Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Latin Mass Society press release

I was delighted a few weeks ago to be asked to the Latin Mass Society`s reception at the Travellers Club in London to mark the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. Unfortunately it proved impossible for me to go. Although London is only three hours away it just wasn`t going to work out. I read about it on other blogs. Now there is an official press release which I have been asked to put on this blog and which I am very happy to do.


For Immediate Release

24 September 2007

Latin Mass Society Reception at The Travellers Club, London to Celebrate the Motu Proprio

The Latin Mass Society held a crowded and successful reception at The Travellers Club in the heart of St James’s on Tuesday 18 September. Priests, Knights of Malta, academics, LMS Committee members and Diocesan Representatives, and a wide cross-section of the Traditionalist faithful packed the reception room for drinks, canapés and a well-received speech by Julian Chadwick, LMS Chairman.

The mood was festive, although everyone paused to remember the many thousands who departed this life without seeing the great day which Pope Benedict XVI had opened for the Church by his gift of the Motu Proprio. There was also a steely determination to buckle down to the huge amount of work which still needs to be done to stabilise the new rite, reintroduce the Traditional Rite and reintroduce orthodox catechesis and educational methods throughout the Church.

The text of the speech given by Julian Chadwick follows:

“Monsignori, Fathers, Confrères,
‘The Tablet’ in its coverage of the Holy Father’s Motu Proprio, ‘Summorum Pontificum’ kept its trump card to the end. The problem was that the Pope “is not a trained liturgist.” So perhaps I should address you as “dear untrained liturgists”. And perhaps I should say first what a huge debt of thanks we owe to the German professor, Cardinal Ratzinger – Pope Benedict XVI.

It is marvellous of you to come to The Travellers tonight to celebrate the Motu Proprio.

Today I think of the theological crisis in the Church in fourth century Alexandria when Arianism threatened the very life of Catholicism. Saint Athanasius was bishop and was repeatedly exiled and at the receiving end of all that the ‘orthodoxy’ of the time could hurl at him. But he was repeatedly brought back to Alexandria at the insistence of the laity because they knew instinctively that all was not well in the Church. They had an impatience with the ‘well-formed’ and ‘enlightened’ Catholic opinion of the time. They knew something was wrong. So they rioted and they evicted the Arian bishops.

John Henry Newman used this period as an example of the laity saving orthodoxy. He was derided for this. Mgr Talbot wrote that the laity should stick to fox hunting!

Newman’s belief in the laity supposedly made him a Father of the Second Vatican Council. So when in our own age a section of the laity and clergy held out against bien pensant opinion, there were grounds for saying that Traditionalists are children of the Council – empowered laymen and women!

This is what the Latin Mass Society represents. The LMS is the strongest lay Traditional body in the world. Our Society has held a belief for over forty years that the Classical Roman Rite or Usus Antiquior is a treasure and a store of graces as limitless as the skies; as Fr Faber said: “the most beautiful thing this side of Heaven.”

Without over-stressing its defects, we have always believed that the Rite of 1970 has presented the Church with grave problems – a crisis in short. That belief was at first an instinct. It was followed by anecdotal and practical evidence – plummeting Mass attendance, dearth of vocations, collapse of religious orders etc.

Now, increasingly, liturgical scholarship is showing that much of the theology and ecclesiology of the 1970 Mass must be re-thought – from the orientation of the altar to sloppy thinking about ‘Eucharistic Ministers’ to the rewriting of the Propers and so on. We should be proud that much of this scholarship is based in England and your Society has played a large part in encouraging this.

Ultimately our worship and our theology are intertwined and we are winning the theological and philosophical arguments.

Tonight we reflect on the past. Many of you have persevered for years – forty long years – in the hope that there would be a beginning of the end of the liturgical crisis. Many – countless thousands - have gone to their reward praying for this day. We remember the great Michael Davies who kept a flame burning through the darkest days. May they all rejoice from Heaven at this great moment.

Last Saturday (15 September 2007) the LMS made its annual Pilgrimage to Walsingham. In the ruins of the great medieval shrine we naturally reflected on a previous case of destruction – wrought by a renegade king. The Feast was that of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows – “a sword shall pierce thy heart also”. How many hearts have been pierced in the last four decades…

For myself, to be your Chairman at this historic time is a great privilege. And so I ask, what does the future hold? I will tell you, but first, tonight, we may pause and thank those benefactors who have helped us to arrange this party and to enjoy ourselves. Surely we have earned it for this one night!

But tomorrow there is work to be done – much work. This is the beginning of the next phase. We must educate, catechise, publish, witness. We must win back the young and young families to the practice of the Faith; we must support our priests as they feel their way back to Traditional ways; we must combat the mindless secularism and relativism which is undermining the faith of so many. In short, your Society must be busier than ever to justify the commitment of our predecessors in those desert decades just passed.

Please lift your glasses and I give you a toast – the Latin Mass Society!”


Anonymous said...

As an outsider who has long wondered at the chaos in the Catholic Church may I wish you well?

Fr Michael Brown said...

Thanks for the good wishes, Anonymous. I suppose there has always been some level of chaos in the Catholic Church but I too have wondered at the levels it has reached in more recent years.

Anonymous said...

One of the things that needs to be dealt with is the teaching of RE in Catholic schools. Teaching in Catholic schools over the last few years I became more and more distressed about the Here I Am scheme which is nothing short of a disgrace. It is not a Catholic RE scheme, it is a poor quality "personal and social education" scheme which often comes very close to heresy. I used to lie awake feeling sick about having to teach it. I wish the LMS society well and you Father with all your good work!

Fr Michael Brown said...

Anonymous you have my sympathy. There is a good course published by the CTS called `The Way, the Truth and the Life` which comes with the imprimatur of the archbishop of Birmingham which I hope will be taken up by Catholic schools. Some catechetical departments don`t seem that keen on it however.

Anonymous said...

We had a wonderful Mass this morning..produced by the Latin Mass Society..

Fr Michael must take a look at the CTS course you in Brum & all that!

Anonymous said...

I had a look at the CTS course and it looks very good... however, sadly, I think it will be very unpopular. The powers that be won't be keen on the units such as "The Mass" and "Mary, Mother of God".