Thursday, March 31, 2016

Photos of the Easter Vigil at St Mary Moorfields

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I was present myself at this and these are my photos. There was a terrific rainstorm halfway through the service, but we managed to get through the Holy Fire part of the service with just a little drizzle.

St Mary Moorfields was packed, which means upwards of 200 people were present.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Photos of Good Friday at St Mary Moorfields

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The full set of Good Friday photos here.

It was organised by the Latin Mass Society and celebrated by Fr Michael Cullinan.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Public Masses at Prior Park during the Priest Training Conference

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The chapel at Prior Park is stunning; anyone in the area should take the opportunity of the LMS Priest Training Conference to attend of the public Masses taking place there next week.

Monday 4th April: 5.00pm Solemn Mass of the Annunciation
Tuesday 5th April: 11.00am Mass of Vincent Ferrer
Wednesday 6th April: 11.00am Solemn Requiem Mass
Thursday 7th April: 11.00am Solemn Votive Mass of OLJC
 In addition to these, there will be Vespers and Benediction on Tuesday 5th at 5.00pm
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Monday, March 28, 2016

Recent Photos

Benediction in Passiontide in SS Gregory & Augustine's, Oxford.
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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Surrexit! He is risen.

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From the Rosary Walk at Aylesford Priory.

Happy Easter!

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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Maundy Thursday in St Mary Moorfields, London

With Canon Peter Newby, assisted by Fr Michale Cullinan and Fr Cyril Law.





Thursday, March 24, 2016

Triduum Recess

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Jesus is laid in the Tomb,
From a series of plaques depicting the Seven Sorrows, at Carfin Shrine, near Glasgow.


Wishing my readers a holy Easter Triduum, 
and the joy of the Resurrection.


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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Guild of St Clare: 'Learn to make a skirt': two-day course 7th May and 11th June

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Children welcome. Sewing at the St Catherine's Trust Summer School, supervised by two
Guild of St Clare members.
The Guild of St Clare, which is affiliated to the Latin Mass Society, serves the Church by passing on the skills needed for the maintenance, repair, and the making of liturgical vestments. It also aims to promote 'domestic' sewing skills, which should be taken for granted by those undertaking training in emboidery, goldwork and so on. It is astonishing to think that within living memory almost every household had a sewing machine, and women routinely made clothes for themselves and their children. These skills have all but disapeared. Few children today can even thread a needle.

The Guild is pleased to announce a new initiative: a two-day course within which participants will be able to make every aspect of a skirt - and do it properly, and end up with a wearable garment.


Learn to make a skirt

In response to popular demand, we are introducing dressmaking workshops under the supervision of our own in-house expert dressmaker, Clare Auty. The first of these will be spread over two days, the 7th May and 11th June, when we will make a lined skirt with a zip and waistband, and the option of pockets which can be embellished.

Continue reading here.

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Reacting to novelties in the Church

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LMS Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Caversham. Come on in.
It must be a perennial truth about the Church, that to every issue some people will criticise what you do - whatever it is- as too 'soft', and others as too 'harsh'. Since Vatican II, this has gone from being a parlour game to a major industry, as those who have wanted to maintain the Faith in its integrity cheer themselves up by criticising each other for being either too accommodating of novelties, or too suspicious of them.

The 'circular firing squad' this easily becomes is not helpful to the cause, but the question, of how suspicious or accommodating one should be, is an important one and does need to be addressed seriously. Which new initiatives, new theological perspectives, new structures or new forms of worship, are perfectly ok, and which are not? Of the latter, which need to be criticised, where possible evaded (by not using them), or repudiated? Each initiative should in principle be treated on its merits, though the scale of the avalanche of new things since 1960 is itself open to critical assessment.

(Anyone afflicted by the thought 'Anything the Pope says must be ok' should, of course, read my posts about Papolatry, but can still follow the argument in this post by considering examples where the Pope had not actually mandated anything. In a number of cases Popes have condemned novelties, which have still spread through the Church, such as routine use of EMHCs, or General Absolution.)

The difficulty in most cases has been that the problem presented by the new things has been not that they contradict the teaching of the Church in a propositional way - only in seminaries and certain academic institutions have Catholics actually been asked to deny the faith in as many words. Rather, where the old version of whatever it is pointed towards the teaching, the new one points away. They are typically accompanied by official documents which are worded in such a way that they can be read, perhaps with a little effort, in accordance with the Church's teaching, and also read, with a little effort, in accordance with a new view which is not compatible with the teaching of the Church (although this may depend on ignoring some of the document in question).

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Reminder: Family Retreat 2016: 1-3rd April, with the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer

Update: the two priests of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, from Papa Stronsay in the Orkneys, will preach on the theme of 'Eternal Truths':

1. The Importance of Salvation 

2. Confession – necessity of contrition for confession

3. Hell – Manifestation of the Justice of God 

4. Prayer – a means of salvation

5. Devotion to Our Lady – God’s gift to mankind.

Right after Easter the St Catherine's Trust Family Retreat will take place: from the afternoon of Friday 1st to lunch on Sunday 3rd, at Ratcliffe College near Leicester. It will be led by Fr Magdala F.SS.R and Fr Jean F.SS.R from Papa Stronsay; there will be High Mass and other liturgies (Benediction, Vespers etc.) in the Extraordinary Form; as always there will be a Marian procession through the lovely grounds of the Oratory School; the priests will give spiritual conferences; there will be activities for children.

The theme of the conferences will be 'Eternal Truths'.

Don't get left out! Discounts available if the headline price is a problem.

Everyone is welcome; we call it a 'family retreat' because we make special provision for families, but no one is excluded! More details; online Retreat booking form; online Chant Course booking form.

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A past Family Retreat in the Oratory School

Alongside it is the Gregorian Chant Network's annual Weekend Chant Course - a chance for something more than a day-long training session, with a bit of theory with the practice, and plenty of opportunity to sing 'for real', in the liturgy. Led by Colin Mawby and Dr Christopher Hodkinson.

All levels of experience, men and women, everyone is welcome! There are special discounts for groups coming from the same schola. All the details are here.

Bring your choir! Get up to speed together, and you'll be able to put it into practice right away when you get home. And it will be very cheap per head.

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

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The right way to deal with offensive liturgical texts

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Another photo of the Sung Mass last Sunday, Passion Sunday, at Holy Trinity, Hethe.
The way to deal with offensive texts is to explain them. Such explanation may show that they are not, in fact, offensive, or it may show that they genuinely condemn something held dear by the offended person. If the enquirer is sincere, and the explanation is of the former kind, then he will be satisfied. If the explanation is of the latter kind, then he needs to hear it.

Thus, the claim is sometimes made that some or all of the Gospels are anti-Semitic, on the grounds of passages such as the cry of the crowd to Pilate, condemning Christ: 'His blood be on us and on our children' (Matthew 27:25). In his commentary on this verse, Pope Benedict points out that being sprinkled with Christ's blood has a very different meaning, for Christians, than acquiring blood guilt (Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week, p187). Pope Benedict refers, like St Thomas Aquinas in his own commentary on the passage, to the Letter to the Hebrews, contrasting the effects of the blood of Christ with that of the murdered Abel (Heb 12:24). I was reminded of this last Sunday, in the Extraordinary Form, when we heard an earlier passage from Hebrews (9:13f):

For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Friday, March 18, 2016

How to read the forthcoming Exhortation

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I will wash my hands among the innocent, and compass thine altars O Lord.
Everyone is talking about the Post Synodal Exhortation, so why not jump on the bandwagon? Here is some advice which almost everyone will ignore.

For now: Don't read speculation about the contents. It is a waste of time, it raises the blood pressure, and it will fill your head with preconceived ideas.

When it published, not everyone will have the time to read long documents. It may be very long; one of the things unofficially abolished by Vatican II was the art of brevity. Most people will read short extracts and commentary. When looking at these, or indeed when ploughing through the whole thing, bear in mind a few principles of exegesis.

1. The Pope can't change the teaching of the Church. No, really, he can't, not even a little bit, not even for the needs of the time, not even with the help of the Holy Ghost. He cannot change one jot or tittle, and anyone who tells you to stop believing what the Church has (really) taught up to some moment in the past, is inviting you to depart from the Church by heresy. Your interlocutor may claim the Pope rejects the old teaching, but, on this point, IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE what the Pope says. Having the Pope with you in Hell will be no comfort at all - just ask Dante.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

How not to deal with offensive liturgical texts

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Passion Sunday, sung in Holy Trinity, Hethe, last Sunday. The Gospel, John 8:46-59, is
not found anywhere in the 1970 Lectionary. It is too scary.
Ildefonsus Schuster, the great liturgical commentator of the early 20th century, and a bishop and beatus to boot, remarked of the Good Friday 'Orationes Sollemnes', which he thought of as a single, great 'litany':

In reciting a prayer of such venerable antiquity, we seem to enter into a closer spiritual relationship with those early generations of martyrs and confessors for the faith, who used the self-same words before us, and thus obtained the graces needful to enable them to correspond to their high vocation of witnessing to this faith with their own blood.

A couple of decades later, Josef Jungmann, whose personal views were distinctly reform-minded, not to say modernist, wrote in the great work which has become the standard reference for the history of the Roman Rite, that in the same prayers,

whose echo goes back to the first century, we have the general prayer of the Church in the exact wording in which it was performed … since the third century.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Prayer for the Jews: what about Medieval anti-Semitism?

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Another photo of Mass for the Feast of St Gregory the Great. 
The Position Paper on the Prayer for the Jews goes into the question of Medieval anti-Semitism, because of the association between the Traditional Mass and the medieval period. The Middle Ages is when the Traditional Mass assumed its current form in a number of ways. Should we not expect to find in its texts a reflection of Medieval attitudes?

Certainly not in this case, because the Orationes sollemnes, of which the Prayer for the Jews is a part, derive not from the Middle Ages at all, but from Antiquity: probably the 3rd century, with links back to even earlier times. This is the scholarly consensus; the references are in the Position Paper. There is such a thing as Medieval anti-Semitism, and it is a phenomenon which got going in a big way in the 13th century. The Prayer for the Jews of the ancient liturgical tradition was composed a thousand years earlier. That really is rather a long gap.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The English Bishops, the Prayer for the Jews, and bad PR

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An image from the Mass of the feast of St Gregory the Great, who threatened
excommunication for anyone attempting to force Jews to convert to Christianity.
I explained in the last post in this series that there are, in the reformed Liturgy of the Hours, numerous prayers for the conversion of the Jews: specifically, the conversion of Jews to Christianity, by accepting Christ as the Messiah, as in:

Let Israel recognise in you the Messiah it has longed for; 

may the Jewish people accept you [sc. Christ] as their awaited Deliverer [Latin: 'Messiah']

In the Bishops' Conference press release about the need to change the Extraordinary Form Prayer for the Jews in the Good Friday Liturgy, Archbishop MacDonald complained that by comparison with the 1970 Novus Ordo equivalent, the 2008 version 'reverted to being a prayer for the conversion of Jews to Christianity'. Other have noted, as problematic, that the title of the prayer in the Missal is 'pro conversione Iudaiorum' instead of, as in the Novus Ordo, simply, 'For the Jews'.

How are we to understand these complaints? Naturally, we must assume that spokesmen are being honest and are reasonably well-informed. What this is about, on those assumptions, is presentation, of controlling perceptions, above all by Jews. As I noted in the last post, the suppression of the more explicit language of conversion in the Novus Ordo cannot be explained theologically, since the explict language was retained in the Liturgy of the Hours published the year after the reformed Missal: 1971. Nevertheless, the Good Friday prayers have come to Jews' attention (why? as a result of briefing by whom?), the Liturgy of the Hours prayers have not, so - the argument must be - it will be possible to make progress in terms of Catholic-Jewish relations if we talk about changing the Good Friday Prayer and ignore the Liturgy of the Hours.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The other Prayers for the Jews

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'But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil 
remains when the old covenant is read.
It has not been removed, because only in Christ

 is it taken away.' 2 Cor 3:14

Over on Rorate Caeli I am today publishing a Position Paper on the Prayer for the Jews said during the Good Friday Liturgy in the Extraordinary Form. Go over there to read it.

Here I am going to add some additional commentary, in a hope a digestible form. The first thing I want to tackle is the other Prayers for the Jews: the ones the English bishops don't want to change, at least not at the moment, or at least aren't petitioning Rome about.

So here's a little competition. Which of the following prayers is a serious threat to peaceful and productive dialogue between Catholics and Jews?

A. Let Israel recognise in you the Messiah it has longed for; fill all men with the knowledge of your glory.

B. Let us pray also for the Jews: that our God and Lord may be pleased to shine the light of his face over them; that they too may acknowledge Jesus Christ our Lord as the Redeemer of all.

C. Let us pray also for the Jews: that Almighty God may remove the veil from their hearts so that they too may acknowledge Jesus Christ our Lord.

D. Christ, Son of David, fulfilment of the prophecies, may the Jewish people accept you as their awaited Deliverer [Messiah].

E. Let us also pray for the Jews: That our God and Lord may illuminate their hearts, that they may acknowledge Jesus Christ the Saviour of all men. 


Thursday, March 10, 2016

LMS Sponsored places for the Roman Forum 2016


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

June 27th-July 8th 2016

The conference is ten days of talks from some of the best-known figures on the Traditional Catholic scene, including Fr John Hunwicke from England, 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.

The theme of the conference this year is:

Half a Millennium of Total Depravity (1517-2017): A Critique of Luther’s Impact on the Eve of His “Catholic” Apotheosis

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'.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

New Prayer to St Joseph

The Friars at Gosport are promoting a prayer card with the image of St Joseph from the National Shrine to St Joseph now at Farnbrough Abbey. St Joseph is crowned: he is of the royal house of David. The prayer has been approved by Bishop Egan of Portsmouth.



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Monday, March 07, 2016

Hear Prior Cassion Folsom, John Smeaton, Fr Serafino Lanzetta and others at the LMS Conference, May 14th

LMS One-Day Conference - Saturday, 14 May 2016

Edmund AdamusFr Serafino
Lanzetta FI
John SmeatonPrior Cassian
Folsom of Norcia
Dr Joseph Shaw

This is the third bi-ennial One-Day Conference organised by the Latin Mass Society, the theme of which is 'The Family'.

VENUE: Regent Hall, 275 Oxford Street, London W1C 2DJ [map]
(opposite BHS, less than 5 minutes’ walk from Oxford Circus)
Doors open at 10.30am and the conference is expected to end around 5.00pm

Book here.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Family Retreat and Gregorian Chant weekend: 1-3 April, Ratcliffe

Right after Easter the St Catherine's Trust Family Retreat will take place: from the afternoon of Friday 1st to lunch on Sunday 3rd, at Ratcliffe College near Leicester. It will be led by Fr Magdala F.SS.R and Fr Jean F.SS.R from Papa Stronsay; there will be High Mass and other liturgies (Benediction, Vespers etc.) in the Extraordinary Form; as always there will be a Marian procession through the lovely grounds of the Oratory School; the priests will give spiritual conferences; there will be activities for children.

The theme of the conferences will be 'Eternal Truths'.

Don't get left out! Discounts available if the headline price is a problem.

Everyone is welcome; we call it a 'family retreat' because we make special provision for families, but no one is excluded! More details; online Retreat booking form; online Chant Course booking form.

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A past Family Retreat in the Oratory School

Alongside it is the Gregorian Chant Network's annual Weekend Chant Course - a chance for something more than a day-long training session, with a bit of theory with the practice, and plenty of opportunity to sing 'for real', in the liturgy. Led by Colin Mawby and Dr Christopher Hodkinson.

All levels of experience, men and women, everyone is welcome! There are special discounts for groups coming from the same schola. All the details are here.

Bring your choir! Get up to speed together, and you'll be able to put it into practice right away when you get home. And it will be very cheap per head.

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

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

LMS Mass in Milton Manor

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Last Saturday I had organised a Sung Mass in the Chapel of Our Lady in Milton Manor House. This was consecrated by Bishop Richard Challoner in penal times, and continues in the owership of the family who built it.