Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Change and renewal as the reiteration of the same old thing

News comes from Malta about Archbishop Cremona's Pastoral Letter for the start of Advent, which could be read as a veiled criticism of the Traditional Mass which is finally making some headway on the island. The Archbishop (the letter is also signed by the Bishop of Gozo) is insistent on the need for change:

Experience shows us just how true is the old adage which states that “the one who does not renew himself will wither away”.

By his very nature, man seeks to renew himself and that which is around him. Life is a process whereby we move from one phase to another. At the same time, man is also capable of resisting change. He is capable of putting spokes into the wheel of change, choosing to remain entrenched very firmly in the past. This is because sometimes change comes at a price.

He must be excited about the latest developments, then, in which the Church seems to be escaping the rut of the last forty years. Forty years ago, of course, it wasn't a rut: all those new developments really were new, or fairly new. Pastoral Councils, permanent deacons, Mass in the vernacular, lay participation, ecumenism... But that was forty years ago. Times have changed; we must change; to live is to change; we mustn't stagnate; change change change...

But it seems the Archbishop isn't in favour of all change. On the contrary, he has a positive idea of what kind of changes are needed. And funnily enough, these are exactly the changes which were made forty years ago. Because it seems those changes weren't entirely complete.

Yet since some seed has fallen onto dry land or among thorns, so the desired fruit might have not all been reaped.

So the change we really need to undergo is to go back to those old changes and do them all over again - or to do them some more - or embrace them more fully - or something.

Is it possible that 'not all the fruit has been reaped' because the times are no longer demand this kind of approach? Is it possible that, forty years being a long time and all that, different changes are now called for? No, not at all. On the contrary, we must 

shift from our present standpoint and move forward, rather than simply going around in circles.

Even more worrying is this danger: 

Therefore, unless we are vigilant, as a Church we too run the risk of running dry, our liturgy becomes theatrical, the Church is rendered no more than a historical museum.

This pastoral letter could have been written by any number of bishops. It encapsulates the generational misunderstanding which is gripping the Church. Those whose went through the 'Post Conciliar Renewal' with enthusiasm know exactly what is 'old' and what is 'new': the old Mass is old, the fearless preaching of the Gospel is old; the new Mass is new, ecumenism, lay participation and all the rest is new. If anyone suggests having the EF this is obviously a case of someone wanting something old, of rolling back the renewal, or undoing change. And of course in a sense it is.

But for anyone younger than fifty, the new Mass is old. Eucharistic ministers, lay readers, ecumenical gatherings and all the rest are not new and exciting, they are part of the familiar and faded pattern of church life. When we discover that they were only instituted a generation ago, that doesn't fill us with enthusiasm; it just makes us realise that their roots are not deep, they don't derive from the timeless wisdom of the Church: if they aren't working, we should try something else. The Old Mass is new, having a sense of the sacred in church is new, insisting on a separation of roles between priest and faithful is new, liberating, refreshing; the fearless preaching of the Gospel, without an exaggerated tact toward our 'separated brethren', is a breath of fresh air. The talk of change change change which accompanies a deep hostility to changing anything, the exhortations to renewal which accompany the insistence that the theology, hymns, vestments and parish structures of the 1970s be preserved in amber for all time... these just strike us as absurd. Can't you read the signs of the times, friends?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ecclesia Dei New Zealand

The other day Diane Taylor, Secretary of Ecclesia Dei New Zealand (the New Zealand affiliate of the Una Voce Federation), visited Oxford; we had lunch together. Here she is looking at the relics in the Relic Chapel of the Oxford Oratory.

It's pretty unusual to be visited by members of the Una Voce Federation from the other side of the earth, but having come to Rome for the Federation meeting Mrs Taylor decided to make the most of it.

In the capital, Aukland, New Zealand has had for some time a church dedicated to the Traditional Mass, served by a priest who looks after a regular congregation drawn from far and wide. This is an important precedent for the developing situation in England: a church shared between a parish and the Fraternity of St Peter in Reading, an official 'Chaplaincy' of the Fraternity in the Diocese of Northhampton, and the agreement between the Bishop of Shrewsbury and the Institute of Christ the King which gives them the use of the Church of SS Peter & Paul in the outskirts of Liverpool.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Trouble up North

The Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, who are based at their monastery of Golgotha on the island of Papa Stronsay in the Orkneys, have documentation on their blog which appears to show that they have been deprived of a share of a legacy by the Society of St Pius X.

The will of the late Mrs Kingon-Rousse of Herne Bay stated:

7. SUBJECT TO the payment of my debts funeral and testamentary expenses and the aforementioned legacies I give all the remainder of my estate not otherwise effectively disposed of by this Will or any codicil hereto to the Society of St. Pius X in Great Britain and request that one half of such residue of my estate be used for the benefit of the London Branch of the Society operating from St. George's House 125 Arthur Road London SW19 7DR who service Saints John Fisher & Thomas More Church Herne and for the remaining half share to be utilised for the benefit of Father Michael Mary and the community of Redemptorists at Golgotha Monastery Island Papa Stronsay Orkney Isles KW17 2AR. And I further request that Father Michael Mary put aside the sum of TWO THOUSAND POUNDS (£2, 000.00) for mass offerings to be used for the repose of the soul of myself and my family by birth or marriage and for the benefit of every holy soul in purgatory AND I declare that the receipt of the Treasurer or other competent officer for the time being of the Society of St. Pius X in Great Britain appearing to my Executor shall be a sufficient receipt to my Executor in respect of this residuary bequest

The Sons have received the £2,000 for Mass stipends, but not the rest. A strange story.

But all is made clear in the latest edition of the SSPX Newsletter (December 2011):

'Let it be know that this good lady's wishes to support the traditional Redemptorists were certainly taken into consideration when, after consultation with the General House, and following legal advice, a good deal more than the original sum of money was used to purchase St Columba's House on Stronsay for the benefit of the faithful Redemptorists who remained following the 2008 split, as well as the local faithful.'

I am very happy to put this statement from Fr Paul Morgan, Superior of the SSPX in Great Britain, before a wider audience.

The Sons conclude their post with the words: 'we resign ourselves to this injustice.'

In the meantime, the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, a community which voted in 2008 to seek canonical regularisation from Rome, and have received it, are in serious need of money. You can send donations to them directly, and join the mailing list of the Friends of Papa Stronsay. If you have not done so,

take out a subscription to their quarterly newspaper, The Catholic,

buy their annual Wall Calendar!

Yes the LMS does one too, so buy that as well! One for your kitchen, one for the sitting room - obviously! And buy a few more to give your friends for Christmas!

Friday, November 25, 2011

A side issue

A series of possibly linked facts has become evident. They may, or may not, be of interest to readers.

The Society of St Catherine of Siena has disappeared from the internet. Its web address was (Here are some remains.)

The Journal Usus Antiquior is now edited by Ben Whitworth. (Recall the launch.) It is no longer linked to the Society of St Catherine of Siena (though see the Facebook page).

Dr Laurence Hemming no longer describes himself as a Deacon of the Catholic Church on his website.

I don't know what to make of all this; the full facts are not available to me. I don't think it is terribly important. It is a side issue.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Attack on me by Christian Order

The small number of dedicated Christian Order readers who manage to wade through through the first 26 pages of the latest edition will find a few paragraphs attacking me by name, on page 27 and the top of 28, for my blog post about the fiasco of the cancelled conference organised by Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice. I hesitate to give this any publicity but I think it is worth making a few remarks about it.

As Editor of Christian Order Rod Pead has long treated it as a personal mouthpiece, but recent issues have taken this principle to new extremes. The current issue comprises entirely, with the exception of a letter to the editor printed on the inside covers, the Editorial. Christian Order has a small format, but that is 79 pages of text (there are no pictures), not counting the contents page. This is not an unprecedented situation, and this is in fact just Part III of an apparently endless rant about the Jews.

I doubt any sane person will have the time or inclination to sit down and untangle the various theological and political claims being made by Rod Pead in these articles, to establish whether he can fairly be accused of anti-semitism. What a glance at the contents page tells us, however, without further ado, is that he is in the grip of an obsession. The style is prolix and undisciplined; he's just rabbitting on like a pub bore on speed. If there were a serious point at the bottom of all this verbiage, a serious person would realise that these CO articles are counter-productive in getting it across.

Rod Pead's attack on me is entirely about a single sentence in my blog post about the 'PEEP fiasco'. The point of the post was to say, against Dr William Oddie, that the successive errors of judgement which led to the cancellation of the PEEP conference cannot be attributable to a traditonalist element in Pro Ecclesia which Daphne MacLeod ought to purge. On the contrary, Mrs MacLeod was taking full responsibility for the decisions, and the conspiracy-theory element of the story is neither typical of or nor restricted to those associated with the Traditonal Mass. I added, towards the end:

"I don't know much about Kramer and Sungenis, but I know they are widely regarded as dangerous lunatics, and with justification."

I'd be happy to withdraw the 'with justification', on the basis that it is for their accusers to make the case, which of course they are happy to do. My point is simply that there is a perception of them being extremists, and that this perception is based on enough evidence (justification) that it is not going to be undone in a trice by a couple of adverts in the Catholic Herald. Given what had just happened - the withdrawal of Cardinal Burke as a speaker on the grounds that PEEP was a cause for concern to faithful Catholics (ie, a bit extreme), inviting two alternative speakers who are regarded as more than a bit extreme was not a very clever idea.

Rod Pead's accusation against me is that this remark of mine is an unjustified slur on the good names of Kramer and Sungenis: no, it's not, it is merely a comment about public perceptions of them; my lack of knowledge about them in themselves is made explicit.

He also says that this remark indicates that I am a 'useful idiot' in going along with the great conspiracy of Jews, Communists, Freemasons, and promoters of theological innovation, yawn yawn. Well, I have news for Rod Pead: insofar as there are problems in the Church, insofar as error needs to be opposed, and our great liturgical traditions made available once more to all Catholics, as our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI now gloriously reigning wills, the Latin Mass Society is doing a great deal more about it than Christian Order.

A brief restoration of the Domine Salvam Fac for the OF

I was alerted to a story in the Daily Mail saying that 'for the first time ever' Catholics were to have an official prayer for the Queen, for her Diamond Jubilee. Not until I saw the Catholic Herald was it explained that this was to be said on Trinity Sunday 2012. I could find no trace of the announcement on the Bishops' Conference website (what is this website actually for, one may ask?)

Not even the Catholic Herald seemed aware that the Bishops were using the prayer which was said at the end of the principal Mass on a Sunday in every parish in England and Wales until 1964. The translation is not the same as that found in my Baronius Press missal but it is clearly the same prayer.

Not only do Catholics still have this prayer when they attend a Sung Mass on a Sunday in Extraordinary Form, but they sing part of it; it is familiar as the 'Domine salvam fac' ('salvUm fac' when there is a king). The rest is strictly a collect, which is said by the priest. (You can hear it sung from the LMS website here.)

I'm delighted to see this being restored, at least for one Sunday. I'm not sure why it 'is used after the post-Communion prayer and before the final blessing', instead of right at the end of Mass; perhaps the Bishops are worried that, not being used to it, the people would start leaving church before the prayer was said.

In 1964, so I understand (I hadn't been born) the Bishops of England and Wales announced that the Domine salvam fac would no longer be said, but a prayer for the Queen should be included among the Bidding Prayers. I think I have heard this happen, but I'd say it was pretty rare. What actually happened in most places is that prayers for the good estate of the Queen were just forgotten.

When this prayer is mentioned there is usually a flurry of annoyed comments from Jacobites, Fenians, and assorted grumpy Republicans asking why we should pray for the Queen. The answer is not, of course, that (as one commentator on the Catholic Herald story suggested) she is a 'good Christian lady'.  The answer is, simply, that she is the Queen. If we had a Republic (which God forbid), we should pray for the President, or the Republic itself, however good, bad, or indifferent they might be. To refuse to pray for the Head of State is to refuse to pray for the good of the very fabric of law and custom which sustains society. It is a form of spite whose object is ultimately oneself. Much more productive is the slogan of the otherwise obscure American statesman, Carl Schurz:

My country right or wrong! If right to be kept right! If wrong to be set right!

I don't know when Catholics started to pray the Domine salvum /salvam fac for the monarch, but a friend of mine has found it in a Missal printed in 1815. Message to the Daily Mail: we've been doing this for a long while!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sunday Missa Cantata in Oxford

IMG_8349 On Sunday Fr John Saward celebrated a Missa Cantata at 12 noon in SS Gregory and Augustine's in the Woodstock Road. Although we are blessed with many traditional Masses in and around Oxford, a Sung Mass on a Sunday is rare, and Fr Saward is now celebrating one each month.
The Mass was accompanied by the Schola Abelis, with polyphony: Cristobal de Morales's five-part  Missa L'Homme Armee (the Armed Man).

The next one will be on the Fourth Sunday of Advent, 18th December, again at 12 noon. IMG_8355

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Annual Requiem

Yesterday was the LMS' Annual Requiem for our deceased members, a Pontifical Mass in Westminster Cathedral celebrated by Bishop Alan Hopes. Fr Andrew Southwell, the LMS Chaplain, was assistant priest; Fr Tim Finigan was Deacon, Fr David Irwin Subdeacon.

Before Mass, we had our customary prayers for Cardinal Heenan. I laid a wreath on his tomb in the Cathedral; the prayers were led by Fr Patrick Haywood. The current issue of the Mass of Ages has a feature on the 'Heenan Indult', which the Cardinal personally requested (at the request of the Latin Mass Society) from Pope Paul VI, in 1971, forty years ago this year. The importance of this, the first official permission for the Traditional Mass for the good of the faithful, is difficult to overstate. The permission was extended to the whole world only in 1984.


Bishop Hopes on the faldstool.


Bishop Hopes wore a dalmatic and tunicle under his chasuble, as bishops do. He took them all off, a put on a cope, to preach (at the end of Mass, not after the Gospel, again a custom of Requiems) and to bless the catafalque.

As is now customary, there was a catafalque, which Bishop Hopes blessed.

These photos aren't as good as usual since I don't have access to my usual processing software. It is very noticable how dependant I am on the magic of Photoshop when taking long-distance photos in dim lighting - and without a flash. Normal service, I hope, will be resumed shortly. The rest of my photo set is here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Mystery solved

In my post about early morning Masses in St Peter's, I included a photo of one of the chapel murals: an intriguing but obscure scene. I've now been told (by our Rep for Clifton, no less!) what it depicts.

Here's the picture.
The thing I missed completely when I posted it was that the fellow about to commit suicide is clutching a key. This wouldn't have helped me all that much but it seems his demonic possession and suicide in front of a king is the punishment for his sacrilege in attempting to steal the key which decorated St Peter's tomb.

I am told: "The fresco is to be found in the Chapel of the Madonna of Partorienti. It was painted by Giovan Ricci da Novara, between 1618 and 1619. The panel is one of several by da Novara, and represents 'The Longobard and the Key of St Peter', which is an episode narrated by Gregory the Great. The Longobard is the man committing suicide. He tried to break the golden key from St Peter's tomb and then, taken over by an evil spirit, he slit his own throat. The enthroned king is Autari, the king of the (Arian) Lombards, who repairs the damage done to St Peter's tomb. "

Monday, November 14, 2011

Confirmations in London


Recently Ordained Bishop Steps in at Last Moment to Enable Latin Mass Society Confirmations to Go Ahead

Rt Rev John Sherrington, newly installed auxiliary bishop of Westminster conferred Confirmations in the Traditional Rite on 31 candidates at a ceremony organised by the Latin Mass Society (LMS) at St James’s, Spanish Place in central London on Saturday, 12 November.Originally, Bishop Alan Hopes of Westminster was intending to confer the Sacrament but had to withdraw at the very last moment owing to ill health. Bishop Sherrington stepped into the breach at less than 24 hours’ notice to ensure a very successful and happy event went ahead as scheduled. He was assisted by Fr Andrew Southwell, the LMS National Chaplain, Fr Tim Finigan and the rector of St James’s, Fr Christopher Colven.After celebrating Pontifical Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament the bishop joined candidates and their families and friends in the Parish Social Centre for a buffet lunch where he also cut one of two celebratory cakes.
After celebrating Pontifical Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament the bishop joined candidates and their families and friends in the Parish Social Centre for a buffet lunch where he also cut one of two celebratory cakes.LMS General Manager Mike Lord said: ‘We were delighted to have the chance to meet Bishop Sherrington for the first timesince his installation and grateful that he was able to help us out at such short notice. It was a joyful occasion for all involved. I understand this was the first time that the bishop had administered Confirmations in the Traditional Rite, but it was a seamless performance, drawing complimentary remarks from the clergy who assisted him, all of whom are experienced hands in the Extraordinary Form. We were very happy that Bishop Sherrington spent time chatting to the candidates and their families afterwards, even delaying his departure for another appointment to ensure he had had the opportunity of speaking to everyone. Westminster archdiocese is fortunate to have acquired an auxiliary so pastorally attuned to the needs of ordinary Catholics, whatever form of the liturgy they are attached to.’

See more on Fr Tim Finigan's blog; see the full set of LMS photos.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Photos of the FIUV Conference

I'm not in a position to process my photos yet, annoyingly, but here are a couple I took: of Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos celebrating Mass in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel in St Peter's, and of the conference participants with Cardinal Raymond Burke.



Here are some photos taken by the Wandering Oblate.

FIUV Congress 2011
Choir singing at our Mass in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel; they are in fact the regular singers at Sta Trinita, the FSSP church.

FIUV Congress 2011
The congregation: the chapel was pretty full.

FIUV Congress 2011
The last blessing.

FIUV Congress 2011
Cardinal Castrillon after Mass with Leo Darroch, FIUV President.

FIUV Congress 2011
Cardinal Burke at lunch.

The Wandering Oblate's set of photos; blog - I think he'll be posting on the conference soon.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

FSSP Vocations Retreat

Vocation discernment weekend, at St John Fisher House in Reading on 16-17-18 December 2011:

For Catholic men between 18 and 35 years of age (under 18 please contact us).

Starts on Friday 16th December 2011 at 6pm – ends on Sunday 18th December 2011 mid-afternoon. Led by Fr Armand de Malleray, FSSP.

Location: St John Fisher House is the residence of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter in England & Wales.

Address: 17, Eastern Avenue, Reading, RG1 5RU, England.

Access: 27mn from London Paddington by direct trains up to every 10mn, and from London Waterloo. Direct trains from Oxford, Bournemouth, Bristol, Newcastle, York, Birmingham, Gatwick Airport, Southampton Airport, etc. Direct ‘RailAir’ buses from Heathrow to Reading train station every 20mn. Motorway: M4.

Limited overnight accommodation: please book now.

Programme: Spiritual conferences, socials, Holy Mass each of the three days (Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite) including polyphonic Sunday Mass, silent prayer, private talk with Fr de Malleray, FSSP. Fr de Malleray will explain what a vocation is in general and to the priesthood in particular. Read here the Holy Father’s recentLetter to seminarians. Extract: “The proper celebration of the Eucharist involves knowing, understanding and loving the Church’s liturgy in its concrete form. In the liturgy we pray with the faithful of every age – the past, the present and the future are joined in one great chorus of prayer. As I can state from personal experience, it is inspiring to learn how it all developed, what a great experience of faith is reflected in the structure of the Mass, and how it has been shaped by the prayer of many generations.”

Cost: no set price for students or unemployed – any donation welcome; others: £50 suggested.

New: our special Vocations flyer and videos on

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Early morning Masses in St Peter's

I have been hearing about the early Masses in St Peter's and this morning I got up early to see them. If you get to the front of St Peter's before 7am, you see the great iron gates swing back and you (and, at least today, a crowd of others) can swarm in.
In the following minutes priests start pouring out of the sacristy to say private Masses at side altars. Some go into the crypt, some to the altars of the upper basilica; some are saying Masses for groups of visitors, some are simply saying a private Mass. There were priests saying Masses in various languages, some for quite large congregations, singing; others were saying the Traditional Mass.

We followed one group into the crypt, which I have never seen before. It is an odd mixture of beautiful old chapels and ... modern ones.
I'd be interested to know what this fresco, in the crypt, depicts; it appears to show someone threatening suicide surrounded by people in turbans, with the eager encouragement of a devil.

We ended up back in the upper Basilica and (looking out for the tell-tale altar cards) found at least two Traditional Masses being said; the one we actually attended was at the altar over the tomb of Bl Innocent XI, and under an immense fresco of the Transfiguration. (The other was in the chapel of St Pius X.)

I have no idea who the celebrant was, but he ended up with a congregation of four. Sadly, neither he nor the other priest celebrating the EF had a server; if I'd been there when he arrived, I would have volunteered myself.
(Someone with greater knowledge than I have can perhaps explain why the priests saying the OF were in red today and those saying the EF were in green; the Universal calendar on my IPhone would, if anything, suggest they'd be the other way round.)

Flushed with our success we then had breakfast at the maddest restaurant in Rome: Babingtons, to be found for more than a century at the foot of the Spanish Steps, which serves English food. Yup, scones and clotted cream, 'Full English Breakfast', a wide range of teas... I had an extremely good Eggs Benedict, in honour of the Holy Father. I did, however, resist the temptation to photograph it.
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End of FIUV Conference, & liturgical fabric

The second aftrnoon of the FIUV conference is an 'Open Forum', taken up with talks. I think I can best blog about this when the talks become available on-line, which is planned. We heard from representatives of the Fraternity of St Peter, the Institute of Christ the King, the Institute of the Good Shepherd, and the head of the Institute of Sacred Music.

After the end of the Conference, on Monday morning, we had a private Mass in the modern chapel of the hotel.

And I have been busy! First, with two members of the Guild of St Clare, the LMS' guild of needlecraft, I visited Lisio, a fabulous source of liturgical fabric. They have supplied fabrics for use by the Holy Father himself, and have wonderful things, many based on motifs from Renaissance art.

Their stuff ranges all the way from 'very expensive' bracket to the, well, mind-bogglingly expensive. But these fabrics can be used in many ways, in panels and as trims, and in the right context this could be a very useful source.

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Monday, November 07, 2011

FIUV Conference Day 2: Mass

Yesterday we attended Mass at Sta Trinita dei Pellegrini, the church of the Fraternity of St Peter's in Rome, for their

regular Sunday Solemn Mass. I was delighted to see not only Fr Kramer FSSP, the Parish Priest, but also Fr William Barker FSSP, whom I saw ordained in Wigratzbad only two years ago. He is Fr Kramer's deputy.

I was in fact back there in the evening to attend Mass with my wife Lucy who had just arrived, and that (Low) Mass was celebrated by Fr Barker himself. At the end of Mass he blessed a beautiful catafalque (with the Libera nos and the full cermony, as at the end of a Requiem), a custom they have for the first 8 days of November.

It was very noticable to me how numbers have increased since two years ago. In 2009 the 10.30 Solemn Mass was well attended, but this time the church was full. There was a free place here and there but you had to look for them, and there were people standing at the back. This is a great testimony to the hard work of Fr Kramer, and the excellence of the liturgy, and very good polyphonic choir.

In addition it should be noted that, as I was told by another priest, there are now no fewer than eight places where the faithful can attend the Traditional Mass in central Rome on a Sunday - not counting the SSPX.

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Sunday, November 06, 2011

FIUV Conference Day 1 Part 2

After Mass yesterday we were joined for lunch by Cardinal Raymond Burke.

We then had the 'Private' part of the conference, at which Leo Darroch was re-elected as President, and Monika Rheinschmitt (from Germany) as Treasurer. We have a new Secretary, Thomas Murphy, from Ireland. The Council was elected unopposed (the number of nominations exactly matched the number of places available), including me, and the head of the new group formed in the Philippines, Carlos Palad.
This was not the most photogenic part of the conference, but it is an important one. We have accepted 17 new Associations into the Federation since the last meeting two years ago, bringing the total to 45, an astonishing rate of growth; it is of immense benefit to the new members to have the moral and practical support of the more establishes groups and of the Federation as a whole. FIUV has never been more active or useful.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Pontifical Low Mass in St Peter's for FIUV

Today, the first day of the Una

Voce International confernce, we had a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Hoyos in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of St Peter's.

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LMS Ordo 2012 now available

Actually it came out when I was recently away but I thought it would be good to advertise the fact here. The Ordo tells you what Mass can or should be celebrated each day of the year: so how movable feasts and Sundays interact with non-movable ones, what class each feast is and so on. It is essential for any priest wanting to say the Traditional Mass, and extremely useful for singers, servers, and anyone else wanting to know what to expect!

It costs £7.90 incl postage and you can buy it here.

NB: 'A unique feature of the LMS Ordo is that, in addition to information on the universal calendar, it lists variations for the dioceses of England and Wales for the Traditional Rite.'

Friday, November 04, 2011

Cups and Chalices, again

My letter in The Tablet about the alleged vulgarity of the Roman Canon talking about the 'precious chalice' stimulated a predictable mail-bag for their letters page, and they published one response in the mag and another in their 'Letters Extra' page on their website. The appearance of two letters attacking me by name does not seem to justify their publishing a response from me, however, so I'll give the letter I immediately sent them in full below.

First, the letters from the enraged, but clearly terribly confused, liberals. The repetition of the same old point, that New Testament doesn't use the phrase 'precious chalice', unlike the Roman Canon, never seems to stimulate the obvious question: are we talking about a translation of the New Testament, or a translation of the Roman Canon?

Letters, 12th Oct

Perhaps the chairman of the Latin Mass Society, Joseph Shaw (Letters, 8 October), might go back to the Bible to find the authentic version of what Jesus himself said and did at the Last Supper? All our English translations of the Greek/Aramaic synoptic gospels and St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians refer to “the cup” in their accounts of the institu- tion of the Eucharist. There was no “precious chalice” at the Passover meal in the upper room, despite the use of “hanc praeclarum calicem” in the fifth century, Latin adaptation of the original texts. Wasn’t one of the aims of the new translation of the Mass to bring us closer to biblical sources?

Margaret Smart
Brighton, East Sussex

Note the glorious fantasy of the Aramaic Gospels. This version only exists today in the fevered imaginations of biblical critics, and probably never existed anywhere else. What weight does an imaginary text have in this debate? Does the Church teach that imaginary documents are inspired by the Holy Spirit?

Joseph Shaw (Letters, 8 October) is right: "he took the cup" is not an accurate translation of the words accipens et hunc praeclarum calicem in the Roman Canon. But it is an accurate translation of labon to poterion, (literally, "getting the drinking-cup") which is what we read in Matthew (26:27) and Mark's (14:23) accounts of the institution of the Eucharist. Luke (22:20) and Paul (1 Corinthians 11:25) use the same word, poterion, which means "cup". There is no suggestion that there was anything praeclarus ("excellent" or "noble") about it, nothing to justify our calling the cup Jesus used at the Last Supper a "precious chalice" – still less "this precious chalice" (hunc means "this"). So what is Dr Shaw claiming: that an uninspired prayer trumps the Word of God?

(Fr) Paul Browne OSB, Leyland, Lancs

My response (directed to the letter published in hard copy, though equally applicable to both).

Margaret Smart (Letter, 15th October) unwittingly illustrates the point she wishes to deny. She clearly thinks that it was a mistake for St Jerome, and his predecessor translators of the gospels into Latin, to use the Latin 'calix' ('chalice') to translate the Greek 'poterion'. She further thinks it was a mistake for Pope St Gelasius I to allow the phrase 'praeclarem calicem' into the Roman Canon. Most interestingly of all, she thinks it was a mistake for Pope Paul VI to retain this phrase in the First Eucharistic Prayer, and allow 'calix' in the others. What she cannot claim is that the new Missal translation is mistaken in giving 'precious chalice' for 'praeclarem calicem'. That is simply what it means.

So her objection, to repeat, is not to the translation, but to the Latin original. She, like many of your correspondants, is rejecting the theological aptness of the 1969 Mass, and of the entire Western liturgical tradition which lies behind it, in relation to this exact phrase.

However, I fancy her objections are based on a misunderstanding. While the chalice may, or may not, have been precious in terms of human craftsmanship, it was certainly precious in terms of its contents. And as the Church accepts Tradition as a source of dogma alongside Scripture, the Roman Canon has its own theological authority.

So here I am, once again defending Archbishop Bugninni and Pope Paul VI against the onslaughts of ignorant people who think they know better. And I shall always defend them in such cases. Insofar as they gave us innovations, what they did is fallible of human nature and can be criticised by Catholics of good will. But insofar as they faithfully passed on to future generations the ancient tradition of the Church, their actions have the authority of that tradition, in this case an unbroken Ordinary Magisterium of fifteen centuries. That authority does not give way to silly letters in The Tablet.

Chalice: the Holy Chalice of Valencia, which has long been claimed to be the 'poterion' used at the Last Supper. The cup part of it is indeed of Our Lord's era, and is made of agate. There is more information on Fr Z's blog.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Mass of Ages relaunched!

The first edition of the new-look Mass of Ages, produced by our new editor Gregory Murphy, is now available. It is on its way to LMS members, and can be purchased from a number of Catholic bookshops, as well as directly from us on-line.

For the first time it is in FULL COLOUR!

From the News Blog:
We have interviews and special features, news from around the country, a regular report from Rome, a new family notebook column, an Advent feature, a special appeal about Lourdes, an interview with an ex-LMS Rep turned priest, a feature on the 40th anniversary of the Heenan Indult, in-depth reports from WYD from a Traditionalist perspective, comment and opinion columns, a delve into the LMS archives from past decades, your letters and a prize crossword, plus full listings of Traditional Masses across England and Wales.