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


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.


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


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, 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.


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: - E-mail:

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.


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

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

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.


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:

To book:-

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

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

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

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