Fr. Weinberger’s last Mass at Blessed Sacrament

Fr. Weinberger’s last Mass at Blessed Sacrament

Rod Dreher attended the final Mass today at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Dallas by the pastor, Father Paul Weinberger, who has been by his bishop and the bishop’s spokesman (for more enter “Weinberger” in the search box on the left). Here is Rod’s reflection on that Mass:

We arrived early this morning at Blessed Sacrament church for the 10:45 Latin mass. The 9 a.m. Spanish language mass was just ending, and so many people were there I had to park the car some distance away. I don’t know if this is normal for that mass, but if so, it gives lie to Bishop Grahmann’s claim that Fr. Weinberger is underserving the Spanish people in that parish.

As we approached the entrance to the church, there was Fr. Weinberger in his usual post-mass spot, seated outside the door on a stool, receiving his parishioners. It was cold and rainy, but people stood in line for a long time to tell him goodbye. It was absolutely heartbreaking to watch. These are the working poor of Dallas, the janitors, the maids, the busboys, and so forth ... and their hearts were broken. Young people were crying. Old ladies were weeping. Even big strapping grown men were wiping away tears. I couldn’t look at that scene, knowing how absolutely unnecessary it was, and knowing that Bishop Grahmann wasn’t man enough to come down here and tell these souls why he was doing this to them.

I saw a TV crew from WFAA Channel 8 there, as was a photographer and religion desk reporter from the Dallas Morning News. Good, I thought; the people of Dallas need to see what kind of parish this is. My family and I took our seats, and began to pray.

The mass—the Novus Ordo in Latin—began with chanting and the usual procession. There must have been 10 reverent boys as altar servers, and I thought: none of these children were born when Fr. Weinberger arrived here. He’s taught them all so well.

I took out my notebook when the homily began. After about five minutes of preaching, Fr. Weinberger addressed his personal situation. He said, of his past decade of service in this parish, “I’m 44, and these have been the happiest years of my life.” But he added that these have also been “the 10 most difficult years in the history of our diocese.” He said the trial of the pedophile priest Rudy Kos, which resulted in a $119 million judgment against the Diocese of Dallas (later reduced) was the Dallas Church’s own 9/11.

  • To be fair, there are certain limits on what the Pope can actually do. The papacy is not an absolute monarchy with the Pope wielding power over his subordinates. The hierarchy is a brotherhood, with the Pope the first among them.

    JP2 had already taken the first step by appointing a co-adjutor, which is a sign that the current bishop is not long for his diocese. But Grahmann won’t take the hint and retire.

    Rather than putting all the blame on JP2 what about all the US bishops. If they got together and put pressure on Grahmann something might happen. But most are too busy being collegial and worrying about the sex abuse audits to deal with problems in someone else’s diocese. Besides, they wouldn’t want someone coming into their diocese telling them how to run things, right?

  • There is also an article in the Dallas Morning News. Evidently it took up most of the page, above the fold, in the Metro section.

    Of course, as is the case with most coverage of religion by secular journalists, they get some things wrong. The TV news spot identified Latin, incense, and vested altar boys as relics of pre-Vatican II times. The newspaper called the Novus Ordo Mass in Latin a translation, when in fact it is the original language. What both did was mistake the Latin Novus Ordo for the Tridentine.

    But those are small points because I think most people, Catholic and non-Catholic, seeing those stories will think to themselves: “Isn’t that what Catholic Mass is supposed to be like?” Every Hollywood movie that depicts a Catholic Church features Latin, chant, incense, vestments, and so on. That’s what people think of: something transcendent and ancient.

  • Brian,

    I have talked to canon lawyers about those very canons and they don’t agree with your interpretation. I won’t pretend to understand all the legalities, but I guess if the law could be understood by the average guy reading them, we wouldn’t need lawyers.