Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Prayer for the Jews: Letter in the Tablet

It has sadly become an established media narrative that references to the Church's relations with Jews, and the Vatican II document on the subject, Nostra aetate, must include an attack on the Traditional Mass. This was on display a few years ago in the disgraceful CTS pamphlet about 'Catholic Traditionalism' by Raymond Edwards (thankfully, no longer in print), but has been taken to new lengths in connection with the 50th anniversary of Nostra aetate. A really deplorable article in the Jewish Chronicle makes an unambiguous connection between Pope Benedict, the Traditional Mass, and antisemitism - though the article displays such a poor knowledge of the issues that I am more inclined to see the author, the historian Dr Geoffrey Alderman, as a victim of misinformation, rather than as a perpetrator of it.

The Jewish Chronicle has chosen not to publish my letter in reply. I can't imagine they have any interest in the Traditional Catholic liturgy; instead, they may rather like the narrative of Jewish-Catholic reconciliation after Vatican II, which my letter questioned by stressing the elements of continuity.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Christ Child in the Temple

IMG_0277We know what Jesus did on that occasion. Instead of returning home with his family, he stayed in Jerusalem, in the Temple, causing great distress to Mary and Joseph who were unable to find him. For this little “escapade”, Jesus probably had to beg forgiveness of his parents. The Gospel doesn’t say this, but I believe that we can presume it. Mary’s question, moreover, contains a certain reproach, revealing the concern and anguish which she and Joseph felt.

These words, from Pope Francis' sermon last Sunday on the Holy Family, are puzzling. Because we know exactly how the Christ Child responded to the question put to Him by Our Lady - a question which does indeed 'contain a certain reproach'. St Luke's narrative continues with the perplexing but pregnant words of the Man God:

Quid est quod me quaerebatis? nesciebatis quia in his quae Patris mei sunt, oportet me esse?

And he said to them: How is it that you sought me? did you not know, that I must be about my father's business?

St Luke adds three further pieces of information. First, that they did not understand this reply. Second, that Our Lady kept these words of His in her heart. And third, that, returning to Nazareth, He was subject to them.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Recess

A very happy and holy Christmas to all my readers!

From the All Saints Convent, Oxford, currently occupied by the Conventual Franciscans.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Fr Ratzinger, von Balthasar, and demolishing the bastions

Veneration of the relic of St Edmund: from
St Edmund's College, Ware.

Considering the reactions (mostly on Twitter) to my post about Fr Ratzinger's 1969 remarks about how once all the 'edifices' and 'privileges' of the Church had been completely wrecked, 'a great power will flow' from the Church, it strikes me how difficult many people find recognising liberalism when they see it. Even after all this time, many people with conservative, even traditional, instincts, don't really grasp what liberals are all about.

It should be obvious that the 1969 passage is an expression of liberal views; it is a perfectly clear, indeed a classical exposition of them. In his (much criticised) early book, Principles of Catholic Theology, Fr Ratzinger wrote:

The fact is, as Hans Urs von Balthasar pointed out as early as 1952, that … she [the Church] must relinquish many of the things that have hitherto spelled security for her and that she has taken for granted. She must demolish longstanding bastions and trust solely the shield of faith.

This is, clearly, the same thought as that expressed in the passage I quoted in the earlier post. Far from him regretting the loss of the Church's institutional baggage, as one might call it, Fr Ratzinger thought it was necessary and good.

This is simply the application to the Church of what political liberals have been saying since Rousseau, and are saying today more loudly than ever. Destroy the institutions, destroy the structures, customs, traditions and expectations of traditional society, of morality, of the family, and of the state, and a great awakening, a great liberation, a great flowering of humanity will take place. Haven't we all heard this? And isn't its absurdity sufficiently evident?

Saturday, December 19, 2015

London Holy Week: times confirmed

Easter Vigil last year.
Each year since time immemorial (almost) the Latin Mass Society has organised a celebration of the Sacred Triduum in London according to the 1962 books. Last year, for the first time, we managed to include Tenebrae each day. I'm delighted to announce that we will be doing that again, and at a consistent time each day. The times are not the standard ones, because we have to fit round other things at the church, but they do make sense.

The venue is St Mary Moorfields, and we are very grateful to Canon Peter Newby for his hospitality there.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Unauthorised 'LMS Ordo' in circulation

This has to be one of the stranger things to happen to the LMS while I have been involved. A badly printed version of our famous Ordo, a calendar of feasts for England and Wales for 2016, has been delivered to at least one shop before we could get the authorised version there.

We take the quality of our publications very seriously, and as this bears our name, we are not at all pleased about it.

You can buy a copy of the real thing directly from us here.

Unauthorised, on the left; the real thing, on the right.
From the LMS News blog.

It has come to our attention that unauthorised copies of The Latin Mass Society Ordo 2016 are in circulation.

These are easily distinguishable from our official publication by the following features:

Sub-standard quality printing of the cover
Incorrect font used for the title
Text at base of cover is in black
Inside front and back covers are laminated
Smaller in size than A5
White spiral binding
Text on some pages is obscured by the binding
The copyright page bears the text ‘Printed by John F. Neale, Evesham.’

If you have purchased one of these unauthorised copies please contact Stephen Moseling, the General Manager, at the LMS Office (020 7404 7284) and we will replace it with a bona fide copy.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

61 Traditional Christmas Masses in England and Wales

Christmas Day Mass in Holy Trinity, Hethe, last year.
This year there will be Midnight Mass as well as a Mass
on Christmas Day.
See the whole list of Christmas Masses here, and Masses for the Epiphany here.

The Latin Mass Society is advertising a record number of Masses in the Extraordinary Form being celebrated this Christmas. Counting Midnight Mass and the Mass of Christmas Day, there will be no fewer than 61 celebrations this year. This represents an increase of 11 since last year.

2012 – 44
2013 – 50
2014 – 50
2015 – 61
It is interesting that there was not increase between 2013 and 2014. In many ways I have the impression that there was something of a pause in the development of the Traditional Mass around that time. But that is over now, and it is not difficult to see where the growth has come from. We have a whole group of new centres for the celebration of the Traditional liturgy coming on-stream this year: the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest in Preston, the Fraternity of St Peter in Warrington, the Friars in Gosport, the Oratory in York, a new EF Mass venue in Bedford, and so on.

Who would have thought, ten years ago, that there would be celebrations of the Traditional Mass for Christmas in six churches in the Archdiocese of Liverpool?

That there would be a Traditional Mass for Christmas in places like the University Chaplaincy at Leeds, or Portsmouth Cathedral?

That there would be traditional High Masses - with celebrant, deacon and subdeacon - in five different places for Christmas? In Sheffield, Birmingham, Warrington, New Brighton, and Gosport.

We have a long way to go, in making the Traditional Mass genuinely available to Catholics in England and Wales. But thanks to the tremendous work of the priests who love this Mass, and to the faithful who support them - including the Latin Mass Society - we are moving in the right direction.

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Friday, December 11, 2015

George Weigel's internecine attack on internecine attacks

Winston Smith's great moment of clarity, in his cell
(George Orwell, 1984)
When vulgar and uncharitable personal abuse is aimed at people these days, it usually seems to be justified by the claim that the victims have been lacking in charity in some way. Perhaps it is no surprise, then, to see a similarly self-defeating attack on 'intra-Catholic wars' by George Weigel, one of the most ferocious captains of perhaps the most desperate tribe involved in these wars, the neo-cons.

Weigel's view of the respect and obedience due to the Pope only narrowly falls short of Rex Mottram's in Bridehead Revisited. Rex's insincerity about becoming a Catholic is revealed by his falling for the the spoof Catholicism proposed by the mischevious Cordelia Flyte:

Then again I asked him: 'Supposing the Pope looked up and saw a cloud and said 'It's going to rain', would that be bound to happen?' 'Oh, yes, Father.' 'But supposing it didn't?' He thought a moment and said, "I suppose it would be sort of raining spiritually, only we were too sinful to see it.'"

Compare Weigel, who quotes a 'distinguished Catholic philosopher' with approval:

“If the Holy Father said that ‘2+2 = 5,’ I would say publicly, ‘Perhaps I have misunderstood His Holiness’s meaning.’ Privately, I would pray for his sanity.”

I can imagine what the fathers, saints and doctors of the Church would say to that attitude, and it's not only the Pope's sanity that I'd be praying for. Is this the meaning of being soldiers of Christ, of holding fast to the Faith: publicly pretending, really, really, hard, that everything is ok, when it isn't?

Weigel's appearances in the English Catholic press seem these days to be limited to attacking everyone in the Church (apart from the Pope, naturally) who doesn't agree with him. He did it a while ago in The Tablet, and I replied, on behalf of both progressives and traditionalists, in The Tablet's own blog with a guest post. He's done it again in The Catholic Herald, so I've written a letter, published last weekend.


How thoughtful of George Weigel (Cover story, November 27) not only to decry the “intra-Catholic wars”, but to give us such a vivid example of this sad phenomenon – in his own article. 

Catholics are divided into camps, and the ones with the temerity to disagree with him are not engaged or analysed, but thrown playground insults: “traditionalists’ ” ideas lead to “self-constructed catacombs”, thanks to them being “somewhat self-indulgent”; “progressives’ ” ideas lead to “the Church’s implosion”. 

Mr Weigel does not stoop to draw out these ideas, and his readers are left entirely in the dark as to what form they might take. To a truly tribal participant in the Church’s internecine conflict, of course, that doesn’t matter.

As Mr Weigel mentions, “progressives” and “traditionalists” share a sense of the radical nature of the Second Vatican Council and the reforms that followed it. This understanding is increasingly supported by the historical record, as more information comes to light: the recently published diaries of the Council peritus and member of the liturgical reform Consilium, Louis Bouyer, is only the latest example. If we are to address the problems of today, we must engage with this reality, and not start from inside a bubble of self-delusion.

Yours faithfully,

Joseph Shaw
Chairman, the Latin Mass Society
See also my post about criticising the Pope.

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

LMS 2016 Ordo available to order

The Latin Mass Society's famous and indispensible Ordo - day by liturgical calendar - is now available for 2016!

Ordo 2016 for use with the Roman Missal of 1962 and Breviary of 1961

A day-to-day liturgical guide for the Missal of 1962 (Extraordinary Form, Vetus Ordo) for England and Wales.

Liturgical details of every Mass for every day of the year.

The indispensable guide for priests, servers and laity.

Includes guidance (confirmed by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei) regarding Holy Day celebrations in the Traditional Rite.

22 pages of liturgical notes and full discussion of Indulgences.

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Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Video on SS Peter & Paul in the Wirral

A fascinating video on 'Dome of Home', including memories of its earliest years from local parishioners, thanks to the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

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Monday, December 07, 2015

LMS Residential Latin Course: booking now open

High Mass in St David's, Pantasaph, during the Latin Course last Summer. Fr Hunwicke was
celebrant, left, and Fr Bailey subdeacon, on the right.
The Summer Latin Course organised by the Latin Mass Society with Fr John Hunwicke and Fr Richard Bailey is now taking booking for 2016.

The dates are 25 to 30 JULY 2016. It takes place in Pantasaph and Holywell, near Flint in North Wales, and shares daily Mass with the St Catherine's Trust Summer School, so there is Sung and usually High Mass in the Extraordinary Form every day.

The Course is an intensive 5-day course, Monday to Saturday, using the LMS coursebook, Simplicissimus.

Priests, deacons, seminarians, and those about to become seminarians (and other students) can do the course for half price. The full price is more or less the cost price; clergy discount represents a hefty subsidy by the Latin Mass Society.

Guest post on Faith in Our Familes

Today the blog 'Faith in Our Families' is posting a guest post by me, about the Good Friday Prayer for the Jews.

Read it here.

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Friday, December 04, 2015

Sons of the Holy Redeemer: wall calendar video

This is a brilliant little promotional video for the Wall Calendar produced by the Sons of the Holy Redeemer of Papa Stronsay.

All I'd add is that you can buy your copy here.

(And that the LMS Wall Calendar is also brilliant, you can get that here.)

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Thursday, December 03, 2015

Good Friday Prayer for the Jews: Press Release from the FIUV

The occasion for this Press Release is the story reported here that the Bishops of England and Wales are to petition the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei for a change to the Good Friday Prayer for the Conversion of the Jews used in the Extraordinary Form.

FIUV Press Release: on the Good Friday ‘Prayer for the Jews’

The Prayer for the Jews used in the Extraordinary Form Good Friday Liturgy continues to be a source of comment and misunderstanding, and the FIUV wishes to respond as follows.

Statement by the President of the FIUV, Felipe Alanís Suárez:

It was to avoid misunderstandings of the Prayer for the Jews that Pope Benedict XVI composed the 2008 version of the prayer, which is clearly based on what is essential to Christianity: the acceptance of Christ as the saviour of the whole world, and the desire that all persons be saved. Jews are mentioned because of their special role in the history of salvation, and the special concern we must have for our ‘elder brothers’ (as Pope St John Paul II called them). The prayer looks forward to the incorporation of the Jewish people, of which Our Lord Jesus Christ and His first disciples were all members, in the salvation won for the human race by Christ on the Cross, a reconciliation which, as St Paul teaches, will be fulfilled only towards the end of history.

The FIUV is convinced that any possible continuing misunderstanding regarding the Good Friday Prayer for the Jews can be resolved in the context of the Magisterium of the Church, without veiling the treasures of our Faith.

We, as faithful attached to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, acknowledge that to ask of our Lord for the grace of sharing with all our brothers the joy of salvation in Jesus Christ, is an act of humility and selfless love, and a spiritual work of mercy.  

The FIUV entirely rejects all hatred and hostility towards the Jewish people, and all forms of unjust discrimination.

Further observations:

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Prayers for the Jews in the Liturgy of the Hours

Jesus and the SyroPhoneician Woman. Jesus insisted that He was sent only 
to the Jews, but allowed Himself to be won over by her faith. Mark 7:24-30
This, from a letter to The Remnant by the distinguished theologian Fr Brian Harrison, deserves a wider audience. The letter was written in the context of Pope Benedict's Prayer for the Jews, which that paper strongly supported. Fr Harrison is talking about the reformed Office, or Liturgy of the Hours, the Novus Ordo one, not the 1962 or any earlier edition.

His observations places the ambiguity of the 1970 Good Friday Prayer for the Jews into some liturgical context.

[O]n the last day of every year (December 31 at "Lauds" or "Morning Prayer"), the Church prays: "O Christ, God and man, you fulfil the prophecies as David's Lord as well as his son: we beseech you that Israel may recognize you as Messiah (te rogamus, ut Israel te Messiam agnoscat)".

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Rabbi Neusner on the Prayer for the Jews

Rabbi Jacob Neusner
This short article was published in response to the publication of the revised Prayer for the Jews, to be used in the Extraordinary Form Good Friday Liturgy, by Pope Benedict XVI, in 2008. The prolific American writer and translator, Rabbi Jacob Neusner, points out that Jews pray every day for the conversion and enlightenment of the gentiles, and have no reason to be offended if their charity is reciprocated.

I have taken the text from Chiesa, here.

Israel also asks God to enlighten the hearts of the Gentiles 

by Jacob Neusner 

Israel prays for the Gentiles. So the other monotheistic religions, including the Catholic Church, have the right to do the same thing, and no one should feel offended. Any other attitude toward the Gentiles would block them from encountering the one God revealed to Israel in the Torah.

The Catholic prayer manifests the same altruistic spirit that characterizes the faith of Judaism. The kingdom of God opens its gates to all of humanity: when they pray and ask for the swift coming of the kingdom of God, the Israelites express the same degree of freedom of spirit that impregnates the papal text of the prayer for the Jews (better: "Holy Israel ") to be recited on Good Friday.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Cardinal Kasper on the Prayer for the Jews

St Paul of Tarsus
In case anyone has forgotten, back in 2008 when Pope Benedict's Prayer for the Jews, for use in the Extraordinary Form Good Friday Liturgy, it was explained and defended by Cardinal Kasper, among others.

Cardinal Kasper's is a particular way of understanding the question of the conversion of the Jews. While I appreciate the sensitivies, I would not be comfortable with a blanket condemnation of 'targeted' evangelical outreach to Jews, as for example that taken by the Jewish convert Alphonse Ratisbon in the late 19th century. Cardinal Kasper does not make such a condemnation, but it might seem implicit in what he says. It is important, however, that he makes the point that we don't hide our witness to the Faith from Jews, and that our belief in the universal validity of Christ's redemption, and their rejection of this, has to be the basis of an honest dialogue.

If Cardinal Kasper has no problem with Pope Benedict's Prayer for the Jews, then it seems pretty surprising that anyone in the Church should have a problem with it. His affirmation that, obviously, Christ died for all men, could usefully be underlined.

The full text is here; I paste in highlights.

Unlike the 1970 text, the new formulation of the 1962 text speaks of Jesus as the Christ and as the salvation of all men, and therefore also of the Jews.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Good Friday Prayer and the conversion of the Jews

The Crucifixion: for the Rosary Walk at Aylesford Priory
We've heard from the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales that they would like to get rid of the Prayer for the Jews used in the Extraordinary Form Good Friday Liturgy. Archbishop Kevin McDonald (former Archbishop of Southwark), who is in charge of Catholic-Jewish relations, says this about it:

“The 1970 prayer which is now used throughout the Church is basically a prayer that the Jewish people would continue to grow in the love of God’s name and in faithfulness of his Covenant, a Covenant which – as St John Paul II made clear in 1980 – has not been revoked. By contrast the prayer produced in 2008 for use in the Extraordinary Form of the liturgy reverted to being a prayer for the conversion of Jews to Christianity.”

The 2008 prayer replaced one expressed in rather strong language, language used by St Paul in 2 Corinthians 3 and 4. Pope Benedict thought it best to express its central idea, and even its central image - of light overcoming darkness - in a slightly different way.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Traditional Catholic Wall Calendars for 2016

How many wall calendars does a Traditional Catholic family need? I would say, at least four...

The splendid Fraternity of St Peter Wall Calendar has been advertised on Rorate Caeli here; allow me to draw to readers attention three others.

The Latin Mass Society Wall Calendar.

Unique in having pictures down the left of an A3-format page, and the days in a long vertical list down the right, with plenty of room to write in your appointments. Indispensible in England and Wales, of course, because it includes our local feasts. The photographs are liturgical in focus, of Mass and other devotions. There are multiple photographs on each page, another unique feature.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Fraternity of St Peter are installed in St Mary's, Warrington


On Saturday I was present at a High Mass inaugerating the ministry of the Fraternity of St Peter, FSSP, in St Mary's, Warrington. Archbishop Malcolm McMahon of Liverpool, the Ordinary, presided at Mass. Abbot Cuthbert Madden of Ampleforth (who of course I know), whose community had looked after the parish since 1770 and had built the present church, was in choir.


The church was packed to the doors. The Mayor of Warrington and his wife were present, and a good number of local clergy, including Canon Scott Tanner of the Institutes of Christ the King.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Evening Symposium on Mary as Co-Redemptrix at London Oratory, 26th Nov

This is one of the Oratory Fathers' 'youth' events; it starts with a Traditional Sung Mass and continues with two talks, on Thursday 26th November.

In the Magisterium and Spirituality of the Church.
Thursday 26th November 2015
Brompton Oratory, London.

A one day Symposium on the mystery of The Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as 'Co-Redemptrix'. Come and discover her unique role in mans salvation with two conferences by the Franciscans of the Immaculate and Friends.
6:30pm - Sung Mass in the Extraordinary Form (with the choir of The Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate) in the Little Oratory (which is to the left of the large Brompton Oratory on the same grounds). Mass of St Sylvester.

7:30pm - Social gathering with refreshments.

8:00pm - Conferences begin.

-‘Marian Co-Redemtion and the Magisterium' by Fr. John Lawrence Mary Polis F.I

-'A 'Sacerdotal People of God': A look into the Priesthood of Mary and her victim hood as Co-Redempress'. by Fr.Serafino Maria Lanzetta.

circa 9:10pm - Question and answer session.

Afterward there shall be another Social gathering.

10:00pm - Finish.

Bring as many people as you can to discover the beauty of this Marian Mystery.
Venue The Brompton Oratory, Brompton Road, London SW7 2RP

I don't have many photos of Mass in the Little Oratory, but it is a charming church hidden away to
the north of the Oratory House and the car park. This is a Requiem I organised there some
years ago, which was celebrated by Fr George Bowen of the Oratory.
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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Burke visit: Photos

I have now uploaded my photos; there will be another large collection from another photographer in due course. This post will be just photos.

An exhortation to the Confirmation candidates.
Entering St James' Spanish Place, in cappa magna

Monday, November 16, 2015

Visit of Cardinal Burke

We had a wonderful weekend with Cardinal Burke. I don't have time to blog about it now, and I won't have time tomorrow, but I will do so thereafter.

As well as liturgies and public speaking, His Eminence granted an interview with Mass of Ages, the LMS Magazine. As a tiny taster, when asked what Catholics should do when confronted with bad teaching, he said:

I think Catholics should simply say that ‘I cannot accept this teaching as it goes against what the Church has always taught and practiced.’ I don’t think that Catholics should permit themselves to be driven away from the Church by those who are not upholding the Church’s teaching.

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Saturday, November 14, 2015

New Mass of Ages now available

This quarter's edition of Mass of Ages is a special one because the same mailing to members carries a copy of the Ordinary Booklet which I have already blogged about here. Non-members can buy a copy for themselves (of course you really ought to JOIN...); they are already appearing in churches where the Traditional Mass is offered.

The magazine itself is a zinger, with contributions from established journalists - Tim Stanley of the Daily Telegraph, Alberto Carosa of Inside the Vatican, and Mary O'Regan of the The Catholic Herald - and a number of prominent Catholics, including Martin Baker, the Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral, Dr John Newton of Aid to the Church in Need, the barister Neil Addison, and Mgr John Armitage, Walsingham's Shrine Custodian.

Here is more information and links to taster articles from the LMS website where you can order copies.


Mass of Ages is the quarterly magazine of the Latin Mass Society. It contains reports on our many activities across the country, national and international news of Traditional Catholic events, feature articles on different aspects of traditional Faith and culture, and opinions and views on developments in the Catholic Church. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

All Souls and Remebrance Sunday in Oxford and Hethe

Don't forget to attend, if you can, Cardinal Burke's celebration of the LMS' Annual Requiem: tomorrow, 14th November, 2pm Westminster Cathedral.

Fr John Saward celebrated a Missa Cantata for All Souls in SS Gregory & Augustine's, Oxford
I've been getting behind with my photographs: I have just uploaded photos of two recent Sung Masses, one of the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls), in St Gregory & Augustine's, Oxford, and one of the Sung Requiem celebrated on Remembrance Sunday, in Holy Trinity, Hethe.


I sang at both, and also at the Requiem in St Benet's which came in between. The chants of the Requiem don't grow stale; I'd be happy to sing them, for the good of the souls in purgatory, a hundred times.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Requiem in St Benet's Hall

Don't forget to attend, if you can, Cardinal Burke's celebration of the LMS' Annual Requiem: this Saturday, 14th November, 2pm Westminster Cathedral.


A work of pietas undertaken by current and former members of St Benet's Hall, to offer Mass for the repose of former members and benefactors of the institution, facilitated by the Latin Mass Society.


If a Catholic institution of any kind does not have an annual requiem for this intention, then it should do.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Cardinal Burke in London this Saturday and Sunday

The last time Cardinal Burke visited England, he celebrated an EF Low Mass
at SS Gregory & Augustine in Oxford

Cardinal Burke is coming to England at the invitation of the Latin Mass Society, and also of CIEL UK. He will be taking part in the following public events.

Saturday 14th November:
11:00 am Confirmations in St James', Spanish Place.
2:00 pm Pontifical Requiem Mass in Westminster Cathedral (with homily): LMS Annual Requiem

Sunday 15th November:
9:00 am Prelatial Low Mass at the London Oratory
2:00 pm Address to the Annual Conference of CIEL UK, St Wilfrid Hall, London Oratory.

Don't miss your chance to see and hear him.

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Saturday, November 07, 2015

LMS launches a new Ordinary Booklet

Members of the Latin Mass Society are this weekend receiving their copies of the quarterly magazine, Mass of Ages: with this edition is enclosed a brand new booklet missal or missalette, with Ordinary Prayers of the Mass, Benediction, and other prayers and devotions.

This new book has a clear, accurate, and readable new translation of all the Ordinary of the Mass, taking account of the improved ICEL translation of the Novus Ordo where applicable, but using traditional language ('thee' and 'thou' etc.).

It has new illustrations showing the postures of the priest at different points during the Mass.

Friday, November 06, 2015

New book about the Prayer to St Michael

Pope Leo XIII & the Prayer to Saint Michael, by Kevin Symonds

Available here.

The Prayer to St Michael, which forms part of the traditional Prayers After Low Mass, is one of the most widely known and popular Catholic prayers of modern composition. Its author was Pope Leo XIII, and its composition is associated with a story, told in a number of versions, of Pope Leo having a vision in which Satan asked for, and was granted, power over the Church for a certain time, as he was given over Job, in Job 1:12:

Then the Lord said to Satan: Behold, all that he hath is in thy hand.
Dixit ergo Dominus ad Satan: Ecce universa quae habet in manu tua sunt.

It is easy to dismiss such stories, but the composition of the prayer does need explanation. Pope Leo inherited the idea of the Prayers After Low Mass, which had been ordered to be said in the Papal States for their protection against attack, by Pope Pius IX, but it was Leo who made them universal, and added the Prayer to St Michael. Why did he want Catholics all over the world to recite this heartfelt plea for the protection of the Church from satanic attack?

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Embroidery training in Oxford with the Guild of St Clare

I'm delighted to promote something genuinely useful and enjoyable: training in the techniques of embroidery, taking place in Oxford on 12th December, and open to all.

'This is a very unusual opportunity to study techniques not often taught in day courses. Please email me at if you would like to know more, or to book a place on the course. The price is £80 plus materials, and the course runs from 10am till 4pm. Space is limited so please don't delay!'
The details are here.

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Wednesday, November 04, 2015

The Synod: fornication as a path to holiness

I've just read Bishop Schneider's excellent critique of the Synod's Final Relatio, paragraphs 84-86. Here I want to say something about paragraph 71, translated by Rorate Caeli.

71. The choice of civil marriage or, in several cases, simple cohabitation, is often not motivated by prejudice or resistance against the sacramental union, but from cultural situations or cultural contingents. In many circumstances, the decision to live together is a sign of a relationship that actually wants to navigate towards the prospect of stability. This will, which translates into a lasting bond, reliable and open to life can be considered a commitment on which to base a path to the sacrament of marriage, discovered to be God's plan for [the couple's] lives. The path of growth, which can lead to sacramental marriage, will be encouraged by the recognition of the distinguishing characteristics of a generous and lasting love: the desire to seek the good of others before their own; the experience of forgiveness requested and given; the aspiration to build a family that is not closed in on itself but open to the good of the ecclesial community and of the entire society. Along this route those signs of love that properly correspond to the reflection of God should be valorized into an authentic conjugal project.

I'm not going to go into who 'won' the Synod, what the Pope meant in his concluding remarks and post-Synod sermon, or the latest Sclafari interview. If we want public documents, whose wording has been pored over and voted on, this is quite enough. It is not a document with magisterial authority, but then none of the key moves in this game are about documents of magisterial authority.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Photos of the liturgies for the FIUV in Rome

Procession to St Peter's, from San Lorenzo in Damaso

For the first time, the FIUV General Assembly and the Latin Mass Society pilgrimage to Rome were coordinated with the Summorum Pontificum Pilgrimage to Rome, which meant that the LMS and the FIUV sponsored some of the music for the SP Pilgrimage, and offered additional liturgies for the SP Pilgrims.

Bishop Laise processes into the Chapel of the Throne at St Peter's for Mass.

Matthew Schellhorn's choir from London, Cantus Magnus, sang for the Eucharistic Adoration which preceded the procession to St Peter's, for the Sunday Mass in Sta Trinita dei Pellegrini, for two Vespers in the Domus Australia where the FIUV General Assembly took place, and a final High Mass on Monday morning in the same venue.

Friday, October 30, 2015

A warning about Anthony Perlas and his 'Latin Mass Society'

A while ago on this blog I linked to something being promoted by a group in the USA calling itself 'the Latin Mass Society'. So I think it behooves me to make it clear that, although there wasn't anything as far as I could see intrinsically wrong with that particular initiative, the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales has nothing to do with this group, has no formal links to it, and in light of more recent developments wants nothing to do with it, and would recommend to others to have nothing to do with it either.

This isn't a very edifying topic, but a little bit of background.

It is always a little bit irritating when two organisations have the same name, and when 'the Latin Mass Society' popped up on a campus in the USA with a slick website we asked them to find a way of differentiating themselves from us - there are many Latin Mass Societies around the world, as there are Ecclesia Dei groups and Una Voce groups, but they always have some kind of geographical qualifier ('of Ireland', 'of Florida' or whatever). Eventually they put a tiny disclaimer at the bottom of the home page; you'd need a magnifying glass to see it. Anyway, I didn't want something silly like that to stop us collaborating with people who supported the cause, so when some time later Anthony Perlas came on the scene as the head of this group, I didn't see any reason not to give support his initiatives.

In the last few months, however, something rather odd has been happening on his web pages. Perlas is a photographer, and he seemed to be focusing on photos of attractive young women wearing head coverings. And there was something a little... odd about some of these photos, and the accompanying text.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

LMS Pilgrimage to Willesden this Saturday

A previous LMS Pilgrimage Mass.

The LMS pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Willesden takes place on Saturday, 31 October.
11.30am Rosary & Angelus
12 noon Solemn High Mass Celebrant: Mgr Gordon Read, National Chaplain to the LMS
1pm Lunch
2pm Talk by Fr Cyril Law: “Newman & Our Lady”
3pm Procession of Our Lady of Willesden & Benediction
4pm Tea and depart

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

FIUV elects a new Council and President

Felipe Alanís Suárez, at dinner between Cardinals Brandmuller (left) and Pell (right)
I have now returned from Rome where I attended the 50th Anniversary General Assembly of Una Voce International. I am very pleased by the results of the elections, which is a Council representing the world-wide presence of the Traditional Movement, and our first President from outside Europe, Felipe Alanís Suárez, from Mexico.

I remain on the Council, and I will continue to publish the series of Position Papers. I have been more than happy to pass the responsibility of Treasurer on to another Councillor.

The follows the official Communique, addressed to the Federation's member associations.   .

Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce

Non cessant clamare quotidie UNA VOCE dicentes: Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus

Quae patronum invocat sanctum Gregorium Magnum Papam
2015 - 50th Anniversary Year of the Federation founded in 1965


Dear Members of the Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce,

It is with great expectations that I write this letter to all of you, in my new capacity of President of our beloved International Federation.

Monday, October 19, 2015

FIUV and Summorum Pontificum events in Rome next week

Mass in the Chapel of the Choir, St Peter's, Rome, for the last FIUV General Assembly, Nov 2013

Here is the programme for the FIUV and Summorum Pontificum; FIUV events are in bold.

Friday, October 23

8.45am – Chiesa Nuova:
Chaplet of the Rosary with meditation and prayer at St. Philip Neri’s
Music: Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate.

3:30pm – Palatine Hill:
Way of the Cross with the Family of the Immaculate, Mediatrix of all graces, and of Saint Francis.

6pm – Santa Maria in Campitelli:
Chaplet of the Rosary, confession, then Pontifical Mass at 6:30pm celebrated by His Excellency Guido Pozzo, titular archbishop of Bagnoregio and Ecclesia Dei Commission secretary.
The Schola Sainte-Cécile will sing Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s Mass for Four Choirs H4.

Saturday, October 24

9:30am – San Lorenzo in Damaso:
Eucharistic adoration presided by Don Marino Neri, secretary of Amicizia sacerdotale Summorum Pontificum
Music: Cantus Magnus
Adoro te devote Plainsong
Salve Regina Plainsong
Ave Maria Parsons
Tantum ergo Plainsong
Jesu dulcis memoria Victoria
Ave verum Corpus Byrd
Vexilla Regis Palestrina alternatim plainsong

10.30am – San Lorenzo in Damaso:
Solemn procession to St. Peter’s Basilica, led by Dom Jean Pateau, OSB, abbot of Fontgombault, the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate chanting.

12 Noon – St. Peter’s Basilica:
Pontifical Mass at the Altar of the Chair celebrated by Msgr. Laise, bishop emeritus of San Luís, Argentine. His Excellency Luigi Negri, archbishop of Ferrara-Comacchio, will attend and deliver the homily.
Music: Schola Sainte Cécile

19:15 Vespers and Benediction, Chapel of St Peter Chanel, Domus Australia
Te saeculorum principem Plainsong
Magnificat primi toni Viadana
Ave verum Corpus Mozart
Organ: Sonata no.3 in C minor (Prelude: Allegro maestoso e con fuoco) Guilmant

Sunday, October 25

11am Pontifical Mass – Trinità dei Pellegrini
Feast of Christ the King, celebrated by dom Jean Pateau, OSB, abbot of Fontgombault.
Cantus Magnus will sing William Byrd’s “Mass For Five Voices”
Benedicimus Deum caeli MacMillan
Ave verum Corpus Elgar
Salve Regina Lotti
Asperges, Credo III
Suite médiévale (Acclamations: Christus vincit) Langlais

3pm FIUV Open Forum
Talks from Fr Mark Withoos, Guillaume Ferluc of the SP Pilgrimage, and others to be announced.

19:15 Vespers and Benediction Chapel of St Peter Chanel, Domus Australia
Te saeculorum principem Plainsong
Magnificat septimi toni Viadana
Tantum ergo Neal (World Premiere)
Ave verum corpus Byrd
Organ: Meine Seele erhebt den Herren (Magnificat peregrini toni) Pachelbel

Monday 26 October

11:00 Mass Chapel of St Peter Chanel, Domus Australia, Rome

Missa L’homme armé super voces musicales (K, G, S, A) Josquin
Hoc Corpus Robledo
Panis Angelicus Franck
Salve Regina

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Saturday, October 17, 2015

LMS Pilgrimage to Willesden, 31st October

Come and see the newly restored Shrine to Our Lady of Willesden, with a High Mass accompanied with polyphony provided by Cantus Magnus under Matthew Schellhorn.

Mass is at 12 noon, Saturday 31st October; click here for a map.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Inaugural Mass for the FSSP in Warringon

St Mary's, Warrington (Wikipedia Commons) The right church this time!
It gives me great pleasure to announce:

Inauguration of the ministry of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter in the Liverpool Archdiocese:

On Saturday 21st November 2015 at 12 noon,

On the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lady,
Polyphonic Solemn High Mass 
in the presence of the Most Reverend Malcolm Patrick McMahon OP, Archbishop of Liverpool,

at St Mary’s Priory Church, Buttermarket Street, Warrington WA1 2NS.

Access: Warrington is conveniently located at the intersection of the M6, M62 and M56 (overflow car parks by adjacent supermarkets). It is under 2h from London Euston by direct train: the 9:30AM service will take you there by 11:14AM. Warrington is 17 miles from Manchester Airport. All welcome. Choir dress for clergy. Refreshments will follow.

Click for a map.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Does Tradition preserve us, or we the Tradition?

St Anthony of the Desert having a lovely
quiet time.
There is a striking moment in Francis Poulenc's great Catholic opera, Dialogues des Carmelites. The young protagonist, Blanche, suffers from extreme timidity and wants to join a convent. She has an interview with the tough old Prioress, who ask her why she wants to join. She is seeking, she says, 'refuge'.

The Prioress rebukes her: Notre règle n'est pas un refuge. Ce n'est pas la règle qui nous garde, ma fille, c'est nous qui gardons la règle.

The Rule is not a refuge. It is not the rule which guards us, my daughter, but we who guard the Rule.

There is a little wordplay here: 'garde' means 'guard' and simply 'keep': we keep the Rule, in the ordinary sense of following it. But of course in keeping the Rule of religious life they by the same act maintain it, preserve it, guard it.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Mantilla featured in Diocesan magazine

The new edition of the Portsmouth diocesan periodical, the Portsmouth People, has a lady in a mantilla on its front cover. On examinining the photo credits, it appears that she is attending Mass in Erbil, Iraq. It is linked to a story about refugees.

The Catholics of the Middle East have been more faithful to their traditions that the Catholics in the comfortable West. But those attached to the Traditional Mass are doing their best.

See the Position Paper about headcoverings at Mass here, an introduction to its arguments here, and a discussion of the shared custom of headcoverings with Islam here.

Here's a quotation from the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, itself quoted by Pope Benedict in the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.

As from time immemorial, so too in the future, it is necessary to maintain the principle that “each particular Church must be in accord with the universal Church not only regarding the doctrine of the faith and sacramental signs, but also as to the usages universally received from apostolic and unbroken tradition.  These are to be observed not only so that errors may be avoided, but also that the faith may be handed on in its integrity, since the Church’s rule of prayer (lex orandi)corresponds to her rule of faith (lex credendi).

The customs of women covering their heads, and until recently far more burdonsomely, of men uncovering their heads, is not just of Apostolic tradition, it is actually commanded forecfully in Scripture (1 Cor 11:3-4, 6). To say that it is unfortunate that we don't follow this tradition more widely today is an understatment.

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