Monday, March 30, 2015

Loftus and the Missal translation

I've put my readers through some tedious drivel in talking about Mgr Basil Loftus, so this post will keep to short quotations which, if they were not so scandalous, would be rather amusing. For in talking about the 2011 translation of the Ordinary Form Missal, Loftus leaves behind all restraint.

5 Sep 2010: ‘If you control the language, you control the people. That seems to the hidden agenda. The door is closing on people’s freedom to express themselves to God in prayer.’

31 July 2011: ‘…The need for mankind to express itself in the vernacular, recognised by Vatican II, will not be met if a stilted, outdated, pompous and artificial vocabulary inhibits and frustrates our more natural and spontaneous expression of the excitement with which we discover both nature and the supernatural.’

26 May 2013: ‘an unwanted and unwelcome, artificial and stilted, unprofessional and occasionally theologically inaccurate translation of the Mass'

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Loftus and the authority of the Holy See

The Editor of the Catholic Times, Kevin Flaherty, tells us that Mgr Basil Loftus provides his readers with 'a loyal summary of 'counsel' coming from the Holy See, and in particular from the Holy Father.' 20 March 2015.

So it will be interesting to have a look at what Loftus has to say about one of the most closely-guarded prerogatives of the Holy See: the authority to regulatge the liturgy, part of the munus of the Holy Father himself, as we are reminded by the Instruction Universae Ecclesiae 8.

Do we read Loftus accepting with docility the rulings of the Holy See, through the offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei? Does he seek to understand the reasoning behind their decrees, urge everyone to obey them, and perhaps humbly petition for sensible changes in the future? Well, no.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Holy Week in England and Wales

From the Rosary Walk at Our Lady of Consolation, West Grinstead
From the Latin Mass Society
The locations (6) in the country where the full ceremonies of Holy Week (Liturgy and Office) will be celebrated:

St Mary Moorfields, Eldon Street, LONDON EC2M 7LS
Wed 1 Apr (Spy Wednesday) Tenebrae 6.30pm
Thu 2 Apr (Holy Thursday) Sung Mass 6.30pm
Fri 3 Apr (Good Friday) Tenebrae 10.30am, Solemn Liturgy 5.30pm
Sat 4 Apr (Easter Vigil) Tenebrae 10.30am, Sung Mass 4.00pm

Well done to the 500 priests

Signatory: Fr Anthony Conlon,
former National Chaplain to the LMS
I have been away from my desk, but I want to record my gratitude and admiration for the preists who signed the letter to the Catholic Herald which was published online this week.  I append the letter and the list of signatories to the end of this post. Many of these priests are familiar to me through the work of the Latin Mass Society, because they say the Traditional Mass (they include the LMS' National Chaplain, Mgr Gordon Read); many others are new names. Let us pray for them all.

Cardinal Nichols has suggested that the priests' concerns would best have been communicated to the bishops privately, not through the press. I, respectfully, disagree. While I can see the argument about not doing the Church's dirty laundry in public, this letter is not an attack on anyone, just a statement of fidelity to the Church. For that is what fidelity to tradition in teaching and discipline is.

And this letter is not addressed to the bishops. No doubt the bishops will benefit from reading it, but the lay faithful and non-Catholics also need to read this letter, to gain a sense of what is at stake.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Loftus and the teaching of the Church

Although vulgar abuse of named or otherwise clearly identifiable individuals takes up a lot of Mgr Basil Loftus' column space, and his endless screeds against the 2011 translation of the Ordinary Form Missal a lot more, never let it be said that he does not address serious theological topics, for he takes the time also to deny fundamental principles of Catholic teaching too. The Editor of the Catholic Times, Kevin Flaherty, made it clear last weekend that his post-bag has been filling up with complaints about Loftus' advocacy of Communion for Catholics in irregular unions, but this is a mere detail in Loftus' deviation from the teaching of the Church. He is just as happy to advocate giving Communion to those living in sin, or in homosexual unions, as I have several times noted on this blog: see here, and here.

Loftus' denial of the teaching of the Church on homosexuality has caused particular concern. Loftus even went so far as to attack his fellow Catholic Times columnist, Fr Marsden, in the paper's correspondence column, for his temerity for reiterating the teaching of the Church. In his letter, Loftus artlessly revealed that he does not believe that the Church's teaching on morals is ever infallible: at least, that seems to be the implication of this contorted passage.

‘When Fr Marsden (Credo, The Catholic Times, March 6) lumps together as instances of “dissent” from “the faith which is believed”, the denial of Christ’s divinity, the ordination of women, and the “extolling” of what he terms “sodomistic relationships” as an alternative to matrimony, he mixes apples with pears.
‘The divinity of Christ has been revealed by God, and calls for the assent of faith.
‘The other two instances are taught by the magisterium of the Church to be wrong.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Loftus and the bishops

In my last post, I wondered whether Mgr Basil Loftus deserves to be defened by Kevin Flaherty, the Editor of The Catholic Times, who wrote last weekend:

'Vatican Counsel' [the name of the column] aims to be just that - a loyal summary of 'counsel' coming from the Holy See, and in particular from the Holy Father.' 20 March 2015

I demonstrated that Loftus has nothing but hatred and contempt for the institutions of the Holy See, notably for the Congregation for Divine Worship, and for the curial Cardinals, including not only theological conservatives like Cardinal Burke ('judgemental zealot'), Cardinal Muller ('not fit for purpose') and Cardinal Ranjith ('Sri Lankan cappa magna fetishist and Tridentine-rite devotee'), but Cardinals of a quite different stripe, like Cardinal Bertone (the 'previous Cardinal Secretary of State is constructing his own “Trump Towers” right next door to the hostel where the Pope lives'). Although ideology is certainly important to Loftus, he is ready to spew his bile at anyone who comes to his attention, like some kind of loathsome toad.

And he does the same with our own bishops in the UK, with and under whom we are united with the Holy See. Here are some highlights.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Loftus and the Gestapo

Last weekend the Editor of the Catholic Times felt the need to include in the Letters page a little defence of Mgr Basil Loftus, at some length.

Some letters sent to The Catholic Times in recent times imply that the notion of exploring the possibility of divorced and remarried Catholics receiving Communion emanates from Mgr Basil Loftus. It does not, 'Vatican Counsel' [the name of the column] aims to be just that - a loyal summary of 'counsel' coming from the Holy See, and in particular from the Holy Father.' 20 March 2015

So just how 'loyally' does Loftus 'summarise' what comes from the Holy See? The Editor, Kevin Flaherty, doesn't seem to have noticed the content of Loftus' column in the very same edition, where the Congregation for Divine Worship's role in promulgating the 2011 translation of the Ordinary Form Missal is compared to the work of the Gestapo.

Peter Kwasnieski in Mass of Ages

Ecce, Agnus Dei: High Mass in Holy Trinity, Hethe, Oxfordshire 
Another article worth highlighting in the current Mass of Ages is an interview with Prof Peter Kwasniewsk, an academic who is, like me, involved in a range of initiatives in support of the Tradition.

You can read it here; the whole magazine is available free from your friendly local parish: if not, get your parish priest to ask for copies for the next edition.

I've blogged about Prof Kwasnieski's new book, Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis, here.

Support the work of the LMS by becoming an 'Anniversary Supporter'.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

1998 ICEL: a twitching dead horse

The things which create a barrier to immediate, word-by-word comprehension are the same
things that create a sense of awe in the liturgy.
Fr Gerald O'Collins SJ, one of the translators of the 1998 translation of the Ordinary Form Missal which was rejected by the Holy See, is so enraged by the attempt to use language with an appropriate dignity in the 2011 translation approved by the Holy See, that he has written an open letter to the Bishops calling on them to use the 1998 version anyway. There is, of course, absolutely no chance of that happening, and the letter comes across as rather forlorn.

Never one to wait before jumping on such a bandwagon, Mgr Basil Loftus has this weekend weighed in, to explain that the 2011 translation was a conspiracy by traditionalists. Yes, really. (The Catholic Times, 20 March 2015.)

The present English translation was sired by a Roman Curia Divine Worship Congregation which in all but name was a Trojan Horse for the infiltration of the Tridentine-rite Mass into the wider Church. At that time you had more chance of finding a needle in a haystack than of identifying one of its senior officials who celebrated Mass in any other rite.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Congratulations, Fr Robin Farrow


Last evening I attended the priesly ordination of Fr Robin Farrow, in St Joseph's church in Guidford. He was ordained by Archbishop Peter Smith.

He had a cake from Lucy Shaw Cakes.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Historical and Liturgical issues

I have been trying to make this blog a bit more user-friendly; a vast amount of material, some of which involved a significant amount of research, is only retrievable if you know the exact search term to use. This is a particular problem for historical and liturgical issues, since there are just so many of them.

First, I have discussed a number of documents, some of which are presented here for the first time in English, or in searchable formats: I now have these under the Documents tag.

On Latin in seminaries, these include Inspectis dierum (and here) (1989), Officiorum omnium (and here) (1922), Veterum Sapientia (1962), Sacrificium laudis (1966) (with also a note about Canon 249 and Sacramentum Caritatis).

On the location of the tabernacle and liturgical orientation, these include Pius XII's 1957 Assisi address and the decree Santissimam eucharistiam (1957); there is commentary on this issue under this label.

On the Eastern Churches, these include 'Observations' on the reform of the Syro-Malabar rite (1984) and Il Padre, incomprensibile (1996).

I have posted about important errors in widely-used translations of Quo primum (1570), Summorum Pontificum (2007), and Universae Ecclesiae (2011); on the last I have posted about an entirely new translation.

I have also put up some important long quotations from Dietrich von Hildebrand, including a series on beauty in the liturgy;

and extracts from Anne Roche Muggeridge (theology and the crisis in the Church).

Second, I have discussed a series of issues about the sociology of the Church, which now have their own tag.

Specifically, these posts concern the writers Anthony Archer, Leon Podles, Patrick Arnold, and Linda Woodhead.

Third, I have discussed a series of issues relating to specific liturgical issues. The best starting point is the set of FIUV Position Papers on the FIUV website, but I have additional discussion on each of them on this blog as well, in many cases over several posts.

Below are the titles of the papers, linked to the paper itself, and a link to further discussion on this blog.

PP 1: The Service of Men and Boys at the Altar (and on this blog here)
PP 2: Liturgical Piety and Participation 
(and on this blog here)
PP 3: The Manner of Receiving Communion 
(and on this blog here)
PP 4: Liturgical Orientation 
(and on this blog here and here)
PP 5: The Vulgate and Gallican Psalter 
(and on this blog here)
PP 6: Liturgical Pluralism 
(and on this blog here)
PP 7: Latin as Liturgical Language 
(and on this blog here)
PP 8: Prefaces 
(and on this blog here)
PP 9: Silence 
(and on this blog here)
PP 10: Eucharistic Fast 
(and on this blog here)
PP 11: Western Culture 
(and on this blog here)
PP 12: Latin in Seminaries 
(and on this blog here)
PP 13: Holy Days of Obligation 
(and on this blog here)
PP 14: Holy Week Reform of 1955, Part I - General Comments

PP 14: Holy Week Reform of 1955, Part II - Liturgies 
(on Holy Week issues see this blog here)
PP 15: The Lectionary of the Extraordinary Form 
(and on this blog here)
PP 16: The Proclamation of Lections in Latin in the Extraordinary Form 
(and on this blog here)
PP 17: The Reception of Communion under the Species of Bread Alone in the Extraordinary Form 
(and on this blog here)
PP 18: The Missa Lecta 
(and on this blog here)
PP 19: The Kiss of Peace 
(and on this blog here)
PP 20: The Season of Septuagesima, and Vigils and Octaves, in the Extraordinary Form 
(and on this blog here)
PP 21: The Extraordinary Form and the Eastern Churches 
(and on this blog here)
PP 22: Headcoverings in Church in the Extraordinary Form 
(and on this blog here)
PP 23: The Extraordinary Form and China 
(and on this blog here)
PP 24: Prayers for the Persecuted Church and the Leonine Prayers 
(and on this blog here)
PP 25: The Extraordinary Form and Sub-Saharan Africa (and on this blog here)
PP 26: The Extraordinary Form and Men (and on this blog here).
PP 27: Tradition, Reform, and Restoration (and on this blog here)
PP 28: The Good Friday Prayer for the Jews (and on this blog here)

Another issue is that of the new translation of the Ordinary Form.

Support the work of the LMS by becoming an 'Anniversary Supporter'.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

More from Loftus on the joys of divorce, fornication, and gay sex


Loftus is on fine form in his Catholic Times column of 13th March 2015.

It is no use citing over and over again the spiritual perfection of a marriage in which every sexual act is open to conception. The reality is different. It's no use emphasising the complementarity of the two genders to men or women who find sexual intimacy repugnant if it is not with someone of their own gender.

Pope Francis said in his apostolic exhortation - The Joy of the Gospel - that "reality is greater than ideas". This applies not only to the sphere of economics, but to the whole of humankind's activity. And one of today's realities is that young people live together before or without getting married. And in many cases they guard their mutual faithfulness with a zeal which at least matches that of married couples.

The divorced and remarried are often not capable of leaving one another - or of living as brother and sister. Indeed in many cases consideration of the children would on its own make it morally wrong for them to leave one another, and since they are palpably not brother and sister, then for them to try to live as such in close domestic proximity could on its own bring about all the harmful psychological effects that flow from trying to live any kind of lie.

Don't bother trying to change or adapt the law - just do what realism rather than ideology demands, and for the rest trust in God's merciful understanding.

If there is some kind of liberal breakthrough at the Synod over remarried divorcees receiving Holy Communion, don't expect things to stop there. Loftus is perfectly correct to sense that once that principle is breached, the whole of moral theology will collapse like a pack of cards: gay sex, fornication, you name it. Why not add arson and murder? It won't be possible to refuse anyone Communion, it won't be possible to give any teaching on morality.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Schellhorn Prize awarded to Marco Galvani

A Press Release from the LMS, which has supported this prize by allowing the winning piece to be performed at our Easter Triduum services in St Mary Moorfields in London.

The winner of the 2015 inaugural Schellhorn Prize for Sacred Music Composition has been announced.

Young composer Marco Galvani wins a £500 prize and a world premiere during the Holy Week services at St Mary Moorfields Catholic Church in the City of London.

Marco, 20, from Prenton on the Wirral, is a second-year Music student at The Queen’s College, Oxford. His piece ‘Ecce Quam Bonum’, a short setting of the first verses of Psalm 133, will be performed on Holy Saturday.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The EF and Japanese culture

Blessing of the subdeacon after the chanting of the Epistle in High Mass (Holy Trinity, Hethe)
Recently I published a Position Paper on the Extraordinary Form in China. One of the things discussed in the paper is the connection between the sacrality, notably of the ritual, and traditional Chinese culture, and particularly Confucianism. There is an article in the current Mass of Ages about the resonance the Extraordinary Form has in Japan.

Asian cultures are ritualistic: or, better, they express themselves through symbolic gestures. For a culture to make extensive use of symbolic gesture there must be stability in the meanings of the gestures: otherwise, they would not be understood. This means ritual. What post-Enlightenment Westerners need to appreciate is that this stable, ritualised culture is not a hindrance to self-expression; like the linguistic conventions to which Westerners tend to limit themselves, ritual conventions make communication possible. If there is a structure of meanings, you can use that structure to say what you want to say.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Church and the secular man-crisis

A liturgy displaying seriousness: High Mass at Holy Trinity, Hethe, in Oxfordshire.
I blogged the other day about the 'man crisis' identified by the OECD. Now that this bastion of the mainstream has identified the problem, I think we can all talk about it openly. Boys and young men are not motivated to work hard at school and university in the way their fathers and grandfathers were. Given that, it is not too scary to observe that schools and universities have become feminised in certain ways. Boys are less free to be boys; school sports have declined; female teachers don't always understand or sympathise with their male pupils; boys get marked down in their work.

Within the Church, I have followed the argument made by Leon Podles that, over a period of centuries, men are demotivated and excluded by the model of spirituality presented to them, which is somewhat feminine. It is easy to find examples from the 20th century of popular religious art presenting the Faithful with very girly-looking male saints, and feminised depictions of Our Lord. Quite who these was supposed to appeal to, I don't know: these aren't the kinds of men women tend to find attractive, and the same popular art gives us androgynous-looking female saints. But it reflects the idea that the good Christian is feminine, in the debased sense of meek and mild. Even the Penny Catechism is at it:

347. What are the principal virtues we are to learn from our Blessed Lord?
The principal virtues we are to learn from our Blessed Lord are meekness, humility, and obedience.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Lenten alms?


There are many good causes in the world. Readers my be particularly interested in a way to help priests who want to say the Traditional Mass, but find themselves without financial support from any diocese or religious order.

This is the work of the Traditional Priests' Support Trust. See their website for more details.

Support the work of the LMS by becoming an 'Anniversary Supporter'.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Man crisis according to the OECD

The Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) produced a report on 5th March on the relative performance of boys and girls in education. There has been a good deal of discussion on this over recent decades; this study gives a solid empirical basis for it to continue.

(Summarising article in The EconomistOECD page with links to the whole report and other materials.)

On the right is part of an 'infographic' presenting some of the key findings. Another finding, which some readers will find surprising, is that women now outnumber men at university across the whole world, and by a big proportion in rich countries. In North America, the proportion of women is astonishing, though the trend has leveled off in the last few years: see the graph below, put together by The Economist.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Last call for Dr Saulnier meeting at the Oratory

Dr Saulnier
As noted on the blog earlier, I have closed bookings for lunch at the meeting of the Gregorian Chant Network at the London Oratory on Saturday 14th March; however, you can still come along.

Anyone can attend; the cost is £10; directors of Chant groups affiliated with the Network (or a substitute) can come for free. (Affiliation is also free.)

You can come on the day, or book in advance here.

The meeting will be addressed by Dr Daniel Saulnier, probably the most influential chant theorist and practictioner in the world, who will also lead a rehearsal for Vespers which we will celebrate at the end of the day.

It will also be addressed by Giovanni Varelli, who found the world's earliest polyphonic notation, an antiphon which will be performed on the day.

Registration is from 10:30am, Dr Saulnier will speak at 11am. There is a break for lunch and it ends with Vespers at 4:15, followed by tea.

The meeting itself will be in the St Wilfrid Hall, with Vespers in the Little Oratory.

Details here.

Support the work of the LMS by becoming an 'Anniversary Supporter'.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Receptions into the Church: what makes the difference?

The Tablet reported last weekend that the number of receptions at Easter this year will be the lowest for six years, having peaked in 2011. Not all converts are received at Easter, but one would expect the trends to be closely correlated. After the end of this graph, which goes up to 2010, then, it started going down again.

The 'bounce' in the number of conversions following the election of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI does not seem to have been repeated by Pope Francis. The numbers of receptions was elevated after St John Paul's election for several years, his visit in 1982 gave it another filip, and his generosity to Anglican refugees from the ordination of women in 1992 was an even bigger boost. The last years of his pontificate, on the other hand, were not so good. Pope Benedict's election, which was more closely followed by his visit, had a remarkable effect. Pope Francis does not appear to have had a similar effect.

All of this, of course, pales into insignificance compared to the calamitous decline of the 1960s, of fully 70%, and takes no account of lapsation rates which were sky high in that decade, and have been serious ever since. The number of Catholic marriages as a percentage of all marriages is not a bad measure of the Church's health, and it is not very healthy.

Catholic marriages as a percentage of all marriages in England and Wales (1913-2010)

But let's stick to receptions, it gives an indication of how attractive the Church is to outsiders. What drove the figures up and down? The impact of the World Wars is pretty obvious, as is things like new papacies. The cause of the really big drop is not so obvious. I've put in the dates of Vatican II, but the graph peaked in 1959. The liberals all point to Humanae Vitae, but it is hard to see what this has got to do with it, it was issued when most of the damage had already been done.

The simplest explanation is that the Church is more attractive, let us say to the people who might actually convert, when her message is clear. The election of two conservative Popes, St John Paul II and Pope Benedict, had a positive impact: that is undeniable. So did their visits to the UK, in which their conservative message was made with particular visibility. Humanae Vitae and Bl Paul VI's other conservative, dogma-reaffirming documents like Mysterium Fidei (1965) and the Credo of the People of God (1968) may have had something to do with the bottoming-out of the decline in 1971, along with the degree of liturgical stability brought about by the Novus Ordo Missae in 1970. The sense that anything was possible, that nothing was out of bounds, that the Church might do any kind of doctrinal 'back-flip', which was prevalent in the 1960s before, during, and after the Council, was obviously the worst possible message to send to sincere seekers after truth considering converting.

If you are thinking of converting, you'll want to know what is going to be expected of you. If it is all in a state of flux, you are going to hesistate. That's just obvious. If the flux carries on for an entire decade, this hesitation is going to have a disastrous effect on the number of new members.

But there is something more: even after the steep decline was arrested in 1970s, the Church was about a third as attractive as it has been on the eve of the Council. One might think that the peak of the 1950s was unsustainable, but if we consider conversions in relation to the Catholic population, it was less impressive than the situation between the wars.

Receptions per 1000 of the Catholic population of England and Wales (1913-2010)

The fact is that the Church had a very successful first half of the 20th century, and switched into an entirely different gear, a much lower gear, after 1960.

But this too makes sense on the basis of an analysis in terms of simple clarity of teaching. The pre-Conciliar Church was famous for its clarity. The liberals thought this was terrible, but it was attractive: along with other aspects of Catholic life, such as the much more stringent discipline, on fasting, holy days of obligation, and the marriage rules; in addition there was the traditional liturgy. These added up to a Faith which was demanding, and gave one a taste of the Mysterium tremendum.

Are you surprised? Frankly, if the Church can't present herself as serious, demanding, and holy, we can hardly expect people to flock to join.

Support the work of the LMS by becoming an 'Anniversary Supporter'.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Laird hats and Mass of Ages

The other day I took advantage, not for the first time, of the 15% discount offered to readers of Mass of Ages in Laird Hats. The have a branch in Covent Garden, 10 minutes' walk from the LMS office: 23 New Row (link to map). I'm delighted with my new, fur felt 'Signature' trilby; it is a fantastic shop, reassuringly busy on a Saturday afternoon.

The other hat I've bought here was a panama: that was in 2012. Two seasons is a very respectable life-time for a hard-working panama hat, I now need a replacement. I'll be back to Laird when they have their summer stock in.

This is another reason to get your hands on a copy of Mass of Ages; if your parish priest doesn't have them, for free, at the back of his church, ask him to drop the LMS office a line ( ). The advert for Laird, with the discount offer, is on p16.

Support the work of the LMS by becoming an 'Anniversary Supporter'.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Loftus on temptation as a source for theology

The proclamation of the Gospel for the Ember Saturday of Lent, LMS Pilgrimage to Caversham

Mgr Basil Loftus in The Catholic Times 6th March 2015.

The German bishops … are leading their more timid brethren in the episcopate away from over-reliance on scripture and tradition as the only sources of theological knowledge. They are exploring more and more … Bishop Franz-Joseph Bode ... described as “the reality of humankind and of the world”: “Not only must the Christian message find resonance in the people, but people need to strike a chord with us.” 

The key phrase is ‘theological knowledge’. As any child in a catechism class will (or should) tell you, Scripture and Tradition are the sole sources of the teaching of the Church, that is, of dogma. They convey to us the Deposit of Faith, given to the Church by God, to which nothing can be added or taken away.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

High Mass in Hethe, 8th March


I took these photos at the last Missa Cantata at Holy Trinity, Hethe, on the Second Sunday of February, which was Sexagesima.

With the assistance of Fr Gabriel Diaz, who is currently doing research in Oxford, we will have High Mass on 8th March, 3rd Sunday of Lent, at 12 noon. On the other Sundays of the month there is Low Mass.

Mass is accompanied by a small but very competant schola (if I may say so myself). In March the regulars will be joined by members of the Schola Abelis of Oxford.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

The Traditional Mass and children


I'd like to draw attention to Peter Kwasniewski's post on the New Liturgical Movement blog about children at the Extraordinary Form, and add some comments of my own.

I've written a lot about non-verbal communication in the liturgy, and when it comes to children, with limited verbal skills, this is obviously of special importance. The reformed Mass is all about verbal communication: as much as possible is said aloud, there is less repetition within the Mass and less repetition from week to week. Children aren't the only ones to appreciate non-verbal communication, of course. In the immortal words of a working-class Catholic in Newcastle, interviewed by the sociologist Anthony Archer, on the New Mass: 'It’s just like a lecture, man. It goes on and on.' Not because it is actually longer, but because it comes across as a long stream of verbiage. Archer's argument is that the New Mass is appreciated most by intellectually-minded, educated, articulate, middle class Catholics.

One might add that it is often said that women are more oriented to verbal communication than men. It is also said that spoken, as opposed to written, words, are less easily taken in by modern people, an argument frequently made against the use of lectures in education today. Pope Paul VI remarked 'modern man is sated with words'. These observations, taken together, would explain a lot about the typical size and composition of the Novus Ordo congregation, but that would take me off the point.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Job available at the Latin Mass Society

St Francis de Sales
St Francis de Sales, Patron of Journalists, depicted in
Bl JH Newman's room at the Birmingham Oratory
The current Editor of Mass of Ages is stepping down, and we are advertising the position.

It is freelance, done from home. The magazine is quarterly; the Editor's job is to source the contributions, both articles and pictures, and put the whole thing together. We need someone with experience of doing this: editing.

The pay is £13,000 a year, or £3,250 per issue, which is better than a poke in the eye.

More details here. The deadline is the end of March. The current Editor is doing the next edition, due out at the start of May, the new Editor would do the edition after that.

Support the work of the LMS by becoming an 'Anniversary Supporter'.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

High Mass for Our Lady and the Ember Saturday in Caversham


The LMS Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Caversham usually coincides with the Ember Saturday of Lent. It is rare for the liturgy of any of the Ember Saturdays to be celebrated with full solemnity, and that is what we do: High Mass with all the readings (there is a 'short form' option).

There are five Prophecies (Old Testament reading), followed by the usual Epistle and Gospel. Each Prophecy is followed by a Gradual chant, except one which is followed by the wonderful Song of the Three Young Men from the Book of Daniel.


The chant was sung by the Schola Abelis; polyphony was provided by Cantus Magnus of London, led by Matthew Schellhorn. They sang Messa a tre voci by Lotti, plus Panis Angelicus by Casciolini, Vere languores nostros by Lotti, and, at the end, Ave Regina ceolorum by Dufay.

Mass was celebrated by Fr Anthony Conlon, assisted by Fr Daniel Lloyd (deacon) and Fr Serafino Lanzotta (subdeacon).


Support the work of the LMS by becoming an 'Anniversary Supporter'.