Q: I am new to the diocese of Charlotte and was wondering if Tridentine masses are celebrated anywhere in the diocese.
A: The Tridentine Mass is not celebrated by any parish or mission of the Diocese of Charlotte.
I trust that the Diocesan website will soon be updated, because the TLM is slowly making its way into the Diocese of Charlotte, thanks to the Holy Father's motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum. The website is accurate, however, as to the status quo ante. There has never been an Indult Mass in Charlotte, even though there were clearly those who desired it and requested it. There has been, of course, an Indult TLM in the Diocese of Raleigh, at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Dunn, NC. There have been, moreover, three SSPX chapels in North Carolina where the TLM is regularly offered -- St. Anthony of Padua Church in Mount Holly, Old St. Mary's Church in Goldsboro, and Holy Redeemer Church in Youngsville, although these, of course, are not approved.1
I am heartened by the news of TLMs now being celebrated by Fr. Samuel Weber at the Davis Chapel at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem (Dr. Weber is a previous presenter at the Aquinas-Luther Conference hosted by the Center for Theology at Lenoir-Rhyne College, and I have the utmost respect for him and his liturgical insights). I am also heartened by the news that Fr. Arnsparger is celebrating the TLM at St. Michael the Archangel in Gastonia. Finally, I am glad to hear that His Excellency, Bishop Peter J. Jugis has indicated that a favorable pronouncement will be forthcoming and that he would encourage a TLM at St. Lawrence Basilica in Asheville (pictured right), if an interested group requests it.
The ball is in the laity's court now, I believe. The motu proprio has provided the official sanction; but the laity will have to make their case, not only for themselves, but in a continued undertaking of consciousness raising and education about the liturgical history of the past half-century. Only such a sustained effort will facilitate the ultimate ecclesial unity intended by the Holy Father. Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J., the editor of Homiletic and Pastoral Review, has suggested that it will take at least ten years before we can talk about the aims of the motu proprio actually being realized.
- My point is not to recommend SSPX chapels, which, as I point out, are not approved by the Church, but to highlight the discrepancy between historical Diocesan policy of rejecting appeals for an Indult Mass on the grounds that there was no need for one when there was a sufficient 'market' to fill three dissident SSPX chapels in the state. [back]