Friday, March 02, 2018

Letter on older Traditionalists, in the Catholic Herald

The LMS Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Caversham last weekend.
Today the Catholic Herald has published my letter answering Michael Davis (not to be confused with the late Michael Davies), who criticised the older generation of Catholics attached to the Traditional Mass.

I have written a blogpost about his article here.


Michael Davis’s attack on the ‘older generation’ of Traditional Catholics (Comment, 16th Feb) misses the mark. The tone of the mainstream lay movement for the preservation of the Traditional Mass, represented by the Latin Mass Society and it sister organisations around the world, was set by men like Dietrich von Hildebrand and Eric de Saventham, both of whom risked their lives for their opposition to Hitler; Hamish Fraser, a convert from Communism; and Hugh Ross-Williamson, deselected as a Labour parliamentary candidate for being too left-wing. The extraordinary devotion of Traditional Catholics to the Papacy, over decades when they received little but hard knocks from the hierarchy, prevented them from taking the easy option of leaving the structures of the Church. Now that their central argument has been vindicated—the ancient Mass was never abrogated—we can see that their obedience to the bishops of their day was supererogatory.

The Traditional Movement today, as Davis notes, contains many young people. Through no fault of their own, a great many come from broken homes, and nearly all from homes where the Faith was scarcely practiced, if at all. They have grown up seeing Tradition vilified, and its rebellious image has proved attractive. If you want to shock ‘boomer’ parents, a mantilla may be more effective than cannabis.

Fortunately, the Traditional Movement has something they not only like—the ancient Mass—but which is an objective channel of grace. It takes seriously the issue of sin. And it hasn’t driven away the older age-groups who can provide example and guidance.

We value the older generation of Catholics attached to the Traditional Mass for their fidelity, for their generosity, for their experience and their wisdom. Of special importance are those who can remember how it was when Tradition was normal: when to be a Traditional Catholic was simply to be a Catholic. I will miss them when they are gone.

Davis mentions the principle that we are obliged to respect our parents. On the basis of this principle I suggest he owes an apology to his often heroic predecessors in the movement for the Traditional Mass.

Yours faithfully,

Joseph Shaw
Chairman, the Latin Mass Society

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  1. Surely we cannot be believing that SPELLS bring someone back to a marriage or, more importantly, the Faith (which Alenna Alison) doesn't mention. Was this comment published in error or what was it's purpose in seemingly being derogative to our Faith?

    1. Hi David that comment has gone now - it was spam. It was posted on the five most recent posts with a link to some dodgy site. I get these spam comments about getting a witch doctor to solve one’s marital problems quite regularly. It’s a mad world!

  2. To attack the generation of traditional Catholics who preserved under great duress the traditional Mass and sacraments is the ultimate in ingratitude. That generation, with all its faults (as if present generations did not have their own very distinctive set of faults), fought a seemingless hopeless fight, against a self-serving clergy who often ignored or berated them. I think many Catholics need a reminder of what Aquinas teaches about justice: gratitude is essential to justice.

  3. It isn't merely that we older Catholics are attached to the "Traditional Mass" as you call it (I call it what it truly is: the only Holy Sacrifice of the Mass); it is that we have remained faithful to the true teachings of the Church and understand that the new mass is a fabrication designed to destroy the true Catholic faith. By their fruits ye shall know them.