I've avoided commenting on the cancellation of the Faith of Our Fathers Conference organised by Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (PEEP) because it has nothing to do with me or the LMS, and Daphne McLeod and the PEEP Committee have already paid handsomely for their mistakes. William Oddie's recent blog post has got things so back to front, however, that I feel I must say something.
According to Dr Oddie's narrative, Mrs McLeod is a voice of moderation in an organisation beseiged by traditionalist nutters, and she needs to clear them out to avoid PEEP disapearing into a black hole. The basis of this idea is McLeod's habit of attacking traditionalists from time to time.
(She does this because she believes that bad catechesis is the sole cause of the problems in the Church today; Oddie agrees, unlike the Holy Father when he wrote (in Milestones) 'I am convinced that the ecclesial crisis in which we find ourselves today depends in great part upon the collapse of the liturgy'.)
Oddie's narrative is derailed in his own comments box by Daphne McLeod herself, who takes full personal responsibility for the decision to invite the two speakers whose reputations caused the Rev Swindle, the booking manager of Westminster Central Hall where the conference was due to take place, to decide that the talks would not be in accordance with Methodist doctrine - whatever that might be - namely Fr Paul Kramer and Robert Sungenis. She equally took responsibility for the advertisement which promoted the talk to be given by Cardinal Burke which said that the Bishops of England and Wales are 'intransigent', a description which led Cardinal Burke to pull out.
This taking of responsibility is an example of the honour and courage for which Daphne McLeod is so well known. It also reflects the reality of the organisation: PEEP is essentially a vehicle for Daphne McLeod. The notion of her being led astray or put under pressure by dark forces within or without her organisation is laughable, as anyone familiar with it or her could attest.
Daphne McLeod is not a traditionalist. Not all the people who get carried away into injudicious public remarks about the Bishops are traditionalists. Not everyone who gets caught up in the nightmare world of conspiracy theories is a traditionalist, or indeed even a Catholic: indeed, most are not. If Oddie thinks that you can insulate yourself from the nutters by shunning the Traditional Mass, the PEEP fiasco ought to show him that you can't.
Reflect on this. When we heard that Cardinal Burke had agreed to address the conference, there was talk, which later faded away, of his saying a Traditional Mass while in London. Well the LMS knows a thing or two about the liturgy in the Extraordinary Form, so we offered to help with that side of things. Daphne McLeod made it quite clear that she didn't want to have anything to do with us: she didn't want us associated with the conference, or Cardinal Burke's trip, in any way. Fair enough: it was her train set, as they say. But if we had had any involvement with the proceedings, and had had any influence over them, we would certainly not have allowed the frankly idiotic advertisement wording or the appallingly misguided choice of replacement speakers. I don't know much about Kramer and Sungenis, but I know they are widely regarded as dangerous lunatics, and with justification.
They are on the lunatic fringe. I think it is rather insulting to call them 'radtrads', but the main point is that their supporters are numerically negligable. They cross-fertilise with secularist anti-semites, Protestant creationists, 'birthers' and every kind of fruit-cake on the internet. Is this scene attractive to mainstream traditionalist groups? Has it got a grip on the typical EF congregation? The answer to both is an emphatic 'no'.