Thursday, May 31, 2012

Welcome to the newly ordained Deacons of the Ordinariate

Ordained by Bishop Alan Hopes on Saturday - while I was walking on the Chartres Pilgrimage.

Congratulations to them all! I see from the Ordinariate website that, as one would expect, all 17 of them are to be ordained to the priesthood this year. One of them, of course, will be speaking at the LMS Conference on 9th June...

As it happens today is the deadline for those who want lunch at the Conference inside the Regent Hall, provided by the venue. They need a week's notice. So book now!

More about Chartres

The Chartres Pilgrimage is complete for another year, and the pilgrims have a chance to recover, upload their photographs, and blog about it. Counter Cultural Father was there; the official photos are available; I've had a problem with most of mine (cough), so I'll be pinching other people's; these are from Notre Dame de Chrétienté, the organisers.

It is quite simply the biggest event of the traditional Catholic calendar. Depending on where you start from, the Camino to Compostella is likely to be a lot longer, but the Chartres Pilgrimage is a single, huge movement of people on the same pilgrimage, attending the same Masses, blessed together at the beginning and the end. The sense of solidarity with so many thousands of other pilgrims is extraordinary. We fill every inch of Notre Dame de Paris at the beginning, and overflow into the square in front of Notre Dame de Chartres at the end.

For various reasons (including economic ones, I suspect) numbers have fallen in recent years; I think this is an event which should be supported with more vigour internationally. One of the founding organisers of the Australian 'Christus Rex' pilgrimage said to me that the it was valuable to have an event each year which acted as a 'gathering of the tribe' for the Traditionalist community in Australia. The Chartres Pilgrimage does that for France, but also for the whole world. Traditional Catholics need an opportunity to meet others from other parishes and nations, served by different orders or dioceses, and sustained by distinct traditions of popular piety, to sing together, to share experiences, to grow in mutual understanding and respect.

There is something uniquely and wonderfully Catholic about the pilgrimage. The different national flags and banners in honour of the patron saints of the different groups, the variety of songs and devotions, all united in one great religious act. In what other context, than a Catholic one, could one see a German flag the size of a football pitch (so it seemed) march across the French countryside, not only in peace, but in solidarity a French pilgrimage and for the conversion of France?

I seem to have a particular kind of luck with the Chartres Pilgrimage: I've been twice, and it has been exceptionally hot each time. In between, last year, it rained. So my abiding memories of the Pilgrimage remain tinged with baking heat, interspersed with the blessed shade of the woods, which we walk through a lot, but not all, of the time. The keynote of this year's pilgrimage was exhaustion: I didn't strain my muscles, or get lots of blisters, or even heat stroke, but I just felt, and in fact to an extent still feel, too tired to move. By the second afternoon I started to notice groups of pilgrims dropping out at each medical post, manned by the Order of Malta first aid teams, where they could be picked up and ferried onwards. The pilgrimage may be demanding, but they are there to help if you really need it.

The self-inflicted suffering of the Pilgrimage is a guarantee of its seriousness. Yes, it is hugely rewarding, even at the human level, it is great fun, you meet lots of great people, learn lots of songs, and have really earned a nice meal and a drink by the end. But few people would do this to themselves for those kinds of benefits. It is a spiritual event for a spiritual goal, and the suffering, which is perfectly real, and shared, is part of what we can offer to 'le bon Dieu' in gratitude and in supplication, in union with the sufferings of Our Lord in His Passion. This is the most important kind of solidarity, after all: solidarity with Him.

For (I think) only the second time ever, we had Mass in Notre Dame in Paris, and not just the Pilgrims' blessing; the blessing by an auxiliary bishop of Paris followed Mass. This makes sense in terms of the itinerary, and in every other way, and I hope it becomes a permanent feature of the pilgrimage, even though we used the strange modern altar instead of the historic High Altar, and had a Missa Cantata rather than a Solemn Mass (in the presence of 200 priests!): the organisers have proved themselves masters at incremental rapprochement with the hierarchy, and this is something to build on. Before the Mass for all the pilgrims, priests say private Masses in the side chapels from a very early hour; I saw some finishing last time I was there.

Mass on the second day was a Solemn Mass in a field, with the very impressive portable sanctuary which they use. This year my group was outside Chartres Cathedral for the final Mass - we filled the square as well as the Cathedral with people - and saw the Solemn Mass, celebrated by Fr John Berg, Superior General of the FSSP, on an enormous screen outside. As in Paris, the local Bishop seems to be participating in the proceedings with increasing enthusiasm, blessing us as he went in and came out again.

The British Chapters walked (by arrangement) next to the Australian Chapter, which doesn't come every year, but we had dinner together afterwards, and after spending the night in Chartres we had Mass in the Cathedral crypt. We had the use of the biggest crypt chapel, that of the ancient Shrine of Our Lady Sous Terre ('under ground'), where Our Lady's shirt is also preserved. For the first time we were able to get the singers together (just about!) to make possible a Solemn Mass, celebrated by Fr Mark Withoos of the PCED, which was wonderful.

The British Chapters are very well supplied with priests: we had four (Fr Withoos, Fr Andrew Goodman, Fr Gerard Byrne, and Fr Martin Edwards), not counting the British chaplains of the Chavagnes International College chapter (an English-speaking school in the Vendee), Fr Bede Rowe and  Fr Alexander Redman, plus Fr Anthony Mary of the Sons of the Holy Redeemer, all of whom were nearby most of the Pilgrimage, and Fr Armand de Malleray FSSP, who is based in Reading, England, who joined us from time to time. We also had two FSSP Seminarians with us, Alexander Stuart from Denton and James Mawdsley from Wigratsbad. Surprisingly, many French chapters didn't have their own chaplains, I suppose their priests can't get away from their apostolates at the weekend so easily.

The Chartres Pilgrimage is unique, and I recommend it to everyone. It is something to experience once, if that's all you can do, though many find themselves coming back year after year. This year the Latin Mass Society sponsored ten places, cutting the price by £100; I hope that in this and in other ways we can build up numbers. But we'd like to see more pilgrims from all over Europe, and the world; currently non-French groups make up only about 10% of the pilgrims. So put this in your diary: Pentecost weekend next year, Friday to Monday, is 18th to 20th May 2013. Maybe it'll be a little cooler!

In the meantime, come to 
Walsingham, our walking Pilgrimage is 24 to 26 August 2012

For American readers, you can do the Pilgrimage for Restoration to Auriesville, New York, September 28-30; 

in Australia, the Christus Rex Pilgrimage is 25th to 28th October 2012. 

I know there are others too in other countries (I'd be interested in links to their websites, in fact). In Medieval Europe pilgrims were everywhere; let us restore this tradition, and convert our once-Christian countries back to the Faith.

Update: Here's a link to the Canadian Pilgrimage to Our Lady of the Cape, 1-3rd September 2012.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pilgrimage for Restoration to Auriesville, New York.

It seems appropriate to pass on the appeal for registrations I've had from the organisers of another great walking pilgrimage, in the Eastern USA, the Pilgrimage for Restoration, which takes place in September: Friday – Sunday September 28-30, 2012.
Every country should have a big event like this; I'm glad the LMS has been able to follow the example of the Chartres Pilgrimage and the Australian Christus Rex Pilgrimage, with our Pilgrimage to Walsingham (Friday 24 to Sunday 26 August 2012).

Mass in Chartres Cathedral Crypt

I've had various technical problems, which I won't bore readers with, but here are some photos of the final Mass for the British chapters. For the first time, we were able to organise a Solemn Mass. We had the use of the crypt chapel of the Shrine of Our Lady Sous Terre, the most ancient shrine in the Cathedral (and, according to legend, the world), which also houses the relic of Our Lady's garment, the 'Sancta Camisa', which has been venerated here since the 11th Century and somehow survived the French Revolution. IMG_0712
Our celebrant was Fr Mark Withoos, who was the chaplain to the British 'Juventutem' chapter, the Chapter of St Alban.
It was a wonderful send-off for the return journey. More photos here.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Chris Inman RIP

Chris Inman has been involved with the Latin Mass Society for a very long time; having held various posts he was one of our honorary Vice Presidents at the time of his death.

He died on Friday. I'm in a field in France so I can't do anything about a proper appreciation, right now, but I will have plenty of opportunity to pray for him. A Catholic and a gentleman.

Please pray for him too.

Requiescat in pace.

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Mass of Pentecost

My phone is telling me I've used up my data allowance. But here, with luck, is a photo of the outside Mass at midday today.

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

We have arrived at Choisel camp

8pm French time, after the final, killing, climb, we got into the camp: the conclusion of the first day's walking, which started after Mass at 9am.

The washing facilities are, I think, unique. But hey, no one's asking me to climb any more hills, so I'm happy. I'll go and get my bowl of soup and bread roll to celebrate!

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Pilgrimage to Chartres: setting off

Te great Pilgrimage to Chartres is setting off, from Notre Dame in Paris, where we have had Mass. We usually only have a blessing in the cathedral, and Mass at lunch time; this marks the 30th pilgrimage.

I am with the British chapters (we have two); I've seen the Australians, and Dr John Rao from the American chapter, who will be giving a talk at the LMS Conference on 9th June; he is a great supporter of the Chartres Pilgrimage.

I have also seen some of the Sons of the Holy Redermer; I spotted Fr Anthony Mary processing in the with the priests into Mass; the phots above is of one of a couple of postulants with banners.

Mass was a Missa Cantata, with a sermon, and blessing of the Pilgrims at the end, by an auxiliary bishop of Paris.

Although I was in the North aisle, with a restricted view, Mass in Notre Dame was very impressive, with scores of priests and chapters with their banners processing in and out.

Now comes the difficult part: walking 75 miles in two and a half days...

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Fr Martin Edwards observed

that once at sea, we are no longer bound by the obligation of Friday abstinence.

Breakfast on the ferry.

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Chartres: setting off from London

We have had Mass in the Crypt at Westminster Cathedral, and are in the coach heading for Dover.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Off to Chartres!

Apologies for slow posting, I am in the final throws of preparations for the Chartres Pilgrimage.

Even though I think the Hans Kung story is hilarious. Who'd have thought the pompous old liberal would turn into a legalistic sede vacantist in his twilight years?

I'll be doing some live blogging and twittering from the road to Chartres, so keep an eye on the blog and subscribe to my Twitter feed if you are on Twitter. Last time I went, two years ago, I did a lot of Facebook stuff, uploading pictures. I'm not gong to do that again because I've gone off FB, it is now rubbish with the IPhone, and it is of limited value with my limited circle of 'friends'. And every time they change the format I hate it a bit more. So this is a test for my live blogging technology.

Among other things I'm sure all the pilgrims will be keeping the SSPX-Rome negotiations in their prayers. The SSPX has its own pilgrimage which goes the other way, from Chartres to Paris, we pass each other (at least distantly) halfway. These two pilgrimages, taken together, are I think the biggest devotional annual event in Christendom, so this outpouring of prayer and penance must count for something.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Festa Paschalia

Philip Goddard at the London Colney Priest Training Conference
A new book, available on the LMS website, on the complex history of the Holy Week rites, by Philip Goddard, a long-term friend of the LMS.


Here is some blurb.

Festa Paschalia (Philip J Goddard)
This book provides the first comprehensive history in English for eighty years of the origins and development of the Holy Week liturgy in the Roman Rite. Describing how the first apostles and disciples, and their immediate successors, came during the years following AD33 to celebrate an annual feast of the Resurrection, and the form which this first-century celebration took, it goes on to explain in detail how the ceremonies with which we are familiar today began in fourth-century Jerusalem. These ceremonies were then elaborated and developed during the early and late Middle Ages in Western Europe, particularly in the Frankish Kingdom, and at Rome itself, down to the tridentine reform of the sixteenth century, a reform which endured for some four hundred years with very little change.
Looking at the two significant twentieth-century reforms of the rites, that of 1955 and that of 1970, Philip J Goddard then explains the various changes which were made, the sources from which innovations were introduced, and the reasons for the introduction of those changes and innovations, as given (so far as possible) by those involved in making them.
While accessible to the ordinary reader with no particular knowledge of liturgical history, this study will be of great interest to liturgical specialists and scholars, to those in seminaries and religious orders or to clergy interested in the history of the Roman liturgy. Comprehensive notes give full references to both primary and secondary sources.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

May Procession at St William of York

Last Sunday, after our usual Sung Mass, we had a procession in honour of Our Lady, and her statue was crowned by a little girl from the community. IMG_0130
Fr Armand de Malleray FSSP blessed the crown with holy water before, and incensed the statue after, the crowning.
The dress of the young lady deputed to crown Our Lady was magnificent, and she had seven train-bearers. IMG_0124
More photos here.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Tablet on Liturgical Pluralism

Robert Mickens
This weekend The Tablet has published a letter of mine responding to the bizarre report by their Rome correspondant, Robert Mickens, of the publication of an Ordo for the Office by the Pontifical Commission Excclesia Dei.

Mickens was surprised to see that no post-1962 saints had been added to the calendar. For someone who takes such an interest in these matters, did he really not know that the addition of new saints has yet to take place? Or is his shock, on looking at the Ordo entirely synthetic? He wrote:

Among the first things one notices flipping through its 91 pages is that saints canonised after the Second Vatican Council are missing. No Edith Stein. No Maximilian Kolbe. No Padre Pio. Not even Josemaría Escrivá. This is odd, given that Pope Benedict specifically said in Summorum Pontificum (2007) that “new saints … should be inserted in the old Missal”. The Ordo, of course, is not the Missal, but the calendar for the breviary and the Mass is identical. 

No matter. As this new publication demonstrates, the old rite continues to be widely different from the new rite. Many of the same saints are celebrated on different days in the two forms, and the general ordering of the liturgical seasons is different. For example, there was not before – nor is there now – “Ordinary Time” in the old rite. Can the coexistence of these two “forms” really promote unity when we’re not even praying from the same page?

Clearly the Holy Father thinks so; one indication is the promulgation of the Ordinariate calendar, which has 'Sundays after Epiphany' and 'Sundays after Trinity' in the Anglican (and Sarum) fashion, instead of 'Ordinary Time'. Here's my letter, with the original capitalisations; for some reason the tablet allows Mickens to capitalise 'ordinary time', but not me. Perhaps the Letters Editor is an e.e. cummings fan.

Robert Mickens (Letter from Rome, 12th May), referring to the new Ordo produced for the Extraordinary Form by the PCED, with its distinctive liturgical calendar, asks ‘Can the coexistence of these two “forms” really promote unity when we’re not even praying from the same page?’ This is a puzzling question, since if all the differences between the two Forms of the Roman Rite were ironed out, there would be no two forms to promote unity.

The promotion of unity by means of liturgical diversity is a theme of the Second Vatican Council, both in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (‘Even in the liturgy, the Church has no wish to impose a rigid uniformity’: Sacrosanctum Concilium 37) and the Decree on Ecumenism (‘But let all… enjoy a proper freedom, … in their different liturgical rites... they will be giving ever better expression to the authentic catholicity and apostolicity of the Church’: Unitatis redintegratio 4) Bl. Pope John Paul II declared that a ‘genuine plurality of forms’ is ‘the Church’s ideal’ (Orientale Lumen 2). With the Eastern churches in view, this pluriformity clearly includes important differences in the calendar.

Even within the Latin Church, Mr Mickens will find calendrical differences. In churches belonging to religious orders, he will perhaps be shocked to witness celebrations of the order’s founder and martyrs which are not celebrated in the next parish. He is no doubt even more shocked to find that the Bishops of England and Wales this week celebrate the Feast of the Ascension on a different day to the Holy Father in Rome. If he looks at the newly-approved calendar for the Ordinariate, he may need to lie down: like the calendar for the Extraordinary Form, it eschews the term ‘Ordinary Time’.

Yours faithfully,

Joseph Shaw Chairman, The Latin Mass Society

The oddest thing about this whole debate is that liberal Catholics are in favour of liturgical variety. The Tablet has (at least by implication) defended priests who make up their own prayers, for example; they are dismissive of attempts to rein in what the Holy Father has called 'arbitrary deformations of the liturgy'. They seem to be in favour of variety when it is illicit, and against variety when it is licit. The licit is illicit, the licit illicit... As Milton's Satan said, 'Evil be though my good!' Or maybe just 'Non serviam!' I will not serve.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

FIUV Position paper on Liturgical Pluralism

Today I'm publishing the next Position Paper, on liturgical pluralism. Go over to Rorate Caeli to read it.

With the existence of two 'forms' of the Roman Rite, the amount of liturgical pluralism in the Church is increased. In terms of the number of rites and usages, the increase is insignificant: there are already masses of them. Even limiting ourselves to the Latin Church, there are more than a dozen authorised ones. Even excluding what are clearly 'non-Roman' rites - the Ambrosian and the Mozarabic - we have distinctive usages of the Roman Rite, such as the Dominican, Premonstratensian, Carthusian, Braga, and arguably Sarum, and now the Anglican Use. Other religious orders have more limited variations, but variations nonetheless. They add the name of their founder to the list of saints in the Confiteor ('our Holy Father St Benedict' etc.), they have their own feast days. Everything is approved by the competent authorities in Rome, of course.

Liturgical variety is not a problem. Get over it.

So why do so many people get worked up about the fact that the Traditional Mass does things differently from the church down the street?

As with so many things, the principles clearly reaffirmed by Vatican II have been turned on their heads after the Council. When the Council said that all legitimate rites should be preserved, that the Church has no wish to enforce uniformity, etc., in the 1960s and 1970s here was an almost complete flattening of those legitimate differences which used to add interest and richness to the liturgical life of Catholics. The Dominican Rite disappeared from Dominican parishes up and down the land, to give just one example: a totally unnecessary tragedy. Many distinctive customs of England and Wales disappeared too, including many local feasts.

At the same time a new attitude to the liturgy started to produce a degree and type of liturgical variety which can only be described as chaos. The bewildering number of options, coupled with anarchic liturgical abuses, have produced a situation in which Catholics have a range of liturgical alternatives, on a Sunday, which is actually very unhealthy. These are not different ancient traditions, at each of which one may experience theological insights nourished by the spirituality of a great religious order or region. No, they are different whims of celebrants and their 'liturgy committees', reflecting in some cases a complete ignorance of liturgical principles and a contemptuous disregard for liturgical law. Is this the liturgical uniformity which liberal critics of the Traditional Mass, like Robert Mickens in the Tablet, want to insist on?

The Church's principle is:

Diversa, non adversa.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mass of Ages Summer issue hits the streets!

I've just got my copy of the new Mass of Ages, which is stuffed with great articles, an interview with Fr Tim Finigan, reports of recent events, and information about things coming up. If you are not a member, you can you can download taster articles from the current edition and buy a hard copy of the entire magazine, from our website.

But obviously you should join!

Some blurb.

Items include photo reports on the LMS's York Pilgrimage and the Establishment of the ICKSP Shrine at New Brighton, an interview with Fr Tim Finigan, an article on Church music by composer James MacMillan, an article from theologian Fr Brian Harrison on 'altar girls' and why they are an anomaly, a feature on planning for wider provision of the Sacred Triduum next year, pieces about St Francis of Assisi's relics in Liverpool, the Traditional Catholicism of a famous football manager, a new regular interview with one of our local reps, plus all the regular features - our Diocesan Digest of events around the country, Family Notebook, Macklin Street, Chairman's message, Diary, the Prayer of Art, In Illo Tempore (our look back into the LMS archives), full Mass Listings for the coming quarter, and much more. All this (56 full colour pages!) for £2.50 plus postage.

Tendentious translation of Quo Primum on the web

A curious issue revealed in the preparation of one the FIUV position paper is the widespread error on the internet in the translation of a key passage of Pope St Pius V's Bull Quo Primum. New Advent has it right; Papal Encyclicals Online, EWTN and others have got it wrong. This is not exactly a coincidence, since it seems that there are just two translations freely available on the web, and all the sites which want to offer a list of important Church documents have got one or the other. There's no 'official' one on the Vatican website (not that that would exclude the possibility of error...)

Everyone knows that Quo Primum promulgated a revised edition of the Missale Romanum, and made it available to the whole Latin Church. Recent liturgical innovations were suppressed. The translation issue is about the conditions for a diocese or religious order to stop using their legitimate proper liturgical rite or usage (one more than 200 years old in 1570) and adopt the Roman Rite

The Latin says:

'nisi ab ipsa prima institutione a Sede Apostolica adprobata, vel consuetudine, quae, vel ipsa institutio super ducentos annos Missarum celebrandarum in eisdem Ecclesiis assidue observata sit: a quibus, ut praefatam celebrandi constitutionem vel consuetudinem nequaquam auferimus; sic si Missale hoc, quod nunc in lucem edi curavimus, iisdem magis placeret, de Episcopi, vel Praelati, Capitulique universi consensu, ut quibusvis non obstantibus, juxta illud Missas celebrare possint, permittimus;'

Which means:  

'saving only those in which the practice of saying Mass differently was granted over two hundred years ago simultaneously with the Apostolic See’s institution and confirmation of the church, and those in which there has prevailed a similar custom followed continuously for a period of not less than two hundred years; in which cases We in no wise rescind their prerogatives or customs aforesaid. Nevertheless, if this Missal which We have seen fit to publish be more agreeable to these last, We hereby permit them to celebrate Mass according to this rite, subject to the consent of their bishop or prelate, and of their whole Chapter, all else to the contrary notwithstanding.’ 

The more widespread translation has, instead of the emboldened words: 

'provided they have the consent of their bishop or prelate or of their whole Chapter,'

But 'Capituli', '[consent] of the Chapter', has a '-que' stuck on the end (an 'enclitic'), which means 'and', just like the '-que' stuck on the end of 'filio' in the Creed ('filioque'). Just as the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, and not the Father OR the Son, so the consent is required of 'the bishop or prelate AND the Chapter', not 'OR the Chapter'.
In any case, the second translation would suggest a very puzzling provision, saying that the bishop could override the Chapter, or vice versa, but only in the direction of innovation, in adopting the Roman Rite. On the contrary, Pius V stacked all the cards in a conservative direction: a single dissenting canon in the cathedral chapter, or religious in an order's chapter, can prevent the loss of a venerable liturgical usage, and the superior and bishop also have a veto.

There is a widespread myth that Pius V and the Council of Trent in general imposed the Roman Rite on unwilling Catholics all over Europe, having first conducted a root-and-branch reform of it, comparable to the post Vatican II reform. This is complete tosh. The changes made to the new edition of the Missale Romanum in 1570, compared to the first printed edition in 1471, are extremely minor, and consist mostly of textual corrections in the light of manuscripts dating back no further than the 13th Century. This was imposed on no-one, to speak of: all the rites and usages we think of as important, historically, had a history going back much further than 200 years before Trent, and they happily continued in use afterwards. Gallican rites were still being used in France in the 19th Century; the Mozarabic Rite, the Ambrosian  Rite, the usage of Braga, the usages of Dominicans, Premonstrensians, Carthusians and others carried on being used up to Vatican II, and many of them are still in use today.

Let's hope that the transparency of the web will allow accuracy to drive out error.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The problem of day care for children

Hewitt doesn't get it.
This weekend there is a very thought-provoking letter in the Catholic Herald about what happens to children who are put in day-care to enable their mothers to return to the workplace. The point needs to be made, because it needs to be emphasised that mothers who stay at home to look after their children, instead of going back to work, are doing a valuable job. This job is not valued by many in our society, and this wrong. Housewives need to be supported and appreciated, nor excoriated for not making the most, economically, of their degrees, as by the absurd Patricia Hewitt. They make many sacrifices for their vocation, and we should thank them for it.

The author of the letter is, coincidentally, the Latin Mass Society Representative for part of Clifton Diocese.


I was interested to read the article ‘Invisible Workforce’, 27 April. As Jo Roughton says, the role of the stay-at-home mother is not properly acknowledged either by society or by the State.

Working mothers contribute to GDP and pay tax, factors which are easy to measure. The contribution made by stay-at-home mothers is not measurable in the same way, and perhaps for this reason, politicians and commentators tend to regard them as unproductive or even, in the words of Patricia Hewitt, ‘a real problem’. The good news for anyone concerned with family life, is that recent discoveries in the science of children’s brain development are making such bleakly utilitarian attitudes increasingly hard to maintain.

The wide body of research cited by Margot Sunderland inThe Science of Parenting, for instance, demonstrates that the majority of neurological pathways determining emotional and cognitive intelligence are laid down in the first three years of a child’s life. Science confirms the common-sense view that the optimum environment for this process is a stable home, with parents who love and respond to the baby as a unique individual. Where this is lacking, children can experience high levels of the stress hormone Cortisol, which inhibits the development of these crucial pathways. Tests have repeatedly shown that babies placed in daycare for long periods of time suffer a heightened state of stress, even when they look outwardly calm. They have learned that crying does not achieve the desired result – the return of their mother – so they withdraw, earning a reputation as a ‘good’ child. In over 75% of cases, Cortisol levels drop to normal as soon as the mother re-appears. 

Often, a combination of economic policies and cultural attitudes inhibit a woman’s choice to be a stay-at-home mother. Since early exposure to high levels of stress is directly correlated to depression and aggressive behaviour in later life, this is an issue which, in one way or another, affects us all.

Yours faithfully,

Caroline Shaw (Mrs)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Trads and Progressives: is the truth in the middle?

I have only recently got hold of a copy of Dietrich von Hildebrand's 'The Devastated Vineyard', a critique of the post-conciliar problems of the Church, published in 1973. Hildebrand is a fascinating figure, from a well-connected and highly cultivated family, he pursued a career in Philosophy and converted to Catholicism in 1914. He was a staunch opponent of the Nazis and fled Germany, and then Austria, and then France, as they advanced across Europe. He ended up teaching in the Jesuit university of Fordham, New York, from 1940 until his retirement in 1960.

He did not fit in well at Fordham, because he was not a Thomist. His philosophical background was Phenomenology, like St Edith Stein and Bl. Pope John Paul II. One of his early books, 'In Defence of Purity', strikingly anticipates many of the themes of Theology of the Body. In the 1940s, it was a common view that Catholic philosophy had to be Thomistic. Such a view is historically indefensible: however much honour the Church may, and should, accord St Thomas Aquinas, other philosophical systems and methodological approaches cannot be ruled out in advance.

In any case, he went on to be one of the great early defenders of Catholic Tradition, and founded the Roman Forum / Hildebrand Institute to carry on his work of giving a reasoned defense of the Faith in its fullness. (Dr John Rao, the Director of the Roman Forum, is giving a talk at the approaching Latin Mass Society Conference on 9th June.) Hildebrand found that many other defenders of Tradition took the same narrow-minded attitude to Catholic philosophy as his Fordham colleagues had in the 1940s. He called them 'Integrists'; I'm not sure if this is the right word but we need a label, and it'll do. It is extremely interesting to read what he has to say about them, because the Catholic traddy scene is still, and perhaps inevitably, populated by people who can be described in this way. Hildebrand examines the question of whether 'conservative extremists', 'integrists', are just as bad as the opposite, progressive extremists. He rejects it.

'The narrowness of the integrists may be regrettable, but it is not heretical. It is not incompatible with the teaching of the holy Church. It views certain philosophical theses as inseparable from orthodoxy, though they in no way are. But these philosophical theses are are also in no way incompatible with with Christian Revelation. Therefore, it is completely senseless to place those who hold a philosophic thesis to be inseparable from Christian Revelation, i.e., from the teaching of the holy Church, on a level with those who promulgate philosophic theses which are in radical contradiction to the teaching of the holy Church, ...' (Devastated Vineyard, p16)

He goes on to give a psychological explanation for the tendency to equate the 'two extremes' among Catholics inclined towards a conservative outlook.
'Men who have had to suffer much under the narrowness of spirit of the extremists, and who have been unjustly suspected of being heretics, have developed such an antipathy toward this fanaticism, and they shun and fear it so much, that they are inclined to put this evil on the same level as grave errors of faith, or indeed as explicit heresies.' (p18)

The question of what philosophical, theological, political, indeed cultural and educational attitudes are compatible with the Faith is, of course, the question of the day, and perhaps the question of every era in the Church. There will always be people who take a broad view, and people who take a narrow view. The narrow view is the safer view; the broad view promises exciting possibilities of various kinds. If we are allowed to do this, teach that, or permit the other, we may have more tools to spread the Faith, we may be able to lift burdens off people's backs. In the end the Church makes the judgement, but only after public debate, sometimes going on for centuries. The latitudinarians think everyone else is an integrist; the integrists thinks everyone else is a latitudinarian. But Hildebrand makes the important point: however wrongheaded, even destructive, an integrist may be, he does not lack the Faith. He is always on the safer side. There is no moral equivalence between someone who thinks it is not safe to say that NFP, or evolution, or women in trousers, or liturgical innovation, is compatible with the Faith, and someone who says that you can be saved through Buddha, or denies the Real Presence, or thinks there's nothing wrong with sex outside marriage. On the one hand you have someone who is, perhaps, annoying, and if mistaken is obviously mistaken on certain (highly complex) theological questions, but he is not denying any truths of Faith. On the other hand, you have someone who clearly is denying truths of Faith, even if they claim that they are merely presenting a new interpretation of it.

What is the error of someone who holds a narrow view of what is compatible with a doctrine? In a certain, sense, he hasn't got the doctrine right, because he is drawing implications from it which it does not have. But no human, on earth, is able to see all the implications of a doctrine, they are infinite. About the implications of doctrines, we work out what we can, and await the definitive judgement of the Church, which may be a long time coming. What is required of Catholics is to believe the doctrine, in the form presented by the Church, and the integrist is doing this even if he gets some of the implications wrong. But when you hear someone saying that the truth is compatible with the denial of the doctrine in its familiar formula - Jesus isn't really God, Mary isn't really sinless, there's no original sin - they are denying the doctrine, as presented by the Church, and that is a completely different matter.

These debates will always be with us. The more narrow-minded type of Catholic is on the rise, in the Church, and that is a good thing, because it is evident, to anyone willing to look, that there has been a type of broadmindedness at work for the last two generations which takes away all content from the Faith. It is compatible not so much with the Catholic Faith as with a indeterminate blancmange of positive attitudes. Yes, it is possible to be too narrow, but don't run away with the idea that this is just as bad as being a heretic.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Offensive and homophobic?

Apparently the below graphic has attracted the attention of the Advertising Standards Authority as allegedly 'offensive and homophobic'. Judge for yourselves.

It is one thing to take all serious complains seriously. It is quite another to be unable to distinguish what are serious complaints and what are not. However, we all know what happens when the ASA has complaints from Catholics about offensive adverts. Generally speaking they go in the bin.

The ASA is a paper tiger. When this kind of double-standard gets enforced seriously, then we are going to be in trouble.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Novena for the reconciliation of the SSPX

The Latin Mass Society is asking people to pray the Veni Creator Spiritus and the Memorare for this intention from 18th May to the Vigil of Pentecost (26 May). 

The prayers (available in Latin and English) can be seen on the LMS website here.

Please pass it on!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Blessings at Communion time: the CDW speaks

When I wrote about blessings at Communion time (specifically for children), I mentioned the fact that, as far as I knew, this was not an issue addressed by the Instructions combating liturgical abuses which came out under Pope John Paul II. I have just discovered, however, thanks to Fr Hugh of Deus Mihi Adjutor, that a statement has been made, a response to a private dubium sent to the Congregation for Divine Worship. In a word, they don't like blessings at Communion.

Here's the letter; here's the source.

(Protocol No. 930/08/L) dated Nov. 22, 2008, sent in response to a private query and signed by Father Anthony Ward, SM, undersecretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship.

The letter said that "this matter is presently under the attentive study of the Congregation," so "for the present, this dicastery wishes to limit itself to the following observations":

"1. The liturgical blessing of the Holy Mass is properly given to each and to all at the conclusion of the Mass, just a few moments subsequent to the distribution of Holy Communion.

"2. Lay people, within the context of Holy Mass, are unable to confer blessings. These blessings, rather, are the competence of the priest (cf. Ecclesia de Mysterio, Notitiae 34 (15 Aug. 1997), art. 6, § 2; Canon 1169, § 2; and Roman Ritual De Benedictionibus (1985), n. 18).

"3. Furthermore, the laying on of a hand or hands which has its own sacramental significance, inappropriate here by those distributing Holy Communion, in substitution for its reception, is to be explicitly discouraged.

"4. The Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio n. 84, 'forbids any pastor, for whatever reason or pretext even of a pastoral nature, to perform ceremonies of any kind for divorced people who remarry'. To be feared is that any form of blessing in substitution for communion would give the impression that the divorced and remarried have been returned, in some sense, to the status of Catholics in good standing.

"5. In a similar way, for others who are not to be admitted to Holy Communion in accord with the norm of law, the Church's discipline has already made clear that they should not approach Holy Communion nor receive a blessing. This would include non-Catholics and those envisaged in can. 915 (i.e., those under the penalty of excommunication or interdict, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin)."

This is a very interesting angle. Many people defend blessings at Communion precisely because they can bless people in irregular unions and the like.

The key consideration I brought up in my post was that blessings are restricted when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed. There is something not quite right about a priest holding a ciborium of the Blessed Sacrament giving a personal, priestly blessing to someone. In the light of the above, I would add that there is something odd also about inserting a non-liturgical blessing, or a blessing not belonging to the liturgy of the Mass actually going on, into the proceedings. I think the instinct of the priests who raised the issue originally, that this is a kind of liturgical monkeying-around, has some foundation.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Doing something positive

Quite a lot of the time I am able to devote to things connected with the Latin Mass Society is spent engaging with various kinds of debates - the Tablet letters page, blogging, Twitter, this year on the Position Papers. But most isn't. Most of it is spent arranging, promoting, and assisting at devotional events. Because that is the core business of the LMS.
On Saturday we had a small local pilgrimage to Littlemore. Oxford presents a host of devotional possibilities: the martyrs, the historic Catholic houses nearby, Newman. Bl Agnellus of Pisa is buried (so they say) under a shopping centre; nearly every ancient college has its saints and marytrs, and there are numerous sites of interest, such as the cellar of the Mitre pub where Mass was said in penal times. With Newman's beatification I felt that it was imperative to have an annual event in his honour, so last year, for the first time, and again last Saturday we had a Sung Mass in Greyfriars, in East Oxford (top), which is near, and replaced, the Catholic church which existed in Newman's day, and where he attended his first public Masses as a Catholic. This was St Ignatius', still standing, above, in St Clement's. (The Anglican church of St Clement, which gives its name to the area, and where Newman had been a curate, no longer exists.)
So from Greyfriars a dozen of us walked to St Ignatius', and from there retraced Newman's route (or something like it) from there up to the College, Littlemore, where Newman was received into the Church by Bl Dominic Barberi. On the way we passed St Stephen's House, the high Anglican seminary; we sang 'Faith of Our Fathers' as we passed...
We were led by Fr Simon Leworthy, who gave us the blessing at the end of the procession in the College garden, and officiated at Vespers.
It was great fun. We sang the Te Deum and the Litany of Loreto to the bemused citizens of East Oxford, and said the Rosary as we went up Rose Hill; we sang some Newman hymns, of course, as we approaced the College. There is no telling what, if any, effect this kind of thing has on others, as a witness to the Faith, but Bl. John Henry Newman certainly deserves to be honoured in this way, so we have done something positive, practical, and concrete for the Glory of God. It is good to get off Twitter for a bit and remember that there are ways to serve God which don't involve staring at a small screen, even if it makes sense to blog about them afterwards!

Friday, May 04, 2012

LMS Pilgrimage to Littlemore tomorrow!

Tomorrow we go in pilgrimage to Littlemore, where Bl John Henry, Cardinal Newman, was received into the Catholic Church.

We have Mass in Greyfriars in the Ifley Road, which is the successor to the Jesuit Mission church, St Ignatius, where Bl John Henry attended his first public Masses as a Catholic. St Ignatius is still standing (the last Mass in it was in 1911), and we visit it as we walk up to Littlemore.

Mass at 2.30pm in Greyfriars 
2011 05 07_9423
St Ignatius' Church, Oxford (St Clements)
(St Edmund and St Frideswide), Ifley Road, Oxford.
Vespers in The College, Littlemore at 5pm.

Our celebrant will be Fr Simon Leworthy FSSP.

More about this Pilgrimage can be found here.

Map showing Greyfriars, below.

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