The new head of a worldwide federation of traditional Catholics has stressed that if the New Evangelization is to be effective, it’s vital that the faithful know and understand the Church’s roots, history and tradition.

James Bogle, who was elected president of the International Una Voce Federation at a Rome conference this past weekend, said young people are especially aware of the importance of rediscovering the Church’s roots. “It’s a voyage of discovery and one that they enjoy,” he told the Register.

Bogle argued that if Catholics don’t understand their roots “then it’s difficult to evangelize because when you attempt to evangelise, people will ask you, 'Where does it all come from? What are the roots of your belief and Church?'”

“If the answer is: ‘Well, I don’t know, I’m a member and I think you should be too,’ that isn’t going to be terribly persuasive,” he said. “Why should someone come to the faith if you haven’t got a proper historical perspective of where it comes from and what its historical purposes are? Even people who aren’t particularly attracted to the traditional rite of the Mass are wanting to know about this.”

Bogle, who is also vice chairman of the Catholic Union of Great Britain, said he intends to carry out his new role by consolidating and supporting the gains made by Summorum Pontificum, Benedict XVI’s 2007 motu proprio that restored the Traditional Latin Mass as one of the two approved forms of the Mass. He also wants to integrate its fruits into the New Evangelization.

The Una Voce federation was established in 1964 to defend the Church's liturgical heritage. A lay movement recognised by the Holy See, its principal aims have been to ensure that the Missale Romanum of Pope John XXIII (1962 edition) is maintained in the Church as one of the forms of liturgical celebration, and to safeguard and promote the use of Latin, Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony.

Recently associations in Latvia, Cuba and Brazil joined the federation.

“We’re fully loyal to the Church as everyone knows,” Bogle said. “We are not Lefebvrists and certainly don’t want to be. We’re very much part of the mainstream of the Church, part of the New Evangelization community in the Church. We very much want to work with, through and in the Church - that’s what we’ve always done and intend to continue doing.”

During their conference, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos reassured members that, contrary to some reports, Pope Francis has no intention of restricting the Old Mass.

“He told us he had discussed the subject with the Holy Father and he wasn’t hostile at all,” Bogle said. “He was very much of the same view that we we're taking, which is that it is part of the fabric and culture of the Church. I don’t think there’s any evidence to suggest otherwise, and I’d have been surprised if there were.”