Monday, October 29, 2012

Bishop Conry on the 'Traditional Mass'

The Diocese of Arundel and Brighton is distributing some booklets to assist week by week parish discussion of the documents of the Second Vatican Council. To accompany the discussion of Sacrosanctum Concilium, the booklet includes a short reflection by Bishop Kieran Conry himself. Here is the whole thing (it's not long: you'll find it on page 37) below are three quotations.

...over the centuries, and especially after the Protestant Reformation, many of the elements of the Mass had become obscured. Much of this was a consequence of the continued use of Latin, which served to alienate and distance people from the action of the Mass. While the Protestant reformers wanted the scriptures and liturgy to be made accessible to the people in their own language, the Catholic Church rejected this as more or less Protestant heresy, and so the separation of priest and people grew even more marked. The priest had his back to the people and many of the prayers of the Mass were said in silence or in a whisper. The people had to be told that the moment of consecration was approaching to that they could at least see the consecrated host being elevated, and so a bell was rung.

When people talk of ‘traditional’ celebration of Mass, they often refer to the rites introduced in the 16th century, after the Protestant Reformation and the Council of Trent. What the Vatican Council has asked us to do is go back and re-discover more authentically where our liturgical traditions begin. It asks us to find again the simple beauty of gifts of bread and wine being brought to the altar from the people; of the people being asked to join in the great prayer of thanksgiving over those gifts, said by the priest, and giving their consent with the great ‘Amen’ – one of the responses that really should be sung – and it asks us to see that the bread is broken before it is shared, as Christ took the bread and broke it.

The old chants and acclamations had gone and of course Catholic Mass in this country disappeared anyway. When it was restored the most  popular form of music  that was then performed was the hymn, most commonly in English, but actually belonging not in Mass but being imported from other Eucharistic devotions...

These passages may lead to misunderstandings, so I thought I'd do a little analysis of them here.

First off, it is initially unclear exactly with Bishop Conry has in mind when he talks about 'rites introduced' after the Reformation and Trent. To understand one must look elsewhere in the document, where he talks about the growth in Low Mass, and the (paradoxical) development of the orchestral Mass, in the post-Tridentine period. It must be these things he has in mind, because as everyone knows the period was one of great stability in the liturgical rubrics and texts, a stability much regretted by liberals, who describe it as 'sclerosis', and would much rather the relatively free and easy liturgical development of the Middle Ages had continued. By contrast, the Roman Missal of 1962 is in essentials identical with that of 1474, a good deal earlier than the Reformation.

Bishop Conry's instinctive liturgical conservatism does him great credit. I agree entirely with him that the spread of Low Mass, from early morning weekday Masses at side altars (which was its role in the Middle Ages, for the most part, since it developed in the 9th Century), to Sunday liturgies, was most regrettable  though (as Bishop Conry hints) this was the result of a lack of resources in the 19th and 20th Centuries rather than anyone's liturgical preferences.
The Joshua Camp - Mass with Bishop Kieran Conry
What is rather remarkable is Bishop Conry's critique of vernacular hymns, which, he correctly points out, invaded these Low Masses from paraliturgical devotions, for which they had been composed. If Bishop Conry wants to lead a crusade to replace vernacular hymns at Mass with Gregorian Chant, I'm right behind him. Though it is a little hyperbolic to say 'the old chants had gone': there were still being sung, when Mass was sung, albeit from somewhat simplified 'Medician' editions, the 'Pustet' Ratisbon edition being the officially recognised one from 1870 until the Solesmes restoration of the chant was given official approval with the 1908 Graduale, which led to a huge revival of interest in chant.

Equally obviously, readers should not be misled in reading the first quotation into thinking the the use of Latin, celebration 'ad orientem', the reading of some texts silently or in a low voice, and the use of a bell to indicate the approaching consecration, are peculiar to the post-Tridentine period. Careful attention to what Bishop Conry writes shows that he isn't committing himself to that claim. As the FIUV Position Papers show, Latin has been used in the Western church, regardless of whether the people understood it, since the 4th Century at least; celebration ad orientem is indicated by many (though not all) of the very earliest Christian churches, and was universal, outside the Roman basilicas and churches modelled on them, from the 9th Century; and we hear of prayers being said silently from the reign of the Emperor Justinian. None of these practices can even be described as Medieval: they date from antiquity.

So when Bishop Conry says that that parts of the Mass were 'obscured', and that 'separation of priest and people grew even more marked', he's not talking about 'late' developments, but very early ones. As for the post-Tridentine period, the loss of the Rood Screen made the 'separation' notably less marked. In any case, when we hear him say 'What the Vatican Council has asked us to do is go back and re-discover more authentically where our liturgical traditions begin', it is precisely these kinds of practice which immediately spring to mind. Careful readers will observe that he's not saying that 'obscuring' and 'separating' are bad things: on the contrary, they are clearly necessary to the impact of the rite on the people, since they speak volumes about the mystical significance of what is taking place at the Altar. The FIUV paper on participation quotes the theologian Fr Aidan Nichols:

The notion that the more intelligible the sign, the more effectively it will enter the lives of the faithful is implausible to the sociological imagination. ...a certain opacity is essential to symbolic action in the sociologists’ account… 

And that is why the Second Vatican Council called so insistently for Latin in the Mass ('Latin is to be preserved': Sacrosantum Concilium 36.1), and why the 1970 Missal retains both the use of silence (in the so-called 'private prayers of the priest'), and a number of important markers which serve to emphasise the separation between priest and people: the use of vestments, most obviously, but the General Instruction has much to say about the preservation of the sanctuary as a sacred space. Whether by accident or design, I've always felt in 'versus populum' celebrations the Altar seems a barrier between priest and people reminiscent of an executive's desk, and concelebration creates the powerful impression of a clerical elite, a bit like having the grandees on a dais at a meeting or dinner. But that's just me.*

Pope Benedict has (before his election as Pope) more than once called for the restoration of the silent Canon. I'll end this post with a passage from The Spirit of the Liturgy quoted in the FIUV paper on silence.

Anyone who has experienced a church united in the silent praying of the Canon will know what a really filled silence is. It is at once a loud and penetrating cry to God and a Spirit-filled act of prayer. Here everyone does pray the Canon together, albeit in a bond with the special task of the priestly ministry. Here everyone is united, laid hold of by Christ, and led by the Holy Spirit into that common prayer to the Father which is the true sacrifice—the love that reconciles and unites God and the world.

*Though the notorious feminist theologian Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza approvingly quotes a friend:
'To witness the concelebration of ten or more men is to witness the demonstration of exclusive male power.'

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Married clergy: why not? asks John Haldane

2011 05 21_9809
Two newly ordained priests of the Fraternity of St Peter last year
Last weekend The Tablet carried a full-length feature article by John Haldane. This may not be a household name, but he is a Scottish Catholic philosopher, and a Professor at St Andrews, and there aren't many Catholics in UK academia with that kind of prestige. Nor is Haldane is someone who hides his faith: he has written a lot about faith and philosophy, and on the continuing importance of St Thomas Aquinas. So it was disappointing to read him saying this, in the course of a feature article (link for subscribers):

The time is overdue to admit married men to (shortened) formation and ordination. The faithful laity face the prospect of fewer churches and yet fewer priests. The priests themselves are service-weary and often confused, anxious and unwilling to address personally problematic matters. Whatever the challenges of securing a change, and then of implementing it, priests and people have a common interest in making the case not for allowing clergy to marry but for admitting the married to the clerical state. This implies two routes: celibates and married, with no opportunity for marriage or re-marriage once ordained (as is the case with permanent deacons), and, for reasons of exclusive commitment, only the celibate should be bishops.

I wrote a letter in reply as follows; it is in this weekend's edition.

2011 07 31_0858
Another newly ordained FSSP priest (centre), Fr Marek Graboski
John Haldane ('A Church in dire need', 20th October) suggests we need to ordain married men to the priesthood. Whether they would be willing to embrace, on behalf of their dependents, the poverty of our secular clergy, I do not know. What I do know is that this is but another iteration of the tired old policy we have been subjected to for two generations: of responding to difficulties not by raising our game, but by lowering the goalposts. If people find fasting difficult, abolish fast days. If people find getting to church difficult, abolish Holy Days. If people find teachings difficult, bury them in the small print. Don't fancy wearing priestly dress in public? Don't want to say a daily Mass? Don't want to learn Latin? Think the breviary is a bit long? Never mind - we'll ordain you anyway.

The policy fails for precisely the reason Prof. Haldane mentions: ordination is no longer the only route to a good education and lifestyle for most people. This means that there is nothing attractive to most young men about an undemanding clerical existence. The only way to attract them is by presenting them with a truly impressive clerical ideal. You only have to look where vocations today are going, both for the priesthood and the religious life, to see the point confirmed. Specifically, in the West, celibacy is central to the priestly ideal, since it underlines the priest's identification with Christ. 

The Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate at Lanherne, Cornwall
Prof. Haldane appeals for 'charity with regard to the motives and actions of those with whom one disagrees'. I have no doubt that his article was motivated by a genuine love for the Church. He, however, describes those with whom he disagrees as either 'nostalgic and slavish' or 'faithless and craven', and I would respectfully suggest that he listen to his own advice. 

The saddest thing about Haldane's article is that it shows that there are still thoughtful and intelligent people under 60 who are remain stuck in the post-Conciliar consensus, that the solution to every problem is to make concessions, to make things easier. If any policy has been tested to destruction, this one has. What happens when we make the priesthood about cosy self-fulfillment instead of self-sacrifice? We get fewer priests, because most young men are aware of simpler ways of pursuing cosy self-fulfillment. Shouldn't that be obvious?

The same is true for the laity. See the FIUV Position Paper on the Eucharistic Fast, which references some interesting research on how more demanding religions often attract more committment than lax ones. If you think about it, it makes sense. The researchers Mark van Vugt and Anjana Ahuja found this:

‘Paradoxically, the costlier the rituals associated with a belief system, the more enduring it is. One study of religious communes in 19th century America showed that those making the most extreme demands on their followers—giving up worldly goods, celibacy, shunning contact with outsiders, relinquishing certain foods and alcohol—were the most enduring.’

Friday, October 26, 2012

Confraternity of Catholic Clergy

CCC Reading 046I'd delighted that their meeting went so well, and that their numbers are so buoyant - 100 priests this year, double the number of last year. This is a very positive development for the Church in England and Wales. The next time The Tablet talks about half a dozen aging hippies demanding ex tempore Eucharistic Prayers or whatever, we can remember that there is another gang in town, with superior numbers, arguments, and friends in Rome.

See reports by Fr Tim Finigan, Fr Ray Blake, and Fr Simon Henry.

And here's a photo of Mgr Keith Newton preaching, at Mass at the meeting. When the Ordinariate was set up, it was said he would have the privilege of wearing an episcopal ring, cross, and (on appropriate occasions) a mitre, although he's not a bishop (there are various precedents for this of course). I've never seen him in a mitre, but here it is, from Fr Finigan's Flickr set.

For old time's sake see my post about a letter of mine The Tablet published, shortly after the first meeting of the CCC, responding to a claim that the CCC's theology of the priesthood led to paedophilia. They were rattled then; what are they thinking now?

Oxford Pro-Life Witness

OXFORD PRO-LIFE WITNESS - Saturday, 27th October

3pm -4pm

Please come and join us to pray for all unborn babies and their families, and to make reparation for the crime of abortion.

we stand at the entrance of the JOHN RADCLIFFE Hospital, Headley Way, Oxford.

We meet at the Church of St Anthony of Padua which is behind the entrance. Car parking available there.

Refreshments available afterwards.

Please keep the witness in your prayers, God Bless!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The real Mary Magdalen: 'Qui Mariam absolvisti'?

The Woman taken in adultery
There is a letter in last weekend's Catholic Herald by a certain Gerald Price protesting about the identification of the 'woman taken in adultery' (John 7.53 and following) with Mary Magdalen, who was 'cleansed of seven devils' in Luke 8:2 and Mark 16:9, was present at the Crucifixion, and so on. The identity of the woman taken in adultery is not made explicit in John, and, the letter-writer says, is embedded in the pre-Concilar liturgy; these references were removed in the 1970 Missal, something he regards as a Good Thing.

It is actually a little more complicated than this: that Mary Magdalen was the 'woman taken in adultery' is indeed in the tradition, but the identification of Mary Magdalen with the 'sinner' who broke the alabaster jar of nard to anoint Jesus' feet is a stronger tradition, reflected in the traditional lectionary which assigns, not the Woman Taken in Adultery, but the Sinner with the Nard, as the Gospel of St Mary Magdalen's feast day.

This identification would be sufficient to explain the Dies Irae, referring to Our Lord, saying 'qui Mariam absolvisti': 'who forgave Mary'. In the unlikely event that the Dies Irae is used in the Novus Ordo (see postscript), the wording has been changed to 'who forgave the (female) sinner'. There is an interesting Catholic Encyclopedia (1917) article defending the Western tradition of exegesis which identifies Mary Magdalen with the Sinner with the Nard, and also with Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus. It is interesting to note that the feast of St Mary Magdalen in the old calendar is 22nd July, and the octave day is the feast of St Martha (29th); again this has been changed in the 1970 calendar: 29th is now the feast of 'Mary and Martha', to distinguish this Mary from the other.

The Encyclopedia doesn't mention the Woman taken in adultery, but that identification was made by St Gregory the Great in a sermon he gave 14 September 591, and it is assumed in sources such as the Golden Legend, the classic medieval collection of saint's stories compiled in the 13th Century.
The sinner who anointed Jesus' feet

Is it really a problem, for the ancient liturgy, that it reflects the historical and exegitical traditions of the Latin (and often Greek) Fathers, in ways endorsed by doctors and Popes from those times right up to 1968? Not according to the Second Vatican Council, which implicitly condemned Cardinal Bea's 1948 Latin translation of the Psalter for going back to the Hebrew original without reference to this tradition of interpretation: Sacrosantum Concilium 91 pointedly says there must be a new translation of the Psalms into Latin, which

is to take into account the style of Christian Latin, the liturgical use of psalms, also when sung, and the entire tradition of the Latin Church.

(My emphasis.) This is made even clearer, and of more general application, in Liturgiam authenticam 41, the Instruction on translation which came out in 2001:

The effort should be made to ensure that the translations be conformed to that understanding of biblical passages which has been handed down by liturgical use and by the tradition of the Fathers of the Church, especially as regards very important texts such as the Psalms and the readings used for the principal celebrations of the liturgical year; in these cases the greatest care is to be taken so that the translation express the traditional Christological, typological and spiritual sense, and manifest the unity and the inter-relatedness of the two Testaments.

Mary and Martha at Bethany
On all this, see the FIUV Position Paper on the Vulgate. Now if translation of the sacred scriptures should bend to the tradition of interpretation embedded in the liturgy, clearly those traditions of interpretation are worthy of respect, and not the rejection demanded by Mr Price in his letter.

The decision by Bugnini and his collaborators to back away from the 'entire tradition of the Latin Church' in the liturgy's references to scripture is an example, to put it mildly, of unjoined-up thinking: were the liturgical reformers really mindful of Sacrosanctam Concilium as they went about their work? Or were they just out of control? Whatever the answer, what they produced can scarcely be considered, as Mr Price would like, as having a dogmatic authority overriding that of the Council, the Council which supposedly established the principles from which they were to work.

To ask about the historical basis for this kind of tradition is of course part of the trade of biblical scholarship. But to attempt to expunge it from the liturgy, and from Catholic culture, is just vandalism. Come to that, we may ask, is Mary Magdalen rightly invoked as the great example of penitents? As opposed, say, to demoniacs. A Google image search for 'Mary Magdalen' throws up dozens of images of her with the alabaster jar, which connects the incident of washing His feet with the intended anointing of His body on the first day of the week after the Crucifixion. The jar is her standard iconographic attribute, it is part of the Catholic artistic tradition, as well as the exegitical one. Do we want future generations of Catholics to look at these pictures, and their titles, with bafflement, or to derive the edification from them that their predecessors did?

Postscript: Supporters of the 1970 Missal often like to emphasise that texts like the Dies Irae are 'still there': they can be used optionally, and it is just a sad reality that they are not chosen. But look at Bugnini's own account ('The Reform of the Liturgy', p773):

'At the same time they got rid of texts that smacked of a negative spirituality inherited from the Middle Ages. Thus they removed such familiar and even beloved texts as the Libera me, Domine, the Dies irae, and others that overemphasized judgement, fear, and despair. These they replaced with texts urging the Christian hope and giving more effective expression to faith in the resurrection.'

I've blogged before on Dietrich von Hildebrand's response to this kind of argument.

Postscript: in response to the question, 'Where is the Dies Irae in the OF books?' the answer is:

The Dies irae found no place in the 1969 missal. So it is not mentioned in the Ordo Cantus Missae, or the 1974 Graduale Romanum.

The new Liturgia Horaria edited by Lentini divided it up into 3 hymns, to be used in the 34th week per annum, at the Office of Readings (Dies irae...), lauds (Quid sum miser...), and vespers (Peccatricem qui solvisti). A new doxology (found in some MSS of the 15th century) was added to end each of these three hymns:

O tu, Deus maiestatis,
alme candor Trinitatis,
nos coniunge cum beatis.

So this is the form in which the Dies irae appears in the Liber Hymnarrius (Solesmes 1983).   Lentini is explicit in his commentary that he has changed 'qui Mariam absolvisti' to 'Peccatricem qui solvisti' for the reasons noted above. Interestingly the Paris Missal of 1734 used 'Peccatricem absolvisti'. Another example of the liturgical reformers following Jansenist example, perhaps.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Williamson ejected from the SSPX

Communiqué of the General House of the Society of Saint Pius X (October 24, 2012)

Bishop Richard Williamson, having distanced himself from the management and the government of the SSPX for several years, and refusing to show due respect and obedience to his lawful superiors, was declared excluded from the SSPX by decision of the Superior General and its Council, on October 4th, 2012. A final deadline had been granted to him to declare his submission, after which he announced the publication of an “open letter” asking the Superior General to resign.

This painful decision has become necessary by concern for the common good of the Society of Saint Pius X and its good government, according to what Archbishop Lefebvre denounced: “This is the destruction of authority. How authority can be exercised if it needs to ask all members to participate in the exercise of authority? “(Ecône, June 29, 1987)

Menzingen, October 24th, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Oxford Pilgrimage: Procession and Benediction

After Mass I and the singers went off for lunch, as did the other pilgrims, and we reconvened at Carfax Tower, Oxford's central landmark, for our procession. This year we had another processional item, a banner made for the late Fr Silk, of the Five Wounds, in additioin to the LMS banner made by the Guild of St Clare, and the processional statue of Our Lady of Walsingham.
Fr Thomas Crean led the procession; he was followed by the Schola Abelis, who led the Great Litany, which we sang all the way from Carfax, down Queen's Street, and into the Castle.
There were 55 or so people in the procession (there were 70 at Mass). It was a very respectable size. I 'marshaled' it myself while running around with the camera, which is why you won't see lots of people in flourescent vests in the photos.
On arrival in the Castle, we went to the site of the martydom of Blessed George Napier, the 60-year-old priest who was hanged, drawn and quartered for his priesthood here in 1610. The plaque recording this was blessed by Archbishop Longley two years ago.We sang the Te Deum, and moved off again.
Then we returned to Blackfriars, where Fr Crean gave us Benediction.
One of the mysteries of photography is why incense creates a denser and more impenetrable fog in a photo than in real life. I mean, Fr Crean and the monstrance were in reality quite visible. But the light was low; the church was principally light by the Autumn evening sun.
Providence was extraordinarily kind to us with the weather. It has been raining all week in Oxford, there were even localised flooding a few days ago, but the sun came out for us.

Another wonderful Oxford pilgrimage, thanks to the Dominicans and Oxford Castle, who are always very welcoming. Deo gratias!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Oxford Pilgrimage 2012

The Mass: a Solemn Mass in the traditional Dominican Rite, in the spacious and airy sanctuary and choir of the Domincan church in Oxford, the Priory of the Holy Spirit, Blackfriars.

I don't want to get too nerdy about the ceremonies, particularly because I don't know much about them, but the overall effect was very moving. The number of servers was very small: only two acolytes and a thurifer, no MC (Dominicans are supposed not to need one!). They place themselves with great elegance in the sanctuary, their profound bows and gentle lifting of the thurible are a subtle contrast to the Roman Rite, it is something terribly serene and peaceful. Great credit is due to the Sacred Ministers: Fr Thomas Crean, the celebrant, Br Gregory Pearson, deacon, and Fr Richard Conrad, subbeacon, and the servers, all of the Dominicans, who were calm, prayerful, and seemed to know what they were doing.
The Epistle, during which the Chalice is placed on the Altar, and the deacon washes his hands: something which doesn't happen at all in the Roman Rite. The preparation of the Chalice takes place while the choir sings the Responsary (Gradual) and Alleluia.
The Gospel. The Dominicans don't swing the thurible to incense the Gospel, above, or the celebrant, below, but simply lift it up.
A characteristic gesture of the Dominican rite, the hands held up.
A very restrained elevation of the Chalice, which is only just visible over the celebrant's head.
Kissing the pax brede, a silver disk with a handle on the back, for the Kiss of Peace.
Using a 'houseling cloth' for Communion of the servers.
And of the Faithful, since the church no longer had an Communion rail. IMG_1249
The blessing, while the minsters make a profound bow, which tends to be used instead of genuflections.

More photos here.  Tomorrow I'll have a post about the procession.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Mass for the Year of Faith in Oxford

IMG_0734 I'm behind with my blogging, but this took place and was great. It was the initiative of Fr John Saward at SS Gregory and Augustine's, we had a splendid Solemn Mass, with polyphony provided by the Newman Consort, and chant by the Schola Abelis. Fr Aidan Nichols preached a bold and brilliant sermon - too bad if you weren't there!
It was very well attended - with the choir loft full to bursting, there were 75 people present.  
IMG_0756 IMG_0763 IMG_0770
More photos.

Friday, October 19, 2012

40 Days for Life

The news of the various 40 Days for Life is coming in, and I thought I'd give the Oxford one another airing. The place is the same as the monthly pro-life witnesses, that is outside St Anthony of Padua. See the 40 Days Oxford web page.

This autumn, from September 26 - November 4, our community will be one of many cities joining together for the largest and longest coordinated pro-life mobilization in history -- the 40 Days for Lifecampaign.
40 Days for Life is a focused pro-life effort that consists of:
  • 40 days of prayer and fasting
  • 40 days of peaceful vigil
  • 40 days of community outreach
We are praying that, with God's help, this groundbreaking effort will mark the beginning of the end of abortion in our city -- and throughout the UK.
Take a stand for life
While all aspects of 40 Days for Life are crucial in our effort to end abortion, the most visible component is the peaceful prayer vigil outside the local abortion (or Planned Parenthood) facility.
You can help make a life-saving impact by joining our local vigil at:
[John Radcliffe Hospital]
[Headley Way]
[Stand on the public pathway or grass verge on the corner by the church of St Antony of Padua]

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pray for Ireland

as they face ever-mounting pressure to legalise abortion.

I liked this video; h-t CF News, which has more on the background.

LMS Pilgrimage to Aylesford

Last Saturday was the LMS Pilgrimage to Aylesford, the home of the Brown Scapular. This ancient Carmelite priory was bought back by the order and re-edified in the 1950s; we had Mass in the Relic chapel, which houses the skull of St Simon Stock.
Fr Tim Finigan was the celebrant; as well as preaching, he gave a spiritual conference after Mass, and celebrated Benediction for us. It was the feast of St Edward the Confessor, King and Confessor, and coincidentally Bl Alexandrina da Costa's day in the new calendar; she was a contemporary of the Fatima seers, a suffering soul who experienced many visions. Fr Finigan spoke about her extraordinary life. (You can get an excellent short book about her here.)

Fr Tim has blogged about the day here, and the Reluctant Sinner here.
Mass was accompanied with some wonderful polyphony, by Taverner, sung by Cantus Magnus, led by Matthew Schellhorn.

IMG_0798 IMG_1137 Someone was even clothed in the Brown Scapular, which was given to St Simon Stock by Our Lady with the promise of help for that those who wear it with devotion.

More photos.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mass in St Peters to be celebrated by Card Llovera

The Traditional Mass in St Peter's on 3rd November (at 3pm) which I have mentioned on this blog before will be celebrated by His Eminence Cardinal Cañizares Llovera. 
It is reported on Gloria TV!

Official website  

To help the pilgrims during their stay in Rome our FIUV Secretary, Thomas Murphy, has arranged additional services for Thursday (1st) and Friday (2nd).

The events listed for Saturday 3rd November have been arranged by the official pilgrimage organisers. The conference on the Saturday evening has been arranged by the Centro Culturale Lepanto of Rome.  Most of these talks will be in Italian.  The Masses on 4th November are the usual traditional form Masses available in Rome on Sunday. The full programme is shown below.  We hope that our members travelling to Rome for this pilgrimage will find this information helpful.   The site with a street map of Rome may be helpful  


All those participating in the Fœderatio Internationalis Una Voce Pilgrimage to Rome are encouraged to attend the following:

Thursday, 1st November - Feast of All Saints The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman RiteTime: 11.00 hrs
Location: Church of Sant'Agata dei Goti, Via Mazzarino, 16 - 00184, Rome  [adjacent to the Via Nazionale and the Mercati Traianei] Celebrant & Preacher: Rev. Fr. John Hunwicke

Traditional Evening Devotions including the Holy Rosary and Benediction of the Blessed SacramentTime: 15.30 hrs
Location: Basilica of Ss. XII Apostoli, Piazza dei Santi Apostoli, 51 - 00187 Rome   [At the end of the Via del Corso near to Piazza Venezia]  Celebrant & Preacher: Rev. Fr. John Hunwicke

Friday, 2nd November - Feast of All Souls The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman RiteTime: 11.00 hrs
Location: Church of Sant'Agata dei Goti, Via Mazzarino, 16 - 00184, RomeCelebrant & Preacher: Rev. Fr. John Hunwicke 

Traditional Evening Devotions including the Holy Rosary and Benediction of the Blessed SacramentTime: 17.00 hrsLocation: Church of Sant'Agata dei Goti, Via Mazzarino, 16 - 00184, Rome Celebrant & Preacher: Rev. Fr. John Hunwicke 

Saturday, 3rd November Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
Time: from 10.00 hrsLocation: Church of San Salvatore in Lauro, Piazza di San Salvatore in Lauro, 15 - 00186, Rome. [Close to the Piazza Ponte S. Angelo]   Procession from Church of San Salvatore in Lauro to Saint Peter's BasilicaTime: 13.15 hrs The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman RiteTime: 15.00 hrsLocation: St. Peter's Basilica, Piazza San Pietro - 00193 Rome

Celebrant: His Eminence, Antonio, Cardinal Cañizares Llovera, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship 'Having Lived in Expectation of Summorum Pontificum'

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Server training, Vocations retreat, Clergy retreat: with the FSSP

I'm delighted to publicise these events organised by the Fraternity of St Peter in England, making full use of their house, 'St John Fisher House', in Reading. Please pass on the news to anyone who might be interested.

Altar servers’ weekend (residential): at St John Fisher House in Reading on 26-27-28 October 2012:For single Catholic men between 18 and 35 years of age (under 18 please contact us).

Starts on Friday 26 October at 6pm – ends on Sunday 28 October mid-afternoon.

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

In a convivial atmosphere, come and learn (or improve) how to set the vestments and sacred items before Mass and to serve EF Masses and Benediction. EF Mass on the Friday evening, Saturday morning and Sunday morning. Limited overnight accommodation: please book now. Non residential participants welcome.

Cost [for the whole weekend, 2 days + 2 nights, including full board accommodation at St John Fisher House]: no set price for students or unwaged – any donation welcome; others: £50 suggested.

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

Vocation discernment weekend: 14-15-16 December 2012 at St John Fisher House in Reading:

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

Starts on Friday 14th December 2012 at 6pm (arrivals from 5pm) – ends on Sunday 16th December 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. Off-street parking available.Programme: Spiritual conferences, socials, Holy Mass each of the three days (Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite) including polyphonic Sung Mass on Sunday, 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, including full board accommodation at St John Fisher House]: no set price for students or unwaged – any donation welcome; others: £50 suggested.Contact: Tel: 0118 966 5284; Email:; website: are looking forward to welcoming you here. Please pray for our 9 seminarians from these Isles. God bless you!

Clergy retreat in Bavaria 15-19 April 2013: details here.

Monday, October 15, 2012

FIUV Position Paper on Latin in Seminaries

Today I'm publishing, on Rorate Caeli, a FIUV Position Paper about Latin in Seminaries. Go over there to read it.

In the English-speaking world we have become used to international business being conducted in our cradle language, which makes things very easy for us. It is not so in the Church, because of the importance of French, German, and Italian, from the perspective of the Vatican. English has not replaced Latin as a common language (not that it should); instead we have something alarmingly like the Tower of Babel, where not one language - Latin - is essential for a curial official who wants to be on the button, but three or four.

It is said that the Catechism of the Catholic Church was first composed in French. Other documents are prepared in Italian or German. In each case, if it is an official Church document (as opposed to a sermon or allocution) it is translated into Latin, and this Latin translation is then the official version. Other languages are translations of the Latin, and even the original one must conform to the Latin. This gives not one but two opportunities for translators to put a little spin on the meaning of the text, and if the people who prepared the original in some vernacular language are not very on the ball, and very good Latinists, what they agreed could end up being seriously distorted.

I don't know if the Catechism (for example) suffered in going from French to Latin, but a great many documents suffer going from Latin to English and other languages: as I have noted on this blog, this has happened again and again and again. Even if the Vatican's translators had no axe to grind (and it is hard to resist the impression that they prefer liberal formulations), a gap between the meaning of the original text and a translation is inevitable. 

How the use of multiple vernaculars is supposed to be easier for the transaction of the Church's business, than the use of Latin, is a mystery. But even at its best, this is a situation in which we are cut off from the past, from what the doctors and saints want to say us, and what we so desperately need to hear.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Gregorius Magnus: new journal of the Una Voce Federation

FIUV, the Una Voce Federation, has launched a new journal. Here it is in full. Future editions will be available electronically to 'Friends' of FIUV: a new opportunity for individuals to support and be involved in the Federation. There are some details in Gregorius Magnus, but anyone who'd like to be Friend should email friends@fiuv.orgGregorivs Magnus n. 1 September 2012

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Liberalism into sede vacantism

The Tablet is getting a good kicking (and here, here, and here) this weekend because of the attack, in its leading article, on the notion of the 'Hermeneutic of Continuity'. It is terribly confused, but it is based on the same idea promoted in its pages before, and which I have criticised on this blog before: that the Second Vatican Council contradicted the earlier teaching of the Church.

This means that either Vatican II was a heretical pseudo-council, or that every previous council was. Some people on the conservative end of the spectrum of opinion are accused of accepting the first option. But this is a very moderate position compared to the second option. After all, there have indeed been the occasional heretical pseudo-council in the history of the Church, but to say that all but one of the councils have been heretical pseudo-councils just undermines the idea that there is any teaching authority at all. And if there's no teaching authority from 33AD to 1961AD, what sort of authority can be claimed for the teachings of the Church from 1962 to 1965?

'There is no continuity between whatever between the declaration Nostra Aetate, on relations with Jews and other faiths, and the previous two millennia of Christian anti-Semitism - as promoted, say, by the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215.  ...Again, the council's Declaration on Religious Liberty flatly contradicts Pope Pius IX's encyclical known as the "Syllabus of Errors", which was itself in continuity with what had been understood in traditional Catholic teaching as the doctrine that "error has no rights".'

There is a tangled morass of confusion in these two sentences, the most important of which is between teaching, and doctrine, on the one hand, and attitudes (such as anti-Semitism) and 'understandings', on the other. But it is clear what she (the Editor, Catherine Pepinster) wants to convey to her readers: that the teaching of the Church was changed by Vatican II.

Sending back the deposit of faith?
And it is here that she joins hands with the sede vacantists. For if Vatican II attempted to change the teaching of the Church, that attempt would of course have failed: the deposit of Faith was given to the Church by Christ, it can't be given back and exchanged for something else. She may think the changes were a good thing, but if she thinks Vatican II contradicted Lateran IV, and also presumably the other 19 or so (depending on who is counting) General Councils of the Church, there is no way that Vatican II could be right and the other 20 Councils wrong.

Just think about it, Miss Pepinster. On the one hand, you have 20 Ecumenical Councils saying one thing. On the other hand, you have, according to you, Vatican II saying something different. All these Councils claim the same authority: the Pope and the Bishops of the world gathered together are guided by the Holy Spirit and in this way protected from error (not, incidentally, inspired by the Holy Spirit like the authors of scripture), in accordance with Jesus' promise not to abandon His Church. If the Holy Spirit guided Vatican II, why not the others? And if the others were all failures, if they were all abandoned by the Holy Spirit, for what earthly reason would anyone believe that He came to the rescue of Vatican II? (Because we, personally, like what Vatican II said? That would make it as infallible as, well, a Tablet editorial.)

Catholic Liberalism of this kind is self-defeating in the most obvious and dramatic way. I can only assume that the people writing this kind of bilge are attached the Church emotionally and culturally, and for non-intellectual reasons reject the conclusion which follows from their own arguments: that there is no teaching authority, no promise of Christ to the Church, and ultimately there is no Church. But let them beware: very few people under 40 have that kind of cultural attachment to the Church. You try this kind of argument on a Catholic undergraduate with half a brain and he, or she, will draw the obvious conclusions.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

New National Chaplain for the Latin Mass Society

Fr Southwell has now gone to Rome, for his much-deserved study sabbatical; see here for his send-off. We are very lucky to have Mgr Read as our new chaplain: I am really delighted. Our press release follows. The photos are mine, from the London Colney Priest Training Conference in 2009.
The LMS is very pleased to announce the appointment of Mgr Gordon Read, Chancellor of Brentwood Diocese, as its new National Chaplain, following the recent departure, for two years of study at the Angelicum in Rome, of Fr Andrew Southwell. He will take up his new office with immediate effect. Mgr Read is parish priest of St Mary Immaculate and The Holy Archangels, Kelvedon, Essex, and has been a long time supporter of the work of the Society.

He is widely held in high regard by many Catholics of all persuasions. In addition to his responsibilities as parish priest, he is rural dean of Colchester, Chancellor and Judicial Vicar of Brentwood diocese, a member of the Bishop’s College of Consultors, Vice- chair of Governors, St Benedict’s College, Colchester, and Trustee of the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland.

A frequent contributor of articles to canon law journals, his advice on canonical matters is widely sought. In 1998 he was appointed honorary Papal Chaplain by Pope John Paul II in recognition of his work for the Diocese of Brentwood. In 2005, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Prelate of Honour. Commenting on the new appointment, LMS Chairman Dr Joseph Shaw said: 'We are delighted that Mgr Read has agreed to be our National Chaplain. He is a very long-standing friend of the Society, and a priest regarded with great affection and respect in both the Society and his diocese. His expertise, practical experience, and wisdom will be a great assistance to us in our ever-expanding work.'