Saturday, January 19, 2019

CDF absorbs PCED

IMG_5515
Archbishop Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, with members
of the Una Voce Federation (FIUV) in 2013.
(Update at bottom of post.)

Today a decree has been promulgated dissolving the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, which has responsibility for issues concerning the Traditional Mass and the reconciliation of groups using that Mass who have been operating outside the structures of the Church, and givings its functions and powers to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Up until now, for a good few years the Prefect of the Congregation for the Faith has been ex officio the President of the Pontifical Commission, which has had its own Secretary (Archbishop Pozzo) and small staff, with offices in the CDF's building. When I write to the PCED (not a daily occurrence), I usually address the letter to the Prefect/President, knowing it would be passed on to appropriate person.

This looks like a bit of house-keeping, a tidying-up, rather than anything with implications for policy or official attitudes towards the Traditional Mass. I was surprised to read that the PCED up until now has had its own budget: well, it won't in the future, the staff will be paid by the CDF.

If there is a change of staff that may, in itself, be significant, but we don't know about that yet.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Anti-semitism, again

Further to the comments on my post on Taki's column in the Christmas edition of the Catholic Herald, I had the following comment which I think is worthy of its own post. The author has a unique perspective, being Jewish and moving in traditional Catholic circles for a number of years while in the UK in the 1990s.

His point about 'dinner party anti-semitism' reminds me of stories of casual racism focused on Africans which one hears featuring impeccably liberal Catholic churchmen.

Writing as one who would be considered an 'ultra-orthodox' Jew, I find the entire charge to be without merit. I was close with quite a few LMS folks while at University and have maintained contact with many since then. With one foolish exception, I did not encounter even the slightest hint of antisemitism. Perhaps I am simply able to understand that disagreement does not equal condemnation or hatred; I don't know. As per the Chairman's implication above, the exception I mention had spent his formative years in France. In fact, I have encountered far more 'dinner party' antisemitism from the more post-conciliar crew. Are there *some* Traditionalist Catholics who are antisemites? I dunno. Probably somewhere. But I would find it difficult to believe that it had anything to do with them being a Traditionalist Catholic, which itself is more of a barrier to antisemitism than modernity is. 

Re. the NY Times. Most of its Jewish readership is secular-liberal or Modern Orthodox. Neither of whom will, generally, shed tears over haredi-slamming articles. Even my fellow haredim would not, generally, consider the stories to be an attack. My suspicion is that the NY Times is simply losing out to the NY Post on these stories. Additionally, these are different times: when the big wave of abuse stories came out of the Church, print media was still the norm. If a newspaper did not cover all the news fit for print, then it was an impediment of sorts to its readership. Most of the orthodox abuse stories (still, thankfully, very few in number) emerged when online news is the norm. One will not cancel a newspaper subscription if they miss one-or-two stories that can be accessed easily elsewhere.
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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Newman Colloquium: John Smeaton on Dementia

Dementia: My Father's Story

Dr Adrian Treloar (Old Age Psychiatrist and Dementia Specialist, and author of 'Dementia - Hope on a Difficult Journey') talks with Mr John Smeaton (Chief Executive of SPUC) about the very emotive topic of dementia. In the late 1990s John's father, Jack Smeaton, was diagnosed with dementia. As Jack's physician, Adrian helped John's father and the entire Smeaton family through this difficult journey. 
John's father, Jack Smeaton, died in 2003 fortified by the last rites.

When?  12/01/19 15:45 (for a prompt 16:00 start) - 17:30
Where? Parish hall at Catholic Church of Ss Gregory and Augustine, Oxford, OX2 7NS (limited parking available)
Cost: Free, a retiring collection will be taken at the end for the speakers
For more details and to register please visit: newmancolloquium.eventbrite.com
Registration essential as places limited

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Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Listen to me on 'The Catholic Current' on the Lay Vocation

Fr Robert McTeigue interviewed me for his online radio programme, The Catholic Current. You can hear me on the following links.

Link to the broadcast as streaming audio and resources:

Link to the broadcast as podcast:


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Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Antisemitism in the Catholic Herald: serious or not?

Back in February, Michael Davis, the Catholic Herald's US editor, decided to fling about a few conventional, though bitter, accusations against traditional Catholics: or the 'older generation' of traditional Catholics. They were, he said, in the habit of 'going out of their way to be nasty', and, yes you guessed it, tainted by 'repugnant anti-Semitism'.

When I hear that kind of accusation made by anyone, of anyone, I want to know: does this person raise this issue because he thinks it is serious, or because he thinks it is trivial?

Is it because it is so easy to make the accusation? And it is. Making it provides the accuser with a kind of first-mover's immunity from criticism, endowing him with an immediate aura of virtue, whereas the victim is going to look shifty and defensive regardless of what they say. Davis provides absolutely no evidence for his claim: the 'traditional Catholic' is left guilty until proved innocent, but how can you even argue against evidence which has not been specified?

Or is it, instead, because, the accusation is such a weighty one? Is Davis so concerned about this semi-hidden menace in the bosom of the Church that he feels that, painful as it may be, it must be probed fearlessly and confronted?

Saturday, December 22, 2018

A new edition of Adeste Fideles from Matthew Schellhorn

Matthew Schellhorn writes:

For several years, I have had the honour of directing the music on Christmas Eve in St Mary Moorfields in the City of London, at the First Mass of Christmas organised by the Latin Mass Society. 

It is the custom to follow the Last Gospel with a congregational rendition of the hymn “Adeste, fideles” (most frequently sung elsewhere in its English form, “O Come, all ye Faithful”).). 

One might adapt the well known version in Carols for Choirs, but in fact the genesis of the hymn is so complex, and the melodic and harmonic incarnations so multiplicitous that all the musical options deserve to be under the tree and on offer. 

As a result, I have compared and drawn together the many different versions, freely adapting from the chant versions in the Liber usualis (1932 and 1961) and Mass and Vespers (1957), and also from the organ harmonisations of chant in Nova organi harmonia, the De La Salle Hymnal for Catholic Schools and Choirs (1913), the Thomas Helmore’s harmonisation of the Hymnal Noted (1852), editions by Martin Shaw (1875–1958) and the choral motet by François-Clément Théodore Dubois (1837–1924). 

I trust that Sir David Willcocks (1919–2015), under whose baton I had the honour of working in Worcester, would be content. 

The new, hybrid version plays on expectations and – in the best tradition of last-verse descants – confounds musical etiquette in a whimsical way. 

The result is similar to the sensation of meeting up with relations at Christmas festivities – some one knows well, and some one has not seen for a long time. 

Please note: I must be getting old, because I have lost the will to fight against the infamous passing note before the refrain, which in any case I find in several honourable sources. 

My arrangement is dedicated to my God-daughter, Miss Barbara Shaw, daughter of the Latin Mass Society’s Chairman, Joseph Shaw, on the occasion of her First Holy Communion in Oxford. Although owing to my professional commitments I am unable to be present on this auspicious occasion, I hope this offering will display my being united to her in prayer.

You can see the music here.


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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

New Chant Schola launching in London for the Traditional Mass


A new all-male schola is being launched by the Latin Mass Society in January. It will rehearse one Friday evening a month, and sing at the following Monday evening Maiden Lane Mass.

It is named after St John Houghton, proto-martyr of the English Reformation, Prior of the London Charterhouse.

Announcement: The Latin Mass Society wishes to establish an all-male chant schola able to accompany sung Traditional liturgies (Mass and the Office) in the London area to the highest possible standard, and with due regard for the spirituality of the Chant. Members will be amateurs, led by a professional.

As well as grouping together competent singers, the schola’s regular rehearsals will make it possible for those with no previous experience of singing Gregorian Chant to learn how to do so. The rehearsals will conclude with a singing of Compline.

The Schola will rehearse one Friday a month to sing at Mass on the following Monday: the regular, public 6:30pm Sung Mass at Corpus Christi Maiden Lane.

Full details on Facebook here
and on the LMS website here.
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