I said "Clearly Your Eminence wants something else. It’s my job to make your job easier. Give me some direction."

He paused and looked at the large Murillo painting of the Blessed Mother on the wall of the office for a while and then said:

"At a certain point we must stop arguing and try to open their hearts."

With that I went back to my desk, pondered this for a while, and then rapidly wrote a short letter to that American bishop.

I took it in to the Cardinal, who make a minor change here and there, and off it went.

A few weeks later we received news from people in that bishop’s diocese that, not only had the bishop permitted the older form of Mass, he came to celebrate it himself for them.

"But Father! But Father!", you are no doubt saying. "What did you write? What saved the day?"

After the usual clink of incense at the beginning, common to all curial letters, I merely wrote that we regretted greatly the way our correspondence had gone. We hoped that it might improve. But given the earnest desire of the people in his diocese, ...

"Would Your Excellency please not open your heart to these people and help them?"

That seems to have been the real problem, after all.

At a certain point you have to realize that arguing isn’t going to achieve the result you desire.

At last you must strive to open hearts.

Anonymous said...

Our deanery sees this. We just recently won back Adoration of the Eucharist - which was arbitrarily removed in July. It hurts when a pastor views your spiritual requests, those that keep a parish viable, as being a pain in his a-double-squiggles, accuses those who do not agree with him as being evil and disobedient. Lord, send us a worker for the harvest with an open heart. Amen.
Pruned Vine

Petrock said...

Umm, pardon my ignorance, but why is the Tridentine Mass and that Mass alone considered the "traditional" Mass? Wasn't Mass celebrated for 1500 years before Trent? Why aren't "rockin' traddies" petitioning for the Mass of apostolic times, or of the time of St Patrick, or St Francis of Assisi? I've often wondered why such a "graven image" is made of something that dates only from the late sixteenth century. Aren't you dudes dishonoring the tradition of many worshippers over many centuries by focusing on the Tridentine Mass alone?

The Rockin' Traddy said...

Chris - I have been a parishioner there for years. He just doesn't care is all. And yes, I read the Father Z thing - very good advice.

Vine - I agree when one goes to their priest with a spiritual matter and you do not receive help - I think there is a problem. That's why I am still on the books at St. Pat's, but we are parish shopping right now. And let me say for the record, these parishes around here aren't getting very good ratings.

Petrock - that is such a good question that I am going to prepare an entire post to answer it for you. Stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

Roaming Catholic writes:
St Patrick's church in the Heights section of W-B would be an excellent choice for the Latin Rite. I've videotaped a few weddings there (relatives) as well as attended some funeral masses there; I believe to this day it still retains a solid marble Communion rail and the Tabernacle in the center. I'm surprised Fr. M_____ said "No".

The Rockin' Traddy said...

Yes! The sanctuary has remained unmolested by modernism - the architecture is fantastic. I was married there, and have spent much time inside - it is a fabulous location for the old Mass. Pray that the Old Mass may yet return there some time soon.

Christian said...

I keep forgetting to keep checking the comments here. The things I miss.. I was married there too! Absolutely Gorgeous church. I have a feeling I'll be looking for a new one soon... St. Ignatius is closest, but.... well that's another story.