To the Member Associations of the Federation, and all our supporters and friends.
It is with some apprehension that I take up the role of President of the FIUV, in light of my personal limitations, and at a time when the situation of the Church’s ancient Latin liturgy is more difficult than it has been for many years. Yet I do so with confidence in the strength of the Federation, represented above all by our membership and support base. This is larger and more active than it has ever been in our history, and the current difficulties are stimulating further growth.
Over the last decade I have been closely involved in two large-scale projects undertaken by the Federation: the production of the Position Papers on the 1962 Missal, which began to appear individually in 2012 and were published as a book in 2019, and the Report on the implementation of Summorum Pontificum for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which we submitted to the Holy See in July 2020. These utilised different aspects of the deep reserves of experience which exist among the Federation’s members and supporters: the Position Papers calling on their intellectual resources, and the Report on their practical knowledge of their local situations. No other organisation could have undertaken either project so successfully, and they demonstrate the Federation’s irreplaceable role in the traditionalist movement.
It is the same resources, intellectual and practical, which make possible the regular functions of the Federation: representing to the Holy See and to others the concerns, experience, and arguments of the lay faithful attached to the ancient liturgy. To do this work effectively we need a continual stream of information from members, and we need continuously to refresh our responses to the evolving intellectual, legal, and cultural challenges to our movement.
I would like, accordingly, to make these the priorities of my Presidency: to facilitate discussion of the threats we face, and to augment the flow of practical information from our members to the Federation, and back again.
This will also serve to help us all avoid that feeling of isolation which I know can be particularly acute for smaller groups, and in those places where provision for the Traditional Mass is sparse or non-existent. The whole world can seem against you, and the few friends who do appear can seem powerless to help you. The reality is, even if you seem unable to achieve any practical results—which is seldom the case—simply by existing in your country and your diocese you are serving the vital function of showing that demand for the Traditional Mass has not gone away. Simultaneously, you can provide vital information for the Federation which is otherwise impossible to gather, so we can present a truly world-wide picture in our discussions with the Holy See.
In short, we want to hear from our members. The Federation would not exist without its members, and our effectiveness is a function of their contributions.
Let me end this message with the conclusion of the Editorial of our magazine, Gregorius Magnus, which is about to be published.
“We have over the decades been dismissed as misguided, dissident, and mentally ill; we have seen irreplaceable sacred art wrecked, vocations destroyed, and good Catholics, even priests, driven to the brink of despair by ill-treatment. For fifty years we and our predecessors in the movement have swallowed insult and rejection; we have lived with unjust and humiliating conditions being placed upon our activities; we have seen what we hold most dear being denigrated and cast out.
“We have endured all this because our own comfort and amour propre is subordinate, in our own estimation, to the good of souls and the honour due to God. If our progress to date were nullified, and if we were asked to start again from the point we were at in 1984 or 1971, would we be prepared to face fifty more years of marginalisation and rejection?
“Of course we would: and indeed five hundred years, if necessary. Persecuted Catholics from England to Japan have lived their faith in secret, not for decades but for centuries, paying for their small successes, sometimes, with their lives. Our burden is a light one by comparison, and it a cause for which we suffer with joy. We have seen in many countries, now, how the ancient Mass can bring the lapsed back to the Faith and inspire conversions; how it can sustain families, and stimulate vocations; and how it can serve as the basis for the revival of local communities, whose flourishing can be seen in all sorts of good works. We are not going to give up on it now.”
May Our Lady, St Gregory the Great, and all the angels and saints, intercede for us.
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