Friday, January 30, 2015

Priests' Training Conference, April 2015: Prior Park, Bath

Prior Park College, originally built as a seminary, has one of the most spectacular views in England, probably worth the train fare on its own. Priests, deacons, seminarians and servers are all welcome at this event to learn about the Extraordinary Form.

From the Latin Mass Society

Priest Training Conference: 14 to 17 April 2015 (Low Week). (Seminarians Go Free*)

Chant meeting in London, 14th March

A previous meeting of the GCN, addressed by the composer James MacMillan and
Fr Guy Nichols, Director of the Newman Institute of Sacred Music
The next meeting of the Gregorian Chant Network will take place on Saturday 14th March. For the first time it will be open to all. Directors of chant groups registered with the GCN will get a discount.

We will be addressed by Daniel Saulnier, former choirmaster at Solesmes, and Giovanni Varelli, Cambridge researcher who discovered the manuscript of the earliest written polyphonic music, which will be performed at the meeting.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Loftus attacks Bishop Doyle over funerals

Requiem for Michael Davies, St Mary Moorfields, last October.
In the unlikely case that Bishop Doyle of Northampton thought that the female pastoral administrator in Milton Keynes would make liberals pleased with him, he would have been disapointed by the insatiable bitterness of Mgr Basil Loftus. He spreads his bile far beyond the people we might think of as standard-bearers of conservatism.

Mgr Loftus, 23rd Jan 2015
Why in England is there in one diocese a re-iteration of Holy See instructions whereby a grieving mother is forbidden from placing her infant child's teddy-bear on the coffin?

To hold back the tide of liturgical anarchy which could end up turning the Rite of Christian burial into a neo-pagan ceremony, Mgr? Or something more sinister?

The Vine, January 2015, on new guidelines for funerals issued by Northampton diocese.
Christian symbols alone are allowed on the coffin. Other items, such as personal mementos and Mass cards should be places on a table nearby.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mass in London for Ebola victims: Maiden Lane 16th Feb

A recent Sung Mass in the historic Corpus Christi Maidan Lane,
where Sung Mass is celebrated every Monday evening.

The Feoderatio Internationalis Una Voce (International Una Voce Federation, FIUV) has had an appeal from Una Voce South Africa, on behalf of all our African friends, that where possible Processions, Litanies, and Votive Masses be said for the victims of the Ebola epidemic which is ravaging many parts of Africa.

In response, the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales is arranging Litanies of the Saints and a Sung Votive Mass 'in Time of Pestilence' at 6.30pm on Monday 16th February 2015 (feria before Shrove Tuesday) at Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane, London (click for a map) to be celebrated by Fr Patrick Hayward.

The FIUV calls on all its members and supporters to take up this example, at this time of suffering.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

On men taking back the Church

Solemnity, discipline, beauty, awe. The Dominican Rite in Oxford.

Further to the debate about masculinity and the liturgy, and an article about Cardinal Burke's remarks on related issues (which quotes me) by Tim Stanley in the Catholic Herald, Madeleine Teahan asks a pertinent question:

An implicit difference in expectation is the glaring irony at the heart of Cardinal Burke’s argument: namely, that men are passive victims of radical feminism, bad liturgy and poor catechesis. It’s as if they are a sex who are done unto; totally enfeebled and powerless to fight back. Doesn’t this portrayal undermine the typically masculine capacity for chivalry and strength that Cardinal Burke also refers to?

It's not that Miss Teahan denies that men are absent from our churches, it is just that she thinks the blame should be assigned squarely to the victims of poor catechesis and bad liturgy, and not to those who create those things. Perhaps she has in mind that passage in the Gospel where Jesus says that anyone who causes scandal to (i.e., causes to sin), one of these 'little ones' puts a millstone round the little ones' necks and gets away scot free.

No, wait...!

Monday, January 26, 2015

A warning about them rabbits.

Profanity warning, but an illustration of what rabbits can do when roused.

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Sung Requiem for the Air Asia tragedy

A High Mass of Requiem for Prince Rupert Loewenstein,
President and Patron of the Latin Mass Society, last year.
At the initiative of the Latin Mass Society, a Sung Requiem Mass will be celebrated for all those who perished in the recent Air Asia disaster. 

This will take place at St James' Church, Spanish Place, 

at 7pm on 

Wednesday 4th February, 

the celebrant being Fr David Irwin.

The regular EF Sunday congregation at St James' includes relatives of some of the victims.

An airliner, Air Asia flight QZ8501, crashed into the sea on 29th December 2014; all 162 people on board were killed. This Requiem is conceived as a 'month's mind', arranged as close as possible to the month's anniversary of the crash.

Please unite yourselves to these prayers for the souls of those lost, and for their loved ones left behind. And may God preserve us all from an unprovided death.

To make a contribution to the cost of this Mass, which will be accompanied by a professional choir, please make a donation using the button on the LMS homepage; you will be able to specify the purpose.

The address of the church is 22 George Street, London W1U 3QY; click for a map.

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Traditional Mass and China: thoughts about Confucius

Our Lady of China
Today I am publishing a paper about the Traditional Mass in China on Rorate Caeli: go over there to read it. I want to use this post for some more reflections on this topic.

One of the issues relevant to the Church's evangelisation in any part of the world is the nature of the indigenous culture and religion. The Jesuits who brought the Gospel to China in the 16th and 17th centuries were very aware of this (and they thought very carefully about it in India as well). They didn't go for mindless, superficial inculturation; they wanted to get to the heart of the matter and explore the deep connections, or barriers, between what they found in China and what they were bringing with them. The servant of God Matteo Ricci SJ and his successors took the view that Taoism and Buddhism, the two other influential schools of thought present in China, were radically incompatible with the Faith, but that things were different with Confucianism, the officially endorsed philosophico-religious system of Imperial China.

After decades of hostility from the Communists, Confucianism today is undergoing something of a revival in China, with schoolchildren once more studying Confucian texts. It is far from being an official ideology, and its role in modern Chinese culture is limited, but it still represents classical, authentic, Chinese culture, and it is also viewed as a potential source of social stability and bulwark against self indulgence and corruption. This is a first reason why the connections the Jesuits found are once more relevant to the progress of the Church in China.

A second reason is this. The attitude of the Chinese state towards the Church today turns in large part on the question of foreign influence, which is seen (in light of modern Chinese history) in the context of foreign political influence and domination. This throws a spotlight onto the relationship between the Faith, and Catholic practice, and classical Chinese culture. To what extent is the Church in China a vector for distinctively European, and therefore questionable, ideas and culture?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Patrick Arnold on masculine liturgy

A liturgy with gravitas. Bishop Schneider in West Grinstead.
Leon Podles, who inspired a series of posts in this blog about the loss of men from the Church, doesn't have much to say about the liturgy, but he quotes the Jesuit theologian Patrick Arnold on the subject. I've tracked down the source and here below is the passage at length.

Arnold's book Wildmen, Warriors and Kings is surprising because he is a theological liberal. He thinks that the ordination of woman is obviously right and that clerical celibacy is bad. He thinks that feminism is good but that men need to have their own, parallel, 'men's movement' and 'men's spirituality'. He is a disciple of Robert Bly, who even contributes a preface to the book. Bly has some interesting things to say (for example in his Sibling Society) but is on occasion extremely negative about the Church. Bly and Arnold owe a lot to Jung, something which - without going into details - should set off a lot of alarm bells. (A good introduction is this MP3 talk.)

I give Arnold credit, nonetheless, for thinking about an issue most people then, and now, don't want to think about. Particularly impressive is his confrontation of the misandry, the hatred of men, which is found in the liberal theological environment he himself inhabited. Here are his reflections about modern liturgy: it is clear that the traditional Mass is not on his radar at all, but is nevertheless the answer to the problem he identifies.

Patrick Arnold: Wildmen, Warriors, and Kings (1992), p77-78
For many years liturgists felt that highly formalized worship services bored people and turned them off; "creative" liturgies were proposed as the solution. Unfortunately, the resulting Butterfly, Banner, and Balloon Extravaganzas severely alienated many men. The most saccharine outbreaks of forced liturgical excitement featured fluttering dancers floating down the aisles like wood-nymphs, goofy pseudo-rites forced on the congregation with almost fascist authoritarianism, and a host of silly schticks usually accompanied by inane music. It was exciting all right; any men felt exciting enough to rise from their pews and walk right out the door. What was their problem? It seems that most men are instantly turned off by surprise spontaneity in ritual circumstances; moreover, ceremonies that are entirely nice, sweet, and happy usually strike men as phoney and completely unconnected with the harsh world they experience every day.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Anglicans and ISIS revisited

The destruction wrought by ISIS (or ISIL) continues, and my post comparing the religious extremism of modern Islam with our own shameful past remains one of my most visited posts. But I'm certainly not the only one to have noticed the parallel. Here is Dominic Selwood today in the Telegraph:

It can only be a good thing that people are again thinking about [Thomas] Cromwell. Because as we look to the east, to the fanaticism that is sacking the cultural and artistic heritage of other ancient societies, we can all draw the same, inevitable conclusions about religious extremism in any age, whether Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, or Buddhist. None of it is pretty. All of it is real. And we, in England, are not in some way removed from it. We only have to survey the smashed up medieval buildings the length and breadth of the country, or contemplate Cromwell’s record of public beheadings and other barbarous executions.

Here is Michael Brenden Dougherty, some time ago, in The Week:

Convert, leave, or die. That's the trio of awful options ISIS is giving to Christians in Iraq. Sadly, there's an all-too-familiar ring to this ultimatum. These were the exact options given to all Catholic clergy in Ireland when England instituted the penal laws against Catholics several hundred years ago.

There have been others too of course.

Every analogy has dis analogous elements: otherwise it would just be the same thing. It's not the same thing. But the comparison should help us understand what is happening and make us a little less smug about the superiority of the West.

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Political Islam; Political Christianity

Christ died on the Cross: a scandalous end denied by Muslims.
One of the things which make secularists a bit green about the gills about Islam is the political implications of their faith endorsed by some of its adherants. I've even heard 'Islamism' defined as 'political Islam', and therefore as something bad. Most Muslims, we are then told, draw no political conclusions from their religion, they aren't Islamists.

I'm old enough to remember those innocent days of the 1980s and 1990s when Christianity without political implications was lambasted by the secular left as boring and irrelevant. What they wanted, of course, was an ally, perhaps in the form of Liberation Theology. The purely tactical (as usual) nature of the secularists' critique on boring old Catholic teaching about the need for individual repentance and metaphysical doctrines is revealed by their reaction when a religion appears to have political implications which they don't like. However, the cat's out of the bag. Religions without political implications would indeed be boring and (to that extent) irrelevant; all we need to add is that it is almost inconceivable that a minimally coherent and/ or longstanding religion should fail to have political implications.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Opposing Islam with charity

Christ triumphs over death: something denied by Muslims.
Over the last couple of months I've been looking at the archives of the 'Answering Muslims' blog, belonging to an Evangelical Christian, David Wood. (David Wood's mind-boggling conversion story video is worth viewing if you have a spare 30 minutes.) Wood has an impressive mastery of Islamic texts, including not just the Koran but the Hadiths and authoritative commentaries. It all gets quite complicated. He has taken the trouble to do what few Christians have done: with a decent grasp of the Islamic tradition, to subject it to relentless analysis and ridicule.

I'm not entirely comfortable with the ridicule bit; I think that he overdoes it on occasion, and I think it would be more effective sometimes if he just let the texts speak for themselves. But hey, he's American and he's addressing an unsophisticated audience, so perhaps we can't really expect him to use understatement and irony. (Note to American readers: the previous sentence is a JOKE. And so was that one.)

Whenever I hear secularists talking about the limits of religious freedom, I know that they are going to apply whatever they come up with more rigorously against Catholics than against Muslims, so, paradoxically, I am inclined to side with the Muslims more often than otherwise I would. Muslims shock secularists by having Muslim state schools with some kind of separation between boys and girls; I don't agree with Islamic attitudes to women but I certainly don't like to see the secularists imposing gender theory on Catholic schools. Muslims talk about converting the world, and the secularists have the heeby-jeebies; I don't think the world should or indeed can be converted by the methods historically used by Mohammed and many of his followers, but Catholics also want to convert the world: there's nothing wrong with that aspiration in itself. I am in Hamlet's position in relation to Laertes: the image of my cause I see
The portraiture of his.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Modesty and Pudicy

E. B. Strauss
Last Summer I published a series of posts by a guest contributor, Queen of Puddings, on this blog, to which I added some commentary of my own. You can see all the posts under the label 'fashion'.

Our central concern was beauty as the goal of thinking about clothing, as opposed to either a puritanical focus on modesty, to the exclusion of all other considerations, or the modern cult of ugliness. A closely related issue is the relationship between changing social mores on clothing, and the objective demands of natural law. This causes a lot of trouble to those who want to think about these things seriously, and especially when they try to take inspiration from the saints. What we find with the saints is that at differing times they followed wildly different standards of appropriate dress: the bare feet of St Clare of Assisi, for example, would have caused scandal to the saints of 19th century Europe. How is this supposed to help us discern where the limits of purity come in the area, for example, of beach wear?

The answer is that the saints observed the customs of their own day, when these were not completely decadent. When we encounter customs which are completely decadent, we may have to do better than what is regarded as 'normal' by our contemporaries. But in doing this we shouldn't fixate on the customs of any particular earlier era. We have to make a distinction between what is required by purity as a virtue, and how that requirement is expressed in a particular culture.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Fr John Zuhlsdorf in London


On Monday Fr John Zuhlsdorf of the WDTPRS (olim 'What Does the Prayer Really Say?') blog was in London, and he celebrated the regular evening Missa Cantata in the church of Corpus Christi, Maidan Lane, which is near Covent Garden.


We had the Mass of the Sunday within the Octave, which is regularly displaced by the feast of the Holy Family but is still the Mass for a ferial day during the week following.


The church is undergoing restoration; the Lady Chapel is currently closed off with plastic sheeting. The 'forward altar' has been removed; it will, however, be replaced, but for the moment it is possible to have, and to view, the Traditional Mass in the church as it was intended by its architect.


More photos.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

For there is good news yet to hear...

...and fine things to be seen,
Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green. (Chesterton)


More photographs of our evening Epiphany Mass in SS Gregory & Augustine, Oxford, here.


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Monday, January 12, 2015

Hypocrisy and fallacy over censorship

Some of the arguments being made about censorship in the wake of the appalling Charlie Hebdo massacre are so silly and irritating that I want to say something about them.

The central claim of a lot of the response to the massacre is that the Freedom of the Press must be upheld: the 'right to offend'. What is hypocritical is the making of this claim, at least by implication, by leaders who do not allow the kind of freedom used, or misused, by Charlie Hebdo in their own countries. In the UK and the USA it is simply delusional to think that we have 'the right to offend'. Every week people lose their jobs for causing offense, often against Muslims, but also against Gay activists. Expressing any kind of religious conviction has become a sackable offence within the UK's National Health Service and many liberal American Universities. Admitting doubts about same-sex marriage can end your career in the secular world of internet companies, as Brandon Eich discovered. We have been moving sharply away from free speech in the Anglosphere for at least thirty years. And now we are all in favour of it? Gimme a break. As Norman Tebbit has written, now that our politicians have decided it is such a good thing, can we have it, please?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

40 Days for Life is coming to Gloucester

Pro-life vigil-keepers in Oxford.
A press release.

From February 18 through March 29, you’re invited to join other Christians for  40 Days for Life – 40 days of prayer and fasting for an end to abortion. You’re also invited to stand and peacefully pray during a 40-day vigil in the public right-of-way outside the Western Entrance to Gloucester Royal Hospital and also to help spread the word about this important community outreach. If you’d like more information – and especially if you’d like to volunteer to help, please contact:

James Tranter, Campaign Director
Mobile: 07796 511375

Friday, January 09, 2015

I am not Charlie

The Martyrs of Otranto, killed by Muslims in 1480;
canonised by Pope Francis in 2013
I confess that, as I read the background to the appalling massacre in Paris at the offices of the magazine Charlie Hebdo, I am inclined to agree with Bill Donohue (and Laurence England) in condemning both the killings and the unspeakable images which provoked it. Mohammed, and other religious figures living and dead of a range of religions, depicted, for example, in sexual poses. It is visual hate speech. It is an assault on the deepest values of millions of French citizens. And it has got nothing to do with argument, criticism, or the truth. It is mindless, bestial, even demonic. (Fr Ray Blake, who also takes this line, has put some anti-Catholic examples on his blog.)

The difficulty of pointing this out is the terrible crimes of the fanatics which responded to it. Cristina Odone said on Twitter that Donohue says the cartoonists were 'asking for it': a typical Twitter summary, which seemed to follow the click-bait headlines and not the content, as anyone who bothers to read him will realise. 

In fact there is no logical problem in condemning both the terrorists and the cartoons; nor does such a double condemnation imply a moral equivalence. The victims were innocent, in the sense that the killers had no right to kill them: a right one might derive from self-defence, or the right of a public executioner or a soldier of a legitimate state in a war. They may have thought they had a right, the Koran might be understood to give them a right, but that is false: they had no right, and what they did was murder. Premeditated murder like this is a sin crying out to heaven for vengeance. 

The Paris and other protesters, however, are not calling for vengeance, not even for the vengeance of heaven or the retributive punishment of the state. They are expressing solidarity with the staff of Charlie Hebdo and insisting on the right to continue to be as offensive as the magazine has been, in the future. The want to be able to continue with the most vile hate-speech against religious groups with impunity. They want to continue to be unjust, to cause pain, wantonly, as much as they please, against those they happen to dislike: religious believers. They have no such right. Most countries recognise this. Most countries would long ago have reined in Charlie Hebdo. Most countries, including this one, are right.

Of course we should be free to criticise Islam, and the call by some Muslims that criticism, in itself, should be forbidden, is chilling. The kinds of images Charlie Hebdo displayed, however, are not criticism, they are just vulgar abuse. They undermine the efforts of those who do want to engage in criticism, and they are in danger of pushing the law, in countries such as the UK, further and further in the direction of making any kind of criticism impossible. If the only test of what is acceptable is the reaction of the victim, then there is no distinction to be made between images of religious figures having unnatural sex and a sober analysis of a religious text's references to sex slaves. There is a difference: the former is an offence, not just against the artificially sensitive egos of professional complainants, but against any recognisable standard of taste and any reasonable principle of mutual respect, and the latter is not.

A lot of people are threatened and killed in the name of Islam. A bit of open analysis and criticism of Islam might serve a good purpose. The kind of vilification that Charlie Hebdo dished out, is pretty obviously going to make things worse. And so it has.

Postscipt: what does the Church teach about the freedom of the press?  Pius IX: 'that erroneous opinion, ... called by Our Predecessor, Gregory XVI, an "insanity," viz., ... that a right resides in the citizens to an absolute liberty, which should be restrained by no authority whether ecclesiastical or civil, whereby they may be able openly and publicly to manifest and declare any of their ideas whatever, either by word of mouth, by the press, or in any other way.' (Quanta cura 1864)

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Thursday, January 08, 2015

New General Manager for the Latin Mass Society

The Latin Mass Society's office, off Holborn in London.
A press release from the LMS.


Introducing new staff for the Latin Mass Society

From Monday 12th January 2015 the Latin Mass Society will have a new General Manager. Mike Lord, who has been our General Manager for four years, will be working alongside him for a two-week hand-over period.

Our new General Manager, Stephen Moseling, is best known as a long-standing senior manager of St Paul’s Bookshop. We are delighted that we will have some one of his experience and proven administrative and managerial skill working for us.

For its Jubilee Year, the Latin Mass Society is also engaging a part-time Press and Publicity Officer. Clare Stevens has many years experience as a Press Officer in the public sector, and we are very pleased to have her join us.

Our new General Manager will be building on the enormous development and professionalisation of the Latin Mass Society’s work by Mike Lord. Mike has overseen the transition to a full-colour magazine, visits to England by Bishop Rifan and Bishop Schneider, and published a series of short videos for the Society. He has brought about a considerable increase in the number of the Society’s Local Representatives, and has overseen the development of a number of events, notably the Society’s Walking Pilgrimage to Walsingham, which is now one of our most important pilgrimages. We wish him all the best in his future career.

Joseph Shaw


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Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Fr John Zuhlsdorf to celebrate Mass in London, Mon 12 Jan

Fr Zuhlsdorf acting as Deacon at Mass for Remembrance Sunday
in St Mary Magdalen's, Wandsworth, London, in 2010

The Latin Mass Society's long-standing Monday evening Mass in Corpus Christi, Maidan Lane, will be celebrated this coming Monday, 12th January, by Fr John Zuhlsdorf.

These Masses are always Sung, this Monday we hope it will be a High Mass.

Mass is at 6:30pm; 5 Maiden Lane, London WC2E 7NB.

Everyone is welcome. Do come along to this fascinating church, the 'Actors' Church', hidden away in London's theatre district. The Mass will be the Sunday within the Octave of Epiphany, which isn't celebrated on the Sunday itself because of the Feast of the Holy Family.

Here is a map.

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Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Fr Longenecker on duplicitous bishops: not big or clever

Update: A commenter below has alerted me to a post on Fr Longenecker's blog very similar to one I am commenting on, from the end of 2010: here.

In this post, he makes it a bit clearer who he is referring to. This hope for a priest shortage to be followed by lay pastoral leadership and the ordination of women was, he says,

shared with me with some enthusiasm in not one, but three of the Southern dioceses in England. Anyone who knows the English Church will be able to identify the three Southern Dioceses to which I am referring and I doubt if anyone will refute this proposed ‘new model’ of priesthood in England.

Well, Fr Longenecker, I know you've been out of the country for a while and may be a little out of the loop, but the following dioceses have changed hands since 2010: from the south, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Arundel and Brighton, Brentwood, Birmingham, Northampton, East Anglia... You really can't talk about any others as 'Southern Dioceses in England' apart from Westminster and Southwark, and those both had new bishops about a year before the 2010 blog post, long after these reported conversations.

I would suggest that justice and charity both require you, Fr Longenecker, to explain to your readers that not a single one of the bishops whose views you claim to know about is still in office. 

Bishop John Arnold, now of Salford, at the LMS Confirmation service
Fr Dwight Longenecker has picked up the story (earlier reported here) about a religious sister being put in charge, in some sense, of two parishes in Milton Keynes. He expresses some of the concerns I and others have expressed over it, but adds something from his personal experience: an anecdote about a conversation he had many years ago with a senior priest in a particular diocese in England, who had suggested that having fewer vocations would have the advantage of forcing Rome's hand on ordaining women, through the intermediate step of female lay parish administrators.

No doubt that conversation took place as described. We've all heard stories like that. What came as a bit of a surprise is the way Fr Longenecker concluded his post.

I do not criticize my fellow Catholic clergy by name, but I will say here and now that the ten years I spent as a Catholic layman in England–working close up with the Catholic hierarchy makes me not surprised or shocked at all by this behavior.

Clergy can be devious and manipulative and secretive at times, and often they have a good reason to play their cards close to their chest, but a few members of the Catholic hierarchy in England and Wales (those Damien Thompson calls “the magic circle”) are the most secretive, devious, duplicitous and schemingly oily inside operators I have ever come across.

This article is typical of their behavior.

Now, there is a lot to be said about this. I feel confident, in saying it, that since he feels able to describe Successors of the Apostles as secretive, devious, duplicitous and schemingly oily inside operators, Fr Longecker won't mind a little fraternal correction from me.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Paix Liturgique on Cardinal Sarah

High Mass for the LMS in the Shrine Church of SS Peter & Paul & Philomena, with the ICKSP
in the Wirral.
The Paix Liturgique newsletter has a series of interesting comments from different people, including Nicola Bux and Bishop Schneider, on the appointment of Cardinal Sarah as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, here.

One is from me. Here it is. I was asked to say something about the challenge facing this Congregation, and its new Prefect.

"Under Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II, the Congregation issued a series of condemnations of some liturgical abuses, while simultaneously conceding defeat on others, such as the reception of Holy Communion in the hand, Communion under both kinds at large, Sunday celebrations, and female Altar servers. The supporters of liturgical propriety had the impossible task of defending a series of rules which were almost universally flouted, knowing that the Congregation could itself abandon them at any moment.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Schellhorn Prize: for sacred music composition

The deadline is Ash Wednesday, Feb 18th, so I am reposting this announcement.

Matthew Schellhorn directing the choir at the LMS Aylesford Pilgrimage
I'm delighted to announce that the Latin Mass Society is supporting the Schellhorn Prize. This will be awarded to the best 'piece for a cappella SATB choir using any Latin Eucharistic text' submitted, between now and Ash Wednesday of next year (18th February), by a composer no older than 26 at the closing date. The prize is £500, and the piece will be performed as part of the Latin Mass Society's Easter Triduum liturgies in the year it is submitted.

The prize has been established by Matthew Schellhorn, the pianist, in honour of his parents.
The full details are here.

The Latin Mass Society has, as an object, the promotion of the Church's musical patrimony. This is not just a matter of the performance of old pieces: our musical tradition, like our liturgical tradition in general, is a living thing, and that is why we have not one but two Catholic composers among our Patrons, Colin Mawby and James MacMillan.

St Cecelia
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Saturday, January 03, 2015

Open Letter to the Bishops of England and Wales

Palm Sunday procession with the FSSP in St William of York, Reading
This was published in the most recent issue of the Latin Mass Society's magazine, Mass of Ages. I've been pleasantly surprised by the coverage it has generated: it has been picked up by the Catholic Herald, The Tablet, and by the very strange people over at Traditio. Well, never mind them. Here's the full text.


Why the Extraordinary Form should be promoted: an open letter to the Bishops of England and Wales

Looking back at the Latin Mass Society’s fifty years, we must acknowledge our gratitude for the almost complete disappearance of the hostility towards the Extraordinary Form (EF) which, though never universal, was once widespread enough to be both a cross for our supporters and a serious impediment to our activities. In this positive development you, our Bishops in England and Wales, have played a crucial role. The question arises: Is there any reason for those with the care of souls to go beyond toleration, and actually to facilitate or promote this form of the Mass?

Friday, January 02, 2015

The loss of men from the Church: the Traditional Catholic response

Walking pilgrims in Canada: Traditional pilgrimage to Our Lady of the Cape
I don't want to leave the subject of the lapsation of men without going beyond the question of Mass attendance. There are many other things which can and do happen in the Church which have an important effect on this question.

Leon Podles is very interested in the male sodalities and brotherhoods characteristic of Spanish and Latin American Catholicism, which have maintained the respect even of men who think, or are close to thinking, it is a bit wimpy to go to Mass. I must leave it to others to discuss these associations, as I don't know enough about them. There are many less formal parallels, however, in the Church all over the world.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

More on the female Pastoral Administrator

The story I reported here a few days ago has been reported in the Tablet (30th December), with some additional commentary from one of the local priests. Read it and weep.

Fr Paul Hardy said Sr Yvonne Pilarski, whose official title is “pastoral administrator” of Christ the King Church in Milton Keynes, had been universally accepted by the people.

“I’ve seen the congregation treating her exactly as if she was their parish priest,” he said. “They’ve taken it very well – she is obviously their resident person and that’s how she’s treated. If she wants something to happen, it happens.”

Sr Yvonne, who also administers the parish of St Bede’s in Newport Pagnall, does all the administration work connected with her parishes, as well as any pastoral care that does not require a priest, such as taking Communion to the sick or visiting the elderly. “She is very much the boss,” said Fr Hardy. “She’s a very good parish priest – she has that feminine quality that parish priests don’t have.”

Fr Hardy said he thought Bishop Peter Doyle of Northampton, who appointed Sr Yvonne to her new role in the autumn, had been very courageous, adding: “We can’t replace priests who die or retire any more, and this is a way forward.”

'She is a very good parish priest'. Yup, 'this is a way forward', said the lemming to the lamppost...

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