Friday, July 05, 2013

The other LMS

Back in 2010 (13th Feb) The Tablet started a Notebook article with the words:

'FOR THE LMS – that is, the Latin Mass Society rather than the old railway company of the same abbreviation –...'
 One can only assume that the average age of Tablet readers is so great that the London, Midlands, and Scottish Railway (which ceased to exist in the 1948 nationalisation of the railways) is still a familiar name, and at any minute they expect the LMS to take them from London to Glasgow just like the good old days.

Possibly Bruvver Eccles suffers the same senile confusion as he calls my blog 'LMS Railway' (ok, I know this is a joke!).

I was delighted to find myself in a genuine LMS railway carriage the other day, on the Severn Valley Railway, a volunteer-run steam railway running between Kidderminster and Bridgenorth. The line was in fact part of the Great Western network, but they have carriages and locomotives from all over - GWR, LMS, LNER. It was huge fun, and I recommend it. The ride takes about an hour each way; we went north and had a nice lunch in Bridgenorth before going back. By coincidence one of our local LMS Representatives was a founder member of the Severn Valley Railway (SVR), as well as of the LMS, in the same year: 1965.

The Severn Valley Railway is a project to preserve an aspect of British life and culture which was threatened by a savage act of bureaucratic planning, an act which is today widely regarded as having been misguided, at least in part. The elimination of steam so quickly in the 1960s was wasteful and the cuts to the lines was brutal and excessive.

In that way the Latin Mass Society has something in common with the SVR. Culture is a set of values: artistic, moral, religious. The achievements of steam engineering are worth remembering and preserving. The achievements of the tradition of the Church are also. But the values of this latter culture, unlike the romance of steam, actually have the power to save our souls. We are not a re-enactment society: what we do is not guided by tradition because of nostalgia, but because tradition is a guide to Gospel truth and evangelical effectiveness.

That will sound counter-intuitive to many Catholics today, but it is the mind of the Church.

"The true friends of the people are neither revolutionaries nor innovators, but men of tradition." – Pope St. Pius X


  1. Don't forget the London Mathematical Society too! (Speaking as a fan of all 3 organizations...)

  2. Reading this post's title on Twitter, I was expecting an article on the London Mathematical Society, which lives at I wonder how many distracted mathematicians have found themselves presented with Mass listings and pilgrimage notices?

  3. I get spam from 'Learning Management Solutions'!