The Arlington Catholic Herald, our diocesan newspaper, came yesterday. I generally check the priest's moves and the bishop's schedule and do a quick page-through to see if I want to read anything. It used to be a joke among some of my confreres, when Bishop Paul Loverde was our ordinary to count how many photos of him graced the pages of the paper. Bishop Burbidge can't compete. His only photo in this issues was the stamp-sized mini attached to his column.
At any rate, one headline caught my eye and caused uncontrollable eye-rolling and head-shaking, and, frankly, anger over the dishonesty it illustrated.
A large, bold headline on page 3 announced: Traditional Latin Mass updates. It was followed by this Ministry of Truth smaller headline: Arlington diocese announces new availability of the Extraordinary Form mass in compliance with Pope Francis' directive.
Really? "New vailability?" A more truthful headline would have been "Arlington diocese announces new Suppression or Restrictions or Minimization of the Extraordinary Form."
Now, what would be the first reaction of someone reading the Herald's disingenuous headline?
Wow! The diocese is making the traditional Latin Mass more "available" to the flock, right?
Let's look at the word first. Availability comes from the Latin ad (to) and valere "be strong, be worth, " and, finally able, -- from habilem, habilis -- "easily handled." So we have a word that indicates that something has worth and is made easy to "handle" or have access to.
Looking at the thesaurus is even more interesting. Here are some of the words offered as synonyms: accessibility, attainability, obtainability, availableness, convenience, ease of access, etc.
Is that what the Herald's article meant to convey as it described the suppression of the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) going from 21 locations to eight, most of which are totally unsuitable for the praise and worship of God? The large community from Holy Trinity in Gainesville is going into a Montessori school that doesn't even have a gym. How will they possibly accommodate the faithful with "new availability" to the TLM? A priest friend said they will have to say Mass in a classroom. I went to the website and viewed photos of the school which is on a ten acre campus. In good weather, they could presumably have Mass outside, but even though some of the classrooms appear to be large, they will have a hard time making the TLM "available" to everyone who currently attends.
While imposing the brutal new policies in Arlington that segregate the TLM community, Bishop Burbidge said, "While these new norms will bring some change in the places and times of worship, I ask all in our diocese to maintain a spirit of unity and fidelity."
Are congregations being divided and their unity being crushed enable "a spirit of unity and fidelity?" Not at all! Rather, it is a spirit of disunity from false obedience to a motu proprio (Traditionis Custodes (TC)) that overstepped the pope's authority and a responsa ad dubia that expanded and magnified the draconian new norms to the point of absurdity.
Obedience is not an unlimited virtue. The call to obey presumes a "rightful authority." Yes, the pope has authority, but it is not unlimited. He may not order you to worship Pachamama or the circle spirits. In fact, to do so, would be a mortal sin against the First Commandment. Many canon lawyers are taking issue with TC as a violation of canon law. I'll address that in another post.
But for now, my opinion of the Arlington Herald sank into the Mariana Trench's darkest depth. I will read with a jaded eye to see how many other times they change truth into a lie in order to promote an agenda that violates both truth and charity. To see the Ministry of Truth operating in Holy Mother Church truly calls for sackcloth and ashes.
God have mercy on us and God save the Church!