Strange bedfellows

I have to wonder: why is the editor-in-chief of Boston’s gay newspaper—which is very hostile to the Church—writing articles defending the Tridentine Mass Community and the closing Holy Trinity Church?

Gay activists defending Traditionalists. Makes your head spin.

Susan Ryan-Vollmar is editor-in-chief of Bay Windows, a sister publication of the South End News. The News has been covering the situation at Holy Trinity, which is in the South End of Boston. But it seems unusual to have Ryan-Vollmar writing an op-ed summarizing the history of the dispute over Holy Trinity and the Latin Mass community in the South End News. She says her connection to the parish is that her maternal grandparents, now deceased, worshipped at the parish. But is that enough to give her an attachment to it?

Or is she taking the opportunity to make hay, trying to continue efforts to turn faithful Catholics against their archbishop and the archdiocese as her own newspaper, Bay Windows, has been doing for years, most notably because the Church is their major opponent in efforts to legally create the fiction of same-sex marriage?

Put aside the deflating reality that the religious leader of the Boston Archdiocese, a position once revered by all Bostonians regardless of faith, has been reduced to issuing press releases about being in full compliance with policies ensuring that priests will not molest children. Instead, focus on what it must be like to be a Catholic in this Archdiocese. An ordinary lay Catholic who has managed to keep their faith throughout this grotesque spectacle. Imagine that they’ve been told that their church is going to be closed. Imagine that the reasons given for the closure don’t make any sense — and a financial audit confirms their worst suspicions. Imagine being stonewalled and lied to by Archdiocesan administrators like Bishop Richard Lennon (who now leads the diocese of Cleveland).

The people who built Holy Trinity deserve so much more from the Archdiocese. Taken in the most generous possible light, the Archdiocese’s treatment of Holy Trinity’s parishioners has been a lesson in learning that faith is not about place. Of course, Holy Trinity’s parishioners already understand that. All they have been asking for is an explanation that simply makes sense. At this juncture, it’s clear that they’re never going to get it. Sadly, that isn’t even the most tragic element of this ordeal. The real tragedy is that those who run the Archdiocese don’t have the humility to understand what they’ve done. [emphasis added]

Seems clear to me that’s what’s going on. If I were a member of Holy Trinity parish or the Latin Mass community, I wouldn’t be happy that Ryan-Vollmar was trying to appear to be on my side. The old saying is that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Do you really want the archdiocese to be your enemy?

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • This isn’t all that strange.  Plenty of people who seldom attend their neighborhood church regret and even complain if it closes.  They may care about its role as a neighborhood institution; they may have nostalgia at the passing of their neighborhood’s old identity.

    In any case, the South End News is the newspaper of the neighborhood, and the congregations at Holy Trinity have been glad to see the story covered sympathetically.

  • Your local Church—not your parish, but the Church—is your family. The bishop is your father. It’s not just your friend and if it’s your enemy you’re in big trouble.

    RC: This isn’t just news coverage. This is an op-ed with an agenda. I hope the Latin Mass Community isn’t too caught up in their own disappointments to miss that.

  • Militant gay Catholics never pass up a chance to bash the hierarchy since the Church’s Truth doesn’t match up with their self-proclaimed truth.

    They’re like spoiled, rebellious children.

  • I think there are also some homosexual Catholics who, like many fallen-away heterosexual Catholics, though their lives may not be a reflection of Christian orderliness, continue to love the beauty of the way things were. Maybe I’m putting too good a face on their actions.

  • Patrick,

    Trust me on this, if there are SSA Catholics who are genuinely concerned about the preservation of the Tridentine Mass, the probability that they are militant – or subscribers to a gay newspaper – is highly unlikely.

    Yes, you are putting too good a face on it.  Militant, gay Catholics hate the Catholic Church.  They want to radically change it to fit their agenda.  But they have to say they love it, and want to be a part of it, in order to change it from within.

    Ultimately, it’s validation they want.  And if they can be validated and accepted by Christ’s one, true Church, they can sleep easier at night.

  • Dom,

    The South End News is a general community weekly that reflects the demographics of its readership. It highlights activities of all groups and individuals of interest in the South End, including the homosexual minority. I believe the notorious newspaper of the “Gay” community of the South End is “Bay Windows”.

    It is well known for its rhetoric and criticisms of the Church’s stand on human sexuality. IMHO, much of its content is patently vulgar and immoral.

    In Domino et Domina,

    Rob Quagan

  • Dom,

    I misread your entry. I didn’t know both newspapers were related, let alone Susan Ryan-Vollmar. My mistake. I have to learn to read!


  • I agree with your general point, but I’d like to stand up for Patrick in the comments above. I have run into quite a few homosexual persons who were deeply interested in liturgy even while hating the morality of the Church. In my town, the local “High Anglican” church attracts a large homosexual contingent to its services. Not because of anything being preached from the pulpit, but because of interest in the music and liturgy.

    Beauty does draw people. Maybe that’s a window for us into how to evangelize the “gay” community.

  • Bingo, Midwest Mom. 

    And yes, Fred.  It can happen that the pomp and circumstance of the church be divorced from the key teachings of the church (traditional teachings not the I’m ok, you’re OK crap that’s afoot) such that it becomes a matter of style or “swishiness.”  Not good.  One sees it in interesting places on occasion.  When this happens it’s not an endorsement of the Tridentine or much of anything else liturgical, as much as it’s a symptom of a disorder.

  • Except, Fred.  WE don’t need to draw the gay community as much as they need to stop being gay and come as people. 

    We can’t accept the “gay community” still doing gay things but simultaneously wanting to be part of some kind of pageant.  That’s not really what Christianity is about at all.  There has to be conversion or it’s all just some sort of lie.