Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Joseph Pearce coming to England!

Like Bishop Schneider, Joseph Pearce is giving a talk to the LMS One-Day Conference on 24th May.

He is the author of numerous books (see Wikipedia), including many biographies of Chesterton, Belloc, Tolkein, Oscar Wilde, and Solzhenitsyn, and books of and about poetry.

He has written on the relationship to the Catholic Faith of C.S. Lewis, Shakespeare, and Tolkein's Lord of the Rings.

One very important work of his, in my view, is Literary Converts, describing the great wave of intellectual converts in the first half of the 20th century.

His latest, autobiographical, book, Race with the Devil, will be on sale at the conference. It describes his conversion from far-right political activism to Catholicism; see the Catholic World Report feature on it here.

At the conference he will be talking about the role of the Traditional Mass in conversions.

The evening before, Friday 23rd May, he will address the Catholic Writers' Guild, the Keys. This event is open only to guild members and their guests. If you are a member, or know one ou can drag along, do come!

Book your place at the LMS Conference here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Palm Sunday with the FSSP in Reading

The church of St William of York was fuller than I have ever seen it. The empty spaces in the pews in some of the photos are reflective only of the fact that there was a very long queue for confession!










More photos here.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Bishop Schneider is coming to England!

2010 08 12_7343
Bishop Schneider at the LMS Priest Training Conference at Downside Abbey in 2010
Bishop Athanasius Schneider, author of 'Dominus Est', a short book about the importance of receiving Communion on the tongue, is coming to England at the invitation of the Latin Mass Society.

He will be giving a talk at the LMS One Day Conference on Saturday 24th May, alongside Joseph Pearce, Fr Michael Mary of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer (from Papa Stronsay in the Orkneys), and others.

We have helped to create quite a schedule for him, which will take him to five different dioceses in ten days. I hope that he becomes better known in England. At the Conference he will be talking about the Traditional Mass as a tool of Evagelisation; he will address various other topics to other audiences on his tour.

Saturday 17 May: LMS Pilgrimage to West Grinstead in Sussex. Pontifical High Mass at 12noon, followed by lunch, spiritual conference and devotions. Our Lady of Consolation, Park Lane, West Grinstead RH13 8LT

Sunday 18 May: Pontifical Low Mass in Reading, 11am, with the Fraternity of St Peter at the Church of St William of York, Upper Redlands Road, Reading RG1 3HW.

Tuesday 20 May: address to The Newman Society: the Oxford University Catholic Society. 'Catholicism in Russia: the Experience of the 20th Century.' 8.00-9.15pm. Open to members of Oxford University and their guests. At the Catholic Chaplaincy, The Old Bishop's Palace, Rose Place, St Aldates, Oxford OX1 1RD.

Our Lady of Consolation, West Grinstead, Sussex
Wednesday 21 May: Address to the Conference of Catholic Clergy at 6pm, St Patrick’s, Soho Square, London W1D 4NR.

Thursday 22 May: Address to the London Oratory: 'Living under Communism',
8pm. London Oratory, Brompton Road, London SW7 2RP.

Saturday 24th May: Latin Mass Society Conference, Regent Hall, Oxford Street, London, W1C 2DJ, from 11am to 6pm. Book tickets here.

Sunday 25 May: Pontifical Low Mass in the London Oratory at 9am. Bishop Schneider will attend First Vespers of St Philip’s Day, 6pm, and celebrate Benediction.

Monday 26 May: LMS pilgrimage to Ramsgate - Mass at the Shrine of St Augustine of Canterbury, for the Feast of St Augustine of Canterbury, at 12noon; Procession with relic at 11am. St Augustine's Shrine, St Augustine Rd, Ramsgate, CT11 9PA.

Bishop Schneider will also be preaching at the 6pm Mass at the London Oratory for St Philip’s Day.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

EWTN series: 'Extraordinary Faith'

EWTN are about to begin showing a new monthly series, 'Extraordinary Faith', which looks at traditional Catholic liturgy, spirituality, music, architecture, and history.

It is being co-presented by Mary O'Regan, who lives in London and blogs at The Path Less Taken.

For those with EWTN, the first episode, about the Spanish mission in Southern California where the Traditional Mass is celebrated, is broadcast

Monday, April 14 at 4:30 AM U.S. Eastern time: that's 9:20am British Summer Time, assuming they are on Summer Time themselves.
And again on Friday, April 18 at 2:00 AM U.S. Eastern time: that's 7am BST.

I've been informed also:

'EWTN have a dedicated UK output, they have informed me it will air this side of the pond on the 9th May at 0200, 1030 and 2100.'

Extraordinary Faith Series Promo from Extraordinary Faith on Vimeo.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Catholic Herald feature on What's Wrong With Catholic Education


I encourage readers of this blog who see the Catholic Herald over the weekend to have a look at the feature on Catholic education, which is composed of four short pieces by different people, one of whom is me. My contribution was about the motivations of those who educate their children at home.

The other three pieces are by Philip Booth of the Institute of Economic Affairs, Kevin Meagher of Labour Uncut, and Ella Leonard of PACT Educational Schools, the trust which runs the Opus Dei schools.

Ella Leonard makes a general point:

'We need to be confident that Catholic schools have the answers because of of our understanding of the whole human being as God's creation, but we need to regain our confidence and re-evangelise. Understanding that education can never be neutral, our schools need to provide an envionment in which students are enabled to build and deepen their relationship with God.'

Kevin Meagher is more direct:

'How do you go through a Catholic education and end up spouting New Age claptrap?'

He concludes: 'Ultimately, if our schools aren't in the business of turning our committed young Catholics, then, really, what is the point of Catholic education?'

It is amusing think of the horror that sentence will produce among Catholic education professionals up and down the land.


Philip Booth focuses on the public policy aspect of the problem. His opening paragraph reveals what the Catholic educational establishment think is the answer to Meagher's rheorical question.

The bishops' 2007 joint pastoral letter on education said: "For a very long time now, the Catholic Church has been an important partner with public authorities in the provision of education." This perspective, which sees education as something which is handed down to parents through a partnership of bureaucracies, needs revising.

All place great emphasis on the role of parents. In a sense I do so more than anyone, because home education is the ultimate parent-led approach to education. One does have to recognise, of course, that while all parents would be delighted to have more educational choice, and almost all of them value academic excellence and a disciplined, spiritual atmosphere, attempts to make schools more visibly Catholic, just like attempts to make parishes more visibly Catholic, will be opposed by some parents. And not only opposed: what happens at home, and what children bring to school with them, can completely undermine attempts to create a Catholic ethos.

There is a parallel I suppose with the Reform of the Reform: the task of a good Catholic head teacher coming into a school is similar to the task of an new, orthodox parish priest: to persevere with what he knows is right despite certain howls of protest. It's not a task I envy them.

Photos: of the St Catherine's Trust Summer School last year. This year the dates will be Sunday 27th July to Sunday 3rd August, for ages 11 to 18. Download an application form.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Matthew Schellhorn plays Ian Wilson's Stations


On Tuesday evening I had the great privilege of hearing Matthew Schellhorn perform Ian Wilson's 'Stations': a musical meditation on the Passion.

You can buy the CD direct from Diatribe Records here; Amazon will sell you theMP3 to dowload.

It is divided up into fourteen short movements. While the music is not strictly an attempt to describe the action, the emotions follow the action, and to some extent are reflected in it directly, such as the hammer blows and Jesus' falls.


It was performed in St George's Cathedral, Southwark, which was veiled for Passiontide, and accompanied by meditations offered by Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham. Archbishop Longley himself has a musical background, and is also connected with the charitable beneficiaries of the concert, the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre. Donations taken at the concert went to the Knights' support of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.


I am not in favour of concerts in churches: even if the music is religious in character, it is not the proper use of a sacred building. On the other hand, I am very much in favour of using music, and the best music possible, as an aid to devotion, whether in a strictly liturgical or a paraliturgical context, in churches. Archbishop Longley's meditations, based on the Improperia, the Reproaches, and calling to mind the scenes of the stations, made this into a devotional evening, and a very moving one, not so very different from the musical devotions insituted by St Philip Neri, a tradition continued in Lent in the London Oratory. It was a revelation to me, not much of a musical expert, how an abstract form of art - there are no words - can express not just the composer's emotions, but emotions which vividly connect the listener to a specific sequence of events, such as the Passion of Our Lord.

Note: unusually, I've decided comments on this post wouldn't be appropriate.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Anniversary Requiem in Uxbridge


Last November the Latin Mass Society distributed to members a new booklet on how to have a traditional Requiem Mass at one's own, or a loved one's, funeral. This is available for free download and copies can be bought from the LMS office.


I'm sure many readers of this blog give a 'Mass offering' to a priest to say a Mass for the intention of a departed loved on near the time of the anniversary of death. The church also makes special provision - which is to say, encourages - the saying of a Requiem Mass on anniversaries, to be exact on the week, the month, and the year, after either the death or the burial. The special provision is to raise the 'class' of the votive Mass so it can be said on a a greater number of days - in effect, only Sundays important feast days exclude it. (Nb also the anniversary doesn't have to be exact.)


Since the Requiem Mass is obviously specially suited to praying for the dead, and a Mass specially organised in addition to the weekly schedule can be a good opportunity for an extended family to meet to remember a loved one, particularly on special anniversaries, this practice should be more widely known and used.


Last weekend I organised a Requiem for the tenth anniversary of a family member. As well as the Mass itself, we had the 'absolutions', the blessing with holy water and incence which is done to the coffin at a funeral, to a sort of dummy coffin (a catafalque), representing the deceased.


It was sung, and I engaged professionals (Cantus Magnus) to accompany it, which they did beautifully. But a Low Mass has its own special quality, and you can still have the absolutions if it is not sung.


This Mass took place in Our Lady of Lourdes, Uxbridge, and was said by the parish priest Fr Nicholas Schofield, who also gave a lovely sermon. The location was dictated by, among other things, the locations of my extended family.


By coincidence Mass was also attended by a special image of Our Lady of Guadaloupe which is currently on a tour of family homes in England. It was being handed over from one family to another. This is the image which was present at World Youth Day in Madrid in 2011 with Pope Benedict.

photo (1)
Our Lady of Guadaloupe in situ in a Catholic home in Bath
Get organised about your own arrangements, and don't forget those who went before.