Caritas in Veritate

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“Is the Traditional Movement the Remedy for the Crisis in the Church?”

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‘Is the Traditional Movement the Remedy for the Crisis in the Church?’

Leo Darroch, Executive President of Una Voce
Talk given in Poland – 9th April 2011

Rev. Fathers, Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all may I thank Arkadiusz Robaczewski for inviting me to speak at this conference and giving me the opportunity to make my first visit to Poland.

Since its formal erection in 1967 the International Federation Una Voce has been the leading lay movement within the Church striving for the equal right and dignity of the traditional Roman rite and working to preserve and foster the liturgical books in use in 1962.(1) Our primary concern has always been for the liturgy and so my talk will touch upon the changes to the sacred liturgy, the response of the International Una Voce movement to these changes, and our hopes for the future.

The Reasons for the Crisis?

Before we can look for a remedy to overcome the crisis, we need to identify the reasons for the crisis. In my opinion the root cause began with the appointment of the Consilium, under the secretaryship of Father Annibale Bugnini, to interpret the minds of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council. This single act took away from the Congregation for Rites, the legitimate body for the regulation of the sacred liturgy, the responsibility for implementing the decrees of the Council Fathers. Despite the fact that the Consilium was merely an advisory body, it is now clear that the leading members had their own agenda and were given the freedom to impose their own ideas of the faith on to an unsuspecting Church at the time. There is no need to list all the changes that were imposed in the middle to late 1960s because they are now well known but it does seem remarkable to me that the bishops of the world collectively voted during the Council for a moderate revision of the liturgical books but then returned home and imposed such spectacular changes that the public worship, in the new form of Mass, was unrecognisable to that which it replaced. Even as early as 1964 some members of the laity were becoming concerned about the proposals in the Council documents and began forming societies to work initially for the retention of Latin. This is the origin of the name of the Latin Mass Society in England and Wales which was started in late 1964.

I hope I am not repeating what previous speakers may have said but if I may just suggest a few examples to identify the crisis in the liturgy which may not be known to younger Catholics. On 3rd April 1969, Pope Paul VI promulgated his Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum concerning the introduction of the new form of Mass. A group of theologians, liturgists, and pastors of souls undertook a critical study of the new Mass and it was presented to Pope Paul VI by Cardinals Alfredo Ottaviani and Antonio Bacci on 3rd September 1969 – the feast of Pope St Pius X. Cardinal Ottaviani had been the Pro-Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Cardinal Bacci was a leading expert on Latin. They warned Pope Paul:

“To abandon a liturgical tradition which for four centuries was sign and pledge of unity of worship and to replace it with another which can only stand for division, given the endless licence it implicitly authorises and which teems with oblique attacks and downright errors against the integrity of the Catholic faith, can only be described – in the most restrained terms – as a mistake likely to have incalculable consequences.”

That which they prophesied has come true. The integrity of the Catholic faith has been shaken to its very foundations. If the bishops of the world were failing in their duty then it was necessary for the laity to act in defence of the liturgical traditions and the faith.

A very dear friend of mine, an Archimandrite, said that the liturgy is an eloquent example of the mindset of the liberal, modernist Catholic. They have the most violent fits of apoplexy at the mere mention of the old liturgy. They imagine that the Second Vatican Council voted for liturgical reform, and that this liturgical reform created a shift of liturgical emphasis. However, Cardinal Ratzinger, in October 1998 on the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Fraternity of St Peter, reminded us that:

“The Council did not itself reform the liturgical books, but it ordered their revision, and to this end, it established certain fundamental rules. Before anything else, the Council gave a definition of what liturgy is, and this definition gives a valuable yardstick for every liturgical celebration. Were one to shun these essential rules and put to one side the normae generales which one finds in numbers 34 – 36 of the Constitution De Sacra Liturgia (SL), in that case one would indeed be guilty of disobedience to the Council.”(2)

The crisis has been caused by those members of the Consilium, the ‘liturgical experts’, an advisory body only, who rejected the will of the Council Fathers and imposed their own ideology.

Much of the rejection of the traditional liturgy is based on a faulty premise; that Vatican II required that the Church’s public cult be ‘catechetic’ in nature. This is erroneous since Our Lord continues to pray and offer Himself in a bloodless sacrifice to the Father in the sacred liturgy of the Church. Catechesis is only subordinate and cannot, therefore, justify a radical transformation of the sacred liturgy; otherwise the Church’s public cult would become dramatised religious education lessons. Unfortunately, this is what has happened on a large scale and where we now have parish liturgical committees, where the prime qualification for appointment, seems to be that they must have no knowledge whatsoever of Catholic liturgy. Cardinal Ratzinger also said in 1998:

“Moreover, one must say this: that the freedom which the new order of Mass gives to creativity is often taken to excessive lengths.”(3)

In my own diocese we have had the bizarre situation at Youth Masses where the children have processed forward at the Offertory to sign their names in a bowl of water, and on another occasion to bring forward tins of baked beans and toilet rolls as the gifts. It is this kind of excessive creativity, taken to extremes, that perverts the liturgy of Holy Mother Church into an event for the entertainment and gratification of those who take part, and is a betrayal of those young people who have the right and expectation to be taught the fullness of truth about Catholic liturgy, especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

The ‘Spirit of Vatican II’ carried all before it in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Such was the vice-like grip imposed by those leading the revolution that no one was allowed to question the direction the Church was being taken – even when it was clear to everyone of sound mind that a great disaster was unfolding before us. Those who questioned the changes were ridiculed and outcast by the powerful modernist international clique that controlled the bishops and the media. Young people of today simply would not believe the savage aggression of the leaders of this revolution as they ridiculed and tried to destroy the reputations of orthodox Catholics who dared challenge the new order they were ruthlessly imposing on an unwilling and confused laity and parish clergy. Thus, any opposition was effectively silenced for more than thirty years.

However, by the mid-1990s it was clear to the majority that something had gone seriously wrong and scholars and critics were being heard more frequently. One of the most damning critiques of the process of formulating the new liturgy was presented by Fr Nicola Giampietro, O.F.M. Cap.in his book Cardinal Ferdinando Antonelli and the Development of the Liturgical Reform from 1948 to 1970 (4) and first published in Italian in 1998. Father Antonelli (later archbishop and cardinal) was a leading member of the Consilium which prepared the new form of Mass, and after his death Fr Giampietro examined his journal and the official papers of the time. From someone who was active in the preparation of the new liturgy, Fr Antonelli’s negative comments are quite remarkable. First of all he could not understand why the implementation of the Liturgy Constitution had been given to a new group, the Consilium, an advisory body, when the proper organ of government of the liturgy was the Congregation of Rites. He said it would create confusion – which it did. He was not enthusiastic about the way the work progressed because he thought the people involved were incompetent and ‘advanced’ in promoting novelties. He did not like the ideas on concelebration, or the spirit of innovation, and was extremely unhappy about the criticism and intolerance towards the Holy See. But what troubled him in particular was the lack of concern for true piety. At the end of 1967 he wrote in his diary:

“No one has any longer an awareness of the sacred and binding character of liturgical law. The work of desacralization, which is now called secularization, continues on a grand scale. It is clear from this that the liturgical question is part of a far bigger set of problems, which are fundamentally doctrinal, so the big crisis is the crisis of traditional doctrine and the magisterium.”

And, with one final comment from Fr Antonelli, in describing the mental attitude, the pre-established position of those who were influential in the reform, he says:

“.[they] .have no love, no veneration for what has been transmitted to us. Right from the start they despise everything which exists at present. This is an unjust and poisonous negative mentality. Unfortunately, even Pope Paul VI has something of this attitude. They all have the best of intentions, but, given this mentality, they are bound to demolish, not to restore.”(5)

In a Church of some 2,000 years of history, the Mass which had nourished and fed the lambs and the sheep and had spread the flock to every corner of the globe was cast aside as if it were some family embarrassment that everyone remembered but were forbidden, virtually under the pain of sin, ever more to speak of. I think it is particularly significant that in the pre-Vatican II years, with the universal Latin Roman Rite, Catholics said they were going to Mass. It was quite specific. Nowadays, with the multi-form, multi-lingual, multi-vocal new rite, the more common expression is that they are going to church – perhaps, as they are not quite sure what awaits them when they get there it is best not to be too specific. When Archbishop José H. Gomez was installed recently as the new Archbishop of Los Angeles to succeed Cardinal Roger Mahoney, one local journal commented that many hoped that the new archbishop would be able to unite the Catholics of Los Angeles where services are held in 42 different languages! Forty Two different languages in a single diocese! If ever there is a case for the unifying bond of Latin, this is it.

The Role of the International Federation Una Voce.

The International Federation Una Voce is the oldest organization in the Church that was formed to safeguard the traditional liturgy which was abandoned after the Second Vatican Council. Even during the Council itself in 1964 there were concerns arising about the introduction of the vernacular into the Mass. Initially, this was the only concern, and in late 1964 and early 1965 several national groups were formed to protect the Latin language. They included The Latin Mass Society in England and Wales, Una Voce France, Una Voce Norway, Una Voce Scotland, Una Voce Italy, and Una Voce Germany. After a number of meetings the Federation was formally erected in Zurich in 1967. At this meeting, under the leadership of Dr Eric de Saventhem, the first president, it was decided that the members would strive to maintain the Tridentine rite “as one of the recognised rites in the liturgical life of the universal Church.” With the promulgation of the New Mass in 1969, some two years later, the decision was taken to insist on the retention of the traditional Mass as a recognised form of celebration within the Roman rite? For this momentous decision we should all be eternally grateful. It was the start of the great fight back against, in the words of Father Antonelli, those who despised the sacred and traditional liturgy of the Church, and who threw all their energies into ruthlessly suppressing the former liturgical books. It has been in this hostile environment that the members of the International Federation Una Voce have laboured for the past 40 years.

In a speech in New York in June 1970, Dr. de Saventhem said that the suppression of the traditional Mass had been achieved de facto only and not de jure. It would be unthinkable, he said, for the older form of Mass to be forbidden as one would have to argue that it had been wrong or bad – either doctrinally or pastorally. He thought it perfectly legitimate to ask that the new Ordo Missae should be offered as an additional, alternative way, of celebrating Mass. This was an argument that he used regularly when in Rome.

The cause for the traditional Mass was carried on unceasingly by the leaders of the International Federation Una Voce through the dark days of the 1970s and 1980s. During all the years of his presidency Dr and Madame de Saventhem kept the issue of the traditional Mass alive on the Holy See’s agenda – either by countering threats of suppression, or proposing various measures of liberalisation. They obtained audiences with every Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and gained the respect, and even the confidence, of many other senior Roman prelates. ‘Everybody in the Vatican knows the de Saventhems,’ a cardinal of the Curia said in 1992, ‘and those who dislike the old Mass hate them’.

Much of the work of the Federation with Rome is conducted discreetly. We have found that it is much more effective to conduct business on a confidential basis until there is something to report. This can lead some to think that the Federation is not very effective but I will give some a few examples to show how successful our interventions have been.

In 1981, the Congregation for Divine Worship published the results of an Enquiry among the bishops of the world – which said, effectively, that no one wanted the old Mass any more. Dr de Saventhem engaged the services of the world renowned Demoscopic Institute of Allensbach to conduct an objective survey among German Catholics on current attitudes to post conciliar reforms, including the reform of the liturgy. This survey proved conclusively that the Enquiry was completely invalid and Dr de Saventhem subjected it to such devastating criticism that it lost all credibility even in the eyes of the Vatican. Thus the way was opened for the first measure of liberalisation, the “Indult” of 1984 from Pope John Paul II. Although the 1984 “indult” contained extremely restrictive conditions, which greatly impaired its effectiveness, it nevertheless signified an important break through for the Una Voce Federation, and, indeed, the Church, in that the traditional Mass was once again a form of Eucharistic celebration recognised in universal liturgical life. This development was accelerated after 1988 with the indult Ecclesia Dei adflicta and the establishment of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. This was a turning point at which those Catholic faithful who felt attached to some previous liturgical and disciplinary forms of the Latin tradition, were given the public support of the reigning Pontiff to guarantee respect for their aspirations.

In 1985 Cardinal Mayer then Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship asked Dr de Saventhem to provide world wide information on the practical implementation of the 1984 Indult a task which took several months. As a result of Dr de Saventhem’s report, Cardinal Mayer obtained the Pope’s agreement to convoke a special Commission of Cardinals to evaluate the working of the Indult and to suggest amendments thereto. The Cardinal then invited Dr de Saventhem to prepare minimum and maximum proposals for new rules to govern the use of the 1962 Missal. The ‘norms’ which the Commission itself elaborated in December 1986 for submission to Pope John Paul II indicate that the Federation’s texts had been regarded as highly constructive. Cardinal Alfons Stickler confirmed in 1995 (6) that the Commission of Cardinals had informed the Pope unanimously that the Mass of St Pius V had never been suppressed, and that eight of the nine cardinals on the commission had recommended a general permission for priests to celebrate either the old or new Mass. Cardinal Ratzinger was a member of that commission. Unfortunately, the bishops’ conferences heard about this recommendation and their representatives travelled to Rome to put pressure on Pope John Paul II not to sign the document and the opportunity was lost.

Michael Davies became President of the International Federation in January 1995 and during his tenure of office he made regular visits to Rome to confer with the Ecclesia Dei Commission, Cardinal Ratzinger, and others in the Curia. In February 1996 he was told by Cardinal Ratzinger that the radical reform of the traditional order of Mass in the 1970 Missal was not the reform envisaged by the Council Fathers but if such a reformed Missal be compiled and authorised it would have no restriction on the Missal of 1962. Cardinal Ratzinger was always unswerving in his support for the Federation and insistent that those who requested Mass according to the 1962 Missal should be granted it. He even sent a message of congratulation to the Federation for all the work it was doing to have the traditional Mass celebrated.

In the year 2000 it became clear that some in the Ecclesia Dei Commission were working to modify the Missal of 1962 by adopting the 1965 revisions, by using the 1970 calendar, and supporting such practices as Communion in the hand. In a lengthy correspondence between Michael Davies and Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, the President of the Commission, it was made clear that the Federation would not even contemplate accepting such innovations. Because of the intervention of the Una Voce leadership these proposals were abandoned.

At the Una Voce General Assembly of October 2003 in Rome, our President d’Honneur Dr de Saventhem spoke about the homily given by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos during the historic Mass in St Mary Major earlier that year. He said that the Federation had been given a new horizon by the Cardinal who had spoken with great respect about the old rite, the most venerable rite, and who cited verbatim Article 4 of the Constitution on the Liturgy which says equal right and honour should be accorded to all legitimate rites. So, in a sense, he endorsed the position that the Una Voce Federation has pursued since its foundation in that the old rite retained its full right of citizenship in the Church – there is the old rite and there is the new one, but they are on an equal footing.

In his speech in New York in 1970, which I mentioned earlier, Dr de Saventhem said,

“The Church has always known a plurality of recognized rites and of liturgical language. But that “Pluralism” – to use the modern word – grew out of respect for tradition: The much-decried unification and indeed uniformization of the rites of the Mass which was achieved by the Missal of Pius V was undertaken by that holy Pope at the express request of the bishops assembled in Council who asked Rome to prescribe a uniform rite for the entire Latin Church because they had found that on the diocesan, or even synodal level, it was impossible to stop, or even curtail, the proliferation of unauthorized texts for the celebration of the Sacraments. We are just witnessing a repetition — both of the proliferation of unauthorized texts and of episcopal inability to cope with it. Perhaps we may also see a repetition of that act of wisdom which, just over 400 years ago, made the Bishops ask the Pope to draw up and to enact “in perpetuity” the uniform ritual of the Mass which was promulgated in 1570 and which has brought such immense blessing to the Church.

The promulgation of Summorum Pontificum in July 2007 and the restoration of a uniform and unifying rite is precisely the great act of wisdom that Dr de Saventhem hoped for. But it has also taken an act of great courage because, unlike the situation of 1570, the present pontiff is acting in defiance of a great many of the bishops who, seemingly, are in favour of a proliferation of unauthorised texts and against the restoration of uniformity. Dr de Saventhem had no doubts that in time the balance would be restored. In his speech in 1970 he prophesied:

“A renaissance will come: asceticism and adoration as the mainspring of direct total dedication to Christ wiIl return. Confraternities of priests, vowed to celibacy and to an intense life of prayer and meditation will be formed. Religious will regroup themselves into houses of “strict observance.” A new form of “Liturgical Movement” will come into being, led by young priests and attracting mainly young people, in protest against the flat, prosaic, philistine or delirious liturgies which will soon overgrow and finally smother even the recently revised rites.

It is vitally important that these new priests and religious, these new young people with ardent hearts, should find — if only in a corner of the rambling mansion of the Church — the treasure of a truly sacred liturgy still glowing softly in the night. And it is our task – since we have been given the grace to appreciate the value of this heritage — to preserve it from spoliation, from becoming buried out of sight, despised and therefore lost forever. It is our duty to keep it alive: by our own loving attachment, by our support for the priests who make it shine in our churches, by our apostolate at all levels of persuasion.”

Everything that Dr de Saventhem prophesied has come to pass. The revised rite of 1970 has indeed been overgrown and smothered by flat and delirious liturgies. The enquiries being received by the International Federation Una Voce are coming mainly from young people who are not attracted or inspired by these uninspiring liturgies and are welcoming and embracing the venerable usus antiquior of their forefathers.

Now, of course, since the promulgation of the motu proprio, the propaganda put forth incessantly by some bishops’ conferences that the ‘old’ Mass had been abolished has finally been exposed as false by a solemn decree of the Supreme Legislator of the Church. The Pope has decreed that all priests have the right to celebrate the Extraordinary Form so the Federation must use all its expertise, accumulated over the past 40 years, to help any priest who asks for our assistance. I believe also that it must be one of our roles to defend the integrity of the Missal of 1962 and challenge any moves towards incorporating the novelties of 1965 and later editions of the Missal.

When Pope Benedict promulgated Summorum Pontificum in July 2007 he asked that the bishops send in accounts of their experiences three years after the motu proprio had taken effect. Because of the negative attitude of many of our bishops there was a fear that these accounts would reflect their negative attitude and it was of crucial importance that the true picture was made known to the Holy Father and the Ecclesia Dei Commission. I had been elected as the President of the International Federation in November 2007. To counter this negative attitude, in August 2008, I consulted all the member associations of the Federation about how the motu proprio was being implemented in their own countries in the first year of Summorum Pontificum and took the report to Rome. This was received enthusiastically by His Eminence Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, the President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. I repeated the exercise in September 2009 and was able to hand this report personally to Pope Benedict XVI, to the Ecclesia Dei Commission, and all the Prefects and Secretaries of the major Congregations. My report, on the third anniversary, was particularly important, was extremely detailed, and covered 260 pages. This is the value of the International Federation Una Voce, its leaders are received in Rome and are given the opportunity to speak on behalf of all its member associations around the world. This is its great strength – it provides a collective voice for all those individual lay people, and many priests, who want to preserve and foster the traditions of our Church, and whose solitary voices would not be heard. .

The Emergence of New Traditional Priestly Societies.

Dr. Maria Kominek will be able to give you more information about the emergence of new religious movements but may I say that the members of the International Federation Una Voce see one of the signs of the vitality of the traditional movement today, one of the remedies for the crisis, as manifested by the surge of vocations in the western world to the traditional societies of priests and religious sisters. Dr de Saventhem’s conviction in 1970 has come to pass and is being revealed in the emergence of the new traditional societies. If I may briefly mention only three as examples.

The Priestly Fraternity of St Peter was founded on July 18, 1988 in Switzerland by 12 priests and 20 seminarians led by Father Josef Bisig, all of whom had formerly belonged to the Society of St Pius X. The progress of this fraternity has been spectacular. In just 22 years their number has increased from 12 priests to 223 priests and 7 deacons; and from 20 to 146 non-deacon seminarians. The average age of the members is only 36 years and there are 34 nationalities. The society receives about 175 enquiries each year and about 30 to 40 are accepted. It is only the lack of accommodation that is restricting the growth of the society.

The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest was founded in 1990 by Monsignor Gilles Wach and Fr Philippe Mora in Gabon, Africa, and is now based at Gricigliano, near Florence, in northern Italy. In just over 20 years the Institute now has 55 priests, 80 seminarians, and 8 nuns.

I am sure that Father Paul Aulagnier, one of the founders of the Institute of the Good Shepherd in September 2006 in Bordeaux, France, can give you a much more detailed account of his institute but, if I may say, as the President of the International Federation, our members are delighted by the progress being made by his institute. Today there are 22 priests and 35 seminarians; such remarkable progress in less than 5 years.

These are but three examples. There are many religious groups of monks and nuns who are returning to tradition and using the liturgical books of 1962. The Una Voce website gives a list and there are probably some that we have not yet included.

What is particularly encouraging about the new associations, apart from their youth, is that they are highly educated, vibrant, immaculately dressed, obviously proud of their calling, and deeply spiritual in a joyful way.

The Growth of the International Una Voce Movement.

As I said earlier, the International Federation Una Voce was founded in the mid 1960s, some three or four years before the imposition of the new Mass. Much has happened over the past 45 years and some associations have ceased to exist and others have taken their places in even greater numbers. There has been steady growth, and this growth has accelerated since the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum in July 2007. The leadership at international level has changed on a number of occasions; I am the sixth president, and many of the original founders of the movement have gone to their eternal rest. But, despite all the changes in the leadership and in the ranks of the member associations, one thing has remained constant – the absolute dedication and commitment of all the members of the Federation to the objects and aims of the movement which are to work as a lay movement within the Church for an organic restoration of the liturgy in conformity with its nature and with its Latin tradition.

The Federation offers a structured link to the various associations which, in their respective territories or areas of activity, pursue aims identical with, or similar to, those of the Una Voce movement. The leadership represents their common interests on an international level and with the central authorities of the Church. We have provided evaluations and reports on new liturgical legislation and developments. A particular role is to promote the formation of associations having the same aims in any country or territory where such associations do not yet exist.

There are many opinions about how the crisis in the Church can be resolved but the International Federation Una Voce believes passionately that the restoration of the traditional liturgy, refined under the guidance of the Holy Spirit for nearly 2,000 years, is the greatest bulwark against the afflictions the Church is suffering, and is a guarantee for the resurgence of the faith in our schools and parishes.

In September 2005 I gave a talk to the members of Una Voce Scotland and I made the point that the greatest number of enquiries being received by the Una Voce Federation were coming mostly from students and young people in their twenties who were finding information on the internet. I said that the internet, in some way, would be the salvation of the Church. It has been a wonderful tool in allowing young people access to the burgeoning websites that extol Catholic tradition. It was clear by 2005 that young people in particular, including priests and seminarians, were discovering the dignity, spirituality and history of the traditional liturgy in all its forms and wanted more of it. The internet has links to other traditional organisations and now there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of websites that are proclaiming tradition and which cannot be controlled by the Catholic liberal mafia. Many people are no longer getting their information from so-called Catholic newspapers – they are searching the web. What I said in 2005 applies even more so today.

Since 2007 the Federation has welcomed 7 new members; from Ireland, Malta, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Chile, and the Philippines. The Second Vatican Council ended 46 years ago and the average age of the leadership of these new members is 45 years and under. In Mexico it is only 33 years, in the Philippines it is only 34 years, and in Malta only 38 years. The average ages of the members of these groups is even younger – only 25 years in the Philippines, 29 years in Mexico, and 34 years in Colombia. I am currently dealing with enquiries from a number of groups which have been formed in recent years and the figures are even more encouraging. In Cuba the average age of the leadership is only 27 years, in Panama it is only 26 years, in Portugal it is 29 years, in Indonesia it is 36 years, in Brazil it is 35 years, and in Una Voce Japan it is 50 years.

And what is it that attracts so many young people to the traditional liturgy of the Church? It cannot be nostalgia as they have never experienced the Mass and the sacraments as they were before 1962. Why are they not content with the new liturgy that is supposed to appeal especially to the young – active participation, creative liturgies, modern music, dancing – is this not everything that young people want? It is quite clear that it is not. The modern Mass, as presented to them in recent decades, has alienated them from the Church. In preparation for this talk I consulted all the members of the Federation and also those new groups that have contacted me. The comments I received, especially from the young leaders of the newly-formed groups in all parts of the world, reveal a thirst for truth, for dignity and reverence in worship, for something transcendental. I think it is important that I give some examples of why they are attracted to the traditional Mass:

  • From The Philippines: “It more fully and perfectly presents the fullness of Catholic doctrine than the relative minimalism of the Novus Ordo.”
  • From South Africa: “A more perfect expression of the theology of the Church. When we go to church we do not wish to encounter the world in the church.”
  • From Cuba: “The traditional Mass is the highest expression of faith and Catholic doctrine. It is the perfect harmony between the lex orandi and the lex credendi.”
  • From Indonesia: “The traditional liturgy gives clear witness of the Catholic faith.”
  • From Japan: “We can pray quietly in the traditional liturgy rather than the new one. Since Father kneels many times we have pious feelings and we can pray well.”
  • From Panama: “Because it perfectly expresses what IS the Mass, a sacrifice; for its beauty, reverence, rich in detail, its universality, and because it is our identity as Roman Catholics.”
  • From Portugal: “For its reverence, antiquity, continuity, ‘precise’ prayers, and catechetical content.

What is remarkable is that these comments are made by people under the age of 40 who have been raised entirely on the Novus Ordo. How, then, did they discover the traditional Mass? This is what they have said:

“It was through the internet that the traditional Latin Mass became ‘alive’ for me.”
“Via the internet and by chance when visiting a church.”
“The natural light of reason told us there was something wrong and we found the Una Voce Federation through the internet.”
“Through reading Cardinal Ratzinger’s books and pre-conciliar books and the internet.”

Not one of these young people said they found the traditional liturgy of the Church in their schools or parish churches. If this kind of positive reaction can be obtained from chance encounters on the internet, or by watching films, or by reading books, one can only imagine the response if all young people were taught about the traditions of the Church in their schools and local churches? This would be another remedy to overcome the crisis.

Here in Poland there has also been a resurgence of tradition in recent years. As far as I am aware, there have already been some attempts to start a national association in Poland but the project has never been accomplished. Perhaps there is a feeling that the work to restore the traditional liturgy is better done by local groups rather than a national association. There is some truth in this, but there is also an added strength by being part of a national organisation that, by its very existence, proves that the demand for the traditional liturgy of the Church is not contained in isolated pockets around the country but is a strong national movement that is part of a much larger international movement. It has been said that one feature of the Church in Poland is that lay people have very little influence unless they are involved with projects approved by the bishops. I cannot really comment as I am not familiar with the culture and temperament but I have found that many member associations of the Una Voce Federation have found it very helpful to be seen to be part of the growing traditional movement worldwide in the Church as members of the International Federation. If you have not seen our website I can tell you that we have member associations in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, England and Wales, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, The Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, and the USA. There used to be an Una Voce Poland but I think it ceased to exist some years ago.

In an interview published in the New Liturgical Movement on December 2010 Mons Guido Pozzo stated that the greatest interest and the most requests for the traditional Mass are found in Europe, in the United States, and also in Australia. Much less in Latin America ands Asia. This may well be true in numbers but this is because the internet is not as well established and widespread in Latin America or Asia. Even in Portugal, the poll by Paix Liturgique revealed that 75% of Catholics in that country had no knowledge of Summorum Pontificum. My experience is that Latin America is catching up fast and I have received requests for information and advice from Cuba, Panama, Honduras, Puerto Rico, and Brazil, and elsewhere in the world from Croatia, Kenya, and Indonesia. The traditional movement Una Voce is truly world-wide and we have just accepted Una Voce Japan and Una Voce Portugal as new members.

Monsignor Pozzo has recognised that the interest in the traditional Mass is growing, especially among the younger generation, and he is surprised at this. I do not see why he is surprised because I have the evidence that the Mass of Ages appeals to all ages in every age. Young people have been deliberately starved of information about their liturgical heritage and most know no better than what is presented to them in their parishes every Sunday; a form of liturgy that they have rejected en masse. As Fr Nicola Bux, a Consultor for the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, stated just over a month ago:

“It is clear that the pastors of the Church, first the bishops and then the parish priests, although often saying that we must be able to grasp the signs of the times, an expression very much in use after Vatican II, often fail to understand that the signs of the times are not defined by them, but they happen and are regulated mainly by young people. I think this is the most interesting symptom, because, if [only] the elderly, the adults, went to the traditional Mass, one might harbour a suspicion that it is nostalgia. The fact that it is mainly young people who seek and participate in the Latin Mass is completely unexpected and therefore deserves to be read, understood, and particularly accompanied by the bishops.”(7)

For my part, I do not understand why anyone should be surprised that it is mainly young people who seek and participate in the Latin Mass. The Mass of the traditional Roman rite, as promulgated in the Missal of Pope John XXIII (1962 edition), is a work of literature that encapsulates the clarity and precision of the Catholic faith in every prayer and in every phrase. Indeed, in its beauty, truth and divine inspiration, it is beyond compare among any documents or international treaties produced by governments or nations, and surpasses all the great works of literature produced by the greatest of secular writers. It has been refined over centuries by the greatest writers, doctors and saints of Holy Mother Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It contains not only the clarity and precision of our Faith but is celebrated in Latin, an angelic language described by Pope John XXIII in Veterum Sapientiae (1962) as having “proved so admirable a means for the spreading of Christianity throughout the West. “  It refreshes the soul and creates a common link not only with fellow Catholics in every country but with every member of Holy Mother Church down the centuries through our families back to Christ Himself. At Easter we are reminded in the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ that on the Cross were written words in Hebrew, Latin and Greek. The traditional Roman rite also includes Hebrew, Latin and Greek and so it transports us back to the very Cross of Sacrifice on which our Saviour gave His life for us.

For the International Federation Una Voce, the Missal of 1962, of Blessed John XXIII, is our secure foundation, our doctrinal certainty, our beacon of light and faith in the dark night of Holy Mother Church. The members of the Federation all over the world wish to attend Mass according to this venerable and ancient usage; untouched, and without modification or adaptation unless authorised by the Supreme Legislator. Our concern is for the Catholic faith, for the supremacy of Peter, and to ensure that the faith of our forebears is handed down in its fullness to our children and grandchildren. The pearl of great price is one that we wish to hand on to our successors in the way that it has been handed down to us. It is this Missal that will undoubtedly be the remedy for the crisis in the Church.

Those of us who have joined the struggle over the past forty five years must never cease thanking God for such great leaders of our movement; Dr and Madame de Saventhem, Michael Davies, and all those wonderful people we have known in the Una Voce movement both nationally and internationally who carried the banner in those especially dark days of the 1970s and 1980s. We can never repay the debt we owe them, but with courage, wisdom, and perseverance we must build on the foundations that they laid for us. The desolate vineyard of God will be green again, although it may take a little more time for the flowers of Summorum Pontificum to bloom. Those who tried to destroy the venerable ancient Roman rite have failed. When Pope Benedict XVI was elected he said: “Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves.” The episcopal wolves encircled him when they knew he intended to grant freedom to celebrate the traditional Mass but he did not flee, he stood his ground and we all rejoice at his courage. More than anything else, it was the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum that was the great turning point that will refresh the desolate vineyard and make it green once again.

Leo Darroch, Warsaw, 9th April 2011.

(1) The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy ‘Sacrosanctum Concilium’ 4 December 1963: “Finally in faithful obedience to tradition, the sacred Council declares that Holy Mother Church holds all lawfully recognised rites to be of equal right and dignity; that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way.”  [Art.4].

(2) The Ergife Hotel, Rome, 24th October 1998.

(3) The Ergife Hotel, Rome, 24th October 1998.

(4) Il Card. Ferdinando Antonelli e gli sviluppi della rifoma liturgica dal 1948 al 1970, Studia Anselmiana, Roma, 1998, Nicola Giampietro, O.F.M. Cap;
Nicola Giampietro, The Development of the Liturgical Reform: As Seen by Cardinal Ferdinando Antonelli from 1948-1970. Fort Collins CO: Roman Catholic Books, 2009. xx + 347 pages. Paperback

(5) Page 258.

(6) Christi Fidelis Conference, Fort Lee, NJ, USA, 20 may 1995.

(7) L’Avanti, 4 marzo 2011


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Written by Father John Boyle

May 13, 2011 at 7:43 pm

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  1. […] Darroch, Executive President of Una Voce, in a talk given in Poland on 9th April. His talk, which can be found here, is all the more worth reading in the light of today’s promulgation of the Instruction […]


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