Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What happened to the nuns?

In a friend's house on Sunday I saw one of those long school photos. It was of a Catholic girls' school, with an impressive line-up of nuns. It was dated 1985.

Below it was another school photo, of the same place two years later. There were three of four old nuns in habits, but the rest had disappeared.

Where had they gone? Well they had literally disappeared, without actually ceasing to exist, because they had given up the habit. They are no longer visible as nuns.

Of course to the trained eye the peculiarly tasteless clothes nuns always seemed to adopt after giving up the habit is an indentifying feature. But that is not a sign of their religious identity, but of their rejection of their religious identity.

I'd be willing to bet anything that they cited 'Vatican II' as a justification, despite the fact that the Council taught the opposite: Perfectae Caritatis says

17. The religious habit, an outward mark of consecration to God, should be simple and modest, poor and at the same time becoming.

They had evidently already responded to the suggestion (which comes next, in the text) that habits could be 'simplified', by adopting a rather uninteresting habit, but at least they looked like nuns.

Bl. Pope John-Paul II was particularly exercised about religious habits, (eg Vita Consecrata (1996) 25), but his words had no effect on nuns like these. On the other hand, it is hard to imagine a religious community giving up the habit today, or a new one being founded without one. The bright new era of nuns in hideous checked frocks turned out to be a dead end very quickly indeed.

I pity the remaining un-habited nuns and sisters, rattling around in their convents (if they haven't yet moved into an old peoples' home). They married the spirit of the age, and have been widowed.

Here's another Br Choleric cartoon, from 'Cracks in the Curia' (1972); it is uncaptioned. The little girl knows that the habited nun will be nice to her: that is what the habit means, among other things. For her part, the habited nun knows she has a vocation to service: again, the habit she puts on each morning means that. The nun in secular dress is delighted with her mascara, but she has lost both sides of the bargain.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sacred Triduum in Reading

April 5th -8th April 2012: Sacred Easter Triduum at St William of York:
Maundy Thursday
 5th April
  Solemn High Mass
  followed by adoration (and confessions)
Good Friday
 6th April
  Solemn Stations of the Cross
 Solemn Liturgy sung polyphonically
  by professional choir Cantores Missae:
  St. John's Passion, by Soriano
  Improperia, by Victoria
  Crux fidelis, by King John of Portugal
  Caligaverunt, by Victoria
Holy Saturday
 7th April
  Solemn Easter Vigil + Solemn High Mass
Easter Sunday
 8th April
  Solemn High Mass

Christine Ackers, RIP

I have just been informed:

"With sadness, I have to tell you that Christine Ackers, the former LMS representative in Lancaster, died yesterday in the hospice in Lancaster. She was attended at the end by Canon Stephen Shield, a long-time friend and supporter of the Society.

Her funeral Mass will be at her home parish in Scorton, with burial at St. Thomas's, Claughton-on- Brock."

Requiem aeternam dona ea Domine. Requiescat in pace.
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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Traditional Lenten devotions

Fr Z discusses a question he has received: did Vatican II do away with Stations of the Cross? The idea that it did is justified, allegedly, by this passage (para 13) from Sacrosanctam Concilium:

13. Popular devotions of the Christian people are to be highly commended, provided they accord with the laws and norms of the Church, above all when they are ordered by the Apostolic See.

Devotions proper to individual Churches also have a special dignity if they are undertaken by mandate of the bishops according to customs or books lawfully approved.

But these devotions should be so drawn up that they harmonize with the liturgical seasons, accord with the sacred liturgy, are in some fashion derived from it, and lead the people to it, since, in fact, the liturgy by its very nature far surpasses any of them. 

It reminds me of a Brother Choleric cartoon, from 'Last Cracks in Legendary Cloisters', 1960. The caption is: There is a tendency among monks: to hold aloof from non-liturgical devotions.’

There was a great debate about non-liturgical devotions in the decades before the Council. The Liturgical Movement sought among other things to make the liturgy the centre of the faithful's spiritual life, and saw that through a lack of liturgical catechesis, and to an extent a problem of availability, the great treasures of the liturgy, where we can take part in the Church's own prayer, had been pushed aside by private and non-liturgical devotions. They weren't talking just about the old chestnut of private devotions at Mass, but private devotions in private, as opposed to popping in to church for Vespers, or saying the Office. Particularly painful for them was the spectacle of people going in great numbers to church, and when they got there getting something cobbled together from hymns, sermons, eucharistic adoration or whatever, but not actually the liturgy of the Church. What, they might ask, is the Church's liturgy actually for?

So Sacrosanctum Concilium is making a guarded concession to this view. Non-liturgical devotions should not push the liturgy aside, but be in harmony with it, lead the people to it, and so on.

I have a lot of sympathy for Liturgical Movement view, since I love the liturgy, and this love of the liturgy, and study of it, is very characteristic of the Traditional Movement. The desire to emphasise the liturgy at the expense of non-liturgical devotions underwent a strange transformation, however, after the Council, and the use of this passage from SC to suggest that Stations of the Cross have been officially banned is an example of this. If any non-liturgical devotions ticks the boxes set out by SC, surely it is Stations in Lent. I get the impression that this idea of the Liturgical Movement, adopted by SC, was used as an excuse by a lot of people with very little love of the liturgy, to get rid of things they didn't like for quite different reasons: Benediction, because they are uncomfortable with the Real Presence; services with sermons, because they don't like old-fashioned preaching; the Rosary, because they are uncomfortable with devotion to Our Lady; and Stations, because they don't like the emphasis on the suffering of Our Lord.

Far from leading to a greater emphasis on the liturgy, the same attitudes, the same rejection of things deemed uncomfortable, were applied to the liturgy itself. And so the collapse of non-liturgical devotions, a mainstay, rightly or not, of many people's spiritual lives, which followed the Council, was paralleled not by an increase in devotion to the Mass and the Office, but a collapse in attendance at those as well. Time, perhaps, to have another look at passages like this, without the distorting spectacles of theological liberalism on one's nose.

And having done that, why not take yourself off to the Stations of the Cross? I've just been told it is happening here in Oxford, in Lent, on Sunday afternoons at 5pm in SS Gregory and Augustine's; you can also catch it at the Oratory at 5.30 on Fridays. A truly wonderful devotion, recommended by the saints and the Popes, totally in accordance witht the spirit of the Lenten liturgy, which will increase your devotion at the great liturgical occasions Lent and Easter provides.

Talking of which, you can observe the Ember Days of Lent this week: a thought to make every liturgical purist's heart beat faster.

Wednesday: 6pm, Low Mass SS Gregory & Augustine
Firday: 6pm Low Mass SS Greogry & Augustine
Saturday: 11.30am, Solemn Mass, St Anthony of Padua, followed by time for lunch and a spiritual conference by Fr Nicholas Edmonds-Smith of the Oratory. A real liturgical feast.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Training for Chartres

Today I ran out of excuses. So I went for my first serious walk of the season, to get into some sort of shape for the Chartres Pilgrimage.

I walked west down a stretch of our local Roman road, Akeman Street, which runs from St Albans to Cirencester, and stopped by North Leigh Roman Villa. It is a fair distance from a public road, but worth a visit - some very smart mosaics are on display.

I don't use a pedometer but the villa is about 7 mikes from our house. The round trip took me about 5 hours, with breaks. This, of course, is derisory compared to the Chartres pilgrimage, but it's a start. And since I am still able to stand up, it's not a bad start.

Walking in the country is a lovely way to get exercise; the problem is that it is so time consuming! You get to see all sorts of mad things. And I like the idea that I'm getting to know the area I live in.

The LMS is offering sponsored places in the British chapters: the details will be on the website soon.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

LMS Pilgrimage to Lourdes 17-21 Sept: Bookings now open

We still need experienced volunteers: please let us know if you are familiar with Lourdes, and can help with the planning and running of the pilgrimage. The dates are 17-21 September 2012.

You can now book here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Coalition for Marriage

Half the blogs I follow now have a little post about the petition in support of the traditional definition of marriage organised by the Coalition for Marriage.

This is the judgement of Peter Tatchell in Pink News on the Coalition's campaign:

Coalition members are entitled to believe that same-sex marriages are wrong, but they are not entitled to demand that their opposition to such marriages should be imposed on the rest of society and enforced by law.

Supporters of traditional marriage should learn that by heart. It is the central contention of the campaign for same-sex marriage. Morality, along with religion, should be confined to a private sphere where they won't impede anyone else's pursuit of happiness.

It is term time, and I'm in Philosophy tutor mode, so I might as well say I don't think that the Coalition does a very good job of dealing with Tatchell's argument. Here's what they say, in red, with my comments in bold.

Throughout history and in virtually all human societies marriage has always been the union of a man and a woman.Wrong! Marriage 'in virtually all human societies' has taken a variety of forms, notably to include polygamy and concubinage. But NEVER same-sex marriage because that simply doesn't make sense: if anthropologists found such a thing in a remote tribe, they would hesitate to describe it as 'marriage'. The Coalition is wrong to place polygamy further down the 'unthinkability' scale than same-sex marriage.

Marriage reflects the complementary natures of men and women. Although death and divorce may prevent it, the evidence shows that children do best with a married mother and a father. True: but why don't they make the point that this what marriage is for? The raising of children is the purpose of marriage, it is the reason why marriage is designed as it is, even if not all marriages are fertile.

If marriage is redefined, those who believe in traditional marriage will be sidelined. People's careers could be harmed, couples seeking to adopt or foster could be excluded, and schools would inevitably have to teach the new definition to children. Wrong! This has already happened, as a result of what the Coalition already accepts: Civil Parternships.

If marriage is redefined once, what is to stop it being redefined to allow polygamy? This could be a good argument (why not marriage between men and apes?), but they need to explain why marriage should be defined in the way it is defined. What exactly is wrong with polygamy? If they are appealing to the 'yuk' reaction, they are doing Tatchell's work for him in conforming to the homophobic stereotype.

Civil partnerships already provide all the legal benefits of marriage so there's no need to redefine marriage. This is the concession which concedes the whole debate. If the law of the land has an interest in giving a special legal status to same-sex unions, why shouldn't it lump them together with 'marriage'?

It's not discriminatory to support traditional marriage. Wrong! It is discriminatory, undeniably so: marriage is open only to heterosexual couples. The Coalition's job is to argue that this discrimination is justified. 

Same-sex couples may choose to have a civil partnership but no one has the right to redefine marriage for the rest of us. This is just puzzling. You've been married for a few years, and when you tied the knot the legal category you joined was 'the union of one man and one woman'. Later they extend the category to be 'the union of two persons'. How have you been harmed? The Coalition needs to do better than this.

Part of the problem I think is that this is a Coalition of Catholics with Evangelical Protestants. It excludes Muslims because the Christians don't like polygamy. And the presence of Evangelicals makes it difficult to talk about Natural Law.

James Preece does a pretty good job of explaining why same-sex marriage is wrong. This is how I'd try to fit it into a nutshell.

Traditional marriage, the lifelong committment of a man and a woman ordered to procreation, is the indispensible condition for the family, and grows directly out of human nature. It is not the product of human convention or law; it is historically and logically prior to the state. Since it is the fundamental institution of human society, the state has an interest in recognising and protecting it, particularly as it provides the natural, normal, and by far the best environment for the raising of children. The proposal to extend the legal category of 'marriage' it to same-sex couples is a proposal to cease to recognise the natural institution as such; those getting married will be accorded the same status as those engaged in something completely different. This is motivated by a social-engineering project in favour of sexual libertinism which is directly hostile to stable family life, and it is a move away from the state's engagement with human realities, towards a dystopian fantasy.

But hey, while I'm a critical old curmugeon I still think you should get over to the Coalition website and sign the petition!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Patrons for the Latin Mass Society

Press release from the LMS. Saturday's Gregorian Chant Network meeting, sponsored by the LMS, was addressed by James MacMillan, and attended by Sir Adrian FitzGerald; Colin Mawby addressed the last such meeting two years ago, and is leading the GCN's Weekend Chant Course in April.

James MacMillan
 The Latin Mass Society (LMS) has announced the establishment of six patrons, including well-known figures from the worlds of music, journalism, politics and the law. This marks a major advance for the LMS and for the cause of the Traditional Latin Mass in England and Wales which are both attracting the support of mainstream figures within the Church.

The new patrons include Dr James MacMillan CBE, who composed the setting for the Beatification Mass of John Henry Newman and is well known for his tireless campaigning for excellence in Church music.

Charles Moore
Charles Moore, a convert to Catholicism, is a former editor of the Daily Telegraph and a prominent national journalist and political commentator.
Lord Gill

Prince Rupert Loewenstein is a former President (and Chairman) and long time supporter of the Latin Mass Society.

Lord (Brian) Gill is the second most senior judge in Scotland and was recently honoured with a papal knighthood. He has supported the Traditional Latin Mass for many years.

Colin Mawby
Colin Mawby is another composer who is highly respected in Catholic music circles. He was Director of Music at Westminster Cathedral under Cardinal Heenan and more recently has been very supportive of the LMS’s attempts to nurture a wider knowledge of Gregorian Chant.

Sir Adrian FitzGerald is President of the Irish Association of the Knights of Malta, a former mayor of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and was previously a Chairman of the Governors of the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School.

Sir Adrian FitzGerald
Announcing the establishment of the LMS’s new patrons, Chairman Dr Joseph Shaw said: ‘I’m delighted they have agreed to be patrons. This is a real indication of the Society’s standing in the Catholic community and the Church. Since Summorum Pontificum, our support of the Traditional Mass is no longer considered an eccentricity, to be tolerated at best, but an important apostolate for the good of the whole Church and recognised as such by the Holy Father.’

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Gregorian Chant Network Meeting

IMG_8820Yesterday I chaired the second biennial meeting of the Gregorian Chant Network, which was founded at the first meeting two years ago. Yesterday's meeting was addressed by Dr James MacMillan, the composer, Fr Guy Nichols, the founder of the Newman Institute of Music in Birmingham, and myself; it took place in the London Oratory, and concluded with Vespers in the Little Oratory celebrated by Fr Andrew Southwell, LMS Chaplain.

The meeting was attended by directors of Catholic chant choirs from all over the country, chant experts, and representatives of the organisations which support the Chant Network: as well as the Latin Mass Society, Una Voce Scotland, the Association for Latin Liturgy, the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge, and the St Catherine's Trust. I can now announce that we have two more institutional supporters: the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, and the Bl John Henry Newman Institute of Music.

The meeting also included two chant directors from France, Mr Phillipe Nikolov and Mr Henri de Villiers (also of the New Liturgical Movement), who represented Una Voce France; and Mr Thomas Murphy, of St Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association, the Irish affiliate of the Una Voce International Federation.

Dr Macmillan addressed the audience of just over 50 on the significance of Chant in the musical patrimony of the Church. You can listen to his talk here.

After lunch I gave a report on the progress of the GCN over the last two years, and introduced Fr Guy Nichols, who spoke about the work of the Newman Institute. We then rehearsed for Vespers, and celebrated Vespers together after tea. The whole day was a great opportunity to meet other people working for the cause of Chant in the Catholic Church, for mutual inspiration and support. It was very kindly hosted by the London Oratory, in the St Wilfrid Hall and the St Joseph Hall.

IMG_8826 IMG_8875
More photos.

Prior Hugh of the Chelmsford Norbertines re-elected

I rather like this announcement, which was emailed to me. Congratulations to Prior Hugh!

Magno cum gaudio notum facimus omnibus carissimis praelatis, superioribus, consororibus et confratribus Ordinis Nostri, Canoniam nostram Caesaromagi, quae vulgo "Chelmsford" dicitur, Angliae, praesente Amplissimo Domino, Domino Praemonstratensi, Thoma Handgrätinger, Abbate Generali, in die 18 mensis Februarii, Anno Salutis MMXII, in persona Reverendissimi Domini Hugonis David Allan o.praem. ad duodecennium Praelatum elegisse.

Gratias Deo agentes, vos omnes deprecamur ut oretis pro eo ac pro nobis, ut intercedente Beata Maria semper Virgine, Regina Canonicorum, corde uno et anima una, digni efficiamur promissionibus Domini nostri Jesu Christi, semperque exemplum sectemur Sanctorum Patrum Nostrorum Augustini et Norberti.

Peramanter in Christo,

Canonia BMV Perdolentis et S'ti Philippi Benitii, Caesaromagi, Angliae.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Vocation retreat in Reading; funeral of Anne Read

Vocation discernment weekend : 30 March - 1 April 2012
at St John Fisher House in Reading: For Catholic men between 18 and 35 years of age (under 18 please contact us).

Starts on Friday 30th March 2012 at 6pm (arrivals from 5pm)– ends on Sunday 1st April 2012 at 3pm.

Led by Fr Armand de Malleray, FSSP, assisted by Fr Simon Leworthy, FSSP and Rev Ian Verrier, FSSP – one of our seminarians from Birmingham.

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.

Limited overnight accommodation: please book now.

Programme: Spiritual conferences, socials, Holy Mass each of the three days (Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite) including Solemn High Mass on Palm Sunday, 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.

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

Contact: Tel: 0118 966 5284; Email: malleray@fssp.org
Web: www.fssp.co.uk/england; International: http://fssp.org/; Youths: www.juventutem.org

We had 11 men staying here at our last Vocation discernment weekend before Christmas. We hope you can be with us this next time. God bless you!

Anne Read’s Requiem. Updated post here: http://www.fssp.co.uk/england/ or below
R.I.P. Former LMS Sussex Representative Mrs Anne Florence Read

May she rest in peace.
All are welcome to attend her funeral this Monday. As rarely offered in England, Anne’s funeral will be a solemn polyphonic Requiem Mass followed by solemn Absolutio and Burial.
The Newman Consort will sing Spanish Renaissance composer Christobal de Morales’ MISSA PRO DEFUNCTIS for five voices: Introit;Kyrie; Dies Irae; Offertory; Sanctus; Agnus Dei; Communio.
Location: ST. WILLIAM OF YORK CATHOLIC CHURCH, Upper Redlands Road, Reading, Berks. RG1 5JT

Celebrant: Fr Armand de Malleray, FSSP; Deacon: Fr Andrew Southwell, National LMS Chaplain; Subdeacon: Fr Simon Leworthy, FSSP.

Sunday 19th February 2012, 8pm: bringing in of the body at St William of York Church and prayer vigil.
Monday 20th February 2012, 11.30am: Solemn Requiem. 1.30pm: Burial at Mays Lane Cemetery (situated at the bottom of Mays Lane, off the Wokingham Road in Earley, 5mn drive from St William of York Church. Postcode is RG6 7DG). Refreshments to follow.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Ember Saturday, 3rd March: Days of Recollection

To mark the Ember Saturday of Lent, 3rd March, there will be a 
with Solemn Mass in the Cathedral at 2pm (all welcome) 
and spiritual conferences given by our National Chaplain, Fr Andrew Southwell,
in the morning, from 10.30am. 

2011 06 16_0065
We are also having a Day of Recollection in Oxford on the same day, 3rd March. 

Solemn Mass will be celebrated at 11am 
in the church of St Anthony of Padua,
115 Headley Way, Headington, Oxford OX3 7SS
It will be accompanied by the Schola Abelis.

There will be time for lunch (bring your own, there is a very sunny and spacious parish hall to sit in) and then there will be a  
spiritual conference by
Fr Nicholas Edmonds-Smith Cong Orat.

Fr Edmonds-Smith was ordained in the Oxford Oratory last October, and is an excellent preacher, so please take up this opportunity to spend a little time in peaceful reflection on this very special day, provided by the Church's ancient liturgy, in Lent.

The Ember Days are almost forgotten today, but if they are celebrated appropriately they could be a wonderful means of sanctifying the year. Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, four times a year, one in Lent and one in Advent, they are a little season of penance with a extra liturgicual markers - 'prayers over the people' - on Wednesday and Friday, and then on Saturday a remarkable service of lessons, like a mini Easter Vigil. Though in the 1962 Missal (perhaps sensibly) it is possible to celebrate a 'forma brevior', the full version has four Old Testament lessons, an Epistle, and a Gospel, with Graduals (sung, if Mass in Sung) between them. These were in fact originally like the Easter vigil, a service of lessons during the night as a prelude to a dawn Mass. During that vigil ordinations took place, to different orders after different readings. Today, a Sung Ember Saturday Mass in the full form, as will be celebrated in both of our Days of Recollection, is a liturgical feast, the chants being particularly ancient and lovely, and the readings providing a wealth of material for reflection.

Here's the location of St Anthony of Padua.

View Larger Map

Monday, February 13, 2012

New 'Mass of Ages' hits the streets!

The latest Mass of Ages has now arrived on members' doormats (Royal Mail permitting) and is available in a number of Catholic bookshops. Non-members can get it online here.

There is a special feature on the Traditional Seminarians the LMS sponsors through their studies, and another special feature on the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, and their new church in the Wirral: SS Peter & Paul and St Philomena.

Don't get left behind like The Tablet! They picked up a story from Mass of Ages several weeks after it was published. Were they looking in dustbins for discarded copies? Join the LMS and get your delivered to your door!

The membership fee is only £20, but it won't be £20 forever...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mass in Milton Manor chapel

IMG_0007 Today was celebreated the LMS' annual Mass in Milton Manor chapel.

The chapel is very fine, built in the late 18th Century in the 'Strawbery Hill  Gothic' style, and consecrated by Bishop Richard Challoner.
This year the snow, which is thick on the ground in Oxfordshire, caused us all sorts of practical difficulties, but we persevered, and the stoical band of people who attended were treated to a polished performance of the propers by the Schola Abelis. It is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, and I am particularly pleased to be able to mark it with a Sung Mass this year, as we are planning our first Pilgrimage to Lourdes in September.

Particular thanks is due to Fr Anthony Conlon, who sang the Mass for us. Anthony Mockler-Barret, descendant of the Barrets who built the chapel, was as always very welcoming.

More photographs here.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Last chance to book Southwark Chant Day

This Saturday, 11th Feb, is the Gregorian Chant Network's Chant Training day in St George's Cathedral, Southwark, with Nick Gale. The Cathedral is easily accessible by tube and Nick Gale is an inspirational chant teacher. Click here for more details.


A full picture essay on the ceremony of Infant Baptism would be too long here, but here are a few moments. As with the Churching, the ceremony starts at the entrance of the church; the baptismal font is traditionally placed near the back to facilitate this, and that is where the font at SS Gregory and Augustine is. And here our youngest child was made a Catholic, last Saturday, by the Priest in Charge, Fr John Saward.

The exorcism of salt. God who created thee for the welfare of mankind and has bidden his servants hallow thee for those drawing near to the faith, to make of thee, in the name of the holy Trinity, a vehicle of saving grace, putting the enemy to flight. IMG_0004
Receive the salt of wisdom, N.; may it be for you a token of mercy, leading to eternal life.

There are three exorcisms of the baptismal candidate. After the giving of salt, the second takes place: And thee, foul fiend, I exorcise, in the name of the Father +, and of the Son +, and of the Holy + Ghost. Go forth, leave this servant of God N. Accursed, damned spirit, this ban is laid upon thee by him who walked upon the waves and held out his right hand to Peter when he was drowning. Therefore, accursed fiend, acknowledge thy doom; bow down before the living and true God, before Jesus Christ his Son, and before the Holy Ghost; begone from this servant of God, N., for Jesus Christ, our Lord and God, has deigned to call him to himself, to his holy grace and blessing, to the water of baptism.

After a Prayer for Enlightenment, the priest leads the candidate (in the arms of the godmother) towards the font, with his stole.

The exorcisms alternate with professions of faith. The Godparents make the first while the priest leads the candidate towards the font with his stole. After the third the Godparents formally renounce Satan on the candidate's behalf. Only then does the priest carry out the Baptism proper. This little candidate didn't mind the cold water at all; she was very well-behaved and quiet through the whole thing.


This is followed by another annointing, and the presentation by the priest of a candle and a white linen garment for the newly baptisted, the 'neophyte'. IMG_0017

After the Rite of Baptism it is custom to present the child to Our Lady. IMG_8798
I'm not sure what the origin of this ceremony is, but it has happened at every traditional Baptism I've attended.

The Traditional Rite of Infant Baptism is theologically extremely rich, and visually impressive. It is a good example of the drama of the liturgy: using all sorts of material 'props' - the different parts of the church building, and a succession of sacramentals (salt, oil of chrism, water, linen garment, candle). Baptism is a serious businness!

More photos here.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


The ceremony of Churching, the Blessing of a Mother After Childbirth, is very beautiful.
IMG_8785 First, the mother kneels at the entrance to the church, with a lighted candle, while the priest says Psalm 23, which refers both to the entrance of the faithful into the Temple: Who shall ascend into the mountain of the Lord: or who shall stand in his holy place? The innocent in hands, and clean of heart, who hath not taken his soul in vain, nor sworn deceitfully to his neighbour. He shall receive a blessing from the Lord, and mercy from God his Saviour.  
And to the triumphant entry of God Himself into it: Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates: and the King of Glory shall enter in. 


Then the priest leads her into church with his stole. IMG_8794
And she is blessed at the altar rail, with holy water.
V. Save Thine handmaid, O Lord. 
R. Who hopeth in Thee, O my God. 
V. Send her help, O Lord, from the sanctuary. 
R. And defend her out of Sion. 
V. Let not the enemy prevail against her. 
R. Nor the son of iniquity approach to hurt her. ... 
Almighty, everlasting God, who, through the delivery of the blessed Virgin Mary, hast turned into joy the pains of the faithful in childbirth, look mercifully upon this Thine handmaid, coming in gladness to Thy temple to offer up her thanks: and grant that after this life, by the merits and intercession of the same blessed Mary, she may merit to arrive, together with her offspring, at the joys of everlasting happiness. Through Christ our Lord.

This took place on Saturday, in SS Gregory & Augustine's. 

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Juventutem Bristol is back!

I'm happy to report this:

Good news! Juventutem, which is an association for Young Catholics, aged 18 - 35, who are drawn to the Traditional Liturgy of the Church has returned to Bristol. Regular events have been booked for the rest of the year, and details will be published in due course.

It is hoped that there will be Sung Masses and High Masses in future, as well as recollections. There will also be social events.

The first event will be a Low Mass on Wednesday 08 February 2012 at 6.30pm at Holy Cross, Dean Lane, Bedminster, Bristol, BS3 1DB. The celebrant will be Fr Andrew Goodman, and there will be an opportunity for a social gathering after the Mass.

Details of future Masses and social events will be published in the near future. For further information please visit: http://lmsclifton.blogspot.com/ or email: juventutembristol@gmail.com

Please spread the word and encourage people to come along.

The Mass is open to anyone of any age. (It is only the social events that are designed for 18-35 year olds).