Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Another First Holy Communion

I attended another First Holy Communion on Sunday - that of my own oldest daughter.

Unfortunatly my camera is playing up! But it was a great occasion.

I am currently preparing for the Summer School 2010 at Ardingly College; the week after that is the LMS Priest Training Conference, which is now FULLY BOOKED! So to say this is a busy time would be an understatement!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tyburn Convent

With a moment of leisure in London today, I visited the Tyburn Convent. The convent is near the site of the Tyburn Tree, the public gallows where more than 100 Catholic martyrs were executed.

I arrived in the public part of their chapel (grilled off from the nuns' part) while they were singing the Office (in English). At it's conclusion the nuns processed out, but one came to kneel on a prie-dieu in front of the Blessed Sacrament: they maintain perpetual exposition. A most moving witness to the Presence of Our Lord.

Alas the altar and it's surroundings have clearly been 're-ordered' at a moment of particularly dismal taste. The altar is so arranged with the steps as to make Mass ad orientem as difficult as possible.

It is hard to imagine this situation surviving another twenty years!
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Thursday, July 22, 2010

FHC at St Anthony of Padua

Fr Aldo Tapparo, Parish Priest of St Anthony of Padua in Headington, gave First Holy Communion today in his freshly redecorated church (with a new Sanctuary lamp too).
2010 07 22_6798
Regular readers may recall earlier photos of Masses there, with some rather - well - unfashionable pastel colours. For example, here is a Mass celebrated by Fr Daniel Seward last winter. (Note the Sanctuary lamp next to the Tabernacle.)
It was a beautiful occasion, illustrating the 'ordinary' Catholic life of Catholics attached to the 'extraordinary' form of the Roman Rite. It is not all solemn liturgies in great or historic churches - not that there is anything wrong with those. It is simply that life also includes low Masses on weekday mornings and family occasions which are important to a small circle of people.

May Dominic's love of the Blessed Sacrament always burn brightly!
2010 07 22_6801
Lucy Shaw Cakes provided a suitably decorated cake which was consumed after Mass.
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More photos here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lanherne sisters want to buy another convent

This is a very exciting proposal - if the necessary benefactors could be found. Please pass this news on!

Photos of Lanherne below and more here. The nuns have restored the chapel.


Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate, Lanherne Cornwall

DARLINGTON CARMEL (one of the very early Carmels to be established in England [1830]) is up for sale. The very few remaining sisters are soon to move out. At Lanherne we have known about this for several months and we have been to visit the establishment. Wonderful for our needs! The Sisters are not going to leave Lanherne, in fact another house is needed as a new foundation. The Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate have a goodly number of vocations; especially sisters who at the moment belong to the “active” branch who have a vocation to the contemplative life. So another contemplative house is needed. There is a major problem. Yes, you’ve got it! The FSI have no money and the Carmelites at Darlington require one and half million pounds. If you know Darlington and the Carmel then you will be surprised that it’s going for only £1,500,000. It’s large and fine, in good order and a Grade 2 listed building.
So we are looking for a benefactor. Franciscans cannot own property and therefore a possible benefactor would continue to own the Carmel and would let the FSI use it – or a trust could be set up. It is possible that with a serious bit of thinking other activities may be considered - retreats etc. ALL is possible. May I remind you that the FSI use ONLY the 1962 liturgical books. A centre for traditional Catholics in the north of England would be a great help to many people.

Please pray that a benefactor or a group of benefactors may be found.

Please contact me and let me know your thoughts.

Father Joseph M Taylor
Lanherne Convent
St Mawgan
Lanherne 003

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Church-going heretics

William Oddie has written an interesting article in the Catholic Herald about the 'Soho Masses': Masses which take place regularly in a church in London which are specifically intended for 'homosexual Catholics', and are run by 'The Soho Masses Pastoral Council'. Dr Oddie contends, as have many people over the years which these Masses have been going, that the ethos of these Masses (for want of a better word) is at variance with the teaching of the Church.

Many people posting comments on his article have said that the interior state of the Mass-goers is no-one's business to judge. It reminds me, nevertheless, of the following passage in the 1984 Indult permitting the Traditional Mass. This is the first of the five conditions of these permissions:

That it be made publicly clear beyond all ambiguity that such priests and their respective faithful in no way share the positions of those who call in question the legitimacy and doctrinal exactitude of the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970.

This is remarkable in three ways: the ludicrous impractability of the demand (individual members of the faithful are to be grilled on their views?); the reversal of the normal burden of proof (Trads are to be assumed to be guilty until proven innocent); and the suggestion - admittedly this is not totally clear - that the views which would exclude the faithful from participation at the Traditional Mass include private opinions on matters not directly related to dogmas of the Faith. One could argue, I suppose, that to deny the legitimacy of the 1970 Missal, taken in a legal sense, would be to deny the dogma of Papal authority; but what dogma is at stake in questioning the doctrinal exactitude of the Missal? (It would be most charitable, I suppose, to understand the 'and' in the clause strictly: only those who question both matters are in trouble.)

This clause is, perhaps, the apogee of the unfortunate attitude of the 1970s and 1980s which said that the only thing really unacceptable in the Catholic Church is a reasoned preference for the Traditional Mass. Cardinal Ratzinger, as he then was, articulated and criticised this attitude in his famous speech to the Bishops of Chile in 1988. He said

That which previously was considered most holy -- the form in which the liturgy was handed down -- suddenly appears as the most forbidden of all things, the one thing that can safely be prohibited. It is intolerable to criticize decisions which have been taken since the council; on the other hand, if men make question of ancient rules, or even of the great truths of the faith -- for instance, the corporal virginity of Mary, the bodily Resurrection of Jesus, the immortality of the soul, etc. -- nobody complains or only does so with the greatest moderation.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, and then the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, have done a lot to put this topsey-turvy world the right way up. The Catechism reminds us that even after the Council there are dogmas which must be held by every Catholic. The motu proprio reminds us that official policies adopted with regard to the Traditional Mass after the Council are just that - policies, not dogmas - and while they were sincerely intended for the good of the Church, some were wrong-headed, and needed to be reversed. The Holy Father laments mistakes made in good faith over the centuries:

Looking back over the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have rent the Body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the Church’s leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity. One has the impression that omissions on the part of the Church have had their share of blame for the fact that these divisions were able to harden. This glance at the past imposes an obligation on us today: to make every effort to enable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew.

So in what category do the 'Soho Masses' come? Those objecting to attempts to make judgements about the interior states of the faithful are right. It is public acts which we need to consider, and these in relation to dogma, and the good of the faithful. On this matter, one may ask whether the public support of the Soho Masses Pastoral Council for Civil Partnerships is a good qualification for them to be in charge of the pastoral care of a cat, let alone of Catholics. And one may observe that the effect of the apparent concession to positions at odds with the Church's teaching is to create a community in which this kind of attitude is fostered (from the comments on the Herald article):

It is not the teaching of the "Church" that we should refrain from sexual activity outside of marriage, but the doctrine of the Vatican.

If this is the rationale of these Mass-goers, then someone needs to go to Soho and give them some sound teaching. And fast.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Special Masses in Reading with the FSSP

Email just received!

In St William of York Upper Redlands Road, Reading.

· Sunday 18th July 2010, 11am, St William of York: Solemn High Mass on the occasion of the 22nd Anniversary of Foundation of the FSSP

· Saturday 11th September 2010, 11am: Sung Mass of Our Lady, Douai Abbey Church, Berks.: occasion: Juventutem international gathering

· Friday 17th September 2010: 7pm: Sung Mass ‘Pro Fidei Propagatione’ (Votive Mass n°18) followed with Prayer vigil in front of the Blessed Sacrament until midnight: occasion: Holy Father’s visit.

· Sunday 3rd October 2010: 11am: Sung Mass of BMV of the Rosary (External Solemnity), St William of York, Reading: occasion: Inauguration

Retreats: Please book now for our next retreats at Douai Abbey, Berks. are :

· for students and young professionals, Juventutem week-end 10-12 September 20101 (contact: Damian Barker:;

· for all: Advent week-end: 10-12 December 2010. (contact: Fr de Malleray: []‎)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Anglicanorum Coetibus: why Gerald Warner is wrong

Gerald Warner has posted, following the Anglican Synod vote which effectively puts an end to any face-saving deal for Anglo-Catholics who might remain in the Church of England, criticising Pope Benedict's offer to these Anglo-Catholics in Anglicanorum Coetibus, that they may if they wish enter the Catholic Church as a group, and retain some elements of group identity, such as some parts of the Anglican liturgical tradition.

His objections are scatter-gun, but they are all wrong-headed. Here's one:

If the Anglican liturgy is “a precious gift nourishing the faith”, why did the restored Catholic Church burn its author Cranmer as an apostate and heretic?

Sorry, Gerald, Cranmer was executed for heresy, not for his prose style; nor did he compose the great bulk of what is used in the (Vatican approved) 'Anglican Use': he simply translated it from the Latin of the Catholic Sarum Use. The Psalms, as translated by Cranmer, and as sung in Anglican churches, can surely be described as 'nourishing the faith': to deny this would be absurd.

If some adaptation of the Anglican liturgy is envisaged, to formulate a valid Mass, that, along with the old and new translations of the Novus Ordo, will mean three English versions coexisting.

Too late, Gerald, it happened years ago, it's called the Anglican Use. It is unlikely to be used much in England, because Anglo-Catholics here aren't Book of Common Prayer enthusiasts for the most part. But why do you imagine that the the old and new translations of the Novus Ordo will co-exist? The new is intended to supplant the old. And why would it be such a disaster if there were more than one liturgical usage in English? There are already five Usages employing Latin in England and Wales alone. (1962 Roman, 1970 Roman, Trad. Dominican, reformed Carthusian, Trad. Premonstratensian.) Why assume this is a bad thing?

Why does it take escalating extravagances perpetrated by successive General Synods to drive them into the papal flock? That is not the spirit in which John Henry Newman unconditionally converted.

Why not read Newman's Apologia, Gerald, and see how the 'escalating extravagances' of the mid 19th Century drove the great man into the Papal flock? The rise of theological liberalism, the Anglo-Catholic reaction, the Anglican bishops' condemnation, the Jerusalem bishopric. If you think Newman became a Catholic out of a vacuum you could not be more mistaken. He became a Catholic when all Anglican avenues appeared blocked. The Holy Ghost made use of these things to open Newman's mind to the Catholic truth, and you can see this process again and again in the conversion stories of Anglicans from the great era Newman initiated up to the 1950s.

Let me say this loud and clear: there is no shame in recognising the truth as a result of historical contingencies. How could there possibly be? The idea is totally preposterous. This is how human nature works. People need time and experience to work things out.

The notion that formal adherence to objective truth can be made conditional upon being allowed to retain the cultural expression of schismatic practices defies the spirit of conversion.

Really, Gerald? Would you say the same about the Lutherans who were allowed to retain (for a time) the reception of Holy Communion under Both Kinds, and vernacular hymnody, in the 16th Century? Would you say the same about the liturgy and artistic traditions of the Uniate Churches reconciled in the 17th Century? Would you say the same about the concessions to the honouring of ancestors, and the use of Mandarin as a liturgical language, made to Chinese Catholics in the early modern period (concessions which, thanks to some bone-headed opposition and the collapse of the Chinese empire, never developed fully)? Would you say the same about the Christianising of pagan festivals and customs in the conversion of the barbarian tribes in the early Middle Ages? Would you say the same of the concessions offered to the SSPX?

Or would you say rather (and as I have blogged before): where there are matters where the faith is not at stake, such that making concessions can ease the path of great masses of people to enter into the fullness of the truth, not to make such concessions would be a failure of charity. The Church is ultimately about the salvation of souls: our customs are to be preserved for that purpose, and for that purpose alone. As a matter of fact our customs are not in the smallest way to be imperilled by allowing these elements of Anglican patrimony to be used by the envisaged communities, so what possible reason would we have to impose our customs on them?

The Holy Father has an acute sense of what the Church is for - the salvation of souls - and the historic opportunity which the recent events present. It may be tempting to gloat at the difficulties those misguided Anglicans are having, and to demand the maximally humiliating terms for their conversion, but this is not the spirit of the great missionaries - of St Cajetan, St Boniface, St Francis de Salles, St Francis Xavier. Indeed, it is not a Christian spirit at all.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Exchange with The Tablet

Last week The Tablet (aka The Bitter Pill) tried to pin a negative story about the Traditional Mass onto a passage taken from my AGM speech. (Did they send a journalist to the LMS AGM? No, they picked it off this very blog. They'll be reading this. Cooee!)
Here's their little Notebook article from 3rd July:

IN JULY 2008, when Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos swept into Westminster Cathedral resplendent in cappa magna to celebrate an old-rite Mass, hopes were high for a Tridentine revival across England and Wales. Traditionalists boasted that some of their most enthusiastic followers were young people.

The reality, however, seems to be rather different. Last weekend, Dr Joseph Shaw, the chairman of the Latin Mass Society (LMS), told his society’s AGM that the situation in parishes was “a paradox”. The problem? In some places old-rite Masses are attended only by a few people yearning for the Mass of their youth.

He said: “The number of Masses has risen considerably, and we know scores of priests who are gearing up to do more in their parishes as they gain in confidence. But we also know that some of these Masses are very thinly attended, that some congregations appear to be ageing, and that the rightful aspirations of those attached to the Church’s earlier liturgical traditions are still not being fulfilled in many places.”
Notice how what they quote doesn't actually undermine the claim attributed to 'Traditionalists' 'some of their most enthusiastic followers were young people.' This is partly because, as they express it, it is a very weak claim. I'm pretty young, and so is my 6-year-old daughter, and we are among the most enthusiastic supporters of the TLM, so the claim is true. But of course the LMS would go a lot further, and say that the Traditionalist movement is increasingly typified by large numbers of young people - and even this claim isn't thrown into doubt by my observation that there are some Masses where there aren't very many of them, let alone my observation that people in some parts of the country can't get the Mass because it is not being provided for them as it should be - how does that fit in? (Was the last bit included by mistake?) And I didn't say anything about people yearning for 'the Mass of their youth' - some of the oldies I know who attend the Traditional Mass, as it happens, are post-conciliar converts.
Still, we don't read The Tablet for logic. We read it for self-mortification. In any case, they graciously published my reply (10th July):

Enthusiasm of young for old rite

Readers of The Tablet should take scant comfort from my admission (Notebook, 3 July) that congregations at some old-rite Masses are small and predominantly ageing, since this merely reflects the wider Church in depopulated cities and the countryside.

They would be better employed reflecting on the fact that the usus antiquior is attracting intelligent young people who are eager to recover what the older generation seemed so determined to discard. If they would like evidence of this, they need only look at events (not reported in The Tablet) such as the recent 70-mile walking pilgrimage from Paris to Chartres, where the traditional Mass was celebrated daily, which attracted more than 10,000 mostly young people.

I am sad when I recall the deeply patronising liturgical pap designed to cater for “yoof” – Pope Benedict refers to this kind of thing in his letter accompanying Summorum Pontificum as “arbitrary deformations of the liturgy” – which drove most of my contemporaries away from the practice of the faith (I was born in 1971). I am reminded of Kipling’s lines on the generation lost to the Great War:
“What tale shall serve me here among
Mine angry and defrauded young?”

Joseph Shaw
Chairman, Latin Mass Society
Kipling's short poem, The Dead Statesman, deserves to be quoted in full (here are more of his Great War Epitaphs):

I could not dig: I dared not rob:
Therefore I lied to please the mob.
Now all my lies are proved untrue
And I must face the men I slew.
What tale shall serve me here among
Mine angry and defrauded young?

Kipling's anger and bitterness - he lost his only son Jack in the War - are appropriate for our situation. Far worse than to lose your child in a war, is to lose children and grandchildren, or contemporaries, to the faith, since in this case it is their immortal destiny which is at stake. If there are any people really taking satisfaction in the illusory idea that the Traditional Mass isn't attracting the young, they must be the most fossilised liberal fanatics who would rather see the Church disappear and her children be damned than that the Mass of Ages to return.
But what is this? The editorial of the very same issue - the current one - the Editrix appears to accept my point about bad liturgy being a major cause of lapsation, writing

A combination of
poor liturgies, uninspiring religious formation and the lure of new experiences, especially sexual ones, don’t encourage Mass attendance.

As Valle Adurni says, welcome to the real world! Glad to have you with us! So stop carping about the spread of the 'Tridentine Mass' (surely The Tablet is the only publication in the world using that terminology), and think about its benefits for the Church.

(The photos, by the way, are of the Chartres Pilgrimage.)

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

PCED: no communion in the Hand at the Traditional Mass

The question of communion in the hand at the Traditional Mass has long been unclear. It was not permitted in 1962; it is permitted now (albeit with great reluctance, as a concession to a condemned abuse). Is it permitted now for all forms and rites? Or should those using the 1962 Missal be bound by the rules in force in 1962?

The latter has long seemed the more sensible opinion to the Latin Mass Society, and to most people attached to the 'earlier liturgical traditions'. To adopt into the 1962 Mass customs permitted in the context of the 1970 Mass undermines the integrity of the rite. Each Missal has its own liturgical law, both written and unwritten.

Not all issues are on the same level, however. The question of when Catholics are obliged to go to Mass, and how long they must fast before Communion, are set by canon law (in the first case in the context of decisions made by ordinaries). What is obligatory under the latest Code of Canon Law is obligatory for all Catholics subject to that Code, ie the Code for the Latin Church covers the whole Latin Church. By contrast, liturgical law is specific to the form or Rite.

The common view has been confirmed by the Pontifical Council Ecclesia Dei, as this letter makes clear. These clarifications are to be welcomed.

One may ask: what should a priest do faced with someone insisting on receiving in the hand? The clarification itself, and priests' explanation of the situation, should make this a less frequent occurance. But as with all attempts at inappropitiate behaviour at Mass, priests must respond in a sane way with pastoral sensitivity. There is no legislating for such such cases.


"Dear Mr. XXXX

In reference to your letter of 15. June, this papal commission would like to point out that the celebration of Holy Mass in the extraordinary form envisages the reception of Holy Communion while kneeling, as the Holy Host is laid directly on the tongue of the communicant. There is no provision for the distribution of Holy Communion on the hand in this form of the Holy Mass.

With blessings,"

See Fr John Zuhlsdorf:

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Monday, July 05, 2010

Mass in St George's Warminster

We attended the Traditional Mass in the church if Fr Bede Rowe in Warminster, a Low Mass at 6pm. The church is being redecorated so this wasn't the ideal occasion for photographs!

Whenever I go to Warminster I see people I know from other contexts, perhaps because there are few Old Masses in Clifton diocese and people travel here from a long way away. This time I saw several people I met on the Chartres Pilgrimage.

More photos now available here.
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