“In prayer and obedience, I am reflecting on the motu proprio issued by Pope Francis and discerning how best to implement the changes,” said Bishop Michael F. Burbidge. “As permitted by the motu proprio, I intend to allow Masses in the Extraordinary Form to continue in the Diocese of Arlington.”
I spoke to a priest in the diocese who said the bishop sent a letter out to the priests on Friday giving permission for the TLM on Sunday. He sent out a second letter Sunday afternoon with basically the same message above.
I'm grateful to the bishop and will certainly send a message telling him so. I think of the Bishop of Little Rock who immediately banned the TLM's in Arkansas except at the two FSSP parishes. I wonder how that will work out!
Of course, realistically, suppressing the TLM in Arlington would give the bishop a monumental headache since numerous parishes offer it every Sunday and have large congregations. I went to the TLM Mass of Lord's Supper at Holy Trinity in Gainesville. The huge church was full (not packed, but full) and that was during COVID!
A survey I mentioned the other day showed that TLM congregants give more generously to their parishes than those who attend the Novus Ordo (NO). So banning the TLM could have serious repercussions financially for a parish. While parishioners might switch to the NO out of necessity, I suspect many would cut or even stop donations.
Not only that, many of our diocesan priests support the TLM enthusiastically. Unhappy clergy; unhappy flock -- doesn't sound like a dream situation for any bishop. Nor is it likely to foster the unity the pope says he wants. (How many of us believe the pope wants unity unless it's the same kind of unity the Biden administration wants -- unity under liberal control.)
The pope has created a serious problem for the bishops. If they suppress the TLM they will be sending many of the faithful to the wilderness. Guess what! They will take their wallets with them. One priest, when he heard about Wilton Gregory of D.C. (no fan of orthodoxy), saying he will continue the TLM responded, "It's about the money."
Follow the money operates everywhere, even in the Church it seems. There are plenty of bishops who worship the almighty dollar more than they worship Almighty God.
Stay tuned and stay calm. It's not a time to rage and rant. Ponder in your heart like Mary. Things are about to get more interesting. Have no doubt: the Holy Spirit is moving. This is one battle I think our renegade pope can't win. Pray for him.