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.
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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