Rorate Caeli

LMS Statement

Regarding the Oxford Training Conference, The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales has released the following note.

15 December 2008

* LMS Training Conference at Merton College, Oxford for Priests Wishing to Learn the Extraordinary Form of Mass (Traditional Latin Rite), August 2009

The following is a statement from Mr Paul Beardsmore, Secretary of the Latin Mass Society:

1. The LMS Committee has not cancelled the Oxford Training Conference, and Merton College has not indicated to the Society that permission to hold the Conference has been withdrawn.

2. Mr David Lloyd’s views concerning the Oxford Conference held in July 2008 were considered by the LMS Committee three months ago and did not receive the support of the majority of its members.

3. The LMS Committee – including Mr Lloyd – is unanimous in its commitment to the implementation of the Motu Proprio, ‘Summorum Pontificum’, and consequently to the training of clergy to celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

4. The leaking to the press of Mr Lloyd’s confidential e mail, and the attempt to link this e mail with the LMS Committee’s recent decision concerning the administrative arrangements for the Conference are mischievous.


  1. Anonymous5:56 PM

    This statement begs more questions than it answers!

  2. Anonymous6:12 PM

    Holy Smoke asks some pretty pertinent questions:

    1. How does the LMS intend to hold its training conference at Merton College when the Chaplain of Merton has withdrawn his permission for the LMS to use the chapel as a direct consequence of the Committee’s recent sackings?

    2. Does Mr Lloyd hold his views now? If they are not supported by the Committee, why has he not resigned?

    3. Is it not true that at least one LMS Committee member has proposed that the Society ask Pope Benedict to rescind Summorum Pontificum’s permission for vernacular readings? If so, how can the committee be “unanimous” in its committment to the implementation of the Motu Proprio?

    4. Will the LMS publish – at least to their membership – the minutes of its meeting on December 6th so that the true positions of each of its committee members and the reasons for its decisions can be known?

    5. Why not retain the “winning team” of Wadsworth, Reid and Hemming and avoid all this division and scandal and have another “gold standard” training conference in 2009 like those of 2007/8, if the Committee does not share Lloyd’s views?

  3. Anonymous9:20 PM

    Who are you Anonymous? Everywhere I look you are there with the same questions.

  4. Anonymous9:22 PM

    This was all started by that nasty little piece of work at Unholy Smoke. Like some kind of gossipy vindictive school girl, all he appears capable of is spreading rumours and half-baked drivel, sneering, goading, make snide attacks and generally stirring up trouble among the People of God all for the purpose of gaining readership. From his arsenal of sinful tactics, he selected an old favourite here once again: reproducing private emails supposedly forwarded to him by a fellow minion. Not only has his hornet's nest done untold damage to the reputation of several long-serving and tirelessly dedicated LMS leaders, rumours now abound unchecked in his comments box questioning the orthodoxy and even the sexual conduct of two highly-respected clergymen and scholars devoted to the cause of the traditional Mass. Despicable.

  5. Anonymous12:04 AM

    Damien Thompson is an English journalist so one shouldn't expect too much. One factor in this affair is Laurence Hemming's contribution to Mark Jordan's Authorizing Marriage?: Canon, Tradition, and Critique in the Blessing of Same-sex Unions - in which Hemming supports the idea of 'gay marriage'. One contributor on Thompson's blog comments 'Since the subject is the EF Mass and not moral theology, I don't see why it was necessary to get sniffy over a gay-friendly priest teaching at the Merton conference', to which Thompson replies 'precisely'. Obviously this attitude is unacceptable if you think that the liturgy is about sanctifying the people who participate in it; the Latin Mass Soceity seems to take this view of the liturgy and to have acted on it - good for them. It has thereby become the only Catholic association I know of that has taken sympathy with homosexuality to be incompatible with any leadership role. It is worth mentioning the the association of the old liturgy with homosexuality is very strong in England and is a serious obstacle to its promotion. It is thus a matter of urgency that any such associations be stamped out.

  6. Anonymous6:21 AM

    OK, let's have the facts: One member of the LMS Committee, its Oxford Rep, attempted to have Hemming removed by making a fuss over his contribution to the Jordan collection. His attempt to do this was not admitted, as the LMS are not competent to judge such matters.

    Any such matters are the competence of ecclesiastical authorities, and no such adverse judgement has been made on Hemming. And now we have the same fuss appearing on blogs with all manner of calumny and detraction.

    Let those who have complaints send them to the proper authorities, signed, and with due regard for canon 220 (an individual has the right to their good name) and let the rest of us get on with living the Catholic faith.

    Perhaps it would be good to publish their minutes, to see who said what about whom?

  7. Anonymous9:42 AM

    Whether Dr Hemming has expressed such an opinion as alleged is a matter of fact to be established by means of evidence.

    If he has, there is every good reason to exclude his participation until he repents, does public penance, and is seen to conform his mind on this matter to the natural law.

    A lawyer.

  8. Dr Peter Westfield is right to describe the Holy Smoke piece, which brought this matter to public attention, as 'nasty.' I hope those concerned for traditional liturgy and the faith itself will learn something from the quite deplorable publicity that (Un)Holy Smoke has generated.

  9. What is nasty is not Damian Thompson's piece in Holy Smoke, but the attempted character assassination of one of our foremost liturgical scholars - which is not only nasty, but bigoted and evil.

    I wonder if any of the stone-throwers have even read, or if read understood, Dr Hemming's piece, which was a philosophical critique of one aspect of Plato's Symposium and more than usually opaque. We must allow our philosophers and theologians some leeway, and let other philosophers and theologians refute their arguments. Otherwise it just becomes a queer-bashing witch hunt.

    I wonder if "John L" is the same "John" who aired this on Damien Thompson's blog. Well done sir! Two of the world's finest liturgical scholars given their marching orders, a prestigious venue says thanks but no thanks, where there was previously not the merest hint of anything untoward now a public scandal. Well done indeed! Cui bono?

  10. Anonymous2:43 PM

    Given that "Due Process"'s post contains anonymous, unsubstantiated allegations about the conduct of an identified party at a private meeting, and that the person mentioned is unlikely to be able to answer the claim given their role in the LMS, it seems unjust to let the post stand as it is.

  11. Anonymous3:14 PM

    Concerning the contribution of Hemming to a book concerning same-sex unions, see


    where it states that
    'In dialogue with Aristophanes' (i.e. Greek playwright) speech, Laurence Paul Hemming undoes the simplistic binary logic deployed in so many condemnations of same-sex coupling that invoke other-sex "complementarity."

    The book is published by Princeton University Press. His contribution is unfortunate.

    Dr. J.A.

  12. Anonymous4:20 PM

    This should come as no surprise. Hemming is a lecturer at Heythrop College, the former Jesuit seminary, now part of the University of London. Although no longer formally Jesuit, it still has strong ties to the Society and has retained its renown for heterodox liberal leanings. Many ex-priests, ex-Catholics, Jesuits in suits, supporters of gay and lesbian lifestyles, women priests and even a white witch lecture at the college. Dr Hemming was denied ordination to the priesthood and remains a deacon.

  13. Anonymous4:44 PM

    A key passage in the introduction to the book:

    "Polemicists often speak as if the world were swarming with "liberal" scholars in every field ready to take up the least detail of queer life with uninhibited explicitness. This is simply not true. The triumph of queer studies has been greatly exaggerated even in most secular fields. Outside a few famous departments, scholars working on homosexual topics often find themselves battling to teach courses or secure students--and to keep their jobs. The situation is more perilous in religion or religious studies than in many other fields. To be able to write affirmatively about same-sex topics in religion, one has to be employed either in a secular school (where the study of religion is often suspect) or in one of the dwindling number of "liberal" seminaries or religious institutions. Even for those who have such happy appointments, the pressures that can be brought to bear are often formidable. Several contributors to this volume have had to consider carefully what they could say in print without costing themselves or their home institutions much trouble. Anticipations of consequences have weighed so heavily on some potential contributors that they decided they could not participate. No one should judge their decision who has not been subject to such pressures."

    Perhaps now we understand why Hemming lost his position at Heythrop, why he cannot speak at Merton, and indeed why he has not been ordained to the priesthood. What a shame that a good scholar should thus come unstuck. Let us pray for him.

  14. Anonymous5:27 PM

    No, I'm not the same 'John' as the contributor on the Holy Smoke blog, but I encourage you to read the comments of that 'John', together with the excerpts and discussion of Hemming's book - which, as that 'John' points out, is mostly available online on google books. This paper of Hemming's is in the public realm, and pointing out that it argues against Catholic teaching on homosexuality and marriage is not character assassination - it simply calls attention to a public fact. The claim that only the ecclesiastical authorities are compentent to judge Hemming's views is ridiculous. A public rejection of Church teaching is something that Catholics both can and should acknowledge and condemn once it becomes evident, without needing to first be told by ecclesiastical authorities that this rejection exists - obviously it is impossible for Church authorities to identify and condemn every instance of such rejection that occurs. Ecclesiastical authorities are the only people who can inflict ecclesiastical penalties, but the Latin Mass Society is a self-governing association, and its decisions are not ecclesiastical penalties; they are the business of the Society.