Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Family Retreat: reply to 'Ora Pro Nobis'

Over on Fr Ray Blake's blog, some pseudonymous commenter suggests, not for the first time, that 'traditionalists' - presumably this means people attached to the traditional liturgy - don't do enough. This person's private apostolate is, apparently, to rid the Church of liberal Catholics by making them choke to death on their after-Mass biscuits by quoting the Catechism at them. Well, good for him (or her). There can be a place for that kind of thing, but it is not the only kind of activity pleasing in the sight of God. Far more productive, generally speaking, is the combination of the worthy worship of God and the Spiritual Works of Mercy, 'instructing the ignorant', 'comforting the afflicted', and 'giving counsel to the doubtful', where the recipients of our help actually want it. And this is what happens during a traditional retreat.

We've gone one further by making this experience available to the parents of families, and to their children, the lay people perhaps most under attack in our society, and most in need of support.

And we go a step further still by combining this with a Chant training weekend designed to improve the standard of liturgical music in parishes up and down the country, whether they sing for the Traditional Mass or the Novus Ordo. This year we had singers from the schola of St Bede's Clapham Park, the LMS Schola in Lancaster, the (lay) schola at Ealing Abbey, the Schola Abelis of Oxford, and the Juventutem Schola in Bristol.

How does this compare with forcing biscuit crumbs down liberal windpipes? Is this more productive, 'Ora Pro Nobis', or less? And how much effort, over how many years, and by how many people, does this work represent? Do you think it is easier, or harder, than learning a handful of proof texts from the Catechism?

It is a slightly depressing reality of the blogs that, looking at my statistics, far more people want to read me attacking Mgr Basil Loftus or Paul Inwood than want to read about the Masses, Pilgrimages, or other spiritual events with which I and the Latin Mass Society are involved. IMG_1031
Nevertheless, this is what we do: week after week, year after year. And I would suggest that far more hearts are softened to receive the fullness of the Faith by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Gregorian Chant, and the prayers of the Faithful at our holy places, than are by the combination of milky tea and fragments of chocolate digestive going down the wrong way during a spat with some self-appointed guardian of orthodoxy intent on making his parish social club into a war zone.IMG_2542


  1. Anonymous8:54 pm

    Well said, with charity.

  2. It was a fabulous weekend: thanks to all who worked so hard to make it possible!

  3. Great weekend, with excellent weather!

  4. It was a wonderful weekend, rich in both spiritual and social dimensions. For Catholic families to pray and play with a large number of like-minded families is of huge benefit. Heartfelt thanks to all who contributed to the retreat

  5. We went on the retreat. This year, after two years where I have been on my "own" i.e. just myself and some children, we decided to all go. "All" includes our son with Down's syndrome, who can be politely described as a "handful";).
    I don't know how much he got out of the weekend, or indeed my husband and myself, as it takes both of us to look after him. He briefly managed to go to one of the children's sessions with me, but decided it was more fun to throw things on the floor instead. So why did we attend? The benefit to my other children, who have a special needs sibling miss out on the whole family doing things. I trust the talks/catechesis given to my children, my 10 year old talks about the film about the Turin shroud she watched. My 13 year old son transformed into a helpful, mature boy for the weekend -was it good example?the freedom of the place? Catechesis that treated him like a thoughtful young man? Having his Dad AND Mum on the weekend? I don't know. I am delighted to see my 16 year old enjoying herself with friends AND being devout. What a joy to see her in some of the photos. So my husband and I missed most of the talks, as caring for a full-on child does that, but we felt almost normal, and who noticed our big noisy family among so many others?

  6. Greetings,

    Just before I start I think you ought to know that I am not being ironic when I state the following.....

    I have only just spotted this post after five months. I agree with absolutely everything you state above. I have previously 'got things wrong' (though I'm not probably quite as bad as you portray above). I had written a long reply, because there is an interesting back story, but thought I'd hold my hands up and say that you are right with everything you have stated. I do not write the blog anymore, what remains is detoxified. I may delete it shortly.

    I am a relatively young Catholic and Mr. Voris may have got me off on the wrong foot, though I agree with a lot of what he says. I also now believe that avoiding Catholicism on the internet is a good thing.

    I will not go into details, but what you state above about the positive effects of the old rite is true and is one of the defining factors in why I have moved on.

    I think I'll leave it at that.

  7. Oh I forgot, I was not referring to those attached to the Latin Mass when I talked about traditionalists (just so you know).