Wednesday, July 18, 2018

FIUV Magazine Gregorius Magnus: new edition

The fifth edition of the online magazine of the Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce (FIUV: Una Voce International) is available for free download as a pdf here.

The FIUV is the federation of all the Una Voce / Latin Mass groups around the world. It has more than 40 affiliates from North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceana. It was founded in 1965 and meets every two years in Rome.

See its website here.


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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

FSSP Fundraising for the Warrington apostolate

Two of the original parish buildings, directly behind the church
The Fraternity of St Peter were given the beautiful and impressive church of St Mary in Warrington by Ampleforth Abbey, with the agreement of the Archdiocese of Liverpool, in 2015. Sadly, however, the the church by then no longer had the buildings once associated with it, which once housed the priests serving the parish and provided facilities for parishioners.

These buildings, however, are now available for purchase. The Fraternity's work in the north of England would be transformed by re-uniting them to the church. Please help them raise the necessary funds.

Monday, July 16, 2018

A few photos from the Roman Forum

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I gave a paper to the Roman Forum Summer Symposium this year, as I did last. Here are a few photographs.

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The symposium takes place in the town of Gardone Riviera, on Lake Garda. We use the beautiful church of St Nicholas there. Singing at the litugies is led by David Hughes (with the stripey shirt, above), a council-member of the Church Music Association of America.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Last call for the LMS Latin Course: 30th July to 3rd August

There are still some places left! 

For details and booking see the LMS website here.

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Latinists at the 2017 course, which took place at Pantasaph in North Wales
Dates: 30th July to 3rd August 2018

The Latin Mass Society’s Residential Latin Course for adults is an intensive course, taught by two experienced tutors, focusing on the Latin of the liturgy.

It is ideal for priests and seminarians wishing to improve their Latin, and all clerics and seminarians (and those about to enter seminary) enjoy a 50% discount on the course fees, which are extremely low anyway.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

SSPX Oxford Mass Centre to close

The Mass centre supplied by the Society of St Pius X in Oxford is to close. The last Mass will take place on Sunday 22nd July.

Priests of the Society have been travelling to Oxford from their base in Burghlere near Newbury.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Last call for the SCT Summer School 29th July to 4th August

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The St Catherine's Trust Summer School 2018 is taking place from Sunday 29th July to Saturday 4th August at the Divine Retreat Centre, St Augustine's Monastery, in Ramsgate, for children aged 11-18.

 You can book here. There is NO FEE.

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We been doing this since 2005. Our volunteer staff and chaplain, Fr Andrew Southwell, give the children an experience, not of 'organised fun', but of something more like a school. We teach them a range of subject - catechism, history, philosophy, Latin - and we have sung or High Mass, sung Compline, and the Rosary, every day. There are also various activities and outings, which vary year by year.

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We have a very loyal group of repeat customers and it is annoying to have had to move the venue from North Wales to the extreme South East: sadly last year's venue, Pantasaph Retreat Centre, has closed. I hope that at least for some the new place will be more convenient. And maybe there won't be as much rain!

It is a unique and unforgettable experience, endorsed by our most critical customers: the children themselves.

You can donate to support the St Catherine's Trust here.


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Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Some worries about Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament: Part 3

See Part 1 and Part 2.

Fr Alexander Sherbrooke, in announcing perpetual exposition in St Patrick's Soho Square, reminds us of the tradition of Exposition in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on Montmartre in Parish, established, with the church itself, as a national act of reparation. The Forty Hours devotion began as an act of reparation. What does this mean?

Benediction itself is not, primarily, an evangelising tool. It is an opportunity for us to give special honour to Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. We do this by the ceremonies, prayers, and chants, and the watching, in the 40 Hours, through the night. It creates an opportunity to do something a bit like a pilgrimage or a great act of charity, but directed towards the Blessed Sacrament specifically, in recognition of the insults against the holiness of God. It is not something we use for some other purpose. What we, like the builders of Sacré-Cœur, may hope, is that God, being appeased, will visit us and leave a blessing behind.

Let me make explicit the extension of this point to the liturgy in general. We should not use Mass to attract converts. We should celebrate Mass with all possible solemnity because it is an act of worship to God, and that should be done with all possible solemnity. We should, further, do whatever possible to excite the piety of the worshipers, to the same end. Worshipers, taking part in the liturgy, will be transformed by it; lukewarm Catholics will be made fervent; non-Catholics, even, may recognise in it the God who is makes Himself known through the liturgy. But that last effect is not what it is for. Unlike works of Catholic apologetics, unlike preaching, it is not an instrument we use to gain this goal. To make it an instrument in our plans is to undermine its very nature, something which is offered not to men but to God.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Some worries about Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament: Part 2

Part 1 is here.

When we encourage young Catholics to touch the monstrance, when exposition becomes routine and people just wander in and out of church without thinking about Who is on the Altar, when we have preaching in front of the Blessed Sacrament as if it were a simple devotional image, we are failing to give God the honour due to Him. 

I know this will fail to motivate a lot of people reading this. They will say that Christ on earth did not demand special treatment, He did not demand 'worshp', He ate and drank with sinners and embraced children. They will be little impressed when I point out that Christ is continually worshipped in the Gospels: the Wise Men worship Him, St Peter falls on his face, there is frequent bowing (proskynesis), there is the use of the divine title 'Lord', there is His sitting on a cushion on the waters as on a throne during the storm on Lake Gallilee, there is the revelation of His glory in the Transfiguration: and the rest of the time His glory, his divinity, was deliberately hidden. They have their way of reading the Gospels and they will take no notice.

Listen, then, to the subjective aspect. Never mind what we are doing or failing to do to God, what are we doing to the young Catholics? We are taking away the seriousness of their encounter with God in the Blessed Sacrament. We are undermining their very sense that God is there, because if the experience is not serious, then, subjectively, it will not seem to be an experience of God. This won't happen straight away: the first time, it may seem an incalculable privilege to touch the monstrance, something forbidden to all but those in major orders within living memory. It may feel intimate and exciting to share a space with the Blessed Sacrament exposed while listening to a preacher. But with familiarity comes familiarity. What is no longer separated, what is no longer surrounded by special rules, ceremony, double-genuflections and incense, will no longer be perceived as holy.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Some worries about Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament: Part 1

 I saw this image in Twitter (h-t @SteveSkojec ). I am also inspired to write by this article by Fr Alexander Sherbrooke on the forthcoming introduction of perpetual adoration in his church of St Patrick's, Soho Square: more of that in Part 2.

There are a number of possible reactions to this photo. As Steve Skojek himself said, one must admire the devotion, while worrying about what is happening here.
This is not an isolated case from a far-away country. Below are photos from Youth 2000, one from a celebration in Cardiff, the other from Scotland. Notice the gesticulating young layman in the first, with the Blessed Sacrament, exposed, between him and the standing people. In the second it is possible to see the strange pyramid of candles supporting the monstrance, while a friar preaches, and the people (as far as I can tell), sit.

There is a lot going on here which needs to be unpacked. One thing is that this kind of event is a reaction against something clearly bad: the banishing of the Blessed Sacrament to an undistinguished corner of the church, if He is there at all; the loss of moments of contemplation in Mass; and the disappearance of Benediction and Blessed Sacrament Processions. These young Catholics want to be able to pray before Him.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Another Pro-Life Mass in Oxford

Further to my proposal, following the abortion referendum in Ireland, for Masses of Reparation for abortion, we had one such Mass in Oxford recently; another is shortly to take place in London.

Wednesday 4th July, 7:30pm
7pm Wednesday 4th July, Sung Mass.
Our Lady of the Assumption, 10 Warwick Street, London W1B 5LZ

These are both Votive Masses pro remissione peccatorum: for the remission (forgiveness) of sin.

I had proposed the celebration not only that Votive Mass but also of Masses in honour of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This title of the Blessed Virgin Mary refers to her appearance in 1531 in New Spain (now Mexico). Among other things she arranged a miraculous image of herself to be indelibly imprinted on the cactus-fibre cloak of the seer, a humble peasant; this image can still be seen. Its survival for nearly 500 years itself defies natural explanation; so does the means used to create the image. Our Lady of Guadalupe was declared Patroness of the Americas by Pope Pius XII in 1946. She has been adopted as a patron of the Pro-Life movement because the image represents her during pregnancy: a state indicated (in accordance with the conventions of the time) by her black girdle.

Her feast-day, where it is celebrated, is on 12th December (the date in 1531 when the miraculous image was created). My intention is that we have a Votive Mass of Our Lady of Guadalupe as close as possible to this date, and if possible before the end of the University term.

I can now announce that a Sung Votive Mass of Our Lady of Guadalupe will be celebrated in Oxford for the intentions of the Pro-Life movement:

6pm Wednesday 28th November
SS Gregory and Augustine, 322 Woodstock Road, OX2 7NS

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Cardinal Müller on the liberal agenda

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These astonishing but perceptive words of Gerhard, Cardinal Müller, former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, from an interview with Catholic World Report, deserve as wide an audience as possible.

They consider the secularization and de-Christianization of Europe as an irreversible development. For this reason the New Evangelization—the program of John Paul II and Benedict XVI—is in their view a battle against the objective course of history, resembling Don Quixote’s battle against the windmills. They are seeking for the Church a niche where it can survive in peace. Therefore all the doctrines of the faith that are opposed to the “mainstream,” the societal consensus, must be reformed.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

My presentation to the Rome Study Day

I gave the short opening address at the Study Day on Modernism in Rome, organised by the Lepanto Foundation, which took place on Saturday. Here it is.

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Reverend Fathers, ladies and gentlemen.
The Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus, in his history of the lamentable 4th century AD, observed that, as it became overwhelmed by barbarian invaders, the Empire behaved like an inexperienced boxer, moving to protect that part which had just been struck, instead of countering the blow to come. Those charged with the defence of the Catholic Faith, whether as Pastors, theologians, or simple members of the laity with the graces and the obligations which the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation imply, have in recent years had a very similar experience. One day we find the indissolubility of sacramental marriage is under attack, an attack apparently supported by prominent Cardinals. A serious defence of this doctrine requires serious work. One looks up from one’s books six months or even six weeks later and the talk is no longer of the indissolubility of marriage: that topic has almost been forgotten. No, the internet is now alive with the question of whether homosexual unions can be a means of grace. However outrageous the proposal may seem, we may be sure that its proponents will be taking it for granted as a stepping-stone to something yet more shocking a year from now. What will that be? The mind boggles. How could one possibly prepare for the blow next to come?

It is tempting, in this situation, to respond to each issue in a superficial, polemical, way. And indeed many of the challenges thrown at the Faith in this age of social media deserve no more. However, the danger is that in the end the arguments in favour of our august Faith, revealed by God and entrusted to the safekeeping of the Apostles and their successors, begin to look as flippant and shallow as the arguments they oppose. It may appear to onlookers that they are observing merely two groups of people scoring debating-points off each other, a spectacle which is neither enlightening nor edifying.
There is, however, an alternative. There is a way of counting the blow just struck and the blow to come, because they both, in fact, derive ultimately from the same root. This entire debate, this entire dogmatic crisis, is driven by a set of closely related fundamental issues. Roughly speaking, these are the issues of the objectivity of the sacraments, the nature of sanctifying grace, the place of tradition and authority in theology, and the nature of truth itself, in faith and in morals. These issues have come to prominence in the historical context of the Modernist movement, of the Nouvelle Theologie, of Neo-Modernism, and of the liturgical reform.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Blog post reproduced on Conservative Woman

A post from this blog about Feminism, weeds and jerks has been re-published on Conservative Woman: go over there to read it.

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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Masses of Reparation

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I've been getting behind with my photos, but I want to remind readers not only that the Mass of Reparation for the Abortion Referendum in Ireland took place in Oxford as planned, on Friday 15th, but that another will take place in London:

Wednesday 4th July, 7:30pm
7pm Wednesday 4th July, Sung Mass.
Our Lady of the Assumption, 10 Warwick Street, London W1B 5LZ


Friday, June 22, 2018

Conference on Modernism, Rome, Saturday: follow online, live

This promises to be an interesting conference, with a host of interesting speakers. I have a cameo appearance, giving the short opening address. You can watch the whole thing live on YouTube.

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You can't be in Rome on June 23rd?

Subscribe for € 10 and follow the live streaming of the study day on the theme:


Old and new modernism. The roots of the Church's crisis
To view the program click here.


The conference will be broadcast on the YouTube channel of the Italian press agency Corrispondenza romana. The speeches will be in the original language.

All subscribers will receive a private link that will be active from 9am on June 23rd. To register for the live conference click here.



Website: www.fondazionelepanto.org - E-mail: info@fondazionelepanto.org

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Corrupt bishops: why it is a problem: Part 1


The shocking news about Cardinal McCarrick prompts me to repost this, from September 2014. The subsequent posts on the series can be seen here and here.

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It is hard to think of a precedent in England and Wales for what has happened to Bishop Kieran Conry, though there are plenty from other countries. The downfall of Cardinal O'Brien over the border in Scotland is an obvious one, a closer parallel, however, is afforded by the career of late Bishop of Argyll and the Isles (in north west Scotland), 'Roddy' Wright. I discussed this on this blog because Mgr Basil Loftus had declared that Bishop Wright had merely wanted to get married to the woman he loved. How sweet. Loftus neglected to mention that the wretched Wright had been having affairs with two women, one of them married, simultaneously, and eloped (this was back in 1996) with the one by whom he had not had a child; other affairs had apparently preceded this.

I have no wish to engage in prurient judgmentalism about Bishop Conry, but precisely because this is a new thing for us in England and Wales it is important to consider what we should learn from it.

What Basil Loftus would like us to conclude - and Catherine Pepinster, editor of the Tablet, was quick to make this point on Twitter - is that it is further evidence that mandatory clerical celibacy should be ended. This reaction has become such an ingrained reflex among liberals that they haven't stopped to think about the circumstances of this case. What sort of 'marriage' would have suited Bishop Conry or Bishop Wright? Some sort of free-wheeling polyamorous ménage, one assumes, open to women who are inconveniently married to other men, men who aren't necessarily very happy about sharing the marital bed with their bishop.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Michael Davis attacks home-schoolers

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The quiz at the end of the St Catherine's Trust annual Summer School, attended
by about 50-50 home-educated and school-educated children. Details of this year's here.
Cross-posted from Rorate Caeli.

(Supporters of Home Education may like to support this petition on the latest UK government attack on it.)

A while ago the Catholic Herald journalist Michael Davis thought he'd do a good turn to the Traditional Catholic movement (with which he apparently identifies) by describing us as hateful bigots and antisemites. Now he's decided to do a similar favour to homeschoolers.

It works like this. First, Davis starts the article with a reference to the staggering success of homeschoolers: it seems that they are providing 10% of vocations to the priesthood in the USA, a proportion vastly in excess of their numbers.

Second, Davis lists all the tired old criticisms of homseschooling. Homeschooling is against the teaching of the Church; the children aren't 'socialised'; the parents are 'helicopter parents' who 'seal off their children in a bubble'; even the apparent good of the vocations is undermined by the snarky suggestion that the vocations aren't genuine and the priests won't be good pastors.

Step three is to hold up his hands and say: Oh well, maybe these problems can be avoided by some homseschoolers. Citing one particular group, he says vocations coming from it 'won’t be stereotypically paranoid, socially awkward homeschooled kids': unlike all the other homeschooled children, right?

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Counting our blessings: 10 years of Summorum Pontificum in England and Wales

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Bishop Schneider in London
Last summer, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Summorum Pontificum, I was asked for illustratative statistics by Paix Liturgique. This is what I came up with, from the Latin Mass Society's records:

Locations with 'every Sunday' Masses (excluding Saturday evening Masses)
2007: 20
2012: 34
2017: 40

Christmas Masses (including Midnight, Dawn, and Day Masses)
2006: 10
2012: 44
2016: 71


I thought of these numbers when my attention was drawn to a post on a somewhat obscure blog which claims, without giving a great deal of even anecdotal evidence, that the Traditional Mass is 'stagnating' in England and Wales.

It strikes the author of that post as very significant that the numbers attending, for example, the 11 o'clock Novus Ordo 'bells and smells' Mass at the Oxford Oratory, have declined, in recent years, only a bit, whereas the numbers at the 8am Low EF in the same church have merely tripled, as have numbers at the equivalent, 9am Low EF in the London Oratory. I can't squeeze a great deal of pessimism for the Traditional Mass's cause out of that, but maybe that's just me.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Young Catholic Adults: Douai Retreat 7-9th Sept

As always I'm delighted to advertise this long-running annual event.

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During the weekend of the 7-9 September 2018, Young Catholic Adults will be running a retreat at Douai Abbey, it will feature Fr. Lawrence Lew O.P., and Canon Poucin - the age range is 18-40.

The weekend will be full-board. YCA will be running the weekend with the Schola Gregoriana 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.17th Aug 2018.

More information: http://youngcatholicadults-latestnews.blogspot.co.uk/

To book:-https://bookwhen.com/youngcatholicadults-douai2018

To donate towards the costs of running the weekend please click here.
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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Can the Church forget doctrine?

Drinking the mythical waters of forgetfulness in the underworld: Lethe.
Reposted from October 2015
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At certain periods of history, one doctrine has been pushed to the fore either because it was needed to combat an issue of the day, because of its connection with a popular devotion, or because it was denied by heretics. Others have been pushed into the background. Being human, we can't focus on everything at once.

But there is something else, which is a doctrine disappearing from view because, although attacked by heretics, too many otherwise orthodox people are reluctant to defend and expound it. When these doctrines, and opinions which don't perhaps pertain to the Deposit of Faith but which are very authoritative, are mentioned, it can be a bit of a shock.

In researching the Position Paper on the Vulgate, I found a reference in a somewhat obscure official document published in 1994 to the ancient Greek translation of the Bible, the Septuagint, being made 'under divine inspiration'. I nearly fell off my chair. This is not, strictly, a teaching of the Church, but it is a pious opinion with considerable authority, taught particularly by the Greek Fathers of the Church. If it is taken seriously, then the policy of the Church since the 1940s to replace the ancient Latin translation of the Psalms, based on the Greek version, with new Latin and vernacular translations taken from the Hebrew, is fundamentally misguided.

Come back, 'valley of tears', valle lacrimarum: all is forgiven! You won't find that phrase in the reformed Office, the Novus Ordo Missal, or even the Knox translation of the Bible, when you look at Psalm 83.7 [84.6]. It is there in the Vulgate, and in the Greek, and in the ancient Gregorian chants: and, the Church is telling us, God wanted it there.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Loftus, farewell

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Fr Nicholas Schofield celebrating the EF in his church of Our Lady of Lourdes, Uxbridge,
for the Chesterton Pilgrimage (an event promoting the Cause of GKC).
I knew it had to happen one day: I would open my copy of the Catholic Times (I subscribe to all the Catholic weeklies), glance at Fr Francis Marsden's headline, turn the page to Fr Nicholas Schofield's chosen topic for the week and there, taking up most of the page under Francis Davis' regular slot, would be ... something other than Mgr Basil Loftus.

The day was today. Instead of Mgr Loftus' byline, there was a photograph of a young priest in a tree. A little odd, you might think, but the story was about sport.

I understand this is a permanent break, not a momentary pause, so it is something of significance.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Masses of Reparation in Oxford and London

I'm happy to announce not only a Mass pro remissione peccatorum (for the remission of sins) in Oxford, but also one in London.

Oxford: SS Gregory & Augustine's, 
6pm Friday 15th June, Sung Mass.
SS Gregory & Augustine's, 322 Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 7NS

London: Our Lady of the Assumption, Warwick Steet. 
7pm Wednesday 4th July, Sung Mass.
Our Lady of the Assumption, 10 Warwick Street, London W1B 5LZ

These Masses are offered in reparation for abortion, in light of the Irish Referendum result.

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Monday, June 04, 2018

Anyone know the late John Arnell?

From the Southwark News:

A mystery surrounds the identity of a Nunhead [South London] man who left his entire legacy to a small Catholic charity.
The Latin Mass Society is desperately searching for anyone who knew John Edward Arnell, who is believed to have lived in St Asaph’s Court, St Asaph’s Road before he died in May 2017.
The News understands Mr Arnell was once a member of the Latin Mass Society, but the charity was taken aback by the size of the generous donation – the largest sum it has ever received – because he had not been involved with the organisation for several years.

See the full story.

'Desperately' is not quite the word I'd have chosen, but we really would like to give any friends and acquaintances the chance to attend a Requiem for him in the most appropriate location possible, and it would be really nice to know something about him. We've tried some obvious avenues without success and now we've got the story into a local paper.

The bequest he has left us is not life-transforming for the LMS, but it is really, really nice and as the story says it is the largest single bequest we have ever received. This is particularly touching since Mr Arnell was not a man of great wealth: much of the money is simply the modest flat he owned and died in. Since there are no close relations, or friends acting as executors, it behoves us to ensure he is given a proper public send-off. (We have, of course, already organised Masses to be said for his soul.) It is upsetting that we weren't notified before the solicitors dealing with the case had his body cremated... but we'll do what we can.

Anyone with informtion should email info@lms.org.uk

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Friday 15th June: Mass of Reparation for abortion, Oxford

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Mass for the Epiphany in SS Gregory & Augustine's, Oxford
There will be a Sung Mass in view of the Irish Referendum result:

Friday 15th June, 6pm

SS Gregory & Augustine's,
322 Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 7NS
(click for a map)

The Mass Sung in the Extraordinary Form, with Gregorian Chant provided by the Schola Abelis of Oxford.

It will be the Votive Mass pro remissione peccatorum: for the remission of sins. The Mass texts acknowledge our sinfulness and our need for forgiveness, our dependence on God's mercy and our confidence in His goodness.

It will be celebrated by Fr John Saward, Priest-in-Charge of St Gregory's.

The church has a car park.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

A pro-life appeal: Making the best use of our misfortunes

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The best use we can make of a hideous, painful, and morally outrageous event like the Irish referendum result is repentance. Private repentance is always positive, but I would myself like to do something with a public manifestation, and to do this in collaboration with others, if anyone is interested.

It is a truism to say that penance is undervalued in the Church today. There is something amiss when one sees in the texts of the liturgy references to 'our fasts' and 'our mortifications' on days when no fasting or mortification is any longer required by the Church: this was the case on Saturday, the Ember Saturday of Pentecost. It is not just a matter of the dramatic cutting back on fast days since Vatican II, and not even the excision of references to sin and penance in the Novus Ordo, however: the problem goes further back, and penetrates the Church more deeply.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Ireland turns to Moloch

John Stuart Mill wrote that the freedom of a liberal state should be considered as the freedom to do anything which does not harm others.  The doctrine sounds reasonable until you realise that the people who profess to live by it manipulate the term 'harm' in such a way that whatever they don't like counts as harmful, and whatever they do like does not count as harmful. The doctrine of the modern world, which Mill was attempting to put into respectable dress, is that in order to be free, in order to enjoy life properly, one must be able to inflict indescribable suffering and even death on others. To be free one must be able to abandon one's spouse and walk out on one's children; one does not need the right to quote the Bible in a street conversation, or wear a religious habit on the beach. Calling a person by a grammatically correct pronoun is a harm; killing an unborn baby is not a harm.

This may seem confusing but it makes sense really: there is a pattern. The things you are able to do, and indeed must be able to do, are the things necessary for a group of highly specific lifestyles. The things you are not allowed to do are the things which impede or complicate those same lifestyles. It is not that the favoured lifestyles are happy ones: studies of objective life-outcomes like mental health and suicide rates may even rate them poorly compared with alternatives not so beloved of our political elite. This does not prevent this conception of freedom from condemning actions which might facilitate a person's move from the former to the latter. For what is true at the individual level, that freedom consists in being able to harm others, is true at the social leval as well. A free society, on this view, is a society which harms whole groups of people: a society which insists that they remain in a state of misery. The worst thing anyone can do is to help those in a homosexual lifestyle, women in crisis pregnancies, or children who are being abused by rape gangs: any of these who actually want to be helped. No: society has decreed that they are free, that freedom demands that they follow a narrowly defined path which predictably leads to objectively catastrophic outcomes, and that they must continue to suffer until they die.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Bishop Schneider's Mass in London: photos

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St Mary Moorfields was packed to the doors last evening for Bishop Schneider's Mass. There was hardly room to stand at the back and the coridoor leading to the church from the street was occupied as well.

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The sanctuary was also full to capacity. The Assistant Priest was the LMS' National Chaplain, Mgr Gordon Read, assisted by Fr Mark Elliot-Smith as Deacon, Fr David Evans as Subdeacon, and Canon Vianney Poucin de Wouilt ICKSP as Clerical MC.

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Beautiful music by a number of English Catholic composers - Taverner, Tallis, and others - was sung by Cantus Magnus, directed by Matthew Schellhorn.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Ember Saturday Mass in Oxford

High Mass for the last day of Pentecost Week, 11:30am
Saturday 26th May, to be celebrated by Fr Daniel Loyd, Parish Priest, at Holy Rood, 38 Abingdon Road, Oxford OX1 4PD. (The church has a car park.)


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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Bishop Schneider to offer Mass in London 24th May

Bishop Athanasius Schneider will celebrate Mass for the Latin Mass Society in St Mary Moorfields in London (click for a map) on 24th May at 6pm.

We will have some Tallis and other poluyphony from Cantus Magnus under Matthew Schellhorn.

After Mass Bishop Schneider will give a talk in the church's basement.

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Monday, May 21, 2018

Dominican Vigil of Pentecost: photos

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Last Saturday the Dominicans of Oxford celebrated the Vigil of Pentecost according to their ancient books, which means that the Mass proper is preceeded by four Old Testament readings. It was accompanied by the Schola Abelis of Oxford. The celebrant was Fr Richard Conrad.

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Pentecost is one of the great festivals of the Church's year. Perhaps because it falls on a Sunday, I think we tend to take it for granted. But it's ancient Vigil, which reprises the Vigil of Easter, and Whit Week which follows it, once made it stand out. As well as the subsequent sequence of Sundays being called the 'Season after Pentecost'.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos: RIP

Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos died yesterday. He deserves our prayers.

He was President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei over the period of the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum, obviously a very important time for those attached to the Traditional Mass.

In the photograph below, he is blessing delegates at the Foederatio Universalis Una Voce during the General Assembly of 2013; below that he is celebrating Mass for them in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of St Peter's in Rome in 2011. That was the first time a Cardinal has celebrated the ancient Mass in St Peters since the liturgical reform.

There is an obituary of him on Rorate Caeli.

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

This Saturday, pray to save the 8th and avoid the Royal Wedding media build-up

The only things on the TV and radio on Saturday morning will be journalists interviewing each other about how they feel about the afternoon's Royal Wedding, and pictures of bored crowds.

Instead of that, why not pray that Ireland does not abolish their constitutional protection of the unborn? This will be the intention of the High Mass for the Vigil of Pentecost, celebrated according to the ancient Dominican Rite, which includes the 'prophecies' mirroring the Vigil of Easter. 

Never has the Holy Spirit been more needed in the Church and in our society. Join us at the Oxford Blackfriars, 10:30am on Saturday 19th.


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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Summer 2018 Mass of Ages available

In this issue: • Paul Waddington reports from a very successful Priest, Deacon and Server Training Conference • Cardiff University Chaplain, Fr Sebastian Jones, writes about the pre-Reformation chapel of St Teilo in Fagan’s National Museum of History • Lucy Shaw reports on the second Guild of St Clare Sewing Retreat • Tyburn Convent Relic Chapel – Joseph Shaw writes about the Sung Mass celebrated there as part of the CMA’s recent conference • Looking ahead to the LMS Latin Course in Boars Hill, Oxford

See more.

Read it online.

Order a copy direct from the LMS.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Celebrating the coming of the Holy Spirit in Oxford

A series of four High and Sung Masses in Oxford will celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Apostoles at Pentecost.

Saturday 19th May: Vigil of Pentecost: 10:30am High Mass in Blackfriars
This was formerly regarded as such an important occasion the liturgy reprised the Vigil of Easter. The Dominican Rite High Mass will do exactly that, with four 'prophecies' (readi
ngs from the Old Testament) before the Epistle and Gospel of Mass. Accompanied by the Schola Abelis.
Blackfriars, St Giles, Oxford OX1 3LY

Sunday 20th May: Whitsun (Pentecost Sunday): 12 noon Sung Mass, SS Gregory & Augustine's.
Also: 8am Low Mass, Oxford Oratory
SS Gregory & Augustine's, 322 Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 7NS
The week after Whitsun is 'Whit Week', like the week after Easter each day has a high rank and ordinary saints' days cannot be celebrated. It is also an 'Ember' Week, with an extra reading on Wedneday and a set of prophecies on the Saturday.

Low Masses are celebrated:

Wedneday 6pm, SS Gregory & Augustine
Friday 12:15pm, Holy Rood, Abingdon Road
Friday 6pm, SS Gregory & Augustine

Saturday 26th May: Whit Saturday, the Ember Saturday of Pentecost: 11:30am, High Mass in Holy Rood, Abingdon Road. Accompanied by the Schola Abelis.
Holy Rood, 38 Abingdon Road, Oxford OX1 4PD

Sunday 27th May: Trinity Sunday: High Mass in Holy Trinity, Hethe, for the Patronal feast of this historic church north east of Oxford. With polyphony from Cantus Magnus under Matthew Schellhorn.
Hardwick Road, Hethe, OX27 8AW Click here for a map


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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Pearls, swine, and the Via Pulchritudinis at the Met Gala

Belshazzar punished for his profane use of the Temple's sacred vessels.
Reflecting on the business of the A-lister fund-raising banquet at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, a number of apparently contradictory thoughts spring to mind. In no special order, here are some quotations which may, to a greater or lesser extent, be relevant.

Pope John Paul II Ecclesia in Europa (2003) 60. ‘Nor should we overlook the positive contribution made by the wise use of the cultural treasures of the Church. These can be a special element in the rekindling of a humanism of Christian inspiration. When properly preserved and intelligently used, these living testimonies of the faith as professed down the ages can prove a useful resource for the new evangelization and for catechesis, and lead to a rediscovery of the sense of mystery. … artistic beauty, as a sort of echo of the Spirit of God, is a symbol pointing to the mystery, an invitation to seek out the face of God made visible in Jesus of Nazareth.’ (link to where I quoted this before)

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Excommunication of SSPX faithful: LMS Press Release

In light of recent events in the Diocese of Buffalo, New York, I'm reposting this from November 2014

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4 NOVEMBER 2014

PRESS RELEASE ON THE STATUS OF THE FAITHFUL WHO RECEIVE THE SACRAMENTS FROM PRIESTS AND BISHOPS OF THE SOCIETY OF ST PIUS X.

Bishop Semararo

FROM THE LATIN MASS SOCIETY

COMMENT: letters from the Bishop Semeraro of Albano, Italy, and then from Bishop Sarlinga of Zárate-Campana in Argentina, have declared that the lay faithful who receive the sacraments from priests and bishops of the Society of St Pius X (SSPX) are automatically excommunicated, and would need to go through a process authorised by the bishop to be readmitted to communion with the Church (i.e., not simply confession). The Latin Mass Society holds no brief to defend the position of the SSPX, which is canonically irregular, but feels it necessary to point out that these letters are not just ill-considered but have potentially very serious pastoral consequences. They imply that anyone who has ever been to Mass said by a priest of the SSPX is not welcome in the churches of these dioceses. This conflicts not only with the ‘opening of hearts’ requested by Pope Benedict XVI as a prelude to a healing of these divisions ‘in the heart of the Church’, but equally with the emphasis on mercy of Pope Francis.

CANON LAW BRIEFING: In light of canonical advice from our National Chaplain and Canonical Adviser, Mgr Gordon Read, the Latin Mass Society would like to clarify some canonical principles in relation to the recent statements of Bishop Semeraro of Albano, Italy, and Bishop Sarlinga of Zárate-Campana in Argentina, lest misunderstandings spread to dioceses around the world.

Friday, May 04, 2018

Alfie and parental rights

One positive aspect of the debate about the Alfie Evans case - and heaven knows there are plenty of negative aspects - is the way that the rights of the parents came into focus. Over the last several decade the rights of parents have been eroded in every area of family life and every area of law: in education, in child safeguarding, and in healthcare. There has been some push-back on the role of the secret Family Courts and the Social Services recently, and this may have helped to draw attention to the rights of parents in the Alfie case as well.

Children who are too young or too ill to consent or withhold consent for medical treatment must not be deprived of medical treatment just for that reason. It has always been the case, and it remains the case, that parents are able to consent, or withhold consent, on their behalf. The same is true of children's property: parents act a trustees and can consent or not on behalf of their children in relation to property owned by their children. It is an obvious legal doctrine and a very necessary one. If you take your child to hospital for treatment, you will be asked to sign special forms giving consent to the treatment. Sometimes you have to sign over and over again as treatment goes on.

An attitude has developed, however, among some in the medical, legal, and political establishments, which regards this as a tedious and unnecessary rigmarole. Once a child is under the care of a qualified doctor, it would be wrong for the parents to refuse to consent to whatever treatment or lack of treatment the doctor thinks is appropriate. There is something slightly creepy about a doctor or social worker asking a parent to sign a form handing over the legal right to do something and simultaneously whispering that, if the parent doesn't sign, there'll be trouble. A lot of parents are getting this creepy impression.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Alfie and end of life care

I have been reading the key legal judgement of the Alfie Evans case: a long document, but an interesting one. It emerges, for example, that Mr Justice Hayden, whose judgement it is, is not able consistently to use an apostrophe correctly. But another piece of poor style struck me more. Reporting the views of one of the doctors, Hayden remarks that, in this doctor's view, 'Alfie’s prognosis is futile.' (para 25).

Literally, this means that the prognosis this doctor had made was a waste of time: it wasn't going to achieve anything. On the contrary, of course, the prognosis was not futile: Hayden found it very useful. What he actually meant, presumably, was that the prognosis for Alfie was poor, and yet I think Hayden wanted to convey more than that by his strange use of the term 'futile'. He wanted to convey the idea that it was Alfie's continuing life which was, in some sense, futile.

It is common enough to say that medical treatment is futile, and this phrase is also found in the judgement. But we should be alert to what is going on in even this phrase. Futility is a property of means in relation to a given end. It is futile to try to build a house out of rice-paper. It is futile to defend oneself against an assailant with a rubber sword. Those means chosen to those ends are not going to do the job successfully. Continued artificial ventilation, food and water was not going to restore Alfie to health. Nor, on the balance of probability, were the treatments offered by the Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome. This does not make them absolutely futile, however, since there may be another possible goal to which they could be effective means. This is the prolongation of Alfie's life. This runs into the objection, however, that on Hayden's view such a life as Alfie had was itself futile.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Alfie and the Natural Law

Details are not plentiful about Alfie Evans' medical condition and treatment. Outsiders do not ordinarily have the right to know such things. I will limit myself to generalisations.

A particularly frustrating aspect of the debate online was the mantra sent up by those not on Alfie's team that 'the Church's teaching does not forbid the removal of artificial feeding and hydration' and the like. This is misleading, to say the least. It is also true that the teaching of the Church does not forbid moving a knife through the throat of an innocent person in a dark alley. The reason in both cases is the same. These are not adequate descriptions of actions for moral appraisal.

There is a very big difference between saying 'you've not given me enough information to be able to say whether this action is right or wrong' and saying 'this action is not wrong'. Liberal apologists want their readers to assume the second, but if challenged they will bleat that they only meant the former. This is intellectually dishonest.

In the dark alley, the questions we must ask are obvious enough. Did the agent know the person's whose throat he was cutting was innocent, or did he imagine the victim was an attacker? Did he know anyone was there at all? Was the agent in his right mind? And so on. Since there are an infinite number of possible complicating factors we can cut to the chase and ask one, ultimate question: what was the agent's purpose, or intention? What was he trying to do?

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Alfie vs. the System

The controversy about the illness and death of Alfie Evans in Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool makes me want to say a few things to clarify certain issues. I don't have inside information about medical or other details so I won't be going into those.

In this post I want to say something about about the various agencies of the state which were involved: the National Health Service, the Courts, the Police. In similar cases the Social Services can be part of the circus. A lot of people on social media, often from outside the UK, have had some very harsh things to say about these agencies. Those of us who live here and have to deal with them, and see others deal with them, are able to have a more nuanced attitude.

There is, all things considered, a lot to be grateful for in these institutions. I've personally had very good experiences with them, both directly and indirectly. The people working in them are often overworked and under paid. They have a high degree of professionalism. They are not financially or politically corrupt or corruptible in the ways that make dealing with similar organisations in other countries a constant problem. We should be proud to live in a country where they are, basically, on your side, if you have a problem. But they have their limitations.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Crisis of celibacy

In light of the latest news about clerical celibacy, I thought I'd repost this from March 2013, with a new photo. I hope to write something about the Alfie Evans affair soon.
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LMS Priest Training Conference April 2018
Dr Edward Peters, the well-known canonist, explains what he means by a 'crisis of celibacy' in a post which is well worth reading in full.

[T]he last four decades have seen, I suggest, a steady retreat from defending that value in canon law and pastoral practice—married clergy now outnumber celibate clergy in many arch/dioceses, thousands of married ministers have recently come into full communion with Rome and been ordained priests, the observance of clerical continence has been abandoned in the West, and the quasi-decriminalization of attempted clerical marriage itself (as opposed to remaining in pseudo-marriage) has been accomplished. Any one of these developments would have been portentous; but that they have occurred simultaneously is, I suggest, undeniable evidence that clerical celibacy is in crisis.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Sewing Retreat 2019: booking open

The Guild of St Clare had a hugely over-subscribed 'Sewing Retreat' near Oxford for the second year running, so for the future two are planned: one at roughly the same time of year in 2019 and the same vanue, near Oxford, and one for this autumn in a new venue, Douai Abbey, which is between Reading and Newbury. Booking for both is open on the Latin Mass Society website.

Last Saturday the Guild had its first Vestment Mending Day in the LMS Office, where most of the LMS vestment collection is held. There will be another on May 12th; email the Guild if you'd be interested in taking part (places are limited).

From the Guild:

Bookings are now open for both forthcoming Sewing Retreats. Registration for the one at Douai Abbey, taking place from 23rd-25th November 2018, can be completed here. For the retreat at Boars Hill, 1st-3rd February 2019, book here.

Vestment mending day at the LMS Office, Sat 21st April
Places are limited on both these retreats: please don't delay if you are keen to come.

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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Feast of the English Martyrs, Didcot

Fr Philip Pennington Harris, Parish Priest of the Church of the English Martyrs in Didcot, is celebrating his parish's Patronal Feast on Friday 4th May with a Traditional Missa Cantata. It will be accompanied by the Schola Abelis of Oxford. Join us!

The church is at 15 Manor Crescent, Didcot OX11 7AJ (click for a map).

Mass is at 7:30pm.

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Pilgrimage in honour of the English Martyrs in Preston, Sat 5th May

The Latin Mass Society with the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest is organising a pilgrimage to the magnificent historic church of the English Martyrs in Preston, Lancashire, on Saturday 5th May. (The national feast of the Martyrs of England and Wales falls on 4th May.)



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