Monday, September 15, 2014

Traditional Mass to end at Blackfen


That's what Fr John Zuhlsdorf says: it will end by the end of Septemeber. According to my sources, which are probably the same as his, this is true. It was announced from the pulpit yesterday by the new Parish Priest, Fr Steven Fisher. It was his second Sunday in the parish.

If it isn't true, no one will be more pleased to put the record straight than I.

Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark did something very unusual in moving Fr Tim Finigan from the parish of Our Lady of the Rosary at Blackfen, to a parish in Margate. The usual thing is that, knowing that there was a long-established group attending the Traditional Mass in the parish, Archbishop Smith appointed a new Parish Priest who was able, and professed himself willing, to carry this on.

It is a tragedy that this hasn't worked. Fr Fisher has decided, for reasons which I'll leave to him to explain, that, having said he would continue to say the EF, he won't after all.

Photos: a Mass celebrated in Our Lady of the Rosary in happier times. Set here.

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LMS Annual Requiem, 8 Nov

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Bishop John Arnold, auxiliary of Westminster, will celebrate a Pontifical High Requiem in Westminster Cathedral at 2.00pm for the repose of the souls of all our deceased members, on Saturday 8th November.

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Everyone is welcome to join us; come and see one of the Church's most solemn liturgical moments, a Mass for the dead, celebrated by a bishop in perhaps the finest church in Britain, accompanied by the Westminster Cathedral choir.

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In addition to Mass the celebrant blesses a catafalque, representing the bodies of those for whom we are praying.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Michael Sean Winters on Jansenism

How to annoy a Jansenist. 1 Have lots of processions.
The days roll by, and Michael Sean Winters doesn't get round to correct the spelling of 'Damien Thompson' in his post about Jansenists and Jesuits. By the time you read this, it may have happened, but it is taking a mighty long time, even after Damian himself pointed out the error in the comments box.

Winters' substantive point has a similar level of accuracy. He thinks that the key to Pope Francis' critique of 'moralism', 'legalism', 'ideology' and so on is a rejection of Jansenism. (For my own interpretation, see here.)

Thompson fails to see that the Holy Father, above all, is engaged in an old struggle for the Society of Jesus: He is confronting the Jansenists of our day, the very same conservative Catholics in the English-speaking world whom Thompson thinks have the fire of the Gospel in their bellies. It is not the Gospel, but a hyper-moralistic concern against spiritual contagion that animates the conservatives Thompson champions. And, quite clearly, this is not what animates Pope Francis.

Has Winters even looked up Jansenism in a reference book? He doesn't appear to have a clue about it. They were not 'conservative Catholics': they were crypto-Calvinist heretics.

Leaving the matter at the level of the cartoon history of the Church, the Jansenists were an 18th century group of Catholics, eventually condemned by the Pope, and who eventually formed a schismatic Church in the Netherlands, characterised by a kind of crypto-Calvinism. This manifested itself in the rejection of free will and the notion of cooperation with grace, on which subject they quickly became locked in a ferocious pamphlet war with the Jesuits. The Jansenists included some brilliant polemicists, notably recruiting Blaise Pascal to their cause. The notion of unscrupulous Jesuits working out how to avoid the moral law owes more to these guys than to English or German Protestant polemicists of the 16th and 17th century.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

LMS Confirmations: 15th November


Every year the Latin Mass Society arranges the conferral of the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Extraordinary Form. It is conferred usually by an auxiliary bishop of Westminster Diocese; these photographs show Bishop Sherrington, shortly after his episcopal consecration in 2011.

Any baptised Catholic who has not been confirmed can apply for confirmation at this ceremony; as well as candidates from all over England and Wales, we've had people from Scotland and even a few from the Continent. Adults who never got round to confirmation, as well as children, can present themselves.

For details, or to apply, get in touch with the LMS Office: email or ring 020 7404 7284.

All you need is the necessary paperwork. The LMS charges no fee for arranging this, although we do invite donations to defray the costs of the day. As well as a team of seasoned servers, and the bishop himself, we employ a professional choir to accompany the service, in one of London's finest churches, St James' Spanish Place.

Anyone is free to attend, naturally, and see this important sacrament in its classical liturgical form.

It will take place this year on Saturday 15th November at 11.30am.

St James is at 22 George Street London W1U 3QY;
click here for a map.


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Thursday, September 11, 2014

LMS Aylesford Pilgrimage, 11 October


Sung Mass at 1.30pm, followed by a break for refreshments, a talk, Rosary and Benediction, and clothing with the Brown Scapular.

Click here for a map. There is a coach from London: email the LMS Office for details.

The complex was a Medieval Carmelite Priory, where St Simon Stock spent time. He may well have had his vision of the Brown Scapular here, and it is the world centre for this devotion. We have our Mass in the Relic Chapel, where his skull is preserved and can be venerated. Our pilgrimage always includes the clothing of candidates with the Brown Scapular.


It came back into the hands of the Carmelites in the 20th century, and much of the artwork and architectural style dates from immediately after the 2nd World War.

Last year a Missa Cantata was celebrated for us by Fr Marcus Holden, and accompanied by some excellent polyphony.


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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

LMS Oxford Pilgrimage, 25 Oct

High Mass in the Dominican Rite in Blackfriars, Oxford, at the 2013 Pilgrimage 

11am Solemn Mass in Blackfriars, St Giles’, Oxford.

2pm Procession, to the place of martyrdom of Bl George Napier in Oxford Castle

3pm Benediction in Blackfriars.

The plaque marking the place of Bl George Napier's maryrdom was blessed by Archbishop Bernard Longley during the LMS Pilgrimage in 2010, the 4th centenary of his death.


The church of Blackfriars is the Priory Church of the Oxford Dominican community in Oxford, located on the West side of St Giles, OX1 3LY. There is limited stay parking in St Giles and Wellington Square, and car parks in Gloucester Square, Worcester Street and Westgate.

View Larger Map

Bl George Napier (or Napper) was born in Holywell Manor, Oxford, in 1550, and attended Corpus Christi College 1566-1568, until ejected for recusancy. He was ordained in Douai in 1596 and was sent on the English mission in 1603. He was captured near Kirtlington, north of Oxford, in July 1610, and was executed on the Castle gallows on 9th November the same year. He was beatified in 1929 by Pope Pius XI.

Dialogue at Bl George Napier's execution:
A Protestant minister: ‘Napper, Napper, confess your treason.’
Napper: ‘Treason, Sir! I thank God, I never knew what treason meant.’
The minister: ‘Be advised what you say, do not you remember how the judge told you it was treason to be a priest?’
Napper: ‘For that I die, Sir, and that judge, as well as I, shall appear before the just Judge of heaven, to whom I appeal, who will determine whether it be treason or no to be a priest.’
Taken from Memoirs of Missionary Priests
by the Rt. Rev. Dr. Challoner Vicar Apostolic.

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Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Young people and the Traditional Mass: a response to 'T-C'

Are there any young people in this picture? LMS Walsingham Pilgrimage

To my remarks about young people finding the Traditional Mass attractive, a commenter going by the name 'T-C' made a comment which I think deserves a wider audience.

Very nice to see.

As a young person myself, I just wanted to add something of my own personal experience.

Among those who are young that attend mass, not everyone has the same perspective. The ones who are willing to talk about the state of the mass in their parish, school, or University are usually the ones who are also traditional minded. They only see an issue in the first place because they have to some degree felt the influence of traditional Catholicism (or have an appreciation for tradition / culture in general).

The sad truth is that this is a very small amount of young people. 

Now there is an equally small minority that is activist like and does want to deliberately party up the mass and to use it like some social event. They have internal agendas just as the masons or other groups did. Although they are small, the undecided majority usually finds their suggestions more attractive than that of the traditional ones. After all, when we are young, there is this naive mindset that "new = what we must have", "change = good" etc.

So in practice, this is why it is so hard for the traditional minded young folks to change things. Most priests are aware that they exist. From my own personal experience, voicing concern does not help. Eventually you become the villain who is portrayed as the pharisees trying to stop the "innovative" ways for bringing in "converts". Most of the fellow neutral peers lap up that portrayal as well because they think we are fussing too much over something like the mass or faith in general. 

At the end of the day, the neutral amount of church goers among the young make up a large chunk. It is easier for a priest to sell them the idea that the mass is a social gathering/banquet than the traditional one which requires some effort to appreciate. It is also easier for them to see the trad youth as pharisaic or troublemakers who make those who follow the attractive trends in campuses feel like they are wrong. 

So the system continues....... 

If you don't want to see thousands of young people from all over Europe, attracted by the
Traditional Mass, you'd better not look at photos of the Chartres Pilgrimage.
I agree with this, it makes sense, but as a not-so-terribly old person myself, in contact all the time with people younger than me, I'd like to add a few things of my own.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Michael Davies Conference, London 4th October: reminder

Full details and booking form can be found here

September 25th this year will be the tenth anniversary of the death of one of the giants of the Traditional movement, Michael Davies.

To mark the occasion a conference has been organised, not by the Latin Mass Society but with our support.

Date: Sat 4th October 2014

Time: Registration from 10am; first talk at 10:30; the conference concludes with a High Mass of Requiem at 4:15pm, which will be over by about 5:14.

Place: St Mary Moorfield, central London: in the parish hall (the basement below the church), with Mass in the church itself. Click for a map.

Speakers: Dr John Roa, Chris Ferrara, Michael Matt, and James Bogle, President of the International Federation Una Voce (FIUV). The conference will be chaired by Michael Davies' son Adrian Davies.

Price: Tickets are just £15.

Full details and booking form can be found here.

The influence of Michael Davies was and continues to be immense. His numerous books, especially 'Pope John's Council' and 'Pope Paul's New Mass', introduce many to the Traditional Catholic approach to the crisis in the Church. Unfailingly fair-minded and orthodox, they set out the issues with great precision and clarity, and even a decade after the author's death are highly recommended.

To see a selection of his books on sale see here and here.
There are a good number of downloadable talks by him here and here.

As well as his books, Michael was active on the Committee of the Latin Mass Society, and as President of the International Federation Una Voce.

The interior of St Mary Moorfield, in Passiontide (before the start of Tenebrae) this year.

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