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Latin Mass correction

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I write concerning the article by Fr Andrew Hamilton 'Disunity in the Year of the Priest' published 30 July 2009 in Eureka Street. This article has only just come to my attention as I have been out of communication with Australia for two months while working in Lebanon with Malteser International, a Church-run humanitarian organisation.

The article fairly explicitly criticises three unnamed priests who allegedly said their first Mass in Latin (i.e. the Extraordinary form, or perhaps the Ordinary form in Latin). I was one of the four ordained for the Archdiocese of Sydney on 30 April 2009, and I did not celebrate my first Mass in Latin, although I am pastorally formed and prepared to celebrate the Mass in whatever form and way the faithful desire and spiritually need.

My first celebration was at the Shrine of Blessed Mary MacKillop, and my first public parish Mass was at my home parish at Ashbury. Neither was celebrated in Latin. I am also aware that two of the other three priests ordained also celebrated their first Masses in English for regular parish communities.

I would be grateful for your confirmation that the article, in referring to the 'three out of the four priests ordained for the Sydney Archdiocese', did not, and was not intending, to identify me or the other priests who celebrated their first Masses in English.

Fr James McCarthy


I do accept that I was mistaken in saying that three out of four priests of the Sydney Archdiocese celebrated their first Mass in Latin. I should have checked the facts before publishing the statement. And I apologise to Fr McCarthy for inferring that he had himself celebrated his first Mass in Latin, and for any hurt that this inference may have caused him.

I should also emphasise that in my article I did not argue that it would be blameworthy for a priest to celebrate his first Mass in Latin, nor that it would be divisive to do so. I wanted only to argue that among priests there are quite different approaches to their priesthood, and that this must be recognised in order to ensure that these differences do not become divisive.

Andrew Hamilton, SJ

Topic tags: james mccarthy, andrew hamilton, Disunity in the Year of the Priest, apology, latin mass



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Existing comments

Why on earth would celebrating one's first Mass in the Extraordinary Form constitute something requiring an apology? I should have thought that that was reserved to choosing to celebrate it according to the pedestrian forms of Vatican II, which have reduced the liturgy to something spiritually akin to house cleaning!

arthur hallett-west | 17 February 2015  

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