Tuesday, January 29, 2019

St John Houghton Schola launched at Maiden Lane

Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane, in London, following recent restoration.
The Latin Mass Society's new London Chant Schola, the Schola Cantorum Sancti Ioannis Hougton, has now had its first rehearsal and accompanied its first Mass.


The Masses at 6:30pm on Mondays at Corpus Christi Maiden Lane present a problem from the musical point of view because London-based singers find it difficult to get there in time for an extended rehearsal before Mass starts, after their work day. So the St John Houghton Schola rehearses on the previous Friday evening, in the Latin Mass Society's Office. I attended the first of these myself, as did the Schola's Chaplain, the usual celebrant at the Maiden Lane Masses, Fr Gabriel Diaz Patri.

The Schola's eight members turned out to have every level of experience--from 'lots' to 'none'--and it will be very interesting to see them develop as a group. The first Mass went extremely well, thanks to the seriousness of the singers and the preparation and leadership of Matthew Schellhorn, its director and the Latin Mass Society's Director of Music for London.


The Schola's next dates in Maiden Lane are (Mondays)

18th Feb; 11th March; 15th April; 13th May; 10th June.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Cafeteria Catholics won't save the Church

My latest on LifeSiteNews

It is often said in the context of the clerical abuse crisis that the laity must act, or be given responsibility. It is natural enough, in reaction to a problem arising with one part of the Church, to hope for salvation from another, and there are some wonderful historical examples of lay action to deal with clerical failures. 
My personal favorite is the action of the laity between 1268 and 1271, during the time of the longest conclave (Papal election) in the Church’s history, which took place in the town of Viterbo. Becoming impatient with the Cardinals’ inability to agree on a new Pope, the town authorities locked them into their meeting room, and proceeded to remove the roof and restrict their diet to bread and water. Something similar had already happened in the conclave of 1241.
Such rough handling of Princes of the Church must be seen in the context of the cheerful physicality of the Middle Ages, but the general principle is simply that the laity have, if they stop to think about it, all kinds of ways of making their needs and desires forcefully known to their pastors.
There have been various actions by the American laity in recent months to protest against past crimes and present foot-dragging, but vigorous action by the laity is impeded by a number of factors.
Continue reading on LifeSite.

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Monday, January 21, 2019

Prof Tom Pink this Friday: talk in London

Friday 25th, 7pm

Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, Warwick Street, London W1B 5LZ

Click for a map.

Prof Tom Pink: The Church and the World

The first of a series of talks, which will focus on topics connected with the everyday life of traditionally-minded Catholics: the domestic church, homeschooling, traditional catechesis, moral instruction, culture (high, common, and religious), religious history etc., takes place in the basement of Our Lady of the Assumption & St Gregory, Warwick Street, London on Friday 25th January at 7pm. The speaker will be Prof. Tom Pink on The Church and the World’

The purpose of the talks is not only to inform but to help traditionally-minded Catholics from across London and beyond to meet, discuss matters of mutual concern, and form a greater sense of community.

Facebook event

Info on the LMS website

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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Can we believe the bishops?

My latest on LifeSiteNews.

A taster.

Catholics today find themselves in an institutional Church whose keynote appears to be moral cowardice. Those failing to display its telltale symptoms are weeded out of seminaries or, as priests, are dumped in marginal parishes. Only those willing to play the game are encouraged and promoted.
At first, all that is asked of them is to turn a blind eye to problems that they have no power to address: indeed, they know well that to make a fuss does no good to the victims, only harm to oneself. But as time goes on, more is asked of them. Playing the game means brushing off victims and their families. It means covering up. It means lying. It means facilitating abuse. It means, even for those who don’t themselves abuse, getting into the swamp right up to the neck.

Read it all there.

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Saturday, January 19, 2019

CDF absorbs PCED

Archbishop Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, with members
of the Una Voce Federation (FIUV) in 2013.
(Update at bottom of post.)

Today a decree has been promulgated dissolving the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, which has responsibility for issues concerning the Traditional Mass and the reconciliation of groups using that Mass who have been operating outside the structures of the Church, and givings its functions and powers to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Up until now, for a good few years the Prefect of the Congregation for the Faith has been ex officio the President of the Pontifical Commission, which has had its own Secretary (Archbishop Pozzo) and small staff, with offices in the CDF's building. When I write to the PCED (not a daily occurrence), I usually address the letter to the Prefect/President, knowing it would be passed on to appropriate person.

This looks like a bit of house-keeping, a tidying-up, rather than anything with implications for policy or official attitudes towards the Traditional Mass. I was surprised to read that the PCED up until now has had its own budget: well, it won't in the future, the staff will be paid by the CDF.

If there is a change of staff that may, in itself, be significant, but we don't know about that yet.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Anti-semitism, again

Further to the comments on my post on Taki's column in the Christmas edition of the Catholic Herald, I had the following comment which I think is worthy of its own post. The author has a unique perspective, being Jewish and moving in traditional Catholic circles for a number of years while in the UK in the 1990s.

His point about 'dinner party anti-semitism' reminds me of stories of casual racism focused on Africans which one hears featuring impeccably liberal Catholic churchmen.

Writing as one who would be considered an 'ultra-orthodox' Jew, I find the entire charge to be without merit. I was close with quite a few LMS folks while at University and have maintained contact with many since then. With one foolish exception, I did not encounter even the slightest hint of antisemitism. Perhaps I am simply able to understand that disagreement does not equal condemnation or hatred; I don't know. As per the Chairman's implication above, the exception I mention had spent his formative years in France. In fact, I have encountered far more 'dinner party' antisemitism from the more post-conciliar crew. Are there *some* Traditionalist Catholics who are antisemites? I dunno. Probably somewhere. But I would find it difficult to believe that it had anything to do with them being a Traditionalist Catholic, which itself is more of a barrier to antisemitism than modernity is. 

Re. the NY Times. Most of its Jewish readership is secular-liberal or Modern Orthodox. Neither of whom will, generally, shed tears over haredi-slamming articles. Even my fellow haredim would not, generally, consider the stories to be an attack. My suspicion is that the NY Times is simply losing out to the NY Post on these stories. Additionally, these are different times: when the big wave of abuse stories came out of the Church, print media was still the norm. If a newspaper did not cover all the news fit for print, then it was an impediment of sorts to its readership. Most of the orthodox abuse stories (still, thankfully, very few in number) emerged when online news is the norm. One will not cancel a newspaper subscription if they miss one-or-two stories that can be accessed easily elsewhere.
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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Newman Colloquium: John Smeaton on Dementia

Dementia: My Father's Story

Dr Adrian Treloar (Old Age Psychiatrist and Dementia Specialist, and author of 'Dementia - Hope on a Difficult Journey') talks with Mr John Smeaton (Chief Executive of SPUC) about the very emotive topic of dementia. In the late 1990s John's father, Jack Smeaton, was diagnosed with dementia. As Jack's physician, Adrian helped John's father and the entire Smeaton family through this difficult journey. 
John's father, Jack Smeaton, died in 2003 fortified by the last rites.

When?  12/01/19 15:45 (for a prompt 16:00 start) - 17:30
Where? Parish hall at Catholic Church of Ss Gregory and Augustine, Oxford, OX2 7NS (limited parking available)
Cost: Free, a retiring collection will be taken at the end for the speakers
For more details and to register please visit: newmancolloquium.eventbrite.com
Registration essential as places limited

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Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Listen to me on 'The Catholic Current' on the Lay Vocation

Fr Robert McTeigue interviewed me for his online radio programme, The Catholic Current. You can hear me on the following links.

Link to the broadcast as streaming audio and resources:

Link to the broadcast as podcast:

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Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Antisemitism in the Catholic Herald: serious or not?

Back in February, Michael Davis, the Catholic Herald's US editor, decided to fling about a few conventional, though bitter, accusations against traditional Catholics: or the 'older generation' of traditional Catholics. They were, he said, in the habit of 'going out of their way to be nasty', and, yes you guessed it, tainted by 'repugnant anti-Semitism'.

When I hear that kind of accusation made by anyone, of anyone, I want to know: does this person raise this issue because he thinks it is serious, or because he thinks it is trivial?

Is it because it is so easy to make the accusation? And it is. Making it provides the accuser with a kind of first-mover's immunity from criticism, endowing him with an immediate aura of virtue, whereas the victim is going to look shifty and defensive regardless of what they say. Davis provides absolutely no evidence for his claim: the 'traditional Catholic' is left guilty until proved innocent, but how can you even argue against evidence which has not been specified?

Or is it, instead, because, the accusation is such a weighty one? Is Davis so concerned about this semi-hidden menace in the bosom of the Church that he feels that, painful as it may be, it must be probed fearlessly and confronted?