Saturday, March 02, 2013

Loftus at it again

This is the letter which The Catholic Times has refused to print...


Basil Loftus (Vatican Counsel, 17th February) misrepresents the law of the Church and the will of the Holy Father when he suggests that permission is given for the Extraordinary Form for ‘those who, exceptionally, are so conditioned by the pre-Conciliar liturgy that they need it for their spiritual good’. Pope Benedict XVI made it clear that there he had no such limited group in mind when he liberated this form of the Mass in 2007: since the Council, he wrote, ‘it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them.

Everyone can benefit from experiencing the ancient liturgy, because, as the Holy Father again wrote, ‘It behoves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer’. These riches should not be hidden away, even if not everyone wishes to base their spiritual lives upon them. 

Mgr Loftus’ suggestion that there is something improper about the other sacraments being celebrated according to the 1962 is absurd, and clearly contrary to the legislation embodied by Summorum Pontificum (see Article 9). 

What Mgr Loftus is perhaps unable to understand is that a liturgy celebrated in Latin, in part silently, and with some rituals partially hidden from view, can engage the Faithful just as deeply, though in a different way, to a vernacular liturgy celebrated in words of one syllable. As Bl. Pope John Paul II pointed out in Dominicae Caenae (1980), the ancient Latin liturgy is ‘an expression of the unity of the Church, and through its dignified character elicited a profound sense of the Eucharistic Mystery’. That unity, and that sense, constitute the most important kind of ‘full, active’ participation, ‘as befits a community’. 

Yours Faithfully, 

Dr Joseph Shaw


  1. Anonymous9:03 am

    How sad that the Catholic (so called) Times would not publish your letter. I have sent an email to the Editor objecting and protesting.

  2. Anonymous11:10 am

    Mgr Loftus' article ably demonstrates a common trait found in the writings of many who claim they advocate 'inclusion', and that the EF is somehow 'exclusive'.

    Sure enough we find in the middle of his article an observation, 'the new English translation, with its constant need for its vocabulary, syntax, style and occasionally theology to be itself explained to the ordinary people, if indeed it can be understood by the priest, is a negation of the "ease" with which all should be able to participate'. From Mgr Loftus' perspective the new English translation is beyond the laity, and many priests, therefore the EF must be completely beyond our comprehension.

    Mgr Loftus stops short of coining Edmund Burke's 'swinish multitude' phrase, but this is nonetheless a truly patronising and condescending denunciation of the people of God and his brother priests. Time and again we hear advocates of 'inclusion' telling us what we know and how we think. If this is the voice of 'inclusion', I will stay with hierarchy please!

  3. Anonymous12:17 pm

    Happily we do not get the Catholic Times here (though The Tablet we still do **sigh**) but I am familiar with some of the Monsignor's previous efforts.

    What he reveals in his quote is that patronising attitude to the faithful that is at the heart of true clericalism. If it weren't for his having a national mouthpiece he would best be ignored.

    Happily, for us if not the other readers of the Times, you have exposed his contempt for reality and, implicitly, for the retired pontiff.

    Happily, too, we who celebrate the vernacular are now, to Loftus' horror, not reduced to monosyllabic banalities but are blessed with a vernacular that comes so much closer to the content and (sorry, but it has to be said) spirit of the Latin.


  4. In my increasingly vast experience,(age-related), the stupidest people are those who believe everyone else is more stupid than they are. I guess they are in special need of our prayers.