Residential Training Conference for Priests Wishing to Learn the Traditional Latin Rite at Merton College, Oxford, Monday 28 July to Friday 1 August 2008


The Latin Mass Society’s second annual Priests’ Training Conference which took place last week (Monday 28 July to Friday 1 August ) was a triumphant success. It was fully booked with 60 priests attending.

Bishop Malcolm McMahon OP of Nottingham celebrated Pontifical Vespers on Thursday 31 July at 6.00 pm before attending a gala dinner with the priest-participants. In a speech after dinner, Bishop McMahon said that he supported Pope Benedict’s Motu Proprio, ‘Summorum Pontificum’ and the Pope’s project of liturgical renovation. He particularly agreed that the two Forms of the Roman Rite should enrich each other, with perhaps the new having more to learn from the old.

Bishop McMahon’s speech received a standing ovation from his priest audience who then serenaded him with ‘Ad Multos Annos’, ‘Faith of Our Fathers’ and ‘God Bless Our Pope’.

After the dinner, Bishop MacMahon insisted on mixing with the priests in the bar and had many useful conversations.

Before Bishop McMahon’s speech, Julian Chadwick, Chairman of the LMS, in a speech of welcome, lamented that the Second Vatican Council had taken liturgy seriously but sadly this had been transmuted into a belief that liturgy was of little importance. The result was that bad liturgy made bad Catholics. There could be no other explanation for what had happened in the parishes these last 40 years. He was pleased that the positive effect of the conference was to send priests back to their parishes electrified by hope.

Bishop David McGough, Auxiliary Bishop in Birmingham, was due to celebrate the closing Pontifical Solemn Mass of Christ the High Priest on Friday 1 August at 11.45 am. Unfortunately, he had to withdraw at the last moment due to the death of his sister. His place as celebrant was taken by the Rt Revd Emmanuel Marie de St Jean, Abbot of St Mary’s Abbey, Lagrasse.

Features of the 2008 conference were:

Julian Chadwick, LMS Chairman, said: “We know from the highest levels in the Vatican that our training conference last year greatly impressed the Roman authorities. Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, visited London on 13/14 June at the invitation of the LMS and said: ‘I am…pleased to commend the Latin Mass Society for its provision of the training session for priests at Merton College, Oxford…allowing many priests unfamiliar with the Usus Antiquior to learn how to celebrate it.’

“The LMS’s aim is to ensure that the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite is freely available in all the dioceses. To this end we will step up our training of priests, seminarians, choirs and servers. We will liaise closely with the bishops and seminary rectors to ensure that all who wish to learn and worship in the Traditional Rite are able to do so.”

The Latin Mass Society’s August 2007 training conference for priests was a great success with 47 priests attending. It was opened by Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham and attended by Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Many of these priests are now offering the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Traditional Rite).

Saint Richard Gwyn