“At a time when there is so much darkness and despair in the world and in our country, we find the Extraordinary Form of the Mass to be a beacon of light and hope — one which touches our hearts and nourishes our Catholic Faith,” says the petition.
The petition was started by Noah Peters, a parishioner at St. John the Beloved in McLean, Virginia. “Peters converted to Catholicism from Judaism in 2020, and his wife was baptized and received into full communion that same year.
After seeing “YouTube traditionalists” discuss the Latin Mass, Peters, 36-year-old lawyer living in Fairfax, was steered in the direction of a parish in the Diocese of Arlington. He said his first experience seeing the Latin Mass in 2019 “blew me away,” and that “any doubt about converting went away immediately.”
While he had attended the Novus Ordo before, and found it to be “fine, perhaps a bit rote,” he thought “there was something special about the TLM.”
When Traditionis custodes was released in July, Peters and his wife were in marriage preparation. He told CNA he was “shocked” by the motu proprio. They were married, in the Extraordinary Form, in October 2021.
“[My wife and I] were totally confused as to why the Vatican would focus on this at a time when the Catholic church is suffering from such a decrease in Mass attendance and belief,” he said. That feeling later became a sense of powerlessness, he said.
“This petition was born of trying to overcome that awful feeling,” explained Peters. He hopes to “give voice to all the people who love the traditional Mass in Arlington” through the petition drive.
Peters plans on personally handing Burbidge a printout of the signed petition.
“I am sympathetic to him because he is being placed in an impossible position,” he said, noting that he and his predecessors had helped the diocese become a hub for the traditional Mass.
“Now he has pressure to go suddenly in reverse,” said Peters. “That is why he asked for our prayers.” The petition, Peters said, reflects those prayers from Catholics in the diocese.
But for Peters, another motivation is looking ahead to the future. Namely, his own future generations.
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“Ultimately, we want others — especially our children — to experience the deep Catholic faith that we have experienced through the TLM,” he said.