It is very easy for a small group of parishioners to make life pretty unpleasant for a priest. The nicer a priest is the more it hurts. It hurts other parishioners as well. I remember once an old parish priest said to me, "10% love you, 10% hate you, and the other 80% don't care much, so long as you are there when they need you."
The Tablet has just done the dirt on my friend Fr Tim at Blackfen, who I think is one of the most hard working priests in the country. From the Tablet article there seem to be 12 people who object to him celebrating Mass in the Traditional Form. These have been engaging in that most traditional of Catholic sports: priest baiting. Now Fr Tim has not one, or two, or even three Sunday Masses but FOUR of which the late morning one is Traditional Form, a quarter of his people actually attend this Mass, and if it is like our Friday evening TLM it is full of convinced and devout young men and women and steadily growing.
Being the Tablet, the article is grudging and petty, this small group of parishioners complain about money spent on the Traditional Rite on vestments etc., well if it is like here those who come to the Traditional are actually very generous about things like that. The article just hints at financial impropriety, in its nasty Tabletist way, and fails to mention repairs redecoration, heating, installation of new equipment etc which Fr Tim has done recently. It complains about people being asked to keep a prayerful silence in the Church, the woman from the Tasblet says this stops people interacting, yet she fails to mention the large narthex, the hall and the parish "pub" where people can and are encouraged to chatter to their hearts content. Thank heavens Fr Tim has a good bishop: Pat Lynch, who supports his clergy.
Though I am sure that Tablet readers will hold their hands up in horror, intelligent readers will see this is a put up job.
There is a sad conservatism in many of the Tablet's writers that wants to keep the Church ossified in the 1980s, they have to remember that was almost thirty years ago!
Increasingly younger lay people and priests are not going to be satisfied with the models of parish life and liturgy of their parents generation, I think Fr Tim is bravely experimenting with something new, something Benedictine at Blackfen.