From a flyer for VOTF.
Catholics of the Archdiocese of Boston
Come join together for a joy-filled event
Mass on Boston Common
Sunday, August 15
4:00 p.m.(3:30 p.m. hymns and celebration)
Purpose of the Mass: To celebrate as Church during these difficult years, as a community of believers in solidarity with all Catholics in the Boston Archdiocese; to attend to the grieving of all parishes that are closing; and to achieve this by participating in the Eucharist, the source of Life, healing, and strength, to realize God’s Unconditional Love.
There will be prayer, song, and community!
Bring lawn chairs, blankets, banners, and a picnic for later!
1. The Place for the Celebration of Holy Mass
[108.] “The celebration of the Eucharist is to be carried out in a sacred place, unless in a particular case necessity requires otherwise. In this case the celebration must be in a decent place.” The diocesan Bishop shall be the judge for his diocese concerning this necessity, on a case-by-case basis.
Figure the odds that VOTF has received permission by Bishop Sean O’Malley to have Mass outside at the Boston Commons. Not very likely when the whole event is designed to undermine his authority and to try to come up with ways of stopping church closings. They have chose the Feast of the Assumption (which is not even mentioned in the flyers or on their site) for this Mass. VOTF is struggling to be relevant and they have latched themselves onto the emotional issue of these closings They say they "Support Priests of Integrity" and yet they have done nothing but fight against their good Bishop and have accused him of using Parish closings as a way to attack VOTF. I guess their definition of a priest of integrity are those who line up with them.
According to Kelly Clark’s comment on a post at Dom’s site the celebrants are:
Father Robert Bowers, Saint Catherine of Siena, Charlestown
Father Stephen Josoma, Saint Susanna, Dedham
Father Ron Coyne, Saint Albert the Great, Weymouth
Father David Gill, S.J., Saint Mary of the Angels, Roxbury
These are vocal dissenters and Fr. Bowers on his parish web site makes such claims as
in the case of some parishes the impacts of closing will fall disproportionately upon non-white minorities, and in at least one case, upon the hearing-impaired.
He tries to soften this charge with "whether deliberately or unintentionally" but he goes on to repeatedly make this charge that the closing fall unproportionally on "people of color." He also mentions the real purpose of the Mass which is to schedule several media events. This information came from a letter he wrote to Attorney General Thomas Reilly to try to get him to intervene. So here we have the so-called Voice of the Faithful actively slandering the Archbishop with claims of going after parishes with minorities and disabilities.
While I’m not impressed with the notion of a Mass as a Protest Event, I think there’s wiggle room with the document you quote. The Holy Father frequently celebrates large liturgical events outdoors. And in the case of the organization of this Mass, I think the archbishop would have to explicitly forbid its celebration. I don’t believe he has, so the permission to celebrate it is implied.
Closing parishes is an extremely troublesome decision and occurence. Using this situation to promote a pseudo-orthodoxy is as opportunistic as people who might use the liturgy for the purpose of protest. However, I also believe the Mass gives believers the opportunity for grace, so I expect this Mass will be somewhat less of a problem than those who use the event to draw distinctions within the Body of Christ.
If I were a Bostonian, I doubt I would attend. But people who are upset about closing parishes need to vent and heal. If MaChurch wanted to be most helpful, she would just pray for those people and their intentions and avoid stirring the pot.
The document has zero wiggle room. Any deviations must be approved by the Bishop on a case-by-case basis. Obviously for outdoor Masses involving the Pope the Bishop of Rome has given himself approval.
Do you know for a fact that the Archibishop of Boston has not given permission? You assume he has not. If he didn’t give permission, it is within his power to halt this event. But he hasn’t done that. These people are obviously angry, and organized. But they cannot be reasonalby categorized as dissidents.
I find it doubtful that he has given permission for a media event that will attack him. The Archbishop has not in the past stopped events like this or stopped parishes that are known for their dissent. I can understand the prudence of this since it would just add to VOTF’s martyr comples that the Archbishop is after them. They have accused him in he past of closing parishes just because they had VOTF chapters.
The four priests involved are dissidents and have made the racial accusation and said such things as that the Bishop was going to use the money for these closed down parishes for his own purposed and not for any law suits.
A spokesman for the dioces had this to say about those priests.
Speaking to The Pilot in a telephone interview, Father Christopher Coyne, spokesman for the archdiocese, responded to the allegations that the archdiocese has secret motives for the closings.
�There are no grounds to say something like that,� Father Coyne said. �Archbishop O�Malley has been extremely up front about the settlement and the payment of the abuse cases.�
�It is unfortunate that some [people], especially some priests, are making wild and unfounded accusations against Archbishop Se�n and the truthfulness of his actions and words,� Father Coyne said.
Then I would focus my attention on the clergy involved, and not on the Mass. I’m sure the archbishop is enough of a personality to deal with things as he sees fit and not as the anti-VOTF crowd would do. Didn’t Jesus say something about always having the loose cannons but not always having him?
why don’t you “allow” Jeff to assume (quite logically) that O’Malley didn’t approve of this mass location. Yet you assume he quite naturally did.
The way things are looking, I’ll bet they get rained out from either Tropical storm Bonnie or Hurricane Charlie. One or the other is due to hit New England by Sunday according to my local Connecticut TV station. Maybe there’s a message there.
I think the weirdest line here is “as a community of believers in solidarity with all the Catholics in the Boston Archdiocese.”
The language suggests this community of believers is something distinct from the Catholics in the Archdiocese.
Sidenote – while it says prayer, song, and community will be present, Christ is not mentioned as being present and is nowhere mentioned anywhere in the flyer.
As a buddy of mine’s sister used to say – in a word – Oh, honey, puleeeeeeeeeeze! Get out the beads, the tie-dyed shirts, crank up the bong, get the guitar and the bongos, and all hold hands and sing Kumbaya and “I’d like to teach the world to sing!” And pass me the Pepto with a Tanqueray chaser.
You could say that I guess, but then again those who disagree with you might say all VOTF’s detractors are just pedophile-harboring pharisees. The reality is probably something in between VOTF’s universal solidarity and your bong. And Christ will most assuredly be present, whether he is recognized or not.
Cathy, I think it would be news if VOTF was directly disobeying the archbishop. Jeff could probably have called the archibshop’s office and gotten the real scoop. Maybe he did. But I suspect he just blogged in hope. I could be wrong, though.
I have contacted the Archbishops office but I have received no reply.
I very seriosuly doubt that Christ is truly present at a VOTF “mass.” Couldn’t pay me to attend one of those things for all the tea in China.
While I might criticize VOTF, I would in no way say that Christ was not present in any Mass they have. Even if the Mass was not licit or there were liturgical abuses – as long as the words of consecration are used by a valid priest using valid matter then Christ is truly present in the Eucharist.
I thought the priest’s intention also makes a difference?
You read my mind – I thought the same thing.
Besides, I’d be wondering if the VOTF dissenting “priests” should really be saying Mass, since they don’t seem to be quite kosher, which would make me also wonder how kosher or valid their speaking the words of consecration would be. To say nothing of whether such questionable priests would have valid matter or should even be handling it.
If the priests are dissenters and they belong to or support dissenting organizations, it makes me wonder how valid the whole thing would be.
Yeah, I know, I’m a “pharisee” in some eyes. But Im one of those “awful” converts that takes the Mass and the Eucharist seriously, and isn’t too happy with all the seeming fast and loose stuff that seems to be so prevalent – it really bothers me.
Basically the priest needs to intend to do what the Church believes. So even if his understandig of what the Church belives is flawed it does not invalidate the Mass.
Otherwise we would end up with a form of the Donatism heresy (circa 300) where you have to know what the priest intends to do if a sacrament is valid. Nobody could then ever know if any Sacrament was valid if it required a perfect understanding by the priest.
Saturday evening (8/14) there was an outdoor Mass in the Boston Archdiocese (at the Proud2BCatholic event). The music was loud but reverent, there was applause but it was for the Eucharist more than anything else, and I am SURE that the outdoor Mass was approved by the Bishop.