After all the furore earlier in the year caused by the resignations of Julian Chadwick and John Eidenow there was a great deal of anticipation as to how this would be covered by the AGM. However anyone expecting any detailed explanations will have left sorely disappointed. The issue was not glossed over and to their credit the committee did tackle the issue head on but there is a clear perception that, for whatever reason, the committee is unwilling to explain the issues that caused them to vote for a motion of no confidence in Julian Chadwick. Whilst they may have their reasons and I don't doubt they are genuinely held; I cannot believe this secrecy is in either their interests or those of the society. At the moment, rightly or wrongly, there is still a great deal of discontent over Mr Chadwick's removal as chairman. If the committee felt strongly enough to vote for a motion of no confidence in him then I am prepared to accept their decision but I would still like to know what caused them to make take that course of action. In the absence of a clear statement there are a lot of ridiculous rumours flying around on the blogosphere and elsewhere. There was the absurd 'class divide' nonsense commented on at Holy Smoke and the pro and anti Merton stances on the priests training conferences and then there are the comments about Deacon Hemming's dubious philosophical writings. Clearing this up is in the interests of the society and the new committee. The committee might actually find that we, the members, support their actions but without knowing it's very difficult. There was also no explanation as to why Mgr Conlon decided to resign as the society's chaplain although the AGM did note their thanks by acclamation.
Anyway, onto the good news, despite the controversy surrounding their appointments, the LMS does have an excellent committee in the shape of the new chairman, Joseph Shaw, and the new treasurer, Paul Waddington. They both look set to be an energising force to drive through the changes necessary in the society to enable it to flourish in the post Summorum Pontificum world. Both have excellent ideas on how to take the society forward and to ensure that, as Fr Martin Edwards stated in his address to the AGM, we build on the past successes and ensure that the Mass of Ages spreads throughout the dioceses and parishes so that in time it is celebrated, in the words of Cardinal Hoyos, not just in some of the parishes but all the parishes. The triumph of the priests training conference at Ushaw will be followed by another training conference at London Colney this time with the full approval and support of the Archdiocese of Westminster – who will even be paying for the first Mass, which will be in the Ordinary Form. As the chairman stated, this is not out of place - for when priests return to their parishes they will celebrate both forms. So it is important that they (and one might add the bishops!) can see that both forms can co-exist side by side.
After the phenomenal occasion of Cardinal Hoyos' visit last year this was never going to approach the scale or impact of that event and yet even ones decreased expectations were not met. In it's favour we had his Lordship Bishop Arnold as celebrant, the vestments were beautiful, Mass was celebrated at the High Altar (the other Altar seems to have been permanently removed – Deo Gratias) and the schola of the Cathedral Choir sang. On the downside, the music was simply dreadful (Duruffle's Messe Cum Iubilo). Without criticising the singing of the schola, which was as good as one would expect, the choice of music was just awful and sounded as if they were singing Mass IX through a toilet cistern. Why they could not simply sing the original chants I do not know as it would have been far preferable to this. When the LMS is prepared to fund polyphonic choirs at Maiden Lane, where the maximum congregation must be barely 200, it would be hoped that they could manage the same for the premier Mass organised by the Society. Also the Salve Regina was not sung at the end (at a Mass for the BVM!) and there was no pontifical blessing as Bishop Arnold processed down the nave. When large numbers of people had travelled so far to attend this Mass it would be hoped that the LMS could do better.
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