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!

IMG_1053
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

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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

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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

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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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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A renewed attack on celibacy?

The word is out that the next subject for discussion at a Synod of Bishops will be celibacy. I don't know if this is true, but it is worth reminding ourselves of exactly why the Latin Church (as opposed to the Byzantine, Maronite etc. churches) should not abandon celibacy.

A while ago I wrote a short series of posts on the topic:

The Crisis of Celibacy

The Attack on Celibacy is an Attack on the Priesthood

The Attack on Celibacy is an Attack on Marriage

Here are a few points from those posts.

First, we have come to this stage in the debate because, in a series of choices between strengthening or weakening celibacy, the Church's leadership has chosen to weaken it. These decisions have been understandable - it is important to stress that, taken individually, they may seem inevitable, or even laudable - but the cumulative effect has been to erode the principle of priestly celibacy. Examples of such decisions have been: the giving way to the massive departure of priests from their vows, and the moral support given by bishops to laicised priests, including groups calling openly for the end of celibacy; the promotion of married deacons, and the endemic confusion about deacons' obligations; the taking over of various liturgical functions by lay people, including women; and concessions made to former Anglican (and occasionally Lutheran) convert clergy.

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.

SIR

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

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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: