Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Middlesbrough LMS blog

Congratualations on the new blog! I'm adding it to the links right away!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Season of Septuagesima

The abolition of the Season of Septuagesima in the revised calendar not only removes a welcome opporunity to prepare for Lent, but creates a problem for churches where both the old and the new Mass are celebrated. In the Oxford Oratory (pictured), the celebrant is vested in purple (for Quinquagesima Sunday), while the altar and tabernacle are in green for an 'Ordinary Sunday of the Year'.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Pro-Life Conference for Students in Oxford


Venue: Oxford University Catholic Chaplaincy

Time: Registration: 6.00 – 7.00pm 2nd March
Finish: 4.00pm 3rd March

Conference fees*:
£ 25.00 (including meals and accommodation)
£ 15.00 (Friday and Saturday sessions only, without accommodation)
* if fees or travel costs are an obstacle for you, and you are not funded by your local SPUC branch or uni pro-life society or other source, please contact us and ask about sponsorship.

Friday Evening: Conference introduction and keynote

Saturday AM: Guest speakers:
Fr Tim Finigan (Association of Priests for the Gospel of Life)
Alison Davis (Co-ordinator of No Less Human)
Anthony McCarthy (Linacre Centre for healthcare ethics)

Saturday PM: Workshops, interaction, planning

For further information on the conference please contact Rab Macdonald on (07957) 844 790 or email unistudent@spuc.org.uk .

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Screening of 'Into Great Silence'

an instant classic, this is a beautifully made fly-on-the-wall documentary of the life of the Carthusian monks of the Grande Chartreuse.

Sunday, 18th March, 2pm, at the Oxford Oratory, in the 'Social Club'.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Lent: prayer, almsgiving and fasting

The Church asks us to do works of prayer, almsgiving and fasting during Lent.

Prayer: anyone looking for extra devotions in Lent would do well to consider the Holy Hours at SS Gregory and Augustine, when Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is followed by Traditional Benediction. These take place every Thursday 10.00 am - 5.00 pm; every Saturday 10.00 - 11.00 am. Confession is available during Exposition on Saturdays, and 4.30-5pm on Thursdays.

Another possibility is Traditional Vespers and Benediction on Sundays at the Oxford Oratory: Vespers at 5.30pm, Benediction at 6pm.

Also recommended is the veneration of the relic of St Philip, at the Oxford Oratory, on Mondays after the 6pm Novus Ordo Mass (ie at about 6.40pm), and Stations of the Cross at the Oxford Oratory on Fridays at 5.30.

Almsgiving. Not all charities are worthy of our donations; here are some which support the Traditional Mass:

St Catherine's Trust:
runs an annual Traditional Catholic Summer School.

The Traditional Priests Support Trust
: supports priests who say the Traditional Mass exclusively, who have no regular income from a diocese or order.

The Good Counsel Network: a pro-life charity, which gives counseling and practical support for women with crisis pregnancies, and campaigns against abortion. The Good Counsel Network is spiritually supported by special celebrations of the Traditional Mass.

Fasting. The obligation to fast in Lent under the new Code of Canon Law is very limited; to make more of this traditional means of penance it is a good idea to look at the obligations under the older rules. These varied from country to country, but here is a summary from Fisheaters:

According to the 1983 Code of Canon Law, the rule for the universal Church during Lent is abstain on all Fridays (inside or outside of Lent) and to both fast and abstain on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Some traditional Catholics might follow the older pattern of fasting and abstinence during this time, which for the universal Church required:

  • Ash Wednesday, all Fridays, and all Saturdays: fasting and total abstinence. This means 3 meatless meals -- with the two smaller meals not equalling in size the main meal of the day -- and no snacking.
  • Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays (except Ash Wednesday), and Thursdays: fasting and partial abstinence from meat. This means three meals -- with the two smaller meals not equalling in size the main meal of the day -- and no snacking, but meat can be eaten at the principle meal.
On those days of fasting an abstinence, meatless soup is traditional (see recipes). Sundays, of course, are always free of fasting and abstinence; even in the heart of Lent, Sundays are about the glorious Resurrection. This pattern of fasting and abstinence ends after the Vigil Mass of Holy Saturday.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Criticism of the Novus Ordo

Can we criticise the Novus Ordo? The following letter to the Catholic Herald illuminates this question.


Bishop Lindsay calls the description of the Novus Ordo by Fr Gary Dickson as "a new rite manufactured by a committee" as "nothing less than gross irreverence". I wonder what he would make of its description by another priest as "fabricated liturgy...a banal on-the-spot product".
Who was this priest who dared so to categorise the new liturgy? None other than Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now better known as Pope Benedict XVI.

Yours faithfully,

Philip Goddard.'

The quotation from the Holy Father is taken from his excellent book 'The Spirit of the Liturgy'.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Traditional Mass: Pastoral advantages

Fr Tim Finigan has written a very interesting post on the reactions of his congregation to a recent Missa Cantata he sang. He writes, in part:

Those who have come to the Church out of interest and are unfamiliar with the [Novus Ordo] Liturgy, and those who are coming back to the practice of the faith which they lapsed from in their teens are actually disadvantaged by a heavily didactic liturgy in which finding your place in the book or "worship aid" is given great importance.

By contrast, the Classical Rite allows people to participate in different ways without being self-conscious or feeling that they are not "joining in" properly. Most especially, there is a very dramatic silence surrounding the consecration. Everyone can understand this without the need to read anything or hear anything except the sacring bell. The elevation of the sacred host in the midst of this silence, and the genuflection of the priest (which can be more clearly seen if he is turned ad orientem) cries out without words that this is the mysterium tremendum et fascinans.

For the whole post, see here.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


On Friday 2nd Februrary, Fr John Saward celebrated the Feast of Candlemass at his church of SS Gregory and Augustine. It was coincidental that it fell on the first Friday of the month, and so fitted in with our regular monthly Traditional Mass in that church.

Mass was preceded by the blessinng and distribution of candles. These candles are taken home by the faithful and can be burned on occasion of need: a traditional use is during childbirth. They are, therefore, a sacramental: a blessed object which gives the user a special opportunity for gaining favours. Other examples are the palms blessed on Palm Sunday, the Ash blessed and used on Ash Wednesday, and scapulars and medals accorded special blessings.

The very next day, Saturday 3rd Feb, is the Feast of St Blaise, and at the regular First Saturday Mass in Reading, Fr Olivier FSSP performed the ceremony of the blessing of two candles, which are then used for the blessing of the throats of the congregation. This is another venerable tradition of the Church involving sacramentals, and the beautiful blessings are worth reading.

The sacraments work 'ex opere operato' ('by the work worked'), which means that when the minister of the sacrament uses the correct words and has the correct intention, we know God will perform a certain thing (transubstatiate the bread and wine; confer the character of baptism or priesthood, etc.). The faith and moral worthiness of the minister (the priest etc.) do not impede this in any way; on the other hand, the grace received by the person receiving the sacrament depends on the faith and worthiness of the recipient.

A sacramental works 'ex opere operantis' ('by the working of the worker'), both of the individual and the Church. There is no metaphysical change, like transubstantiation, at issue, and the only issue is the reception of favours by the person using the sacramental, which depend on the user's faith and worthiness.

The point of sacramentals is that they are privileged opportunities for us to receive favours. Just as there is a special point in asking for a favour at a shrine, so there is a special point in asking a favour in using a sacramental. The reason for this special opportunity to obtain favours at a shrine is that God, wishing to honour the saint honoured in the shrine, wishes to grant favours to those praying at it. Similarly with the sacramental, God hears the prayers of the Church spoken over the blessed object, and wishes to give honour to the Church by granting favours through the blessed object. For more on Sacramental see here. There are several excellent pages on Sacramentals on Fisheaters; here's one.

So let us make the fullest possible use of the sacramentals given us by the Church, and
receive the greatest possible favours through them!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Castrillon Hoyos interview

(Update: in another interview reported by Rorate Caeli, Cardinal Hoyos has said, of the SSPX:
"They are not schismatics, the priests are under a suspension for illicit exercise, and the Bishops are excommunicated because the ordination of new bishops without a permission from Rome received this punishment latæ sententiæ." )
Cardinal Hoyos has given a very interesting interview to a diocesan newspaper in Columbia. For the key passages in English, see Rorate Caeli, here.

Among other things, he said that the SSPX are 'not exactly in schism', the Traditional Mass 'was never forbidden'; and he says the Traditional Mass himself 'nowadays'. (When interviewed a couple of years ago by the Latin Mass Magazine, he was asked what Mass he said, and he replied it was the Mass of Paul VI.)

Finally, he confirmed that 'The Holy Father will extend the permission for this celebration, which is not in opposition to the one of today.'

This adds further weight to the documents cited in my previous post on the legal status of the Traditional Mass.