Monday, April 24, 2017

Dominican High Mass this Saturday in Oxford

Blackfriars is in the centre of Oxford in St Giles; click for a map.

High Mass is at 11am; it will be accompanied by chant from the Schola Abelis.


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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Hamish Fraser on making the Faith visible

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A passer-by taking a photo of the procession with the Easter Candle at the Easter Vigil in
St Mary Moorfields.
I've been reading Hamish Fraser's Fatal Star, part biography and part commentary on the Church of his day. It was published in 1952, Fraser having been received into the Church some seven years earlier, after an extended period as a Communist activist: including in the Communist secret police in the Spanish Civil War. The edition I have includes extracts from his writings up to the 1980s.

Fraser became a greater supporter of the Traditional Mass, but this isn't the focus of this book. Instead, he connects the Presbyterian culture of his childhood with the untrammelled capitalism which made Communism attractive, laments the failure of the Church to offer an alternative, and points to the message of Fatima as a call to do just this, not (simply) through private devotions, but through penance and conversion of life. He quotes Sister Lucy as saying that the primary message of Fatima is not the Rosary or the First Saturdays, but Penance, and the duties of one's state of life.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Children misbehaving in Mass: and an interview in Regina Magazine

I recently completed an interview with Anna-Maria Vesey of Regina Magazine on children at Mass. She said, what I am sure is true, that some parents with small children are concerned that their children won't be engaged at the Traditional Mass, or else that their behaviour won't come up to the expectations of the regulars, and that such thoughts put them off trying it out.

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Watching (part of) the Easter Vigil two sets of closed doors away from the action...
It is impossible to guarantee no one at the Traditional Mass will tick off parents of small children, but I can say this to reassure parents:

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter Vigil at St Mary Moorfields

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The LMS-organised Easter Vigil service in London, at St Mary Moorfields, was celebrated by Fr Michael Cullinan, with Fr Christoper Basden (of St Bede's, Clapham Park) as Deacon and preacher, and Fr Patrick Hayward as Subdeacon. Cantus Magnus under Matthew Schellhorn accompanied.

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

New Book: St John Fisher on the Priesthood

St John Fisher was the learned and heroic Bishop of Rochester, was the only one of all the Bishops of England and Wales refused to consent to Henry VIII's Act of Supremacy of 1534, the Act supporting to separate the kingdom from the jurisdiction of the Holy See. He was executed on 22nd June 1535.

He had earlier written a book against Luther defending the Catholic theology of the priesthood: ironically, in support of Henry VIII's own work against Luther, to which Luther had made a characteristically intemperate response.

Fisher's work deserves wider recognition, and I am pleased to see this new edition and printing available. It can be bought from Amazon here.


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Friday, April 14, 2017

Maundy Thursday in St Mary Moorfields, London

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Each year the Latin Mass Society organises Easter Triduum services in London. For the last few years this has included all three Tenebrae services as well as the Mass of Maundy Thursday, the Solemn Liturgy of Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil. These are taking place in St Mary Moorfields in Eldon Street in the City of London.

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I was part of the liturgical schola for the first two Tenebrae services, and was able to attend the Mass of Maundy Thursday: and for the first time ever I found myself conscripted into the group having their feet washed.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Is Pope Francis 'restoring tradition' in the Mandatum?

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Taking the Blessed Sacrament to the Altar of Repose
on Maundy Thursday. 
Reposted from January 2016.
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Austen Ivereigh claims that in opening the Mandatum to women, Pope Francis is 'restoring an older Tradition'. Claiming the change has 'infuritated traditionalists' (sorry, Austen, I'm not infuriated), he explains:

Yet Francis has been restoring what once was tradition. The custom in the seventeenth century, for example, was for bishops to wash, dry and kiss the feet of 13 poor people after having dressed them and fed them. Nor is there any obligation for the foot-washing to be part of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.

This is a bit thin as an explanation, so let me fill it in a bit. Because Ivereigh has a point.

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Mandatum: let's not be hard on Pope Francis

I see from my stats a small spike of interest in this post: someone must have linked to it somewhere. So I thought I'd repost it. I'll repost a follow-up post on the same subject tomorrow. They both first appeared in January 2016.

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It is tempting to see the decree allowing women's feet to be washed on Maundy Thursday as an indication of an acceleration of liturgical decay underway with Pope Francis, following his breaking of the rule up to now. However, what has happened is no different from what happened under his predecessors.

Bl Pope Paul VI gave in to the pressure of endemic abuse when he allowed the reception of Communion in the hand. But there are other examples too from his troubled reign. One of the most peculiar documents of the Papal Magisterium is his Sacrificium laudis, an Apostolic Letter directed to religious superiors, begging, cajoling, and ordering them to preserve Latin in the Office. You won't find this document in the Acta Apostolicis Sedis, and only in Italian on the Vatican website. The speed of its transformation into waste-paper gives new meaning to the phrase 'dead on arrival'. (You'll find an English translation on the LMS website.)

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Scotland's 'Two Shrine' Pilgrimage 2017

I noted the success of the first 'Two Shrines Pilgrimage' a while ago; her is the booking info for the next one.

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Two Shrines Pilgrimage: 5th - 7th August 2017

St Andrews We are pleased to announce the dates of the second annual Two Shrines Pilgrimage, a three day walk from Edinburgh to St Andrews with the particular intention of the reconversion of Scotland. The pilgrimage will incorporate the Extraordinary Form of the Holy Mass and traditional devotions.

If you are interested in walking all or part of the route, please register your interest by e-mailing the2shrines@gmail.com as soon as possible.

The itinerary will be as follows:
Saturday 5 August - St Mary's RC Cathedral, Edinburgh, to St Margaret's Memorial Church, Dunfermline;
Sunday 6 August - St Margaret's Church to Falkland Palace;
Monday 7 August - Falkland Palace to St Andrew's Cathedral, St Andrews.

Members of the public are welcome to follow the pilgrimage and to attend its liturgies and other events, which will be advertised in due course. If you wish to be kept updated by e-mail please contact us using the address above.

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Friday, April 07, 2017

Debate about teaching music (and Latin)

James MacMillan, Patron of the Latin Mass Society, has signed a joint letter on musical education in response to an article by Charlotte Gill wrote in the Guardian. Gill wrote:

For a creative subject, music has always been taught in a far too academic way, meaning that theoretical knowledge is the main route to advancement. While there are routes into musical careers for the untrained, and many pop, rap and grime artists have never studied music formally, there are also dozens of choirs and amateur collectives that put a huge focus on musical notation.

This is a cryptic, tricky language – rather like Latin – that can only be read by a small number of people, most of whom have benefited from private education. Children who do not have the resources, or ability, to comprehend it, are written off. Even when they are capable performers.


Gill is winding a good few issues up together here. We might agree with her criticism of the 'Grade' system of learning instruments, followed by many children, that it can make learning an instrument something of a grind. But a more important issue she has left out is the poor quality (or motivation) of many music (instrument) teachers. This is not be unrelated to their poor pay, and their poor treatment by many schools, where they have to eke out an existence on the fringes of the timetable and the school community, often working for several schools at once, resented by the teachers of other subjects for taking children out of their classes. It's a pretty bad system, all things considered. (Would anyone tolerate this for sports? For art? For Maths?)

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Why home school your children? Matt Walsh

I criticised a post of Matt Walsh's the other day, on the subject of getting men to 'man up', so it is only fair I note this post of his on home schooling which is excellent.

Read it here

Here are just a couple of his points. He's writing about the USA. How much better is the UK?

Third, yes, my kids will eventually be exposed to all kinds of strange and terrible things. As much as I’d like to keep them shielded from the evils of the world forever, I know that I can do no such thing. The question is not whether our kids will be exposed to this or that depravity, but when and how and in what context? Are you prepared to trust the school’s judgment on when Junior is ready to learn about concepts like “transgenderism”? Do you trust their judgment on how he learns about it, and what he’s told about it? If you do, I suppose you aren’t even reading this post right now because you’ve been in a vegetative state for the past 30 years.

Fourth, when a kid is sent to public school, he’s expected to navigate and survive and thrive in a hostile, confusing, amoral environment, basically untethered from his parents, 6–8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 9 months a year, for 12 years. Is a child ready for that challenge by the time he’s 5 years old? Is he ready at 8? At 10? No. Our job as parents is to “train them up in the way they should go,” equip them with the armor of God, fortify them in the truth, and then release them into the world. That process has not been completed in conjunction with them first learning how to tie their shoes. I mean, for goodness’ sake, most adults can’t even manage to withstand the hostilities and pressures of our fallen world for that amount of time. And we expect little kids to do it? That’s not fair to them. It’s too much to ask. Way too much. They aren’t equipped, they aren’t ready, they aren’t strong enough, and they will get eaten alive.


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Monday, April 03, 2017

Family Retreat: Photo essay

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The St Catherine's Trust Family Retreat took place last weekend, in the Oratory School. It was our ninth Family Retreat, and a wonderful event as always.

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One of the highlights was Stations of the Cross outside, which concluded with Benediction in the 'old' chapel.