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Bishop of Plymouth calls for improved provision of traditional Mass

Bishop Mark O'Toole (Mazur/Flickr)

Bishop Mark O’Toole of Plymouth has said there should be “systematised provision” of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form for Catholics in his diocese.

Interviewed in the Latin Mass Society’s magazine Mass of Ages, Bishop O’Toole “praised the ‘fidelity’ of those who like to attend Mass in the Extraordinary Form”, and said he would “like to establish a regularity of provision and systematised provision” of the Mass.

“I don’t like the idea of someone just going round and saying Mass here, there and everywhere. It’s much better to have some consistent provision,” he said.

That includes not just “making provision for the celebration of Mass. There is also the question of how you pastorally accompany the people who come to it – the priestly support in terms of catechesis and support and advice.”

He added that he wants to create a centre for traditional liturgy. This already exists at Lanherne, in the west of his sprawling diocese, but he wants more to be done.

“If we had something around Exeter, the east Devon part of the diocese, that would help,” he said. And if people go to there instead of their own parish church, he does not see this as a problem.

“If there is regular provision, then that will become their parish,” he said. “People travel anyway.”

Bishop O’Toole said that he has had “a very good meeting” with Fr Armand de Malleray of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter (FSSP), who promote the traditional liturgy, and is “open” to the FSSP “manning a parish in the diocese”.

The bishop said that we need to look at the place of Latin and chant in the liturgy.

“When a lot of people talk about their love of the old Mass, it is often their love of Gregorian chant and what goes with it. Those things should be introduced and a normal part of Catholic celebrations,” he said.