Saturday, February 28, 2015

Loftus: Ordinariate bad, gay marriage good

Fr John Hunwicke of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, who seems to have
escaped from the Ghetto to give the SCT Family Retreat in 2013
Mgr Basil Loftus' weekly column in the Catholic Times (27th Feb 2014) is even more diffuse and rambling than usual.

The Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham gets a quick kick.

It [Dignitatis humanae and Unitatis Redintegratio] leaves later measures, such as the accomodation of former Anglicans within the confines of some ghetto-like personal prelature, as a mere touchline distration...

The irony of citing Vatican II's Decree on Ecumenism to dismiss the importance of the Ordinariate, the most important ecumenical project of our generation, is lost on Loftus. He typifies the attitude that is in favour of ecumenism in theory, but is horrified when it actually works and brings unity about, even if only for a relatively small group.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Mass of Ages goes free

The new edition of Mass of Ages, the Latin Mass Society's full-colour magazine, is now available, and for the first time it is free for the general public.

It is available in the back of a lot of churches and cathedrals, especially the ones with regular EF Masses. If your priest doens't stock it, get him to ask for it: it won't cost him anything.

You can email the LMS Office for a copy, or view it online here.

I particularly recommend the article about the Traditional Mass in Japan, which reveals that it influenced the famous Japanese tea ceremony, and the Art History page on 'The Fight Between Carnival and Lent' by Breugel.

More information here.

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

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

EWTN: Crusades series

If you have EWTN don't miss their series on the Crusades; it is on this week at 10:30am and 9pm in the UK and Ireland and 6:30ET in the USA.

It includes footage of the Chartres Pilgrimage to illustrate the continuing relevance of the idea of pilgrimage. The crusades can be understood, in fact, as a series of military pilgrimages.

It has been made in part in the UK; in the video below Stefano Mazzeo, who supporters of the Traditional Mass will know from other contexts, explains the point of the series.

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

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Masses for the Persecuted: update

A recent High Mass in St Mary Moorfields, London
Further to the announcement of the FIUV of our project to arrange Masses for persecuted Christians around the world, I can now report a number of good responses.

In London, England, four High Masses a year will be offered, in a collaboration with the Latin Mass Society and the London Juventutem group, which have High Masses on the last Friday of each month in St Mary Moorfields in the City of London. They will be for the intention of persecuted Christians, where possible with a Votive Mass, on 24th April, 26th June, 25 September, and 18th December this year. The generosity of the Latin Mass Society has enabled these to accompanied with polyphony.

In Rome, Italy, Una Voce Italia will organise a quarterly Mass.

Una Voce Puerto Rico organised a Mass which took place on 22nd February.

In the Philippines, the Ecclesia Dei Society of Saint Joseph has helped to organize a two-day series of Masses and devotions for the Pope and for Persecuted Christians. This will be held on February 23-24 in the Holy Family Parish of the Diocese of Cubao in Metro Manila, which is the only parish in the whole Philippines with a Daily Traditional Latin Mass.

Una Voce Mexico has also promised to organise a Mass.

Please support this campaign of prayer for our persecuted brothers. Say a Rosary, ask for a Mass to be said. Let us know in the com box of the FIUV blog if you can arrange regular Masses. You can make a donation for Masses also, through the FIUV 'donate' button (please let us know the purpose of the donation).

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

Monday, February 23, 2015

Is the Church 'losing women'?

A congregation with a healthy sex-ratio: the Traditional Mass on Ash Wednesday in
SS Gregory & Augustine's, Oxford
A splendid illustration of my point about the focus on women within the Church (see here, here, and here) has been offered by the National Catholic Reporter (the institution Fr Zuhlsdorf likes to call the 'fishwrap').

Surveys have long shown women lead more active lives of faith than men, and that millennials are less interested than earlier generations. One in three now claim no religious identity.

What may be new is that more women, generation by generation, are moving in the direction of men -- away from faith, religious commitment, even away from vaguely spiritual views like "a deep sense of wonder about the universe," according to some surveys.

What is fascinating is that the NCR doesn't deny the obvious - that today women are by every measure more religious than men, and found in greater numbers in Catholic churches. But the only point they draw from this is how dreadful it is if women turn out to be 'moving in the direction of men'.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Roman Forum 2015: LMS Sponsorship available

The unique and wonderful annual Roman Forum conference on the shores of Lake Garda in Italy is taking bookings: the dates are

June 29th-July 10th

The conference is ten days of talks from some of the best-known figures on the Traditional Catholic scene, accompanied by the Traditional Mass, good food, and beautiful surroundings. The President of the Roman Forum is Dr John Rao, who gave a talk to the LMS One Day Conference in 2012,

From the LMS website:

The LMS is offering two bursaries of £500 Sterling each towards the cost of attending the Summer Symposium in 2015 (the full price is $2,900). Our bursary, together with a further concession from the organisers of the Symposium, will reduce the total amount payable by each of these two participants to £500 each (based upon shared accommodation). The bursaries are for young adults up to 35 years. This offer is not limited to members of the LMS but is available to anyone from England and Wales.
Click here for more details.

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

Friday, February 20, 2015

Pope Francis on the Reform of the Reform


Pope Francis made some interesting remarks at a recent meeting of priests in Rome. There's a fuller report on Rorate Caeli here; I want to focus on just one aspect of what he said. What follows is paraphrase with snatches of direct quotation. (The scattered remarks are reported by participants of the meeting; we don't have a full text.)

Through the Motu Propio Summorum Pontificum, published in 2007, the now Pope Emeritus allowed the possibility of celebrating the Mass according the liturgical books edited by John XXIII in 1962, notwithstanding that the "ordinary" form of celebration in the Catholic Church would always remain that established by Paul VI in 1970.

Pope Francis explained that this gesture by his predecessor, "a man of communion", was meant to offer "a courageous hand to Lefebvrians and traditionalists", as well as to those who wished to celebrate the Mass according to the ancient rites. The so-called "Tridentine" Mass – the Pope said – is an "extraordinary form of the Roman Rite", one that was approved following the Second Vatican Council. Thus, it is not deemed a distinct rite, but rather a "different form of the same right".

However, the Pope noted that there are priests and bishops who speak of a "reform of the reform." Some of them are "saints" and speak "in good faith." But this "is mistaken", the Holy Father said.

Ordination for the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer

The Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer (F.SS.R), based on Papa Stronsay in the Orkneys, have announced an ordination to the priesthood of a member of their community, Br Jean Marie, on Saturday 11th April (Easter Saturday, the day before Low Sunday).

Br Jean has been working in the Sons' apostolate in Christchurch, New Zealand, and will be ordained their by the emeritus bishop of the diocese, Bishop Meeking. In the picture above he is acting as subdeacon at the first Mass of his confrere Fr Yousef Marie in Sta Trinita dei Pellegrini in Rome.
A new edition of the Newsletter of the Friends of Papa Stronsay has more information; you can download it here.

Sign up to the mailing list of the Friends by emailing them:

See the Friends' blog here; the Sons' own website is here.

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

Thursday, February 19, 2015

40 Days for Life around the UK

From '40 Days for Life'

From 18th February to 29th March, six communities across the UK will unite with 246 other cities over 19 countries for a major simultaneous pro-life mobilisation - the 40 Days for Life campaign. Faithful believers are praying that these efforts will mark the beginning of the end of abortion.

The 40 Days for Life campaign is made up of three simple components. They are:
  • Prayer and fasting: inviting people of faith throughout our country and the world to join together for 40 days of fervent prayer and fasting for an end to abortion.
  • Community outreach: taking a positive, upbeat pro-life message to every corner of our communities through media efforts, parish and school outreach, petition drives, and public visibility.
  • Peaceful vigil: standing for life through a 40-day peaceful public witness outside the local abortion clinic.
The first 40 Days for Life campaign in Bryan/College Station, Texas, in 2004, reduced local abortion rates by 28%. Between 2004 and today, some 559 cities in 27 nations have conducted 40 Days for Life campaigns, with measurable, lifesaving results:
  • More than 650,000 people of faith and conscience have joined together to pray and fast for an end to abortion.
  • 9,699 children have been saved from abortion - and those are just the ones that we know of.
  • 107 abortion workers have quit their jobs.
  • And 60 abortion clinics have closed and gone out of business following 40 Days for Life campaigns outside their doors.
Please pray and ask God to show you the unique role He has for you in the 40 Days for Life effort, whether as a prayer volunteer, a vigil participant or helping with community outreach.

If you'd like to get involved with the UK campaign nearest to you, you can view their webpages below:

You can browse all 40 Days for Life locations here

May God bless us all in our stand for Life.

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

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ash Wednesday

Don't forget to get 'ashed' today. There is a list of EF Masses for Ash Wednesday on the LMS website.

Do some penance this Lent. The Church demands it. It pleases God. Regardless of the state of your soul. We are all sinners.

I shall be singing at a Missa Cantata this evening in Oxford. This is the Tract, which is repeated on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays throughout Lent on ferias.

O Lord, repay us not according to the sins we have committed, nor according to our iniquities. V. O Lord, remember not our former iniquities, let Thy mercies speedily prevent us: for we are become exceeding poor. (Here kneel.) V. Help us, O God, our Saviour: and for the glory of Thy name, O Lord, deliver us: and forgive us our sins for Thy name's sake.
(Psalm 102:10 and Psalm 78:8-9.)

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

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Loftus, Pope Francis, and gender reassignment

The Christ Child with Our Lady and St Joseph:
from the Rosary Walk at Aylesford Priory.
The latest Mgr Basil Loftus column is, perhaps, predictable, but as an example of the kind of use liberals are making of the present Pontificate it could serve as a exemplar for the edification of future ages.

Pope Francis, we all know, embraced an individual who has undergone gender reassignment. Having been born a woman, Diego Neria Legรกrrara now wants to be referred to as a man. The question of whether filling in a form in the local Registry Office (or the Spanish equivalent), and undergoing some kind of medical treatment, fulfills the ontological requirements for a person to change from one sex to another, is a philosophical question rather above Mgr Loftus' pay grade. But to help us he includes a substantial quotation from Pope Benedict XVI's speech to the Curia on 12th December 2012. It is a tour de force:

People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Dr Saulnier is coming to London

Reminder: reposted

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 Dr 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.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Cardinal Burke to visit England

Cardinal Burke is visiting England to speak on Marriage, at an event sponsored by SPUC and the Voice of the Family:

“Remaining in the Truth of Christ on Holy Matrimony”

Friday 6th March 2015 at 7pm

Abbey Suite, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Warrington Road, Chester, CH2 3PD, UK

He will also be celebrating the Traditional Mass:

8th March at 10.30am, SS Peter, Paul and St Philomena, New Brighton, CH45 9LT

9th March at 6.30pm, Shrine of St Augustine, Ramsgate, CT119PA

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

Friday, February 13, 2015

Prayers for the Persecuted: a new Position Paper

Prayers After Low Mass at the LMS Priest Training Conference at Ratcliffe College
Today I am publishing a Position Paper on the Leonine Prayers on Rorate Caeli: go there to read it.

Here I would like to make a few further observations on this topic.

The paper is unusual as it is, first and foremost, an appeal to action: for the celebration of Masses for persecuted Christians around the world. But it does so on the basis of an historical understanding of the issues, something which the Position Papers try to bring to all their topics.

From the historical point of view, the paper makes two interesting major points. The first is that the Leonine Prayers are not as anomolous as they may at first appear. It may well be said that they are not 'really' part of Mass, they are stuck on the end of some, but not all, Masses, in an awkward and ad hoc way, and they detract from the liturgy. I confess my study of the liturgy gives me some sympathy with purist, Liturgical Movement-type arguments like these.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Candlemas in Oxford


Earlier this month we had a beutiful High Mass for Candlemas, the feast of the Purification, in SS Gregory & Augustine. The blessed candles were distributed to the congregation, followed by a short procession, and then Mass.


The lighting presented a challenge for photography. It is not just a matter of low light levels, but of the different shades of light: more and less yellow, shining in different directions. The candles are a 'warmer', more yellow light than the spot lights illuminating the Altar. They make the back wall look blue even when everything else looks rather orange. It wasn't really a problem for human beings present, we adjust mentally and think nothing of it, but it plays havoc with the technology.


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

Book now for the Pilgrimage to Chartres


Bookings for the Chartres Pilgrimage are now open.

As for the past several years, the Latin Mass Society is offering sponsored places, cutting the cost by £100 for fifteen people. See the details here.

This is a truly unique event, and participation is a truly unique experience. You need to be in reasonable shape to undertake this pilgrimage, it is certainly a physical challenge: a bit of preparation will make the whole thing more enjoyable. But all kinds of people do it, and there is no shame in dropping out if you really have to.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Update on the Stoles available from the LMS

Updated photo of stoles: the ones crossed out have gone.
A while ago I posted a photo of a vast collection of white stoles and burses which I had in my care which the LMS was able to give away. A lot have gone, a lot remain. Here is what is left.

Two red maniples, one with a matching stole.
I had 25 burses, now I am down, thank heavens, to a mere 11.


A violet chalice veil.
As before I will mail these out on a first-come, first-served basis to priests or deacons in the United Kingdom; if the priests could say a Mass for the Latin Mass Society's intentions that would be appreciated.

Anyone else - lay people and people overseas - we can have a chat about it.

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

More on Catholicism and Psychiatry

I recently mentioned Jung on this blog, and I have been glad to discover that there is an excellent new CTS booklet, by Dr Pravin Thevasathan, on the general issue of mental health which provides a thorough introduction into Jung and also Freud.

It is important to note that their incompatibility with the Catholic Faith does not derive from being scientific about mental health, but from being grossly unscientific. Both men extrapolated vast theories about normal psychology from the study of a small number of very disturbed people, and above all from their own hang-ups. Furthermore, their exploration of their own unconscious minds, in Freud's case with the help of cocaine, in Jung's in the context of a deep interest in the occult and 'automatic writing', were taken to give them insights into others'. Things are not, however, as simple as this.

It is good to see that these old frauds are losing their hold over the thinking of the mental health profession; we'll have to wait a bit longer for this to be manifested in popular culture. Their influence has been profound, and it will take a lot to shift it.

Among the merits of the booklet is the summary of Catholic attitudes to mental health before the modern era, which were frequently very positive, and the prudent discussion of how modern psychiatric treatments can work alongside spiritual care.

It can be bought here.

While on the subject of the Catholic Truth Society, it would appear that they have finally allowed their bizzare polemic against Catholics attached to the Traditional Mass, Catholic Traditionalism by Raymond Edwards, to fall out of print.

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

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Why talk about 'resisting the Pope'?

Jesus is condemned by Pilate; He receives His Cross. From St Augustine's, Ramsgate.

On the internet, and particularly on conservative Catholic blogs, there has been a fair amount of talk about the possibility, the hypothetical possibility, of 'resisting the Pope': that is, when an initiative of the Holy Father, other than an infallible exercise of his teaching Office, should be so clearly destructive of the common good and the salvation of souls that individual Catholics, including priests, bishops, and cardinals, would be justified in refusing to cooperate with it, and perhaps obliged to do so.

It is useful to keep this possibility in mind, because it sets a theoretical limit to what we are obliged to do or to believe. Pope John XXII preached something incompatible with the Faith from the pulpit (in Avignon, since this was during the Papacy's exile there). Here is the old Catholic Encyclopedia on the case.

Before his elevation to the Holy See, he had written a work on this question, in which he stated that the souls of the blessed departed do not see God until after the Last Judgment. After becoming pope, he advanced the same teaching in his sermons. In this he met with strong opposition, many theologians, who adhered to the usual opinion that the blessed departed did see God before the Resurrection of the Body and the Last Judgment, even calling his view heretical. A great commotion was aroused in the University of Paris when the General of the Minorites and a Dominican tried to disseminate there the pope's view. Pope John wrote to King Philip IV on the matter (November, 1333), and emphasized the fact that, as long as the Holy See had not given a decision, the theologians enjoyed perfect freedom in this matter. In December, 1333, the theologians at Paris, after a consultation on the question, decided in favour of the doctrine that the souls of the blessed departed saw God immediately after death or after their complete purification; at the same time they pointed out that the pope had given no decision on this question but only advanced his personal opinion, and now petitioned the pope to confirm their decision. John appointed a commission at Avignon to study the writings of the Fathers, and to discuss further the disputed question. In a consistory held on 3 January, 1334, the pope explicitly declared that he had never meant to teach aught contrary to Holy Scripture or the rule of faith and in fact had not intended to give any decision whatever. Before his death he withdrew his former opinion, and declared his belief that souls separated from their bodies enjoyed in heaven the Beatific Vision.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Metropolitan Hilarion calls for a 'strategic alliance'

Metroplitan Hilarion is in charge of 'external relations' for the Russian Orthodox Church. A recent talk gives a good summary of his thinking on relations with both Protestants and Catholics. This passage is particularly relevant to the Catholic Church.

I would like to say that today the Orthodox and Catholics encounter the same challenges which the modern age has thrown down to the traditional way of life. In this instance we are dealing not with theological issues but with the present and future of the human community. This is precisely the area in which we can interact without harm to our ecclesiastical identity. In other words, in not being one Church, in remaining divided by various theological and ecclesiological issues, it is possible for us to find ways of interaction which allow us to answer jointly the challenges of the modern-day world.

Friday, February 06, 2015

The Traditional Mass returns to Dunkeld

From the website of the Diocese of Dunkeld, where they have a new Bishop, Stephen Robson.

The first thing Bishop Stephen had to find out when he was approached was the number of people who would be seeking to have such a celebration. There appears to be a stable group of about 60 people in the diocese which would give sufficient reason to promote the celebration of an Old Rite Mass. But this would need to be sustainable and stable. It must also be able to sustain itself financially and be well enough supported in sufficient numbers.
Accordingly Bishop Stephen has decided to plan a celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass in Lawside St Joseph’s Convent Chapel on Sunday, March 15th 2015 at 4pm (4th Sunday of Lent). This will take the form of a Sung Mass in the Old Rite according to the Missal of Saint John XXIII (1962).
If there is sustainable congregation, it will become a regular Mass. Well done to all the supporters of the EF in the diocese, and the tireless work of Una Voce Scotland.

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

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Conference on Church and State

Tim Stanley
This looks very interesting, and if I can I hope to attend myself. Prof Pink addressed the LMS One Day Conference in 2014: here is an article by him on Church and State. Tim Stanley is a regular contributor to the Catholic Herald, and the Telegraph.


Two talks to mark the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, delivered by Prof. Thomas Pink (University of London) and Dr Timothy Stanley (Oxford University)

27 March 2015
11.00am - 3.20pm

at the CCF
£5.00 per ticket, includes lunch

The Centre for Catholic Formation, 21 Tooting Bec Road, London SW17 8BS.

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

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Sklerocordia: hardness of heart and divorce

The solemn proclamation of the Gospel at a Traditional Requiem Mass.
In Remaining in the Truth of Christ (the 'book of the five Cardinals' defending the Church's discipline on marriage), the biblical data on divorce is discussed by Fr Paul Mankowski SJ. He remarks laconically that today people who uphold Our Lord's teaching on divorce who are accused of being unmerciful, hard of heart, but Jesus tells us that the permission for divorce in the Mosaic law (a permission never made explicit, no more than a reference to the fact that people were divorcing):

'It was for your hardness of heart [Greek: 'sklerocordia'] that Moses gave this commandment.' (Matthew 19:8)

It was because Jesus wants to break through that hardness of heart, because he offers, to use the phrase of Ezekial (36:26) to replace our heart of stone with a heart of flesh, that he wants to put a stop to divorce, or at least the respectable re-marriage to another spouse which is the hard-hearted intention of most divorces.

One of the reasons that the Church is finding it difficult to hold the line on divorce is that, if we are honest with ourselves, the teaching on the indissolubility of marriage has not been presented with forcefulness for half a century at least. The Church is full of compassion for those who are going through marital difficulties, for the separated, for the divorced, and for the remarried. That is a good thing. But we aren't sent simply to weep by the sidelines; the Church is supposed to have some insight into human nature. What are these people told to do? Are they told that divorce and remarriage, as a solution for marital problems, overwhelmingly often has catastrophically bad consequences for both spouses and especially for the children? Are they told that the marriage vow imposes a sacred obligation to remain with one's spouse, that the grace of the sacrament will assist with the common life of marriage, and that infidelity is poison to the life of grace and to the marital relationship?

Monday, February 02, 2015

Video: what is Septuagesima?

And what's the point of retaining it in the Extraordinary Form?

It seems a good moment to re-post this video. See also the Postioin Paper on Septuagesima, Vigils and Octaves, here.


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

Sunday, February 01, 2015

The Eastern Churches: 'it's a guy thing'

The Traditional Mass through a Pugin Rood Screen, at St Edmund's College, Ware
I've given a lot of space on this blog recently to the question about men being lost to the Church, and a reader kindly mentioned a book which notes the contrasting situation in the Orthodox Church. This is the testimony of an American, female, convert to Orthodoxy. She begins with a reminiscence about attending Vespers when she was new to it.

The struggling choir was weak and singing in an unintelligible language that may have been English. The few other worshipers weren't participating in the service in any visible way. Why did they hide the altar behind a wall? It was annoying how the priest kept popping in and out of the doors like a figure on a Swiss clock. The service dragged on following no discernible pattern, and it was interminable.

Something about Orthodoxy has immense appeal to men, and it's something that their wives--especially those used used to worshipping in the softer evangelical style---are generally slower to get. The appeal of joining this vast, ancient, rock-solid communion must be something like the appeal of joining the marines. It's going to be demand a hell of a lot out of you, and it's not going to cater to your individual whims, but when it's through with you you're going to be more than you ever knew you could be. It's going to demand, not death on the battlefield, but death to self in a million painful ways, and God is going to be sovereign. It's a guy thing. You wouldn't understand.