Monday, February 28, 2011

Christians views on sexuality: unsuitable for children

UPDATE: there's been some chatter about the significance of this case being exagerated, but see Fr Tim Finnigan for a closer reading of the judgement.

Are you surprised? You shouldn't be. I've been banging on about this happening for ages.

Christian Concern reports this afternoon (28/02/2011) that in a landmark judgment, which will have a serious impact on the future of fostering and adoption in the UK, the High Court has suggested that Christians with traditional views on sexual ethics are unsuitable as foster carers, and that homosexual ‘rights’ trump freedom of conscience in the UK. The Judges stated that Christian beliefs on sexual ethics may be ‘inimical’ to children, and they implicitly upheld an Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) submission that children risk being ‘infected’ by Christian moral beliefs. Read more.

Appealing to the state's tolerance of all reasonable religious and ethical belief systems is not going to work; it is this which got us into this situation in the first place.

First, we are told to respect everyone else's views.
Second, we are told the Christianity should not be given any privileges in education or political decision making.
Third, the only acceptable basis for education and decision-making is hedonistic materialism, because this is neutral, insofar as it doesn't assume any controversial metaphysical view is correct (actually it does, it just doen't assume Chrisitianity is correct, and Christianity is the paradigm case of a controversial metaphysical view).
Fourth, any views incompatible with hedonistic materialism will cramp the ability of people to seek pleasure in a materialistic way, and so must not be imposed on children.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

LMS Pilgrimage to Caversham

On Saturday the Latin Mass Society's second pilgrimage to Our Lady of Caversham took place. The Medieval shrine was visited by people great and small from before the Norman Conquest until the Reformation, including by Queen Katharine of Aragon. The modern shrine, which is a side chapel to the Church of Our Lady and St Anne, was re-established formally in 1958, and dedicated by Archbishop Grimshaw of Birmingham. See its history here.
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Today it includes a very fine medieval statue of the Madonna and Child.
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Mass was said by Fr Armand de Malleray, and was accompanied by the Schola Abelis of Oxford. Many thanks to the Parish Priest and custodian of the Shrine, Fr Giles Goward.

Here is the Introit, Salve sancta parens.

More photos here. More videos of the chant on the Schola's blog.

LMS Pilgrimage in honour of St Margaret Clitherow




The Latin Mass Society is organising a pilgrimage in homour of St Margaret Clitherow, one of its patron saints. It will be held in York on Saturday 26th March 2011.

The pilgrimage will begin at 1.30pm with a Missa Cantata at the High Altar of York Minster. This will be followed by a procession from the minster, via The Shambles and Ouse Bridge to the Church of the English Martyrs in Dalton Terrace, where Benediction and veneration of the relic of St Margaret Clitherow will take place at 4pm.

Use of York Minster is by kind permission of the Dean and Chapter.

It was originally intended that Benediction would be at the Bar Convent, but because of the nunbers that are expected to attend, this has been transferred to the English Martyrs’ Church.

Because of the parking restrictions in force in York, visitors travelling by car are advised to use the Park and Ride facilities. The Askham Bar car park, on the Tadcaster Road near to the A64 to the south-west of York, will be the most convenient as the buses from there pass near to both the Minster and English Martyrs’ Church. It would be wise to allow half an hour to get from the car park to the Minster by bus.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Solemn Mass in Reading with the FSSP

Last Sunday there was a visiting priest in Reading, Fr Angel Alfaro, FSSP, who is the superior of the FSSP mission in Colombia, based in Anolaima and Bogota. He was celebrant at a Solemn Mass, with Fr Armand de Malleray FSSP as deacon and Fr Simon Leworthy FSSP subdeacon.
Coincidentally the Oxford-based Schola Abelis was giving the local singers a break (no break for me: I sing in both!). So here are some videos of the singing. Here is the Offertory. There are more videos here.

If Paul Inwood, Portsmouth Diocese's Director of Liturgy, still needs convincing that there are more than 30 people attending the Traditional Mass in his diocese here's a view of the nave. There are nine people in the choir loft, of course, and more in the annex off to the right.

After Mass Fr Alfaro gave a very interesting talk about the Fraternity's mission in Colombia. It is important to remember, and support, the work of traditional groups in places of great material deprivation. The liturgy and spirituality of the Fraternity can do great things in places like Colombia, rather as the High Anglicans of the late 19th and early 20th Century worked in the slums of England.
Please say a prayer for Fr Alfaro's apostolate.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bad liturgy is not good for you.

Someone called Simcha Fisher of the National Catholic Register has articulated an argument I've heard a lot over the years, and it seems opportune to confront it: that attending really bad liturgy can be good for the soul. Here's the money quote:

Or you can think to yourself, “Christ is here. And if he can stand it, then so can I.”

You may think I’m kidding, but I’m not. It’s good for us, every once in a while, to attend a liturgy that we think isn’t good enough. It’s good for us to have that sensation of being the only one in the room who comprehends the travesty that is happening around us. Why? Because at some point, in the middle of the noise and the irreverence and the foolish, happy-clappy songs, we’re going to have to go up for Communion. We will have to take God into our mouths. And if we have an honest bone in our bodies, we will have to think, “No, it’s not good enough. And neither am I.”

(Notice the odd sense of obligation to go up for communion.) This isn't just a bizarre argument, it is a confused and dangerous one.

It is bizarre because, as the writer admits, good liturgy is a more worthy offering to God (we are talking of the extrinsic worth of the liturgy here: the Mass obviously has infinite intrinsic worth, if it valid), and helps lift mind and heart to Him. If it helps us pray that, you would think, would be an end to it, from a subjective point of view, and if it is more worthy of God, that settles it objectively. Somehow the author of this post, like many others, manages to accept these points but then ignore them. Furthermore, it should be obvious that the trend in this kind of liturgy is far from being towards humility: it is all about being 'ok', about being worthy after all. Fr Longenecker was closer to the mark when he criticised good liturgy for making people feel humle. (Seriously: see here.) Be that as it may be, the argument of the post confuses two different things, two different kinds of bad liturgy.

Suppose you go to Mass in a neglected church. The floor is unswept and the roof leaks. The altar furnishings are grubby and in need of repair. The rubrics are not followed accurately and the Latin is mispronounced. (Trads may find it easier to follow my argument if they imagine it is a TLM.) There are two explanations, which can in fact be combined in different degrees: the priest and the others looking after things in this church are negligent, or they lack resources and opportunities to do better. If it is the latter this Mass, like Masses said on battlefields, in the attics of recusant houses under persecution, in the corners of concentration camps and the like, may be an offering of great extrinsic worth, because it is the effort of will which is the key factor in such worth, not the material result. If it is the former, as Masses said by priests with a poor spiritual life, who are perhaps going off the rails and have given up caring, it is most disedifying, and a danger signal for the priest. But in neither case does it represent the kind of problem people have in mind when they rail about 'bad liturgy'. The 'bad liturgy' people complain about on the blogs and so on is in fact a completely separate phenomenon.

This is liturgy about which priests and others involved may well care a lot. Resources may have been poured into it. The very latest polyester vestments, pottery chalices and electric guitars may all be in place; the liturgical dancers may have spent hours practicing. The result is both ugly and amateurish, but that is because it is supposed to be ugly and amateurish. Ugliness and amateurism have taken on an ideological significance for the liturgical planners.

Ugliness is important because the outward form is not supposed to matter: ugly pottery chalices are just as good as fine gold ones, and (the ideology holds) Catholics should be forced to get used to them because they will eventually learn it is not the outward form which counts, but the inward reality. This is the 'Heresy of Formlessness' attacked by Martin Mosebach in his book of that title: the idea that the meaning of a ceremony can survive all the outward forms of the ceremony being transformed, and that the Supreme Beauty can be approached best by the ugly, because we will be least distracted by the outward form of the approach itself.

Amateurism is important because the spiritual participation of heart and mind of the congregation in Mass has been completely forgotten (in part, no doubt, because hearts and minds are no longer being lifted to God by beauty). So instead every slightly serious member of the regular congregation is encompassed by an enormous rota of liturgical assistants, and his or her 'participation' is ensured by being dragged into the sanctuary, the choir, or something else of the kind. Instead of the priest choosing the best servers to serve, and the best singers to sing, the finest makers of vestments to supply the vestments and the best craftsmen money can stretch to to provide the altar furnishings, he feels obliged to place the children's misshapen crafts on the altar, have the croakiest voices in the choir, and so on and so forth, to give them a chance to 'participate'. After all, if the result is ugly, he can appeal to the first part of the ideology to make the most of the fact.

The liturgy which results from this ideology may drive many people away from the Church; others suffer in silence. We should not forget, however, the many people who are drawn in. They get used to it; they get into it; they derive satisfaction from it. They have become convinced by the ideology. Since the ideology is false and dangerous, this is an extremely bad thing.

Those obliged to go to this kind of bad liturgy against their will need to give vent to their feelings afterwards to reassure themselves that it is not them who are mad. The alternative is to give this kind of liturgy a chance to seep into one's soul, to get used to it, and even to get to like it. This is not a matter of putting up with something objectively less grand than an orchestral Mass with antique vestments; it is adopting a spiritually dangerous set of views. It is to lose sight of the connection between the beauty and order in creation and their Divine Creator, and to abandon true spiritual participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for 'activism', the participation not of hearts and minds but of arms and legs.

Simcha Fisher should stop complaining about people complaining about bad liturgy, and start helping them do something about it.

Pictures from the Bad Vestments blog.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Motu Proprio appeal petition

The rumours about the 'clarification' document about the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum have continued. They remain extremely confusing and clear and authoritative information remains elusive.

While reiterating the call of my last post on this subject for prayer and fasting, I see no harm, and perhaps much good, in this extremly well-written petition drawn up by the New Liturgical Movement and other blogs. It has been online for a few hours and already has more than 800 names on it.

Here is the introduction, also found on Rorate Caeli:

This appeal came out of information coming from a variety of sources, suggesting that the forthcoming Instruction on Summorum Pontificum may contain restrictive elements (or, at very least, elements that could be interpreted restrictively) thereby having the adverse effect of limiting the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum in some manner – or at least making this more possible.

Obviously, we do not presume to know what the text may say. However, in checking in with a variety of our own sources, we have confirmed that there is a very real and substantive reason for some concern here. Substantial enough that a joint, multi-blog, international appeal has been launched:

The appeal does not presume to know or state what the actual contents of this proposed instruction are, however, in the light of the aforementioned reports, and given credible confirmations that there is reason for concern, it simply wishes to calmly and respectfully share our concern with the Holy Father about this potentiality, asking that, whatever is finally released, that the integrity of the letter and the spirit of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum be preserved.

If, in the end , there is nothing to any of this, then we shall all be very thankful indeed. But if there is substance to this, then at least our concern will have been respectfully voiced to our pastors and to our beloved Holy Father.

Who should then sign this? Everyone who is concerned with liturgical patrimony and mutual enrichment. Whether you are attached to the Ordinary Form and see a reform of the reform, a re-enchantment, as your primary liturgical focus, or the usus antiquior, the other Western liturgical rites/uses, or even are an Eastern Christians, I believe we all have something potentially at stake here, either in practice, in effect, or in principle at very least.

Please sign this appeal as soon as possible and please spread the word.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Launch of Juventutem Oxford

The first meeting of Juventutem Oxford will take place on Wednesday 2nd March. The usual Wednesday evening Mass at SS Gregory & Augustine will become a Sung Mass: it is the Feast of St Chad, the patron of the Archdiocese of Birmingham. There will be the usual 'social' afterwards.

See the Juventutem London blog. Sign up to the Facebook 'event'.

Mass will be accompanied by the Schola Abelis.

If you can't come, please say a prayer for the success of this new apostolate.

Clarification confusion

Rorate Caeli reports some alarming rumours about a new document being prepared in Rome as a supplement to the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. This document, a 'clarification', has been flagged up ever since SP came out in 2007.

There are rumours it will be really bad, for those who love the Traditional Mass. It is impossible even to speculate on how this might effect things, however, without seeing the precise wording. It hardly seems possible that a second document could seriously derail the SP, given how SP is worded, but then odd things do happen. And then there are counter-rumours.

I wish I could shed some useful light on all this but I can't. I heartily endorse Fr John Zuhlsdorf's response, however, which I paste in below. And I trust the Abbot of Farnbrough won't mind mind my using this image, which sums up my own feelings, from St Michael's Abbey Press: The Cross stands, while the world turns.

Many people have written to me asking about the rumors that the upcoming Instruction about Summorum Pontificum and asking if the Instruction will undermine the Holy Father’s provisions. I wrote about this Instruction here, and there was considerable discussion about it at that time, toward the end of January.

First, I am not at liberty at the moment to talk about it too much yet. Second, I am thinking and digging. There may be something to the rumors. Or, this may be a fluctus in simpulo.

With that in mind, I will say this, and I think you readers ought to take this to heart.

No matter what I might add to this discussion in the near future, this will be the most important thing I have to contribute.

I warmly invite other Catholic bloggers interested in Summorum Pontificum to pick this up.

If you are concerned about what might happen to Summorum Pontificum, pray and fast. Don’t whine. Don’t panic. Don’t fret. Don’t behave like a suddenly headless chicken.

Do what a committed Catholic warrior would do for a cause that is dear.

  • Go to church and spend time before the Blessed Sacrament every day until this resolves one way or another.
  • Ask Jesus to either stop the Instruction or to make Summorum Pontificum even better.
  • Pray the Rosary for the Holy Father.
  • Ask our Blessed Mother to move the Holy Father to keep Summorum Pontificum strong, to make it even stronger.
  • Pray to the Holy Father’s guardian angels constantly during the day asking them to strengthen him and to weaken his many enemies, some of them very close to him.
  • Fast and offer your hunger – real hunger, don’t fool around if you are going to do this - for the Holy Father’s well-being and firm resolve.

Be prudent about fasting, of course, especially if others rely on you and you have health concerns. But if you are young and healthy, fast.Don’t whine. Don’t fret. Pray and fast. There may be more to do, but start with that. Before you do anything else, start praying and fasting.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Paul Inwood on Disobedient Traditionalists

Paul Inwood, Director of Liturgy for the diocese of Portsmouth, rarely lets a chance to attack traditionalists go to waste; here he remarks artlessly 'Summorum Pontificum was a reward for disobedience: Discuss'.

Very well. The first thing to note is that if SP was a reward for disobedience, it would have plenty of company. Famously, Paul VI's Memoriale Domini, which gave permission for communion in the hand, was a reward for disobedience; as the document says explicitly, the practice was permitted only because, and where, it had become established by disobedience.

But more generally it is clear that the permission for altar girls, communion under both kinds, Mass celebrated facing the people, etc. etc. were rewards for disobedience, since all these practices were instituted disobediently either during the chaotic period after the Second Vatican Council or before it. Indeed, Paul Inwood might like to consider the permission for parts of the liturgy to be in the vernacular, in Sacrosanctam Concilium itself, to be a reward for disobedience, since disobedient priests had been experimenting with vernacular liturgy since the early decades of the 20th Century, not to say the 16th Century. The practice of breaking rules in the hope of getting them changed was so established among liberals after the Council they even had a special phrase for it: 'anticipatory obedience'.

There is a great difference between SP and many of these other documents, however. In Memoriale Domini Paul VI takes the opportunity to issue what is in effect a final condemnation of the practice he is reluctantly permitting, and urges Catholics to continue to receive on the tongue. The permissions for many other abusive practices take a similar form. Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, for example, were permitted only in restrictive circumstances; so was communion under both kinds and altar girls. It is easy to forget these restrictions but there they are. By contrast, there is nothing reluctant about the freeing of the Traditional Mass in SP: it is described (in the accompanying Letter to Bishops) as constituting 'riches' for the Church; even back in 1988, John-Paul II told bishops to be 'generous' in allowing the Traditional Mass, not a word he used in relation to their right to permit altar girls or EMHCs.

But there is something altogether missing from the parallel, and that is the disobedience which SP is supposed to be rewarding. Presumably Paul Inwood means disobedience by priests who were saying the Traditional Mass before 2007. But according to SP, they weren't being disobedient: the Traditional Mass had never been forbidden. Even on the more restrictive interpretation common before SP, they had permission under Ecclesia Dei Adflicta to say the TLM.

Now here is something for Paul Inwood to ponder. The Latin Mass Society and the whole Una Voce movement argued from the very beginning that the TLM had never been abrogated. Anyone can read the argument in Michael Davies' book 'Pope Paul's New Mass' (1981). Our opponents argued that, no, it was only permissible by indult, that is, by special permission. So what was the practical policy of the LMS? We continued to make the argument for the less restrictive position, but acted on the more restrictive one. We always got permissions for the Masses we organised, even though we thought permission was not necessary. This was not disobedience, not anticipatory obedience, but obedience of a heroic, supererogatory kind.

So during the long years of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, what was Paul Inwood doing? Was he obeying the Church's liturgical laws? When he was Music Director of Portsmouth Cathedral (1995-1999) and now he is Director of Liturgy for Portsmouth Diocese (since 2000), did he implement the Council's decree that Gregorian Chant have pride of place in the liturgy, or that Latin be retained? Did he ensure that the rules of successive editions of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, forbidding all manner of abuses, were strictly obeyed? Did he enforce the norms of the Instruction Regarding Certain Questions on the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful, in 1997, or Redemptionis Sacramentum in 2004, each of which again condemned countless abusive practices?

Well, not exactly. A culture of disobedience has in fact become endemic across the entire Church since the Council, and it has often been observed that the only people expected to obey the rules are those who want the Traditional Mass - at least this was so when the rules were restrictive. But we now see a new generation of priests coming up who are rebelling against this culture. And what does Paul Inwood say?

He says they are disobedient.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mass in St George's Cathedral, Southwark

While the Juventutem London group were gathering for a Solemn Mass in Corpus Christi Maiden Lane, Mass was being offered in the Extraordinary Form in St George's Cathedral, Southwark, the Cathedral of Archbishop Peter Smith (unusually, there is an Anglican diocese with the same name - Southwark).

It was celebrated by Fr Anthony Logan of that diocese, and was attended by 40 lay people and a number of members of the Cathedral staff, including Canon Cronin.

The Cathedral is an imposing building with some fine features: here is the lovely Knill Chantry. We were privileged to use to the High Altar.
There is a full report on the Southwark North blog here, and a set of photographs here.

First Solemn High Mass of newly ordained Fr Matthew McCarthy, FSSP

Advance warning! I shall be attending the ordination itself, in Denton, Nebraska, the previous weekend.

On Saturday 28th May 2011, 3pm, at St James’s Church, Spanish Place, 22 George Street, London W1U 3QY - kindly welcomed by Parish Priest Fr Christopher Colven - newly ordained English priest Fr Matthew McCarthy, FSSP will offer his first Solemn High Mass back in England (in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite).

All diocesan and religious clergy welcome (choir dress).

FSSP seminarians and priests will be in attendance.

After Mass, Fr McCarthy will give individual First blessings.

Refreshments will follow.

· Nearest underground: Baker Street, Bond Street.

· Nearest car park: Welbeck Street Mscp, 74-77 Welbeck Street, London W1G 0BB. N.B. NO Congestion Charge on week-ends in London.

Please come and give thanks for a new English priest (formed according to the usus antiquior) and meet future FSSP priests on formation.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Wonderful Juventutem London event

Yesterday the regular Low Mass for the Good Counsel Network in Corpus Christi Maiden Lane (arranged through the Latin Mass Society) became a Solemn Mass through the involvement of the flourishing Juventutem London group. Fr Armand de Malleray, the Juventutem Chaplain, was celebrant, Fr Bede Rowe deacon and Fr Alexander Redman subdeacon. It was the feast of the Apparition of Our Lady at Lourdes (and the anniversary of the first apparation).
I drove a contingent from Oxford to the Mass (another group travelled by train), and joined the schola at Mass. Others came from as far as Portsmouth, though most of the young people there were based in London.

After the very splendid Mass, which was extremely well attended, about 50 young people enjoyed a meal together round the corner in a Mexican restaurant.
Don't miss out on the next one! Join the Facebook Group, sign up for the next Mass (March 11th) on the FB event page, and see the Juventutem London blog.

Juventutem London is part of Young Catholic Adults, and affiliated to the International Juventutem Movement. They are going to World Youth Day in Madrid with sponsorship from the Latin Mass Society: see here.

More photos.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Students waiting to receive communion at the St Catherine's Trust Summer School 2009.
The photo was taken by Emma Duggan.

Fr Z is conducting a poll on whether the custom of ladies wearing mantillas (which Americans call chapel veils, for some reason) - or some other head covering - in church should be revived. It is overwhelmingly in favour so far -

Vote here:

Voters can say whether it should be voluntary or obligatory; unsurprisingly perhaps the voluntary option is the most popular. On reflection however this doesn't really make sense.

First, it is already voluntary. If you want to revive it you have to change its legal status. It was obligatory from Apostolic times until the 1983 Code of Canon Law, and it is an anomaly, historically speaking, that this obligation was removed.

Secondly, things which are 'obligatory' in church law are not exactly enforced, or even consistently promulgated. How many people know about the obligation of Friday penance? How many receive communion only in a state of grace? To say it should be obligatory is not to suggest women not covering their heads should be whipped out of church.

Thirdly, and this is the crux of it, right now women who choose to cover their heads are actively persecuted by the usual liberal fascists. They get funny looks; priests tell them they are drawing attention to themselves; they are accused of spiritual pride and all the rest of it. One young woman I know started going to the Traditional Mass because only there could she 'get away with' wearing a mantilla. You get the same thing when people want to receive communion kneeling, or when priests prefer not to concelebrate. The only way to protect good practice against social pressure of this kind is to make it obligatory. And if it is a pious practice, what could be the objection?

Even that is not enough, of course - people have become so used to liturgical abuses they criticize people who want to follow the law. But it would be a step in the right direction.

Finally, the main reason give against making it obligatory is actually a reason in favour. The reason is this: many women don't feel comfortable wearing a mantilla. Why not? The discomfort comes from their not being used to it, and to it looking like a big 'statement'. If it were an obligation, it wouldn't be such a statement, and they would get used to it. And so this pious practice would become 'doable' once more for the great majority.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chartres Reunion in London

On Sunday many of those who have been, or intend to go, on the Chartres Pilgrimage joined Fr Matin Edwards' Mass in St Mary Magdalen's, Wandsworth. It was a Sung Mass with a Mozart ordinary sung by his excellent choir.
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Anyone interested in the Chartres Pilgrimage can now visit the Chartres UK blog to find out more. The dates are 11th-13th June, with the British group travelling to and from France on the 10th and 14th. This is an unforgettable experience; having done it once I recommend it to everyone. It's true that it helps to be reasonably fit, but all sorts of people do it, of all ages, so you don't need to worry too much! I've done a lot of posts about it - start here.
More photos of the Mass at St Mary Magdalen here; see my post on Solemn Mass there with Fr John Zuhlsdorf.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

St Agatha Mass in Milton Manor

It is always a joy to attend Mass in Milton Manor's lovely chapel. Last Saturday we had a particularly beautiful Mass with polyphony and chant, celebrated by Fr Anthony Conlon. Fr Conlon is the Chaplain of the nearby Oratory School. His colleague at the school, and LMS Secretary, David Forster, was MC.
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We had the biggest serving team I have ever assembled in this chapel. It wasn't exactly planned, but it seemed to work. The torchbearers knelt at the communion rails.
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After Mass we had a very pleasant lunch in Limoncello, an Italian Restaurant in Abingdon, with Fr Conlon.
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More photos here. Videos to follow.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

New 'Mass of Ages' hits the streets

Members have been receiving the copies of our quarterly magazine Mass of Ages over the last couple of days (Royal Mail permitting). It is being mailed in transparent plastic wrappers for the first time, and has been printed by a new (to us) printer, Cambrian, who have done an excellent job: the photos throughout the magazine have come out much better than before. And the whole thing is actually cheaper than the old system of printing and mailing.

Buy a copy here!

This is all part of the modernisation of the Latin Mass Society's operations. Readers may recall our office move, one of the first things I put into motion on becoming Chairman; we now have a new General Manager as well. Our publicity materials, the membership leaflet and the 'Guide to the LMS' booklet sent to new members, have been entirely redesigned. We'll soon be asking members to agree to a revised constitution.

What I am most pleased about is that we've been able to do this 'behind the scenes' work without our work for the Church being impeded. We have more exciting events coming up than ever before:

Families: come to the St Catherine's Family Retreat, 8-10th April, sponsored by the LMS.

Singers: come to the Gregorian Chant Network Weekend Course directed by Colin Mawby, 8-10th April, sponsored by the LMS.

Pilgrims: sign up for the LMS Walsingham Walking Pilgrimage in August, and the great Chartres Pilgrimage in June which is also supported by the LMS.

Our first ever pilgrimage in honour of St Margaret Clitherow is taking place with Mass in York Minster on 26th March.

Priests: come along to our Priest Training Conference in Buckfast Abbey, 3-6th May.

Young People: come to World Youth Day with Juventutem with LMS sponsorship.

Our London Easter Triduum is moving to a larger church, St Mary Moorfields.

I like to get about to our events but I'm getting to my limit here. I'll be at the Family Retreat and Chant Course, I'll be in York, I'll be at Chartres and Walsingham, and Buckfast; I'm too old for World Youth Day however!

This Friday Juventutem London is having their first Solemn Mass at 6.30pm; at 6pm the first of a series of Masses in Southwark Cathedral is taking place; and here in Oxford there'll be Low Mass at SS Gregory & Augustine. It is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. I haven't yet found a way to be in three places at once; instead I'll be singing with the Juventutem group.

I hope to see you there! And while you're about it, why not join the LMS?

Candlemas in Oxford

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I've got behind with my photos, which happens when there is a lot going on! But we had a very beautiful and well-attended Candlemas Mass in SS Gregory & Augustine last week, celebrated by Fr John Saward.

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More photos here.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Letter in The Universe: the Catholic Martyrs of Oxford

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A couple of weeks ago the Universe carried a feature article on the Catholic martyrs of Oxford, which carried this photograph, taken by me, of Archbishop Longley blessing the plaque in honour of Bl George Napier (executed 1610), without acknowledgement. It also showed the plaque in honour of Bl Thomas Belson, Bl Humphrey Prichard, Bl George Nichols and Bl Richard Yaxley (all executed in 1589), which I had erected: I got permission from the building's owners, I got planning permission from the council, I commissioned the plaque, I raised the money to pay for it - yes you might say I had something to do with it. And did I mention that I got Bishop Kenney to bless it at the LMS Oxford Pilgrimage in 2008? Well, the Universe thought it best not to mention any of those things in a two-page feature article on the subject.

I got these plaques done for the glory of God in his martyrs, not for the glory of Joseph Shaw, but I felt it necessary to protest at this airbrushing out of my role because it wasn't really me they were airbrushing, but the role of the Traditionalist community and the Latin Mass Society. Without the processions through the streets by many faithful Catholics attending the LMS Pilgrimages in rain and shine every year I wouldn't have been able to make the case for these plaques. And the truth is that while the Latin Mass Society, its supporters, and successive Archbishops of Birmingham (Bishop Kenney represented Archbishop Nichols in 2008; Archbishop Longley came himself in 2010) have been promoting the cult of these great Catholic martyrs, some more politically correct elements of the Catholic establishment have been pushing in a quite different direction: the direction represented by the 'ecumenical memorial' in St Mary the Virgin, featured enthusiastically in the same Universe article.

Here's my letter.

Sir, Readers of your Feature article on the Catholic Martyrs of Oxford (16th Jan) will be interested to know that the photograph of Archbishop Longley blessing a plaque in honour of Bl George Napier (which was taken by me) shows the Latin Mass Society Pilgrimage to Oxford mentioned in the article. The plaque honouring the four Catholic martyrs of 1589 was installed in the context of the same pilgrimage two years earlier, in 2008. The Latin Mass Society has been extremely active in promoting the cultus of these important men.

The plaque in the (Anglican) University Church, St Mary's, lists not 17 Catholics executed by Protestant rulers (as reported) but 16, alongside five Protestants executed under Mary Tudor and
two Protestants executed by other Protestants: Archbishop Laud, a High Anglican executed by Parliamentarians during the Civil War, and Stephen College, a collaborator with Titus Oates, executed under Charles II. Justice caught up with College little more than a month after the execution of St Oliver Plunkett, which College helped to engineer. Why it was thought appropriate to commemorate him is a mystery.


Joseph Shaw
Chairman, The Latin Mass Society

(Pic above: St Oliver Plunkett, the great Archbishop of Armagh executed on charges trumped up by Titus Oates and his chums, including Stephen College.)
It is quite baffling that the odious Stephen College is listed as a 'martyr': he was in fact a political agitator, admittedly one motivated by religious bigotry. I'd much rather see listed the two Leveller soldiers executed in Oxford by their fellow Parliamentarians for their role in a mutiny against Cromwell in what is now Gloucester Green. They have a plaque of their own of course.
Another of the many bizarre things about the ecumenical plaque is that it lists as martyrs three men involved in the riots against the imposition of the Prayer Book in 1549. The Universe includes them in its count of Catholics; John Hunwicke once cheekily suggested they were High Anglican martyrs (well, they were members of the Anglican Church presumably and were against its protestantisation, weren't they?), but the point is that those involved in violence don't come into the category of 'martyrs', however admirable they might be. Otherwise we'd have to include everyone whose death in the Civil War was connected in some way with religious idealism.

But here's Ronald Knox on the subject: the ecumenical plaque might have been in his mind when he wrote this. (My emphasis.)

A martyr, in the essential signification of the term, means a man who dies, not merely to bear testimony, but to bear testimony to the truth. Edmund Campion died because he believed in the Pope and the Mass. Thomas Cranmer died because he disbelieved in the Pope and the Mass. It is an intelligible attitude to say that Crammer was a martyr and Campion was not. It is an intelligible attitude to say that neither Cranmer was a martyr nor Campion. But to say that both Crammer and Campion were martyrs is to say good-bye to all reason and all common-sense. Each of them died in the belief that he was bearing witness to the truth; and if you accept both testimonies indiscriminately, then you are making nonsense of them both. The only point in common between the two men is that both died for their religious opinions. It is ridiculous to suppose that either of them accepted death as a protest against the theory of religious persecution. On the contrary, Cranmer persecuted with the best of them. Neither of them minded being put to death for the sake of religion; but either protested that the religion which he died for was the true one. It is a poor compliment to such heroism to conclude that after all it does not much matter one way or the other!

Friday, February 04, 2011

Roman Forum: 2011 Summer Symposium, Gardone Riviera
In Honor of St. Benedict
June 30th -July 11th (11 nights)

New Beginnings and False Starts: Catholics, Change, Tradition, and Custom

Monumental changes obvious in every sphere of contemporary life are making of our age perhaps the most dramatic era in history. However
disconcerting this may be, change in the natural order can never be surprising to the Catholic Church. She recognizes the reality of individual human freedom and the new situations that its proper and improper use must continually create. She has been warning for centuries of the deadly change threatening modern civilization due to
the problems of the parochial, hubristic naturalist ideologies that have served as its dogmatic foundation. She does not fear change as
such since her solid rooting in supernatural and rational truth give her the means to judge whether and how to accept, guide, or fight tenaciously against it.
Fallible Catholics, however, are not themselves the Catholic Church. They have been tempted either enthusiastically to accept fraudulent and
manipulative changes as unquestionable goods or to deny the reality of the twists and turns of history, confuse the Tradition with merely familiar custom, and thereby hinder the advance of the Faith.
What are the real as opposed to the contrived changes of our age? How are Catholics loyal to Tradition to respond to them? What are the
merely customary, conservative chains hindering proper response to the strange new world around us? These are the themes to be addressed by
the 2011 Summer Symposium

Faculty, Clergy, Musicians
Dr. Miguel Ayuso-Torres (University of Madrid)
Rev. Mgr. Dr. Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula (Human Life International)
James Bogle, Esq. (Author, A Heart for Europe)
Dr. Patrick McKinley Brennan (Villanova University)
Dr. Danilo Castellano (University of Udine)
Joshua Copeland (Chorister)
Rev. Bernard Danber, O.S.A.
Bernard Dumont (editor, Catholica, France)
Christopher A. Ferrara, J.D. (President, ACLA)
David J. Hughes (Musical Director)
Luis Infante (University of Salamanca)
James Kalb, Esq. (Author, The Tyranny of Liberalism)
Michael J. Matt (Editor, The Remnant)
Dr. Brian M. McCall (University of Oklahoma)
Professor John Médaille (University of Dallas)
Rev. Dr. Richard Munkelt (University of Fairfield)
Rev. Gregory Pendergraft, F.S.S.P.
Dr. John C. Rao (St. John’s University)
Hervé Rolland, President of Notre Dame de Chrétienté
Dr. Thomas Stark (Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule, Austria)
Rev. Richard Trezza, O.F.M.
Daily Program

Each day involves three lectures (morning and pre-dinner), and Sung Mass in the Extraordinary Rite (Tridentine Mass) at noon. There are no
lectures on Sundays. Musical and theatrical entertainments take place in the garden of the Angeli and in the Piazza dei Caduti in the
evenings after dinner.


The full cost of the Gardone program in a double occupancy room is 2,000 Euros. Nevertheless, anyone who genuinely cannot afford the full
tuition and believes himself to be a worthy candidate for assistance may apply.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Lake Gsrdone Confrrence 2011

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

LMS Website

Since the launch of our new website, a number of useful things have been added.

You can join on-line! On-line application forms for our events can be added as necessary.

There is an on-line shop, where an increasing number of items can be purchased on-line with PayPal.

There is now a page of useful Chant MP3s, sung by John Tennant, available for free download.

It has an RSS Feed, so it can be added to your blog feed reader. (If you don't know what that is, saddos who follow a dozen blogs or more use these programmes to check which ones have new posts. You can download them for free. I use Sage, which is an 'add-on' to Firefox.)