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

IMG_3475
A previous LMS Pilgrimage Mass.

The LMS pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Willesden takes place on Saturday, 31 October.
Programme:
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

IMG_9330
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

IN FESTO DOMINI NOSTRI IESV CHRISTI REGIS

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

IMG_1856
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
Organ: 
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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Thursday, October 08, 2015

Can the Traditional Mass preserve orthodoxy?

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High Mass in Oxburgh Hall Chapel, for the LMS Pilgrimage to Walsingham
for the Conversion of England.

Michael Dougherty has written (in The Week, largely reproduced on 1 Peter 5) that the current crisis in the Church arises out of a failure to centre the Faith on Christ. The Traditional Mass is Christ-centric, and in the writings of Cardinal Ratzinger we find powerful arguments that the Ordinary Form is much less so. Ratzinger explains the Christocentric meaning and influence of a series of features of the Traditional Mass which have been lost, or usually lost: the silent canon, the priestly prayers, and celebration ad orientem.

The solution to the dogmatic crisis, then, is connected with the solution to the liturgical crisis. Indeed, everyone by now knows the passage from Cardinal Ratzinger:
“I am convinced that the ecclesial crisis in which we find ourselves today depends in great part upon the collapse of the liturgy, which at times is actually being conceived of etsi Deus non daretur:as though in the liturgy it did not matter any more whether God exists and whether He speaks to us and listens to us."

In short, the Traditional Mass can help to restore the Church's lost balance.

The response to this in the com box is largely the same as the response to this idea made recently by Michael Voris in an interview with the Latin Mass Society which you can read here (see p8):

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Can the Church forget doctrine?

Drinking the mythical waters of forgetfulness in the underworld: Lethe.
At certain periods of history, one doctrine has been pushed to the fore either because it was needed to combat an issue of the day, because of its connection with a popular devotion, or because it was denied by heretics. Others have been pushed into the background. Being human, we can't focus on everything at once.

But there is something else, which is a doctrine disappearing from view because, although attacked by heretics, too many otherwise orthodox people are reluctant to defend and expound it. When these doctrines, and opinions which don't perhaps pertain to the Deposit of Faith but which are very authoritative, are mentioned, it can be a bit of a shock.

In researching the Position Paper on the Vulgate, I found a reference in a somewhat obscure official document published in 1994 to the ancient Greek translation of the Bible, the Septuagint, being made 'under divine inspiration'. I nearly fell off my chair. This is not, strictly, a teaching of the Church, but it is a pious opinion with considerable authority, taught particularly by the Greek Fathers of the Church. If it is taken seriously, then the policy of the Church since the 1940s to replace the ancient Latin translation of the Psalms, based on the Greek version, with new Latin and vernacular translations taken from the Hebrew, is fundamentally misguided.

Come back, 'valley of tears', valle lacrimarum: all is forgiven! You won't find that phrase in the reformed Office, the Novus Ordo Missal, or even the Knox translation of the Bible, when you look at Psalm 83.7 [84.6]. It is there in the Vulgate, and in the Greek, and in the ancient Gregorian chants: and, the Church is telling us, God wanted it there.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

To what do we stay faithful?

This is a very frightening time for faithful Catholics. As the teaching of the Church is questioned, we look for something to hold onto. But today's crisis is not about the denial of doctrinal formulas, so much as the evacuation of their meaning.

Pompous and boring as he is, Mgr Basil Loftus is an excellent illustration of the process. He avoids denying the classical formulations of the the truths of faith, but he evades their meaning. He creates a little structure of obfuscation which allows him to assert something in practice the opposite of the truth. Christ rose from the dead, but - says Loftus - he wasn't physically present after the resurrection, and the empty tomb is just distracting. Marriage is indissoluble, but a valid marriage can 'die'. Christ is in the Blessed Sacrament in some sense, but mercy requires us to hand out Communion like sweets, to everyone.

It isn't very convincing, but it doesn't need to be. The self-contradictory statements of today's liberals aren't the sort of thing which could sustain a living faith, or even the false faith of a false religion. That isn't what they are for. Their purpose is to allow people who did believe the truth to cease to do so with the minimum of heartache. That is the real danger, when these sorts of statements gain some kind of official recognition.

At the time of writing the precise outcome of the Synod is impossible to predict, but suppose it combined the annulment reforms we've already has with some of the ideas about 'mercy' vigorously floated by quite a few influential people, what would that mean? It would mean that the teaching of the Church that marriage was between one man and one woman, that the marriage between Christians was sacramental, and that it was indissoluble, would be proclaimed in some footnote or other to be unchanged. And yet for the sake of the marginalised, the victims, those unhappy people banging on the gates of mercy and justice, people will be able to write their own annulment decrees and, if they prefer not to do that, they will be able to remarry and receive Communion if they express (or can be taken to express) regret for past (if not present) sins. The Church's teaching will make no difference to the way we live. It will be as if it did not exist.

Observe the parallel. The teaching on the Real Presence, on Transubstantiation, has not been changed by the Church. But suppose we didn't hear about it in catechism classes or in sermons because that language is 'difficult', and suppose it were not reflected in the liturgy by any signs of reverence. What would happen? It is not that lots of people would adopt the incoherent position: that Christ is fully and substantially present in the Blessed Sacrament but that we don't talk about it and shouldn't genuflect or think twice about picking it up in our fingers. No: the problem is that the ordinary Catholic in the pew will stop believing it altogether, while a bunch of 'conservative' Catholics will tell us that there is no problem, really there isn't, because the traditional formula has never been contradicted formally by the Church, and, gosh, looky here, there's a footnote in this long document on the Vatican website in Hungarian which implies it is still true.

The situation just described is alarmingly close to the reality we have been living through for the past 40 years. There are, in fact, still signs of reverence in the Novus Ordo, for those priests who observe the rubrics; there has even been something of a revival of popular interest in the Blessed Sacrament, for reasons which I won't go into here. The massive loss of faith in the Real Presence among even church-going Catholics, then, has come about as a result of an only partial victory by the liberals. And so has the massive rate of divorce among Catholics.

A complete victory, at least for now, does not include an explicit repudiation of the traditional doctrinal formula, because the libereals want to keep with them the 'conservative' Catholics who will accept everything short of that. A complete victory, at least for now, means the complete eradication of the teaching's practical implications, without the denial of the formula. If we really believe in the indissolubly of marriage, it will naturally make a difference to the way we live. If it makes no difference, if it is prevented from making a difference, then, human nature being as it is, we will soon cease to believe it.

To return to the question of the title of this post, what are faithful Catholics presented with this situation, who want to remain faithful to the truth, to remain faithful to? Repeating the classical formula of the doctrine will not be enough, because it will be (semi-)officially regarded as compatible with a life, a practice, which gives the lie to the classical forumula as classically understood.

Staying faithful means not just talking the talk, but walking the walk. It means avoiding the accusation made by the prophets of the Old Testament, and again by Our Lord, of the lukewarm: not that they deny God, oh no. Rather, as Our Lord says, quoting Isaiah (29:13):

This people honour me with the lips, but their heart is far away from me.
Populus hic labiis me honorat, cor autem eorum longe est a me. (Mat 15:8)

His first hearers would immediately remember remember the next words of Isaiah:

they have feared me with the commandment and doctrines of men.
timuerunt me mandato hominum et doctrinis.

Are we going to follow the doctrines of men and honour God only with our lips?

This has implications for our private lives, but it must be more than that as well: our faith must be manifested publicly. As I've noted before on this blog, although the issue of marriage is supremely an issue for the laity, it is faithful priests and bishops who are going to be between the hammer and the anvil with the proposed new practices. Our faith as laity may find its public expression in our support for them.

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Monday, October 05, 2015

Pope Francis attacks 'leftists'

I think I've seen everything now.

From the Associated Press, via Japan Times:

A Chilean television station has aired a video that shows Pope Francis defending a Santiago bishop whose opponents allege has covered up sexual abuse by a notorious pedophile priest.
In the video, shot in May and broadcast on Friday by Chilean TV channel Mega, Francis blames “leftists” for a campaign against the bishop of Osorno, Monsignor Juan Barros.
“Don’t let yourselves be led by the noses, by the leftists who have plotted this,” the pope says in the video, speaking to Chilean visitors at the Vatican. He noted that the allegations against Barros had been dismissed by a Chilean court.
Read the rest.

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Saturday, October 03, 2015

Bishop Olmstead addresses men

St Joseph
Bishop Thomas Olmstead of Phoenix, Arizona, has issued a pastoral letter specifically addressed to men. It is an encouraging sign that the efforts to highlight the problem of alienation and lapsation by men in the Church are finally being faced.

You can read the letter here. It encourages men to take up their responsibilities as Catholics, as members of society, and as husbands and fathers.

There is a paragraph about fathers as heads of their families; I do not believe I have seen any (living) diocesan bishop mention this aspect of the Church's teaching before. This is what he says.

Friday, October 02, 2015

More on the music for the FIUV in Rome

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Cantus Magnus with Matthew Schellhorn at St Mary Moorfields, accompanying the Easter Vigil.
The Latin Mass Society is organising a Roman Pilgrimage to coincide with the General Assembly of the FIUV and the annual 'Summorum Pontificum' pilgrimage, 21-26th October, and we are sponsoring part of the music for these events through Matthew Schellhorn and his group Cantus Magnus.

See details of the pilgrimage here.

Matthew was recently interviewed on this in the New Liturgical Movement; he explains to Gregory Dipippo:

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Was Constantine the Great a Clericalist?

It is an obvious point, but if you have a world view which requires you to assert things which are clearly absurd, then you have a problem with your world view. I've been reading Russell Shaw's 1993 book about clericalism, To Hunt, To Shoot, To Entertain, and this point has been borne in on me with great force.

Russell Shaw (RS) is an American neo-conservative Catholic. The importance of the 'neo' is considerable. A quick characterisation of neo-cons might be that they defend the teaching of the Church without being concerned about the ancient liturgy; perhaps that is how they see themselves. But as this small volume demonstrates, they have adopted so many of the premises of the liberals that their positions would be totally unrecognisable to orthodox Catholics of any time up to about 1970. In the case of RS' characterisation of clericalism (I'm interested in his book because I agree with him that it is a historical and contemporary problem), his analysis is distorted by two fundamental liberal claims: first, that the Church must be 'separated' from the state in an American sense; and second, that the liturgy glimpsed in the earliest surviving sources, and extrapolated from archaeological traces of the earliest surviving churches, wrongfully excluded the Faithful from meaningful participation, and went on doing so until the Novus Ordo Missae was promulgated in 1969.