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Latin Mass Society asks bishops to embrace traditionalists as ‘spiritual children’

Cardinal Walter Brandmuller celebrates Mass in the Extraordinary Form at St Peter's Basilica in Rome (Photo: CNS)

The Latin Mass Society has written to all the bishops of England and Wales asking them to reach out to Catholics attached to the traditional Mass.

Joseph Shaw, chairman of the LMS, invited bishops to visit Extraordinary Form congregations to see that they were “not a source of division, but a demonstration of a truly Catholic unity in diversity”.

He began the letter, published in the Mass of Ages, the LMS quarterly magazine, by expressing gratitude for the “almost complete disappearance of the hostility” towards the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

“In this positive development you, our Bishops in England and Wales, have played a crucial role,” he said. “The question arises: is there any reason for those with the care of souls to go beyond toleration, and actually to facilitate or promote this form of the Mass?”

Dr Shaw cited Benedict XVI’s Letter to Bishops, accompanying his 2007 motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, in which the pope said: “It behoves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer.”

In Britain he said new generations of Catholics had been attracted to the traditional Latin Mass, with Juventutem groups, pilgrimages and vocations to the priesthood arising as a result.

But he added that there was a worry, expressed by both Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, of the “ideologisation” of the older Mass, making it a “source of division”.

Noting that marginalised groups tend to become more radicalised, he said: “I believe that we have resisted those tendencies very successfully for the 50 years of the Latin Mass Society’s existence. Those who have any worries in this regard, however, will be able to see the remedy. Problems created by marginalisation will be cured by ending the marginalisation.”

He said Extraordinary Form Masses attracted a people “from all walks of life”, adding: “I would like to invite each of you, our Bishops in England and Wales, to visit the largest such congregations in your dioceses and see for yourselves.”

Dr Shaw concluded the letter by saying: “These Catholics do not want to cause division or be exclusive. They want nothing more than to be regarded, not as orphans or houseguests, but as your spiritual children.”