Saturday, July 13, 2013

Reply to Tracey Rowland

I noticed on Twitter, from people live-tweeting the Sacra Liturgia conference in Rome, that the Australian theologian Tracey Rowland was having a go at skirt-wearing traditionalists. Well, two can play at that game. Big floral prints are, in general, a risk...

She's now delivered herself of a three-point critique of those dreadful people who go to the traditional Mass (see comments by Fr Ray Blake and Fr John Abberton). They just get in the way of the Reform of the Reform, with their silly ideas and personal imperfections, moral and aesthetic. Rowland reminds me of the hospital manager who thinks his job would be easier if there were no patients.

Her three points are these.

1. When she goes to the EF, she afterwards finds herself 'surrounded by' people who pick over the liturgy like opera-buffs after an opera. They are attracted to the EF just by its beauty. She calls this 'Aestheticism'.

2. When other people go to the EF, they find themselves surrounded by people dressed as if from 'another era': so they tell her.

3. The EF is associated with a 'political' position: 'opposition' to the Second Vatican Council.

The first thing which strikes me is that the first two criticisms are pulling in different directions. What she is saying, essentially, in the first is that EF-goers are too middle class. They are educated, articulate, can detect 'buff notes', and like talking about it after Mass. The sort of people, in short, who might be friends of Tracey, and might accompany her to Mass or talk to her afterwards. Or who might turn up to a one-off special occasion Mass in a Cathedral with a special choir and so on. Perhaps this is the only kind of EF the great Professor has made it to.

In the second criticism, she is saying that EF-goers are not middle class enough. They are the sort of people who take the obligation to dress modestly more seriously than the demands of the modern fashion industry, and don't have the time, money, and perhaps fashion expertise to find the few clothes which are both 'with it' in fashion terms and still perform the function clothes once had, even in Australia, of, well, covering you up. So they end up looking a bit old-fashioned. These are not Tracy's friends: she doesn't say she's even seen these people herself, but she's heard about them from other people who like to dip into the EF occasionally as an alternative to their regular OF. So we are presumably talking about regular Masses with stable communities attached them.
Rowland's second criticism could be described as social, or moral (because those trads take morality too seriously - shame on them!), but above all it is aesthetic. Professor Rowland thinks it is wrong to criticise a professional choir for fluffing Lassus, but quite appropriate - indeed, a good thing - to criticise a Catholic mother for not having enough money to get the latest dress.

It is hard to know how Traditionalists are supposed to respond to this. When there is an opportunity to have an EF Mass in a prestigious church, perhaps a Cathedral like Sydney's which opens its doors to them after years of asking, the organisers - and I speak for myself too - tend to say: well let's make this as lovely as possible. Let's give glory to God on this special occasion, let's do something in accord with the nature of the church and reflective of our joy at this breakthrough. Let's get in a really good choir, never mind the cost, let's crack open the best vestments we can find, let's make sure the servers know what they are doing. So we do all that, and give it lots of publicity, and as well as the regulars from the EF community down the road it reaches out beyond the core vote, if you like to think in those terms, and draws in all sorts of people who think this is a good opportunity to experience the EF for once, and - who knows? - maybe like the chosen composer. And then afterwards some of these people talk about the music or the vestments or whatever and the entire movement gets tarred with the brush of 'Aestheticism', and you go back to your regular Sunday Low Mass with one server in a dark side-chapel at the crack of dawn, or a Missa Cantata in the middle of Sunday afternoon with a volunteer schola which has to struggle each week to get it right, and you think: why did I bother?
Sung Mass in Basingstoke: don't bother coming if you only want see Mass in Pugin churches
Well, Professor Rowland, let's just say that we bother not because we want to please you, but because we want to glorify God. Let Him be the judge of our efforts. If you don't like it, you can go and jump in the Pacific.

What of the last point? I was interested to see Fr Ray Blake summarise it as being about the 'politico-theological baggage', but that's not quite what she says in the video. She just calls it a 'political statement in opposition to the Second Vatican Council' (at about 2:10). 'Political' is code for 'theological position I don't like'. She is annoyed that too many people attending the EF don't agree with her take on Vatican II.

Again, this is in tension with her first point. Like the people criticised in the second point, the people she is talking about now do not just 'love the EF because it is beautiful'. It is hard to resist the idea that Rowland thinks that it would be better if they did. Their crime is to ponder the implications of the Catholic Faith which are so eloquently represented by the Traditional Liturgy, and to allow those implications to transform their lives and their thinking about a range of issues. If only, she seems to be saying, if only they were more superficially interested in the liturgy, if they just popped in and out of different kinds of Mass for a bit of 'enrichment' without thinking too hard about the theological issues this variety raises. Pope Benedict, of course, is a prime example of someone who doesn't just enjoy the variety of Masses facing the people or facing East, people kneeling for Communion or standing, and so on, but has to spoil the 'enrichment' by pointing out that there are serious theological problems with the usual OF practice, and insofar as that can be blamed on the Spirit of the Council, too bad for the Spirit of the Council.

Solemn Mass in Westminster Cathedral: there's not actually anything wrong with beauty. 
The fact is that anyone who goes regularly to the EF has to face, sooner or later, the question of what to make of the fact that the the Second Vatican Council called for changes to this Mass, the Mass they have come to love. I've written about the different options here: the point is that there is a range of views on the subject which are perfectly compatible with fidelity to the Magisterium. One of those options, of course, is that represented by Pope Benedict's private views in his great book The Spirit of the Liturgy. Those attached to the EF have to think about it, they have to read about it and to discuss it, if they are to live as thinking Catholics and not go mad.

The only alternative to this, Professor Rowland, is called Aestheticism.


  1. The Spirit of the Liturgy is read by most of those I know in the TLM in the States. Most of my confreres who attend the TLM regularly are solid Catholics in deed as well as Faith. They work in food banks and pro-life causes and home school, raising fine children who understand the Sacrifice of the Mass and daily life go hand in hand.

    As to aestheticism, this is the socialists argument against beauty and glory in Church architecture, music, vestments, all which are due to God in the virtue of religion. Yes, adoring God appropriately is a virtue. And, dress is part of this virtue, as well as the virtue of modesty, as well.

  2. I think you are missing the point of Dr Rowlands interview, which is obviously edited, and certainly not by her. I think this little video is mischievous, she is certainly, as the rest of her work would indicate no enemy of the TLM, on the contrary she is friend who offers quite profound intellectual insights into its importance and value in the Church today.

    She should be taken seriously, not ridiculed.

    She is talking about 'perceptions' that are laid on the Mass. Her main intellectual thrust is that the TLM is a very 'useful tool' for Evangelisation, more so in her opinion than the Novus Ordo.
    These three points she makes are about the political/theological baggage that is laid on the Usus Antiquior, not the Mass itself.
    I think Dr Shaw you really ought to look at what she actually says, rather than this knee-jerk response to a highlight from interview.

    Perhaps there is a 4th point that she could have made which concerns 'traddies' quoting things out of context, that is intellectually dishonest, relativistic and does the cause of authentic 'Tradition' no good whatsoever, it precisely what you rightly condemn the MGR for.

    1. Taken out of context? What, in your opinion, could the context add to what she said?

      For example, the comment about the "traddies" and their "funny cloths." Maybe there was a whole discussion about Traditional vs Novus Ordo lay Catholic clothing that was edited out? Those Novus Ordo Catholics, they just have so much more of a fashion sense. How dare traditional Catholics dress modestly right? Don't they have any fashion sense?

      I'm sorry, but that kind of comment deserves to be ridiculed. I fail to see what context could possibly add to such a comment.

  3. Fr Blake is right as usual.

    I watched the edited video, prepared for some Tina BT twaddle, but the points bear thinking about. There was a huge PR campaign in the late 80s against the SSPX - I have met many decent people who immediately think I am SSPX when they see I go to a Latin Mass. In Ireland especially.

    Remember, most older people see the headlines of a folded Universe on the table at the back - and the parish newsletter - and that is the beginning and end of their theological reading. Can't say I blame them when I read some of the tosh written by your friend Baz.

    In a spirit of ecumenism, however, I am going out today to Evans Outsize to get a pair of shorts to go to Mass in tomorrow. I'll let you know how I get on....

  4. Dear Chairman!

    Bravo! Tough worded and straight shooting, but clear thinking! Thank you!

    I'm thinking that this type of exchange could be a legitimate part of the process of "mutual enrichment" as well.

  5. No, Fr Ray is mistaken.

    I am engaging with her, not just ridiculing her. This post makes serious points.

    She is ridiculing traditionalists who take modesty seriously, so I have a little joke about her own dress sense, which seems to be fossilised 1980s. I think that is entirely appropriate, because it is clear she doesn't have a clue, and yet she's criticising others in a hurtful and thoughtless way. This kind of remark of hers deserves to be picked up and ridiculed.

    I am perfectly aware that she is is on the 'friendly to the EF' wing of theology, that's why she was at the conference. Her points of criticism of trads are in fact quite characteristic of that strand of opinion, and I am quite sure she would stand by them, even as they are, isolated from the talk as a whole. They need to be addressed, and that is what I am doing. They are incoherent, and involve an unattractive superior attitude: that needs to be brought out too.

    People who are vaguely friendly to the EF but who regard those who love it as some kind of lumpenproletariate of the Church who don't need compassion or understanding, but are just there to be kicked so you can show off how you can see both sides of the argument - no, they don't get a free pass on this blog.

  6. Hello Joseph,

    "This kind of remark of hers deserves to be picked up and ridiculed."

    Well, with respect: is it likely to change her mind?

    I had the same reaction to her concerns as you did; I found it all deeply off-putting, and unfair. It's one thing to get kicked around by the Paul Inwoods of the world, but it's dismaying to draw friendly fire like this. I just wonder if returning fire with snark about her appearance is really helpful here. Unlike the Loftuses of the world, there's a credible chance that Prof. Rowland might be open to some persuasion here.

    What strikes me about Prof. Rowland's attempt to identify barriers to wider appreciation of the Mass was that she didn't single out anything about the Mass *per se* - not the barrier of the Latin (which is a genuine barrier or difficulty for some), or the silent Canon, or how different it is from the OF. No, she singles out the *people* who often? sometimes? occasionally? attend the TLM. That it's because the TLM regulars dress like "Catholic Amish" with shapeless denim jumpers and Lord-knows-what, or pick apart Father's rubrics during the canon, or want to restore the Bourbons to the French throne (not stereotypes she expresses, but which we all know float around out there). I won't say that some trads (even ones who are my friends!) can't be a little offputting at first to visitors, or that the problem of aestheticism isn't a real one; I just think it's a greatly exaggerated problem. And I find it regrettable that Dr. Rowland feeds these stereotypes rather than deal with them in a balanced way.

    All that said, I didn't disagree with the substance of your concerns here. Indeed, I think you made some powerful points, especially about how exposure to the TLM must make us face squarely the fact that Sacrosanctum Concilium, even on a very, very conservative reading, *did* call for major changes to this Mass, and to ponder how advisable (even if well intentioned) many of those prescriptions (because prescriptions is all that they are, not doctrines) really were.

    Just my two shillings. Thank for the opportunity to comment, as always.

  7. I very rarely blog to change the mind of an international figure like Rowland. The chance of her reading this blog are infinitesimally small.

    Instead I make a contribution to the debate about her words.

    Here's a question for her, if she's reading: are her remarks going to change minds? No. Her ridiculing of trads is not intended to help them, but to help *her*: to distance her from them.

    I may in time post about the problem of the way some trads dress. But I will be careful to say that it is not a problem they have created. It is a problem created by the fashion industry, on the one hand, and the cowardly failure of the Catholic cultural elite to give any leadership, on the other. The trads are doing their best with very limited resources: to lampoon them for this is contemptible.

  8. Are videos of the Sacra Liturgia conference's lectures available? thanks

  9. Do you feel at all ungentlemanly for ridiculing her appearance? It seems very out of line, and I don't care "who started it". Nevermind that her glasses, hair, and outfit seem perfectly modest, up-to-date, and age-appropriate. But what do I know, I'm just a woman!

    The specific kinds of clothes one wears seems like the very definition of prudential judgement. So it seems like there should be room to say "I like your theology, I like your liturgy, I hate your dress sense." Or no? Is tolerance not enough? Must I approve of boxy button-down shirts with prairie skirts as a women's fashion? Must I affirm it as attractive despite all evidence to the contrary? Come on.

    But the more fundamental point is, it is not *virtuous* for a Catholic man to make demeaning comments about a woman's appearance, especially not in public, and especially by way of responding to her argument. It doesn't matter what she's advocating or how ugly she is. Hold yourself to a higher standard. Light casts out darkness. I think you owe her an apology.

  10. I agree with Jam. There needs to be a public retraction of such ad hominems.

  11. And what does JAM need? I'd start with a sense of humour.

  12. I was very disappointed to read this blog. I think that Professor Rowland has some very relevant things to say. To read this personally insulting diatribe does nothing for the credibility of the LMS. I am seriously considering cancelling my membership.

  13. I am female member of the EF congregations that Professor Rowland is so forward to criticise. And I am wholly in agreement with Athelstane that personal and inaccurate criticism from people who claim to be friendly is harder to bear than the animosity of Tablet-reading types.

    We've been attacked for our clothes. We've been attacked for the number of children we have. We've been attacked for homeschooling. Some of these attacks have even taken place in churches at the end of Mass. Why should we take it lying down, simply because the author of them goes to the EF once in a while? Is it no longer necessary to defend the Mass and the Faithful, when the attacker sometimes puts on sheep's clothing?

    I and many of the Catholic women I know have been deeply hurt by the extraordinarily rude things said on a whole range of subjects, not just by Professor Rowland but in print by journalists, and by other Catholics. It is very rare that we are able to defend ourselves. What Jam needs to understand is that Dr Shaw is riding to the defence of women who are often the butt of every kind of abuse, and whose voices are almost never heard. That's gallantry.

  14. You should be ashamed of the childish and unpleasant remarks you made about Professor Rowland. You do neither yourself nor the LMS any credit.

  15. This comment came through to my email, but didn't publish; in case the author had second thoughts, I won't reveal his identity.

    Dear Chairman!

    Bravo! Tough worded and straight shooting, but clear thinking! Thank you!

    I'm thinking that this type of exchange could be a legitimate part of the process of "mutual enrichment" as well.

  16. The Council did call for limited changes. But the New Mass as it emerged in 1969 was far in excess of anything foreseen in Sacrosanctum Concilium. Worse than that, the subsequent range of unauthorised variations and abuses, some of which were subsequently temporarily permitted by indult, amounted to an attempt to alter the very theological nature of the Mass.

    This, allied to the widely encouraged belief that the Traditional Mass had been abolished, amounted to, in my personal opinion, an attempt at a further Reformation, let’s call it a liberal/Modernist Reformation, although I am sure history will find its own name.

    Benedict put an end to this nonsense, in declaring that the ancient Catholic Mass was not, and could not have been, abolished and continues today as one of two co-equal forms of the Western Latin Rite.

    But the New Mass as usually practised is still liturgically implicitly erroneous as well as being simply an unattractive form of worship hence the still steadily declining attendance by the young and of course by the elderly for obvious reasons.

    The Success or otherwise of the “Reform of the Reform” of the New Mass will decide whether or not we continue to have two forms of Mass in the Western Rite. Time will tell!

  17. Sorry, I should have said. I have already commented specifically on Dr Rowlands points on Fr Blake's blog, and am but trying to "widen" the discussion.

  18. Please, for the love of God and holy our faith take this post off ASAP! It is doing serious damage touching very raw nerves, causing disputes and divisions in the traddy movement will we can ill afford to have right now and bringing the level of debate to kindergarten level ad hominem attacks.

  19. I hugely enjoy your feisty blog posts that put up counter arguments to positions taken by Mgr Loftus in the Catholic Times. He is a headstrong trendy and needs to be taken down a peg or two.

    In my view, however, there is no need to go on the warpath against Professor Rowland. If the Catholic Church had another great schism tomorrow you and she would end up on the same side of the divide. "Forbid him not; for he that is not against you, is for you."

  20. I am torn on this. It seems over the top, and Rowland is overall a conservative. On the the hand: Traddies are not aliens... THEY are the friends of the Faith. The priests and career academics who fall over themselves"implementing Vatican II" have been somewhat hopelessly compromised, and it may be good to let them know this, instead of forever appealing to Ratzinger and Guardini as conservative 'Go to' sources vs the mixed bags even they are. Until the Vatican II illusionist behind the curtain is more widely called out, we will see no meaningful change in the larger church, and these polite symposiums are really just feel-good cry sessions or preening. A little honesty here is bracing. Rowland, again, has done helpful things--but read her book on Benedict XVI and you get a fuller picture that she is very much a "moderate."

  21. She should get a taste of what she's dished out thoughtlessly. Thank you for stepping up, at the risk of being called "ungallant."
    I don't know that it's likely to get her thinking about what she said, but it can't hurt for her to feel "an equal and opposite reaction" to her thoughtless and uncharitable words.

  22. I'm not a member of the LMS. I tend to the conservative in my faith, and would dearly love to see the liturgy as experienced by most Catholics re-connect to its history. I guess that puts me in a similar place to the good Professor (though without her depth and breadth of learning). So I hope you take it in good part when I say that I appreciate what you've said and how you've done so. Thanks.

  23. I encourage all readers to forever renounce the use of Orwellian newspeak such as "Extraordinary Form," "hermeneutic of continuity," "mutual enrichment," "unity in diversity," and so on ad nauseum.

    Change language and you change thought. No, it's no accident that such newspeak is at the core of the Judas Council Revolution.

  24. Dr. Shaw, what Professor Rowland said and what you replied to do not appear to be the same thing.

    Her essential points could have been put forth unchanged by daily attendee and fervent devotee of the EF. Some of our fellow traditionalists do, in practise, turn the liturgy into a matter of aesthetics. Some traditionalists do make a virtue not of dressing modestly (let us use the celebrated rules given in Rome under Pope Pius XI), but of dressing, as has been elsewhere put, "like the Amish". Finally. some attend the EF as a form of demonstrated opposition to the Second Vatican Council (and even to the Magisterium); more importantly, quite a number of Catholics who do not attend the EF see such attendance as exactly that.

    Dr. Shaw, if Professor Rowland is so bad at making distinctions as your interpretation of her words makes her out to be, then as a fellow traditionalist I have great sympathy for and substantial agreement with your points, although none for your tone. But if she isn't, and in charity I must presume so until the opposite is proven, then you fired your volley at the wrong target.

    1. Oh that really would be a boring observation by Prof Rowland, and it could be made of any congregation of any Mass.

      What she is actually saying is that these traits are in some sense characteristic of the EF community and are a fault. This is quite different and needs to be addressed.

    2. Well, they are disproportionately characteristic of EF-attenders/communities.

      In any case, whether or not you find her argument boring, it isn't her argument that you addressed, and, furthermore, even if you are entirely right about her argument and I am thoroughly wrong, your end did not justify your means.

  25. I would like to thank you for this post. More often than not, traditionalists are attacked more vehemently by those who are "friendly" to the TLM.

    It was the third point with which I'm most concerned, though, and it is here that the attack on traditionalists is the most insidious, because it amounts to an attack on the whole of the Catholic faith.

    It assumes that there is no crisis, but only misguided interpretations. This attitude unjustly lumps traditionalists with radical liberals, in that neither side accepts the interpretation of the mainstream conservatives.

    The reason this is so insidious is because it equates the way the faith was always believed and lived prior to the Council (which is, simply, the essence of modern Catholic traditionalism) as an erroneous "interpretation" akin to liberalism. This is a very subtle form of post-modern subjectivism, passed off as "conservative" and "orthodox".

    All Catholics must now agree with the "hermeneutic of reform in continuity" crowd, if not, they aren't Catholic. By association Catholics prior to the Council weren't truly Catholic either. Following the logic of the "hermeneutic of reform in continuity crowd", Catholicism didn't really begin until the "conservatives" interpreted the Second Vatican Council.

    1. Actually, it's a normal part of Catholic life and history that a later generation is called upon to believe points that an earlier generation wasn't obliged to believe explicitly. In this sense we can't be content with the leeway of interpretation earlier times might have had, as the Magisterium gives us more and more precise understandings with the passage of the centuries.

      This isn't simply 'mainstream conservative opinion', but the teaching of the Magisterium itself. Ven. Pius XII explained in 'Humani Generis', 'history teaches that many matters that formerly were open to discussion, no longer now admit of discussion.'

      'The Faith' never changes, but gradually false interpretations that are extraneous to the Faith are cleared away.

      A classic example is St Thomas and the Immaculate Conception. Of course, this concerns what later became infallible dogma, but something analogous is true for non-infallible yet authoritative teaching guided by the Holy Spirit. This includes the teaching of Vatican II, which according to the mind and will of Paul VI belongs to the Ordinary Magisterium.

      The Extraordinary Form will flourish and gain adherents as Pope Benedict desired, the more everyone associates its supporters with due respect for all 21 Ecumenical Councils of the Church, as Prof. Rowland encourages.

  26. THANK YOU dear, Mr. Shaw!!

    I'm amazed how perceptive you are as ANY woman knows these are insults from Dr. Rowland toward us Traditional Catholic women trying to preserve the Whole Catholic Faith in our homes through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass no matter how we dress...all women KNOW that the meanest way to hurt a woman/mother is by talking about her "fashion" style.

    GO TO CRY?

    Where do mothers go to cry
    When there's no money for food to buy...
    Or when worn out so big with child
    Her clothes thread-bare her hair so wild?

    Where do mothers go to cry
    When others laugh at her sad sigh
    Because it's all become too much
    And mock, "Her Faith is such a crutch."

    Where do mothers go to cry
    All sanitized they pass her by
    And talk about her sloppy house
    "And does she ever change that blouse?"

    Where do mothers go to cry
    With many babes upon her thigh
    And older ones to clothe and feed
    Who somtimes fight - her heart does bleed.

    Oh, where do mothers go to cry
    When tired at night she asks God, "Why?"
    Then strong her husband pulls her nigh...
    And kisses she can cry.


    I fight the flesh
    The world's no test
    When I fight the devil
    I'm at my best

    But combat boots
    Size 8 for me
    I wear when I fight the

    (BTW, I'm married to a Ph.D.)

  27. Firstly, just to try and air the absolute absurdity that no one is point out, How does Dr. Rowland's comment imply she thinks those who attend the Extraordinary Form dress "too modestly?" Her comments about dress are only a point in her wider comment that the culture around the Extraordinary Form, one which wishes to make clear in every way it's different from the world and takes umbrage at any comment that can be interpreted as being harsh, is a barrier to opening it to others. As is in full display here.

    However, anytime one points out a traditionalist's uncharity, that person needs to get a backbone, a sense of humor, or fix some other character defect. But when it's perceived that some one in the "modernist Church" is uncharitable toward traditionalists, no character defect is found in the traditionalists, just uncharity in the speaker with pious comments about "we just want to be allowed to believe as Catholics always have."

    Dr. Rowland's comments regarding political-sociological baggage are completely true and this post and many of those backing it prove the situation

  28. Thomas said:

    "Dr. Rowland's comments regarding political-sociological baggage are completely true"

    "Hypocrisy with a halo"!!

  29. Via email.

    Dear Doctor Shaw,

    You were indeed correct to pick up on this lady’s short video, which is open to criticism on many fronts. I wonder why it was released ? But then, I have a suspicious mind and always question assertions, preferring facts, which the Prof does not supply, relying on vague assumptions mostly. It seems she was speaking at a Vatican conference on the Sacred Liturgy, so proper academic practice would thus have been better and, I do not completely believe her. So much of what she say goes against my empirical experience of the TLM in a large number of churches and countries.

    Firstly, her attitude was, to me, defo on the prissy side, rather condescending and patronising, with a faint whiff of superiority. How is it that she is “often surrounded by people after Mass” asking her dumb questions ? Is she a recognised authority on the Mass of All Time ? How and why ? We should remember being a female professor of theology who professes Catholicism provides no guarantee of passing on authentic and orthodox Catholic doctrine, nor indeed, accurate information about the TLM. Before the lawyers climb in, I’m not here referring to our Tracey.

    But I cannot help wondering how it is that she seems to attract such inquisitive folk ? Why do people with genuine and serious questions not speak to their priest ? He will know what he is talking about.

    So these occasional visitors to the Old Rite notice others wear “home clothes”, a new phrase to me, which puts them off assisting at Mass ? These same people are also deterred from attending the TLM by the “political statement” made in opposition to V2.

    What is the woman going on about ? What on earth does she go to Mass for ? She clearly agrees with these “visitors” about comparing styles, sermons, what people wear and whether or not a singer hit top C. This latter point is underlined by a neat clip of the Sydney Opera House in the background for those thickos who don’t know much about opera. The video is propaganda, pure and simple, I’d say.

    Yes, RCs may have always had a small fringe of people who do present a somewhat superior/educated and presumptuous attitude after Mass and they may indeed criticise priests, people and other things which they would better be advised not to do. Some people cannot help but blab. I remember this from countless years ago when I was a very young lad serving at one particular church, which was reckoned by some to be a Toff’s church, even though the majority of the congregation were ordinary working-class folk, as were we. Also, Yes, at times I’ve seen some of them after the TLM, in different countries, causing great trouble with their gossip. But this rare behaviour is not the way to Salvation and Prof Tracey is wrong and, I believe, acting mischievously, putting it mildly, to imply a) it exists everywhere and b) it is common practice and c) it is important.

    A curious point occurs to me : This Prof does not seem to be aware of the existence of Low Mass. It’s not mentioned. Why not ? Undoubtedly a church may attract one or two who go to be seen at the sung Mass, but it is almost unheard of at Low Mass.

    On the evidence of this video, she is quite a lightweight, with some clear hang-ups and is poorly informed on the Liturgy.


    1. I dare say she wouldn't have been invited to be a speaker at Sacra Liturgia 2013 - nor gotten plenty of applause after her talk - if she were poorly informed on the subject of the liturgy.

  30. Dear Joseph,
    Can you please remove the photo in this post which was taken in St Mary's Cathedral Sydney? I am the photographer and this is copyrighted. Only Shawn Tribe of NLM was given
    permission to use it. As you would appreciate photographs such as this take time, money and effort to produce.
    Thanks for your understanding,
    Chris Steward

  31. Dear Dr Shaw,

    Thank you for confirming all my prejudices about the traditionalist movement.

  32. She looks like Hyacinth Bucket in that dress.

  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

  34. jdh said:

    "Dear Dr Shaw,

    Thank you for confirming all my prejudices about the traditionalist movement."

    Yes, indeed, as someone else said about us Traditional Catholic women...

    "Cet animal est tres mechant
    Quand on l'attaque il se defend!"

    "This animal is very wicked
    When attacked it defends"

  35. What sort of glasses do you wear Mr Shaw?

    And Mr Ingledew, I suggest you stick to the TV

    pretty poor form, what..

  36. I know of Dr Rowland only through her published work, which I admire, and was very sadly disenchanted by the comments on the TLM attributed to her - comments which now appear to have been edited and stripped of their context, as others have pointed out.

    I would be gratified if, following the lively interest in her remarks, she were to follow up with an article expanding on her observations and giving them their proper context. We could then, perhaps, engage with any real issues properly.

    Just recently, I attended a Missa Cantata and Benediction in the Church of the Holy Cross in the centre of Kraków. This was the main 10.30 am Sunday Mass in a church which is by no means a "traddy" stronghold (there was a "Childrens Mass", complete with Q&A sessions, following). Those attending the packed church were a normal, church-going congregation, principally characterised by young families, and not a mantilla in sight. Whereas EF masses which I attend in London can sometimes seem stilted or "special", this was entirely natural and comfortable - and "normal". It reminded me, if anything, of the EF Masses I attended, and served, in the 1960s.

    We must, I think, admit that because of the particular embattled circumstances of the EF (and the Novus Ordo as it should be celebrated) in the anglophone world, where the "Spirit of Vatican II" still holds intellectual sway, that our celebrations of the EF have something of the secret Masses of Elizabethan England about them, and that we behave accordingly.

    That someone alien to the age-old celebration of Mass should pick up on a "precious" atmosphere among the congregation should not strike us as odd. Insulting, disparaging and half-baked remarks, on the other hand are always to be deplored.

    Pray for a time when the Extraordinary Form can become once again an "ordinary" experience.

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  38. Dear Mr. Shaw,

    I wanted to heartily thank you for speaking, as a man, in defence of the traditional women who are attempting to veil themselves in accordance with the Faith's demands.

    I can personally attest that it is an arduous task: it took me eight years to achieve a kind of balance between ascetics and aesthetics in dress, mostly due to the need to: iron out what was necessary, build up the funds to buy quality clothing, and commit trial and error as to what was becoming and what would remain fashionable even if it were no longer trendy.

    The labour is extensive and with no discernible reward. By which I mean, as many know, women like to feel pretty and have a weakness for wanting admiration. We are wired to be mainstream and conservative (in the middle-of-the-road sense, not the necessarily the political one). To take the plunge and go counter-cultural is against feminine nature and to be overlooked by men and sneered at by fellow women is often what I think leaves *some* (certainly not all) traditional women with that stern look on their face.

    They feel that they cannot be pleasing in any worldly sense, so they mask their vulnerability. Be assured, our female relatives and acquaintances are merciless to us in their criticism, while men in general cause [some of] us to feel singularly unappealing or that we are doing all of this for nothing--and they are the very gender whom we are trying to protect.

    My father's, two priests', and eventually my husband's, approval helped me rediscover my joy in that aspect of womanhood and reassured me that I had not been carrying on this fight for nothing.

    Ladies *need* male feedback to know if modesty is even necessary, and those such as Professor Rowland are always trying to make us think we're mad and overly scrupulous. Thank you for taking the time to address an issue that I am sure most gentlemen would rather avoid! The ladies appreciate it. :)

    Pax Tecum!