Rorate Caeli

The London Colney Conference: A Report




Joseph Shaw has posted on his blog (Oxford Events -- The Weblog of the LMS Chairman) a series of reports on the residential Priest Training course on the Traditional Roman Rite that was held last August 24-28, 2009 in London Colney. This was the fourth such conference organized by the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales in three years, and among the students were two priests from Africa. By the end of the conference, seven priests had managed to say their first-ever Traditional Latin Masses.








Some passages from the post "London Colney in Perspective":


The London Colney conference is the fourth residential Priest Training course the LMS has organised, in three years. The support of this course by the Archdiocese of Westminster led to some pretty dubious coverage from The Tablet, which earned a rebuke in the following issue from Bishop Alan Hopes, an auxiliary of the Archdiocese who coordinates matters with the LMS. In a nutshell The Tablet interpreted Archbishop Nichols' endorsement of the conference as a way of bringing a group of dangerous lunatics under some kind of control, in order to stop them initiating a 'culture war' within the Church. Bishop Hopes pointed out rather percipiently that their uncharitable remarks were themselves an example of the waging of a 'culture war'. It is highly unusual for bishops to respond to The Tablet's barbs, and Bishop Hopes' letter is very significant.

***
The endorsement of the conference by the Archdiocese was real enough, whatever The Tablet might say. Bishop Arnold celebrated Mass (OF) on the Monday the conference started, with his own team of servers and deacons. Among others we had lectures from Colin Mawby, a former Director of Music in Westminster Cathedral, Fr Aidan Nichols OP (who called for the Sarum Use to be used in Westminster Cathedral to enlarge the liturgical pluralism of the Latin Church), and Fr Michale Cullinane, a well-known Westminster priest and academic, who recounted his own long-term attachment to the Traditional Mass and discussed the 'hermeneutic of continuity' applied to the older and newer usages of the Roman Rite. Bishop Hopes, on behalf of the Archdiocese, took a particular interest in the planning of these lectures.

***
The atmosphere at the conference was extremely positive. There was a degree of euphoria at the first priest training conference in 2007, which took place soon after the Motu Proprio was published. The mood has settled down to a serious enthusiasm for the traditions of the Church and a strong sense of common purpose and mutual support among the priests. Several of them remarked that the conference had dispelled their fears about the kind of people they might find there. Pastor Iuventus, the pseudonymous contributor to The Catholic Herald who was a conference participant, puts it this way in the current edition:

I knew from its rather prejudiced leading article what The Tablet expected it to be like. I had some anxieties of my own, but now that the Holy Father has de-politicised the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, I decided it was time to learn to celebrate it properly and so I have come on the course. I am very pleased I did.

I think it is a tribute to the wisdom of Pope Benedict that this course on the extraordinary form is filled with ordinary priests - I mean priests who clearly have not come here because they are desperate to ally themselves to some faction, but who are working in perfectly average parishes the length and breadth of the country and who find themselves drawn to the reverence of the older form in order to nourish their priestly lives and thereby to foster the devotion of some of their congregations. It is not full of priests plotting to undo the Second Vatican Council, discussing the length of maniple fringes or the claimants to the Bourbon throne, just run-of-the-mill priests who feel that celebrating the extraordinary form once in a while could help them in their particular quest to be good, devout priests, or who are learning it in response to the pastoral needs of their congregations. For these reasons alone, there is nothing marginal or marginalising about the conference.

25 comments:

  1. "Lex orandi, lex credendi." Deo gratias.

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  2. Antonio8:44 PM

    Why was the conference started with a new rite mass?!

    In any case, well doen to Mr. Shaw and the conference participants. May many more happen!

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  3. Anonymous9:33 PM

    And precisely how many priests came to learn? Merton had 40 and 60 in 2007 & 2008.

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  4. Why was the conference started with a new rite mass?!

    That may have something to do with the fact that it was a conference for priests who had never celebrated the traditional Latin Mass before, but had come there to learn how to do it. Bishop Arnold is probable one of those priests who don't know how to celebrate the extraordinary form. Another probable factor is that the conference was approved by the Archdiocese of Westminster, which approves of both forms of the Roman Rite.

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  5. Anonymous7:02 AM

    Good to see such a level headed approach.

    Hopefully, awaiting the outcome of the doctrinal discussions, it will not be long before the Dioceses and groups such as the LMS use their experience from these training sessions to put on similar conferences to instruct SSPX members how to say the Ordinary Form of the one Roman rite thus completing their rehabilitation into the Church

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  6. Anonymous7:46 AM

    They only had around 20 priests-learners.
    It is amusing too that the new leadership of the LMS was forced to accept an opening NOM - just like the past leadership, which was so criticized by these new people for doing precisely the same thing.

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  7. In answer to Anonymous on the number of participants: Merton had 40 in 2008; this year we had 45, divided between the London Colney conference just concluded (25) and the conference in Ushaw earlier in the year (20).

    The raw numbers are of course are not the full story. Some priests come back to learn Sung Mass, having learnt Low Mass, for example. To give you some idea, only one priest said a OF private Mass on the last morning at Ushaw: all the others were celebrating EF Masses by then. During the course of London Colney seven priests said their first EF private Mass (with an 'assistant priest' in attendance); a small handful were still saying OF Masses. A good number were learning the Missa Cantata, and we had Colin Mawby, Director of Music at Westminster Cathedral for 14 years, to teach them the necessary chants.

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  8. FranzJosf10:21 AM

    Antonio: If memory serves, the Latin Mass Society is for promoting Masses in Latin, both the Novus Ordo and the TLM.

    I think that the Holy Father knows exactly what he is doing. The Motu Proprio came out first. Then, the Year of the Priest was called. I believe that the Holy Father knows which Mass is the more nourishing for priests!

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  9. You're an oracle of knowledge aren't you, Jordanes.

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  10. Why was the conference started with a new rite mass?!

    Yes, the opening Mass having to be in the Novus Ordo and it being a joint conference between the diocese and the LMS were the conditions on allowing the conference to take place. The LMS leadership accepted these conditions. Remember, two years ago the first conference in Oxford was opened by Abp. Nichols with another Novus Ordo, so this pattern of compromise by the LMS is not new.

    Moreover, this fits in very well with Abp. Nichols' letter of welcome to the participants:

    In the Motu Proprio ‘Summorum Pontificum’ Pope Benedict permitted the use of the 1962 Form of the Mass, under clearly defined circumstances. In doing so he insisted that there is one Rite of the Mass in the Latin Church. This makes clear that the ordinary Form of the Mass and this extraordinary Form serve one and the same Rite. They are, therefore, both finding their place in this Summer School and participants will wholeheartedly celebrate the Mass in each of these Forms. The view that the ordinary Form of the Mass, in itself, is in some way deficient finds no place here. Indeed anyone who holds such a view does not come under the generous provision of ‘Summorum Pontificum’. Such a person is inexorably distancing themselves from the Church.

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  11. Hopefully, awaiting the outcome of the doctrinal discussions, it will not be long before the Dioceses and groups such as the LMS use their experience from these training sessions to put on similar conferences to instruct SSPX members how to say the Ordinary Form of the one Roman rite thus completing their rehabilitation into the Church

    Goodness, what planet do you come from? Or does regularisation include labotomy? Is having to say the Novus Ordo the litmus test for being a Catholic priest? That would be news to the Eastern rite priests, for a start, not to mention all the exclusively traditional priests in the "Ecclesia Dei" orders.

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  12. Anonymous said:...instruct SSPX members how to say the Ordinary Form of the one Roman rite thus completing their rehabilitation into the Church....

    Sure. Right after they teach people in Hell how to make and throw snowballs.

    I am not an SSPXer, but I enjoy the sermons and catechisms and such they have because these belong to Holy Mother Church.

    Wrong is wrong. Period. The SSPX will never say the Freemason Roman Protestant Mass.

    *

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  13. Anonymous3:00 PM

    25 who came to learn Mr Shaw? Your own photos don't seem to back that up!

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  14. No, I'm not, Lexi, although I confess that a lot of people have called me that over the years.

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  15. Joseph Shaw8:57 PM

    Dear Anonymous,

    I have a list of conference participants in front of me. There are 25 names. For one reason or another some of them were not there the whole week.

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  16. Oliver9:12 AM

    For those who wish to maintain the Catholic faith the regurgitation of the Latin rite whether compromised or not is clear evidence enough that something is definitely wrong with its replacement. Hopefully, this significant realisation will shift towards questioning the whole Vatican 2 movement as well. I am excluding of course those who just want the old Mass for reasons of nostalgia, aesthetics or tourism ... or sheer novelty after years of boredom or religious incomprehension.

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  17. Anonymous9:35 AM

    Jordanes

    Bishop Arnold has celebrated the Extraordinary Form of Mass for the LMS frequently. It is presumptuous of you to think otherwise with no evidence.

    Why hasn't this event appeared on the LMS website?

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  18. "It is not full of priests plotting to undo the Second Vatican Council..."

    Indeed not, since it is one of the bitter fruits of those councils that the presbyterate has been decimated by tens of thousands; seminaries closed and Sunday congregations reduced to single digit percentages in most western countries. Similar trends are evident elsewhere. It also helps explain why as time moves on the "marginalised" are actually the NO supporters who are witnessing to their horror that it is now the wintertime of the post-conciliar era with the extinction of the NO threatening in many places, while it is a reality in others. It cannot escape the notice of the few priests left in UK that if they do not do something extraordinary they will have no parishes left soon. Moreover, this is the same situation in many other countries.

    Let us hope that in their apparent ignorance of what is truly the only really authentic form of The Roman Rite they do not finish up by introducing illicit practices and invalidating intentions or forms. This would, of course, set back the traditionalist movement as the modernist in the neo-catholic church would wish.

    Naturally, some of the language employed in this article is anti-traditionalist in its sentiments - the traditional priests I know do not debate maniple fringe lengths nor do they extol Bourbon monarchies. Evidently our correspondent here has an axe to grind and is very careful to avoid facing up to the fact of the absolutely desperate plight of the neo-Catholic church in UK, as elsewhere. This, of course, was not the case prior to the Vatican Councils.

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  19. the traditional priests I know do not debate maniple fringe lengths nor do they extol Bourbon monarchies.

    Pastor Iuventus was responding to a STEREOTYPE of traditionalists, and in particular was responding to the controversy stirred up by the The Tablet, whose editors and writers -- generally of a modernist bent -- are very frightened by the resurgence of the traditional Mass and therefore attempted to sabotage the Archdiocese of Westminster's and the LMS's conference.

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  20. Someone said: Bishop Arnold has celebrated the Extraordinary Form of Mass for the LMS frequently.

    I wouldn't know one way or the other if he has. I have no idea if you're in a position to know if he has or not -- it is foolish and presumptuous to just accept the claims found in anonymous comments at a weblog. I was only offering plausible explanations why they opened the conference with the Roman Church's ordinary use rather than her extraordinary use.

    It is presumptuous of you to think otherwise with no evidence.

    On the contrary, it is presumptuous of you to think that I think otherwise. I never said I thought he doesn't know the extraordinary form, just that he is probably one of the vast majority of priests who don't know it. It was offered as one possible explanation in answer to Antonio's question, "Why was the conference started with a new rite Mass?!" You claim he does know the old rite well, and it is quite possible that you're right about that, whoever you are.

    Why hasn't this event appeared on the LMS website?

    There is more than one LMS website:

    http://birmingham-lms-rep.blogspot.com/2009/06/london-colney-priest-training.html

    http://oxfordlmsrepevents.blogspot.com/2009/08/london-colney-in-perspective.html

    As for why the LMS of England and Wales website does not have a notice or report on this conference, you should ask the LMS. There could be any number of reasons why the Colney conference didn't make it onto their website. Sometimes organisation don't update their websites as often as they might.

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  21. Anonymous7:36 PM

    I was amazed that the conference began with a New Rite Mass,I thought that this was a rumour started by people of the SSPX out to discredit the LMS.
    What would the founding fathers of LMS have said ? Hugh Ross Williamson,Arnold Lunn and those faithful men and women. I thought that the new leaders of LMS had criticised the former chairman,Julian Chadwick for allowing a New Rite Mass at Oxford,but I may be mistaken in this.
    Alan Robinson.

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  22. "I thought that this was a rumour started by people of the SSPX out to discredit the LMS."

    Essentially the SSPX are involved in other matters of greater importance than to fuel pointless rumours about the LMS insinuated here. I know at least one SSPX priest in particular who would see an ultimate opportunity to bring the crowds in to The Latin Mass of All Times even if the Bugnini service were offered at the outset. He is correct: once they witness both closely together they can soon understand how completely different they are and founded upon entirely mutually antipathetic principles. There can only be one option following. The LMS will eventually have to make that choice themselves - compromise and be compromised or abandon the pretense and move on with The Holy Mass in Latin. The future of the Roman Catholic priesthood and the laity depend on it.

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  23. George Cheshire10:40 PM

    I think Anonymous the umpteenth might have meant why was this event not reported on the NLM website? It is extraordinary that there is no mention of it there.

    Bishop Arnold celebrates the TLM extremely well, Jordanes.

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  24. Thank you, Mr. Cheshire.

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  25. The Conference at Ushaw College received no coverage on the NLM either. The plot thickens...

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