We must start from the premise that almost all diocesan priests are already overworked and would find difficulty taking on the celebration of additional Masses. It follows that, either more priests must be found or that Latin Masses will need to be provided in substitution for existing novus ordo Masses, rather than in addition.
Taking the first point, there is an emerging source of priests who are more than keen to to provide usus antiquior Masses. I refer to the traditional Orders. The Priestly Fraternity of St Peter has had several Englishmen ordained to the priesthood in recent years, and expects to have a steady stream of ordinations during the next decade. There is every prospect that the number of vocations to the priesthood in the traditional orders will continue to grow.
We have already benefited from the Institute of Christ the King Supreme Priest taking over churches in New Brighton and Preston, and the FSSP taking over one in Warrington. Although it is too soon to make a final judgement, the indications are that these are prospering as centres for traditional liturgies. It is to be hoped that as the traditional orders ordain more priests, churches will continue to be handed over to their care. This solution tends to work well in the larger towns that have several Catholic Churches, and where consideration is already being given to closing churches. This is surely a win-win solution.
A second approach is for each diocese to consider where Latin Masses would be best located. In most cases, this would mean selecting churches in the greater centres of population, where larger congregations can be expected. Currently, Latin Masses are frequently provided in remote or village locations, and it is unsurprising that these attract small congregations. In the case of the Diocese of Middlesbrough, The obvious locations would be Hull, York, Scarborough and Middlesbrough itself, all of which have multiple churches.
A process of merging parishes in in these locations has been going on for years, and surely such mergers should provide the opportunity to reconsider Latin Mass provision.
CMA Youth Retreat, 8th Feb, Haverstock Hill, London
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