The Latin Mass and the Intellectuals

The Latin Mass and the Intellectuals:
Petitions to Save the ancient Mass from 1966 to 2007

Preface by Martin Mosebach

With contributions from Leo Darroch, Fr Gabriel Diaz Patri, Philip Maxence, Sebastian Morello, Matthew Schellhorn, and Erik Tonning

Now available from Arouca Press (in the USA) and the Latin Mass Society shop (in the UK); Blackwells and Amazon (now as an e-book as well).

Joseph Shaw's Talks about the book

The Role of the Laity and Convertsat the LMS AGM

An Overview of the Book: the Rome launch: YouTube, as a Podcast.

'Artist and Modernists': the London launch

Reviews and articles

The Tablet (diary column); The Catholic Herald (Tom Colsey)

Non-Catholics and the Traditional Mass (Joseph Shaw, 1Peter5)

Artistic Modernism and the Catholic Ghetto (Joseph Shaw, European Conservative)

The Patient Who Refuses to Die and the Quixotic Intellectuals who Defend the Liturgy of Ages (Robert Lazu Kmita, The Remnant)

From the back cover.

What do Evelyn Waugh, Lanzo Del Vasto, F.R. Leavis, Nancy Mitford, Agatha Christie, Yehudi Menuhin, RenĂ© Girard, and Franco Zeffirelli have in common? Along with scores of others—artists, musicians, scholars, writers, actors, politicians and business people—they signed petitions to save the Catholic Church’s ancient Latin liturgy, between 1966 and 2007.

This is the story of how so many men and women of culture, Catholic or not, came to the defence of the world’s greatest monument to the human spirit—the immemorial Latin Mass—and of the music, art, and spiritual tradition which it comprises and inspires.

“Educated people are in the vanguard where recognition of the value of tradition in concerned, and are the first to raise the alarm when it is threatened. …They wish to call to the attention of the Holy See, the appalling responsibility it would incur in the history of the human spirit were it to refuse to allow the Traditional Mass to survive.” (1971 petition)

Drawing on rarely seen historical documents and new research, editor Joseph Shaw weaves together a compelling account of the petitions’ genesis, and the formation of the movement to preserve the Traditional Mass.

Martin Mosebach: “The list contained in this book of writers, artists and philosophers, an intellectual flowering of their country and their century, who urgently warned the then reigning Pope not to continue in his work of liturgical destruction. A number of these people were not Catholics, which only makes their testimony more impressive. For their participation in this great action proved how deeply the ritual of the Mass of the Roman Church had become rooted in the general consciousness.” (from the Preface)

The talks I gave at the two book launches, in Rome and London, can be seen and heard here.


Stuart Chessman: The Latin Mass and the Intellectuals is, first of all, a groundbreaking history of the petitions from 1966 onward in support of the Latin Mass – which of course attracted so many eminent non-Catholic signatories. But it is so mech more. We read biographies of the men and women behind the petitions. We read the words of the “intellectuals” themselves – offering trenchant, prescient insights on the liturgy and what they witnessed happening in the Church in those times. And we come away with a new understanding of the interaction of art, beauty and the liturgy. Highly recommended! (Stuart  Chessman blogs at of the Society of St Hugh of Cluny and is the author of Faith of Our Fathers: A Brief History of Catholic Traditionalism in the United States, from Triumph to Traditionis Custodes.)

Dr Peter Kwasniewski: When famous convert Arnold Lunn once wrote: ‘If it is so that the Latin Mass is only for the educated few, surely Mother Church, in all her charity, can find a place even for the educated few?,’ he was voicing a frustration felt by intellectuals, artists, indeed cultural figures of every sort (both Catholic and non-Catholic) who looked on with mounting dismay as a centuries-old patrimony of liturgy—and the transcendent art that accompanied it—were flung out of the window opened by Vatican II. But in reality, it was never just ‘the few’ for whom they spoke when they signed one eloquent petition after another to ‘save the Mass’; they spoke on behalf of all who value what is beautiful and sublime, what is permanent and perennial. The colorful gallery of figures discussed in this fascinating book used their talents and influence to advocate for the monuments of our Western Christian civilization. Joseph Shaw’s remarkable research allows us to appreciate what a debt of gratitude we owe to this ad hoc cultural coalition for defending that which churchmen had disgracefully abandoned.” (Dr Peter Kwasniewski is the author of The Once and Future Roman Rite.)

Charles Coulombe: Once again, Joseph Shaw brings his immense erudition and common sense (two qualities often not found together) to bear on the liturgical issues of our time. In this collection of appeals to the Holy See and commentary thereon he brings to bear the opinions – not of experts, real or otherwise, but of public intellectuals, Catholic and particularly non-Catholic – who were or are aware of the importance of the Traditional Latin Mass to Western Civilisation. Lost as it may be on many professional Catholics today, the argument from literacy ought not to be dismissed. (Charles A. Coulombe is the author of The Pope's Legion, Blessed Charles of Austria: A Holy Emperor and His Legacy, and other titles)

Dr John Rao: Although it is true that the battle is not in our hands but God’s (2 Chronicles, 20:15), he who serves the Lord must nevertheless prepare himself for trials (Sirach, 2, 1). Given this fact, it certainly does not hurt to be armed with all of the weapons---theological, philosophical, historical, aesthetic, and broadly psychological---that supernatural and natural wisdom can provide the warrior in the trenches. I can think of nothing better that the militant defender of the Roman Rite can do on the human level to train himself for the complex fray against enemies now hostile not only to the Catholic Tradition but also to every last bit of rational thought and evidence from nature than to mobilize the manifold arguments found in this book in favor of the Mass of all Ages; our unsurpassable aid for the transformation of individual souls and all of Creation in Christ; our supreme earthly introduction to the eternal Music of the Spheres. (Dr Rao is a retired Associate Professor at St John's University, New York; former President of Una Voce America; Director of the Roman Forum; author of Black Legends and the Light of the World.)

Table of Contents




Part 1: Background

1. Pius V and the Tridentine Missal, by Joseph Shaw

2. Maistre, Latin, and the Conserving of Christendom, by Sebastian Morello

3. “Death Comes for the Cathedrals” (1904), by Marcel Proust

4. Tito Casini on Latin, by Joseph Shaw

5. “Prayer, Grace & the Liturgy” (1960s), by Fr Bryan Houghton

6. The Crisis of the 1960s, by Joseph Shaw

Part 2: Organisers and Networks

7. Waugh, Sykes, and Ross Williamson

8. Alfred Marnau: “Recollection” and Obituaries

9. Cristina Campo and the Petition of 1966 by Fr Gabriel Diaz-Patri

10. Bernard Wall and his circle, by Fr Gabriel Diaz-Patri

11. The 1971 Petition and its signatories by Fr Gabriel Diaz-Patri

12. Interviews from L’Espresso: Six Petitioners

13. Marnau, England, and Cardinal Heenan, by Joseph Shaw

14. The delivery of the 1998 Petition, by Leo Darroch

15. The French Petitioners of 2006, by Philippe Maxence

Part 3: The Petitioners

16. Laity and Converts, by Joseph Shaw

17: Aestheticism, Change, and Ritual, by Joseph Shaw

18. Medievalism, from Ruskin to Tolkien, by Joseph Shaw

19. Modernists Against Modernity, by Joseph Shaw

20. The Perennial Philosophy, Raine and Zolla, by Joseph Shaw

21. Against “Fascist Culture”, by Joseph Shaw

22. Alone in Pellam’s Land: David Jones and the Liturgical Reform, by Erik Tonning

23. Vox Musicorum, by Matthew Schellhorn

Part 4: Petition texts

24. Petition texts of 1966 and 1971, by Joseph Shaw

25. The Petitions of 1998, 2006 and 2007, by Joseph Shaw


26. the Problem of Religious Traditionalists, by Joseph Shaw

Appendix: Vladimir Ashkenazy accepts the De Saventhem Medal


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