Friday, November 30, 2012

Protest at National Gallery

The National Gallery is showing two pictures by Richard Hamilton of Our Lady naked. I don't know if they are being deliberately provocative, though I'm sure the thought of how 'daring' they are gives them a little frisson. I suspect their main thought is just one of indifference to us, to God, and to His Blessed Mother.

The point is that until very recently they would have recognised that these were unacceptably insensitive. At this moment in our history as a nation the artistic elite seems to think they should make up for not being able to criticise Islam by kicking Catholics. This has got to stop. It will stop, if we make enough of a fuss. So I think this, below, is an excellent idea.

---------------

Many of you will be aware that the National Gallery has chosen to exhibit two offensive depictions of Our Lady as part of an homage to recently deceased British artist Richard Hamilton. As part of the exhibition, which runs until 13 January, 'The Passage of the Angel to the Virgin' (2007) and 'An Annunciation' (2005) show Our Lady nude and in a sexually suggestive pose. The former also depicts the Archangel Gabriel as a woman.

Apart from being blasphemous and offensive this is a direct attack on Christians and the Mother of God. The Director of the National Gallery, Nicholas Penny, thinks he can get away with it because, unlike the Muslims, we Christians are push-overs. He is wrong. This is what you can do to prove it:

Join us at 2 pm on Saturday 8th December, Feast of Our Lady's Immaculate Conception, to pray a rosary of reparation by the 'artworks' . NB This is a peaceful witness

If you can, please complain in writing to the Director, Nicholas Penny, at The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN or information@ng-london.org.uk

Read Francis Phillips' piece in the Catholic Herald (http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2012/10/29/artists-should-be-the-guardians-of-beauty-not-purveyors-of-the-voyeuristic/)

PLEASE ASSEMBLE SHORTLY BEFORE 2 PM ON SATURDAY 8 DECEMBER IN THE SUNLEY ROOM (MAIN BUILDING). ADMISSION IS FREE BUT DO ALLOW EXTRA TIME TO DEPOSIT BAGS/UMBRELLAS IN THE CLOAKROOM.

Trilocation last Saturday

I've had the bug that's going round this week, hence the silence of this blog, but here's to catch up a little.

Last Saturday I should have been in two places at once: the Latin Mass Society's Confirmations at Spanish Place, and the LMS and Guild of St Clare stall at the Towards Advent conference. So naturally I was at neither: the Schola Abelis was having a training day in Oxford, with the brilliant Christopher Hodkinson. There just aren't enough Saturdays to go around.
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All three events were extremely successful. At Spanish Place there were more than twenty candidates, and the sacrament was conferred by Bishop Alan Hopes. It is great to see children, young adult cradle Catholics who didn't get round to getting confirmed at school, and adult converts of all ages, receiving this great sacrament, with the traditional ceremonies. The numbers are impressive, now that this is no longer the only EF Confirmation service happening each year: this year there was one in the Wirral and one in Stoke on Trent. IMG_0463
That is indeed Fr Tim Finigan assisting Bishop Hopes in the sanctuary, with Fr Rupert McHardy of the London Oratory. Fr Simon Leworthy, who is now the Chaplain to the Traditional Community at St Bede's, Clapham Park, is also there. See more photos.IMG_0418
Fr Tim actually made it to the LMS stall as well as the confirmations, which just shows that he's better at bilocating than I am. (Actually with a fast car and a speedboat it was quite possible to get to Towards Advent before it closed after the service.) He's even blogged about it (twice).

The Guild of St Clare, which shared the LMS stall (being affiliated to the LMS) raised £100 for training and made itself known to a lot of people. The training the Guild undertakes is serious: as well as passing on skills of all levels between members, they will soon be going to the Royal School of Needlework for a specialised course. They also go on outings of a more generally educational kind: to Beckford Silks, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. There are well-established groups now in London, Birmingham and Oxford, and the affiliated children's groups were very involved in making the Christmas Tree decorations and other nik naks which were sold at the stall.

Is this not what tradition means? The picture above shows one of the older, and one of the younger, members of the Guild at the stall. If the one on the right passes on what she knows to the one on the left, this means that skills which were being taught at schools in the 1950s will be understood and used, God willing, in 2050s, when the younger lady (pictured, who turns seven today, as it happens) will still be under 60.

Can we prevent the complete dissolution of that culture and knowledge which once could be taken for granted in the Catholic Church in England and Wales? With a bit of effort, we can. Don't take your skills to grave: don't let your children grow up ignorant of these essential things. Get involved!

On the Schola Training day, I'll say something about it on the Schola blog.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Buy the Papa Stronsay wall calendar!

 Buy the calendar today! Get lots of copies and give some away! Click here.

But why, you say? What about the Latin Mass Society wall calendar?

I'm sorry: it's sold out.

So has the Ordo, in fact, but we're reprinting that.

Happy Christmas!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The same old rubbish from Paul Inwood

Paul Inwood is at it yet again (see previous posts here and here): writing (on Pray Tell) what would be deliberate falsehoods about the Traditional Mass, and its supporters, if it were clear he had the integrity to read the documents properly. As it is I suspect wishful thinking has got the better of him.  His comment in red, my responses in blue.
This, I am afraid, is a very commonly-encountered misunderstanding.
(1) The provision is there for members of a parish to petition their pastor for Masses in the extraordinary form if they have previously been used to having it, and feel that their spirituality is lacking without it. It is not a blanket permission. Benedict XVI himself said that this will only apply to a very small number of people, and that for most people the Ordinary Form will continue to be the norm. (Interview en route for France, September 12, 2008)
Rubbish. The Instruction Universae Ecclesiae 15 explicitly says that the groups asking for the EF need not have existed before, and places no great hurdle for the importance of the EF to their spiritual lives: it talks of groups which 'even after the publication of the Motu Proprio, come together by reason of their veneration for the Liturgy in the Usus Antiquior,' The Holy Father explicity says in the Letter to Bishops accompanying the Motu Proprio that 'that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them. Thus the need has arisen for a clearer juridical regulation which had not been foreseen at the time of the 1988 Motu Proprio.' Few such young people can have been 'used to it', since they weren't born before 1970 and the EF wasn't widely available before the Motu Proprio.
It is a 'blanket permission', since any priest anywhere in the Latin Rite can now say the EF: pastoral reason or no pastoral reason. It is simply allowed: as the MP says
In Masses celebrated without the people, each Catholic priest of the Latin rite, whether secular or regular, may use the Roman Missal published by Bl. Pope John XXIII in 1962, or the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970, and may do so on any day with the exception of the Easter Triduum. For such celebrations, with either one Missal or the other, the priest has no need for permission from the Apostolic See or from his Ordinary.' (Oh and people can come to these Masses: see article 4.)
(2) It does not give permission to proselytise in an attempt to draw in new adherents. It is only for existing adherents who feel deprived.
But there is no need to give permission to 'proselystise': how could such activity, by which Inwood presumably means the encouragement of a legitimate form of the liturgy and spirituality, possibly be banned? If the idea were not so preposterous, one could point to the establishment of the Traditional Orders back in 1988 as evidence that the Holy See is perfectly happy with people promoting the EF.
(3) It does not give permission to claim that the Extraordionary Form is on a par with the Ordinary Form. The EF permission is only, once again, for a small number of people who have not been able to let go of that form. It is, as its title declares, extra-ordinary (i.e. abnormal). It is not “half of the Roman Rite”; it is a minority manifestation of the Roman Rite.
It is on a par with the OF in the sense that 'each Catholic priest of the Latin rite, whether secular or regular, may use the Roman Missal published by Bl. Pope John XXIII in 1962, or the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970'. And in the sense that religious communities can adopt it as their proper rite (Article 3). And in the sense that the Faithful can freely attend one or the other. And in the sense that the EF should be taught in seminaries (Universae Ecclesiae 21). So what, exactly, is your point, Mr Inwood?
(4) Similarly, it does not give permission to claim (as most of its adherents seem to do) that the Ordinary Form is merely tolerated, and that the Extraordinary Form is the only true form, which should replace the Ordinary Form whenever possible. The Ordinary Form is normative; the Extraordinary Form is the exception, not the rule.
If 'most adherents' of the EF claim that the OF is 'merely tolerated', it will be easy to quote them, won't it, Mr Inwood? So let's have names, quotes, and urls. I'm intrigued to know what this means.
And if the EF replaces the OF as time goes on, in part or (unlikely as it seems today), wholly, because of laity and clergy voting with their feet, what exactly would be wrong with that? The 1970 Missal was promulgated for the good of the Church: not as a prison. If the good of the Church can be served in other ways, half a century and more later, then no one has any cause for complaint.
If only people were clear about all this, a lot of arguments could be avoided.
 How true that it.
I love this phrase of Inwood's: the Mou Proprio was for 'a small number of people who have not been able to let go of that form'. It puts his own feelings so well: he is part of a small and diminishing group of people who can't let go of the 1970s, who can't let go of their power in the Church and give way to a new generation who think a bit differently. Well I'm sorry but there'll be no Motu Propro for you: no Pope is going to enforce your tyranny over everyone else just so you can pretend it is still 1976.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Fruits of Pre-Conciliar Catechesis

Daphne McLeod, the Chairman of Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, has been carrying on a lively correspondence in the Catholic Herald, defending her view that the problems of the Church since the Council have been overwhelmingly due to the failure of the 'new catechetics' which followed it. Specifically, in England all Religious Education teachers had to be retrained by an institution called 'Corpus Christi College' which was a hotbed of heresy, and was finally closed down by Cardinal Heenan. By then, Mrs McLeod tells us, its work had sadly already been done.

Tellingly, she explains that the English translation of the Council's document on education, Gravissimum Educationis, did not appear until 1971, when Corpus Christi College was already closed. The claim that 'the Council' had demanded a revolution in the content and method of religious education was revealed to be completely false, but too late.

'By their fruits you shall know them', Mrs McLeod says: because it has led to lapsation, the new catechetical method is shown to be problematic. However, she does not really address the point made by the previous letter, by a certain Martin Elsworth, that if catechesis was so wonderful before the Council, how was it that things collapsed so rapidly after the Council? Why, we might ask, did adults with this old catechesis fall for every absurd theological fad after the Council, or even give up the practice of the Faith? Why were Catholic RE teachers - of all people, surely the vanguard of the 'well-instructed laity' praised by Cardinal Spellman - so easy to brainwash with a lot of nonsense? Why did no-one think to ask any of the Latinists, so plentyful in the 1960s, what Gravissimum Educationis actually said? Why, in short, was the generation educated between the 1930s and the 1950s led to their destruction, like sheep to the slaughter, with so little resistance? A generalisation to which, of course, Daphne McLeod is such an honourable exception.

It is of course quite possible to check for oneself what pre-Conciliar Catholics were taught: many of the most influential texts have been reprinted, and they are indeed far superior in orthodoxy to much of the stuff written since then. I have before me a copy of the Baltimore Catechism Number 4: this is the teacher's manual, with the fullest treatment of each topic. What does it say about Infallibility? Naturally it tells us that it only extends to ex cathedra statements by the Pope on matters of faith and morals, and that on other matters, or in other statements, the Pope can err. But then it adds:

"Nevertheless, whatever the Pope teaches on any subject you can be pretty sure he is right."

Is there a distinction between matters of discipline and policy in which we should follow even wrong-headed commands for the sake of unity and to avoid scandal, and 'unjust commands' which it would be a sin to follow?

Is there a discussion of cases of the Popes treating the saints badly, and how they responded?

Is there a distinction between policies and prudential judgements, in which one Pope may contradict another, or indeed himself, and matters of Church teaching, in which we should adopt a hermeneutic of continuity: i.e., we should understand what Popes and Councils have said as harmonising if at all possible?

Is there a distinction between basic matters of faith, which as St Robert Bellarmine said should be just obvious to the Faithful, and about which they should never tolerate false teaching from anyone, and more complex matters on which the ordinary laity might best be encouraged to follow the teaching of Pope and Bishops even when they are unsure its orthodoxy?

Is there any discussion of the different levels of authority, or the credence due to past Councils and the Ordinary Magisterium, which should take priority over what is reported as being an off-the-cuff remark by the present Pope, since after all such reports are constantly subject to distortion, tendentious reporting, and misunderstanding?

No, no, no, no, and again no. The teaching of the Baltimore Catechism is one-sided and deficient, and it failed. I should be interested to know if any other catechetical handbooks of the era do better than Baltimore Catechism on this topic, but I don't get the impression that they did. What is more, the ultramontanism of the Baltimore Catechism is still the dominant ideology of many neo-conservatives, even as they reject so many other Catholic assumptions of the day, including the trenchant defence of the Temporal Power of the Papacy which can be found in the catechism's very next pages.

See also my blog post on Daphne McLeod's claim that Trads aren't interested in catechesis;
and a series of posts on the notion of obedience.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Oxford Pro-life Witness

Saturday, 24th November

3pm- 4pm

Please come and pray for all unborn babies, their families and those involved in the crime of abortion.

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






Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sons of the Holy Redeemer: two ordination to the Diaconate

Here they are acting as deacon and subdeacon to Fr Michael Mary F.SS.R, their superior, in the church where they were ordained, the FSSP seminary chapel at Denton Nebraska.
The Sons of the Holy Redeemer who were reconciled to the Holy See and then had to wait an unconscionable period of time for the decree of canonical erection, are now an order of diocesan right in the Diocese of Aberdeen. Various ordinations are now taking place at an accelerated pace: see their blog. Keep in touch with them through the Friends of Papa Stronsay. Subscribe to their quarterly newspaper 'The Catholic'.

Te Deum laudamus!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Heaven in ordinary, man well drest

IMG_1673 IMG_1639
Although George Herbert was committed to the Protestant religion, of which he was an ordained minister, his poem on prayer is still superb, and it seems applicable to the ancient Catholic liturgy. Obviously 'exalted Manna' is a reference to the Eucharist, and it seems reasonable to think of 'heaven in ordinary, man well drest' as an echo of the 'Sunday best' clothes we (clergy and laity alike) put on to participate in that liturgy which is eternal, indeed everyday and 'ordinary', in heaven. IMG_1647
You can't go wrong with the 'metaphysical' poets, of course, because every phrase a dozen meanings. Herbert was one of my own set texts at A Level, and he's stayed with me ever since. IMG_1679
Prayer the Churches banquet, Angels age,
Gods breath in man returning to his birth,
The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgramage,
The Christian plummet sounding heav'n and earth;

Engine against th'Almightie, sinners towre,
Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
The six-daies world-transposing in an houre,
A kinde of tune, which all things heare and fear;

Softnesse, and peace, and joy, and love, and blisse,
Exalted Manna, gladnesse of the best,
Heaven in ordinarie, man well drest,
The milkie way, the bird of Paradise,

Church-bels beyond the starres heard, the souls bloud,
The land of spices; something understood.
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Just another Solemn Mass at SS Gregory and Augustine's, Oxford, just another green Sunday After Pentecost. Just a plain old Chant Mass sung by the Schola Abelis, with the Offertory verses, Communion verses, and Mass IV. De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine! Out of the depths I cried to Thee, O Lord! But he has heard the voice of His Church: the church bells are heard beyond the stars, in heaven itself.
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Sunday, November 18, 2012

LMS Annual Requiem

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A splendid Mass - Pontificial High Mass with absolutions at the catafalque, celebrated by Bishop John Arnold and accompanied by the Westminster Cathedral Choir.
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I have acquired the ability to take photographs from two places at once, No, seriously, I took both of the last two myself - not with the same camera, of course. One of them I operated by remote control. IMG_1559 IMG_0918
Bishop Arnold was (like all bishops celebrating Mass in the Old Rite) wearing a tunicle and a dalmatic under his chasuble, something which shows how the bishop's office incorporates the subdiaconate and the diaconate. He took these off in the sanctuary, and put on a cope, at the end of Mass, in order, first, to preach, and then to bless the catafalque. IMG_0928 IMG_1596
Sharp eyed readers will see that Fr Armand de Malleray was Assistant Priest, Fr Patrick Haward deacon, and Fr Matthew Goddard FSSP subdeacon. Fr Simon Leworthy can be seen helping to distribute communion. IMG_1615 More photos.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Mass at Milton Manor

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Last Saturday we had Mass in the beautiful private chapel of Milton Manor House, in Milton, between Didcot and Abingdon.
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It was celebrated by Fr Daniel Lloyd of the Ordinariate, and accompanied by the Schola Abelis. IMG_1465 IMG_1477
Tomorrow is the LMS Annual Requiem in Westminster Cathedral, 2.30pm: see you there!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Holy Days and Civil Rights

Today I'm publishing the latest Position Paper, number 13 in the series, this one is about Holy Days of Obligation. Go over there to read it.

Here I'm publishing separately Appendix C, to draw it more to people's attention, since I think it warrants it. Probably most people reading this will agree that for Holy Days to be moved to Sunday, as three of them were by the English and Welsh Bishops in 2006, was a mistake: they are important feasts, and celebrating them on their proper days is an essential part of taking them seriously. The situation since then, with most of the remaining ones moving to Sundays when they fall on Saturday or Monday, is that there are now so few Holy Days of Obligation on weekdays that the very concept of the Holy Day is in danger of being lost from the consciousness of the average Catholic.

But here is a quite different argument. If you are Catholic employee, if you are at school, or if you are enjoying Her Majesty's hospitality in one of her prisons, by moving the celebrations to Sunday, or removing the obligation to attend Mass, the bishops are making it much harder for you to make the case to your colleagues and superiors that you be allowed to attend Mass, a few times a year, during the week. The bishops may say: we mustn't be too hard on Catholics, they have busy lives, let's not require they go to Mass on too many days. By doing this they are not making life easier: they are making it harder for Catholics to get to church when they might want to.

I have run this argument past lawyers specialising in this field, and I am very grateful for their help. If there are any mistakes here, they are mine. But the basic idea - with variations for those wishing to appeal to the US First Amendment and those wishing to appeal to Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights - is sound.
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A celebration of the Feast of Epiphany on 6th January, SS Gregory & Augustine's, Oxford
Appendix C: Holy Days and Rights Legislation


The right of religious freedom enshrined in international law, treaties, and national constitutions, typically creates a non-absolute right of religious believers to follow the teachings of their religion, most obviously in relation to worship. Since for practical purposes this right has often to be balanced against the convenience of others, it is natural for courts and others to give greater weight to the religious observances which are most important to the believer, and to look to official religious bodies for guidance as which observances are really important. We will illustrate the point briefly with regard to two important jurisdictions: the United States of America, and England and Wales, subject as it is to the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights.

In the Constitution of the United States of America, the First Amendment is as follows:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Since 1947 this obligation has been extended to the States, as well as the Federal Government.[1] A relevant precedent was set in 1963, that a Seventh Day Adventist should not be deprived of unemployment benefit on account of refusing to work on Sundays.[2] Under a Federal statute,[3] the Federal Government must justify actions which ‘unduly burden acts of religion’ by a ‘compelling interest’, even if the action in question does not target religious practice.

In the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 9 reads as follows:
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
2. Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of  public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
This applies not only to government bodies but private persons, such as employers. In applying this article, courts distinguish obligatory and non-obligatory ‘manifestations’ of a religion.

Thus, the English Courts have ruled that Sikhs have the right to wear the ‘Kara’, a bracelet,[4] and female Muslims a Hijab,[5] at school. In the latter case the Courts ruled explicitly that the Hijab can be considered as a ‘requirement’ of the Muslim faith. By contrast, a Christian who wished to wear a cross with her uniform lost her case against her employer.[6] The Courts based their decision, in part, on the fact that ‘there is no mandatory requirement of the Christian Faith that a Christian should wear a Crucifix.’[7]  Again, in finding against a Marriage Registrar who refused to register same sex Civil Partnerships, the Court of Appeal based its decision in part on their finding that ‘her view of marriage, ...was not a core part of her religion.’[8] Though the factual basis of these findings can be questioned, the fact remains that Courts do take into account whether any particular practice of religion is a ‘requirement’ of the religion or is merely a personal religious practice.

For both the United States and England and Wales, and other jurisdictions with similar legal principles, it follows both from these legal considerations, and also from the more general culture which they foster, that attempts by the Church to make life easier for Catholics by minimising their obligations, or by making them more flexible, can have the paradoxical result that Catholics will find it harder to observe the practices in question. Furthermore, since the strongest obligations have the most chance of making a difference to the practices of large employers, schools, universities, and prisons, the less demanding the Church becomes, the less impact she can expect to have on public culture.  For bishops’ conferences to decide that a Holy Day of Obligation is no longer a day of obligation has secular legal implications for the Civil rights of Catholics, as well as arguably reducing the spiritual benefits of Holy Days, and their important role in stimulating and defending a distinctive and strong Catholic Culture. 


[1] The precedent was set by the case Everson v. Board of Education in 1947.
[2] Sherbert v. Verner, 1962
[3] The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 1993
[4] The dispute between a Sikh schoolgirl, Sarika Singh, and Aberdare Girls’ School in South Wales: Watkins-Singh, R (on the application of) v Aberdare Girls’ High School & An or [2008] EWHC 1865(Admin) (29 July 2008)
[5] Begum v Denbigh High School  [2006] UKHL 15
[6]  Nadia Eweida, who was sacked by British Airways for wearing a cross on her uniform in 2006, lost her   Employment Tribunal and  subsequent Appeal case, where she alleged Religious Discrimination and breach of Human Rights: Eweida v British Airways Plc [2010] EWCA Civ 80 (12 February 2010).
[7] Chaplin v Devon & Exeter NHS Trust, ET Case No: 1702886/2009, and Eweida v British Airways [2010] EWCA Civ 80
[8] Ladele v London Borough of Islington [2009] EWCA Civ 1357

Chesterton Conference Saturday

The GK Chesterton Institute for Faith & Culture at Seton Hall University, has the pleasure of announcing the 2012 Conference in London on the theme of “Chesterton @ the Daily News.”...The conference will focus on Chesterton’s years at the Daily News, from 1901–1913. During his time at the Daily News, Chesterton was engaged in most of the key debates of the time, on such subjects as education, eugenics, secularism, criminal justice, social reform, imperialism, temperance reform, women’s suffrage and Britain’s foreign alliances.

speakers include: Fr. Ian Boyd, C.S.B., Dr. John Coates, Dr. Sheridan Gilley, Dr. William Oddie and Dr. Dermot Quinn

The conferences will be held on Saturday, November 17, 2012 from 2-7 p.m. at the Oxford and Cambridge Club (71 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5HD).

The conference is free and open to the public.
For more information and to register please contact: chestertoninstitute@shu.edu

http://www.shu.edu/catholic-mission/upload/Chesterton-at-the-Daily-News-UK-Conf-Flyer1.pdf
And don't forget to print off some GKC prayercards; http://www.catholicgkchestertonsociety.co.uk/

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Motu Proprio Lingua Latina: translation

Translated by the Latinists of Ave Maria University, thanks very much to them! My emphasis.

Apostolic Letter given motu proprio

LATINA LINGUA
On the founding of a Pontifical Academy of the Latin language


1. The Latin language has continuously received the great esteem of the Catholic Church and the Roman Pontiffs, inasmuch as they consider it their own language, and they have assiduously taken pains to make this language widely known, because it was capable of transmitting the message of the Gospel to the entire world, as our predecessor, Blessed John XXIII justly and rightly decreed in the Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia.

Of course the Church from the time of Pentecost has spoken and prayed in all the languages of mankind. Nevertheless the Christian communities of the first centuries for the most part used the Greek and Latin languages, since in those places in which they dwelt these were the universal means of communication, and in this way the newness of the Word of Christ encountered the heritage of Roman and Hellenistic culture.

After the Roman Empire in the west ceased to exist, the Roman Church not only continued to use the Latin language but also in a certain way was the custodian and patronness of this language, in Theology and the Liturgy, as well as in the realm of education and the transmission of knowledge.


2. In our day as well a knowledge of the Latin language and culture is vital for looking into the springs from which very many branches of learning generally draw, such as Theology, liturgical studies, Patristics, and Canon Law, as the Second Vatican Council teaches (see the decree on the education of priests, Optatam Totius, 13).
Furthermore, to manifest the universal nature of the Church, the liturgical texts of the Roman Rite have their paradigmatic form in the Latin language, as do the principal documents of the Magisterium and the solemn, official acts of the Roman Pontiffs.


3. Nevertheless in today’s culture, in which humanistic studies have diminished, there is danger that the knowledge of Latin will be superficial, something which is noticed in the Theology and Philosophy curricula even of future priests. But on the other hand, in our world in which science and technology hold pride of place, a renewed interest in the Latin language and culture may be observed, and not only on those continents which have their cultural roots in the Greek and Latin patrimony. This is particularly remarkable because not only does this fresh interest involve the realm of universities and education, but it extends even to young people and to students from the most diverse nations and traditions.


4. For this reason it seems necessary to support efforts to learn the Latin language more deeply and to use it in a fitting fashion, whether in ecclesiastical affairs or in the broader field of culture. It is perfectly reasonable, for the success and propagation of these efforts, to employ new methods of teaching Latin that correspond to new conditions and to advance likewise the links among academic institutions and among students of the language, so that the rich and diverse patrimony of Latin may be promoted.
To attain this plan, we, following in the footsteps of our predecessors, establish a Pontifical Academy of Latin by means of this Apostolic Letter issued today motu proprio. This Academy will report to the Pontifical Council on Culture. A president will direct this Academy, assisted by a secretary and those nominated by us, while a council of academics will provide these aforementioned with their aid.
The Latinitas Foundation, the body established by Pope Paul VI with the papal letter Romani Sermonis on June 30, 1976, is suppressed.
We decree that this Apostolic Letter, given motu proprio, by which we approve the statutes below for a period of five years, be published in the newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.
Given in Rome, at St. Peter’s, on November 10, 2012, the memorial of Pope Saint Leo the Great, in the eighth year of our Pontificate.

BENEDICTUS PP. XVI

Rosary for the Bishop

I've finally got round to signing up to this, it seems a good idea. We should certainly pray for our bishops and encourage others to do the same. I live in the Archdiocese of Birmingham, so my bishop is Archbishop Bernard Longley. You can in fact choose to pray for other bishops, including the Holy Father, and you can set the frequency of the Rosary you undertake to say for him. The website will then email to remind you to say it (as and when you tell it to).

Monday, November 12, 2012

LMS Server down

Over the weekend, and still at the time of writing, the LMS IT system (though not the website) is experiencing problems: emails are bouncing back as 'undeliverable'. It should be fixed today; all emails will then get through. Please bear with us. The monkeys are on the case. In the meantime, our apologies.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Newman chapel at the London Oratory

Updated: photos uploaded direct from the IPhone. Sorry Blogpress turned them into grainy sludge.

Old news, this, but I've only just seen it: the splendid new side-chapel dedicated to Bl. John Henry Newman at the London Oratory.


It replaces a large wooden Calvary, which I'd always thought a little out of place, stylistically. To one side, they have installed a much more beautiful one.



Thursday, November 08, 2012

Guest post on The Tablet blog: and factionalism

Today The Tablet has published a guest post mine on their own blog: see it here. It is a response to George Weigal's article in last weekend's Tablet, which itself was a response to John Haldane's article calling for married clergy.

See if you can spot the pattern here. In introducing his remarks, Haldane takes a moment to describe the two dominant traditions in the Church, conventionally called the 'conservative' and 'progressive' (or 'liberal') approaches, as, respectively, 'nostalgic and slavish' or 'faithless and craven'. Having thus established his bona fides as a non-partisan, independent thinker, he proposed the most predictable and re-heated item on the liberal menu, the ordination of married men, as the solution to the Church's difficulties.

George Weigal, in introducing his own remarks, condemns progressive Catholics for 'Catholic Lite theology and catechesis,' adding:

Not that the answer lies in the nostalgic Catholic traditionalism also manifest in Britain. Maniples, lace albs and Latin liturgies will not be the engines of a Catholicism worth engaging. Something different, something that cuts more deeply, indeed more radically, is needed; the tired alternatives of the past 40-plus years have clearly run their course.

So, having thus established his bona fides as a non-partisan, independent thinker, Weigal goes on to propose the most predictable and re-heated item on the conservative menu, a call for orthodoxy and evangelical zeal with no practical suggestions to give it any flesh, as the solution to the Church's difficulties.

Both of them decry party spirit in the Church, but both of them use party labels as a lazy and uncharitable way of scoring points against unnamed opponents, and in attempting to create the impression that they are above all that kind of thing, while clearly being no such thing. Politicians call the strategy 'triangulation': you present yourself as moderate by showing how you avoid two extremes, represented by two kinds of opponents. The trouble is, with a bit of practice, everyone from Mao Tse Tung to Ghengis Khan can triangulate, it is just a matter of being clever about how you describe the alternatives. Hey, Bishop Williamson must be a 'centrist', because he avoids the extremes of liberalism and sede vacantism: right?

I don't think this kind of political rhetoric has any place in the Church. We are interested not in whether we are on the left or right of anyone else: we are interested in the truth, the Gospel, the teaching of the Church, Tradition. If Weigal has anything useful to add to the debate, he should stop labeling those he disagrees with playground insults, and tell us what it is.

The point I make in the Tablet blog post is that, although Weigal hasn't noticed, we are moving into an era - thank heavens - when the Traditional Mass is no longer an ideological football. For forty years liberals hated the Traditional Mass because it represented the past, and theology they didn't like. And for exactly the same period of time Neo-Conservatives hated it because they dreaded association with 'disobedience', and kicking the trads was a tried and tested method of triangulation. But now, thanks supremely to the work of Joseph Ratzinger, now reigning as Pope Benedict XVI, people in both camps are beginning to look at the ancient liturgy on its merits.

But remember: Traditionalism is the centre ground in the Catholic debate, because it avoids the extremes of liberal heterodoxy and conservative ultramontanism. People need to wake up the errors of those sad extremes, and come back to the centre. The centre ground is where battles are won: right?

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Wall Calendar and Ordo for 2013

The Latin Mass Society's Wall Calendar is now available: you should be able to get it (postage free) from your local Representative, and you can also get it from the website. It contains more photographs than ever, and the same clear format for the days as last year's: in one long list down one half of the A3 format.

Our indispensible Ordo for the new calendar year is also available; priests on our list have already received theirs by post, you can get one from our website. This explains exactly what can, or must, be celebrated each day, including local diocesan feasts of England and Wales, according to the rules in force in 1962. Get it from our website. The wire, spiral binding is back by popular demand (in the 2012 edition we experimented with a 'perfect binding', like a book, but it is convenient to have the thing stay open).

Williamson goes 'independent'

Readers may or may not have heard of the phenomenon of 'independent' priests, priests with valid orders who, for one reason or another have kicked over the traces and no longer obey their bishops or superiors, but engage in some kind of pastoral work with a little group of followers. Of course there are Catholic priests who join the Anglicans, or the SSPX, or some other group on the wilder fringes, but these are the ones who don't want to be answerable to anyone at all. It seems Bishop Williamson, so graciously invited back to the fold by the Holy Father, who lifted the excommunication imposed on him for allowing himself to be consecrated as bishop without the Pope's permission in 1988, has now gone into this sterile wilderness, and is offering his episcopal services to others in a like situation. So I suppose he'll be offering confirmations, perhaps even priestly ordinations. He's by no means the first person with valid episcopal orders wandering around in this state, but he is by far the best known, and the validity of his orders is the most obvious. For these reasons he is going to cause a particularly acute scandal, and do a particularly grave amount of damage.

I don't normally post about this kind of thing but this is breaking news, and I urge readers to pray for him, and for those who find themselves involved in his set-up, however it evolves. The lunacy of the whole thing is obvious to perhaps all of my readers, but it clearly isn't obvious to them, for one thing they will include families with children who know nothing else. While we needn't follow their soap-opera antics, but we cannot be indifferent to what happens to them either.

More from the Sensible Bond.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Academic freedom and Tina Beattie

Tina is bleating about academic freedom, having found first Clifton Diocese, and now the University of San Diego, withdrawing invitations to speak, after someone noticed that her theological work is not so much a development, or even a distortion, of the Catholic tradition, as a vicious and incessant attack upon it. (Don't take my word for it: read Protect the Pope's collection of Beattie's little gems. The Bones does a very interesting analysis of the cancelled lecture itself.)

The genius of the 'dissenting Catholic' schtick over the last forty years and more is, while heartily detesting Catholic teaching, ridiculing the great Catholic thinkers of the past, and undermining every attempt by Bishops or laity to articulate or defend Catholic positions in public, they loudly proclaim their Catholic identity. This means that secular-minded academic administrators at various kinds of Catholic institutions, and above all the secular media, can present the dissident as a Catholic figure. A Catholic university or newspaper with a balance of Catholic and non-Catholic academics or contributors can make sure most of the former are dissidents. And every orthodox spokesman invited onto the radio or TV can be matched by a dissident, who by his or her very presence undermines the idea that there is a single, coherent Catholic view. The resources of the Church, and the Church's claim, just from its size and historical importance, to have a place at the table in public debate, can accordingly be used against the Church.

It has taken a long time, but Catholics in pews are waking up to this little trick, and are getting fed up with paying people to abuse them. We all get plenty of abuse as it is. Why should we give a platform to abusers?

I use the word 'abuser' deliberately. The Church has been like the partner of an abusive alcoholic, refusing to break the tie that makes it possible for the abuser to carry on perpetrating the abuse. Maybe we feel we deserve it. Maybe it is self-hatred. Maybe we still feel affection for the abuser. Maybe we are ashamed of admitting we made a mistake in hitching up in the first place. Maybe we desperately want to believe their protestations of love for us. But what if this person is not just beating us up, but beating up our children? Don't we at least have a duty to protect them? This consideration seems, at last, to be dawning on bishops and others exercising responsibility for souls.

I'm a Catholic academic, should I be shaking in my shoes at the thought of the Church putting the screws on academic freedom? I'm certainly not relying on the hope that influential churchmen share my opinions: traditionalism is far more marginalised, and treated with far more suspicion, in most Catholic institutions, than even quite extreme liberalism. But I'm not worried, for two reasons. One is that when I'm right it would be a wholesome and useful process to hear what objections there are to my views, and for me to give a defence of them; when I'm wrong it would be a wholesome and useful process for me to be corrected. But the second reason is more practically important: the Church has no power, or indeed wish, to silence academics. This isn't the Middle Ages (perhaps Beattie hasn't noticed). The institutions in which questions about one's adherence to Catholic orthodoxy might be raised, let alone have an influence over appointments or other goodies, are an utterly insignificant proportion of the academic world as a whole. If Beattie is any good, she's be able to find a job, or a speaking engagement, with any of thousands of non-Catholic institutions. Attempts by the Church to keep a space safe for Catholic education and discourse, by restricting the contributions of dissidents, have about as much effect on academic freedom as my switching off the TV, when it is polluting my living room with pornography, has on the freedom of broadcasters.

You can speak, Tina. We don't have to listen.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Mass at St Peter's today

Fr Z is blogging live; the NLM have stuff on it too.

Here's a pic of Fr Andrew Southwell (by Fr Z), until recently the LMS National Chaplain, and now doing studies in Rome.

And here's a glimpse of Cardinal Llovera, who celebrated the Mass toda, from the NLM.