Who we are (EN, FR, PT, DE, ES, PL, RU, JP)

A Brief History

Formation

In 1964, Dr Borghild Krane, an eminent psychologist in Norway, sent out an appeal to concerned Catholics to group together in defence of the Church's liturgical heritage. As a result of that appeal a number of national associations came into being in 1964-65. Delegates from six European associations met in Rome early in 1965 and the International Federation was formally erected in Zurich on 8th January 1967 when delegates from 20 associations approved the draft statutes and elected the first Council.
Dr. Borghild Krane, Norweigan co-founder of the Federation
A Lay Movement

The International Una Voce Federation is a lay movement, initially founded in Zurich in 1967.

The International Una Voce Federation aims to foster the cultural heritage of the Latin rite of the Roman Catholic Church upon which so much of European culture, music, art, literature and architecture has been built and nourished.
Beginning with the retention of the Jewish Temple worship which, under Christian tutelage, developed into plainchant, sacred music became the basis of all later classical and choral music.
Similar developments took place in art, architecture, literature and all the arts, in which the Christian tradition built upon the ancient Classical world and upon the Hebrew traditions that it inherited.

The Federation’s principal aims are to ensure that the traditional Roman rite of the Church is maintained in the Church as one of the forms of liturgical celebration, and to safeguard and promote the use of Latin, Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony and all the sacred, artistic, literary and musical traditions of the Roman Church in all their beauty and integrity.
The Federation has counted the great composers Maurice Duruflé and Olivier Messiaen among its early members.

A General Assembly of the Federation is convened every two years in Rome and elections are held for the Council and Presidency.

The Federation is recognized by the Holy See, its views are received with courtesy and respect by the relevant Roman Congregations, and its representatives are received by them in the same manner.

Its first President, Dr Eric Vermehren de Saventhem, was a German anti-Nazi diplomat who, together with his wife, born Countess von Plettenberg, from a well-known anti-Nazi Catholic family, escaped via the Embassy in Istanbul to Britain. Other Presidents have included the author Mr Michael Davies from Britain who was a very influential figure in preserving the sacred traditions of the Roman rite and Roman Church, acting both within and without the Roman Curia.

Honorary Vice-President, Professor Count Neri Capponi, has also been a prominent figure in helping to preserve the sacred traditions of the Roman Church in their beauty and integrity, as have former FIUV Presidents, Mr Ralf Siebenberger, the late Fra' Fredrik Crichton-Stuart and Mr Leo Darroch.

Over the years the Federation has made various successful interventions. It was instrumental in persuading Pope John Paul II in 1986 to convoke a special Commission of Cardinals which resulted in the issue of the decree Ecclesia Dei Adflicta in 1988 and also played a part in persuading Pope Benedict XVI to issue the motu proprio decree Summorum Pontificum in 2007.
The current President is Colonel James Bogle from Una Voce Australia and the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales.
Dr Eric Vermehren de Saventhem, first President of the Federation

The Federation is not an organization run from above by a central committee. Each national association is an autonomous body that is encouraged to do all that it can to achieve the objectives of the Federation at the local level, but the leadership of the International Federation is better placed to represent the common concerns of traditional Catholics world-wide at the highest level of Church government. Negotiations with Rome tend to be carried out discreetly behind the scenes and are not normally made public.
Membership

The International Federation represents 41 member associations in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Cuba, Czech Republic, England and Wales, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine and the USA. Since 2010 the International Federation has made remarkable progress. Requests for information and assistance have come from Denmark, Honduras, Hungary, Indonesia, Kenya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Panama, Sarawak (Borneo) and Slovenia.

Pope John Paul II

We were very grateful to the late Pope John Paul II for his willingness to listen to our requests in 1986 to convoke a special Commission of Cardinals which resulted in the issue of the decree Ecclesia Dei Adflicta in 1988. It was Pope John Paul II who began the process of reconciliation, reflection and prayerful action that has led to the "recovery of the sacred" as the late great scholar and traditional Catholic, Professor Dietrich von Hildebrand, so eloquently put it.

Comments from Cardinals
  • On 25 July 1996 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith commended the International Una Voce Federation for playing an important role in supporting the use of the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal in obedience to the directives of the Holy See.

  • Cardinal Medina Estevez, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship, said that he felt that use of the 1962 Missal should be granted to all who request it and has stated that on the basis of his personal research the rite of St. Pius V has never been abrogated. He has been supportive of the work of Una Voce.

  • On 4 September 2000, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos told Una Voce representatives that he considered the Missal of St Pius V to be a great treasure of the Church, and that he could see no reason why we should not be granted the use of all the liturgical books in use in 1962. It was his opinion that the motu proprio Ecclesia Dei Adflicta puts a serious responsibility upon bishops to implement it, and that only when there are serious reasons to the contrary should requests be denied.
Pope Benedict XVI

To the great joy of the members of the Federation, our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI promulgated his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum on 14 September 2007, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, and the document stated unequivocally that the Missal of Blessed John XXIII (1962) had never been abrogated (numquam abrogatam) "and must be given due honour for its venerable and ancient usage".

Pope Francis I

We pray daily for our present Holy Father and thank him for protecting the progress that his predecessors made in preserving and recovering the sacred and we pray him to continue that noble tradition.


President of the Federation, Colonel James Bogle, with HE Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos,
at the General Assembly of November 2013

Contacts

President: Felipe Alanís Suárez, Email: president@fiuv.org