Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Traditional Mass and Ecclesiology

Basil Loftus has circled back to his story about Cardinal Benelli in his latest column in the Catholic Times, so I thought I'd repost this response to it from April 2016

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Giovanni, Cardinal Benelli

Thanks to the archives of the FIUV, I can shed some light on something mentioned by Mgr Basil Loftus in a column I discussed the other day. He'd picked up the claim that Cardinal Benelli had once said to the President of the Una Voce Federation (FIUV), Dr Eric de Savanthem, that there was a connection between the Traditional Mass and ecclesiology. (Contrary to Loftus, Benelli was actually made a cardinal the year after this meeting, in 1977.)

I noted that Lofus didn't cite a source for this: when one realises what his source is, it is easy to see why he'd rather his readers didn't know. Here is a longer extract: I've emboldened the words quoted verbatim by Loftus to the hapless readers of the Catholic Times on 27th March.


When the President of Una Voce at an interview with Archbishop (now Cardinal) Benelli in Rome in October 1976, pointed out the existing liturgical chaos and asked how, in view of this state of things, the suppression of the old Mass could be justified, he was told that “those who wish to retain the old Mass have a different ecclesiology.” This from one of the closest advisors of the then Pope; it meant that those who were faithful to Catholic tradition were now to be treated as dissidents. The phrase quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus (“What has been believed always, everywhere, and by all”) as a criterion of orthodoxy bad now been rejected in favor of a new Party Line which contradicted the Church’s entire previous tradition. What was forbidden and condemned yesterday becomes lawful today, and mandatory tomorrow. What had always been seen as black, is now white, and vice versa─because the Party says so. This comes close to the Bolshevik criterion of morality: what is right or wrong is simply what helps or hinders the Party.(Source: SSPX USA District)


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Reports of my death are premature

As Mark Twain said.

Seriously, how do they work these things out?

In case you were wondering, I wasn't born in Lancashire either - and certainly not in 1920. And nor is my wife called ... Well, you get the idea.


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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Advance notice: Vespers of All Souls in Warwick Street

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Requiem for Michael Davies organised by the LMS last year, in Our Lady of the Assumption,
Warwick Street. The celebrant was Fr Tim Finigan.

It is worth noting as a rather unusual liturgical event. Once upon a time, Vespers on Sundays and great feasts was quite normal. In this case, it is the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed - All Souls - and the Vespers is Vespers of the Dead. We're going to celebrate it with polyphony. Come along to complete your liturgical commemoration of the souls of those who have gone before us.

Fr Mark Elliot Smith will officiate.

5:30pm, Wednesday 2nd November (All Souls Day)

Our Lady of the Assumption, Warwick Street, W1B 5LZ

Latin Vespers of the Dead, with polyphony (Viadana and Palestrina)


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Friday, July 22, 2016

Amoris laetitia: Is it possible to keep the Natural Law?

In response to the article in L'Ossovorore Romano by Rocco Buttiglione, I am reposting this post firm published in April this year.

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One very puzzling thing that Amoris laetitia says is this, from Section 301.

... it is can no longer simply be said that all those in any “irregular” situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace. More is involved here than mere ignorance of the rule. A subject may know full well the rule, yet have great difficulty in understanding “its inherent values”,  or be in a concrete situation which does not allow him or her to act differently and decide otherwise without further sin. As the Synod Fathers put it, “factors may exist which limit the ability to make a decision”. 

There is then a reference to Aquinas' Summa Theologica (and the De Malo), and to the Catechism on mitigating circumstances.

A natural reading of this, which would also seem needed by the argument which follows about what we can expect of people in regard to straightening out their lives, would be simply this: sometimes it is actually impossible to follow the objective dictates of Natural Law, and for that reason people can't be blamed for not following them: and that in this we are talking about people in a state of grace. There is also the suggestion that people may be in a dilemma (or 'perplexity') in which there is no non-sinful option.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A new editor for Mass of Ages


The forthcoming edition of Mass of Ages, the magazine of the Latin Mass Society, will be the last edited by Dylan Parry. It has been great working with him, for sadly too short a time, but we cannot regret his reason for moving on: a desire to test a vocation to the religious life. He will be leaving his editorial position at Oremus, Westminster Cathedral's magazine, at the same time.

Recruiting is always a chancy business, but I feel we have been exeedingly fortunate to have attracted the attention of Tom Quinn, who has been editing magazines for more than 30 years, and has lots of ideas for Mass of Ages. 

The magazine has enormous potential, and it requires both skill and a lot of hard work to make the most of such opportunities. With the help of Tom Quinn, we'll take it to the next level.


Our Press Release.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Anthea Craigmyle: In paradisum deducant te Angeli.

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The rather odd-looking chapel is a municipal mortuary chapel, in Chiswick New Cemetry. Although designed with a rather different kind of liturgy in mind, we were able to have the Traditional Mass there without serious difficulty. Although we only managed to fit two candlesticks on the tiny altar.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Reform of the Reform: a brief reply to Fr Hugh

Fr Hugh Somerville-Knapman has done me the honour of replying to my post on the fall-out from the Sacra Liturgia conference. At the risk of appearing engaged in too incestuous a discussion - Fr Hugh is an old friend and fellow student and I've had a similar discussion with him on this blog before - I wanted to pick up on a couple of his points.

First, I should apologise for the offence I've caused; I did get a little carried away. I don't mean to impugn the good intentions of people like Fr Hugh who promote the Reform of the Reform, and indeed I did try to explain the reasoning behind their position in in a sympathetic way.

Second, I should say to Fr Hugh that I certainly didn't have his blog in my sights when I talked about the damage caused by the hype over Cardinal Sarah's words. His blog, like mine, is not, I fancy, primarily responsible for the way things are perceived in Rome, Washington DC, or Archbishop's House in Westminster. I had more in mind banner headlines in the Catholic Herald.

But to business. Fr Hugh makes a surprising assertion about my position. He writes:

Yet, if the full restoration of pre-conciliar worship is the goal, how to achieve it? By fiat, an imposition on the Church as violent as that in 1969 which made mandatory a Mass that few if any laity were really prepared for?

The answer to that rhetorical question is 'Obviously not', but Fr Hugh appears to imagine that I think the answer is 'Yes', and goes on to criticise me quite harshly for a proposal I have never made, never intend to make, and do not agree with. Indeed, I thought the tenor of my post was clear enough: that I envisage progress (at any rate for the foreseeable future) as nothing more than the organic growth of the celebration of the Traditional Mass, a continuation of the progress it has made particularly since 2007.

That is just a misunderstanding. More substantively, Fr Hugh reacts to my criticism of the tactical blunder of the Sacra Liturgia conference people in a somewhat confusing way. What I had said was that the volume of hype forced Cardinal Nichols, Fr Lombardi, and others to react publicly: that is, it made them feel they had to react. This seems undeniable, since they didn't react in this way on the previous occasions Cardinal Sarah has made his point about the desireability of celebration ad orientem, as he did in an interview back in May.

Fr Hugh wants to have this both ways. First, yes there was nothing in the Cardinal's remarks which justified the reaction, because there was nothing very new or startling about them; but at the same time they were worthy of the hype because they were new and startling after all.

Well, whatever you say Fr. The point remains that the reaction came because the remarks were being presented (hyped) as significant, and in the present situation in the Church the reaction was, if not completely predictable, at least very likely. The saddest thing in the whole sorry story is Fr Hugh's assertion, which I am sure is true:

'the organisers did not have any expectation of response'


Fr Hugh is here pleading guilty, on behalf of the organisers, of serious naivity. 

My friends, this is not a good time to be naive

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