Monday, March 09, 2009

Resignations in the LMS

The Latin Mass Society is in the news today, both the Chairman Julian Chadwick and the Treasurer John Eidinow resigned today, previously the chaplain Mgr Conlon and Fr Wadsworth resigned both their offices and from the society. I am not sure quite what is going on, I rather like people on both sides, but there do appear to be “sides”.
The crux is Summorum Pontificum, the reintegration of the TLM into the mainstream life of the Church. The problem seems to be similar to the experience of some of the English recusant families at the restoration of the hierarchy. What should be the relationship between the laity and clergy in the LMS? How should it use its finances? How to involve and influence those who have recently become entranced by the TLM?
I get the impression that the debacle over the invitation to Archbishop Burke and the Cardinal's irritation that the proper form had not been followed and the subsequent cancellation of the invitation, seems to demonstrate, not His Eminence’s pettiness, for indeed he rarely is but simply that no-one close to him, no priest, had sounded him out first. The LMS is a lay organisation but the principle actors in the Summorum Pontificum are Parish Priests, hopefully working in conjunction with their Bishops. I think it is interesting that the Society of St Peter who were faithful servants of the LMS going here and there to celebrate Mass on a Sunday afternoon, found this arrangement frustrating opting for a small parish instead. There needs to be a proper understanding of the Church as hierarchy, the LMS can no longer consider itself as a gang of "loyal" dissidents, the TLM is mainstream.

The LMS has considerable financial resources, those who love the old Mass have been and continue to be generous, there are suggestions that they fail to use these resources. I have always found their office useful, they are pleased to send out pamphlets and other resurces. I am impressed with John Medlin's letters to newspapers defending and extolling the Traditional Rite but maybe a new approach is needed now the Mass has been liberated. The Merton Conference came in for criticism, a large expenditure for 35 or so clergy, but actually it was a brilliant showcase for the TLM, the same with Cardinal Catrillon Hoyos' Mass, both gave the message of the mainstreamness of the Mass and the enthusiasm of the young. Similarly the involvement of Drs Reid and Hemming, the traditionalist movement needs the academic involvement of minds like theirs explaining, developing and underpinning the Benedictine Liturgical Project.

I was a little disappointed the LMS was not involved in making available in England the reportedly excellent video made by the Society of St Peter and EWTN.

Training and exposing the clergy to Traditional Liturgy, in all its splendour is important. Though the Merton Conference did not get me saying the TLM straight away, the liturgies gave me an insight into the profound truths of the Extraordinary Form, for clergy and laity that is so important. Yet the LMS does little to give the same exposure to lay people. In my parish I have a group of people who want to develop their understanding of chant, here the LMS could help, but of course they will most probably for the most part use their skills in the Ordinary Form, I suspect this would preclude help from the LMS. The pull of one Form of the Roman Rite on the other is at the heart of the Motu Proprio and should be at heart of the work of the LMS but I suspect there are serious ideological problems here.

I know that many LMS members will feel that the committee have acted in a way that has been haughty and has humiliated excellent men and might feel that they themselves have been let down, I am sure that was not the intention. I really do feel that the LMS is necessary in the English Church today, it is necessary to the Benedictine vision but if it is riven with divisions, unable to work with clergy and other lay organisations and lacks vision in these changed times, what is its future?

Say a prayer that out of the mess something good comes, for the LMS to become a mere rump would be disasterous.


George said...

This is not the time to fragment, but to consolidate the richness of resources and push forward. Egos and 'hurt feelings' will have to be put on the back-burner as the bigger picture the 'Reform of the Reform' depends on all pulling together as one, under the leadership of Our Holy Father. SP RULES OK.

Anonymous said...

It now has to be said openly that the reason for Cardinal Murphy O'Connor's refusal of permission to Archbishop Burke was the appalling behaviour of (most of) their committee to clergy. One wonders whether the Cardinal or any bishop could welcome such a Society to his Cathedral for any Mass now, let alone a pontifical one. Is it not time for the LMS to fold and yield to a more forward-looking organisation?

Anonymous said...

LMS can no longer consider itself as a gang of "loyal" dissidents

I don't think it's fair to draw parallels to those who coined themselves "loyal dissidents" and rebelled against Humanae Vitae in the 70s. The LMS was simply started to preserve the ancient Roman rite from dying a death. The late 60s an 70s were a desert for orthodox Catholics in general and having the mass which they grew up with, taken away was probably the most painful thing. Hundreds of people left the church as a result. The LMS was a symbol of hope in those days, that there was a remnant that would not give up on their patrimony and Catholic identity. That was indeed a consolation to many people, even those who wouldn't consider themselves "traditionalist".

Secondly, I also think it unfair to criticize the LMS for wanting to be devoted to the traditional rites exclusively. It is not their job to help out the ordinary form as such, as there is already resources available and priests should know how to celebrate it properly. Most members of the LMS believe that the extraordinary form will prove itself one day to be the mass of our children, as it was the mass of our parents. If they are sincerely convinced of returning to the liturgy that helped the church for hundreds of years; they can hardly be blamed for that.

Doasyouwouldbedoneby said...

Fr Conlon is a courageous and principled priest, I'm sure his resignation would have been most carefully thought through.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I was not thinking of HV when I spoke of "loyal" dissidents but simply that in the past the saw themselves at pne end of an ecclessial spectrum. I put loyal in quotes to distinguish them from others at the opposite end of the spectrum who challenged the Church.
May that is clumsy of me.

It depends how "exclusive", to only be concerned with the Traditional is fine, but today, with encouragement of SP I would hope the LMS would become more evangelistic in disseminating Traditional spirituality and insight wherever it can. Music is one example.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it is time for the LMS and the Association for Latin Liturgy to reunite. What is needed is REAL LITURGY. Issues of and use/"rite" are important, but secondary. It's time to concentrate on the main agenda, not side issues.

Anonymous said...

The LMS has done such a grand job keeping the TLM alive and it is a tragedy for all of us that it is now riven by opposing factions. Sadly, this does tend to happen with splinter groups when they achieve their overall aim and turn in on themselves instead. Unity is a fragile thing, easily fractured by personality clashes.
We don’t know what’s going on at the LMS or why, but it’s serious that well-respected priests have jacked it in.
This is going to sound ageist, but I whenever I have attended a LMS High Mass, the organisers seem quite advanced in years and rather cliquey. (Certainly, the debacle over the invitation to Card. Burke without first approaching Card. Murphy-O’Connor was a very public own goal and dangerously close to spiritual pride.)
Perhaps some members of the LMS find it difficult to move on from the point where they were 25 years or more ago. Being beleaguered can become a way of life that’s difficult to shake off.
With the issuing of SP, this was the opportunity for the LMS to emerge from the shadows and to take a lead with its deep knowledge and expertise. Maybe this is where the conflict lies, between those who are advocating a more outward-looking future and those who would rather the LMS remained small, tight-knit, and safe.
The courage demonstrated by the LMS over many, many years is reason alone for our heartfelt prayers and thanks.

Anonymous said...

"Is it not time for the LMS to fold and yield to a more forward-looking organisation?"

Yes - I'm afraid to say that it is. The LMS has done tremendous work in the past - without them, I'm sure the Old Mass would not have been kept alive in this country.

But times have moved on. We now have Summorum Pontificum. Maybe it's time that a new grouping was formed to take forward and propagate the teachings of SP.

It's seems to me, as a fairly silent LMS member, that it is time that the LMS faced up to reality; got itself out of any bunker mentality; took account of what its membership might want; and got behind the Holy Father in implementing his liturgical directives, including SP.

Auricularius said...

I think the idea of a reunion between the LMS and the ALL is an excellent one. Those who are not happy with this can form their own society and become like the Polish Government in Exile after the fall of communism, i.e. irrelevant.

Adulio said...

Perhaps it is time for the LMS and the Association for Latin Liturgy to reunite.

That would never happen because:

1. The issue of what rite we use is not secondary - it is actually primary. The LMS is not just bothered about having Latin in as many Roman rite masses as possible, but also with the celebration of the Missal of St. Pius V.

2. If I recall correctly, it was the LMS that was formed first in 1965 and ALL came after. The split was whether to continue campaigning for the old mass or to make do with the new and just insist on having it in Latin. To join these two themes up would result in a dilution of aims and objectives, because you will forever have members quarrelling over which rite to use.

David said...

I agree with Ottaviani's comments. I would prefer the traditional Mass in the vernacular to the new Mass in Latin.

Language is a secondary issue here - what is important is the spirituality and God-wardness of the traditional Mass compared to the Mass Designed By Commitee.

Anonymous said...

“[…] The LMS can no longer consider itself as a gang […]”
Fater Blake I am scandalized by your intemperate language.

The Latin Mass Society was founded to work and pray for the restoration of the Tridentine Mass. The Mass has now been restored to our altars even if only imperfectly. Therefore the Latin Mass Society should disband with a great Te Deum of thanksgiving.

It has now been revealed that in the Latin Mass Society discordianism was rife. Based on the published letter of the former chairman it appears that he may have also been the leader of that ‘discordian society’ within the LMS. The sooner all the dissidents leave the LMS the more recollected the society will become as it reflects upon its future.

It is the business and duty of Bishops to provide training of priests in how to offer the Holy Sacrifice of Mass. This is not the responsibility of a lay organization. Before 1965 it took six to seven years (and it takes the same period in todays traditional seminaries) for a seminarian to become all over proficient to say the Tridentine Mass (High or Low). I fail to see how the same ground can be adequately covered in five or six days.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Nat, I say,
"There needs to be a proper understanding of the Church as hierarchy, the LMS can no longer consider itself as a gang of "loyal" dissidents, the TLM is mainstream."

What is intemperate, and why are you scandalised, by that?

From the one side we have heard from, and the resignations and firings of clergy, from the debacle over Abp Burke, it seems a rather tempered statement.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that the LMS is perceived as "semiLefebvrist". I always had the opposite opinion of them: a kind of "quango" regulating availability of the TLM on behalf of the bishops; as a consequence, I was never interested in joining them. If my general impression of middle-class stuffiness and dreary "conservatism" was misconceived and unjustified, the conviction that the LMS tended to regard the Old Rite as its own, to administer as it alone saw fit, was certainly not. I remember the fury of our dicoesan "rep" that a group in our deanery had dared to approach their bishop with an "independent" request for implementation of Ecclesia Dei in our parishes, a request the bishop had cheerfully granted. I fielded an appallingly rude and arrogant telephone call from an official with whom I had absolutely no connection by way of membership, canon law, geographical proximity or anything else. They then dispatched a liturgical commissar to our Masses, to make sure we toed the "rubrics of 1962" party line, who succeeded in upsetting almost everyone with his appalling arrogance, including a saintly and very elderly celebrant.

Then there was the money... Priests who were very happy to travel quite long distances to serve our little group got everything in the plate, after the deduction of minor expenses. LMS paid minimum stipends, flat rate, "expenses" if you were lucky. It then turned out that they had close on a million quid in the bank! If the "training days" weren't (for once) an intelligent, creative and highly appropriate use of such enormous funds, what else did they think they were going to do with it? I could go on, but Lent, charity and all that...

Anonymous said...

PS: by a delightful irony, the "establishment" LMS was roundly detested by the clergy in our deanery, who agreed to continue with our little group (which included a number of bona fide, full-blooded "Lefebvrists" in fact) on condition that the LMS were not involved at any level.

Anonymous said...

from the LMS website:


10 March 2009

The Latin Mass Society confirms the resignations of the Society’s Chairman, Treasurer, and Chaplain

Mr Julian Chadwick resigned as Chairman of the LMS on Monday 9 March. The Chairman’s resignation follows that of the Society’s Chaplain, Fr Antony Conlon, on 3 March, and the Society’s Treasurer, Mr John Eidinow, has subsequently also tendered his resignation.

The Committee of the Latin Mass Society passed a motion of no confidence in the Chairman on 7 March. Recent events had undermined the Committee’s belief in the Chairman’s managerial competence and discretion. It was felt that decisive action had to be taken to restore the confidence of those who work with the Latin Mass Society and those who contribute to its internal discussions.

The former Chairman and Treasurer, or their associates, have seen fit to publish parts of their resignation letters to at least one internet blog. This is unfortunately symptomatic of a recent pattern of behaviour that had come to cause grave concern to the Committee. In any Society there are bound to be differing views represented on its governing body, but it is for that body to resolve those differences in confidence and not the general public by internet debate.

The accusations made by Mr Chadwick and Mr Eidinow in their letters are either false or misleading. A lengthy discussion of the points raised in their letters is inappropriate, but the following must be emphasised:

The Committee has not sacked anybody.
The Committee recently passed a unanimous resolution confirming its obedience to the Holy See.
The Committee is completely committed to Summorum Pontificum.
Allegations of anti-clericalism are ludicrous.
The Society’s financial affairs are in good order, and are fully audited.
These and other recent attempts to damage the Society’s reputation are distressing, and distract from the excellent work that the Society has done, and will continue to do, to promote the usus antiquior.

. . . . ENDS . . . .

For further information, please contact John Medlin, General Manager, or James Murphy, LMS Office Manager, on (T) 020 7404 7284; (F) 020 7831 5585;


Anonymous said...

I doubt the LMS and the Assn for Latin in the Liturgy would join up, if only because of the LMS's huge bank balance. Around £4million I think I read in Damian Thompson's blog but certainly in excess of £1M. There would have to be a vote of the whole membership (unlikely to be successful) and such a merger would need to be approved by the charity commision (probably likely to agree). I doubt the ALL is equally rich which would cause difficulties even before negotiations began. However they could of course agree to work more closely together which I think would be a good thing.

I should hope that any collection taken at LMS masses does not go to the LMS coffers as this is meant to be a collection for the work of the church not individual priests or private societies. Can someone clarify please.

Physiocrat said...

The LMS, of which I am a member, has always seemed to me stuffy, conservative, intolerant, and largely belonging to a certain generation.

Now the main phase of the battle is over and we have in principle got what we want, we need to move forward and promote this.

This will have to be done gently and politely, with careful explanation of the changes and why they are now needed, since they are critical to the reform of the reform. This is a big responsibility and the LMS needs to be led by people who understand that we are now in a new phase of the campaign.

Anonymous said...

I sincerely hope these disagreements can be resolved. Of course, the "enemy of mankind" wants to divide loyal Catholics. As the TLM becomes more mainstream, we should be seeking more and more cooperation with our good priests.

Anonymous said...

The LMS Press statement fails to address the issues raised by Chadwick or Eidinow at all. They have sacked people. At least one of their number is opposed to parts of Summorum Pontificum. If they are not anti-clerical they need to explain the resignations of their chaplain and other clergy. The former Treasurer knows what he is talking about with their finances.

It is time for the Charity Commission to investigate this group, and possibily even for the hierarchy to re-examine whether it should be allowed to claim to be a Catholic society in good standing.

Adulio said...

It is time for the Charity Commission to investigate this group, and possibily even for the hierarchy to re-examine whether it should be allowed to claim to be a Catholic society in good standing.

Pity the bishops didn't do this for organisations like Cafod...

Anonymous said...

Is it true that the LMS Office have (and are holding in pectore) a Senior Counsel's Opinion that the last election (at which various cabalistas were voted in) was defective, and hence invalid? What does the office say?? No one wonder this lot like to keep things secret -!!

Londiniensis said...

Auricularius should be aware that in December 1990, following the election of Lech Wałęsa as the first freely elected president of a sovereign Poland, the Polish Government-in-Exile wound itself up and, at a ceremony in the Royal Castle in Warsaw, the Last President-in-Exile of the Republic handed over to President Wałęsa the Seals of Office, the Presidential Banner and the original text of the pre-War Constitution. The Polish Government-in-Exile is permanently commemorated in one of the rooms of the Royal Castle in Warsaw open to the public.

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