Little Rock Bishop Closes in on Latin Mass Community

Friday, July 5, 2013

Little Rock Bishop Closes in on Latin Mass Community

 
 
Wikicommons
 
Update: the earlier photo is apparently not the good Bishop.  It sure did look like him, however.

Edit:  The offering of the Immemorial Mass of All Ages, and the Catholic instruction surrounding that is about to get more sparse in Arkansas owing to the parsimonious and frankly petty prescriptions of the local Ordinary, Bishop Anthony Taylor, who has photos of himself offered on sale you can buy for your home, and speaks Spanish.

 
Bishop Taylor destroyed a thriving Latin Mass community of the FSSP last year when he decided to suspend its pastor, Father Laurent Demets, for a very petty offense which was neither criminal nor immoral.  Sound familiar?  
 
Since then he’s agreed to allow the Immemorial to be said in his Diocese, but he’s placed conditions on the continuation of that which are not part of the legislation surrounding Summorum Pontificum. Even if it’s not part of the money, he’s making that a condition.
 
We might point out that a priest may say the Immemorial in his territory without his approval.
 
He also objects to Catholics insuring the proper education of their children by sending them to local schools not associated with the Diocese.  Without the slightest trace of irony or shame, the Bishop maintains that these schools aren’t Catholic.
 
We’re not sure, either, that the small numbers of those attended in each community he reports in the letter are accurate, but we do know that when Father Demets was active, his parish was able to support a K-12 school.  
 
All of this Catholic activity has been destroyed by an Old Liberal Bishop, completely out of step with the people of Arkansas.  This slap down fits the same MO as that of Thieberville, France.
 
There was a Remnant article also, with some back ground about how the Bishop set about to destroy the community.
 
He’s basically attempted to give the impression that he’s tried to do right by real Catholics in his diocese who have a legitimate right to the Immemorial Mass of All Ages, while he’s been attempting to eliminate it by providing it intermittently.
 
The point driven home in the letter is that it’s all about the money, and following the Bishop’s instructions to the letter, including using collection envelopes.
 
Here it is in its completeness with some editing:

2500 North Tyler Street P.O. Box 7565 
Little Rock, Arkansas 72217    
[501) 664-0340  Fax (501) 664-6304]
Office of the Bishop   
                                                         July 1, 2013

To all parishioners of St. Mary parish, Batesville & St. Michael parish, Cherokee Village: 

On July 1, 2012 in an attempt to respond to the desire of a small number of people in North Central Arkansas to celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form, and following a meeting on May 7, 2012 in which the conditions for the provision of this ministry were provided in writing to all who were interested, Fr. Michael Bass began to celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form twice a month at St. Michael Church in Cherokee Village and St. Mary Church in Batesville.  A copy of these conditions is attached to the bottom of this memorandum.

In response to numerous complaints received regarding lack of compliance with these conditions in Batesville, a review of this ministry there was conducted after about 6 months.  It was determined that those attending the Vetus Ordo Masses in Batesville did not meet the conditions I had set for continuing this ministry.  I therefore held a meeting with those concerned in Batesville on March 6, 2013 in which I decided to give those attending the Latin Mass a little more time to comply with my conditions for continuing the Vetus Ordo Mass there and I counseled patience on the part of their fellow parishioners.  More than 3 more months have elapsed by since that meeting and having reached the one year point, those attending this Vetus Ordo Masses in Batesville-with a few exceptions-are no closer to compliance than before. 

No recent complaints have been received from Cherokee Village, perhaps because of the long history of availability of the Latin Mass there, and though those attending the Vetus Ordo Mass in Cherokee Village have responded better than those in Batesville, they too are not yet in full compliance with the conditions set forth for the continuation of this ministry.

Among the conditions that have not been met are the following:

•  Register in territorial parish and use the envelopes of that parish. 

Batesville: 2 families, both of whom also attend Mass in English, are registered in the parish, use envelopes and contribute 93% of the Latin Mass collection.  The other 7% is loose cash donated.  Only two of the new families whom we hoped to attract by offering the Vetus Ordo Mass have registered in the parish and neither uses the envelopes provided to them.

Cherokee Village: 7 families (12 individuals) all of whom also attend Mass in English, are registered in the parish, use envelopes and contribute 75% of the Latin Mass collection. These people were already active parishioners prior to May 7, 2012.  The other 25% is loose cash donated by an additional 8 local residents and 20 individuals from out of town who attend the Latin Mass exclusively, but are not registered in the parish and do not use
envelopes.  No one in Cherokee Village changed their level of participation in response to the new conditions for Latin Mass ministry there that went into effect July 1, 2012.

2•  Participate in the Religious Education  and Sacramental Preparation of that parish. 

 — Batesville: Only 3 of the 15 eligible children attend the religious education program of the parish.  [Perhaps the instruction is harmful?] There are apparently other children attending a non-approved  program at a private school misleadingly called the St. John Bosco Academy (and a St. Cecilia Academy?).  By using the names of saints, the false impression is given that these are Catholic schools. [!] 

   — Cherokee Village: Only 4 of the 14 eligible children of Latin Mass families attend the religious education program of the parish. 

• Receive Confirmation at St. John the Baptist Latin Mass in North Little Rock (NLR) only if prepared in home parish (which is one’s domicile).

  –Batesville:  One teenager was confirmed in NLR on April 11, 2013 without having attended Confirmation  preparation at St. Mary parish.  This child also attends the Latin Mass in NLR, but did not receive preparation for Confirmation there either. 

  — Cherokee Village: Two teenagers were confirmed in NLR on April11, 2013.  One was from Missouri and no letter was received attesting to his preparation for the sacrament.  The other was from a family living part time in Louisiana.  This child did attend Religious Education classes in Cherokee Village when she was in town.

•  Rule of thumb: 1 monthly Mass for every 50 persons in regular  attendance. 

   — Batesville: Vetus Ordo Mass average attendance is 34: 19 adults and 15 children.
   — Cherokee Village: Vetus Ordo Mass average attendance is 40: 12 adults and 8 children from Cherokee Village and 14 adults and 6 children from elsewhere, mainly Missouri.
Parish activity: Batesville.  At the March 6 meeting I said I would allow this ministry to continue a little longer to give those attending the Latin Mass the opportunity to change their attitude and to become active in the parish, but little has changed.  There have been 3 all-parish events since March 6, but apart from one person who has always participated faithfully in parish activities, none of the other Latin Mass attendees has attended any of these parish events.  Their failure to participate remains unchanged despite my exhortation on March 6 that they begin to do so. 

Parish activity: Cherokee Village.  The 12 registered parishioners referred to above do participate in parish activities.  A few of them showed up for the parish study on the documents of Vatican II for the “Year of Faith.”  Some ofthese take a regular turn at perpetual adoration in the parish, attend weekday Masses and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation from the pastor. 

Having already evaluated this ministry in Batesville twice, at the 6 month and 9 month points, with unsatisfactory results over the course of an entire year, it is clear that a modification of our attempt to provide Latin Mass ministry there is in order.  Though there are convincing reasons to cancel the Batesville Masses outright in order to devote our human resources to apostolates that are more promising, I have decided at this time merely to reduce the number of Latin Masses in Batesville to once a month and it will now be celebrated on the first Sunday of the month at 3:30 pm in order to enable the Latin Mass youth to participate in the youth activities of the parish on that begin on Sundays at 6:00pm. The twice monthly Mass in Cherokee Village will continue to be offered on the first and third Sundays of the month at 11:30 am. 

Fr. Michael Bass had made great sacrifices to provide this ministry for the Catholics of Batesville and Cherokee Village who desire the Latin Mass, for which I am very grateful.  But the bottom line is that all ministry has the goal of helping people respond to the call of Jesus to “Follow  me “-the call to conversion and discipleship.  I will allow Fr. Bass to continue this ministry in Cherokee Village and on the reduced basis in Batesville as described above because I am committed to the pastoral care of souls and I hope that the spiritual growth which the stated conditions for continuing this ministry are intended to foster will help the people he serves take the next step on the path of conversion. 

In the future I will evaluate whether those who attend the Vetus Ordo Mass in Batesville and Cherokee Village have come into compliance with these conditions, or whether the time has come to further reduce or abandon this ministry. 

Sincerely in Christ,

+AnthonyBishop of Little Rock

Cc:      Msgr. Scott Friend, Vicar General
Msgr. Francis I. Malone, J.V. and Chancellor for Ecclesial Affairs
Deacon Bo McAllister, Chancellor for Canonical Affairs
Rev. Narla Dhanraj, pastor of St. Mary parish, Batesville
Rev. Linus Ukomadu, pastor of St. Michael parish, Cherokee Village
Rev. Michael Bass, celebrant of the Vetus Ordo Mass in Batesville and Cherokee Village
Rev. Charles Ryan, chaplain for the Latin Mass Community of St. John the Baptist, NLR

Latin  Mass in Northern Arkansas-Mfg. 5/7/12 

1. Persons attending Mass in the Extraordinary Form remain  parishioners of  their territorial parishes, they simply attend Mass in Latin much like other parishioners attend in Spanish.  Those living where there is no Latin Mass (for example Jonesboro) still register in that parish and enroll their children in PRE there even though they drive elsewhere (say Batesville) for Mass.  In this example they would put Jonesboro envelopes in the Batesville collection, which would be forwarded to Jonesboro from Batesville and serve as proof of Mass attendance for purposes of the Jonesboro PRE program.  Jonesboro might consider sending a portion of this money back to Batesville for the care of their parishioners. 

–There is no canonically established St. Pio Pietrelcina Community, [!] which is now extinguished.
–Register in territorial parish and use the envelopes of that parish.
–Participate  in the Religious Education and Sacramental Preparation of that parish.
–Parents always free to supplement PRE with additional material of their own choosing.
–Can receive 1st Communion and possibly weddings (if prepared in parish) at Latin Mass.
–Funerals in Latin not guaranteed, only if priest is available and able to do so.
–Can receive Confirmation at St. John the Baptist Latin Mass (if prepared in home parish).
–All services outside of Latin Mass provided by parish (e.g., marriage preparation).
–Collections at these Latin Masses retained by and/or forwarded to the proper territorial parish.
No guarantee of Holy Day Masses, only if Fr. Bass or Fr. Okeke are available. [Emphasis ours]

2.         Mass in  Latin initially twice a month in each parish until a determination of viability is made two months following the resumption of Mass in Latin in Cherokee Village and Mountain Horne, and initiation of Latin Mass in Batesville.  Eventual rule of thumb: 1 monthly Mass for every 50 persons in regular attendance.  Possible initial schedule (assumes more than were attending regularly in November 2011 when Latin Masses were suspended).  Available Mass times in the target area of NE Arkansas: 

1st Sunday–Bass:
2″d Sunday–Okeke:
3rd  Sunday–Bass:
4th Sunday–Okeke:
5th Sunday–Okeke:\ 

Cherokee V. 11:30 am   Batesville 5 pm (Okeke–Mtn Home English) Mountain Home 5 pm    (Bass–IC, NLR Eng.)
Cherokee V. 11:30 am   Batesville 5 pm (Okeke–Mtn Home English) Mountain Home 5 pm    (Bass–IC, NLR Eng.) Mountain Home 5 pm    (Bass–IC, NLR Eng.) 

3.   Each local parish provides whatever is needed for the Mass-including access to the building.  Money in any accounts held by the non-canonical  St. Pio Pietrelcina Community can be used for this purpose if they agree.  It would be wise to provide information cards regarding the role of the congregation in Vetus Ordo Masses for those unfamiliar with the Extraordinary form of the Mass and to have a box of mantillas available for women who come unprepared.

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