Thursday, August 30, 2012

Book launch in London for 'Ten Weeks in Africa'

My brother's novel about aid and corruption in Africa.

Oxford Pro-Life Witness

Saturday, 25th August

3pm- 4pm

Please come and pray for all unborn babies, their families and those involved in the crime of abortion. Holy Rosary led by Fr John Saward.

We meet at the Church of St Anthony of Padua, Headley Way, Oxford.

Witness is at the entrance of the JOHN RADCLIFFE Hospital , Headley Way.

Refreshments available afterwards in the Church hall.

Information, call, Amanda Lewin 01869 600838

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pilgrimage to Our Lady of the Taper, Cardigan

2009 08 15_4281_edited-1
This Sunday is the Latin Mass Society's annual Pilgrimage to Our Lady of the Taper, Cardigan, West Wales, the Welsh National Shrine of Our Lady.

The pilgrimage begins at 2pm with Devotions, followed by Confessions at 2.30pm and then Sung Mass at 3pm, followed by Benediction. Phone LMS Local Representative Luigi Dimaio on 07802 792981 for more details.

I took these photos when I was able to go myself a couple of years ago. It is a modern church but a revival of a very important medieval shrine, and well worth a visit. The Holy Father blessed the shrine image on his visit to England.

 2009 08 15_4261_edited-1

Map: Our Lady of Taper, North Road, Cardigan SA43 1LT

View Larger Map

Walsingam: the photos are uploading!

With apologies to Fr Bede Rowe, our blogging chaplain, my own photos of the pilgrimage are uploading. You can see the full set here.
Mass in Ely parish church.
We had a rather interesting return journey as our car broke down in the ford next to the Slipper Chapel. So much for Google maps. There is a sign in the Shrine office warning people not to follow sat nav to the shrine, but by the time you get there it may be too late...
Fr Bede blessing the pilgrims
I'm pleased that the Blogpress ap worked en route, though the quality of the pictures is terrible. I've got some better ones uploading. In fact, with my new camera they were so big that I've had to compress them to get them onto Flickr in less than half an hour.
Bishop Davies processing in to the Reconciliation Chapel at Walsingham, after Fr Mark Withoos, and in front of the celebrant, Canon Meney, the deacon, Fr Rowe, and subdeacon, Fr John Cahill.
Fr Bede has his own series of short posts on the progress of the pilgrimage here.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Walsingham Postscript

After our big Solemn Mass, and walk from the Slipper Chapel to the site of the Holy House, many of us spent the night in the area. We arranged to have a Missa Cantata in the Slipper Chapel today, Monday, at 10am; it was said by Fr John Cahill and accompanied by the pilgrimage schola. It was lovely to have the Traditional Mass in this wonderful little chapel, where the shrine image is.

Youth 2000 are at Walsingham on this same weeekend; I met a number of them who I knew. Quite what happened to this, one of their portable loos, I do not know. But it looks pretty drastic.

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Walsingham Day 3: Arrival

There was no signal at the shrine, but for the record we got there safely! Bishop Davis of Shrewsbury preached at our Solemn Mass, which was celebrated by Canon Meney ICKSP of New Brighton.

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Final stop to Walsingham

More rain!

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Walsingham: Off on final day

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Walsingham Day 2: Mass at Oxburgh Hall

We had dinner in a school last night, and set off early to get to Oxburgh Hall before breakfast.

We had Sung Mass in the private chapel, celebrated by Fr Bede Rowe.

Then we had breakfast in Oxburgh's Private Garden, thanks to the Bedingfeld's great hospitality.
We're off again now, heading for Harpley village.
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Friday, August 24, 2012

ICKSP buys church in Limerick

See here.

The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest has bought a historic church in Limeric, Ireland, which had been sold to developers.

This is a hugely important devolopment for the Institute and for the Traditional Mass in Ireland. Well done to the Institute and may this apostolate flourish!

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Walsingham Day 1: lunch

Another stop, another pub. It might seem like a bit of a pub-crawl, but along the Great Ouse there are lots of pubs and not much else. They are good places to stop.

I've been told by our catering team that, including clergy, volunteers and assorted children, they will be feeding 70 people tomorrow, when Canon Meney is joining us.

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Walsingham Day 1 morning stop

We've walked much of the day by the Great Ouse.

The Swan, Littleport.

Fr Rowe gave us a very edifying spiritual talk.

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LMS Ely to Walsingham: We're off!

After sung Mass at 6.15 (yep), breakfast, the special pilgrims' blessing, and a visit to Ely Cathedral, we are on our way.

Fr John Cahill

Fr Bede Rowe
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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Catholic sunshine

We had a little celebration to mark the tenth anniversary of our wedding. We managed to include, in the course of the evening, Low Mass,
punting on the river, and
Scottish Country Dancing. Not to mention dinner.
It was a truly Catholic evening. Not in the sense of universalism, of course, it was rather culturally specific, but this was the instantiation of universal human instincts, conviviality, and innocent enjoyment. In other words, we had fun. As Belloc wrote
Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine
There is always laughter and good red wine.
At least I have always found it so.
Benedicamus Domino!
There is a Savoranola tendency among some of the saints which was hostile to dancing, but I don't think St Jean Vianney, for example, would have minded this. It was the Calvinists in Scotland who tried to do away with music and dancing, and the Catholics who preserved it. Scottish Country Dancing is not the spontaneous, if not drug-fuelled, emotional effusion of modern disco dancing; it is far more interesting and satisfying, because it involves form and structure, and even discipline. Nor does it display the coupely nature of modern ball-room dancing, which seems designed to separate couples from the rest of the world, unless they are showing off. It is a truly social activity. It is difficult to express it, you have to experience it. We had a couple of live musicians and a 'caller' for the less experienced, and it was a hoot.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fr Hugh Thwaites SJ: RIP

I hear that Fr Hugh Thwaites has just died. May he rest in peace.

Fr Thwaites has been a familiar figure on the traddy scene more or less forever. Despite his advanced age, by the time I met him, he had an extraordinary air of boyish innocence. Innocence, not ignorance. He was a prisoner of war with the Japanese during World War II, and his memoirs of this experience - 'War Memoirs of an amateur' (1997, a little booklet like a CTS book) - are fascinating. He worked on the Burma railway. He became a Catholic while in the army and on his return at the end of the war he went straight to the Jesuits to join them.

On the Japanese:

'First, ... I never hated them. The reason I never tried to learn their language or have anything to do with them was because I felt it was not right to do so. I obeyed them because I had to, but never wished to fraternise with them in any way. We were enemies as long as the war lasted, and that was how I wanted to behave.

'Since the war, and this is something I don't understand, I find I have a special affection for them. Maybe there's a psychological reason for this. St Patrick wanted to go back to the Ireland where he'd been a slave, to evangelise the Irish. ...And Fr Lionel Marsden, one of the great heroes of the prison camps, ...volunteered for the Japanese mission after the war. After my ordination, for many years I was a chaplain to overseas students, and I found that my heart always warmed especially to any Japanese I came across and I always tried to help them.'

On clearing dynamited rubble with wicker baskets:

'It was surprising how much work we did in this primitive way. I no longer marvel at the Pyramids. You could shift Table Mountain to Timbuctoo if you had enough slaves and enough whips.'

After the Japanese surrender:

'In that first letter home I told my parents I'd become a Catholic since leaving England, and that in spite of everything I'd had the happiest three and a half years of my life. I forget how I tried to explain it, but it would not have been more succinct than King David's 'Thou has put put into my heart more than when corn and wine abound' in Psalm 4. I expect my family thought I had gone off my head.'

There's some audio recordings by Fr Thwaites about it here (scroll down).

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Petitions to Our Lady of Walsingham

Anyone who would like us to carry a petition, in a physical form, from Ely to Walsingham on the LMS Walsingham Pilgrimage, please send it to 

Don't delay, we need it right away! It will be printed out and carried by the pilgrims for you, and presented to Our Lady when we arrive at the Slipper Chapel.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Corrigenda: shurely shome mishtake?

The other day I received in the post a set of Altar Cards from St Michael's Press (Farnborough Abbey). They aren't the first I have bought, but they are the first which don't have one very minor typographical error which has been associated with them for a long time. In the prayer of the Canon 'Suspice Santa Trinitas', in which the intercession of a number of saints is sought, St John the Baptist's name is introduced 'ut' instead of 'et'. 'Et' simply means 'and'; 'ut' means 'in order that' (to oversimplify), clearly this is just a 'fat finger' error which wasn't caught by a proof reader because it is a real Latin word, and looks very like the correct one.

It is annoying that this error is in Altar Cards all over the country, but I am delighted it has now been corrected at source. The old ones can easily be corrected by hand, or the card can be replaced; the cards are less than a tenner, it is the frames, when they are framed, which get expensive.

They are very attractive cards, and easy to read. Surprisingly mistakes on Altar Cards are very common; one can't assume that old ones will be completely correct, and there are Altar Cards floating around which attempt to incorporate the changes to the Missal made in 1964, which can be very confusing.

I've pointed out a good few mistakes in online materials in this blog. I've been working on liturgical texts recently and it is annoying to find that the old hand missals are full of mistakes and poor translations. It is very difficult to find people who can proof-read Latin and check translations, and it must have been difficult even in the middle of the 20th Century.

New ones are still problematic. For example, the Baronius Press hand missal's England and Wales Supplement gives the class of feasts, and the dioceses where they are said, which vary widely from the LMS Ordo's account of the same things. A word to the wise: we're right, they're wrong.

What is really annoying is when people refuse to change things when an error is pointed out. The great thing about websites is that they can be changed instantly, but webmasters are not always willing to do this. I had a bizarre correspondence with the man behind the 'Papal Encyclicals Online' website, Martin Beckman. His website has a lot of very useful material but contains an egregious mistake in the translation of Pope St Pius V's bull Quo Primum, which I have already mentioned here.

There is an important line in it about the conditions which need to be satisfied for a diocese or order to abandon its own ancient liturgical books to adopt the Roman Rite. It says:

iisdem magis placeret, de Episcopi, vel Praelati, Capitulique universi consensu

which means:

 subject to the consent of their bishop or prelate, *and* of their whole Chapter

The on-line version has 'or' instead of 'and'. I pointed out that the enclitic '-que' on the end of 'Capituli' means 'and', as any Latin dictionary will confirm, but Martin Beckman will neither believe me, look it up himself, or ask the opinion of a Latinist he respects, and make the necessary tiny but important change. He confessed his ignorance of Latin and that, apparently, is the end of the matter as far as he is concerned.

Is this ideological? Does he like the idea that Pius V placed a presumption in favour of abandoning local usages for the Roman Rite, when he actually did the opposite? Or is it just laziness? But ultimately what is the point of having a website of Catholic resources if you don't care if they contain important and misleading errors?

The promise of the web is that the better should drive out the worse. Why go to a bad website when you can go to a good one, only a click away, which will be increasingly recommended and thus increasingly high in the Google rankings? The promise fails, however, when you have a reinforcing feed-back loop of everyone copying each other, in this case the same old crappy translation, with no one paying any attention to the original because almost no one can read Latin.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Am I at liberty to cross this field?

This is a philosophical question. Legal rights don't always make it possible to do a thing. Non-legal obstacles can render them unworkable. This is a public right of way (near Enstone, Oxfordshire), but I decided against using it. The bull was standing right against the gate on the other side of the field where you were supposed to go out. He didn't look very cuddly.

Actually I feel sorry for landowners with public rights of way across their land; why shouldn't they put a bull in a field they own? In this case using an alternative route was not difficult. It is a bit different when you have a legal right to use something - say, a particularly form of the Roman Rite - but risk being trampled to death by your fellow clergy, or gored by a bishop, if you exercise it.
I decided the other day to extend my walking range by taking a bus to a place I could walk home from, to Enstone in this case. This made it possible for me to walk through the Wychwood Forest, Oxfordshire's only ancient forest, which as a hunting forest for the King once extended far beyond the bit which is left. It is still impressive today.

The reason I spent an entire day walking across Oxfordshire is that I'm in training again, this time for the Walsingham Pilgrimage. We are getting ready, but you can still sign up. Two and a half days of walking, from Ely to Walsingham, with singing, the Traditional Mass, and good company, starting on Thursday 23th August.  If you NOT one of those people who've been complaining that 'life is difficult enough already', and so think an effort like this for the Glory of God and the Conversion of England isn't worth it, then join us!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Reactions to the Three Hour Fast paper

I see the 'Spirit Daily' has picked up on the FIUV position paper I posted on Rorate Caeli the other day, linking not directly to the RC post but to a favourable post about it over at Australia Incognita. This in turn has been picked up by Fr Ray Blake.

This is how blogs work but it is slightly frustrating in that the discussion in their comms boxes is not about the FIUV paper, which has been very carefully researched and expressed, but about the simple idea of 'the three hour fast'. Clearly many if not all of the people opposed to its restoration don't know how it actually worked. Which is not surprising in itself, but the paper makes it easy to find out. Just read the thing, all these papers are limited to 1,600 words. There's even an appendix on rules for the 'infirm', which mean that no argument about it making frequent communion impractical will stand up.

There is a lot of support for the idea of restoring the three-hour fast. The sense that things are moving in this direction is supported by a very interesting article in last weekend's Catholic Herald which Fr Z has made available, by Michael Jennings provocatively titled 'The Church should make life harder for Catholics'.

The opposition to it takes predictable forms. I am particularly amused by the comments on Australia Incognita, where a number of people are very taken by the idea that 'life is hard enough already'. Life in the 21st Century is so much harder than it was for previous generations, who had the benefit of no cars, no plumbing, no antibiotics... Really? I thought the Ozzies prided themselves on being tough. How can a fast for three hours be considered a burden? Particularly, if it is actually a burden, meaning you are 'infirm', it doesn't bind. Even in its full rigour it is just three hours, the final one of which you are in Mass, and during the first two of which you can have your precious cup of coffee, if it is so important.

The parallel with the Friday fasting rule is an interesting one. As various people have pointed out, the rule wasn't relaxed, it was simply changed so you could do something else instead. In other words, it was made easier, which is to say it was made confusing and difficult, so confusing and difficult that no one kept it. Yes it will take time for the restored law of abstinence to embed itself in Catholic life once more in England and Wales, but the time is there to use, and why not use it in a positive way, rather than spend it wringing our hands in despair?

The law on respect for Communion is still there, but the way this respect is incarnated, made real in a physical sense, is the fast, which has been reduced to a mere one hour. It has been made so easy that it is confusing and difficult, a meaningless rigmarole which people constantly forget, because normally there is no need to remember it. Don't believe me? Believe Simon Platt, in a comment on RC:

Exempli gratia: on the day of my eldest son's First Communion, we walked to church with another family whose grandmother took a bag of sweets and offered them to the First Communicants.

I've also heard of chocolates being handed out at Mass - yup, before Communion. Why not? Is there some kind of rule about fasting? Did you say 'fasting'? What is that anyway? Stuff and nonsense!

Is it 'legalism' to use the law to promote the good of souls? Er, no, actually that is what the law is FOR. It is legalism to use the law to impose meaningless obligations which exist only to salve the conscience of the legislator. That, it seems to me, is the only function of the one-hour fast: it is a way for various people in positions of authority to say, particularly to traditionalists, 'Oh no, we haven't abolished the Eucharistic fast, which was a well-established rule in the time of Tertullion (d. 225), we just made it a bit easier'. I'm sorry, that won't wash.

Holy Communion at the SCT Summer School
Many of the more liberal commentators are clearly opposed to the idea of having rules at all. Didn't Jesus abolish rules? No, he got rid of some easy ones, like not being able to eat shrimps, and imposed some much harder ones, like not being able to divorce. "Surely what is important is marital love, which can't be imposed by diktat; if there is no love, then a marriage held together just by the law isn't worth saving." We've all heard that argument, and yet Jesus did impose His diktat.

The law against divorce gives legal, and thus social, recognition to sacredness of marriage. This does increase marital love, because a society which reveres marriage is one which fosters marital love, where marital love is itself taken seriously and not ridiculed. To say 'we must foster love, not impose a ban on divorce' ignores the function of the law and the direction of causality. It is the same with the argument that respect for the Blessed Sacrament must precede the re-imposition of a proper fast. If the law of the Church doesn't respect the Blessed Sacrament, how can you expect the ordinary Catholic to do so?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Solemn Mass for the Assumption

When I first got into the Traditional Mass, only about ten years ago, I used to drive for an hour and a half to see a Solemn Mass, in Portsmouth Cathedral. That was my annual Solemn Mass. They also had them at the LMS AGM and Annual Requiem in London. But they were extremely rare. IMG_0593
Now I am getting used to them. And it becomes clearer to me the sense in which this is the normative form of Mass, particularly in relation to Missa Cantata. In a Sung Mass the MC and servers have to do a number of things which should be done by the deacon and subdeacon, and the celebrant has to sing both Epistle and Gospel from the Altar, as at Low Mass. This now seems a little odd to me, a bit unsatisfactory.
We had a very lovely Solemn Mass for the Assumption, a homely affair really with singers scratched together from the few who haven't gone on holiday, and a team of Sacred Ministers who we may start to regard as the home team at SS Gregory and Augustine's. But we're all learning on the job and it was a great occasion, and well attended. In liturgical terms, we had on our Sunday best for Our Lady.

Common sense triumphs over the NHS

Margaret Forester gave a book about abortion to am NHS colleague who was interested. The NHS has attempted to discipline her for being 'offensive'. It seems the case has been settled out of court, presumably to Ms Forester's satisfaction. Congratulations to her and to the Thomas Moore Legal Centre, who supported her, for standing up to the bullies.


Thomas More Legal Centre is pleased to announce that a negotiated settlement has been reached in the two cases being brought by Margaret Forrester against Central and North Western London NHS Foundation Trust. The terms of the settlement are private to both parties and except for this Press Release Margaret Forrester and Thomas More Legal Centre will not be making any further comment on the matter.

Margaret Forrester is a Roman Catholic who has religious and moral objections to Abortion. She was employed by the NHS as a Psychological Well Being Practitioner and was disciplined by the NHS after giving a work colleague a Booklet called "Forsaken" in which women who have had Abortions talk about their experience and its effects on them. She was disciplined by the NHS on a Gross Misconduct charge that alleged she had "distributed materials which individuals may find offensive".

Following her dismissal by the Trust in June 2011 Margaret Forrester brought Employment Tribunal proceedings for Unfair Dismissal, Religious Discrimination and Religious Harassment; also a separate High Court claim for breach of the Human Rights Act, Article 9 (Freedom of Religion), Article 10 (Freedom of Speech), Article 14 (Discrimination). As a result of this settlement those claims have been discontinued.

Margaret Forrester wishes to thank all those many people who have supported her and prayed for her throughout this difficult time and in particular has said that she wants to thank the Thomas More Legal Centre for its support and work on her behalf

Since her dismissal Margaret Forrester has been supported by the Thomas More Legal Centre which is a Charity that exists to defend religious freedom and freedom of expression. The Thomas More Legal Centre is privileged to have been able to represent Margaret Forrester in this important case and stands ready to support any other NHS employee who may find themselves being threatened for expressing religious or pro-life views.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Eucharistic Fast: FIUV Position Paper published

Over on Rorate Caeli I have published the latest in the series of position papers I have been coordinating for the Una Voce Federation (FIUV). We've slowed down to one a month over the Summer; this one is number 10, and it concerns the Eucharistic Fast.

The present fast, of one hour before the reception of Communion, is, it is fair to say, widely ridiculed. The canon lawyer Dr Edward Peters, a man of considerable erudition and seriousness, and by no means a paid-up traditionalist, cannot contain his disdain for the present discipline;

[I]t is an exercise in rank legalism to consider abstention from food and drink for an hour as any kind of “fast,” let alone as one intended to help prepare for the inestimable event that is the reception of the Eucharist. Even a moderate meal cannot be digested in one hour; in normal cases hunger does not set in for several hours after eating. For practical purposes, then, most people perceive no “fasting” within one hour of eating and drinking, and indeed, most could continue eating and drinking until walking out the door for Mass yet still manage to “fast” for an hour before communion time at a Sunday Mass. Pointless observances should not be the subject of legislation lest contempt for the law arise.

Ecce Agnus Dei! Fr John Hunwicke celebrates Solemn Mass at the SCT Summer School

It is an important matter that the obligation of a one-hour fast is so easy it appears pointless. Actually it is a characteristic of tyrannies that they demand pointless actions, as a way of humiliating their subjects and establishing habits of robotic obedience. That is not what is going on here, but by trying to make things easier for the Faithful the Church has unwittingly wandered into the territory of creating meaningless obligations which, in their own way, are more of a trial to take seriously and observe, than an obligation whose purpose can readily be perceived.

The paper argues for the restoration of the discipline in force between 1957 and 1964 (when the one-hour fast was introduced); this is the 'three hour fast' established by Pope Pius XII to make evening Masses possible. The traditional discipline, of a fast from midnight, is obviously incompatible with evening Masses, and evening Masses are, today, a fact of life, perhaps especially for Traditionalists who have to fit round everyone else. In many ways it would be great to restore the culture of morning Masses, but that depended on numbers of priests and places of worship we are a long way from having today.

If we are to demonstrate, to ourselves and to others, the seriousness of the Blessed Sacrament, the supernatural reality which this wonderful sacrament contains, then we must restore a correspondingly serious discipline of preparation for it.

Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer canonically erected!

At long last, the Sons, of Papa Stronsay in the Orkneys, formerly known as the Transalpine Redemptorists, who are exclusively committed to the Traditional Mass, have been given a permanent and official recognition as a religious order by the local bishop, Bishop Hugh Gilbert of Aberdeen.

They are now a 'Clerical Institute of Diocesan Right'.

See the Papa Stronsay blog for the official statement.

Deo gratias! And thank you, Bishop Gilbert.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ten Weeks in Africa

Update: there will be a launch on Thursday 27 September Daunt's Bookshop in the Fulham Road, London.

Daunt Books,
158-164 Fulham Road,
London SW10 9PR.


An even more shamless plug: my brother, and fellow LMS Rep, 'J.M. Shaw', has just published a novel. I've just finished reading it and it is a corker: a thriller set in a fictionalised African country, revolving around corruption, civil war, and aid. Unlike most thrillers there is a moral basis to the book, which far from undermining the fun and games gives the characters depth and the story real interest.

I would say that, wouldn't I? Well what you need to do is check for yourself by buying a copy and reading it. Even better than getting it from Amazon is ordering it from your local Waterstones or other bookshop, since this will encourage them to stock it.

This is the blurb from the Waterstone's website, complete with gobblegook last sentence and the wrong name for one of the main characters (it's Kamunda, not Getonga). Hey, they sell books, but they can't read or write...

A vivid, gripping novel about corruption, integrity and good intentions gone wrong, set in an African country on the brink of civil war, for fans of John le Carre, Graham Greene and William Boyd. As Ed and Sarah Caine's plane passes over the Ngozi hills and begins its descent into Kisuru, Sarah is dazzled by the purity of unspoiled nature, the perfect environment in which to raise their son. Ed, meanwhile, as Director of the Global Justice Alliance for East Africa, looks forward to rolling up his sleeves and making a real difference in a country that seems to be developing fast. Below them, in the sprawling Makera slum, Stephen Odinga - who has to find a way of making more money for his dying mother than they can earn through the family business selling fried bananas - decides to try a more lucrative line of business. Meanwhile, Joseph Getonga, a senior official in a government that for five years has been failing to deliver on its promise to end political corruption, is feeling isolated and exposed, while others around him covertly seek personal advantage out of International Aid programmes. And beyond the hills, a rebel army seethes and waits, poised to tip the country into civil war. Before he knows it, the duplicity Ed thinks he has left behind in England will begin to infect his own family. Complicity explores, in urgent, breathtaking prose, the tensions between our ideals and our reality, the deep rifts of cultural misunderstanding and the true cost of uninformed good intentions.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Autumn Mass of Ages comes off the presses!

The newest edition of the LMS' magazine, Mass of Ages, has arrived in the homes of LMS members, and is available in certain bookshops and to buy online. If you've not got it, you can buy it here, for £3.50. What you really need to do, however, if you've not already, is join the LMS and get it delivered to your door.

Mass of Ages keeps getting better. This is the fourth edition by our new editor Gregory Murphy, using full colour extra pages, and it is shaping up to be the indispensable periodical of the Traditional Movement in England and Wales.

Read about the Traditional Mass in Afghanistan, Bishop Rifan's visit to the UK, an interview with Fr Simon Henry of Offerimus Tibi Domine blog, Fr Thomas Crean OP on 'participation', an obituary for the late Chris Inman, Fr John Zuhlsdorf's conference speech, and lots more.

Here are three 'taster' articles.

'It just didn't occur to me that children would receive Communion in the hand'

A report of a delightful Traditional First Holy Communion in the West Country and the reflections of one young mother on the telling contrast between this and her first child's First Holy Communion in the Novus Ordo.
Read more>>

Time to test our times

Introducing our new LMS patrons. Here, Lord Gill, Lord President of the Court of Session, tests the contemporary relevance of the views he conveyed in a noted address given in 1996.
Read more>>

In Illo Tempore

Tellingly retold, from our magazine archives, a regular look back at key LMS developments over the decades. Read more>>

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Shameless plug

Last night I and my eldest daughter watched 'The Merchant of Venice', produced by the Creation Theatre, on the roof-amphitheatre of the Said Business School in Oxford. Creation Theatre's The Merchant of Venice
Oxford's outdoor events have suffered a lot from the rain this Summer so, now the weather has improved, I thought I'd give them a plug. The production is excellent, with lots of music performed by the cast, and sitting outside on a Summer evening watching this fantastic play is really rather a magical experience. The venue, literally a concrete amphitheatre on the roof of the SBS gives perfect sight-lines and excellent accoustics. You can reflect as you sit there that you are on the site of Rewley Abbey...

You can book here. Or call the Box Office on 01865 766266, Monday-Saturday, 9.30am-6pm.

My daughter also recommends Midsummer Night's Dream in Wadham College this season, produced by the Oxford Shakespeare Company, which she saw earlier in the Summer.

The 'Chief Executive' James Erskine says in the programme that, with its great complexity, the play should not be over-interpreted by producers: 'it is a play that needs to breath'. This is such a relief to read. There's nothing worse than ham-fisted attempts to shoe-horn Shakespeare into some kind of GCSE-level attack on racism or colonialism or patriarchy or something. The Merchant is a work of artistic genius, and we must be allowed to appreciate all its complex levels on our own.

The theme of the Antonio and Shylock taking turns to persecute each other - Antonio, in this case, before the play starts, Shylock trying to get his own back in the play's course - has very strong parallels in other plays, most obviously, Twelfth Night with Malvolio and Sir Toby Belch, but also think about Hamlet and Laertes' conflict, or Midsummer Night's Dream, or The Tempest, and in fact many others. It is not so astonishing, or so uniquely linked to the issue of anti-semitism, as some critics appear to think. It recalls the sequence of religious persecutions experienced by many in Shakespeare's audience. When the puritans, persecuted under Mary Tudor, get the whip hand under Elizabeth, will they not seek revenge? This is basically the suggestion of Claire Asquith's Shadowplay, she has a lot more to say about it of course.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Sung Masses in Oxford

Sung Masses are difficult in August when lots of people are away, but we'll have a
Sung Mass at Stonor on Sunday 12th, 
to be celebrated by Fr John Hunwicke, 6.30pm.

2011 06 19_0120

Stonor is a historic Catholic house, where St Edmund Campion and many others stayed during penal times. Stonor, Henley-on-Thames RG9 6HF

Following that we'll have a
Sung Mass for the Assumption, 
Wednesday 15th August, 
in SS Gregory & Augustine, 
at 6pm.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Great Evangelium conference

Great speakers - here's Fr Tim Finigan.
 Loads of young people: in one of the talks I gave IMG_0501
 and gathering for the 'discussion panel' of which I was a member. IMG_0503
The Traditional Mass - early on Sunday morning, in the Old Chapel, and attended by about a dozen people.
The FSSP stall, manned by Alexander Stewart, an English FSSP Seminarian at Denton.
And the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Mennini, preaching. 'Waste a little time with God, in prayer, every day!' he said. Liturgical enthusiasts will note that he is wearing a dalmatic under his chasuble - as is traditional for bishops, to emphasise that the office of bishop includes and fulfills that of priest and deacon.
 A great weekend! Don't miss it next year. A few more photos.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Laird of London

Yesterday I was in London and, armed with my copy of the Mass of Ages, I bought a new panama hat in Laird of London. This might seem an unlikely weapon for such an expedition, but Laird's has an advert in the magazine which entitle people brandishing it (or an LMS membership card) to 15% discount. This advert will be repeated in the forthcoming issue.

Laird is a brilliant little hat shop; well stocked and extremely cool. I was at the branch in Covent Garden, 23 New Row (link to map), not far, of course, from the LMS Office. The panama I got is the most comfortable I've ever owned (and I've owned a fair few!), because the band round the inside is not polished leather (too tight or sliding off the head) but suede, which stays magically in place. I'm delighted with it.

And a word to the wise: the less you pay for a panama, the less time it will last. This is true of most things, of course, but with panama hats the life of a cheap one has to be measured in minutes, not months. They dry out in the sun, and then they crack when you pick them up. The only exception of course is when you pay less because of an LMS member discount!

Let me end with a quotation from Jerome K. Jerome. Speaking of the occasion in Three Men in a Boat when, having forgotten the tin-opener, they attempted to open the tin of pineapple chunks with a sharp stone and the mast of the boat:

'It was George's straw hat that saved his life that day.'

These things are serious!