Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Pontifical Mass for the 10th Anniversary of Summorum Pontificum in London: 14th Sept

Thursday 14th September, 7pm: Pontifical High Mass in St Mary Moorfields, Eldon Street EC2M7LS

To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Summorum Pontificum, celebrated by Rt. Rev Mark Jabale OSB, Emeritus Bishop of Menevia.

Music by Cantus Magnus directed by Matthew Schellhorn:
Thomas Tallis (c. 1505 – 1585) Mass for Four Voices
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c. 1525 – 1594) Nos autem gloriari
Luca Marenzio (c. 1553 – 1599) Super omnia
Kyrie XI
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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Crying rooms in churches: a terrible idea

Adults and children kneel for the Consecration at the St Catherine's Trust Summer School
Last weekend's Catholic Herald carried an article by me about 'crying rooms', spaces sealed off with soundproof glass intended for noisy children and their parents.

I was inspired to write it by realising that the notion of excluding children from the rest of the congregation, or even from Mass entirely, was an idea with a following among not a few conservative and traditionally-minded Catholics. It is a reaction against the experience of chaotic liturgy where children are allowed to wander around, perhaps even into the sanctuary, which I suppose is more associated with a 'progressive' liturgical attitude. The thought would be: if we want a well-ordered, reverent liturgy, we need to get the small children under control; since we can't rely on parents to do this, we should bundle them into a separate space where they won't spoil things for everyone else.

This is short-sighted, however: as I explain the article, children won't learn to behave if shoved into a room where they can behave as badly as they like, and their parents won't learn to discipline them in that context either. Neither the parents nor the children will experience the atmosphere of the liturgy, and both are left with the impression that they are not truly welcome.

Friday, August 25, 2017

We're off to Walsingham!


This is a scheduled post: blogging from the road is very difficult. But please remember the Latin Mass Society pilgrims on the road to Walsingham, departing early Friday and arriving lunchtime on Sunday. After Mass in the Catholic Shrine, we walk the last, 'Holy Mile', to the site of the Medieval Shrine, arriving there at about 4:30pm, with many others who've come for the day.

Join us next year!

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Moving Priests: Spetchley and Hethe

Fr Anthony Talbot in the chapel at Spetchly Park
Archbishop Longley is moving some priests around in his diocese, and this will effect the provision of the Extraordinary Form in two locations.

Fr Paul Lester is moving away from Holy Trinity, Hethe, and we wish the best in his new parish. He will be leaving on 10th September. It was entirely his initiative to start celebrating the Traditional Mass in the beautiful church of Holy Trinity, and to do so every Sunday, including most recently two Sung Masses a month, and the occasional High Mass with deacon and subdeacon. Among his other achievments as Parish Priest, Fr Lester arranged for Archbishop Longley to celebrate the EF in Holy Trinity, and celebrated Midnight Mass in the church each Christmas.

We are extremely grateful to him for all of this, which has been a tremendous benefit to many supporters of the EF in the area, and to many, indeed, who were able to discover it.

Fr Lester has been in Hethe only three years, but happily what he started will continue.

Fr Anthony Talbot will be moving away from Spetchley Park, where he has been chaplain in the private chapel there. His new role will include celebrating the Traditional Mass in Hethe.

It is a matter of regret that for the moment it would appear that regular Masses will no longer be taking place at Spetchley Park. However, we are very pleased that continuity of the EF at Hethe has been ensured, and I personally look forward to seeing Fr Talbot, a long-standing friend of Tradition, in Holy Trinity. We are very grateful to Archbishop Longley for bearing in mind the needs of the traditional faithful in Hethe, as he juggles his limited resources in his enormous diocese.

If there is a short gap between Fr Lester's departure and Fr Talbot's arrival in Hethe, the Latin Mass Society will do its best to arrange for the regular Sunday Masses at 12 noon to continue without a break.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Latin Mass Society Pilgrimage to Glasonbury 2017

The Latin Mass Society's annual Pilgrimage to Glastonbury will take place on Saturday 9th September.

It starts at 11:30am with Sung Mass in the Catholic Parish Church, St Mary's, Magdalene St, Glastonbury BA6 9EJ: click for a map.

This is directly opposite the ruins of the Abbey, and pilgrims will as usual have access to the Abbey grounds as part of the pilgrimage.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

High Mass and Family Day at St Mary's Gosport


On Saturday 12th July I attended High Mass in St Mary's, Gosport, where the friars organised a 'family day', with some talks about matters of interest to Catholic families and activities for the children.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Guild of St Clare: sewing workshops in Oxford

Well, strictly speaking these are in Headington, a suburb of Oxford. But everyone is welcome. Cross-posted from the Guild blog.


Forthcoming autumn events

The Guild of St Clare is holding the following workshops in the autumn:

2nd September: Project Finishing - bring along your unfinished sewing projects and make some progress with the help of our skilled Guild members!

21st October: Embroidery techniques with Jacqui McDonald of the Royal School of Needlework

11th November: Vestment mending and making - we have various altar furnishings, chasubles, and a cope in need of repair. Join us to assist us in mending them, learn about their construction and serve the Church.

All these workshops are taking place at St Anthony of Padua church hall, 115 Headley Way, Oxford OX3 7SS. They run between 10am and 4pm. Tea and cake is provided - please bring your own lunch. For more details or to book a place please email Lucy on

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Trump, Fascism, Evangelisation

Here is a post I did on Trump back in May 2016.

It may be time for me to write something about the 'traditionalism' of the 'alt-right', though I am put off by the prospect of reading up on it. There is an excellent article on the attitude of Richard Spencer (the alt-right's founding figure) to the pro-life movement, which perhaps tells us what we need to know. He's against, because he likes the fact that lots of black babies are aborted.

As I've said before, people who didn't like the 'religious right' are going to love the 'post-religious right'.

Proclaiming the Gospel: at the LMS Training Conference, Prior Park
I've been reading the collection of Dietrich von Hildebrand's writings published as My Struggle Against Hitler, which I highly recommend. Hildebrand, who much later emerged as one of the intellectual founders of the movement for the preservation of the Traditional Mass, was an important ideological opponent of the Nazis. He had to flee Germany when they came to power, and set up an anti-Nazi newspaper in Austria, until he had to flee from there as well.

Hildebrand was a philosopher by profession, and his analysis of the Nazi phenomenon, as a contemporary, is fascinating. He regards Nazism and Communism as feeding off a rejection of liberal individualism, but offering a false alternative to it. Instead of restoring to people a sense of identity rooted in genuine communities, they gave people an ersatz sense of belonging through the whipping up of mass hysteria, and based their ideologies on an idolisation of particular communities at the expense of all others, and of the value of the individual: for the Communists it was class, for the Nazis, race.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Autumn Mass of Ages published

Mass of Ages is the quarterly magazine of the Latin Mass Society. It contains reports on our many activities across the country, national and international news of Traditional Catholic events, feature articles on different aspects of traditional Faith and culture, and opinions and views on developments in the Catholic Church.

The autumn 2017 edition is now available. The cover article, History in the Making, is a report on the first Ordinations in the Traditional Rite in England for more than 50 years. Other features are Angels and devils, by Canon Amaury Montjean of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest on the writings of St Francis de Sales, Thirty years of the Old Rite, a history of the Traditional Mass on the Isle of Wight and The Peace of Christ, in which the LMS Chairman, Dr Joseph Shaw, looks at the history of the paxbrede.
Also in the edition of Mass of Ages:

Monday, August 14, 2017

Music and silence: how I hate them both!

Reposted from February 2016


So exclaimed Screwtape, the devil imagined by C.S. Lewis in his Screwtape Letters. Music and silence have a lot in common, and it is something which enrages the devil.

Matthew Schellhorn, pianist and the LMS Director of Music for London, is this week exploring the relationship between the two on the Catholic Herald website. Here's a taster.

January 2016 saw an appeal from Cardinal Sarah for a “high-quality liturgical renewal” involving silence as a fundamental component. We need to respect silence in the sacred liturgy as “a Christian ascetical value”, a “necessary condition for deep, contemplative prayer”. Sarah asks: “If our ‘interior cell phone’ is always busy because we are ‘having a conversation’ with other creatures, how can the Creator reach us, how can he ‘call us’?”

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Deadline for the Walsingham Pilgrimage!

There deadline is Monday 21th August. This is necessary for the caterers and other aspects of the pilgrimage; please don't try to book after that date! Do it before! Do it now!

The Pilgrimage runs from Thursday 24th (we gather in the afternoon and evening in Ely) to Sunday 27th, when we have our big Mass in Walsingham at 2pm, followed by a procession to the site of the Holy House. Some stay the night in Walsingham but it is possible to get back to London on Sunday. If you stay until Monday morning, we have another Mass, sung, in the Slipper Chapel at 10am.

We walk over three days the 55 miles from Ely to Walsingham, accompanied by the Traditional Mass and devotions, in the spirit of the great Chartres Pilgrimage.

Here is a little video about it. The booking page has lots more information.

It is an unforgettable experience, plus hot evening meals!

Show your devotion to Our Lady, walk in the footsteps of your Catholic predecessors, do some penance and take some important intentions to the feet of the Lady of Walsingham.

Mass in the Slipper Chapel at the shrine.
The cost is £90 for an adult, if you are an LMS member - and you can join at the same time.

There are generous discounts for students, and all are welcome.

Book here.

Procession along the 'Holy Mile' to the site of the Holy House in Walsingham, from the
Slipper Chapel and Catholic Shrine

Friday, August 11, 2017

Cardinal Burke to celebrate traditional Pontifical Mass in Glasgow, 2nd Sept

Leo, Cardinal Burke, will celebrate a Pontifical High Mass on Saturday 2nd September, at 12 noon.

The Immaculate Heart of Mary Church is 162 Broomfield Rd, Glasgow G21 3UE

Well done to UV Scotland for arranging this!

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Ivereigh on converts and cradle Catholics

Our Lord surrounded by converts.
Austen Ivereigh has done it again: driven his opponents (many of whom he helpfully names) into a defensive frenzy, one which almost seems to prove the point he is making - namely, that these individuals get worked up too easily.

I want to say something about Ivereigh's modus operandi, before saying something about the substantive issue, which is to do with the fact that Ivereigh has noted that a number of people who worry about aspects of Pope Francis' papacy are converts, not cradle Catholics.

I must be frank: I think Ivereigh is a kind of genius. Watching him debate Matthew Schmittz of First Things on Al-Jezeera is like watching a gad-fly in combat with a sumo-wrestler. He has done the same thing in this recent post on Crux about converts. I am interested in the form as well as the content of arguments, and I recognise a master at work. How does he do it?

There is, in fact, a formula.

1. Whenever your opponent raises an objection to something you have said, don't let yourself be pinned down: just change the subject.

You have some detailed and nuanced concerns about the interpretation of Amoris laetitiae? Let's talk about converts and cradle Catholics!

This is effective in extended public debate, private conversation and televised discussion alike. Some years ago I fell into conversation with the distinguished Church historian, on a crowded train from London to Oxford. He was in pugnatious mood and we argued pleasantly the whole way. But he never replied to my objections to anything he said except in such a way that I was provoked into addressing a substantially new claim that he was making. By the end of the journey I felt as if I'd spent an hour wrestling with a ghost. Since then I've seen this strategy in action from Mgr Basil Loftus as well as Austen Ivereigh.

This works by appealing, in one's defence, to principles or facts with which one's opponent strongly disagrees, and that brings us to the next part of the formula.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Come to Walsingham with the Latin Mass Society!

LMS Pilgrims outside the Slipper Chapel at the Catholic Shrine to Our Lady of Walsingham

We are preparing for the Latin Mass Society's annual walking pilgrimage from Ely to Walsingham, which is a pretty long walk, over three days. The details and booking forms are here.
For those who'd prefer to make a pilgrimage with mechanical assistance, there is the option of the 'Day Pilgrimage': you can join us in Walsingham for Mass on Sunday with the walking pilgrims, and the procession to the site of the Medieval shrine. The LMS can get you there and back on a coach.
From the website:
Day pilgrims will arrive at the Basilica Shrine in time to greet the walking pilgrims. High Mass will be celebrated in the Chapel of Reconciliation at 2pm. This will be followed by a procession along the Holy Mile from the Slipper Chapel to the ruins of the Abbey in the centre of Walsingham itself.
Seats on the coach, WHICH MUST BE BOOKED IN ADVANCE, will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.
The cost of the round trip is £25 per head. If you would like to book a one-way journey, the cost is £15 per head.
To reserve a seat on the coach, please complete the following form - one entry for each person travelling - and submit payment via the PayPal button at the bottom.
The coach will depart from Ambrosden Avenue (at the side of Westminster Cathedral) at 9.15am sharp. For the return journey, the coach departs Walsingham at 5.15pm, arriving in London at approximately 8.30pm.
Book here.
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Friday, August 04, 2017

Family Day with the Friars in Gosport 12 Aug

I'll be giving a talk during a Family Day organised by the Friars in St Mary's, Gosport, on Saturday 12th August.

St. Mary’s Church, 32 High Street, Gosport, Hampshire, PO12 1DF
Tel: 023 9258 0119
(* During the talks for the Adults there will be talks and activities for the Children and an opportunity to receive the Chord of St. Philomena)
9:30 am - Holy Rosary
10:00 am - Solemn High Mass (in the Extraordinary Form) for the Feast of St. Clare of Assisi.
12:10 pm – Opening welcome
12: 15 - First Talk – ‘The Crisis of the Father’ by Dr. Joseph Shaw Chairman of the Latin Mass Society (Including a Question and Answer session).
1:00 pm – 2:00pm - Lunch (please bring some food to share if you can).
2:15 pm – 3:00 pm - Second Talk – ‘Fatima and Marriage’ by Fr. George Mary Roth (talk will be given in the Church).
3:00 pm – Holy Rosary (in the Church).
3: 30pm – 4: 00 pm – Tea Break and Social gathering.
4: 00 pm – 4:45 pm – Third Talk – ‘Why we home school and how it works’(Including a Question and Answer session).
4:45 pm – 5: 00 pm – Short break.
5: 00 pm – 5: 45 pm – Fourth and Final Talk –  ‘Presentation on Modesty for women and girls’ by Mrs. Elizabeth Dulston (Including a Question and answer session).
5:45 – 6:15 pm – Further discussion and talk with our speakers.
6:30 pm –  Conclusion with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Solemn Vespers.
Please check for local parking.
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Thursday, August 03, 2017

A modest proposal about the public treatment of mothers

Quiz at the SCT Summer School
During a discussion of large families and (inevitably) of Natural Family Planning, on Facebook, one of my FB friends remarked:

We suffer both extremes, those who feel the need to take it upon themselves to make such invasive and snarky comments, that think NFP is there to make sure you only have a respectable number of kids, or, as I call them, NFP crusaders; and on the other hand certain trads that think all NFP is evil and even if you are dying you have to keep popping out kids (even though permission for NFP goes back to Bl. Pius IX).

I don't think this is simply a Catholic problem arising out of the debate about Catholic teaching. It is, rather, a Catholic version of a wider phenomenon. Another commentator had started off the discussion by pointing out, of parents, and particularly of mothers, with more than two children:

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Letter in The Tablet: Liturgical pluralism

The Dominican Rite celebrated in Oxford, alongside the Traditional Roman Rite, and, of course,
the Novus Ordo. The Carthusian Rite is also regularly celebrated in England; before the Council, the
Norbertine and Carmelite Rites were also found here. Before the Reformation, the Roman Rite was
celebrated by the Franciscans, and secular clergy would have celebrated the Sarum Rite.

The current Tablet carries a letter by me, in response to an article by a Jesuit priest, John Baldovin. The Tablet descibes him as a 'professor of historical and liturgical theology at Boston College, and author of Reforming the Liturgy: A Response to the Critics.' What is astonishing, then, is his assertion (in his article): 'A number of legitimate rites have always coexisted in the Catholic Church: the Byzantine, Coptic and Armenian Rites, for example, but these are rites of independent churches in union with Rome: there not two “forms” of the Armenian Rite running in parallel.' Is he really so ignorant of the history of the Latin Church as to imagine that the Roman Rite was and is the only Latin Rite? 

And here's the funny thing. He doesn't actually assert that there were and are no non-Roman Latin Rites or Usages. He just leaves his expression of indignation hanging in the air, with that implication. To me this suggests that he knows that the bald assertion would be a lie, so he holds back. But maybe I'm wrong, and he's an ignorant ass.

Anyway, here's my letter.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

St Catherine's Trust Summer School: some photos

The end of school quiz.

The St Catherine's Trust Summer School took place last week: it runs from Sunday to Sunday. Numbers have gone up every year for several years, and we welcomed 39 children this year. There was a full minibus load from London, and nine travelled by train from Scotland.

High Mass, with Fr Richard Bailey celebrating and Fr Aidan Keiran as subdeacon: these
priests were involved with the Latin Course which runs alongside the Summer School.

The Summer School exposes children to a week of traditional liturgy, which they would only otherwise experience by visiting a monastery. We have sung - usually High - Mass every day, sung Compline each evening, Benediction twice in the week; each day begins with the Rosary. We always have Stations of the Cross on Friday.