January 15, 2002
volume 13, no. 7

My Return to Tradition

By Father Alan Rolph

    The following testimony from a priest in England shows the growing trend of concerned priests who know the truths of Holy Mother Church to finally stand up and be counted. Slowly, but surely the ebb will flow more toward the tried and true Tridentine Mass, for only within the Mass of All Ages are the full truths of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church manifested in the Holy Sacrifice.

    My dear Faithful, it is with great joy that I write to you of my journey to the Society of St Pius X. My training and my Ordination to the Priesthood were in the Traditional Rite, but already, in 1965, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was undergoing profound changes. My first appointment was to Upton Park, East London, where my Mass had to be said on a converted kitchen table so that I could face the congregation. The magnificent reredos and Altar were later destroyed and the Tabernacle moved off to the side Altar. All subsequent Churches that I was sent to had already undergone similar, violent surgery! My final appointment, as it turned out, was to a Church built in 1997 in South Chingford, East London, where, to my horror, I found that the Tabernacle of our dear Lord’s presence was placed outside the Church in a separate building. The Altar was a strange structure of four pyramids making a table in four parts with a black cross painted across them. Hardly a fitting ‘mensa’ for the Sacrifice to take place on! The only statue was one of our Lady, placed against the concrete block wall at the back of the Church and therefore almost invisible. Amazingly, the Church was planned and built without a Confessional or Room of Reconciliation, as it is now called. Was the Lord telling me something by allowing this appointment?

    For many years, I said the New Mass, presuming that it was the mind of the Church and therefore the will of God. Since we believe what we pray and likewise pray what we believe, many doctrines of the Church, held for centuries as the absolute truth given to us by Almighty God, started to be both questioned and denied. Many of my brother Priests gradually formed their own personal corpus of ‘truth’, accepting what suited and scrapping what did not. The new experts in the Church, Priests, Religious and many ex-Religious, together with a growing number of lay people, were brought in to tell the Bishops and Priests of the Diocese what they should now believe. This was expected to give us a refreshed and lively Church. Unfortunately, it simply meant a sad loss of Priests and Religious and many lay people from the Church. Vocations rapidly lessened, but this was seen to be God’s way of telling us that lay people should be doing most of the work carried our hitherto by Priests. In one Diocese, I hear that they are now training lay people to say a ‘dry Mass’, which is the New Mass minus the actual Consecration (at least for the time being).

    Many Priests who are saying Mass in parishes throughout the country barely hold a belief in the True Presence and some deny it completely. What does this mean for the people attending these Masses and receiving Holy Communion? Individual Confession has given way, in a growing number of parishes, to twice-yearly Services of Penance, during which the people file up to the Priest, as for Holy Communion, so that he can place his hands on their heads and absolve them. There is no chance for confession of sins at all. This leads to a loss of the sense of sin and results in a vast number of sacrilegious Communions.

    Sadly, all this, and much more, is known to and accepted by our Bishops. When I went to my Bishop to tell him that I had decided to return to Tradition and join the Society of St Pius X, I was told that this would be an extraordinary step to take against the whole body of the Church: to join a tiny group, who considered themselves to be right and everyone else, including the Pope and the Bishops, wrong. Prophetic words!? I was deeply unimpressed by any reasons given by him and others as to why I should not join the Society, to which I was more and more convinced that God and His Holy Mother were drawing me. I visited St George’s House and was given a wonderful welcome by Father Emily, who put no pressure on me whatsoever. I knew that this was where I belonged. I entered the Society on Sunday 11th November 2001 and took up residence in St George’s House, Wimbledon. I hope that I will be faithful to Almighty God, in and through the Society, till the end of my life here on earth. Please remember me in your prayers.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2002
volume 13, no. 7
Traditional Thoughts