Sunday, December 21, 2014

Loftus and the time-warp

Superb stained glass from the Comper chapel of the All Saints Convent in Cowley, Oxford,
now occupied by the Conventual Franciscans.
This weekend you'll find a feature article by me in the Catholic Universe. But here I'm going to talk about an article in its sister paper, the The Catholic Times.

Mgr Basil Loftus treats us to one of his historical paradoxes (The Catholic Times, Christmas double issue, dated '19th and 26th December'):

St Anselm, the Archbishop of Canterbury when William the Conqueror invaded Britain - so I don't need to tell you the date - wrote...

Well blow me, I thought it was the Saxon, Archbishop Stigand, who was governing the see of Canterbury in 1066. He was succeeded by Lanfranc in 1070, and St Anselm didn't take up the post until 1093: not only some time after the Conquest, but several years after William the Conqueror had died (in 1087).

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas offer for priests from the Latin Mass Society

We have been given some liturgical odds and ends. Among these items there are no fewer than 24 burses, 14 of them white.

There are also a large number of stoles, again most of them are, for some reason, white.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Masses in and near Oxford

Sung Mass at Hethe

We had our second EF Missa Cantata in Holy Trinity, Hethe, on Sunday 7th December.

On Saturday 20th, at 7am, there will be a Votive Mass of Our Lady, the Mass Rorate, illuminated by candles, in the Oxford Oratory.

This Sunday, 21st, there will be a Missa Cantata in SS Gregory & Augustine's, Oxford, at 12 noon.

On Christmas Day there will be another Sung Mass in Hethe, at 12 noon (location).

There will also be a Low Mass at Hethe at noon on Christmas Eve.

Do come along to these Masses if you can. There is more to Christmas than shopping and overindulgence, after all.


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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Investigation of the American sisters: deja vu

Meet the radical young liberals
The much hyped and much opposed investigation of the state of the life of women religious in the United States of America has concluded, and commentators are shocked - shocked! - to find it is a whitewash. While acknowledging the practical problems arising from an aging body of sisters (the average age is 75, and there are more sisters over 90 than under 60), they are congratulated for their witness and good works.

They are heading down the pan, and the people writing this report aren't terribly interested in working out why, either to make suggestions for reform or as a warning to others. The fact that many of the sisters have completely abandoned community life, neither praying nor living together; the fact that many of them have adopted work which has no specific relation to their community's charism nor indeed to the Catholic Church; the fact that many have discarded any semblance of religious dress and any semblance of the Office; the fact that many of them have lost the Faith: these facts would explain it. We don't really need a report from the Vatican to tell us, it is all in Ann Carey, 'Sisters in Crisis', now in a second edition.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Loftus goes into orbit

IMG_0285I have been neglecting Mgr Basil Loftus on this blog, recently, but for some reason he has chosen to attack me specifically in his latest column in the Catholic Times (12/12/14). I'm not going to write about that here and now, however, except to say that his claim about dissension within the Latin Mass Society on his account is pure fantasy.

I am in good company: as well as the familiar target of Cardinal Burke, Loftus takes aim at the ''St Peter' priests' who he says are active in Shrewsbury and Lancaster dioceses. He is, presumably, confusing the Fraternity of St Peter, who are based in Portsmouth diocese, with the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, which works in Shrewsbury and Lancaster. Perhaps he means both, anyway. He draws in the Sons of the Holy Redeemer too.

One only has to think, in our own countries, of the 'Tridentine' Redemptorists in the Orkney Islands - almost but not quite visible across the water from my study window as I write this. There are other communities of 'St Peter' priests in the dioceses of Shrewsbury and Lancaster who are not only totally cocooned in pre-Vatcian II rubrics and pre-Pius XII liturgical outlook, but who enjoy immunity and isolation from the 99.9 recurring per cent of the rest of the Catholic Church, as though it were a contagious disease against which their baptism has not vaccinated them. Because, as [Robert] Mickens avers, this goes to ecclesiology, not just to maniples, lace and cappa magnas, then [sic] it becomes very worrying.
     As if this at least quasi-schismatic ecclesiology were not enough to link today's crypto-Lefebvrists with the second and third century perfectionist heresies, they go on in their language, not least on innumerable 'blog-sites', to ape the rudeness of those predecessors by the way they have, to quote Mickens, constantly "mocked and scorned those with whom they disagree."

Is this the same Robert Mickens who was sacked from The Tablet for his being rude about Pope Benedict on Facebook, hosting a discussion on his page which looked forward to his death? The very same.

Are these religious institutes referred to, particularly the Fraternity of St Peter and the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, not established, under the authority of the Holy See, precisely in order to avoid any danger of schism and 'Lefevbrism', at great personal cost to the founding members? They are indeed.

However, I think Loftus' tirade needs not so much refutation as a wider audience, for its absurdity to receive the ridicule it deserves. Although I am not a lawyer, it looks to me very much like libel, and especially the canon legal equivalent. Canon 220 says:

No one is permitted to harm illegitimately the good reputation which a person possesses nor to injure the right of any person to protect his or her own privacy.

To put Mgr Loftus' complaints about other peoples' rudeness in a proper context, I have decided to make publicly available a compilation of quotations I have made from his writings. You can download it as a PDF here.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

LMS Ordo on sale

An Ordo tells you what Mass must or can be celebrated each year: feasts, and seasons, noting the correct liturgical colour, whether the Gloria or the Creed is said, and so on.

The Latin Mass Society's Ordo is the only one to include all the local (National and Diocesan) feasts of England and Wales. We have a large number of these, so this is important.

You can buy the edition for 2015 now from the LMS online for £8.99.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A new Norbertine priest

Fr Stephen Morrison OPraem - of the Canons Regular of Premontre, the Premonstatensians or Norbertines - was ordained on Saturday, and I went to his first public EF Mass on Monday, for the feast of the Immaculate Conception, which is the patronal feast of the Norbertines' church in Chelmsford.

It was glorious! In so many ways. I have known Fr Stephen since he was an undergraduate in Oxford; he's not the only man called to the priesthood who has done a stint with the Oxford Gregorian Chant Society. The church was filled with family, friends, parishioners and well-wishers.

I've stolen these photos from Mark Lambert, who was there: see more on his blog.

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