Dear Members and Friends,
The situation that we find ourselves in is hard-won. Consumed by zeal for the house of God (Ps.69:9) our forebears in the traditional movement dedicated their whole lives to the return of the Mass of Ages to our altars.
Even before the rapid implementation of a brand new rite of Mass took place (UVS was founded in 1965- four years before the new missal was thrust upon the faithful in 1969), figures of the International Federation of Una Voce such as the great Michael Davies, Leo Darroch and our own Fred Stone committed themselves to the task of preserving the Mass that we love.
Their tireless work brought about great fruit. From an early indult from Pope Paul VI that was restricted to England and Wales (The Agatha Christie Indult 1971) to an extension of this to the whole Latin Rite by St John Paul II in 1984 (Quattuor abhinc annos), a further opening up of the old rite in the 1988 motu proprio Ecclesia Dei culminating in Pope Benecit XVI’s Summorum Pontificum (2007) under which the ‘Extraordinary Form’ is to be made available to all who whish to attend it and under which priests have total freedom to offer the liturgy according to the liturgical books of 1962. Michael Davies worked closely with Cardinal Ratzinger in what Leo Darroch calls ‘a relationship based on mutual trust’ but sadly passed away in 2004 before Pope Benedict’s document.
Those who have only recently discovered the Traditional Latin Mass and have not had the opportunity to do some digging, may not be aware of the hardships and sacrifices endured by the previous generation in order to make the Mass available as it is now. It would be easy to slip into a mode of complacency when the availability in our locale is abundant or even sufficient. There is indeed growth and vitality among the traditional communities where the faith continues to fade elsewhere; a sign that the transcendent beauty and theological depth of the Traditional Latin Mass has a significant part to play in the New Evangelisation.
The work of those great men and women, however, is far from over. At this point in time, we await the replacement of Cardinal Sarah as prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Pope Francis recently merged the Vatican department responsible for the Traditional Liturgy (Ecclesia Dei- erected by Pope John Paul at the time of moto proprio mentioned above ) into the CDF and we wait to see what will happen next. We also await some sort of outcome of the Summorum Pontificum survey that was required of all bishops last summer. (See our response here) And all the while, those who resent tradition in favour of the new theology and ecclesiology of the 1970s continue to spread the same old tired arguments against the Usus Antiquior, echoed by a misled laity.
At a local level, many priests are frightened of backlash from the other clergy and their bishops and feel that they have to remain anonymous while they learn the old rite and are put under pressure when they do. Priests and faithful continue to be marginalised as if loving the faith as it had been practiced for two millennia is some sort of deadly malady. As Michael Davies commented after the council “Yesterday’s orthodoxy has become today’s heresy.”
Have we moved on?
Is all of this what Pope Benedict and our forebears envisaged?
Is our work done?
So how do we respond?
In these days, when the legal freedom of the TLM is enshrined, we move our focus onto becoming apologists for the necessity for the old rite for the life of the Church and the good of souls.
- If you value the Traditional Latin Mass- attend it.
- If you have children- explicitly teach them about the Mass and use traditional catechisms
- Learn the answers to common question. Listen to podcasts and talks, read books about the liturgy. Be ready to give a reason for the hope that is within you.
- Join Una Voce, the organisation that is responsible for what we have now at a local and international level. In addition to building our local communities, we need to be united as a traditional movement- witnesses to the fruit that the Traditional Mass as the full expression of the Catholic Faith can bear in the lives of Catholics today. We must be pro-active and positive, charitable and bold.
In our current locked down state, we cannot do much beyond sharing the message of UVS online with our contacts and friends. I offer these thoughts, however, for your consideration during these days of waiting.
How will we respond to the challenge of taking up the baton?
What are your ideas for how we can advance the use of the Traditional Liturgy for the good of all Catholics?
If you have any suggestions, please do contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have limited resources at present but with everyone on board and with God’s grace, we will be able to serve the Church in a powerful way.