The AGM of the Society took place on 27 July at Pa Maria, Marist Centre, Thorndon, Wellington and the following EDSNZ Council was elected for 2014/2015:
- Chairman: Neil Coup
- Secretary: Melda Townsley
- Treasurer: Diana Ranger
- Secretariat: Jan Curran and Christine Le Lievre
- Council: Mary O’Brien, Jo Donovan, Louise Dowman, June Haly, Tim Watanabe (website) and Toni Nacu.
The Chairman, Neil Coup, has written to outgoing Council members – Diane Taylor, Brian Gladwell and Eric Vossen – to thank them for their hard work for the Society over many years.
With the majority of Council now resident in Wellington, the Post Office Box has moved to Wellington:
P O Box 754,
Thorndon Mail Centre,
Our new Secretary, Melda Townsley, advised the AGM that it is her intention to ensure there is more communication with members.
Our new Council member, Tim Watanabe, is in the process of setting up a new website, which will provide useful information on the Traditional Latin Mass and interactive location details of all Extraordinary Form Latin Masses in New Zealand. The links to the new interactive website: latinmass.nz and ecclesiadei.org.nz (which are presently under construction). We have also set up two Facebook sites: www.facebook.com/EDSNZ.org and www.facebook.com/pages/Latin-Mass-New-Zealand/836413019710685.
We would welcome your comments and suggestions for these websites.
Chairman’s Report to AGM
We reproduce here the Chairman, Neil Coup’s report to the AGM
“Seven years ago this month of July, Pope Benedict XVI, guaranteed all members of the “One Holy Catholic & Apostolic (Roman) Church” (Tridentine Creed) of our Baptism the right to unimpeded access to a great treasure: that sublimely sacral Extraordinary Latin form of Mass, the Usus Antiquior, as an instrument of the so-called “New Evangelisation” which is the raison d’etre of our Ecclesia Dei Society of New Zealand!
So what really has been achieved in our country as regards provision and ease of access to this venerable Eucharistic rite? Where are all these promised EF Masses in each diocese? Where are all the “qualified” EF Celebrant priests in our country? Why do the notable number of priestly and religious vocations inspired by celebration of the Latin Mass in this country ever since the implementation of the “Ordinary” Novus Ordo vernacular form of the Pope Paul VI Mass in New Zealand in the early 1970s almost inevitably find a home elsewhere in all parts of the world other than in this “Mission” Country?
In response to this perceived injustice, earlier this year, at the start of April in fact, representatives of EDSNZ were graciously given an opportunity to present these very issues and concerns to the NZ Episcopal Conference. The Bishops seemed friendly enough at the outset, but then sat-back to study our reaction whilst their “spokesman”, the Emeritus Bishop of Palmerston North, Peter Cullinane, presented their ( or his!) understanding of the official teaching and canonical discipline of the Church regarding celebration of the forma extraordinaria in Aotearoa-New Zealand. As he ( / and then probably they) see it: the Forma Ordinaria is really the only Mass form they feel obliged to provide for the Catholic faithful here in NZ! And, furthermore, clearly they are struggling even to do that since nowadays local clergy are aged and new young vocations to priestly or religious life are negligible. Consequently, evidently they consider that they have no responsibility to PROMOTE the former form of liturgy, especially as it is now such a struggle to maintain even the Novus Ordo Mass in their newly “clustered” parishes throughout the land, and, furthermore, even 1% of concern, effort, or support for the Ancient Latin Liturgy is unwarranted, as it is merely an “extra” to the normal liturgical diet, and, basically, at best, essentially a “CONCESSION” to malcontents (such as our few members and supporters…).
They feel confident in stating that really “there is not much interest” in maintaining access to the “Usus Antiquior”, etc. etc. And , this, despite, Papal directives such as: Summorum Pontificum (2007); Ecclesiae Unitatem (2009); & Universae Ecclesiae (2011) . Essentially, your representatives (Diane Taylor and I) gained the distinct impression that our local Bishops (and Bp. Cullinane in particular) had made little or NO effort to update their attitude towards the Traditional Latin Mass since the Indult-days of Ecclesia Dei Adflicta way back in 1998! Provided, we approach them “cap-in-hand”, groveling to their benevolence, civility will be maintained and we can expect their authoritative consent to a few Latin Masses here-and-there – provided we continue independently to organise and fund them ourselves entirely, as best we can. They appreciate our problem in finding duly “qualified” Priest Celebrants, but at present they do not foresee scope at the Auckland Theologate to develop study of the Latin Language there, and especially NOT to train Latin Mass Celebrants there. Diane spoke of the Auckland experience at Titirangi, but despite our EDSNZ request in particular for the provision of “Personal Parishes” in each diocese for the Old Latin Mass, the Bishops were clearly unwilling to address such a concept. That Rome expects as much, is seemingly irrelevant in NZ – presumably because (- as usual – ) such directives from the Apostolic See “do not apply in NZ”!. (Actually, it certainly remains unclear to me just what “Roman” practices our local hierarchy would ever consider to be not only applicable, but actually mandatory…here..!)
Notwithstanding such episcopal flak (and flakiness in general), Diane and I promptly composed a courteous but nevertheless firm and instructive response to their outdated stance and are now seeking a further audience at their next Conference gathering in Dunedin later this year.
Furthermore, this Meeting of EDSNZ representatives was reported in the 15 June edition of “NZ Catholic” which provoked an official EDSNZ response written by Diane (still to be published), as well as a number of Letters to the Editor. At least 3 of these, written by EDSNZ members (= Melda Townsley, Jan Curran, and Cliff Corbett), were published in the 13 July issue of NZ Catholic. They outlined vividly the weaknesses in the original article by appeal to many clear references in the appropriate Roman documents.
Meanwhile, in stark contrast to EDSNZ hopes for “personal parishes” in each NZ diocese, we remain completely dependent on the goodwill of each of our bishops in their dioceses or the personal enthusiasm of a seemingly diminishing number of Latin Mass Celebrant priests. Historically in NZ, only Christchurch Diocese has responded appropriately to the vision of Pope Benedict in Summorum Pontificum, by establishing a Latin Mass Chaplaincy there, which despite earthquake problems continues to flourish well. In Palmerston North Diocese, an interested priest was deputed to supply a regular Sunday Mass in alternating venues, whilst in Dunedin Diocese local priests have taken the initiative to provide a weekly EF Mass. In Auckland Diocese the long-established Latin Mass Centre at Mt St Mary’s, Titirangi has fallen-on hard times as Fr Meuli’s health has deteriorated with age, without the Bishop ensuring a proper succession-plan to provide pastoral care for a once 300-strong congregation. In Hamilton Diocese, the Bishop allows some regular weekday Latin Masses in a beautiful disused chapel, but refuses to respond to a petition to allow regular weekly Sunday Masses. And in Wellington Archdiocese, (with its capital city focus , but unique geographical challenge of serving two separate Island sectors) permission granted in principal to offer a regular Sunday Mass in the Capital City with the assistance of qualified Diocesan Priest Celebrants has had a rocky road as priests have aged, retired, died, and suffered strokes and ill-health, leaving a fast-diminishing pool of Celebrants and a current crisis!
And in all of this characteristically “shaky” milieu, despite celebrating its 20th Anniversary on the Feast of the Assumption BVM. last year, EDSNZ itself has suffered both internal dissension and a plunging membership. Unfortunately where the EF. Mass is most securely planted, the laity seem to take little interest in promoting a more nationwide Missionary perspective, and consequently both membership, support, and Council representation from the South Island dioceses is almost entirely absent. Certainly, nowhere is there any reason to be complacent…
However, as convinced (Roman) Catholic Christians, let us never lose Hope! We know with sure conviction that not only is it”the Mass that matters”, but that, in fact, the Traditional Latin Mass IS indeed the Extraordinary Form endorsed by every Pope since the Council of Trent, and, (having been “never abrogated”), it ever retains its proven track-record of personal challenge, healing and peace, as well as the missionary outlook which, historically has converted Nations and developed Civilisation. Even if opportunity to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the forma extraordinaria becomes really tenuous in New Zealand, still we are still fully Baptised and Confirmed members of the Body of Christ, we have the Faith, the Bible is “open” and available, Mary is our Mother and her Rosary a proven weapon, and usually valid Catholic Sacraments are still accessible – even if only in the new forma ordinaria – and so the life of grace remains possible, whilst the promise of Heaven remains as our Eternal Reward for a life well-lived!
For, indeed, when such things come upon (us), let us remain resolute in the faith, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith!
The motto of our Society states this challenge unequivocally: “Crux Christi Nunquam Evacuabitur” : (= The Cross of Christ will never be emptied of its power )!”
Proposed Retreat 12 – 14 December, 2014: Home of Compassion, Island Bay, Wellington – with Bishop Basil Meeking
A maximum of 25 retreatants, so please advise interest in attending this retreat as soon as possible.
P O Box 754,
Thorndon Mail Centre, Wellington