Saturday, December 22, 2018

A new edition of Adeste Fideles from Matthew Schellhorn

Matthew Schellhorn writes:

For several years, I have had the honour of directing the music on Christmas Eve in St Mary Moorfields in the City of London, at the First Mass of Christmas organised by the Latin Mass Society. 

It is the custom to follow the Last Gospel with a congregational rendition of the hymn “Adeste, fideles” (most frequently sung elsewhere in its English form, “O Come, all ye Faithful”).). 

One might adapt the well known version in Carols for Choirs, but in fact the genesis of the hymn is so complex, and the melodic and harmonic incarnations so multiplicitous that all the musical options deserve to be under the tree and on offer. 

As a result, I have compared and drawn together the many different versions, freely adapting from the chant versions in the Liber usualis (1932 and 1961) and Mass and Vespers (1957), and also from the organ harmonisations of chant in Nova organi harmonia, the De La Salle Hymnal for Catholic Schools and Choirs (1913), the Thomas Helmore’s harmonisation of the Hymnal Noted (1852), editions by Martin Shaw (1875–1958) and the choral motet by François-Clément Théodore Dubois (1837–1924). 

I trust that Sir David Willcocks (1919–2015), under whose baton I had the honour of working in Worcester, would be content. 

The new, hybrid version plays on expectations and – in the best tradition of last-verse descants – confounds musical etiquette in a whimsical way. 

The result is similar to the sensation of meeting up with relations at Christmas festivities – some one knows well, and some one has not seen for a long time. 

Please note: I must be getting old, because I have lost the will to fight against the infamous passing note before the refrain, which in any case I find in several honourable sources. 

My arrangement is dedicated to my God-daughter, Miss Barbara Shaw, daughter of the Latin Mass Society’s Chairman, Joseph Shaw, on the occasion of her First Holy Communion in Oxford. Although owing to my professional commitments I am unable to be present on this auspicious occasion, I hope this offering will display my being united to her in prayer.

You can see the music here.


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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

New Chant Schola launching in London for the Traditional Mass


A new all-male schola is being launched by the Latin Mass Society in January. It will rehearse one Friday evening a month, and sing at the following Monday evening Maiden Lane Mass.

It is named after St John Houghton, proto-martyr of the English Reformation, Prior of the London Charterhouse.

Announcement: The Latin Mass Society wishes to establish an all-male chant schola able to accompany sung Traditional liturgies (Mass and the Office) in the London area to the highest possible standard, and with due regard for the spirituality of the Chant. Members will be amateurs, led by a professional.

As well as grouping together competent singers, the schola’s regular rehearsals will make it possible for those with no previous experience of singing Gregorian Chant to learn how to do so. The rehearsals will conclude with a singing of Compline.

The Schola will rehearse one Friday a month to sing at Mass on the following Monday: the regular, public 6:30pm Sung Mass at Corpus Christi Maiden Lane.

Full details on Facebook here
and on the LMS website here.
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Monday, December 17, 2018

Be careful what charities you support this Christmas

My latest on LifeSiteNews begins:

There’s a little ritual in my street in the run-up to Christmas. A man dressed up as Father Christmas (as we call him in England) in a mock-up sleigh complete with model reindeer, the whole thing on a kind of trailer pulled by a car, arrives. Fr. Christmas’s assistants ring my doorbell and ask for a donation. And I tell them that I don’t donate to their charity, the Rotary Club.
It’s a bit sad, as I’m sure they are all good people, but Rotary International has long been involved in population control campaigns. Why would I donate to them and not to someone else?
Oxford, near where I live, has a well-known charitable hospice for the dying, Douglas House, for many years a beacon of good practice in an ethically difficult area of medicine. I was brought up short, back in 2007, when I read that they had arranged, and paid for, a prostitute to service one of their patients. As if that was not enough, they show-cased this patient for a national TV program.

Read the whole thing here.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Fr David Goddard RIP

We were very sad to hear of the death of Fr David Goddard, long term supporter of the Traditional Mass and Priest Guardian of the Shrine of our Lady of Consolation, West Grinstead.
Fr David Goddard, centre, with Fr Matthew, left,
and Fr Andrew Southwell, right, during the
St Catherine's Trust Summer School
visit to West Grinstead in 2007.
Fr Goddard's body will be received into the Shrine Church at 4pm on Tuesday 18th December, and later there will be a Old Rite Requiem Mass at 7.30pm – celebrated by Fr David’s son, Fr Matthew Goddard FSSP.

On the following day, Wednesday 19th December, the Funeral Mass in the ordinary form will be celebrated in Arundel Cathedral at 11am by Bishop Richard Moth, with priests of the diocese. This will be followed by a Funeral Reception in the Cathedral Centre.

Requiem æternam dona ei, Domine. Et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

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Friday, December 07, 2018

LMS in London: new email list

The Latin Mass Society is planning some new initiatives in the London area, and there is already quite a lot happening in the capital, so we are launching an electronic newsletter just for London.

We already have one for the whole of England and Wales: you can sign up to that one here.

You don't have to be a member to join our email lists, and you don't have to live in London for this one: you may be an occasional visitor or simply interested to know what's going on. (Joining the London list won't automatically add you to the national list, so do consider signing up for both.)

We won't bombard you with emails: our plan is for a monthly email newsletter, though we may send the occasional urgent update when necessary.

LMS members in the London area who have agreed to be contacted by email are on the list. If you're not sure if this includes you, add your email address: duplicate entries are automatically merged.

Your information will only be accessible to our staff and Local and Assistant Representatives, in order for them to carry out their role in line with our Privacy Policy. We will never sell your personal information, or let other organisations use it for their own purposes.

After entering your email below and clicking subscribe, you will be sent a message to confirm your subscription. You may unsubscribe at any time by following the unsubscribe link in your newsletter.


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Thursday, December 06, 2018

Today's sexual culture is failing our young people

My latest on LifeSite News. It begins:

The headmaster of a smart London school once warned me about being too forthright when giving a talk there. “Young people today feel under tremendous pressure,” he said. I understood what he meant. They feel under pressure to do things they do not feel comfortable doing, such as engaging in premature sexual activity, or in particular sexual acts. They also feel pressure not to agree to do them. Were someone to put more pressure on them not to do such a thing, whether the pressure was emotional or intellectual, it would feel unbearable, because it makes it harder for them, it raises the emotional cost for them, to give in to the strongest pressure.

There is a cost to saying yes, and a cost to saying no. Raising the cost of saying yes may, possibly, succeed in tipping the balance. But in itself it does nothing to lower the cost of saying no, which must be paid in full: in bullying, marginalization, ostracism, and even physical violence.
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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Don't do your online Christmas shopping till you've read this

It came as a surprise to me, and may be to you too, that you can support your favourite charity when shopping online in a very simple way without any cost to you.

There are two ways of doing this; they are explained in the latest edition of Mass of Ages. In case you've not got your copy (no?), here a summary.

One is called 'easyfundraising'. If you visit your usual online retailers through the easyfundraising site, or using the easyfundraising app, having told easyfundraising which charity you wish to support, a great many of them will make a small donation to your charity if you buy something.

Just visit the easyfundraising site and all will be explained. The donations vary in size; some are fixed sums, some are percentages. It's not much but it adds up. If thousands of UK Catholics consistently did their shopping this way in favour of the Latin Mass Society or Aid to the Church in Need, it would raise a very real sum of money.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Explaining and defeating Political Correctness' spiral of lunacy

My latest on LifeSite News. A key passage:

One might expect a movement to correct injustices to enjoy the most support when addressing the worst injustices, and falling levels of support as the injustices in view are less and less indisputable. While a movement will gain credibility and momentum by early successes, increasingly extreme demands will, usually, harden opposition to it, and put potential supporters off. For this reason, many successful political movements never quite complete their agendas: they eventually run out of steam.
This has not happened with PC. Demands routinely made today would shock even the most avid supporter 10 years ago. Implications of PC causes which are ridiculed as scare-mongering one year are then embraced the next: an example would be the promotion of polygamy following the legal enforcement of same-sex “marriage.” (2015: Oh no, it won’t happen; 2017: Oh yes, it just has.)
As Kristian Niemietz of the UK think-tank the Institute of Economic Affairs explains, the key to understanding the movement is the elevated moral status enjoyed by those who embrace it. Being PC or progressive is not about having a reasonable disagreement with university colleagues or fellow citizens: it is about being free from the ancient prejudices to which they are subject. It is about being more enlightened, more advanced, and more virtuous.

Read it all here.

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Sunday, November 25, 2018

Clericalism and abuse

My latest on LifeSite News.

A key passage:

The erasing of the distinction between clergy and laity does not remove the danger of the abuse of power. Priests who see themselves, or are seen by the laity, primarily as managers, and perhaps as more-or-less interchangeable with their lay assistants, rather than as men consecrated to a special sacramental role, can very easily abuse the power which their managerial status gives them. 
Even more dangerous is the substitution of personal charisma for formal clerical prerogatives, as the basis of a priest’s role in the community. It is clear enough where the role of the ordained priesthood begins and ends, what he has authority over and what he does not, what obligations he has and to whom he is responsible. A charismatic leader is not bound by any of this, and the devotion of his followers very easily opens up opportunities for abuse of all kinds. 
Read it all there.

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Friday, November 23, 2018

Catholic Bishops are afraid of investigations

My latest on LifeSite News.

A taster:

In some cases, decision-makers were personally involved in wrongdoing. In other cases, it is sometimes suggested, they were being black-mailed, explicitly or implicitly. I would suggest, however, that this is another motive, which would apply even to those who had little to fear personally: simply that a real house-cleaning exercise would implicate so many people, in such seriously bad things, that the overall effect on the Church’s standing, and even its ability to function, would be catastrophic.


Read it all here.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

LMS Confirmations 2018: Photos

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Every year the Latin Mass Society organises confirmations in the Extraordinary Form in St James', Spanish Place, in London. They are usually conferred by an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Westminster. This year, for the third time, it was Bishop John Sherrington.


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Each candidate is annointed, given the sacramental formula, and then the ritual blow on the cheek. Bishop Sherington spoke movingly about the symbolism of this blow, as showing that the confirmand must be willing to die for the Faith.

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Sunday, November 18, 2018

A Catholic culture? We need a culture

Me on LifeSite News. A key passage.

Up to the first half of the 20th century, western societies taught their children stories which illustrated and reinforced a particular conception of marriage and family; the same conception was supported by the civil law, by social expectations and social sanctions; and the same model was experienced by the vast majority of people. The same is true of the conception of the role of the state, the place of religion in society, gender roles, and a thousand other things. These shared understandings, which took on distinct flavors in different countries and in different cultural and ethnic groups, were the basis of a sense of solidarity.
One does not have to imagine that the culture of any particular time and place was perfect in every way, in order to realize that a society which lacks a culture in this sense is in serious trouble. But that is our situation today. The old models of how to live have not entirely gone away, but they are no longer supported by a social consensus. Our children are continually exposed to mixed messages, and civil law and social norms not only fail to support the old model, but in many ways work to undermine it. On the other hand, that model has not been replaced by a consistently applied, widely understood, and coherent, alternative.
Read it all there.

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Should Catholics be free-speech absolutists?

Me on LifeSite News: a key section.

Since people on the “progressive” side of the debate generally need not fear exclusion from social media and public spaces, they usually do not need to make such appeals, so this appeal to free speech is becoming increasingly associated only with the defense of conservative voices. We now hear from liberals that the principle of free speech is being “weaponized,” a rhetorical preparation for saying that the principle should be rejected, as the latest Google memo comes close to doing.

This is quite a turn-around from the depiction of the Catholic Church as the opponent of liberty, and the historic attempts to undermine the Church’s institutions and influence by scurrilous pamphleteering: characteristic tactics of the Church’s opponents since the time of Luther. In response to this kind of activity, Popes down the ages remind us that freedom of expression is not an absolute right. Typical was Pope Pius IX, who had the Papal States to administer as well as the Universal Church, and who wrote in 1864 (Quanta cura) of “that erroneous opinion”

that a right resides in the citizens to an absolute liberty, which should be restrained by no authority whether ecclesiastical or civil, whereby they may be able openly and publicly to manifest and declare any of their ideas whatever, either by word of mouth, by the press, or in any other way.
Read it all there.

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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Honouring our war dead

Me on LifeSite News. A key paragraph:

There are inevitably those who are uncomfortable with the commemoration of the war dead, the commonest complaint being that it ‘glorifies war’. This seems a curious reaction to the ritualized expression of public grief, but it contains this grain of truth: the laying of wreaths and the parading of soldiers does not merely remember the dead: it honors them. If one takes the view that all war is evil, then this is no more appropriate than publicly honoring a roll-call of mass-murderers.

Read it all there.

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Friday, November 16, 2018

Catholics funerals must beseech God's mercy

Me on LifeSite News: a sample paragraph.

But the meaning of the words is only one aspect of the listener’s experience of these chants. Gregorian Chant is remarkable for expressing emotion without manipulating the hearer: it doesn’t twang on the heartstrings with euphoric or lacrimose cords, but expresses joy and sorrow in a way at once authentic, dignified, and restrained. Equally striking, with the chants for the dead, is their powerfully insistent tone, especially evident in the Dies irae. There is no need to speak at length about despair, but there is need to spend time begging God’s mercy, because God is pleased to grant it at our insistence, if we insist with a confidence that does not tip over into presumption.

Read it all there.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

LMS Bedford Pilgrimage: photos

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The church of St Joseph, Bedford, has one of the limited number of specially produced replica images of the famous tilma in Mexico, which have been touched to the original. You can see it above and below in the sanctuary of the church. The image regularly tours the country, but this is its home.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Newman Colloquium: with Fr Jeremy Davies, Exorcist

As last time, 3:45pm in the parish hall at SS Gregory & Augustine's in Oxford.

The booking page is here.



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Saturday, November 10, 2018

Witchcraft and the Occult

My latest at LifeSite News begins as follow:


Following the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court judge, an occult book shop in New York hosted his mass-“hexing”: people identifying as witches gathered to curse him. They had earlier done the same thing to President Trump. Reading such stories in reputable news sources like the BBC brings to mind G.K. Chesterton’s remark:

When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.

As LifeSiteNews has reported, however, self-described witchcraft has grown to the level which is no longer simply a joke. It is important to keep three points in mind about it. First, the claims of today’s occultists and witches to some historical continuity with European paganism are completely deluded. Secondly, it is nevertheless spiritually dangerous. Thirdly, Catholicism is the form of religion it most detests, and also the form which can most help its adherents.

Read more there.

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Friday, November 09, 2018

Masses for Remembrance Sunday in the UK

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Mass for Remembrance Sunday at Holy Trinity Hethe inn 2015
This Sunday is Remebrance Sunday in the UK, and wherever the Traditional Mass is celebrated here it will be a Mass of Requiem. Readers should seek out a Sung Mass if possible to experience this to best effect, and unite themselves to the prayers of the Church for those who have died in war.

A few to mention - there are many more:

St Bede's, Clapham Park: as always there will be a Sung Mass at 11am

Address: 8 Thornton Rd, London SW12 0LF (click for a map)
Holy Trinity Hethe will have a Sung Mass at 12 noon this Sunday. Holy Trinity is distinguished, among other ways, by having war graves in its cemetery.

Address: Hardwick Rd, Hethe, Bicester OX27 8AW (click for a map)
St Walburge's, Preston, which is served by the Institute of Christ the King, will see a High Mass at the  special war memorial altar, at 10:30am.

Address: Weston St, Preston PR2 2QE (click for a map)

St William of York, Reading, served by the Fraternity of St Peter: Sung Mass at 11am

Address: 46 Upper Redlands Rd, Reading RG1 5JP (click for a map)

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Pilgrimage to Stirling, Scotland, 30th November

Another great initiative from Scotland's traditional Catholics!

St Mary's Church, 15 Upper Bridge St, Stirling FK8 1ES (click for a map)
6:30pm Procession
7:30 High Mass



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Good Counsel Network Ball, 10th Nov

See the Facebook event page.


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Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Mass of Reparation in Bedford: this Saturday, 12 noon

A High Mass will take place in Bedford's Shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe this Saturday at 12 noon: St Joseph's Church, MK40 1HU

This is the first LMS Pilgrimage to this shrine, which houses one of the official copies of the famous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.



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Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Annual Requiem in Westminster Cathedral

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Last Saturday the Latin Mass Society's Annual Requiem took place in Westminster Cathedral. As more than ten years not it is always, thanks to the generosity of the Archdiocese of Westminster, a Pontifical Mass. This year it was celebrated by the recently retired Bishop Patrick Campbell of Lancaster.

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A special feature of interest this year was the vestments. We have in the past used the Cathedral's, but this year they were the property of the Latin Mass Society. We have received a large bequest from a late member, John Arnell, and wished to perpetuate his memory with the purchase of a really good black High Mass set. Each item in the set is now marked with the Latin Mass Society's name, and the note 'Please pray from John Edward Arnell.'

Monday, November 05, 2018

Requiem in Oxford University Catholic Chaplaincy

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With the kind permission of Fr Matthew Power SJ, a traditional Requiem Mass was celebrated on Saturday 3rd November in the St Thomas More Chapel of the Oxford University Catholic Chaplaincy. The celebrant was Fr Daniel Seward of the Oxford Oratory.

Friday, November 02, 2018

How Agatha Christie saved the Latin Mass

This weekend I have an article in the Catholic Herald's print edition. It begins:

On November 26, 1971, the front page of the Universe informed its readers as follows:

As from this Sunday, the first in Advent, it is forbidden to offer Mass in the Tridentine rite anywhere in the world. In very special circumstances old or retired priests may apply to their own bishop for permission to use the rite, but for private use only.

Only a few days later, however, on December 2, the Times carried a rather different story, under the headline “Pope sanctions traditional Latin Mass in Britain”. The Tridentine Mass was, in fact, celebrated in Westminster Cathedral on June 17 the following year, the first of a series of two annual Masses at the High Altar using the older Missal. Monthly traditional Masses in the Cathedral’s crypt were also initiated. Both series of Masses continue to this day, although the crypt Masses have now moved to the Lady Chapel.

In the nick of time, it would seem, the public celebration of the Vetus Ordo, now also called the Extraordinary Form, was preserved, at least in England and Wales. How had this come about?

Continue reading.

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Thursday, November 01, 2018

Marriage lite comes to England

I have a new post on LifeSiteNews. It begins:

Following a ruling of Britain’s Supreme Court over the summer, Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that the Government will make the necessary changes to allow heterosexual, and not just homosexual, couples to contract ‘Civil Partnerships’, as opposed to marriages, in England and Wales. (Scotland will probably follow.)

Bishop Peter Doyle of Northampton, on behalf of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, urged couples not to use this option:


God blesses the marriage bond only when the couple freely and without conditions exchange their consent. We hope that today’s ruling does not deter people from that sacred and life-long commitment.

Back in 2004, when Civil Partnerships were introduced for same-sex couples in the UK, the Bishops of England and Wales did not oppose the legislation, on the basis of government assurances that they would be clearly distinct from marriage. The idea seemed to be that Civil Partnerships addressed the legitimate grievances of same-sex couples, notably over hospital visiting rights and exemption from Inheritance Tax when leaving each other money, and that it would obviate the need for same-sex ‘marriage’.

Things did not turn out that way. Having established the principle that the state has an interest in regulating same-sex relationships in a way clearly paralleling the regulation of marriage, the scene was set for same-sex ‘marriage’ itself in 2014.

Read it all there.
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Newman Colloquium series continues

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There was a good turn out for the first Newman Colloquium on Saturday 27 Oct 2018. Michael Wee of the Anscombe Centre and I discussed 'Humanae Vitae at 50'.

Hot drinks and plenty of biscuits were very welcome afterwards as it was rather drizzly and cold in Oxford.

The next Newman Colloquium takes place on Saturday 24th November, when I talk to Fr Jeremy Davies, a experienced missionary, doctor, and exorcist.

Visit Newmancolloquium.eventbrite.com to sign up.


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Sunday, October 28, 2018

London Vespers and Book-launch for Peter Kwasniewsky, 30th October

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Peter Kwasniewski directing the chant at Mass in Oxford
Tuesday, October 30th – Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, Warwick Street, London: Vespers with Palestrina at 6pm, followed by talk and book-signing by Peter Kwasniewski.

More on Peter's latest book here.

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A High Mass of Requiem in Warwick Street last year
6:00 pm – Vespers with Palestrina’s Magnificat quinti toni
(Sung by Cantus Magnus under the direction of Matthew Schellhorn)
6:30 pm – Lecture by Dr Kwasniewski: “Liturgical Reform, Ars Celebrandi, and the Crisis on Marriage and Family”
7:30 pm – Signing of Tradition and Sanity: Conversations & Dialogues of a Postconciliar Exile (Angelico, 2018)


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Friday, October 26, 2018

LMS Pilgrimage to Aylesford, Saturday 27th October

Our annual pilgrimage to The Friars, the home of the Carmelites.

The original friary was established in 1242, and was (probably) the site of St Simon Stock’s mystical vision of the scapular. Bought back by the Order from its secular owners in the 20th century, today the complex houses the Shrine which contains the Relics of St Simon Stock. Saturday, 27th October 2018.

There will be a Sung Mass at 1.30pm in the Relic Chapel and the day concludes with Vespers and Benediction at 4pm.

Included in the music for the Mass (supplied by Cantus Magnus, dir. Matthew Shellhorn) will be the UK premier and world prenier of pieces by Peter Kwasniewski:
Missa a cuatro voces (K, G, S, A) de Rivera
Benedicta et venerabilis Kwasniewski UK PREMIERE
Ego mater Kwasniewski WORLD PREMIERE

Mass is at 1:30pm, at
Aylesford Priorym Aylesford, ME20 7BX
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Thursday, October 25, 2018

Peter Kwasniewski's book launch in Oxford: Friday, after 6pm High Mass in SS Gregory & Augustine

All the details are below. We'll have copies of Peter's most recent three books.

On Saturday he will be at the LMS Pilgrimage to Aylesford. See here for more details.

More on Peter's latest book here.


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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Pope and the Papacy

My latest on LifeSiteNews begins thus:

 The canonization of Pope Paul VI raises the question of how the Papacy is viewed. The elevation to the Altars of the Church of Pope John XXIII, Pope Paul VI, and Pope John Paul II, seems a surprising legacy of the Second Vatican Council. The Pope’s triple crown has been locked up in a museum; his Noble Guard has been disbanded; the harmless fun of ostrich-feather fans at Papal Masses has ceased; and the Gestatoria has been retired. But something has come in instead: a process of canonization which increasingly seems to be the norm and not the exception for a deceased Pontiff. 
Many theological conservatives hoped that the canonization of Pope John Paul II would canonize, so to speak, his writings as Pope. It would surely be harder, they said, to ignore his fearless condemnation of abortion, contraception, and divorce, once his heroic sanctity was officially recognized. However, this has not come to pass. Pope Francis, who canonized him, seems to have made the keynote of his pontificate the minimization of John Paul II’s teaching in Familaris Consortio(1981) 84 that divorced Catholics in illicit second unions must not receive Holy Communion. It would be foolish to expect the canonization of Pope Paul VI to offer any extra protection or prestige for his condemnation of contraception in Humanae Vitae (1968), or indeed to the doctrinal orthodoxy defended with such vehemence in his Credo of the People of God (1968) and Mysterium Fidei (1965). The teaching of the Church, which Pope Paul reasserted in Evangelium Nuntiandi(1974) 5, that the preaching of the Gospel to unbelievers is of vital importance for their salvation, has long been unsayable. 


Read it all there.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

On relics and their uses

My latest on LifeSiteNews starts thus:

Over at the New Liturgical Movement, Gregory DiPippo passes on for English-speakers Italian-language reports of a scientific analysis of the relics (a full skeleton) of St Ambrose of Milan.
St Ambrose (337-397) was one of the great figures of his day, who baptized St Augustine of Hippo, and with St Augustine is one of the four Latin Doctors often depicted in art (the others being St Jerome and St Gregory the Great).
Not only are the bones the right age for St Ambrose, but they display the poorly-healed broken collarbone which, as his letters attest, troubled St Ambrose for many years. They are, so far as science can speak on the subject, authentic. 
Contrary to the wise-acres who for centuries have been casting doubt on the genuineness of the relics venerated by Catholics, this kind of scientific vindication keeps happening. The Holy Chalice of Valencia, according to tradition used at the Last Supper, was created (from agate) using techniques unique to the time of Our Lord’s life and earlier. The Holy Thorn of Andria, said to be from the Crown of Thorns and to bleed when Good Friday falls on 25th March, did so again under the cold gaze of scientific instruments in 2016. If these are the products of medieval forgers, those chaps certainly knew a thing or two.

Read it all there.

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Monday, October 22, 2018

Making Oxford's Streets sacred again

The Latin Mass Society held its annual Pilgrimage to Oxford last Saturday.

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In the 19th century a surprisingly broad cross-section of Anglicans incorporated into their thinking the notion of sacred space, leading to a new conception of what churches should be like: a conception which harked back to many old churches' Catholic past. This conception of sacred space had a natural parallel in the idea of processions. This was also the historical moment when Catholic church-building and processions began to be largely untrammelled by legal restrictions, so Catholics, less surprisingly, were doing the same things at the same time. For about a century England saw an amazing number of these, and then they suddenly almost died out in the 1970s.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Oxford Pilgrimage 20th October 2018

This is tomorrow!

Join us for the Latin Mass Society's annual pilgrimage in honour of Oxford's Catholic martyrs, particularly those of 1589 whose site of martyrdom, where 100 Holywell Street now stands, we will be visiting.


Schedule
11am Dominican Rite High Mass
Followed by refreshments in the Aula in Blackfriars
2pm Procession from Carfax to Holywell Street, and back to Blackfriars
4pm Benediction

Music
With the Newman Consort directed by Alex Lloyd
Missa Quem dicunt homines Antonius Divitis 1475-1530
Laetamini in Domino Jacob Regnart 1540-1599

Dominican Chant with the Schola Abelis of Oxford directed by Dominic Bevan

Monday, October 15, 2018

Newman Colloquium: a new project in Oxford

Once a month the Newman Colloquium will be presenting a 'conversation' before an audience on a matter of Catholic interest. I am delighted to be part of this project and will be the interlocutor for some of our guest speakers. The first is the excellent Michael Wee of the Anscombe Centre, and we will be talking about 'Humanae Vitae at 50'.

It will take place in the newly refurbished parish hall at SS Gregory & Augustine's, on Saturday 27th October, from 3:45pm.




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Sunday, October 14, 2018

Bishop Genn's fear of Traditionalists

Published on LifeSiteNews. The article begins:

Despite the fact that his diocese is desperately short of vocations, Bishop Genn of Münster recently declared: “I can decidedly say I don’t care for pre-conciliar types of clerics, and also I will not consecrate them.”

This is not an uncommon attitude, and it is not limited to Germany. I have heard stories from the English seminary, St. Cuthbert’s College at Ushaw, now closed for lack of custom, that superiors were so concerned to root out conservatively-minded candidates for the priesthood that they would watch how they held their hands during Mass. If they folded them prayerfully, this went on the record as a mark against them. Seminarians would meet to say the Rosary in each others’ rooms, in secret, for fear this subversive activity would get them into trouble, and hide theology books by Joseph Ratzinger.

This attitude seems to go beyond a simple matter of theological disagreement. Signs of conservatism are regarded as akin to signs of leprosy, and indeed, it is not uncommon to hear theological conservatism or traditionalism compared to mental illness. It should be said that this attitude is much less bad, at least in the English-speaking world, than it was a generation ago, but it has not gone away, and it is striking that a German bishop should embrace it so openly.

While I lack any special information about Bishop Genn, I think I can shed light on the phenomenon as a whole. The language commonly used about young conservatives and traditionalists – “rigid,” “conformists,” “authoritarian,” “clericalist” – are related to trends in psychiatry which were influential in the decades after the Second World War. Here is a typical description of the “authoritarian personality” published in 1970 (Peter Kelvin, The Bases of Social Behaviour):

Read it all there.


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Saturday, October 13, 2018

Welcome Princess Alexandra of Hanover to the Roman Catholic Church

Published on LifeSiteNews: the article begins:

Every now and then a closer or more distant blood relation of Britain’s Queen becomes a Catholic, and in doing so is removed from the "line of succession." This is one of the last legal remnants of a system of anti-Catholic discrimination which once saw Catholics banned from living in London and becoming army officers, long after the bloody persecution ended. It means that however unlikely it might have been in any case, swimming the Tiber washes off the theoretical possibility that you could become King or Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Recently, it was the turn of Princess Alexandra of Hanover, who at 19 has adopted the Catholic religion of her mother.

Princess Alexandra is rather more closely related to the houses of Hanover and of Monaco than to Britain’s House of Windsor, and she probably gave this aspect of her conversion little thought. Somewhat closer to the British throne was Lord Nicholas Windsor, who was received into the Church in 2001; he gave an interview to LifeSiteNews in 2011.

Catholics are excluded from the line of succession by the Act of Settlement of 1701; Britain’s monarch is, after all, the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. Catholics are the Act’s targets, because it was passed in the aftermath of the English Revolution of 1688 (called by its supporters the “Glorious” Revolution), which saw the overthrow of the Catholic King James II. The greater friendliness of his brother and predecessor King Charles II to Catholicism and to the leading Catholic power of the time, France, led to the anti-Catholic moral panic of the fraudulent Titus Oates plot. When the Catholic James II had a son, and so looked set to establish a Catholic monarchy for the foreseeable future, a group of powerful Protestant nobles staged a coup.
Read it all on LifeSiteNews

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Friday, October 12, 2018

The cultural front-line in Oxford

I have a piece on the Catholic Herald website. It begins:

Recently I spent many hours on the front line of the new evangelisation. In a formerly Christian country, Britain, where the cultural achievements of the Church are still remembered and appreciated, at least by some, I was working on the via pulchritudinis: the “way of beauty”.

As Pope St John Paul II expressed it in 2003 (Ecclesia in Europa 60):

“Nor should we overlook the positive contribution made by the wise use of the cultural treasures of the Church. … artistic beauty, … 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.”

Where was I? At Oxford University’s Freshers’ Fair, as I am every year, recruiting singers for a Gregorian Chant schola named after an Oxford student who died for the Faith, Blessed Thomas Abel.
Read the whole thing there.
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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Ouellet replies to Viganó

October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Those observing the developing controversy which has followed Archbishop Viganó’s extraordinary denunciation of Pope Francis had their patience rewarded by an official response from a leading Cardinal, the Canadian Marc Ouellet. As Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops since 2010, he is uniquely qualified to confirm or deny what is perhaps the central factual claim of Viganó’s testimony. This is that in 2009 or 2010 (I quote from Viganó’s testimony):
Pope Benedict had imposed on Cardinal McCarrick sanctions similar to those now imposed on him by Pope Francis: the Cardinal was to leave the seminary where he was living, he was forbidden to celebrate [Mass] in public, to participate in public meetings, to give lectures, to travel, with the obligation of dedicating himself to a life of prayer and penance.
(McCarrick had retired at the usual age from the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. in 2007. On June 20, 2018, he was stripped of the title of Cardinal in light of allegations that he had sexually abused a minor. He retains the rank of Archbishop.)
This claim is explosive because following the election of Pope Francis, McCarrick was, as one journalist approvingly expressed, “back in the mix and busier than ever,” having been “more or less put out to pasture” by Pope Benedict.
Archbishop Viganó made a special point in his testimony of pointing to Cardinal Ouellet, among others, as able to corroborate his claims. In a second public letter, he addressed Cardinal Ouellet directly:
Your Eminence, before I left for Washington, you were the one who told me of Pope Benedict’s sanctions on McCarrick. You have at your complete disposal key documents incriminating McCarrick and many in the curia for their cover-ups. Your Eminence, I urge you to bear witness to the truth.
Read more on LifeSiteNews

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Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Peter Kwasniewski: Visit to England 26th to 30th October

Prof. Peter Kwasniewski, a prolific blogger, author, and writer for LifeSiteNews, is visiting England later this month, with a brand new book:
Tradition and Sanity: Conversations & Dialogues of a Postconciliar Exile.
Professor Kwasniewski will be at the following events:

26th Oct, Friday, Oxford: High Mass 6pm followed by book launch, SS Gregory & Augustine's, Woodstock Road, Oxford
27th Oct, Saturday, Aylesford: LMS Pilgrimage to Aylesford, Mass at 1:30pm followed by talk from Prof. Kwasniewski. Mass will include the premier of a Mass setting by Prof Kwasniewski.
28th Oct, Sunday, Ramsgate: Sung Mass 12 noon, St Augustine's Shrine, Ramsgate, followed by talk and book signing. Mass will include a premier of a Mass setting by Prof Kwasniewski.
28th Oct, Sunday, South Woodford: High Mass 6pm, Church of St Anne Line, South Woodford, London, followed by talk and book signing.
30th Oct, Tuesday, London: 6pm Sung Vespers, Our Lady of the Assumption, Warwick Street, followed by book launch.

This book isn't even available yet, but it will be on sale at the various events organised for him by the Latin Mass Society, at Oxford, Aylesford Priory, Ramsgate, South Woodford and Warwick Street in London. 
As part of the tour, two new choral compositions will receive their world premieres by the ensemble Cantus Magnus, under the direction of Matthew Schellhorn: a motet “Ego Mater Pulchrae Dilectionis” (SATB) on October 27th at the LMS Pilgrimage to Aylesford, and the Missa Rex in Æternum (ATB) on October 28th in Ramsgate; these will be joined by three UK premieres of other motets.

SS Gregory & Augustine, Oxford
Full details below

Friday, October 05, 2018

The lay vocation and subordination to the clergy

LifeSiteNews has a piece by me on the lay vocation. It begins:

Recent and very public failures of bishops raise the question of what role the laity should have in the Catholic Church. Lay people can feel like dumb spectators watching a tragedy in which bishops and other clergy have all the leading roles. This is clearly not a healthy situation, but what, in fact, is the lay vocation? In what way are lay people called, as members of Christ’s mystical body, to advance the kingdom of God? Certainly, the laity are crew, not just passengers, in the barque of St. Peter, and not even subordinate crew. As the 1983 Code of Canon Law tells us (Canon 208):

From their rebirth in Christ, there exists among all the Christian faithful a true equality regarding dignity and action by which they all cooperate in the building up of the Body of Christ according to each one’s own condition and function.

What, then, is the function related to the lay condition? The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, Apostolicam actuositatem (4) tells us:

The laity must take up the restoration of the temporal order (ordo temporalis) as their own special task. Led by the light of the Gospel and the mind of the Church and motivated by Christian charity, they must act directly and in a definite way in the temporal sphere.

As the Decree goes on to detail, this can be done in the context of family, professional, and political life.

What this suggests, along with the traditional teaching of the Church on the “two swords,” the division of labor in the Christian society between Pope and Emperor, is that bishops and clergy as such should not seek to direct in detail the work of Catholic statesmen, academics and teachers, and parents. It is given to the clergy, and above all to bishops, to judge according to the moral law, but judgment on matters of prudence — scientific judgment, educational judgment, political judgement, and so on — is the special gift and duty of the lay state.

Read the whole thing here.

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Thursday, October 04, 2018

More about the Prayer to St Michael

LifeSiteNews has published a short piece of mine on the Prayer to St Michael, reflecting on the renewed used of the Prayer to St Michael by in six dioceses of the United States of America, in the context of the abuse crisis.

I write:

The [Second Vatican] Council’s Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et spes 37 remind us:

A monumental struggle against the powers of darkness pervades the whole history of man. The battle was joined from the very origins of the world and will continue until the last day, as the Lord has attested.

This is exactly what the Prayer to St. Michael reflects. Why did it ever disappear from use?

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

The death penalty in the Catholic Herald

Last weekend the Catholic Herald published a letter of mine on the Death Penalty.

Greg Whelan (Letters, 14th Sept) claims to be ‘mystified’ by the widespread concern of Pope Francis’ reversal of the teaching of the Church on the subject of the Death Penalty.

He reminds us that the Church has ‘changed its mind’ about the best punishment for various offences. However this is hardly the matter at issue. The crimes he mentions, such as fornication, are still condemned by the Church as grave sins. What Pope Francis appears to be claiming is the discovery of a new grave sin, that of using the death penalty, even when it might be considered most appropriate.

The penal code found in the Old Testament was in force only for a specific group of people for a specific period of time. Other times and circumstances require other legal solutions. It is preserved for us in Scripture, however, because it teaches us about the seriousness of the crimes it condemns and the importance of the search for justice. Among other things, as St Paul reiterates (Rom13:4), it makes clear that the Death Penalty can rightly be used.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Fr Francis Doyle and St Mary Magdelen

Last weekend I had the following letter to the Catholic Universe printed (last weekend's edition). They cut out the last line, which I've put in bold below, but then you can't have everything.

Fr Doyle often has edifying things to say, but on the occasion his column of 14th September he seemed to slip into the role of the de-bunking liberal know-it-all: generations of Catholic artists, scholars and ordinary folk are wrong, we know better, and it's not even a matter of legitimate debate: they were just stupid, they got into a muddle. This tone really gets my goat. It is almost always based on shallow scholarship and shallower theology. No one can prove the the Woman Caught in Adultery, the Sinner with the Nard, Mary Magdalen exorcised of seven devils, and Mary of Bethany, were not the same person. But if you sit patiently at the feet of the Fathers of the Church you might learn something.

Sir,

I must take issue with Fr Francis Doyle (Questions and Answers, 14th Sept), who dismisses the traditional identification of the 'sinner' who anointed Jesus' feet with nard with Mary of Bethany and with Mary Magdalen, as a mere 'confusion'. No doubt he would be equally dismissive of the further identification of Mary Magdelen with the 'woman taken in adultery'.

The Latin Fathers of the Church held that these people are the same, and this view has become embedded not only in art, but in the liturgy. In the pre-1969 calendar the feast of St Martha (29th July) is the octave of the feast of her sister St Mary Magdalen (22nd), and in the Dies irae, sung at Masses for the dead, the penitent sinner forgiven by our Lord is called 'Mary'.

Should the views of the Fathers and the testimony of the ancient liturgical tradition, be dismissed out of hand? The Second Vatican Council certainly thought not, directing that future translations of the Psalms conform to 'the entire tradition of the Latin Church' (Sacrosanctum Concilium 91). The 2001 Instruction Liturgicam authenticam notes similarly that translations should reflect the 'understanding of biblical passages which has been handed down by liturgical use and by the tradition of the Fathers of the Church .'

Fr Doyle owes this view of St Mary Magdalen a little more respect.
Yours faithfully,

Joseph Shaw, Chairman, Latin Mass Society
I've written on this specific issue in more detail here.

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Saturday, September 29, 2018

Long Prayer to St Michael

Happy Michaelmas to my readers!

On this day dedicated to the honour of the glorious leader of the heavenly armies, St Michael the Archangel, I thought it would be useful to reproduce the 'long' Prayer to Michael, published in 1890, a few years after the familiar short one used at the end of the Traditional Mass, by the same author, Pope Leo XIII. He composed it for use in exorcisms: the prayer of exorcism itself comes next.

I take this from Kevin Symonds, The Prayer to St Michael. This book gives a thorough account of the historical and supernatural background to both prayers to St Michael. As Symonds notes, exorcisms are not to be used by the laity; I reproduce it here because of its historical interest; its own seems to have a wider application, in any case.

-------------------

O most glorious prince of the heavenly hosts, St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in our battle and struggle ‘against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in high places’ (Eph.6:12). Come to the aid of men whom God has created incorruptible and has made to the image of His likeness (Wis. 2:23) and has bought at a great price from the tyranny of the devil (1Cor.6:20). O fight today with the army of blessed angels in the battle of the Lord, as formerly you fought against the leader of pride, Lucifer, and his rebellious angels - ‘and they did not prevail, neither was their place found anymore in heaven. And the great dragon was cast down, the ancient serpent, he who is called the devil and Satan, who leads astray the whole world; and he was cast down to the earth, and with him his angels were cast down’ (Apoc.12:8-9). Behold the ancient enemy and murderer has risen up terribly! Transformed as an angel of light he goes about at large with a whole troop of wicked spirits and attacks the earth, there to blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, and to steal souls destined for a crown of eternal glory, that he might afflict and destroy them in everlasting death. On men depraved in mind and corrupt in heart the wicked dragon pours out the poison of his iniquity as a most foul river; a spirit of lying, of ungodliness and of blasphemy and the deadly breath of lust, of all iniquity and vices. The most cunning enemies have filled the Church, pride of the Immaculate Lamb, with bitterness; they have drenched Her with gall, they have laid their impious hands on all things desired of Holy Church. There the See of Blessed Peter and the Chair of Truth has been established as the light of the nations, there have they placed the throne of the abomination of their impiety, so that having struck the Pastor they may also prevail to scatter the flock. O leader most invincible, be present with God's people against invading evil spirits, and bring us victory. Holy Church venerates thee as her guardian and protector; She takes pride in thee as her defender against the wicked powers of earth and hell; to thee the Lord has entrusted the souls of the redeemed, to be placed in heavenly bliss. Beseech the God of peace to crush Satan under our feet, that he may no longer be able to hold men captive and harm the Church. Bear our prayers into the sight of the Most High, so that the mercies of the Lord may come to our aid without delay, and that you may seize the dragon, the ancient serpent which is the devil and Satan, and cast him into the bottomless pit, ‘so that he may no more seduce the nations’ (Apoc. 20:23).

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The episcopal crisis comes to England

We all knew about Fr Hill, the priest-abuser of Gatwick Airport, long ago; we learnt about Bishop Kieran Conry more recently. One of the links between the cases is the involvement of the late Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, who moved Fr Hill to fresh pastures after earlier victims came forward, and promoted Bishop Conry's career. In both cases he was only doing what most bishops seemed to be doing: giving abusers new opportunities for abuse and seeing priests clouded by questions about their chastity as ideal candidates for promotion: that was just what happened in the 1970s, '80s, and '90s, isn't it? Remember that Bishop Kieran was chosen by the Bishops' Conference to be head of their catechetical initiatives and 'Bishop for Youth'. (The official website summary of his career somehow neglects to mention his extra-curricular activities.) He must have had the support of a lot of other bishops as well.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Institute of Christ the King established in Shrewsbury

Bishop Mark Davies celebrating the Traditional Mass
in the seminary of the Institute in Italy.
Well done to the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest! My last report of their progress is here.

The ICKSP Facebook page announces the following:

The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest receives a new mission in the UK!

The Right Rev. Mark Davies announced last week that he appoints Canon Smith, icrss, to celebrate week day Mass, hear confession and celebrate Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament at Shrewsbury Cathedral.


Canon Smith will be in charge of the celebration of Mass and Office at St Winefrides Shrewsbury, where we will reside with a Seminarian of the ICKSP.

Thank you, your Lordship!

We entrust this new foundation of the ICKSP to our Lady of Walsingham


Friday, September 21, 2018

Clericalism and Clericalisation

Re-posted from May 2016

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IMG_8627
Not a specifically clerical role.
Some time ago I criticised the views of Russell Shaw (no relation) on the subject of clericalism and caesaropapism. He appeared to think, in his book To Hunt, To Shoot, To Entertain, that cases of caesaropapism, such as the Emperor Constantine regarding himself as holding ultimate authority over doctrinal matters, are actully cases of its opposite, clericalism: clericalism being the arrogation of lay authority by the clergy.

I have been thinking since then about the notion of 'clericalisation of the laity'. This term was popularised by Pope St John Paul II; it is used in Christifideles laici (1988: 23), but the most explicit discussion I have found is, for some reason, an address to the Bishops of the Antilles in 2002. As he explained, it


becomes a form of clericalism when the sacramental or liturgical roles that belong to the priest are assumed by the lay faithful, or when the latter set out to accomplish tasks of pastoral governing that properly belong to the priest.

Again:

The commitment of lay persons is politicised when the laity is absorbed by the exercise of ‘power’ within the Church.