Saturday, November 17, 2007

Leo Darroch replies

I`ve been off-line for a couple of days and have been down in London today for the Solemn High Requiem Mass at Westminster Cathedral but I found that Mr Leo Darroch had sent me this rebuttal of his interview which appeared on the Petrus site. Readers may have already seen it on Angelqueen.

Reply to article by Bruno Volpe in Petrus.

An interview appeared on the Petrus website on Monday 12th November that claimed to reflect my views on a number of issues. I have no hesitation in saying that this interview is a complete misrepresentation of what I said to the Italian journalist. The interview was conducted in English and I was concerned from his comments during our discussion that he had not understood the points I was making, so on three or four occasions I asked him whether he had understood.

The headline states that I am the “world-wide president of the traditionalists.” This is a journalistic introduction by the magazine staff for a good headline. No president of the Una Voce Federation would ever claim such a thing; our authority is limited within our international Federation. The magazine also states that I have presented exclusive to Petrus my “programme of government which reserves not a few surprises.” The subsequent article indeed had some surprises, all of them unpleasant, and all of them completely unrelated to anything I said to Mr. Volpe.

In the first paragraph the journalist asks if I am satisfied with the election and then goes into detail about my farewell to my predecessor. This paragraph is an invention. I was having lunch with friends on Saturday 10th November when approached by Mr Volpe who wanted to ask me just two questions. The brief interview actually took place before our General Assembly had started. Mr Volpe interviewed both Mr. Oostveen and myself in advance of the session later that day that would include the election of a new president. The subject of a tribute to an outgoing president was never discussed because no one knew who it would be. It would also have been very presumptuous as it could have been any one of ten members of the Council.

The second paragraph is entitled ‘What is the first item on your agenda? This question was never asked. Mr Volpe began the interview by asking if the Una Voce members were faithful and obedient to Rome? I replied that we had been faithful to Rome since we were founded 40 years ago in 1967 but this is not mentioned. We then had a discussion on matters of tradition and I said that in the past our bishops had controlled the Catholic media, especially the newspapers sold in parishes, so that they could control the minds of the faithful. With the advent of the internet this control of the bishops has been broken. Young people, and especially younger priests, who are familiar with using the internet, are finding out about the traditions of the Church and are angry with their bishops for denying them their heritage in liturgy and music and history.

We then move on to “traditionalists and ecumenism.” Mr Volpe claims I said, “Look, we are not Lefebvrians and I want to underline the fact.” This is another invention. Firstly, it is not my place to make public comments on the Society of St. Pius X. Secondly, I have never used the words ‘Lefebvrians’ or ‘Lefebvrist’ as I consider them deeply offensive to the memory of Archbishop Lefebvre whom I admired for his great lifetime work for the Church, and to those many fine priests and honest faithful among whom I have many friends. Some years ago I had a letter published in a national ‘Catholic’ newspaper in which I criticised its use of this very word. It has been used by many bishops over the years as a pejorative term to marginalize and isolate anyone who expressed a desire for the traditional liturgy. Mr Volpe then claims [we are] not at all opposed to the Second Vatican Council whose documents [we] respect, and that Ecumenism is a fundamental step to be implemented. How he arrived at this conclusion I do not know, but all I need to say is that a very orthodox prelate friend told me over the phone that although he saw my name in the article, on reading it he wondered to whom exactly the journalist had been speaking.

We then move on to “the Missal of the Novus Ordo”. Mr Volpe writes that I think the Missal of Paul VI is a “good missal” and that “it would be absurd to criticise it a priori.” I said no such thing. When asked my opinion I said that any Mass celebrated strictly according to the rubrics of the Missal of 1969/70 and with the correct intention is a valid Mass but it is still a pale imitation of the Missal of 1962, and there have been so many abuses incorporated over the years that many Masses nowadays are obviously invalid. Even Rome acknowledges this point.

Finally Mr Volpe states that “(I) am renowned for expressing many doubts about Communion in the hand.” I do not have any doubts whatsoever about this – I have always said that I believe the practice is not Catholic and should be stopped as soon as possible. I did not realise that I was “renowned” for expressing this opinion but it is surprising what one reads about oneself in newspapers. Actually, what Mr Volpe has stated in this paragraph is, in fact, my opinion but I never said it to him in such terms. One thing I did say was that Mother Teresa once declared that the biggest problem in the Church today is Communion in the hand.

My only concern is that this article may be seen by those who do not know me as a reflection of my views. Those who have known me for years know that it is so far removed from my opinions that it is laughable. Also, if anyone thought about this seriously they would appreciate that anyone holding the views expressed in this article would never be elected to any position, never mind the presidency, in an international federation intent on preserving and fostering the centuries-old traditions of the Church.

Leo Darroch, President – International Federation Una Voce.
15th November 2007.


Gregor Kollmorgen said...


may I respectfully ask: Are you also of the opinion that "many Masses nowadays are obviously invalid"? As the Mass itself cannot be valid or invalid this seems to refer to the confection of the Body and Blood of Our Lord. For that to be invalid would, I think, require the intention, matter or form to be gravely deficient. Since we cannot, unless in exceptional circumstances, know the intention, that leaves form or matter. I must say, while I have heard the most unspeakble mutilations of the sacred texts I have never yet heard of a priest who changed the actual words of institution, which would be a very grave offence indeed.

Fr Michael Brown said...

I agree: I don`t think that many Masses are invalid.