Thursday, December 09, 2010

Paul Inwood: Tablet report on number of Masses wrong

Paul Inwood,the (lay) Director of Liturgy for the Diocese of Portsmouth, and not someone especially keen on the Traditional Mass, has admitted on an on-line discussion forum that The Tablet article I recently posted about was wrong about how the number of churches offering the Usus Antiquior in his diocese. They said it hadn't increased since Summorum Pontificum, but (he says) it has.

Unless The Tablet is deliberately misreporting, they clearly weren't talking to anyone with access to the facts. As I remarked in my letter to The Tablet (in a passage they chose not to print) the responses they had from dioceses were off-the-cuff remarks, and hardly a proper basis for contradicting the detailed facts and figures anyone can download from the Latin Mass Society Mass Listings.

Here is Paul Inwood's post:


#9 by Paul Inwood on December 6, 2010 - 4:11 pm

In my diocese (mentioned in the Tablet reportage but with a lower number of churches than is actually currently providing the EF), we already had a fairly generous provision of EF Masses before SP. Now we have more of them, but it is the same 30 or so people who are simply travelling round to more places to attend (apart from those on the Isle of Wight). There is no discernible increase in numbers. More Masses, same tiny uptake. I wonder how many other diocese mirror this?


Notice he says that it is 'the same 30 people' as before the Motu Proprio, spreading themselves more thinly across more churches in the diocese. As Director of Liturgy he may know how
many churches have the TLM, but he has clearly never been to the FSSP Mass in Reading.

Five years ago about 40 people used to go to these Masses. Since then a lot has happened, including the Motu Proprio, and the number has more than doubled. On a good day we have 100 people; numbers never dip below 60.

This is at the same time as other churches have started to offer the Mass. Plus people in the northern part of the diocese can easily pop over the diocesan boundary to Oxford, where numbers have also doubled since the Motu Proprio. Plus there is an important centre for the SSPX down the road in Newbury.

So how many people regularly attend the Traditional Mass in or from the Portsmouth Diocese? It's a lot more than 30, Mr Inwood!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Now I'm back at my desk I can add this photo to the post
2010 10 03_7625

I can count 60 lay heads in this photograph. You can't see the back row, of course, or the people in the choir loft (there were six singers and a bunch of small children); more importantly through the opening on the right there is a sort of annex where between 20 and forty people usually sit. This photo was taken in October 2010.

Happy now, Mr Inwood?


  1. Andrew3:29 pm

    Not entirely related to this but please may I ask where the Latin Mass Society wesite has gone, none of the links work any more, including the one from this blog.

  2. Joseph Shaw5:13 pm

    Seems to be working now - must have been a temporary glitch.

  3. Andrew4:57 pm

    Well, that is very unusual. Every time I have either googled the Society or clicked on the link here over the past fortnight, I always get taken to a "sedoparking" site, and I have tried 2 different computers and 3 different browers?

  4. Anonymous6:43 pm

    I can't explain it; it seems fine to me!

  5. Anonymous10:39 am

    I've just heard from our technical people: there is a problem, it is only effecting a few people, but they are working on it! Apologies.

  6. Andrew10:16 pm

    Ah, I noticed today that it was fine on my work PC so I thought that maybe it had an aversion to Macs? ;)

  7. Guest4:13 pm

    If we are to criticise Mr Inwood for misrepresenting the facts, we must be careful not to misrepresent him. He certainly did not say anything about people "<span>spreading themselves more thinly", which implies a drop in the numbers attending each individual TLM, but rather said they "</span><span>travelling round to more places to attend". Still an idiotic statement to make (perhaps even more so), but let's not fall into the trap of misrepresenting what people have to say.</span>