Tuesday, July 10, 2007

FSSP on What Is Really Helpful

Not to be confused with SPPX:

A: The thing that has surprised me the most, or perhaps that has been the most revealing aspect, is that what people seem to really thirst for and need with the Traditional Mass is to have a full-time priest there and having a parish set up.

I was in Sacramento for years where we were able to purchase a church with a school, a hall and a rectory on the premises. Having all of this there, I did not realize how difficult it is in other places that do not enjoy it.

The indult given by Ecclesia Dei has been in existence for 19 years. I think there are many bishops who have tried to be generous with the indult situation of one Mass each Sunday in a location, or they maybe even have a variety of places within one diocese. But in the end, such a situation is not the thing that is really helpful and doesn’t give a good picture of the Catholic life to those who attend, which is what families desire and need, and certainly deserve to have—that parish life—that idea that you have a place where you feel at home.

What has been interesting is that we have been invited by all sorts of dioceses in the United States and other countries. It is clear that no matter what their character is, those bishops who have allowed and set up quasi-parishes or full-time chapels as apostolates have been grateful for it because these dioceses have seen what the response has been from the faithful.

Instead of going off in a corner of the diocese, these faithful, when they have all of their needs met, have embraced the bishop more, and become involved in the life of the Church much more, especially supporting things like pro-life, catechesis and other initiatives. These are the places where the work is really successful.

In those places where the bishop has allowed the Tridentine Mass on Sunday only, a kind of refugee-type mentality often sets in for the faithful of not really ever belonging anywhere. That is of course not good for the children who are involved, nor for those who end up attending it. And that kind of situation is not ultimately good for the diocese either, nor for the life of the diocese, because it never makes those Catholics feel at home, nor assists those Catholics to participate fully in the life of the diocese.

Interview of Fr. John Berg, Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP)