The bishop giveth and the bishop taketh away

The bishop giveth and the bishop taketh away

The Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, has been a study in contrasts in recent years. On the one hand, it’s been regarded as one of the most conservative, especially under the former Bishop John Keating, with the lack of altar girls often cited as an example of that conservatism. Yet it didn’t have a single approved Tridentine Mass within the borders of the diocese.

Both of those situations have now changed. In twin announcements this week, Bishop Paul Loverde has allowed two different parishs to begin celebrating the Tridentine Mass every week, but he has also said that altar girls will now be allowed as well, presumably not at the Tridentine Mass parishes.

Regarding the altar girl development, pastors will now be able to decide whether to allow altar girls for their parishes. They’re supposed to do this only after consultation with parochial vicars, deacons, and parish councils, but when it comes down to it, if a pastor wants to do this, he will whatever anyone else says. Likewise, a pastor who holds out could experience enormous pressure to allow it. I can imagine that the chancery hears enough about it from vocal parishioners, a not-so-subtle suggestion might come down.

Loverde has wanted to do this for some time

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli