Monday, July 31, 2017

Clifford Longley on what Latin expresses

Prayers for the Absolution at the Catafalque at a Requiem Mass: Fr Mark Elliot Smith (centre)
at Our Lady of the Assumption, Warwick Street.
Clifford Longley is not a man I expect to agree with: still less his column in The Tablet, which I've criticised here and here. Last weekend, however, he said something, in his own way, which I have been saying a lot recently, particularly in the talk I gave at the Roman Forum in the Gardone Riviera.

This is an extract. Subscribers can read it all here.

He starts by noting that people who attend the Mass in English do not, actually, understand it: 'They get the essentials, but it’s a fair bet a lot of important stuff goes right over their heads – as it does over mine.' He continues:

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

More on 'liturgical reconciliation'

The Prophecies of the Ember Saturday (of Lent, in this case). A feature of the OF lectionary
which I haven't even mentioned.
The debate about the possible development of the 1962 Missal in the direction of the Ordinary Form, raised by Cardinal Sarah, has brought to light some extra points I'd like to highlight.

Fr de Souza, whose Catholic Herald article on an interview given by Cardinal Sarah initiated the discussion, has written a follow-up piece in which he refers to my Catholic Herald blog post, a post on the New Liturgical Movement by Gregory diPippo, and one by Fr John Zuhlsdorf. It is nice to see us presenting a completely united front, which Fr de Souza notes. But he doubles down on his claim that the superiority of the Ordinary Form Lectionary is 'almost unanimous', except, it would seem, among those (like the three of us) who disagree...

It is certainly very widely said that the OF Lectionary is superior, but though I have seen this sentiment expressed countless times, I have not encountered much in the way of reasoned defence of it in light of criticisms. People think it is just obviously better because it is larger, a quite amazingly lazy argument which runs out of steam as soon as anyone points out that 'more is not necessarily better'. Very few supporters of the OF have bothered to read anything about the liturgy written by Traditionally-minded Catholics, but doubts about the new Lectionary have been around for a long time. I recall one of the first things I read on the liturgical reform, Michael Davies Pope Paul's New Mass, in which Davies suggested out that the three lections on a Sunday overloaded the 'Liturgy of the Word' in relation to the 'Liturgy of the Eucharist', and overloaded the listener who could not be expected to take in three different texts, all probably unfamiliar, some rather obscure, and one not thematically related to the other two.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A Requiem in London: on silent and hidden liturgy

Yesterday I attended a High Mass of Requiem in London, in the lovely Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, Warwick Street. I was able to take photos from the gallery, which is enormous: not just a choir loft but a large seating area, curving round both side walls of the church so that the wings are close to the sanctuary of the church: a brilliant place from which to see what is happening.


It struck me how much of the Traditional Mass is not, in fact, intended to be seen at all. Even from this advantageous viewpoint, I only saw glimpses of the priest's hand gestures (each of which has a distinct meaning), the blessing of the incense, the pouring of wine and water in the chalice, the lavabo, and so on. It was a High Mass, and in certain points the deacon and subdeacon formed a more complete screen than the servers usually would.

Friday, July 21, 2017

My reply to Cardinal Sarah on 'liturigical reconciliation'

It seems that the most trad-friendly Prelates of the Church actually want the Traditional Mass to disappear. Thus, Cardinal Burke said in 2011:

It seems to me that is what he [Pope Benedict] has in mind is that this mutual enrichment would seem to naturally produce a new form of the Roman rite – the 'reform of the reform,' if we may – all of which I would welcome and look forward to its advent.

Cardinal Sarah has now said the same thing.

It is a priority that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can examine through prayer and study, how to return to a common reformed rite always with this goal of a reconciliation inside the Church,

Cardinal Sarah's concrete suggestions point to an intermediate state, in which the two 'Forms' have converged somewhat. I have addressed these suggestions in a post on the Catholic Herald blog (no longer available there, but reposted here). Notably, the Novus Ordo Lectionary cannot be simply be inserted into the Vetus Ordo Missal, because it reflects a liturgical vision which is completely different from that of the ancient Mass: which is why all the other changes were made at the same time. A compromise between these two two understandings of what the liturgy is for and how it should work will not produce a perfect synthesis, but a muddle.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Photos of the LMS Fatima celebration


The Latin Mass Society organised a Mass and devotional day to mark the centenary of the apparaitions at Fatima, with the World Apostolate of Fatima's statue of Our Lady of Fatima, and their relics of the seers. Photos by John Aron (more here). It took place at St Dominic's, Haverstock Hill, and the Mass was in the Dominican Rite.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Victoria's Requiem in Warwick Street on Saturday

All welcome.
High Mass of Requiem at 11am
Our Lady of the Assumption, Warwick Street, London, W1B 5LZ

Accompanied by Victoria's Requiem, sung by Cantus Magnus under Matthew Schellhorn

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

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Guest post on The Tablet blog: and factionalism

The day that Damian Thompson decries 'factionalism' is the day irony dies. Nevertheless, he has a point: the temperature of internal debate had gone up in recent years to levels not seen since the 1970s, the immediate post-conciliar period of ecclesial introspection and the ferocious persecution of those thought to be innsufficiently in tune with the 'spirit of Vatican II'.

The reception of Amoris laetitia has similarly stirred up a hornet's nest. I feel in fact that the frayed tempers on social media reflect something really worrying. A lot of Catholic commentators, from across the spectrum of opinon, feel as though they are in a pressure-cooker. Careers and livlihoods are on the line, along with fundamental issues of the Faith.

Here is something I wrote about factionalism back in the innocent days of November 2012. I've reposted the linked piece which had been on The Tablet blog on my philosophy blog, since it is no longer available on The Tablet website.


Today The Tablet has published a guest post mine on their own blog: see it here. It is a response to George Weigel's article in last weekend's Tablet, which itself was a response to John Haldane's article calling for married clergy.

See if you can spot the pattern here. In introducing his remarks, Haldane takes a moment to describe the two dominant traditions in the Church, conventionally called the 'conservative' and 'progressive' (or 'liberal') approaches, as, respectively, 'nostalgic and slavish' or 'faithless and craven'. Having thus established his bona fides as a non-partisan, independent thinker, he proposed the most predictable and re-heated item on the liberal menu, the ordination of married men, as the solution to the Church's difficulties.

Fighting for a theocracy? Fr Spadaro speaks

Vatican II called for a practical ecumenism. In Unitatis redintegratio 12, the Council Fathers proclaimed:

In these days when cooperation in social matters is so widespread, all men without exception are called to work together, with much greater reason all those who believe in God, but most of all, all Christians in that they bear the name of Christ. Cooperation among Christians vividly expresses the relationship which in fact already unites them, and it sets in clearer relief the features of Christ the Servant. This cooperation, which has already begun in many countries, should be developed more and more, particularly in regions where a social and technical evolution is taking place be it in a just evaluation of the dignity of the human person, the establishment of the blessings of peace, the application of Gospel principles to social life...

The official channels of ecumenism, such as the 'ARCIC' talks between Catholic and Anglican theologians, have been spectacular failures in practical, just as in theoretical terms, but this passage is not aimed primarily at such efforts, but at ordinary believers at the coalface, as it were, of social and political activism. Such collaborative efforts must, indeed, be seen in the context of the mission of the laity as expressed in another Vatican II document Apostolicam actuositatem, which also talks about cooperation with 'men of good will' (8, 10, 11), and proposes as a proper role of the laity the attempt (19):

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Young Catholic Adults annual RetreatL 20-22 Oct

Young Catholic Adults Weekend 20-22 October 2017

During the weekend of the 20-22 October 2017, Young Catholic Adults will be running a retreat at Douai Abbey, it will feature Fr. Lawrence Lew O.P., and Canon Poucin ICKSP.

The weekend will be full-board. YCA will be running the weekend with the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge of Cambridge who will be holding Gregorian Chant workshops.

There will also be a Marian Procession, Rosaries, Sung Masses, Confession and socials. All Masses will be celebrated in the Extraordinary form.

Please note to guarantee your place this year Douai Abbey have requested that everyone books in 3 weeks before the start of the weekend i.e.29th Sept 2017.

Prices start from £18.50 per person per night.
Support the work of the LMS by becoming an 'Anniversary Supporter'.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Institute of Christ the King given another church in Preston, England

Here is the press release.

The historic and landmark (Grade II Listed) Catholic Church of St Thomas of Canterbury & the
English Martyrs on Garstang Road, Preston (known simply as English Martyrs) has been given a
promise of a sustainable future following an announcement made today by the Bishop of
Lancaster, the Rt Rev Michael G Campbell OSA.

Bishop Michael Campbell and Monsignor Gilles Wach, Prior General of the Institute of Christ the
King Sovereign Priest, together with Rector, Canon Adrian Towers, have agreed that, as from the
autumn, the Institute will assume the administration of the church.

This move will enable the church to be open each day to become a vibrant shrine of devotion to
and promotion of the English Martyrs under the care of the Institute who already have the
administration of St Walburge’s Shrine Church, Weston Street, Preston. The new shrine will
specifically provide for the celebration of Holy Mass and the other Sacraments in the extraordinary
form of the Roman Rite.

Friday, July 07, 2017

On causing scandal and reporting scandal

Reading the mind-boggling story about Monsignor Luigi Capozzi ('gay orgy in same building as CDF raided by Vatican police'), I thought I would repost this, from July 2015.


This is not the kind of blog which goes through people's bins - metaphorically speaking - looking for scandalous accusations to make against priests, bishops, and prominent lay Catholics. Nevertheless, I do from time to time talk about events which I would rather had not happened. Events which shed a poor light on the Church, which reveal problems. I do this because persistently to ignore the things which are causing pain, sometimes great spiritual suffering, to my fellow Catholics, where these are issues on which I would be expected to take an interest or have some light to shed, would be to a failure of charity.

That's right, a failure of charity.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

The problem of catechising children with popular culture


This comment on the American Protestant phenomenon of 'Vacation Bible Schools' is superb, and applicable to attempts to use popular culture in the catechising of children in Catholic contexts too. The post is here.

These programs are written and produced by Christians with good intentions, but the baseline bait n’ switch philosophy is perverse, like trying to get your child to eat vegetables by embedding them in a Twinkie. Sure, the child will hear some good things about God, but the medium of the message—the razzle-dazzle theme, characterless music, throwaway crafts, forced theatrics, the theological minimalism—is what the child internalizes.