Thursday, March 22, 2018

Introducing the Vademecum Peregrini

Buy it from the LMS online shop here
or from Lulu, the printer, here.

We created this booklet for pilgrims on the Walsingham Pilgrimage, but it was always intended to be of wider application, containing information, Mass propers, and special hymns and prayers for Latin Mass Society Pilgrimages to York, Oxford, and Holywell, as well as notes about many others.

After much expansion, revision, and correction, we can now offer this to the general public. If you get a copy and subsequently decide to come on the Walsingham Pilgrimage, you can bring it with you and save a few pounds on your fee.

It contains the Ordinary of the Mass, the same version as the LMS Ordinary Prayers booklet, a number of Mass Propers (prayers and readings) used in pilgrimages, and a great many prayers and devotions useful on pilgrimage and elsewhere: for Communion, for Confession, the Stations of the Cross, the Rosary (with traditional meditations on each Mystery), the Seven Penitential Psalms, and lots more.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Walsingham Pilgrimage: early bird offer till Easter!


Get a 10% discount on the fees for the 2018 LMS Walking Piligrimage to Walsingham, until Easter: 1st April. Don't miss out!


The dates are 23th to 26th August (the Bank Holiday weekend): meeting on the evening of the 23rd, and finishing in the afternoon of Sunday 26th.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Easter Triduum in London; Lassus Tenebrae

Cross posted from Rorate Caeli.

The Holy Fire is lit outside the church's back door, from which it is a short procession
through the streets of the City of London to the church's front door.

This Holy Week in London, a rare opportunity to experience one of the oldest services in the Catholic Church along with a feast of sacred music rarely sung in its proper context.

Beginning on ‘Spy Wednesday’ with the ancient office of Tenebrae, The Latin Mass Society will be celebrating Holy Week with a wealth of traditional Latin liturgy at St. Mary Moorfields in the heart of the City of London.This year’s Triduum celebration will be directed by professional musician and classical pianist, Matthew Schellhorn with his group ‘Cantus Magnus.’

Matthew Schellhorn, the LMS Director of Music for London, said:

“It is once again a great pleasure to be making the musical preparations for the Latin Mass Society’s flagship celebration of the Sacred Triduum in the Archdiocese of Westminster.

“Music by Franco-Flemish renaissance Orlande de Lassus (1532–94) will enhance the Office of Tenebrae, which will be particularly special with not only the haunting four-part Responseries but also the great five-part Lamentations of Jeremiah. These glorious masterpieces, date from the 1580s.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Join the pro-lifers at London's St Patrick's Day parade

From 'Right to Life'

Dear Supporter,

Last weekend saw the All Ireland Rally for Life in Dublin, at which up to 100,000 people marched for life, for mothers and babies and to save the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution!

Especially if you’re Irish or have Irish ancestry (but even if you’re not or don’t!), to signify your solidarity with this campaign, please join London Irish United For Life as they attend the St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

LMS Priest Training Conference: book now! April 9-12th

The Latin Mass Society will be holding a residential training conference for priests, deacons, seminarians and laymen wishing to learn to celebrate or serve Mass in the Extraordinary Form. It will be held at Prior Park College near Bath from Monday 9th April to Thursday 12th April 2018.

Tuition will be in small groups. For clergy and seminarians, this will be provided by priests experienced in the Extraordinary Form, for servers this will be provided by laymen with years of experience in the Extraordinary Form.
Low Mass, Missa Cantata and Solemn Mass will be covered, although participants will be expected to be proficient at Low Mass before progressing to the more complicated forms.
No previous experience is necessary, and participants will be divided into groups, according to their abilities.
There will be daily Mass intended to be an example of best practice.

The conference will start after lunch on the Monday and conclude before lunch on the Thursday.
Full board and lodging is provided in basic single rooms (not en suite).
Lunch on the Monday and the Thursday can be booked at extra cost, £5 per lunch for all participants.
The fee for attending is: £120.00
Full-time students: £60
Seminarians: FREE OF CHARGE

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

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

SCT Family Retreat: booking reminder


Don't forget to book for the St Catherine's Trust Family Retreat, taken this year by Canons Montjean and Tanner of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

It is taking place at the Oratory School near Reading over Low Sunday Weekend: 6-8th April.

Book online here.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Mass in Tyburn last Saturday

unnamed (6)

Last Saturday a Traditional Sung Mass was celebrated in the Relic Chapel of Tyburn Convent in London, by Fr Serafino Lanzetta. It was celebrated with Low Mass ceremonies, and just one server, accompanied by two singers. This Mass was sponsored by the Latin Mass Society.

unnamed (3)

The occasion was a youth conference organised by the Catholic Medical Association (and on Facebook), on the subject of conscience. I gave a talk, as did John Smeaton of SPUC and s sister of the convent. Fr Lanzetta gave a sermon on the same subject.

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Traditional Mass returns to Holy Trinity, Hethe

Archbishop Bernard Longley celebrated Pontifical Low Mass in Holy Trinity in January 2017
I am pleased to be able to announce that thanks to the good will and hospitality of the Archdiocese and of the Parish Priest, Canon John Batthula, the Traditional Mass will once again be celebrated on Sundays at Holy Trinity, Hethe.

In the absence of a resident priest, there will be Sung EF Masses at Hethe at 12 noon on the 2nd Sunday of each month and on the last Sunday of each month. The first of these will be Palm Sunday, Sunday 24th March, to be celebrated, with the blessing of palms, by Fr James Mawdsley FSSP.

Holy Trinity Church is outside Bicecester: Hardwick Road, Hethe OX27 8AW. (Map)

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

Friday, March 09, 2018

Do we want to solve the problem of sacrilegious Communions?

Holy Communion at a High Mass in the Domincan Rite at Oxford's Blackfriars
Sometimes people like to complain about problems but do not, really, want to solve them. If you offer a solution, they are uninterested, or even angry. The problem is important to them. It may even be a way for them to get something they want: perhaps to extract a concession from someone. So I ask: does anyone (anyone in authority) actually want to solve the problem of sacrilegious communions?

Pope John Paul II pointed out the problem way back in 1980 (Dominicae Cenae):
Sometimes, indeed quite frequently, everybody participating in the eucharistic assembly goes to Communion; and on some such occasions, as experienced pastors confirm, there has not been due care to approach the sacrament of Penance so as to purify one’s conscience.

The situation is now vastly worse than in 1980. Many go without real reflection. Others, who might be thinking about how they ought to go to Confession first, find it embarrassing or even physically awkward to avoid going up too. It has become a common attitude that if you don't go to Communion, you've not been to Mass properly: you've not fulfilled your obligation. And all this is to say nothing of the problem of those who feel excluded, or the priests who feel they need to exclude them, because of notorious public sin, a problem which is the root of the greatest crisis in the Church, according to some, since Arianism, and which is threatening to cause a schism.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Guild of St Clare Sewing Retreat success


There was a moment -- well, more than a moment -- when I thought the sewing retreat was not going to happen last weekend. The snow, which started falling during the week before, starting falling again on Friday afternoon, and the final approach to the Retreat Centre up a steep hill became impassible to all but four-wheel-drive vehicles. Luckily we worked out an alternative route, and the great majority of the retreatants made it. Only a few perished in the snow (only kidding!)


From the Guild: The Guild of St Clare held its second Sewing Retreat in the teeth of the Beast from the East last weekend. The Carmelite Retreat Centre, where it took place, is in a delightfully rural location, at the top of Boars Hill. The roads were untreated, and retreatants defied the blizzard and the snowdrifts to make their way finally to the peace of sewing, spiritual conferences and, most importantly, the traditional liturgy. 

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

FIUV Magazine relaunched

Cross-posted from Rorate Caeli.

I have pleasure in presenting the new edition of the quarterly magazine of the Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce (Una Voce International), Gregorius Magnus: the 4th edition.

It can be downloaded as a pdf here:

Gregorius Magnus 4

The 4th issue of Gregorius Magnus (February 2018) is 24 pages about:

• Position Paper 32: The Extraordinary Form and Islam
• UV General Assembly in Rome, Nov 2017
• Book Review: History of the FIUV
• Irish Abortion Referendum
• Una Voce in England, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Nigeria

This is a re-launch for Gregorius Magnus, which was published briefly in 2012. We hope that it will provide a truly international space for news and discussions important to the Traditional Movement, as well as an attractive platform for the FIUV.

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

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Book review: History of the FIUV by Leo Darroch

This review is in the current edition of the Latin Mass Society's magazine Mass of Ages. Cross posted from Rorate Caeli.

Una Voce: the History of the Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce 1964-2003, by Leo Darroch (Gracewing; 467pp)
Review by Joseph Shaw

Buy it from the LMS bookshop,, or Gracewing

Leo Darroch has produced a substantial and fascinating volume on the FIUV, commonly known as Una Voce International, from its beginnings up to the end of the presidency of the late Michael Davies. Davies’ predecessor, Eric de Savanthem, was President for 30 years, from the early days of the organisation, so the book revolves around these two remarkable men.

Because of the nature of the material, the book is episodic in character. Some of these episodes are very revealing about the state of the Church at the time they took place, so I will devote this review to three of them.

The first is the interview and associated correspondence which took place between de Saventham and Archbishop (later, Cardinal) Giovanni Benelli, then Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, in 1976 (pp127ff). De Saventham summarised Benelli’s position in a letter to him following the meeting:

Monday, March 05, 2018

The Epistles of the first three Sundays of Lent

St Paul
Peter Kwasniewski has an excellent discussion of the contrast between the Epistles (first readings) of the first three Sundays of Lent given us by the ancient Lectionary, and the Second Readings of Sunday Mass, usually Pauline Epistles, offered us by the 1969 Lectionary. Since there are three years of readings in the Ordinary Form there are nine passages to compare with the three of the EF. Not one of these nine passages so much as mentions the major theme of all three of the EF's selections: the importance of repentance from a sinful lifestyle, above all in relation to sexual sins.

So concerned were the compilers of the reformed Lectionary to avoid mentioning sin that they even cut out of the passages bits where the subject came up.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Letter on older Traditionalists, in the Catholic Herald

The LMS Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Caversham last weekend.
Today the Catholic Herald has published my letter answering Michael Davis (not to be confused with the late Michael Davies), who criticised the older generation of Catholics attached to the Traditional Mass.

I have written a blogpost about his article here.


Michael Davis’s attack on the ‘older generation’ of Traditional Catholics (Comment, 16th Feb) misses the mark. The tone of the mainstream lay movement for the preservation of the Traditional Mass, represented by the Latin Mass Society and it sister organisations around the world, was set by men like Dietrich von Hildebrand and Eric de Saventham, both of whom risked their lives for their opposition to Hitler; Hamish Fraser, a convert from Communism; and Hugh Ross-Williamson, deselected as a Labour parliamentary candidate for being too left-wing. The extraordinary devotion of Traditional Catholics to the Papacy, over decades when they received little but hard knocks from the hierarchy, prevented them from taking the easy option of leaving the structures of the Church. Now that their central argument has been vindicated—the ancient Mass was never abrogated—we can see that their obedience to the bishops of their day was supererogatory.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Position Paper on the Sanctoral Cycle

Today I publish the last of the FIUV Position Papers: The Sanctoral Cycle of the Extraordinary Form. Go over to Rorate Caeli to read it.

Researching the calendar, specifically the cycle of saints' days, has been very interesting. It has underlined how reletively empty of saints the 1969 calendar is (although the Novus Ordo has picked up a few more over the decades since then). If you go to a weekday Mass in the Novus Ordo, the priest will more often than not be wearing green, during 'Ordinary' time, or violet in Advent or Lent, or white in Paschal time: the colour of a 'ferial' day, when no feast is being celebrated. I have heard of this being taken even further, and a preference for the ferial Mass taking over even on days when according to the rules there should be a saint. But in the Traditional Mass ferial Masses are downright rare. On the few days each week when there is no saint to celebrate, priests tend to say a Votive Mass.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

LMS Pilgrimage to Caversham 2018


On Saturday the Latin Mass Society went on pilgrimage to Our Lady of Caversham, which is always very edifying. It was interesting to see, this year, improvements to the shrine, with a new painted backdrop to the shrine image.


The Pilgrimage usually coincides with the Ember Saturday of Lent: not all pilgrimages can take place in the summer, and the Ember Saturday is something well worth celebrating in a solemn way. However, the Ember day was only commemorated this year, because it was the feast of St Matthias.


St Matthias was chosen, between Ascension and Pentecost, to replace Judas: when the Holy Ghost descended upon them, there was a full complement of Apostles. However, representations of the 12 Apostles tend to leave him out to make room for St Paul, so he can be neglected.


We didn't neglect him this year, however, with a splendid High Mass, celebrated by Fr Anthony Conlon, assisted by Fr James Mawdsley FSSP (deacon) and Fr Gabriel Diaz (subdeacon), and accompanied by the Schola Abelis (chant) and the Newman Consort. The Newman Consort sang John Taverner Kyrie Leroy, Thomas Tallis Mass for Four Voices, and Noel Bauldeweyn Ave caro Christi cara, all of which were lovely.

 (This is what it looked like last year.)

This year we had a buffet lunch in the parish room, which was extremely jolly and which we will certainly do again.

With thanks to Mgr Patrick Daly, the parish priest and shrine custodian.

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Mass in Didcot for the Chair of St Peter


Last Thursday was the feast of the Chair of St Peter, and Fr Philip Pennington Harris celebrated it with a Traditional Missa Cantata. It was accompanied by the Schola Abelis of Oxford.


Monday, February 26, 2018

An attack on older Traditionalists in the Catholic Herald

Because of the flurry of posts I've published in the last few days I'm putting this back to the top of the blog.

I'm cross-posting this from Rorate Caeli.

Davis in the Catholic Herald
In last weekend's Catholic Herald (Feb 16) Michael Davis (not to be confused with the late, great, Michael Traherne Davies) makes an extraordinary attack on the older generation of Catholics attached to the Traditional Mass. He does so in the context of an alleged contrast with younger Traditionalists. You can read the first part of his article, or pay to read the whole thing; I include some screenshots to give a flavour.

To generalise about Traditional Catholics as 'going out of [their] way to be nasty' or tainted by 'repugnant anti-Semitism' is wearily familiar, and I would not dignify it with a response but for the fact that Davis presents himself as a 'Traditionalist' (as he puts it), and the Catholic Herald is one of the more trad-friendly Catholic newspapers. Furthermore, Davis is the paper's US Editor, on the eve of their big launch in the USA. Rorate's Twitter feed put it well: what we see is the phenomenon of the "the self-hating self-righteous not-really-trad Trad." I've discussed other examples of the type here.

Evangelising the Culture: guest post

Evangelising the Culture: The Great Commission for Traditional Catholics
By Mike Carrol, LMS Representative for Lincolnshire.

Titian: great art still evangelising after five centuries. Seen by SCT Summer School pupils in 2016.
It is now ten years since Summorum Pontificum and it is now time for those within the traditional Latin Mass community to collectively use the great virtue of prudence to transmit the message of the Gospel into the culture and society. It is time to evangelise the culture. The great virtue of prudence gives us foresight and the mental and spiritual means of achieving even the most great and overarching goals. After we sanctify ourselves and our families through the Latin Mass, devotions, mortification, and dieing to self by way of The Imitation, we have one Great Commission left which to evangelise. Our traditional message can no longer be kept under a bushel. Christ's light must once again enlighten a society which is groaning under the weight of sin and a dystopian nightmare.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Rosary on the Coast

Rosary on the Coast
for Faith, Life and Peace in the British Isles

Sunday 29 April 2018 at 3pm

How to get involved


Saturday, February 24, 2018

Chartres Pilgrimage: booking open

British pilgrims setting off from Notre Dame in Paris in 2014

Registration for the Chartres Pilgrimage is now open!

UK Pilgrims are spoilt for choice:

The long standing 'Chartres UK' group organised by Francis Carey, who will have a 'youth' chapter and one other: see the text below, or go here.

The Latin Mass Society sponsors a limited number of places in this group.

The Institute of Christ the King are organising a chapter: see the video below, see Facebook here and email

There is also a Scottish Chartres Chapter, which I introduced here. Email

From Francis Carey, Chartres UK.

Registrations for this year’s Pilgrimage to Chartres are now open! The 36th Chartres Pilgrimage has, as it’s theme, “St Joseph, Pilgirm and Servant”. We hope you are able to join us for this unforgettable pilgrimage in honour of Our Blessed Mother and the Holy Ghost.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Vestment repair day in the LMS Office

From the Guild of St Clare.

The Guild of St Clare has been asked to repair some vestments for the Latin Mass Society. These repairs will need to be undertaken in the LMS's office, in central London. We have arranged two dates when we will do this work: the 21st April and the 12th May, between the hours of 10am and 4pm. Lunch will be provided.
This violet High Mass Set is among the things needing attention
If you would like to join us, or want to know more about the details, please email me at Space in the LMS office is fairly limited, so we need to know how many people are planning to come.

The Office is at 11 - 13 Macklin Street LONDON WC2B 5NH

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

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

LMS Pilgrimage to Caversham this Saturday, 24th Feb

Chair of St Peter: Sung Mass in Didcot

Please support this if you in the area, one of an occasional series of Sung Masses celebrated by parish priest Fr Philip Harris, and accompanied by the Schola Abelis of Oxford.

Church of English Martyrs, 15 Manor Crescent, Didcot OX11 7AJ (click for a map)

Sung Mass at 7:30pm, Thursday 22nd February 2018.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Call for Masses for Ireland's referendum

Update: it has now been announced that the referendum is likely to be on 25th May, the Friday of Whit Week (after Pentecost).

A Dominican Rite High Mass in the Priory of the Holy Spirit (Blackfriars), Oxford

Latin Mass /  Una Voce groups throughout Britain and Ireland call for Masses to be offered for the Irish abortion referendum

Many readers will have heard of the attack on the unborn currently being planned in Ireland. The background is that in 1983, in the context of fears that Ireland’s historic legal protection of the unborn would be undermined by the courts, the Irish voted to amend their constitution—the Eighth Amendment—as follows:

The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.

A referendum is now being planned to abolish this amendment. This will take place in late May or early June.

Ireland’s protection of the unborn is of special significance because it is unique in Europe, and among ‘developed’ countries in general. It is therefore a test case for the argument, so often made, that abortion is necessary for the safety of mothers. In fact Ireland has one of the best records for maternal mortality in the world, a fact deeply embarrassing to the abortion industry. Abortion is not necessary for the protection of women’s health, but indeed is a direct attack on it.

In response to this threat, four affiliates of the Una Voce Federation in the British Isles have come together to appeal for Masses to be said for this intention. Ireland has two national associations: the older Latin Mass Society of Ireland, and the more recently founded Una Voce Ireland. They are joined by Una Voce Scotland, and the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Support the polyphony database today!

Update: with apologies, it is still open till 10:56pm today!

Today is the last day of a Crowdfunder initiative to support a project to digitise a huge database of early Sacred Polyphony, to be provided free for scholars and musicians. Not only is it worthy of support, but the 'benefits' you can claim for donations are fantastic!

Some details below. Go to the Crowdfunder page.

What is the Polyphony Database? is a detailed catalogue of early music sources designed to help musicians perform, academics study, and enthusiasts explore a vast and glorious repertoire quickly and easily. It aims to combine the practicality of CPDL with the academic rigour and ambition of the RISM census, to make use of similar projects where possible, and to directly combat the frustrations performing musicians have with all existing resources.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Ten Weeks in Africa: review

The stories about Oxfam and Unicef stimulate me to repost this, from October 2012. The book I'm talking about is more prescient than I realised. Buy the book here.


Ten Weeks in Africa by JM Shaw (my brother) has been reviewed by Charles Moore. Read the review here.

The novel has turned out to extremely topical, with a series of stories appearing about how aid is misspent. Here's Charles Moore:

But the point to understand about international development, at least as it is usually conducted between modern states, is that it cannot achieve its intended results. Just now, this paper’s Sunday sister has been running some splendid stories of aid money wasted on tourist projects and overpaid consultants; much of it is commandeered by the European Union for unworthy causes. It is good to expose such things. But this novel looks at the question even more radically. 

People often say that if only more were done to “get rid of corruption” then aid would be wonderful. What they miss is that aid is the greatest stimulant to corruption offered by rich countries to poor ones. It is an uncovenanted, and often unaudited, blessing for those who already have power, and therefore — because the recipient countries are kleptocracies — a curse for the people they rule. 

The point is that aid, rather like diamonds or oil wealth, isn't just spoilt by corruption, it creates and sustains corruption. It also creates and sustains famine and war. Which isn't to say that it can and does do good. But there isn't a sharp contrast between 'good' aid and 'bad' aid: aid does bad, sometimes, because it does good: because people benefit from it, say in a refugee camp, people can leave their homes to go it. Again, it can do good, sometimes, because it is addressing a bad situation which it has created: having created a dependency, yes indeed the people really do need it to survive.

As I read the book I wondered about how people in these desperate situations can really be helped, and how the saints of the past, and present, in the Church, have gone about it. How did St Francis, or the Jesuits in the 17th Century, or Mother Theresa, do it? Part of the answer is the solidarity with the poor which they exemplified. They didn't swank about in Toyota Landcruisers and live in air-conditioned hotels, and throw handfuls of bank-notes to the beggars - or the equivalent. They became poor themselves to help the poor. Instead of representing an opportunity for graft, kidnapping, theft, corruption, and fraud, by coming into a situation with resources beyond the dreams of anyone they met, they addressed the poor personally, by service. They came to understand their needs, and yes of course they took money from donors and spent it on useful things like orphanages, but that was not the whole of what they were about, and when they did it they did it on the basis of a real knowledge of the people they were helping, and how they could be helped. And they didn't leave after three months to move on to another prestigious project, leaving everything they had done to be destroyed. If necessary they stayed with their adopted people and faced death from wars and persecutors. This is something, of course, which consecrated religious can do more easily than married people with children to think about.

Oh yes the aid workers the West sends out are very generous with their time and effort, and they really care about the people they want to help. But if they fail it is partly because they are giving their time, but not themselves.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Prayers for Persecuted Christians

The Arabic letter 'Nun', for Nazarene, is being painted
on Christian homes in Mosul, to mark them out.
I posted this in July 2014 for the Christians of the Middle East. Today I repost it with the thought particularly of the Catholics of China.


At this moment of disaster for the Christians of Mosul, and of the Middle East in general, we should remember to keep them in our prayers, and have Masses said for them.

There are several Votive Masses and Commemorations in the 1962 Missal for suitable intentions ('For the Church', 'Against Persecutors', 'For Peace' and the like). The Collect of one of them was enriched with an indulgence in 1934, for use as a prayer on its own. The indulgence has gone but we can still say the prayer.

Graciously hear the prayers of Thy Church, we beseech Thee, O Lord: that her enemies and all heresies be brought to nought, and that she may serve Thee in perfect security and freedom. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Ecclesiae tuae, quaesumus, Domine, preces placatus admitte: ut, destructis adversitatibus er erroribus universis, secura tibi serviat libertate. Per Christum Dominium nostrum. Amen.

(Translation from the Raccolta, the official handbook of indulgenced prayers.)

The Raccolta also includes this short prayer, taken from the Roman Ritual:

That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to bring low the enemies of holy Church, we beseech Thee to hear us.

Ut inimicos sanctae Ecclesiae humiliare digneris, te rogamus, audi nos.

A longer prayer, which isn't in my edition of the Raccolta but which was also granted an indulgence in 1934, was issued as a Prayer Card by the Catholic Truth Society with an imprimatur from Cardinal Godfrey in 1962.

Almighty, everlasting God, look with compassion on all those who suffer persecution for justice’ sake.
     Grant them grace to carry their cross with patience in the name of Thy beloved Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
     Let the chalice pass from them is such by Thy holy Will: yet, in all things, may Thy Will be done.
     Grant to those who persecute, light to see the truth, and the grace of mercy and forgiveness, for they know not what they do.
     Mary, Mother of Jesus, Comfort of the Afflicted, help thy children in their time of bitter trial.

O Lord our God, by the sign of Thy holy cross deliver us from our enemies.


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Sunday, February 11, 2018

The sexual revolution devours the young

Between 2012 and 2015, 600 rapes were recorded in UK schools. “Why didn’t you stop when she was crying?” a teacher asked a 14-year-old perpetrator. “It’s normal for girls to cry during sex,” he replied.

Blanche Girouard, basing herself partly on a report published last September in a pithy piece in Standpoint magazine on the sexualised nightmare many schools have become. Don't click on the links if you are of a sensitive disposition.

Girouard argues that we need to see the difference between normal flirtation and violent sexual assault, and that children need to be educated in this difference also. It doesn't sound much to ask, but the 'me too' phenomenon, and the heavy-handed policing of sexism in schools, seems determined to blur the distinction. It is true that flirtation coming from a person with great power over the other party, as has been the case with Weinstein and others, is a serious matter, but it is still different from a violent sexual assault. And the 'me too' hashtag has not been limited to such cases.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Spring 2018 Mass of Ages is here!

Mass of Ages - Spring 2018 Edition

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 spring 2018 edition is now available. In this issue: • Caroline Shaw reports on the ICKSP Pilgrimage to Fatima led by Cardinal Burke • Fr Christopher Basden remembers the late Fr Michael Clifton • Canon Martin Edwards reports on a traditional pilgrimage to the Holy Land • Alan Frost writes on the history of settings of the Stabat Mater • Damian Barker reports on the Young Catholic Adults retreat at Douai Abbey • Canon Amaury Montjean ICKSP welcomes the Sisters to Preston • The Catholic Medical Association’s Committee for the New Evangelization introduce their forthcoming Conference at Tyburn Convent
“It was a splendid pilgrimage, a time for us all to strengthen our devotion to Our Lady, to assist at beautiful Masses, to pray alongside Cardinal Burke and the Institute, to meet faithful Catholics from around the World, and to renew our trust that in the end, Our Lady’s Immaculate heart will, indeed, triumph.” writes Caroline Shaw on the international gathering of Catholics who joined the Institute of Christ the King’s pilgrimage to Fatima, led by His Eminence, Raymond Cardinal Burke.

Masses in Hethe cancelled

With immediate effect the Traditional Mass at 12 noon in Holy Trinity, Hethe, has been cancelled, and until further notice.

If the situation changes I will post again on this blog.

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Thursday, February 08, 2018

A question for Freemasons

It seems the Chief Executive of the Grand Lodge is complaining about Masons being discriminated against, and wants to have a public campaign to answer people's questions.

However he wouldn't show the BBC the secret handshake, shucks. No doubt there are thousands of YouTube videos which will.

About them being misunderstood and disliked, I can understand what he means. Misunderstood, because they swear ridiculous oaths (only marginally less ridiculous without the blood-curdling threats) not to reveal what any interested person can find out from any number of books, about Masonic rituals and their symbolic meanings.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

More on Men and Women at Mass: the Hebrides

A Traditional Requiem Mass in the chapel of St Benet's Hall,
Oxford, in 2015. On the right the small statue is a scale model
of 'Our Lady of Isles', a huge statue constructed on Catholic
South Uist in the Hebrides in 1958. The model is I believe
a working model made by the artist, Hew Lorimer.
I've been reading about the Church in the Scottish Highlands and Islands. Here is something worth sharing. Fr Allan MacDonald, Parish Priest in the Scottish Hebrides in the late 19th century, was a Gaelic speaker and a great collector of folklore. I quote John Watts, the historian, referring to Fr MacDonald's notebooks (which have been postumously published, in part):

Though the island people as a whole were devout, he found that it was the men rather than the women who ‘practised’. He reckoned that throughout Uist and Barra men outnumbered women at Mass by as much as five to one. He believed that this situation had developed over many generations, in a society in which the women were often left at home on Sundays to tend the cattle and look after the house, and as a result were not only deprived of the sacraments but of any deep instruction in their religion.

John Watts, A Record of Generous People: A History of the Catholic Church in Argyll and the Isles (2013) p156

The longer term background of this observation, if (as seems plausible) the situation in Fr MacDonald’s time did reflect many generations’ practice, is the dependence of these communities on itinerant priests visiting them, sometimes very infrequently, and celebrating Mass on ‘Mass rocks’ and in private houses: not because of an active persecution, for the most part, but simply because of the acute shortage of priests and funds. The parochial system was still only in embryonic form in Fr MacDonald’s time. 

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Holy Trinity Hethe welcomes Fr Anthony Talbot


As of the beginning of January Fr Anthony Talbot has been celebrating the Traditional Mass in Holy Trinity, Hethe, outside Bicester (Hardwick Road, Hethe, OX27 8AW). After a period of having a rota of priests coming from different places it is good to have a single pastor again, in this beautiful historic church.

Monday, January 29, 2018

A Dominican Mass for St Thomas Aquinas

The Schola Abelis sang for a High Mass in the Dominican Rite at Blackfriars, Oxford, last Saturday.


This Mass, celebrated just because the various people involved - singers, Dominicans - simply thought it would be rather nice, attracted fifty people. These Masses now happen near the beginning of each University Term.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Statistical decline of the Church

Inspired by some discussion on Twitter about the Church's failure to oppose the legalisation of abortion in the 1970s, effectively, I'm reposting this from April 2013. And with apologies for not posting for so long.


Counter-cultural young ladies at the Family Retreat
 As I wrote in the last post, contrary to the gremlins which have falsified the figures for mid-century ordinations in England and Wales on the Vocations Office website, the Catholic Church was riding high by every conceivable measure in the middle of the 20th century. Figures for ordinations and the like peak in or shortly after the 1960s. This is true all over the West: outside the Communist bloc, throughout Europe and North America. Vatican II and the subsequent reforms took place at precisely the time the decline commenced. QED.

Actually, it is not as simple as that. For the Church's difficulties coincided with very similar problems for a whole range of other organisations. As I have blogged before, membership organisations of all kinds grew rapidly in the first half of the 20th century, and began to decline in the 1970s. Not only that, but a number of other measures of 'social capital', such as whether people trust strangers or know their neighbours, rose and declined in exactly the same way. It is an extraordinary phenomenon.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Prior of Norcia to celebrate Candlemas in London

From the UK Friends of the Benedictine Monks of Norcia

To be celebrated by Prior Benedict Nivakoff of Norcia

High Mass with procession
6:30pm, Friday 2nd February, 
in the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, W1B 5LZ

William Byrd: Mass for Four Voices
William Byrd: Senex puerum portabat
Orlando Lassus: Adorna thalamum tuum, Sion

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Sung Mass for St Scholastica in Holy Rood

To be celebrated by Fr Daniel Lloyd the Parish Priest, 
and accompanied with chant from the Schola Abelis.

Sat 10th Feb, Sung Mass at 11:30am.

Holy Rood, 35 Abingdon Road, Oxford OX1 4PD

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Thoughts on the Mortara case

As has been well described elsewhere, in 1858, in Bologna when it was part of the Papal States under Pope Pius IX, a 6-year-old Jewish boy who had been secretly baptised by a servant when he had been thought to be at the point of death, was taken from his parents to be raised a Catholic.

This was a rare kind of case, but it had been contemplated in the civil law of the Papal States, and the decision was in accordance with longstanding practice. In the face of an international outcry, Pope Pius IX refused to restore little Edgardo to his family.

First Things has been getting more ‘traddy’ in recent years but they have jumped the shark by publishing a defence of this action of Pius IX by a Dominican theologian, Romanus Cessario. This must surely be one of the most indefensible actions by any Pope of modern times, not least because there is no dispute about the facts of the case. Nothing in the article made me remotely more sympathetic to this action of Pius IX.

LMS Latin Course booking open

Fr Richard Biggerstaff celebrating the Vetus Ordo
in the chapel of the Carmelite Retreat Centre
for the Guild of St Clare Sewing Retreat last year.
Resideintial Latin course for adults 30th July to 3rd August 2018.

Since 2009 our intensive Latin course has helped a few dozen priests and laity to brush up their Latin for liturgical and scholarly purposes, in a Catholic atmosphere and with daily Traditional Mass.

Now it is taking place in a more accessible venue with more space and lower costs. Don't miss out!

Book here!

Five days with Fr John Hunwicke and Fr Richard Bailey, not in Wales this year but in the Carmelite Retreat Centre in Boars Hill near Oxford.

Full price is £340 (+ £30 optional single room supplement); without accommodation £290.
LMS Member £290 (+ £30 optional single room supplement); without accommodation £240.
Clergy, students and Seminarians full price £240 (+ £30 optional single room supplement); without accommodation £190.
Clergy, students and Seminarians LMS member £190 (+ £30 optional single room supplement); without accommodation £140.

Book here!

Some Latin Course students with Fr Richard Bailey last year.
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Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Dominican Rite High Mass for St Thomas Aquinas in Oxford, 27th Jan

Saturday 27th January 2018, 11am, in Blackfriars, St Giles, Oxford, OX1 3LY

A votive Mass for St Thomas Aquinas. Accompanied by the Schola Abelis of Oxford.

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Monday, January 08, 2018

Catholic Medical Association 10th March, with me

The Catholic Medical Association invites all juniors and students of the healthcare professions (doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, AHPs...), and all young people involved in the pro-life movement, to our next youth (18-35 years old) conference, entitled “Catholics in Healthcare: Men and Women of Conscience”.

Tyburn Convent, London. 11:15am registration. The conference will commence with Holy Mass (Missa Cantata) and talks will follow on The English Martyrs by one of the Tyburn nuns, Dr Joseph Shaw on conscience in healthcare and Dr John Smeaton (SPUC) on abortion and conscience.

Entry £10 donation, includes lunch, all profits to Tyburn Convent.

Sign up via event page on Facebook and EventBrite. Search “CMA England and Wales”.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Vermeule's mistake about human traditions

Adrian Vermeule (an academic lawyer and professor at Harvard) has written a very interesting and in some ways helpful article in the Catholic Herald about the the nostalgia felt by a number of conservative/ traditionalist-leaning Catholic writers for the apparent live-and-let-live harmony between the Church and the 'liberal' state in the USA and elsewhere in the past, recent or not quite so recent. (I'll come to my disagreement with him in a minute.)

His argument is simply that liberalism is an ideology inherently hostile to the Faith with which no long-term, stable compromise is possible. He is absolutely right. As he writes:

Put differently, as I have argued elsewhere, the main “tradition” of liberalism is in fact a liturgy, centred on a sacramental celebration of the progressive overcoming of the darkness of bigotry and unreason. To participate in that tradition, that liturgy, is necessarily and inescapably to commune with and be caught up into a particular substantive view of time, history, world and the sacred – the liberal view.

The same point can be expressed in a slightly different way, from a historical perspective, which was made clear to me by reading Edward Norman's Secularisation. Norman points out that the brief golden age in the UK with neither religious intolerance from the dominant religion, or secularist intolerance from a liberal state, was simply a momentary equilibrium of forces in the long decline of the influence of the formerly dominant religion (Anglicanism) and the long rise in the power and self-confidence of the liberal state. This golden age - more like a golden milli-second - has inspired absurd amounts of political theorising, but was simply a moment when Anglicanism was too weak to assert itself against others but still too strong to be pushed around.

Vermeule goes on to say that we should seek eternal habitations and not place our trust in princes, though he doesn't express it quite like that. Again, this is correct. But he draws a rather surprising conclusion from this. He writes:

Friday, January 05, 2018

Prior of Norcia to celebrate Candlemas in London

Those interested in the Benedictines of Norcia will like to hear that Prior Benedict Nivakoff will celebrate a Sung Mass in Our Lady of the Assumption, Warwick Street, in London, at 6:30pm on Friday 2nd February, the feast of the Purification of Our Lady (Candlemas).

Prior Benedict succeeded the founder, Prior Cassian Folsom, in 2016, as I noted on this blog here.

More details about the Mass to follow.

Now-retired Prior Cassian Folsom celebrating Sung Mass in Our Lady of the Assumption in May 2016
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Thursday, January 04, 2018

First Saturdays in the London Oratory

The Fathers of the London Oratory are extending the practice they adopted for the centenary year of the Fatima apparitions, of celebrating a Traditional Mass on the First Saturday of each month, at 11am, usually at the Lady Altar (on the right near the front). The first one of the New Year is on Saturday 6th January.

More information about the devotion, recommended by Our Lady at Fatima, below the fold.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Scottish Chartres Chapter

I'm delighted to pass this on from Una Voce Scotland. The Scots have had their own 'chapter', a segment of the huge column of pilgrims, on the Chartres Pilgrimage, for a few years now, often supported by the Sons of the Holy Redeemer (the Papa Stronsay Redemptorists), who created this 'Bonny Prince Jesus' image (and had it authorised for public use). This year they are joined by the indefatigable Fr Michael Rowe who was the Chaplain of the Latin Mass Society's Walsingham Pilgrimage in 2017.

The contact email address is

There is also a Facebook page.

The Chartres Pilgrimage (17th-21st May 2018) is something everyone attracted by the Traditional Mass should do - the younger the better, but if you are reasonably active, or can make yourself so by May, then you have no excuse not to. 

It is amazingly cheap, totally exhausting, and no less spiritually rewarding.

If you are based in Scotland, or would just like to hook up with the Scots for this event, this is the group for you. 

(The English contingent, with whom I've walked three times, can be found here. The Irish group is organised by the Latin Mass Society of Ireland, who can be found here.)
Here are some practical details.