Resuming our Tower of Trent Tributes, we honor three outstanding lay leaders who have made such an impact on the Traditional movement and for Holy Mother Church. Going alphabetically, the first honored today is Michael Davies the prolific British writer whose writings are well-known worldwide and who, as head of Una Voce for eight years, served as the unofficial adjutor between the cause of the Latin Mass and modern Rome.
Like Bishop Richard Williamson, Michael Davies was raised an Anglican. Born in 1936 in Wales, he was brought up in Somerset, although of Welsh descent, converted to Catholicism and attended St. Mary's where he received his degree and began teaching. He also served as a regular soldier in the Somerset Light Infantry during the Malayan emergency when race riots broke out in Kuala Lampur as well as serving in the military during the Suez Crisis, and the EOKA campaign in Cyprus.
It was his research for truth that led him to the writings of Cardinal John Henry Newman whom he had written several works later in his life, including extensive biographies of the Cardinal and St. John Fisher as well. Michael was a consummate historian in addition to being a liturgical expert. Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand also had a profound effect on Michael, especially the Doctor's masterpiece The Devastated Vineyard.
Before Davies ever published an important book, he struck up a friendship with the editor and publisher of The Remnant Walter Matt who, through the contact of Father Harry Marchosky, invited Davies to contribute articles to his fledgling publication in 1972, which included serializing his entire book Pope John's Council. The bridge over the pond between America and Western Europe had been established and fortified as a lasting bond ever since for Davies has continued to contribute regular columns for the paper for over 30 years. Michael considered Walter one of his dearest friends and, in fact, Michael Davies gave the memorial tribute to Walter at The Remnant Congress in September 2002.
It was apropos that a priest of God would link these two giants of the Resistance to the New Mass in which Davies was able to provide not only an international flavor to Remnant readers, but be closer to the reality of things in London while traveling throughout four continents.
This gifted Catholic writer left for posterity over 30 books and booklets published since that time including his defense of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre both well before Ecclesia Dei in 1988 with his 1977 book Archbishop Lefebvre: The Truth and his 1990 book Archbishop Lefebvre and Religious Liberty.
While teaching in parochial schools in London, Davies released in 1977 four other works, Cranmer's Godly Order: The Destruction of Catholicism Through Liturgical Change in which he showed clearly how all that the schismatic Thomas Cranmer had called for and more had been accomplished in the ambiguous reforms of Vatican II and the New Mass of Paul VI which he also treated in his books The New Mass and The Tridentine Mass, both also in 1977. The next year he followed with his work The Roman Rite Destroyed. In 1980 he released Open Lesson to a Bishop and Communion Under Both Kinds: An Ecumenical Surrender.
Throughout the eighties while teaching in Catholic schools in England, he became renowned as a sought-after lecturer and also a skilled debater in defending the Traditional movement as the only solution to the problems cropping up with alarming contradictions to Church doctrine. He easily gained the upper hand on almost every opponent until meeting his match in 2003 when Atila Sinke Guimaraes did challenge Davies' summation of the document Dominus Iesus in which the two giants and charter recipients of the Tower of Trent Trophy waged their debate on the pages of The Remnant.
Davies, like Matt, Lefebvre, and other Tower of Trent Hall of Honor honorees such as Father Gommar De Pauw and Father James F. Wathen could see well before many of those of us who came lately in the new millennium to realize the truth and joined the movement today. In 1992 he resigned most of his teaching assignments, including his final teaching post in 1995 to write full time and to take on the reins of Una Voce.
He literally wrote thousands of articles on the Faith and the liturgical consequences that he was regarded by many as the foremost liturgical lay expert in the English-speaking world, so much so that in 1995 he was appointed president of the International Una Voce Federation which had been founded in 1965 in Norway, of all places. His new duties took him into the inner sanctum of the Modern Vatican such as meeting more than a few times with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as pictured here. His role as president also took him throughout the world with the specific goal to establish the traditional Latin Mass everywhere as a generous and free option for all Catholics.
In recent years he established a Una Voce chapter in Nigeria, which greatly touched his heart. 2,500 assisted at the inaugural Latin Mass there and he met with representatives from five dioceses in Africa where each, in their twenties, expressed that there were many who desired the Traditional liturgy.
In 1997 he released the book Liturgical Shipwreck: 25 Years of the New Mass in which he illustrated the striking similarity between the Protestant "Reformers" destruction of altars in the 16th century and today's destruction of altars and sanctuaries by pretended reformers. This book was a real eye-opener and destined to become, along with his Liturgical Revolution and his recently released Liturgical Time Bombs in Vatican II, powerful aids in preserving holy Catholic traditions and informing the Resistance. In the 90's he also released A Short History of the Roman Mass to follow up his excellent works The Wisdom of Adrian Fortescue and St. Athanasius: Defender of the Faith. He also wrote The Goldfish Bowl: The Church Since Vatican II in 1993 and The Catholic Sanctuary and the Second Vatican Council in 1997.
In addition to writing and the lecture circuit, one of his first loves was always the annual Chartres Pilgrimage each year which he had been a part of for 15 years, generously serving as a
tour guide each and every year for The Remnant Tours’ European pilgrimages. Each year at Pentecost, an average of 15,000 pilgrims with a median age of twenty march from the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris to Notre Dame de Chartres, camping out for two nights, and concluding with a Pontifical Mass in the cathedral at Chartres. In 2001, Michael was effective in convincing Cardinal Medina Estevez, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, to say the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the pilgrims.
Michael, never one to hold back an opinion no matter on what subject matter, also possessed a brilliant sense of humor, always with a joke to share, thanks to his quick, British wit. He loved to make fun in a respectful way of the quirky American customs that he found at times truly bizarre and, when one understands from his perspective, one can readily make sense of his logic and wonder why we Americans do most of the things in the way we do. Though culturally different, the one uniting factor between this loquacious Brit and Americans was the focus on upholding the Truths and Traditions of Holy Mother Church and a total commitment to restoring the Traditional Latin Mass of All Ages. In 2003 Michael unexpectedly resigned as president of Una Voce and those whom he had met in his visits to the Philippines, India and Nigeria as well as other places around the globe will greatly miss his impact and presence. Many wondered at the time why he would resign, but it soon became known that he was diagnosed with cancer and sadly that was all too evident when, on September 25, 2004, he succumbed to the deadly disease at the age of 68.
The boundless energy he had always exhibited waned in the last months of his life as he embraced his own passion in preparation for meeting His Lord and God. He continued to write as he was able while so many around the world offered prayers for him and thanked God for his writings that had better enabled confused Catholics to more clearly see the subterfuge that so undermined Holy Mother Church. Because of his persistence and valor, his many clear-cut writings that have helped many see the time-bombs within Vatican II, we graciously enshrine Michael in the Tower of Trent Hall of Honor and present him with the Tower of Trent Trophy and declare this day Michael Davies Day in all of Christendom.
For other charter members honored in this inaugural presentation of the Tower of Trent, see Charter Recipients of the Tower of Trent Trophy