AS leader of the party which went front Britain. thank you for your report of the Vigil and processions in Rome organised by Catholics anxious to see that the traditional Mass, practises and doctrine of the Church should continue.
So far as numbers are concerned I would say that at least 7,000 were present in the Sunday procession, and 3,000 to 4,000 at the Tridentine rite Masses. About 2,000 were there at the beginning of the Vigil and a physical count confirmed that 800 saw it through.
The object of those taking part. I must emphasise, was not, as you report, to protest against the liturgical changes which have been imposed upon the Church, but, to ask the Holy Father to permit and ensure the continued use of the Traditional Rite for the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which, until recently, was obligatory for most Catholics and, demonstrably, nourished, sustained and strengthened the Church as it had done for centuries past.
We arc saddened to think that, departing from custom, the Holy Father left the Vatican at this time, and also did not grant us, completely loyal Catholics, the audience we had requested through official channels.
Despite this, we continued with our efforts and kept the all-night Vigil in St. Peter's Square. This was offered in reparation for the acts of those inside, and outside, the Church who seem to find satisfaction in showing less and less respect to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. We were there for nine hours; much of the time kneeling on the stones; old and young alike. I myself. did not feel the hitter cold leave my bones until more than six hours after the Vigil was over and I am sure that others suffered more.
Despite this, every person was uplifted and is eager to repeat the experience. I repeat. Sir. this was not a protest. No protest was made. It was a dignified exhibition of that Traditional loyalty and unity which once was commonplace in the Church but now. unhappily, is sadly lacking. It reached the climax when we attended and participated (what an inadequate word) in the celebration of Holy Mass according to the ancient, traditional, Rite which is still permitted in Rome by her Bishop.
(Major) Leonard Hurst Sanderstead, Surrey.