I recently heard it suggested that what those of us who love the Traditional Latin Mass really need is a worldwide Traditionalist diocese, that would give us our own friendly bishop(s?) our own set of priests, our own parishes, and ultimately would circumvent the many problems that occur within the “mainstream” church. It is certainly an appealing idea: we look at the status of the Eastern rite Churches and sometimes feel almost envious.
However, I maintain that as Traditional Catholics we must hope for the older form of the Mass to be fully embraced by the Latin Rite of the Church. In my opinion, if every Latin Rite parish in the world had a TLM, we would be much better off. However, this will not be accomplished by having our own seperate diocese. We need the mainstream church, and the mainstream church needs us. A Traditionalist diocese would not foster growth in the Traditionalist movement: new Catholics would almost all come first into their local diocesan structures, and some few would “discover” our existance later on. In effect, by creating a Traditionalist diocese we would give those who dislike Catholic tradition a great gift: our complete marginalization from the life of the rest of the Church.
Before the mass was changed, every Latin Rite parish had the TLM. Now, there is a new form of the Mass. I do not believe that it will go away, and it certainly won’t and shouldn’t go away by being supressed by the Pope. However, what we can hope for is full equality within our own rite of the Church. Latin Mass Parishes, like those of the FSSP, are excellent and should be encouraged with prayer and financial support where possible. However, we should also be encouraging (in the same ways) diocesan priests who wish to add a TLM to their already busy schedule of masses in the parish. We should hope that someday the parishes around us will all have the TLM, and that the average Catholic is frequently nourished by the rich spirituality and tradition of this form of the mass.
Thus, while I am fully supportive of personal parishes for the TLM (which would then free other priests to start TLMs at their own parishes) I find the idea of a “personal diocese” overly seperatist. I fear that it would foster greater division (in the minds of regular Novus Ordo attendees) between “trads” and “regular Catholics.”
If anyone has any thoughts on this matter, please discuss in the comments: I would love to see what others think on this issue.