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By Diogenes (articles ) | Jul 24, 2007

Fifth graders find it difficult to master the idea of a ratio because they don't at first grasp the idea that changing the denominator can produce changes in the entire ratio just as much as changing the numerator. The same rules and misunderstandings apply when computing percents.  This may explain why Marie Szaniszlo, or her editors at the Boston Herald, titled last Sunday's article as  Latin Mass a fading tradition. Szaniszlo points out that in all of the Boston Archdiocese there is only one parish out of 295 that has the "Tridentine" Rite Mass.  That's 1 over 295, or 3.4 tenths of one percent of all Boston parishes--real small to be sure.  But without adding a "Tridentine" parish to the numerator, that percentage grew from 2.8 tenths of one percent just three years ago when the Archdiocese had 357 parishes--in summary, the percentage is small and growing (not fading) without having to add a single parish to the list of parishes that hold the Tridentine Rite.  

The Tridentine Rite did not fade as the title indicates, it was effectively suppressed, and in the wake of this suppression what appears to be fading is the Boston Archdiocese; see here for articles on closings of parishes, schools, the seminary, and the decline in baptisms, and here for the statistics on decline in Catholic weddings.  It might be asking too much of Marie to have her calculate for the years 1965 and 2007, the change in the number of priests in the Boston Archdiocese and their median age. Now, we're talking about something that's fading.

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A point of clarification: (July 25)

It is unlikely that the suppression of the 1962 Missal was necessary or sufficient for the decline of the Church in Boston or elsewhere. Although your Uncle Di did not intend to make the causal claim, he understands how some readers would think he was implying as much. That being said, your ole Uncle Di does believe that a case can be made that the suppression of the old Missal was one of many ships in a convoy named "Spirit of Vatican II" that was high-jacked by the left. The wake of this convoy has contributed mightily to the decline of the Church in Boston and many other dioceses besides--so there you have a causal claim.

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Show 18 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Jul. 30, 2007 8:33 PM ET USA

    What do the NO liberals not understand about the bishops forbidding priest to celebrate a tridentine mass? Neraly fifty years later natural attrition has removed most priests who knew how to say it to the eternal bliss of not having to suffer the pain and arrows of outrageous fortune by officiating at a NO mass any longer. Bishops are adding stipulations for allowing one. Where do we get people who are clamoring for a mass they have never seen.? The bishops(dealers) use a stacked deck.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 27, 2007 4:40 PM ET USA

    aberlour36, next time you vacation in San Francisco, cross the Bay to St. Margaret Mary's in Oakland for the 12:30PM Sunday Mass, where a priest in his 50's celebrates with the help of altar boys, a fine organist and a large congregation who respond in Latin and sing hymns enthusiastically. The people are mostly in their 20's to 40's except for their children, who run from under 1 to their teens. Families range from 4 to 8 children. And the homily will remind you of those of Ronald Knox.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 27, 2007 12:31 PM ET USA

    As a priest trained and formed in the recent past, I too do not know the first thing about celebrating the extraordinary form of the Latin Rite...but I intend to learn. We have, to date, received NO news or instructions from our chancery, and I do not expect to receive any. Only one family has asked me to celebrate such a Mass (and has offered to pay for my training), but my pastor would not support it. So, be patient...and pray.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 25, 2007 11:52 PM ET USA

    Clamoring - not likely. Daydreaming about it in the pew while the choir sings "We are Companions On the Journey" or "Sing a New Church" ..... or the visiting mission priest shouts "The Lord IS with you!" and rewrites prayers to satisfy his own delusions .... Casually asking the pastor when he looks to be in a good mood if he thinks we might be able to have one sometime - even a low Mass .... Yeah.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 25, 2007 8:12 PM ET USA

    Sunday we attended the only Latin Mass in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. An octogenarian priest, without a microphone, mumbled the Latin. English appeared in the two readings and in the lame and obviously extemporaneous sermon. At least the homily could be heard. A small choir sang undistinguished music. There was little or no eye contact among parishioners. The collection plate was full of one dollar bills. There was no bulletin. So what's the appeal?

  • Posted by: - Jul. 25, 2007 4:43 PM ET USA

    Coco, if you ever find a place where the authentic Traditional Latin Mass is offered, you will also find that there is no liturgy committee. There may be a sacristan and, perhaps, a music director, but no group of lay people cooking liturgy du jour for the priest. This ancient form of worship is, of course, alien to today’s Catholic (who has been convinced by a N.O. catechist that his presence is necessary to the sacrament). The TLM, you see, is most definitely not a “gathering of the people.”

  • Posted by: - Jul. 25, 2007 2:51 PM ET USA

    Correction: I don't know how old you are, Exaudi Nos. I was mixing up your statement with Coco's.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 25, 2007 2:46 PM ET USA

    Good point, Exaudi Nos. I'm a good deal younger than you, but I didn't experience a Mass in English until I was 17 or 18. And when I did experience it I couldn't even feel my knees - I stopped using them. And that's what the Novus Ordo Mass does.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 25, 2007 9:29 AM ET USA

    Born in 1965, I only heard about the priest standing "with his back to the people" about 7 years ago. My desire to attend such a Mass has grown steadily since, but we have none in our town. I cannot imagine a liturgy committee at any of my past parishes considering the extraordinary form. Our priest refuses to purify the vessels--very few in the pews know of the new requirement and he's clearly irritated that those few found out. He's waiting for the bishop to tell him to do it...

  • Posted by: - Jul. 24, 2007 10:59 PM ET USA

    No, Diogenes days not SAY the suppression caused the other declines he mentioned, but the readers can't be blamed for getting the impression that he is suggesting it.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 24, 2007 8:50 PM ET USA

    Re a "clamoring" for the Latin Mass--consider this. Likely the vast majority of U S Catholics are un (or at least under) informed about even the possibility of re-instituting the Latin Mass. Do you honestly think most Bishops and Priests, given their liberal bent, will go out of their way to inform the laity? I doubt it. Thus there will likely be relatively few requests for it which will make Bishops & Priests happy and cause them to tell Rome nobody wants it. Tragically too few read CWN.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 24, 2007 5:10 PM ET USA

    The need for the Tridentine Mass cannot be known until many are exposed to it. Two generations have passed since it was a "common" liturgy. With a little good press, some may find it just fits the bill for their worship obligations. The first time I heard the mass parts in Latin after years of venacular, I thought my knees were melting out from under me. Bring on the Latin!!!

  • Posted by: - Jul. 24, 2007 4:43 PM ET USA

    Aw, come on people! Diogenes nowhere says that the suppression of TLM caused the decline of the Archdiocese. That inference is entirely your own. Post hoc causam non habest. Or something. Not such a bad inference, though.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 24, 2007 4:05 PM ET USA

    Morbidly amusing..., It would appear the liberals are trying (desperately) to "abort" the Latin Mass... The "Culture of Death," theology style...

  • Posted by: - Jul. 24, 2007 2:52 PM ET USA

    Let me add a concurrence with Charles, disagreement with emkay. Certainly Diogenes is not drawing a strictly post hoc conclusion. But some of us agree with what I think he does believe: that the effective suppression of the Mass of 1962 (pace, Your Holiness. It WAS in effect banned.) was an integral part of the violence that was done that contributed to the decline of the practice of Catholicism.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 24, 2007 2:18 PM ET USA

    Diogenes seems to be inferring that "A" (suppression of the Tridentine Mass) caused "B" (closed parishes and schools, decline in baptisms and weddings). I never studied logic but I believe that just because "A" preceded "B" does not mean "A" caused "B."

  • Posted by: - Jul. 24, 2007 1:05 PM ET USA

    "The Tridentine Rite did not fade as the title indicates, it was effectively suppressed, and in the wake of this suppression what appears to be fading is the Boston Archdiocese[.]" Wow. Probably not a one-to-one post hoc, propter hoc correspondence, but still, those are a couple of bigtime hocs in that powerful sentence. Wow.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 24, 2007 10:47 AM ET USA

    Marie Staniszlo writes, "Parishes aren't exactly clamoring" for the old Mass. Hello? Earth to Marie: the document has not taken effect yet and will not take effect until September 14.

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