Saturday, June 30, 2012

Pontifical Mass in Leeds with Bishop Rifan

We've had a splendid Mass in the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Leeds. Attended by about 100 people.
The AP was Monsignor David Smith, Deacon Fr Michael Hall, the Subdeacon Fr Timothy Wiley. Other clergy presnt were Mgr Paul Grogan, Fr Geoffrey Parfitt, Fr Stephen Brown, and Fr Michael Brown.

Here are a couple of fans of this blog!

All followed by dinner with Bishop Rifan.

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Should the Church close most of its schools?

This melancholy suggest comes from a recent and very interesting talk by Fr Aidan Nichols OP, which he gave to St Mary Magdalene in Brighton, at the invitation of Fr Ray Blake - you can listen to the talk here. It echoes the musings of the Bishop of Lancaster. Fr Nichols was focused on the lack of (really) Catholic teachers, the bishop on the lack of Catholic pupils. Both suggest the answer may be to have a smaller number of schools which could claim to be genuinely Catholic.

It is good to have this kind of debate, but I think this is the wrong answer. Catholics, as teachers or parents, aren't as committed to the Catholic school system as they were fifty years ago. If that changed then the problems just identified would be ameliorated, if not solved. The lack of commitment stems from two issues. First, they lack a sense that Catholic schools are important for the spiritual development of Catholic children. Second, many nominally Catholic schools are so bad that they are not, in fact, beneficial to the spiritual development of Catholic children, and serious-minded Catholic parents and teachers would not be welcome in these places.

So there's a chicken-and-egg situation here. But that's just another way of saying that if things started to improve, we'd rapidly get into a virtuous circle: better reputations leading to more committed people in the schools, leading to better reputations... It cuts both ways. Are there ways for the bishops to start the process off? Of course there are.

You don't need an instant army of Catholic pupils and teachers to do a few basic things which, frankly, are a necessary condition for the emergence of such an army.

1. Insist on Catholic markers. Crucifixes in classrooms, images in the entrance  hall, mid-week Masses for feast days, visits by the parish priest and bishop. Can this be forced down the throats of an unwilling staff? Yes, it can. The Bishops send inspectors round: they should do their job.

2. Get rid of Connexions and sex education. Yes, it may sound radical but Church teaching should be followed, at least in a negative way. It is hard to find inspiring Catholic teachers to explain the teaching of the Church in an attractive way, but our bishops have an obligation to stop abortion being promoted actively in the school. And they should do it NOW.

3. Insist on proper catechism in preparation for First Holy Communion, Confirmation, and Marriage. Parents want their children to have the sacraments, this is the Church's chance to insist they know something about the Faith. Teach them the Penny Catechism. Ok, that's not the only option. But they should know the basics. If they have to know these things, they will help in establishing decent catechesis in parishes and schools. It is for the Bishop to ensure children are catechised for Confirmation: they should do so. And insist that Parish Priests do the same for FHC and Marriage.

I don't like the idea of Catholic schools being handed over to the state. This is a betrayal of the people who paid for them. It is also a betrayal of the children, of whatever faith, are in the school, who are likely to find the moral environment deteriorate significantly after such a hand-over. Even a weak faith, in this context, is better than none. Bishops are responsible for all the souls in their dioceses: they will be asked, on judgement day, what they did to save each and every one. 'I fed them to the lions' won't be a good answer.

Busy busy busy

I was singing last evening for SS Peter & Paul in Oxford (SS Gregory & Augustine's), and now I'm on (the floor in the corridor) of a train going to Leeds, for the 3pm Mass which will be celebrated by Bishop Rifan. Then I'm off to Holywell for the LMS annual Pilgrimage; Bishop Rifan will be celebrating that Mass at 2.30pm, followed by devotions at the well.

Today week we have the last of our Bishop Rifan Masses: our AGM in St George's Cathedral, Southwark, at 11 am. Bishop Rifan is also visiting Scotland, so there no excuse not to catch up with him somewhere. All the details are on

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Reactions to the LMS Conference

Updated! (See comments.) IMG_9695
A number of bloggers were at the LMS Conference - some were giving talks! - and I thought I'd round up some of the blog posts which have appeared about it.

'Ches' of the Sensible Bond has an interesting post, in which he agrees with some of the speakers and not (entirely) with John Rao's talk.

'Super Trad Mum' of EthelredasPlace was live blogging on the day: she has posts about Dr Rao, Stuart McCullough, Fr Zuhlsdorf, Fr Finigan and the Rev John Hunwicke. Phew!

Fr Tim Finigan also has a post about the conference,

as does LMS Arundel & Brighton.

And most importantly of all, Mulier Fortis!

The LMS Press Release about it has found its way onto a number of blogs too, of course. I'd be interested to hear of any other reports about the conference.

The conference really exceeded my expectations, even from the beginning of the organisation. For, first of all, all the speakers I asked to speak agreed to come. That is, all the speakers we had were our first choice - we didn't need to fill in from a 'B' list. Luck, of course, played a part: none of them were obliged to be elsewhere. But it is also a testament to the Latin Mass Society's role in the traditional movement. We are natural people to be organising a conference like this, and it is natural that speakers like these should be happy to address us.

The talks, also, were all very well judged, for the audience, that's thanks to the speakers of course; even the order of speakers, which owed a lot to chance, turned out very well.

I don't know that we'll be able to provide another line-up quite like this one. But we'll certainly do another conference. I think next year would be too soon, but I'm aiming for 2014.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Evangelium Conference, August 3-5

Yep that's me on the right of the photograph - I was there last year, and for some reason I've been allowed back! The Evangelium Conference is great fun. You're not obliged to listen to me, there are lots of great speakers; it is interesting to see the range of people, including Fr Tim Finigan, who spoke at our own conference recently. The Traditional Mass is available, and the Latin Mass Society will have its own little stall. This is a great event, I recommend it.
Explaining the Catholic Faith in the Modern World


Young adults (18 to 35) are invited to attend the fourth Evangelium weekend residential conference on the theme of explaining the Catholic faith in the modern world:
  • dynamic talks by excellent speakers
  • mix with other young people who share your faith
  • discuss and talk informally with our speakers
  • daily Mass and eucharistic adoration
  • opportunities for confession
  • relax in the beautiful grounds
  • opportunities for sport and evening entertainment
The Conference is organised by the Evangelium Project and sponsored by the Catholic Truth Society. Confirmed speakers for 2012 include:
  • Neil Addison – Barrister and author on Religion and Law
  • Fr Jerome Bertam – Oratorian and writer
  • Joanna Bogle – Broadcaster, writer, author of Feasts and Seasons
  • Sr Hyacinthe Defos du Rau OP – Sister of St Dominic's Priory in the New Forest
  • Fr Tim Finigan – Internationally renowned Catholic speaker, columnist and blogger
  • Dr William Newton – Professor at the International Theological Institute in Austria
  • Dr Joseph Shaw – Philosopher, University of Oxford
  • Hellena Taylor – LAMDA trained Shakespearian actor and RCIA catechist
  • Fr Ed Tomlinson – Priest of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham
  • Hannah Vaughan-Spruce – Director of Catechesis, Holy Ghost Catholic Church Balham
  • Fr Marcus Holden – Parish Priest of the National Shrine of St Augustine
  • Fr Andrew Pinsent – Former Particle Physicist at CERN and Theologian, University of Oxford
The Reading Oratory School was founded under the supervision of John Henry, later Cardinal Newman, in 1859, and is today one of the top independent boys' schools in the United Kingdom.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Vocations retreat with the FSSP, July 27-29

Vocation discernment weekend: 27-29 July 2012 in Reading:

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

Starts on Friday 27th July 2012 at 6pm (arrivals from 5pm) – ends on Sunday 29th July 2012 at 3pm.

Led by Fr Armand de Malleray, FSSP, assisted by Fr Matthew Goddard, FSSP.

Location: St John Fisher House, 17 Eastern Avenue, Reading, RG1 5RU, England (link to map).

Programme: Spiritual conferences, socials, Holy Mass each of the three days (Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite), silent prayer, and optional 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 for the whole weekend, 2 days + 2 nights, full board: no set price for students or unwaged – any donation welcome; others: £50 suggested.

Contact: Tel: 0118 966 5284; Email:; website:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Position Paper on Prefaces

I have just published the FIUV Position Paper on Prefaces on Rorate Caeli - go over there to read it.

The Preface is the bit in the Mass between the Offertory and the Sanctus and Canon. At a Sung Mass in the EF, the priest says the Offertory prayers silently while the choir sings the Offertory antiphon (and sometimes a motet), then he starts singing himself, a short dialogue with the choir followed by the Preface, which itself leads into the Sanctus. If the priest is wearing green, it'll be the Preface of Trinity Sunday; most other days it'll be the Common Preface, but Lent and Easter have their own Preface, as do certain feasts: feasts of the Apostles, for example.

The paper addresses the question of whether new Prefaces should be inserted into the 1962 Missal. The paper gives a thorough, though succinct, account of the history of the question, to conclude that a small number of Prefaces is characteristic of the ancient Latin liturgical tradition specific to the Roman Rite. The argument was used, vis-a-vis the 1970 Missal, that there used to be lots of Prefaces, and that the reformed Missal represented a restoration of this, but the argument lacks force for three reasons.

Archbishop Vintimille of Paris, of the Missal of 1738
1. The era of large numbers of Prefaces pre-dates the 11th Century. From then on a very limited number - ten or twelve - became standard. Bugnini and his collaborators were quite happy to argue that the 11th Century was 'late' and everything which happened then or since should be regarded as ephemeral, but this is clearly absurd. The small number of Prefaces represents the continuous custom of nine centuries.

2. There is no evidence that the Roman Rite, as opposed to Gallican, Mozarabic and other Rites, had ever contained a large number of Prefaces. The books containing these great collections are not Roman liturgical books; mostly they are collections, typical of no particular place or time, but gathering texts from all over Europe. What limited evidence does exist of the pre-11th Century Roman Rite, in fact, suggests the opposite: the Hadrianum, an important 8th Century Roman Missal, contains only 14 Prefaces.

Benedict XV: added 2 Prefaces in 1919
3. When Bugnini set about 'restoring' a multiplicity of Prefaces, for the most part he did not actually use the ones found in the ancient collections. Like the 'Anaphora of Hippolitus', his Prefaces are in some cases inspired by ancient texts, but they are edited to make them conform to the liturgical spirit - both favoured theological ideas and format - of the reformed liturgy. Many come not from ancient Latin sources, but Greek ones. Others are entirely new compositions. Whatever we may say about them, in no sense do they represent a restoration of the practice of the ancient Roman Rite.

The 'neo-Gallican' Missals produced in the 18th Century tried to resurrect a larger number of Prefaces, although many of these seem to have been new compositions. A selection of these continued in use in France and Belgium, and specific places like Lyons, which had its own Use, right up to 1962, and form part of the Extraordinay Form for those places today. Even at its most expansive, however (19, in the 1738 'Vintimille' Missal; a few more seem to have been added in the following decades), this tradition never rivalled the number found in the 1970 Missal: 82.

Pius XI: introduced 2 new Prefaces in 1920s
A strange thing happened between 1919 and 1928: under Pope Benedict XV and Pius XI, four more Prefaces were introduced, increasing the total number from 12 to 16. These served to give greater emphasis to certain devotions these popes wanted to promote: for the Dead and St Joseph (1919), and Christ the King and the Sacred Heart  (1925 and 1928). As suddenly as it had started, this production of new Prefaces stopped. It is an entirely exceptional moment in the history of the Roman Rite. The promulgation even of important new feasts has never, before or since, at least since the 11th Century, been accompanied by the composition of new Prefaces. If it had, we'd have a lot more in 1962 Missal than we do.

The Position Paper ends with a plea for a period of liturgical stability. Traditionalists don't deny the reality of organic development in the liturgy: the 1962 Missal is the result of such development. Indeed it is the Bugnini-like denial of the validity of development for the last nine centuries which is the real enemy of organic development. But this moment in the history of the liturgy is not ripe for the introduction of new Prefaces. We have just come through an exceptional period of liturgical turmoil. The Extraordinary Form is spreading rapidly among priests and laity, who need time to absorb it as it is. In the words of Sacrosanctum Concilium, does 'the good of the Church genuinely and certainly require' new Prefaces in the EF? It seems to us that it does not.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

LMS AGM: lunch

Bishop Fernando Rifan will be celebrating Pontifical High Mass for the Latin Mass Society's AGM at 

View Larger Map

St George’s Cathedral, Southwark on 

Saturday, 7 July at 11am. 
2011 07 02_0351

This will be followed by a buffet lunch in Amigo Hall prior to the AGM at 2pm, where Bishop Rifan will address us. For the first time, lunch is open to all LMS members attending. There will be a charge of £5 on the door to cover catering costs.

Would those wishing to have lunch please let us know in advance so that we had an idea of numbers to give to the caterers? Email

The AGMs of small charities don't have a reputation for being the most exciting occasions, but the Latin Mass society is different. We will be having Pontifical Solemn Mass (open to the general public of course), with first-class polyphony and chant provided by Nick Gale and the Cathedral choir. And this is a chance for ordinary members of the LMS to meet Committee members, the Chairman and Officers, and indeed Bishop Rifan. St George's Cathedral is a stunning piece of neo-Gothic, designed by Augustus Pugin, and well worth a visit. And if the phrase 'south of the river' fills you with gloom, then look at the map: it is only a stones' throw from Westminster Cathedral, and five minutes from Lambeth North tube station.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Aquinas' Commentaries on St Paul to be published

I was delighted to read this, I've been hoping these would appear in translation for a long time. There are some very important passages in these commentaries which are widely quoted, but of course we all need to read them in context. And we can't all read the Latin without a little help! Facing translation? that'll do nicely!

St Thomas Aquinas was a theologian as well as a philosopher, indeed a theologian first and foremost, despite being one of the greatest philosophers of all time. These commentaries on some of the most important and difficult passages of Scripture are of perennial significance for Catholic theology, as well as shedding light on many philosophical issues.


The Aquinas Institute for the Study of Sacred Doctrine is pleased to announce the publication this summer of St. Thomas's Commentaries on the Letters of Paul.  This publication brings all the great Pauline commentaries together for the first time in a uniform hardcover bilingual edition, with Latin and English in parallel columns.  Visit our website to view PDFs of sample pages and to read more about this and other projects under way.

Between now and July 16, The Aquinas Institute is offering you an opportunity to buy, at a discount rate, the Commentary on Romans, or the entire set of Pauline commentaries, or even to reserve your copy of other works nearing completion: the Summa theologiae, the Commentary on John, and the Commentary on Matthew.  Click here for more information.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Learn Latin at the LMS Latin Course, 23-29 July

Everyone taught Latin at school can appreciate the genius of this Monty Python scene. In my own case I certainly wish the effort and pain involved in attempting to learn Latin as child, with some very dull teachers, had resulted in some more tangible ability at the end of the process. So calling everyone with rusty, or no Latin: come to the LMS intensive residential course, and do something about it!

I won't say that the LMS Latin Course will obviate the effort needed to recall the correct endings, but it will be leavened with talks about Latin in the liturgy, Gregorian Chant, and Latin in the development of important ideas like free will and faith and reason.

Rev John Hunwicke at the LMS' conference
And we have two inspiring Latin tutors, the soon to be ordained John Hunwicke, a brilliant Latinist who taught in Lancing College for 30 years, and Br Richard Bailey, an Oxford classicist who is a novice at the Holy Name, Manchester.

Students will be divided in beginners and those with some previous experience of Latin, so everyone will derive the maximum benefit from the course.

It will take place alongside the St Catherine's Trust Summer School, so there will be a Traditional Sung Mass every day, plus sung Compline, plus Vespers and Benediction once or twice during the week, all in the centre's Pugin chapel.

It runs Monday to Sunday, 23rd-29th July, at the Franciscan Retreat Cenrtre at Pantasaph in North Wales. Accomodation is in St Winifrede's Guest House in Holywell nearby. It is surprisingly well connected by road, and you can get to Flint just down the road by rail. It is HALF PRICE for priests, seminarians, and those about to enter seminary. The discount for LMS members is actually bigger than the annual membership fee. But everyone is welcome!

Our first such Latin course, in 2010, was a huge success; last year's didn't happen because of the sudden closure of Ushaw College, which was supposed to be the venue. So don't be shy, sign up today!
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dr John Roa launches his new book in London

UPDATE: the book failed to arrive in time for the LMS Conference, annoyingly, but has got here now. We have a limited number of copies which will be with you a lot more quickly than if you buy them from the Remnant directly:

buy it here.

The best introduction to Dr Rao's ideas is probably his conference talk; you can listen to that here.


Dr John Rao is the inaugral speaker at the LMS One-Day conference on 9th June. There will be a second chance to hear Dr Rao speak, the evening before, with the Inn Catholics.

At the Conference it will be possible to buy copies of his new book, 'Black Legends and the Light of the World: The War of Words with the Incarnate Word'. This will be the subject of his talk to the Inn Catholics, at the 
Morpeth Arms, 
58 Millbank, 
London SW1P 4RP

on Friday the 8th of June at 7.30PM
(food is available at the pub)

Professor John C. Rao, D. Phil. Oxon., is Associate Professor of History at St. John's University and a Director of the Roman Forum as well as the Dietrich von Hildebrand Institute. A well-regarded speaker, as well as writer, Dr. Rao presents a lecture series on Church history in New York and as part of the Roman Forum's Summer Symposium, Lake Garda in Italy.

'Black Legends and the Light of the World' is a thematic discussion of the whole of Church History. It has three purposes. The first is to explain the successes of Catholic Christendom as the product of faithfulness to the fullness of the message of the Incarnate Word regarding the individual and society. A second is to connect its failures to an all too frequent clerical and lay Catholic willingness to believe and follow the guidance of rhetorical “word merchants” who either falsely blacken Christ’s teaching or emasculate it, rendering it incapable of changing fallen men and nature. The third is to demonstrate the essential unity of such destructive rhetorical game playing in its perennial war of words against the substantive natural and supernatural correction and transformation of man and society through the Word—from the age of the Sophists to that of Global Pluralism.

The Remnant has posted an interview with the author regarding this work

Pilgrimage to Ramsgate this Friday

The wonderful Pugin church at Ramsgate has just been made a shrine to St Augustine, and the Sodality of the Five Wounds, based in south London, is undertaking a pilgrimage there, with a Traditional Sung Mass at 12 noon. All are welcome.

See their blog for more details.

Why should ladies wear mantillas in church?

Mary O'Regan of The Path Less Taken has posted about an amusing video from a young trad in America about different ways of wearing a mantilla. It is charming, but the explanation, in the middle of the video, of the meaning of the practice is a bit odd. It is odd because it makes no reference to the authoritative discussion in Scripture (St Paul), and its relationship with the Scriptural rationale is unclear.

This young lady's explanation is two-fold: it stops others in the congregation being distracted by female hair, and it is like the veil worn by a bride, and so suggests the union of the soul with Christ. The first part might have some application. The second doesn't make sense on its own, for it invites two questions which aren't answered: why do brides wear veils? and why don't men?

Family Retreat at the Oratory School 2012
St Paul has this to say, in 1 Corinthians, 11.3ff

But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. [4] Every man praying or prophesying with his head covered, disgraceth his head. [5] But every woman praying or prophesying with her head not covered, disgraceth her head: for it is all one as if she were shaven. [6] For if a woman be not covered, let her be shorn. But if it be a shame to a woman to be shorn or made bald, let her cover her head. [7] The man indeed ought not to cover his head, because he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of the man. [8] For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man. [9] For the man was not created for the woman, but the woman for the man. [10] Therefore ought the woman to have a power over her head, because of the angels. [11] But yet neither is the man without the woman, nor the woman without the man, in the Lord. [12] For as the woman is of the man, so also is the man by the woman: but all things of God. [13] You yourselves judge: doth it become a woman, to pray unto God uncovered? [14] Doth not even nature itself teach you, that a man indeed, if he nourish his hair, it is a shame unto him? [15] But if a woman nourish her hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering. 

The passages of Scripture which we find embarrassing are among the most important, because they are saying something we have not integrated into our lives. If we are embarrassed by this, then we need to examine ourselves.

What St Paul is saying is that the difference between the sexes symbolises the relationship between God and Creation. It goes naturally with Ephesians 5.22ff.

[22] Let women be subject to their husbands, as to the Lord: [23] Because the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church. He is the saviour of his body. [24] Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so also let the wives be to their husbands in all things. [25] Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church, and delivered himself up for it: 

The complementarity of the sexes, about which we hear so much in the context of Catholic opposition both to same-sex marriage and to the ordination of women, must have some determinate content. What exactly is this complementarity? How does it manifest itself? What is the difference between the sexes? This is St Paul's answer: as God has authority over creation, and as Christ sacrificed himself for mankind, so the husband has authority over the family, and must sacrifice himself, at need, for it. As the Church is the body of Christ, which He loves as Himself, so the feminine principle, represented by the wife, represents the body, or the heart, of the family, which the husband must view as his own body.

This is related of course to the issue of female servers at Mass: the Position Paper on that has a lot more to say. It should not be seen as a negative thing for women: women can more perfectly represent the spousal character of the Church, which is why Our Lady is a symbol of the Church, and why only women can be consecrated virgins. (Thus the parallel with bridal apparel appealed to in the video does, in fact, make sense.) Again, the bride is the recipient of the wonderful blessings given in the traditional Nuptial Mass, because she represents the family: in blessing her, the priest is blessing the family as a whole. This role of representing the family, the Church, society, and creation, is at the heart of the notion of Christian chivalry, the honouring and protection of women as a way of honouring and protecting the world. It is because men can more perfectly represent Christ, on the other hand, that we have a male clergy.

It is interesting to note that in the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church complementarity is not mentioned in the discussion of marriage, and a quotation from Ephesians on the subject of marriage cuts out what St Paul says about it (1616). It IS mentioned in the discussion of the Sixth Commandment (2333), and it is emphasised that homosexual relationships lack the complementarity that the Catechism recognises is an essential part of marital relationships (2357). It might appear that while the notion of complementarity is necessary in dealing with the challenge of homosexuality, it is still best to say as little as possible about it. To put it mildly, this does not put the Church in the best possible position to deal with the challenges of today. It is time to re-appropriate this essential teaching, and time that it be reflected publicly also, by ladies wearing mantillas in church. Veiled ladies and bare-headed men in church is an iconographic representation of the Church's teaching on the complementarity of the sexes; and boy, do we need that teaching today.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fr Z, Fr Tim, John Hunwicke at the LMS Conference

On the afternoon of the conference we had (by coincidence) our three clerical speakers.

Fr John Zhulsdorf, the well-known blogger, spoke first, and you can download his talk, 'Save the Liturgy, Save the World', here (MP3). He spoke with great humour and acuity on the transformative potential of the liturgy.

DSCN5907Fr Timothy Finigan's talk, 'Traditional Liturgy in the Modern Parish', is also available for download. He explained how he came came to start saying the Traditional Mass, how a band of extremists in his parish attempted to make trouble for him, but how this problem passed off and the traditional liturgy has proved a great enrichment for his parish. This extends to the way he himself says the New Mass, and attitudes and devotions in the parish as a whole.

DSCN5915The Rev John Hunwicke, who has just been ordained deacon, and is shortly to be ordained priest, for the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, spoke about Nathaniel Woodard, the founder of the school where he used to teach, Lancing, and one of his proteges who became a Catholic, and a priest, George Bampfield, and their attitude to the liturgy and eduction. By a quirk of providence I failed to capture his talk on my recorder; I think it may have run out of battery, or perhaps I just pressed the wrong button. So there is something for which you had to be at the conference!

It was a very interesting and highly entertaining talk. I was astonished at the devotion to Confessional by the Rev Woodard, the founder not only of Lancing but of a whole group of schools, for which he suffered much persecution, and which was a founding principle of his schools. Fr Bampfield himself founded schools, which unfortunately didn't survive long, but the description of his boys dressed up as Papal Zouaves and marching through the local town was, well, a striking one!

Lord Gill, LMS Patron, appointed most senior judge in Scotland

Brian, Lord Gill, who became a Patron of the Latin Mass Society earlier this year, has succeeded Lord Hamilton as Lord President of the Court of Session, the most senior judge in Scotland. The appointment was welcomed by Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, who praised Lord Gill's integrity and independence. The photograph show him with Cardinal O'Brien, who was giving him a papal knighthood.

Stuart McCullough at the LMS Conference

You now can listen to Stuart McCullough's talk, 'Spiritual Warfare and the End of Abortion' here (MP3).

Stuart McCullough is a blogger himself, with the Ecumenical Diablog; the Good Counsel Network, for whom he is a fundraiser and counselor, has another blog, Maria Stops Abortion.

It was Stuart's wife, Clare McCullough, who founded the Good Counsel Network in London in 1997, inspired by the work of the Chicago Women's Centre in the USA.

Stuart protested his lack of experience as a speaker, but his talk was both very interesting and moving. It describes the way the basic approach of the Good Counsel Network was developed, first in Hawaii and then elsewhere in the United States, and how it works in practice in England. He discusses the difficulties pro-life counselors and the women they talk to face, and the causes of abortion. Among other fascinating points, he said that the great majority of women they see, who are usually convinced that abortion is their only way out when they first arrive, are taking some kind of contraception. One woman who got pregnant was using no fewer than 3 forms of contraception simultaneously. All contraception has a failure rate, and in the context of hundreds of thousands of people using it hundreds of times, this translates into a very large number of 'unplanned pregnancies'. Offering young girls contraception with the suggestion that they can have problem-free sex with their boyfriends is a really, really, stupid idea. But that is exactly what our schools are doing.

IMG_9688 Another interesting point which struck me was that, while many fathers push their partners into abortion, the majority say 'I will support you whatever you do'. This sounds nice but in fact places the whole responsibility on the shoulders of the mother. If she has an abortion, and regrets it, that is her fault: she chose that. If she keeps the baby, and needs help, that's her problem too: she could always have chosen an abortion, the father never asked her not to.

The theme he kept returning to, however, was the importance of prayer, the Mass, which is offered in the private chapel near their counseling room, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The Good Counsel Network puts out urgent prayer requests on occasion by text message; you can also sign up to say five decades of the Rosary once a month for their intentions, so they have as many as possible every single day. I am on that rota myself.

Stuart's talk was truly inspiring, and he received prolonged applause. We were very privileged to hear from someone doing such wonderful work at the front line of the pro-life cause, and I would like to reiterate his appeal for support for the Good Counsel Network: money, by all means, but above all prayer.  Go to the Good Counsel Network website to see what you can do.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Dr John Rao at the LMS Conference

You can download Dr John Rao's talk, 'From Darkness into Light', here (MP3).

Dr John Rao teaches at St John's University in New York; he has a lot of fascinating written material on his website 'For the Whole Christ', and you can download a large number of his talks (for a small fee) from Keep the Faith.

He is the Chairman of the Roman Forum, which among other things organises the Lake Gardone Conference in Italy. The one this year is taking place 2-14 July, and it s a wonderful opportunity to hear excellent speakers over the course of twelve days in a lovely setting, with the Traditional Mass laid on. Full details here.

LMS Conference 2012: report

The best photographs were taken by others, since I was on the platform with the speakers, but this is a nice one on the conference-goers, laughing at one of Fr Zuhlsdorf's jokes.

Numbers were excellent, and the venue well-judged. We filled the hall, we brought in more seats for late-comers, in the end about a dozen were sitting in the gallery. The Salvation Army looked after us, though I was amused to hear that they never serve alcohol; we supplied that deficiency by going en-masse to a nearby pub afterwards, the Old Explorer.
The speakers were brilliant, our panel discussion at the end was fun, and I'll be posting up the MP3s of their talks individually as I edit them. The other fun feature of the conference was the stalls, we had stalls manned by the FSSP, the ICKSP, the Sons of the Holy Redeemer, the Good Counsel Network, a bookshop, and of course the Latin Mass Society. We had information about the Guild of St Clare, the St Catherine's Trust Summer School, the LMS Latin Course, and copies of the FIUV Position Papers.

Among those attending the conference we had two LMS Regional Chaplains, Fr Thomas Crean OP (the Midlands) and Mgr Gordon Read (the South East), and a host of bloggers - as well as the speakers, John Hunwicke,  Fr Tim and Fr Z, the Senible Bond, Mulier Fortis and the Reluctant Sinner were there, and their blogs are worth checking for their reaction to the conference; so was LMS Arundel and Brighton, who clearly enjoyed herself!

The conference was by every measure a huge success. This was the first time we've done this, and certainly won't be our last. I don't think we should do it every year, but we should establish some level of frequency which makes sense for our supporters and the kind of speakers who are available, and who we want to hear from. I must say that organising a conference is far easier than organising a big liturgical occasion: with a fairly automated process for ticket sales, all there is to do is book the venue and the speakers, and just turn up. Compared to dealing with sacred ministers, servers, singers, schola practices and liturgical run-throughs, getting young servers and singers who don't have cars to a church and making sure there are the necessary vestments and liturgical items, conferences are very simple indeed.

The LMS' core business is a difficult and labour-intensive one. I'm delighted that this conference has contributed to public awareness and understanding of this work and its importance.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Rev John Hunwicke at the LMS Conference

Tomorrow, Saturday 9th June, in the Regent Hall on Oxford Street, John Hunwicke of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, just ordained Deacon, soon to be ordained priest, will be a speaker.

Come along! You can buy tickets on the door; full information here.

Sons of the Holy Redeemer at the LMS Conference

Also known as the Transalpine Redemptorists, the community on Papa Stronsay in the Orkneys.

Tomorrow, Saturday 9th June, in the Regent Hall on Oxford Street, several members of the community will be manning a stall with information and able to talk to participants: come along! You can buy tickets on the door; full information here.

Good Counsel Network: expanding demand, limited resources

From the Maria Stops Abortion blog:

As you may well know, over the last 15 years the Good Counsel Network has counselled many thousands of abortion bound Women. In 2011 we more than doubled the number of women that we saw compared to the previous year and this year we look set to increase the number yet again, although we have less counselling staff and volunteers than in previous years. All of this is quite stressful for all of our staff and volunteers so we would ask you at this time to please keep us all in your prayers.

Go to Maria Stops Abortion to read more.

Come and hear Stuart McCullough of the Good Counsel Network and the other speakers TOMORROW at the LMS One-Day Conference in Oxford Street, London, come and buy you ticket on the door or pay on-line and collect your ticket when you arrive.

Bugnini on 'the anaphora of Hippolytus'

I recently acquired a copy of Archbishop Annibale Bugnini's 'The Reform of the Liturgy'. If you want a 'horse's mouth' account of what they did, when, and why, in the liturgical reform, this is the book for you. Unfortunately, I find it so intensely depressing I can only read a few pages at a time... But it makes a reasonable reference book.

I was brought up on the idea that Eucharistic Prayer II of the New Rite of Mass (Novus Ordo: Ordinary Form) was this frightfully ancient and authentic text, 'the anaphora of Hippolytus'. It was a shock to read, in Michael Davies' 'Pope Paul's New Mass', that it is in fact a new composition, incorporating bits from Hippolytus, not in their original order, and actually rather a lot from the Roman Canon. But who'd believe him? This is what Bugnini says about it, on p456.

'The aim was to produce an anaphora that is short and very simple in its ideas. The anaphora of Hippolytus was therefore taken as a model. But, although many thoughts and expressions are derived from Hippolytus, Eucharistic Prayer II is not, as it were, a new edition of his prayer. It was not possible to retain the structure of his anaphora because it does not have a Sanctus or a consecratory epiclesis before the account of institution or a commemoration of the saints or intercessions. All these developed after Hippolytus and could not now be omitted in a Roman anaphora. In addition, various ideas and expressions in the anaphora of Hippolytus are archaic or difficult to understand and could not be taken over into a contemporary anaphora.'

So the 'Anaphora of Hippolytus' it ain't.

This is a theme running through the reform: things popularly promoted as being restorations of ancient prayers and practices are, in fact, so heavily adapted as to be unrecognisable, as well as being put into a completely different context, alongside things which have grown up over the centuries, and things which were entirely new. Mass 'facing the people' and Communion in the hand are obvious examples. In the case of the anaphora of Hippolytus, Michael Davies makes another point: it is not found in a liturgical book, and there is no way of knowing if it had ever actually been used liturgically. A funny kind of restoration this turns out to be.

Interestingly, St Hippolytus seems to have suffered a fate strikingly similar to that of his famous anaphora.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Douai Weekend Retreat for Young People

Young Catholic Adults Retreat at Douai Abbey 2012

During the weekend of 14-16th September, YCA (part of Juventutem) will be running a weekend with the assistance of the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge:-

• Sung/High Masses
• Marian Procession
• Gregorian Chant Workshops
• Rosaries
• Confessions
• Talks
• Socials

This is a great opportunity to deepen your faith, grow in holiness and meet fellow young Catholics.

How to Book for the retreat

Prices range from £ 5-51. To reserve your place FOR THE WEEKEND (no deposit needed if you are coming for the day on Saturday), please contact the Guestmaster direct and send a 20 pound deposit (NON RETURNABLE) to Brother Christopher Greener OSB, Douai Abbey, Upper Woolhampton,
Young Catholic Adults Douai Marian procession 2011Reading, Berks. RG7 5TQ (please make any cheques payable to Douai Abbey). Please mention how long you wish to stay and any special diet.

If you are a student or on a low income please contact Br. Greener and pay what you can. For general enquiries please ring Damian Barker on 07908105787. For more details, please see or email, or ring 07908105787.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Another tendentious translation: Veterum Sapientia

Bl. Pope John XXIII
The more I use the Vatican website, the more I am aware of its limitations. It has, of course, a vast number of documents, in a range of languages, but the inconsistencies and omissions are frustrating. And then, perhaps it's just paranoia, but I begin to wonder if some of these omissions are deliberate. At least, that there is an attitude among some people working on these things that certain documents, which for example promote the use of Latin, needn't be translated, or that certain key passages needn't be translated accurately.

I've already noted that the English version of the Code of Canon Law softens the Latin requirement on seminarians: instead of being 'very skilled in' ('bene calleant'), they are only required to 'understand it well'. 'Calleo' does not, and cannot, mean 'understand'.

In the same post I also noted that Pope Paul VI's Apostolic Letter 'Sacrificium Laudis' is on the website only in Latin, and, er, Italian. This heartfelt plea for the retention of Latin in the Office, addressed to the Superiors of Religious Orders, was completely ignored, with exactly the disastrous results for vocations which the document itself predicted. You'll have to go the LMS website to read it.

Astonishingly, the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum still has no official English translation; if you look at the list of documents, it is available only in Latin and, er, Hungarian. The only semi-official English version is the one produced by the Vatican Information Service, whose deficiencies (some now corrected) were the subject of much discussion at the time of its promulgation.

Perhaps the most bizarre thing of all is that Bl. Pope John XXIII's Apostolic Constitution 'Veterum Sapientia' of 1962, promoting the use of Latin, is not available in English, but only Latin and, er, Spanish. Among different categories of papal document (Motu Proprios, Instructions, Apostolic Letters, Encyclical Letters, Apostolic Constitutions) this type has the highest solemnity and importance. As well (in this case) as having a teaching function addressed to the whole world, it has a legislative function. In the case, it contains specific, numbered commands to bishops and others. A recent Apostolic Constitution we are all familiar with is 'Anglicanorum Coetibus'.

It is not as though English translations are not available. One was produced shortly after its promulgation by the CTS, by a certain Rev H.E. Winstone, M.A., and as far as I can see this is the one on the  Adoremus and Papal Encylcicals Online websites. At least I think so, because this version has the same howlingly awful translation of a key passage (I haven't compared the whole thing line by line).

The Latin:

Suae enim sponte naturae lingua Latina ad provehendum apud populos quoslibet omnem humanitatis cultum est peraccommodata: cum invidiam non commoveat, singulis gentibus se aequabilem praestet, nullius partibus faveat, omnibus postremo sit grata et amica

The Winstone translation gives this as:

Of its very nature Latin is most suitable for promoting every form of culture among peoples. It gives rise to no jealousies. It does not favor any one nation, but presents itself with equal impartiality to all and is equally acceptable to all.

Really? Does 'grata et amica' mean 'acceptable'? You don't have to be an Olympic Latinist to see something odd is going on here. Furthermore, where does 'equally' come from? It seems to have been left over from 'aequabilem praestet' two clauses earlier. ('Postremo' just means 'finally', 'to sum up'.)

Another website presents a much better translation (though wrongly saying that the document is an encyclical).

Of its very nature Latin is most suitable for promoting every culture among diverse peoples, for it gives no rise to jealousies, it does not favor any one group, but presents itself with equal impartiality, gracious and friendly to all. 

Why was Winstone so reluctant to translate what Bl Pope John actually said? The importance of Latin does not boil down to some tedious practical consideration, that it is 'equally acceptable to all', like, I suppose, Esperanto (one might think: and also equally unacceptable!) No: Latin is gracious and friendly, it is part of our universal Catholic culture, it is its beauty, majesty, and sacred dignity which raises it above other languages for our attention.

Come to the LMS Latin course to experience it for yourself! July 23-29.

Monday, June 04, 2012

LMS Conference

Even newer update: Fr Z has revealed the title of his talk too! Don't miss out on this great conference on Saturday:  

 Book online here.

or get your ticket on the door.
Update: now we are a month to go, I can reveal the timings and titles of the talks.

11am Dr John Rao: “From Darkness Into Light:
(Contemporary Barbarism, the Traditional Liturgy, and the Construction of a Civilized Society)”

12 noon Stuart McCullough:
Spiritual Warfare and the End of Abortion

2pm Fr John Zuhlsdorf: "Save the Liturgy, Save the World!"

3pm Fr Timothy Finigan
Traditional Liturgy in the Modern Parish”

4pm John Hunwicke: “Education without Religion a pure Evil?

5pm Panel discussion

The Regent Hall, Oxford Street
9th June 2012


Dr John Rao (of The Roman Forum)
 Website: For the Whole Christ
Fr John Zuhlsdorf

Fr John Zuhlsdorf 
  Blog: What Does the Prayer Really Say?

Fr Tim Finigan
Fr Tim
Fr Tim Finigan
 Blog: The Hermeneutic of Continuity

The Rev. John Hunwicke (of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham)

 Blog: Liturgical Notes
John Hunwicke

Stuart McCullough (of the Good Counsel Network)

 Blog: Ecumenical Diablog

Doors will open at 10am; first talk at 11am. The day will conclude with the Angelus at 6pm.

There will be a break for lunch; participants can get lunch in the Regent Hall, or go elswhere.

Fee £20; £15 for LMS members.

Book online here.