Monday, May 19, 2008

LMS - Ladies Must be Silent!

The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales were due to have Pontifical High Mass in Cardiff Cathedral yesterday but cancelled at the last minute (Saturday night) when the Dean of the Cathedral insisted that one of his female altar servers be present on the sanctuary.

This is unbelievably petty! If there is no way of changing the Dean's mind just let her sit there with nothing to do, don't cancel an entire Mass over the issue. This is why people don't like those of us who are attached to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite; some groups, such as the LMS, politicise the situation. Then we wonder why we are called right wing!

In response to this all members of Orthfully Catholic have decided to withdraw their subscriptions to the Latin Mass Society as it is not good for Seminarians to be branded in this way; ordination is a SAcrament of the Church and a gift from God not a political staement!


Christian said...

I am very sad to see that you have taken that position. The issue of women servers is a vital one. It is a prime example of a totally nontraditional practice. I has never, under any circumstances, been allowed for almost two thousand years.

The Old Mass IS about Church politics, it is NOT just about beauty and dignity in worship. It is about the entire conception of the Church, about what it is to be a Catholic. Why do you think so many have suffered terribly, been driven out of religious communities, given up promising carers in the Church or (in the case f St Nicholas de Chardonnet in Paris) gone so far as to come to physical blows with fellow Catholics about it? Because it is a matter of deep importance to the faith as a whole. If we where just to give up after 40 years if fighting and say 'hey, you know, women servers are fine, screw tradition and the concept of the sanctuary as a clerical space' what sort of people would we be? We would, I suppose, become nothing more than like the High Church Anglicans have become, liberals in silly cloths.

How dare you show such disrespect to those who suffered for tradition and through who's work you are able to look forward to saying the Old Rite at all.

If you think this is petty you have no real understanding of what it is to be a traditionalist and you might as well leave the LMS as you are really just a neo-con who likes dressing up.

Orthfully Catholic said...


We are sorry you feel that way about our decision. We can only repeat that the Mass, in whichever Form, is NOT a political statement otherwise we are not training for priesthood but a career in politics.

We are not traditionalists, nor Conservatives, but Roman Catholics in complete obedience to the Holy Father who share his love for the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite and believe he would be just as vexed as we are by the fact that a Mass was cancelled over a woman on the sanctuary.

We show no disrespect whatsoever to those who have fought hard for 40 years for the preservation of the Traditional Rite, we support them wholeheartedly, but as Seminarians we cannot support the politicisation of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. One day, if God wills it, we will be celebrating Mass in the Extraordinary Form as if it were an everyday occurrence and all these problems you describe never happened; but this will never happen if people insist on saying 'the Old Mass IS about Church politics' because the Bishops will distance themselves from it further and further.

God Bless,

The Seminarians

Christian said...

This attempt to disassociate the Mass from Church politics is totally futile. I hate that this is the case but it is. Even within the New Rite the prayers the priest chooses and how he says them, which direction he faces during the canon, what type of music he uses are all, sadly, Church political statements about that priests conception of what the Church is, what liturgy is and what it is to be a priest. When the Old Rite was the only Mass used this was not so as all had to obey a certain strict set of rubrics and where governed, above all, by Tradition. Sadly Paul VI's usurpation of Tradition's final say in the liturgy and his replacement of it with a raw exercise of papal power has ended this.

You say you are merely Roman Catholic. well I have one question for you - what is it to be a Roman Catholic? You see a traditionalist, a Conservative and a Liberal would all give different answers to this question. It may sound all grand and retiring to say 'I am just a Roman Catholic' but in today's Church that is a meaningless statement.

You are only vexed about the woman in the Sanctuary issue because you clearly do not understand it. It is opposed to tradition. That is the problem pure and simple. If that is not enough of a statement to make you understand why that is a problem you need to read a lot more about liturgy. Anyway, women servers discourage vocations by pushing boys out of the sanctuary (indirectly) and encourage women to have a concept of who they are and their role in the Church which is totally opposed to the teaching of they Church: ie, it encourages them to want to be priests.

What you say is disrespectful to those who have suffered for the Old Mass. Th preservation of orthodoxy was the linchpin of all their actions. The LMS actually predates the introduction of the New Mass! As does the formation of many of the older traditionalist orders. The were formed because of the wave of error sweeping the Church and they rightly saw the New Mass as part of this move towards modernism. The New Mass is not heretical but actions inform peoples conceptions and there can be no doubt that the New Mass has done great damage to Catholic truth.

You are, indeed, right in saying that this is why the bi hops are difficult about allowing the Old Mass. That has always been the problem. They see that the Old Mass is the negation of their 'reforms'. That is their problem and they will have to go. These bishops will not be around for ever.

gemoftheocean said...

I was more upset they cancelled the Mass which shouldnt' have been done over something so trivial. i.e. is it against canon law for a woman to serve Mass? No. Then say the Mass and be done with it. "here, carry a torch" and get on with it. I thought the Extraordinary Form of the Mass was the treasure of ALL the church, not just a subset.

TLM society by throwing the hissy fit is coming off as a bunch of 10 year olds with a "no grils alowd" sign on the clubhouse. You expect it in 10 year olds, and they have their pastoral needs too, but you don't expect it of adults.

These same people probably wouldn't be upset if the women locked up the church, helped with collection and rolled up the pennies ... all traditionally jobs of the porter .. another minor order. Quite one thing to forbid women to be priests, we don't know that we *can* ordain women as priests .. that's fine and prudent and conservative...but all this business of who hands the priest the cruet at Mass isn't something the Almighty would be upset about. Those are all man made things which over time can change. I think this is an organic change. Does she know where to stand, sit, kneel and the responses? If so fine, if not, then she shouldn't serve.

And Christian, if the sanctuary is a "clerical space" then you ought to be fighting against women as EMs and Lectors and indeed the altar BOYS who are no more in orders than the man on the moon. And you can vacuum the place too....all by your little self if you don't "want no wimmin."


Augustine said...

"High Church Anglicans"

The hard core anglo-catholics wouldn't stand for it. It is perhaps the liberalism of the Catholic bishops in England which prevents them from rejoining the Catholic Church. They LOVE the current Holy Father!

Orthfully Catholic said...


Indeed, High Anglicans probably love the Holy Father than most Catholics! Have you seen Fr Z's blog concerning a TLM Mass to be celebrated in Winchester Cathedral. We will be posting a link shortly.

Orthfully Catholic said...


Please don't be so naive as to think that the Old Mass, before the introduction of the New Mass, was never subject to abuse. The reason it is rare to find a Novus Ordo Mass celebrated ad Orientem is because during the 50's and 60's in Europe priests were beginning to face the people. Masses were being said in the Vernacular, lay people were being asked to read and distribute Communion. This is why the Council decided to reform the Liturgy.

I agree that the inrtoduction of Altar Girls reduced the number of vocations in our young people quite dramatically, but, as Karen said in her comment, to cancel a Mass over the matter is like a group of ten year old boys not allowing girls into their treehouse.

I also agree that it isn't just trads and cons who politicise the Mass but Liberals who politicise the Novus Ordo and we are just as upset with them, which is why we say we are Roman Catholics without the political extras, ie, we are not Traditional Catholics, or Conservative Catholics, but Roman Catholics in total obedience to the Supreme Pontiff and if we are ordained it is our duty to ensure that all those we meet in our ministry are aware of this and will copy it.

God Bless,

The Seminarians

Joe said...

One aspect of the situation as it is developing post-Summorum Pontificum is the feeling that one needs to adopt a position with regard to the Extraordinary Form, and implicitly at the same time perhaps, with regard to the Ordinary Form.

I simply want to be able to live an attitude (hopefully a correct attitude) towards the Liturgy as such, and so have sympathy with the line you have taken in this post and its comments.

frpaul said...

The Latin Mass Society never seem to find the soup hot enough. They want things their own way. On sseveral occasions I have been approached by them to offer the Extra-Ordinary form of the Mass, but decided against involvement with the Society, as they are more concerned about making statements than a real concern for the beauty of the Liturgy and are more concerned with making political statements than a real love of the Latin Liturgy. A fellow priest prepared the altar correctly only to find the diocesan Society Organiser on the sanctuary to see if the correct number of cloths were on the altar. They weren't content with taking the word of the celebrant, and also they insisted tha he wore their vestments rather than his own. Personally I would have nothing to do with the LMS.

Ottaviani said...

It is your decision to cancel your membership to the LMS if you wish. However, I think, it is just as petty to do this, just because they did not take your point of view over how things should have preceeded.

The Dean's actions are indeed shameful and show the sorry state of things in this country. It was him, who politicised the whole mass, not the LMS. To use altar girls and communion in the hand at the older form of mass, is contrary to its ethos and a sabotage to the Holy Father's plan to bring back those who have been hurt by the wounds of the last 40 years. Mark my words - These actions are not going to heal any rifts between Rome and the SSPX.

The problem with bishops nowadays, is that due to the over-emphasis of collegiality, they behave like Popes in their own diocese. Many have forgotten that they, themselves, are to be submissive to the Pope. Their crass attitude to the motu proprio, is just one example of how far removed they are from the Holy Father. They would rather the church disintegrates, than allow the "experiment of Tradition" to take root in their dioceses.

The Novus Ordo has been, on the whole, a litugical disaster. Its whole existance is one of the reasons, why the Orthodox and Anglo-Catholics will certainly never re-unite with us. The abuses in the old mass, were nothing, in comparison to what is permitted today in the new rite.

The LMS is hoping to speak to Cardinal Hoyos, president of the Ecclesia Dei Comission, when he comes in June to celebrate mass at the Cathedral. We shal see what Rome has to say about all this. I daresay the Holy Father would be more displeased with those clergy who go out of their way to alienate traditional Catholics, than the LMS cancelling a mass.

Orthfully Catholic said...


By cancelling a Mass over such a small issue the LMS have confirmed to the Bishops that they are a political organization, and it is therefore far too dangerous now for a Seminarian to be a member of the Society as he will be seen as a politician rather than a future priest. This is the reason we have decided to leave them though we continue to support and pray for their work.

Mac McLernon said...

I wouldn't have said this was a small issue. The link between serving at the altar and the priesthood is a clear one, with the symbolism seen even more clearly at the TLM

No priest can be forced to have female altar servers. This is in canon law.

The Dean would have known that girl altar servers would be unacceptable to the priests celebrating the Mass. To insist on a WOMAN server was totally unacceptable. The Dean had obviously set out to provoke the issue.

As a woman, I would never dream of putting myself forward to serve. I have attended Low Mass where I have been the only person present other than the priest, and the most I would do, at the request of the priest, is make the responses from my place in the pew.

In no way would I consider this indicating a submissive attitude, or an inferiority to the priest, or to any man who happened to serve, and it's certainly not because I don't know what to do (I frequently tell the younger altar servers which bits they need to work on)

It is simply because of my awareness of the link between the priesthood and serving the Mass.

Orthfully Catholic said...

The Seminarians at Orthfully Catholic would like to thank everyone for their comments on this issue. We would like to point out that we have not made our decision based on the fact that we believe women should be allowed to serve at Mass but that the decision to cancel a Mass at the last minute because of a female server is a political act and it is not good for a Seminarian to be tarred with this particular brush.

An interesting point we discovered recently (from a Cardiff Seminarian no less) is that the server in question was not a woman but a child. This makes the situation worse in our view and we continue to stand by our decision to leave the LMS.

John Paul said...

Great post guys.