Thursday, December 06, 2007

Book bound in Fr Garnet's skin sold

Is this the weirdest thing you've heard this week? The book is a Protestant telling of his story and was bound in 1606. There seems to be a face on the book cover; tradition has it this is an image of Fr Garnet himself. Garnet was implicated in the Gunpowder plot but was clearly a martyr for the faith.

H/T to Colleen Hammond.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Pro-Life Witness

The monthly Pro-Life prayer vigil took place today, from 3 to 4pm, in its usual location at the main entrance to the John Radcliffe Hospital. The 'JR' is the only place in Oxford where abortions take place. Ironically, the JR has been in the news in its other role, of saving babies: a Russian woman with quintuplets who was told by her Russian doctors to abort some of them delivered them all safely, by Caesarian section, there last week.

These Witnesses are the initiative of Mrs Amada Lewin; the first tool place in March this year. This one was well attended despite the cold; 25 people stood outside to pray 15 decades of the Rosary 'in reparation for abortion and for all unborn babies and their mothers and fathers', led by Fr John Saward of SS Gregory and Augustine, while others remained in the Church of St Anthony of Padua, where the Blessed Sacrament was exposed. The group included Fr Jeremy Davies, from Luton. At the end of the Rosary we all went into the Church and Fr Saward blessed the people with the Blessed Sacrament.There will be no Witness in December; the next dates are
26th January
23rd February
29th March

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Newman Society Mass

For the first time for many years, the Oxford University Newman Society held its Termly Mass in the usus antiquior. For the first time ever, I think, since 1970 this was a Solemn High Mass. It took place in Brasenose College Chapel, by kind permission of the College authorities. Fr Dominic Jacob of the Oxford Oratory was celebrant, Fr Anton Webb (ditto) deacon, and Br Lawrence Lew OP was subdeacon. Mr Richard Pickett was MC, with a team of Newman Society servers.

The propers were sung to a very high standard by the Oxford Gregorian Chant Society; Mr Andrew Knowles organised a superb polyphonic choir for the ordinaries and some motets. For more on the music see here.Mass was extremely well organised and despite torrential rain was attended by about 90 people. It was followed by a the Newman Society's splendid termly black tie dinner, which was addressed by Mr Julian Chadwick, Chairman of the Latin Mass Society, who had attended the Mass.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Two cheers for the John Radcliffe Hospital

Today I received the following heartening news item:

Quintuplets born to a Russian woman in a British hospital are doing well. The babies were delivered at 26 weeks by caesarean section by Dr Lawrence Impey of the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford. He was contacted by the mother's relatives after her doctor in Russia had advised selective abortion for some of the babies. All medical costs have been met by a group of Russian philanthropists.

Congratulations to mother, babies, philanthropists and Dr Impey. It is a sad irony the JR also carries out abortions itself.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Book launch: Smoke in the Santuary

This hilarious book, by Stephen Oliver, about a traditionally-minded parish priest dealing with the realities of modern church life is being published in a second edition, with illustrations and a forword by Fr Tim Finnigan; see his post.

Southwell Books is publishing it; it is available here (Smoke in the Sanctuary) for £7.95. It will of course also be available at the book launch, which is taking place at 7pm on 23rd November in the Oxford Oratory's 'Prichard Room'.

Newman Society events

On Monday 19th November the Newman Society's Termly Mass will take place at 6pm in the chapel of Brasenose College. It will be a Traditional Solemn High Mass. All are welcome to attend.

This is an event of great significance; it has been announced on the New Liturgical Movement blog by Br Lawrence Lew, who is to be sub-deacon. Fr Dominic Jacob of the Oxford Oratory will be celebrant.

Congratulations to Michael Ryan, President of the Newman Society. Their last speaker, Fr Tim Finnigan said the Traditional Mass the morning after his excellent talk, after staying the night in Oxford. He celebrated Low Mass in the small St Joseph's Chapel in Campion Hall: see pictures.

Their speaker this week (Tuesday evening: 8.30pm in the Old Palace) will be Fr Rupert McHardy of the London Oratory, alumnus of St Benet's Hall and a keen proponent of the Traditional Mass.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Reading videos

These videos are of the first Sung Mass said by the FSSP in their new location in Reading, the church of St William of York, on the feast of Christ the King. I posted on the New Liturgical Movement blog about them.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Abortion Act 1967: 40 years on

The Abortion Act came into force forty years ago today. The monthly witness
outside the entrance to the John Radcliffe Hospital marked the occasion. The Blessed Sacrament was exposed inside the Church of St Anthony of Padua during the hour-long witness, while we said the fifteen decades of the Rosary, led by Fr John Saward. We then returned to the church, where Fr Saward said Benediction.

Earlier in the day the Oxford University Pro Life Society marked the anniversary with a specially large version of their regular Saturday stall in Cornmarket.

The abortionists have killed millions of unborn children, but they haven't won a complete victory while there are still people willing to protest.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Goodbye St Francis; hullo, Muhammad

The Provincial Superior of the Capuchin Fransiscans, Br James Boner, has announced that the Greyfriars Permanent Private Hall, effectively a small college of the University, will close at the end of the current academic year. It's students will be transfered to the Baptist Permanent Private Hall, Regent's Park College. The reason given is the drop in the number of friars in the province.

Greyfriars has just celebrated its 60th Anniversary as a PPH of the University. It was the refoundation of the medieval Franciscan presence in the University, founded by Bl. Agnellus of Pisa (d.1213), who was sent to Oxford by St Francis himself. The medieval Greyfriars was home to Robert Grosseteste, Roger Bacon and Bl. John Duns Scotus, and the Reformation martyr Bl. John Forest. After the great efforts by the Friars of two generations ago to reestablish a presence in the University, that presence will once more disappear. This is a very sad day.

Not everything in Oxford is declining and disappearing. One religious group intent on expanding its presence in the University with splendid new buildings and facilities is the Muslims. Here is a picture of the unfinished new buildings of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Requiem Mass for Damian Coughlan

took place in SS Gregory and Augustine, on Saturday 13th October. The Oxford Gregorian Chant Society sang at this Mass; see their blog for pictures and commentary.

Damian Coughlan, requiescat in pace.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Oxford Gregorian Chant Society

This new society of Oxford University is now recruiting members at its first 'Freshers' Fair'. It aims to train both students and non-students in Gregorian Chant for both the monastic office and the Traditional Mass.

It has a Facebook Group, a Website, and an email address.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Solemn High Mass in Portsmouth Cathedral

The Annual Solemn High Mass is taking place this Sunday, 7th October. As usual there will be music of the highest standards from the Cantores Missae, directed by Charles Finch: this year they will sing Palestrina'a Missa Brevis.

Mass is at 3.30pm; there is parking close to the Cathedral. There will be refreshments afterwards.

See here for directions; see here for a map.

Reading Masses to move

Yesterday, 31th September, was the last of the regular Traditional Masses at Christ the King, Northumberland Avenue, in Reading. From this Sunday, 7th October, Mass will be said in St William of York, Redlands Road, which is not far away. It is close to the University.

Fr Nicholas du Chaxel and Fr Benjamin Durham will continue to say the Masses. They will be at the same time, 12 noon.

The monthly TCFA meetings will also take place at St William of York. The next of these is this Saturday, 6th October, with Sung Mass at 11.30.

For the location of St William of York see here.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Mass at St Gregory the Great School

A fruit of Summorum Pontificum: Fr Danial Seward of the Oxford Oratory, who is Chaplain to the school, is now saying the Traditional Mass there each First Friday.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Translation problems in the Motu Proprio

Now that the dust is settling, after the publication of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, two serious errors in the English translation provided by the Vatican have been revealed.

Careless and tendentious translation at the Vatican is been an extremely serious problem, chronicled in detail by the famous blogger Fr Z. In the case of the MP, no 'official' translation has been provided, but the Vatican's 'unofficial' translation, from the Vatican Information Service, has naturally been the basis of commentary, and of the 'guidance' being offered by various bishops around the world. This can lead to errors, and of course even when an official translation appears, the Latin is the normative text, not the English or any other translation.

The two problems are these.
Article 5 secton 1: In paraoeciis, ubi coetus fidelium traditioni liturgicae antecedenti adherentium continenter exsistit, parochus eorum petitiones as celebrandum santam Missam iuxta ritum Missalis Romani anno 1962 editi, libenter suscipiat.

The Vatican translation: In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962...

The problem here is the phrase 'stable group of faithful'. The 'coetus fidelium' is to be 'continenter exsistet' - continuously present, ie not just passing through. (A separate article deals with the right of people passing through to the Traditional Mass: for funerals, pilgrimages etc..) Fr Z makes this point here: the word 'continenter' does not imply that the group must be of any particular size; a 'coetus' can be three people, including the priest, and it is this which would justify a pastor celebrating the Traditional Mass publicly.

Article 5, section 4: Sacerdotes Missali B. Ioannis XXIII utentes, idonei esse debent ac iure non impediti.

The Vatican translation: Priests who use the Missal of Blessed John XXIII must be qualified to do so and not juridically impeded.

The problem here is the word 'idoneus' implies only legal, rather than academic or intellectual, qualification. Just as a newly elected religious superior must be 'idoneus' to take up his or her position, so must a priest who is to say the Traditional Mass. While it would certainly not be fitting for a priest to say the Mass without proper preparation, and without knowing what he was doing, the Holy Father is not imposing a requirement for any formal qualifications (passing Latin exams etc.) by using the word 'idoneus'. Fr Z makes that point here.

The difficulty of translating 'idoneus' neatly has led Rorate Caeli, who adapted the English translation for its readers, to render the phrase simply 'must be idoneus'. Unfortunately, even their translation misses the first problem discussed above. Nevertheless, it is recommended because it puts the Latin and English in parallel columns.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Oxford Priests Training Conference

I've done a couple of posts on this over at the New Liturgical Movement (here and here), where, no doubt, they will get a wider audience. Between and around those posts are other posts, and more pictures, of the conference by other people.

Of special local interest is the fact that no fewer than four priests from the immediate vicinity of Oxford were present at the conference to learn about the Mass. This makes me very happy, and I look forward to seeing the Traditional Mass established much more widely across the area.

In addition to the priests coming to the conference to train, Fr Anton Webb of the Oxford Oratory was the celebrant of the Solemn Vespers on the first evening, and his confrere Fr Jerome Bertram made a very amusing speech at the conference dinner. Also at that dinner were Fr Richard Duffield, the Oratory parish priest, and Fr John Saward, pictured talking to the famous blogging priest, Fr Timothy Finnigan.

The other picture, of Solemn High Mass celebrated by Fr Anthony Conlon, chaplain to the Oratory School near Reading, shows the distinctive profile, on the left, of Damian Thompson, the Editor in Chief of the Catholic Herald. There will be a big feature on the conference in the Herald this weekend.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Oxford Times

There have been a number of letters and some articles about the possibility of having a memorial to the Catholic Martyrs of Oxford, in the local paper, the Oxford Times, including one in the current edition (apparently not yet on-line). Here I gather some together:

For a 'joint' memorial for Catholics and Protestants:
From F.G. Davis, 7/4/06
From John Linton, 21/4/06

Attack on the Catholic martyrs
From Valerie Barnish, 28/4/06

From Ian Logan, 5/5/06

By Colin Gardner, 20/7/06 (re Alice Hogge's God's Secret Agents)
By Chris Koenig, 30/11/06 (on 450th Anniversary of the execution of Cranmer etal)
By Chris Koenig, 6/7/07 (reporting on the 2007 Procession)

(Koenig on Abingdon Abbey)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

St Catherine's Trust Summer School

I am still recovering from teaching at the Summer School; readers interested to know what it involved can see my post at the New Liturgical Movement blog, here. Thanks to the hospitality of the founder of this blog, Shawn Tribe, I am now an 'occasional contributor'.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Priests' Training Conference: events open to the public

The Conference takes place Tuesday 28 August to Thursday 30 August 2007, in Merton College, Merton Street, Oxford.

Liturgical events open to the public

Just turn up at the College lodge; they will direct you to the Chapel. All Traditional Rite.

Wednesday 29 August at 11.45 am Solemn Mass.
Celebrant: Dom Daniel Augustine Oppenheimer (Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem)

Thursday 30 August at 11.45 am Pontifical High Mass.
Celebrant: Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA.

Wed & Thurs at 8.00 am: Lauds

Tues & Wed at 6.00 pm: Vespers

# Note: Bishop Fernando Rifan of Campos, Brazil will also attend the conference. We hope he will celebrate Pontifical Vespers (to be confirmed)

Lectures open to the public:

Tuesday 28th at 3.00pm: Dr. Alcuin Reid on Liturgical History and Tradition

Thursday 30th at 10.30am: Revd Dr Laurence Hemming on The Spirituality and Theology of the Traditional Rite

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Upcoming Pro-Life Witnesses

Pro-Life Witness in Reparation for Abortion and Prayers for All Unborn Babies and Their Mothers and Fathers

29th September
27th October
24th November

We will be standing at the entrance of the John Radcliffe hospital for an hour of peaceful witness. Please join us and bring a friend.
Refreshments available in the hall afterwards.
We meet outside St Anthony of Padua RC Church.
Contact: Amanda Lewin 01869 600638

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Summorum Pontificium

Yes, the MOTU PROPRIO is here at last! I won't add to the well-informed commentary to be found elsewhere, but anyone who hasn't watched Fr Tim Finnigan's celebratory video must do so.

Fr Finnigan has provided some useful links to the text and various comments, here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Fr Longenecker's 'Questions'

about the Traditional Mass: in the context of the expected Motu Proprio, what is the point of it, and particularly what is the point of the Latin and the silence? Fr Longenecker is a recently ordained, extremely zealous convert, and his questions must reflect those of many 'conservatives' in the Church.

I've posted the following in his comments box.

One key idea which needs to be emphasised is that the Mass is an act of worship offered to God. The people's participation in it is extremely important, but this is a participation in an act of worship directed to God. So they follow with their eyes and prayers when the priest disappears behind the Temple veil, the iconostasis, or the rood screen, or simply turns towards the crucifix. They know that what is important is the offering the priest is making to God, and they know what that is - from catechesis or from their missals. They don't need to hear the words or see the actions; on the contrary, the fact that the priest is in a sense alone with the offering and God is the most eloquent expression of what is going on. The use of a liturgical language, special clothing, special vessels made of precious metals, etc. all serve to emphasise the same point.

BXVI makes some very strong points on the eastward orientation in 'The Spirit of the Liturgy': it shows the Mass is a worship of God, whereas versus populum suggests a 'closed circle' with the people. The orientation, the language, the silence, the vestments and so on are all part and parcel of this idea.

I'd defend Masses - Low or Sung - in which the people make little or no verbal contribution on the simple basis that interior participation is more important than exterior participation (isn't that much obvious?) and that it is a fact of pastoral experience that exterior participation can be a barrier to interior participation. I'm never so distracted from the sacred action as when I am looking up a hymn number, or even enjoying singing a hymn.

As for readings in Latin: obviously, people can follow them in their missals, but note two things. First, the more restricted lectionary is a great boon in enabling the people to gain a familiarity with the texts. That great passage from Proverbs is always read on the feast of Holy Women; you know what's coming next when the choir sings 'Cogitationes corde mea' (viz., a votive Mass for the Sacred Heart), the liturgical year kicks off with St Paul telling us to put on the armour of Christ. The readings and prayers become old friends, and you hear them preached repeatedly. My own experience of daily Mass in the Novus Ordo and maybe twice weekly Mass in the TLM for a much shorter time is that my engagement with the scripture is far deeper with the latter.

Second, the proclamation of the scriptures in the liturgical language is an integral part of the act of worship offered to God. The pedagogical value is subordinated to this. Everything in the Mass is subordinated to its essential character as an act of worship (isn't that as it should be?) That the readings retain their pedagogical value in this context is part of the genius of the traditional liturgy.

Finally, I assume you've read BXVI 'The Spirit of the Liturgy'; I urge you to read 'The Heresy of Formlessness' by Marin Mosebach, which addresses many of these points.

Monday, June 25, 2007

LMS Oxford Pilgrimage: procession and benediction

This has been reported in both the Catholic Herald and the Oxford Times.

LMS Oxford Pilgrimage: report and pictures of Mass

The annual LMS Pilgrimage to Oxford, in honour of the Catholic martyrs executed in Oxford, took place on Saturday 23rd June. Our third pilgrimage featured the second Solemn High Mass celebrated in the Oxford Oratory since the liturgical changes, with Fr Dominic Jacob as celebrant, Fr Jerome Bertram as Deacon and preacher, and Br Joseph Welch (recently ordained deacon) as sub-deacon. Mr Edward Stratton was MC, and an excellent team of servers was assembled for the occasion. The Mass was the Vigil of the Nativity of St John the Baptist.

After a break for lunch, Fr Anton Webb led a record-breaking sixty-strong procession from the ancient church of St Michael at the North Gate to the East end of Holywell Street. The is the route taken by the four martyrs of 1589 – the seminary priests Richard Yaxley and George Nichols, their gentleman helper Thomas Belson, and a Catholic inn servant, Humphrey Prichard – from the Bocardo prison in Cornmarket to the town gallows where thy were hanged, drawn and quartered. All four were beatified in 1987. The procession sang the Litany of the Saints on the way to the gallows, and then the Te Deum and a number of vernacular and Latin hymns while we returned to the Oratory church, where Fr Anton celebrated Benediction for us. This was a great witness to the faith in the streets of Oxford. Thanks are due to the Fathers of the Oratory for their hospitality, to Fr Dominic and his minsters, and to Fr Anton, as well as to the large number of people who came, many from long distances, to join the pilgrimage.

There are more pictures on another blog, here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Goodbye Amnesty International

Today I cancel my membership of AI. I have sent them an email:


Membership: 19912/524

Following the adoption of a policy supporting the right to abortion, I must cancel my membership. I have already cancelled my regular donations to Amnesty.

I took part in the consultation on the matter but I see that members’ views have been ignored. This is a sad day; I have been a member of AI since I was at school in the late 1980s. I joined an organisation campaigning for human rights, not a political agenda. The protection of unborn children is as much a legitimate object of government concern as the protection of children who have been born.

I have read the press release making the bizarre distinction between supporting the right to abortion and supporting a woman’s right to choose abortion, so please don’t bother me with that one. I am a published moral philosopher and I can understand English.


Joseph Shaw

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Oxford Corpus Christi Procession

Continuing Oxford's 'marching season', the day after the Life Walk was the day of the annual Corpus Christi procession, in which the whole North Oxford Deanery takes part. This year it was led by Bishop Kenny, an auxiliary bishop of the Archdioce, and attended my many clergy of the Deanery.
As usual it began at the Oratory Church, stopped in at Blackfriars, and continued to the Chaplaincy. Like the Life Walk, it too seemed to be significantly bigger than last year, and included a brass band to accompany the hymn singing, interspersed with Rosary led by megaphone. The procession is so large that a number of police were present to deal with the traffic when it had to cross roads etc..
It is difficult to photograph such a long procession, but here it is: first, the clergy and flower girls; then the Blessed Sacrament under a capony; then the main procession, including the brass band, and the banners of various parishes. Spot the bishop's crozier being carried by an altar boy (second picture), the two Knights of Malta (Julian Chadwick, Chairman of the Latin Mass Society and Mr James Bogle, Chairman of the Catholic Union of Great Britain) (fifth picture), and a number of members of the University in 'Academical Dress' (gowns). Close up photos of the leaders of the procession can be found here.

For last year's procession see here. This year's pictures are definately better!

Oxford Life Walk

On Saturday 9th June, Oxford pro-lifers marched through the streets to support the rights of the unborn, as they do each year, starting outside the New Bodleian in Broad Street, passing through Cornmarket, and ending at the University Catholic Chaplaincy, where they had lunch. With significantly greater number than last year, interestingly there was a small counter-demonstration, with drums (!), waiting for the procession in Cornmarket. This is the first counter-demonstration for many years, and may indicate that pro-abortion activists are concerned that the public debate has not been going all their own way recently.

In accordance with a long-standing tradition, banners saying 'Save the Humans' were carried by people wearing suits representing endangered species of animals: a tiger and a panda.

Thanks to all who took part in this event, the local LIFE group which organises it, and the Chaplaincy for their hospitality.
For last year's Life Walk, see here.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Gregorian Chant Training Day 2007

The Gregorian Chant Training Day took place on Saturday 2nd June, Ember Saturday after Pentecost (Whit Saturday). Due to Dr Berry's indisposition, the day was led by Philip Duffy, who directed music at Liverpool's Catholic Cathedral for thirty years, and coached our group with great skill, erudition, patience, good humour and enthusiasm. Twenty singers participated in the day, including some American singers from Cape Cod who were visiting Dr Berry, and others from all over England, including a visitor from York.
Fr John Saward, Priest in Charge at SS Gregory & Augustine's Church in the Woodstock Road, Oxford, gave us the use of his Parish Hall, and we sang at his regular Saturday Benediction at 11, and then at a special Missa Cantata at 3.30pm, which he celebrated. Since this was the Ember Saturday of Pentecost, the Mass and the music were of a special solemnity, combining the last day of Eastertide with the penitential character of the Ember Days. So we sang numerous Alleluias, and the magnificent 'Golden Sequence', the Veni Sancte Spiritus of Pentecost, commonly regarded as one of the greatest masterpieces of sacred Latin poetry ever written, a contribution to the Church's musical patrimony made by an Englishman, Archbishop Langton of Canterbury (d. 1228).
Mr Duffy succeeded in the impressive feat of turning a group of twenty singers, of all levels of experience of singing the Chant, and none of singing with each other, into an servicable choir in time for Mass, and indeed this was the most musically impressive Traditional Mass ever celebrated in Oxford, in the present writer's memory. Thanks to Mr Duffy for his time and effort, to Dr Berry and her assistants for their help, to our MC David Forster and his team of servers, to Lucy Shaw for her splendid lunch and to Fr John Saward, our host and celebrant. Such a hugely enjoyable day must certainly be repeated!