Text of the letter sent by His Grace, Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJV, Metropolitan of the ORCCLR in Europe, to His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI in response to the news of his retirement from the See of Rome, sent via the Office of the Papal Nuncio to Great Britain:
BEATISSIMO PATRI, Patriarchæ Ecclesiæ Occidentalis, Primati Italiæ, Episcopo Romano, Succesori sanctorum apostolorum Petri et Pauli, sanctissimo et apostolico domino nostro, Benedicto, eius nominis sexto decimo, Hieronymus Lloyd, professus ad Oratorium Sancti Johannis Mariæ Vianney, Metropolitanus Archiepiscopus Veteris Romanæ Catholicæ Ecclesiæ Ritus Latini, Ordinarius Dioecesanus Magnæ Britanniæ, peccator, salutem plurimam dicit.
Una cum omnibus clericis fidelibusque laicis Veteris Romanæ Catholicæ Ecclesiæ Latini Ritus in Europa, tibi scribimus, significantes studium erga te non mediocre atque promittentes pro te orare, mox decessuro de Sede Sancti Petri.
Revera et vehementer speraveramus omnes nos apud Collegium Episcoporum eiusdem Ecclesiæ petere apostolicam benedictionem abs te et in spiritu veræ Christianæ caritatis ordiri dialogum quo celerius sanaremus cicatrices quibus etiam nunc dividuntur Ecclesiæ nostræ. Piget nos ac pænitet nequituros esse tecum colloqui, appelato a permultis “Pontifice Restituendæ Dicionis Christianæ,” sed reapse speramus talem dialogum instituere cum tuo successore.
Omnibus numeris nostris avemus te facere certiorem ut postquam repulsi simus ab predecessore tuo, Pio Nono anno MDCCCLIII post Christum natum, numquam cessemus offerre sanctam Missam “una cum” eo qui gerit pontificatum. Ut quidem retineamus nomen Pontificis Romani in Canoni Missæ, curavit noster predecessor, Archiepiscopus Arnoldus Harris Matthew, constituere Ecclesiam nostram sui iuris a Sede Traiecti ad Rhenum die XXIX mensis Decembris, anno MCMX. Quod omnes nostræ Missæ offerrentur tali modo pro te donec de pontificatu decedas, hoc habeto compertum.
Multum licet pati simus per fragilitatem humanam et machinationes, ut illa doctrina tradita nobis a patribus servetur et continuetur, qua pro re Ecclesa nostra constituta est, tamen semper ducimus Beatissimum Patrem Romæ prout caput nostrum. Cum lugeamus tecum Ecclesiam in Europa morientem, Fidem deflorescentem, Caritatem multorum refrigescentem (Matt 24:12), eris semper nobis exmplo pietatis ac studii apostolici quo fidelius omni ope atque opera enitamur errores hereticæ pravitatis eruncare et annuntiare omnibus denuo evangelium, “virtutem Dei in salutem omni credenti” (Rom 1:16), quo solo possumus fieri hæredes regni cælestis, “cohæredes autem Christ” (Rom 8:16).
Tametsi desiderabimus quam recte, integre, sincere, caritate Christi urgente (II Cor 5:14), morbos sæculi caduci delabentis magis in diem ad ruinam monstres, verumtamen prope pectus tenebimus illam “fidem, spem, caritatem” (I Cor 13:13) quam tam perite semper doces universalem Ecclesiam verbo exemploque, tu Vicarius Christi.
Beatissime Pater, memento precum pro te oblatarum nostrarum et, quæsumus, “ad Domini altare memineris nostri, ubiubi fueris” (Cf. Confess. August. 9.11.27); Augeas, ut precamur, scientia et caritate Dei “in longitudinem dierum” (Ps 22:6), donec “possideas paratum tibi regnum a constitutione mundi” (Matt 25:34) et “percipias immarcescibilem gloriæ coronam” (I Pet 5:4).
Ora pro nobis, beatissime papa.
Datum Brichtelmestunensis (Sussex, Angliæ), anno Incarnationis Dominicæ MMXIII Idibus Februarias.
Translation by Maximilian Hanlon
To the Holy Father, Patriarch of the Western Church, Primate of Italy, Bishop of Rome, Successor to the holy apostles Peter and Paul, our most holy and apostolic lord, Benedict, the sixteenth of that name, Jerome Lloyd, OSJV, Metropolitan Archbishop of the old Roman Catholic Church of the Latin Rite, Diocesan Ordinary of Great Britain, and a sinner, sends the greatest greeting.
Together with all our clergy and faithful lay people, we the bishops of the Old Roman Catholic Church of the Latin Rite in Europe, write to you, showing you no small affection, and promising to pray for you who are about to retire from the See of St. Peter.
Truly and intensely all we bishops of the same Church had hoped to seek the apostolic benediction from you and in the spirit of true Christian charity to begin the dialogue by which all the more speedily we might heal the wounds by which our churches are even now divided. It pains and troubles us that we will not be able to engage with you, called by a great many “the Pontiff who would restore Christendom,” but we truly hope to establish such a dialogue with your successor.
With every part of our being, we earnestly desire to inform you that after we had been cast off by your predecessor, Pius IX in the year 1853, we never ceased to offer holy Mass “together with” the one who held the pontificate. Indeed, that we might retain the name of the Roman Pontiff in the Canon of the Mass, our predecessor, Archbishop Arnold Harris Matthew, took care to establish our Church sui iuris from the See of Utrecht on December 29, 1910. Consider it an established fact that all of our Masses will be offered in this way for you until you retire from the pontificate.
Although we have sufferred much through human weakness and machinations so that that doctrine handed down to us from the Fathers might be preserved and perpetuated, for which thing our Church was established; nevertheless, we have always considered the Holy Father in Rome as our head. Because we mourn with you that the Church in Europe is dying, that the Faith is withering, that “the Charity of many is growing cold,” (Matt 24:12) you will always serve for us as an example of godliness and apostolic zeal whereby we, all the more faithfully, with all our energies and powers, may earnestly strive to uproot the errors of heretical depravity and to announce to all afresh the Gospel, “the power of God unto salvation for all that believe,” (Rom 1:16) by which alone we can become heirs of the kingdom of heaven and “coheirs with Christ.” (Rom 8:16)
Although we will miss how rightly, accurately, and correctly, at “the urging of the love of Christ,” (II Cor 5:14) you diagnose the ills of this fallen world, sliding more day by day to ruin; nevertheless, we shall keep close to our hearts that “faith, hope, and charity,” (I Cor 13:13) which you so expertly have ever taught the universal Church by word and example, you the Vicar of Christ.
Holy Father, be mindful of our prayers offered on your behalf, and please “remember us at the altar of the Lord, wherever you happen to be.” (Cf. Confess. August. 9.11.27) May you increase, we pray, in the knowledge and love of God “for length of days,” (Ps 22:6) until you “possess the kingdom prepared for you from before the foundation of the world” (Matt 25:34) and “receive the crown of glory that passes not away” (I Pet 5:4).
Pray for us Holy Father.