Sunday, June 05, 2011

The Latin Mass in Fitchburg and the wisdom of Gamaliel

Those of you who are regular readers of this Blog know full well that I prefer the Latin Mass and have done much to make the case for it.  A few years ago, I wrote a couple of posts promoting what I thought would be an exciting development for Fitchburg, Massachusetts.  See here for example.  Now Todd Tabbaa, who writes for the Latin Mass Fitchburg Blog (as well as Ecce Agnus Dei), has announced that, "It is with sadness but not without hope for the future that it is announced that Mass in the Extraordinary Form at St. Joseph parish in Fitchburg will terminate on June 5th. The reasons are of simple practicality and a realistic evaluation of the fact that after almost one year of having the Traditional Latin Mass at this parish, the number of attendees has not increased and is not sufficient to maintain basic expenditures. The various considerations which affect growth, including Mass time, location, and proximity to other Traditional Latin Masses in the diocese may all be considered in our decisions for future directions. We will thus meet after our last Mass on June 5th downstairs in the parish hall (at our community potluck) for discussion and planning..."  (See here).

Now the Latin Mass continues to attract young people from every region.  I have said that the Latin Mass movement is largely a youth movement.  One has only to attend the traditional Mass to see this.  What is the problem then?  Why did the Latin Mass fail to take off at Immaculate Conception and later Saint Joseph's Parish in Fitchburg.

I believe there are probably several reasons for this.  But one reason which will probably not be acknowledged by those who were coordinating the effort in Fitchburg is that they had made the decision to associate themselves with the Saint Benedict Center in Richmond, New Hampshire, an organization which has engaged in anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.  See here and here for example.

I attended the Latin Mass at Immaculate Conception until the subject of Father Leonard Feeney came up.  After explaining my position regarding Father Leonard Feeney and the Saint Benedict Center (again, the one located in Richmond, New Hampshire) to Mr.Todd Tabbaa and his wife, I was shunned from that point on. 

Two thousand years ago, Gamaliel, a Pharisee and celebrated doctor of the Law, exhorted his fellow Israelites to leave the Apostles alone (they were planning to scourge them).  In doing so (read Acts 5: 38, 39), he explained that if an endeavor or activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself.  Another way of saying that "unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it." (Proverbs 14: 34).

How sad that there are some who insist that the Latin Mass movement has to be associated with the name and ideology of Father Leonard Feeney.  See here.


Marie Tremblay said...

Paul, that is really a crying shame! I am very saddened about this.

SyrianCatholic said...

Dear Mr. Melanson,
Would you please call me or allow me to call you?
In charity in for the sake of truth I think some
Information between us needs to be exchanged as your
post above ascribes beliefs and motives, while mentioning my name, that do not belong to me, and you have a duty to correct yourself. I will leave my phone for you, or if you prefer, you can e mail me yours. Let me know.

With saddness,

St.Bernard'sGal said...

I know that's what turned me off when I participated in the traditional liturgy a couple of years ago at IC. I heard about the Mass from a friend who lives in Fitchburg. She also decided not to return after hearing Fr. Phillipson preach on Fr. Feeney. It is a shame Marie. All the more so since Fitchburg needs the Latin Mass.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Dear Mr. Tabbaa, it is most interesting that you should invoke the word "charity" in your comment. I say this because charity wasn't exactly a major concern for you or your wife when you decided to shun me for simply speaking the truth about the Saint Benedict Center in Richmond, New Hampshire. Neither of you would even look at me after our conversation in which I expressed concerns over anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.

You write, "..for the sake of truth I think some information between us needs to be exchanged as your post..ascribes beliefs and motives..that do not belong to me, and you have a duty to correct yourself."

If this means that you do not subscribe to the errors of Feeneyism or the anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial of the SBC in Richmond, I am heartened to learn this. Two years ago your attitude seemed most clear. But I did not, in any case, ascribe "beliefs and motives" to your person in my post.

I am merely saying that the Latin Mass Fitchburg Blog (of which you are administrator) has links to the Saint Benedict Center in Richmond and even promotes the organization's 2011 conference.

In addition, Fr. David preached favorably on Fr. Leonard Feeney when I was in attendance at Immaculate Conception.

This is most unfortunate. I'll say it again, promotion of the Traditional Latin Mass does not have to include promotion of Fr. Leonard Feeney, anti-Semitism or Holocaust denial.

I'm sure you would agree. And I'm sure you can understand why many Catholics might have concerns about the Latin Mass Blog which you manage.

StBernard'sGal said...

If Tabbaa and the other traditional Catholics who work behind the scenes in Fitchburg are not supporters of the SBC in New Hampshire, why do they link to the SBC's website and promote their conference?

I agree with you, it just doesn't add up.

Stewart said...

St. Bernard's Gal, Paul often gets comments such as that one which attempts to manipulate others or to create some sort of smokescreen. Bottom line: Tabbaa's Latin Mass weblog promotes the Saint Benedict Center in New Hampshire and its activities. If those behind the scenes working for the Fitchburg Latin Mass do not agree with the SBC and its theology, why do they promote the group?

People will see Tabbaa's claim for what it is.

Derek said...

SyrianCatholic comes across as either two-faced or ignorant. Either he has been woefully ignorant of the attitudes and beliefs of the Saint Benedict Center - Richmond, or he is feigning such ignorance while knowingly promoting an anti-semitic/Holocaust denying organization.

Which is it SyrianCatholic? You have served as administrator of a blog which links to the Saint Benedict Center. Do you embrace anti-semitic views? Do you deny the Holocaust?

Where DO you stand?

Rory McGinn said...

I think you need to make clear the difference between the St. Benedict Center in NH and the St. Benedict Abbey in Havard, MA. Both are outgrowths of the Feeney movement, but the abbey is now Benedictine and fully united to the church. It offers Latin and English Masses.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

I have Rory - repeatedly in many posts at this Blog. In this post I wrote, "After explaining my position regarding Father Leonard Feeney and the Saint Benedict Center (again, the one located in Richmond, New Hampshire) to Mr.Todd Tabbaa and his wife, I was shunned from that point on."

Thanks for your comment.

Rory McGinn said...

Hello again,

Didn't mean to sound snappish. I've heard people confuse the two places.


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