Thursday, September 19, 2019

Cardinal Burke in London: photos

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His Eminence Raymond, Cardinal Burke, celebrated Low Mass in the Shrine Church of Corpus Christi on Monday 16th September, at the request of the Latin Mass Society. We were very honoured by his kindness in doing this, which is very characteristic of him.

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This church is one of London's historic Catholic churches, and has a special place in the history of the Traditional Mass, as thanks to various parish priests over the years the celebration of the ancient Mass never ceased here. Today it is, of longstanding custom, celebrated every Monday evening, a Mass organised by the Latin Mass Society, and on some other occasions as well. Cardinal Burke was a very special celebrant, therefore, for this regular Mass, which is usualy a Missa Cantata.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Reminder: Server training in London this Saturday

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Enrollmemts into the Society of St Tarcisius on the Walsingham Pilgrimage
The training days for Altar servers have been a great success, regularly attracting a dozen participants. The servers' sodality we have established, the Society of St Tarcisius, now has 59 enrolled members, from as far away as Bristol and Edinburgh.

In the London events, the Guild of St Clare has a vestment-mending day running alongside the server training, making use (at St Mary Moorfield's) of the large and well-appointed basement.

The next two events, on this Saturday, one next month, are both in St Mary Moorfields, 4-5 Eldon St, London EC2M 7LS (click for a map):

Saturday 14th September (booking page here)

Saturday 30th November (booking page here).

Please book for the server training; if you wish to participate in the vestment mending, email the Guild of St Clare. (It really helps to know how many people are coming!)

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Monday, September 09, 2019

Gender theory is ruining theatre

My latest on LifeSiteNews.
By the time I finally stopped watching television, more than a decade ago, even the shows I liked best were being spoiled by the producers’ need to include politically correct themes, issues, and characters. There can be no objection to having, for example, bad people, in fiction, who are nominally Christian, or good people who are same sex–attracted, but if they invariably turn out that way, one begins to wonder if something strange is going on. At the same time, writers were having to make their plots more and more macabre to maintain a constant level of shock value. Between the obeisance to political correctness and the display of dismembered corpses, the human interest of the drama seemed to have slipped away.
The decay of modern culture manifests itself in a different way in theatre. I watch a fair number of plays, including open-air Shakespeare and student productions in and around Oxford. The summer season has just come to a close, and while some of the productions have been excellent, others have been problematic. When presenting classical drama, a view has taken hold, less so at the top level of professional theatre, but elsewhere, that the sex of a character does not affect the relationships between that character and others.

Friday, September 06, 2019

Eucharistic Adoration is not the answer to the crisis of faith in the Real Presence

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My latest on LifeSiteNews.
Recently, it was reported that more than half of self-described Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence at all. As I have written before, this represents an emergency, a pastoral crisis, which has received a somewhat lethargic response. Not long before the survey about beliefs came out, Stephen Bullivant’s survey on lapsation recorded lapsed Catholics complaining that their parish catechists didn’t believe the Faith and were not passing it on. It seems that some of our lapsed brothers and sisters would like to insist on higher standards of orthodoxy than some of our priests and bishops.
Apart from catechesis and preaching, one traditional response to error about one doctrine or another is to emphasize the correct teaching liturgically. Bowing or kneeling at references to the Incarnation (in the Creed, when we say “and was made man”), for example, helps to hammer home the truth about that. I am a strong believer in the power of the liturgy to reinforce the Faith: for one thing, it is impossible to get adult Catholics to go to catechism classes, but if they come to church at all, they will experience the liturgy. Can Eucharistic Adoration help, then, in restoring the sense among Catholics that Christ is truly present in the Host?
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Thursday, September 05, 2019

Paganism old and new

My latest on LifeSiteNews.

recent study by the London-based Benedict Centre has shown that up to half of self-described atheists and agnostics across different countries believe in ‘underlying forces of good and evil’ and that ‘significant events are “meant to be”’. This is a reminder that a large part of the decline of religious practice and belief in the West is not about rejecting the supernatural realm, but adopting a kind of vague paganism. This should not be confused, however, with the paganism of the ancient world.
Contrary to what is sometimes claimed, the people of ancient Greece and Rome had an uneasy conscience about many of the practices Christianity later suppressed, which are re-emerging today. The Greek historian of Rome, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, praised Rome’s mythical founder, Romulus, for making marriage a holy and indissoluble institution (Roman Antiquities II.25), from which it later declined. It’s far from clear what historical basis there might be to this claim, but it represents an ideal, a golden age, from which the Romans and Greeks of Dionysius’s own day fell short.
Carry on reading.

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Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Cardinal Pell and contempt for justice

My latest on LifeSiteNews.

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As I have written before, the conviction of Cardinal Georgy Pell, despite being upheld on appeal, is difficult to understand. On the one hand, as Pell’s legal team painstakingly explained, it was essentially impossible for Pell to have abused two choristers (as alleged) in a sacristy, while still vested, without anyone noticing, at a time when he would actually have been outside the front of the cathedral talking to Mass-goers. On the other hand, the only evidence against him is the word of one accuser; the other alleged victim denied that the abuse took place.
However the jury and two court of appeal came to their decisions, doubts will continue to be voiced, especially in light of the carefully argued dissenting opinion by one of the appeal-court judges.
Carry on reading.

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Thursday, August 29, 2019

Young Catholic Adults annual retreat 25-27 Oct

During the weekend of the 25-27 October 2019, Young Catholic Adults will be running a retreat at Douai Abbey, it will feature author and associate editor of the Catholic Herald Stephen Bullivant, Fr. Stewart Foster (Brentwood Diocese), Canon Poucin ICKSP, Dom. Jonathan Rollinson (Bemont Abbey) and Dom. Christopher Greener (Douai Abbey).

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.4th Oct 2019.

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

To book:- https://bookwhen.com/youngcatholicadults-douai2019

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Young Catholics deserve answers, not scorn

Cross-posted from Rorate Caeli.
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LMS Pilgrims at the site of the Holy House in Walsingham on Sunday.
Recent days have seen one of those waves of attacks on Traditional Catholics on social media. I have responded to one aspect of it, that of simple charity, with a Twitter-thread you can see here. Here I want to look at another aspect of it: the kinds of things the supposedly hateful traddies are talking about.

We all know how anti-trad moral panics work. Some one claims to have experienced ‘bossybitter’, or ‘extreme’ views, not from an established writer, but by some Twitter or Facebook account with 12 followers, if we are allowed to know who it is. Other people then chime in to say, Wow, I’ve had the same experience: not pausing to consider the fact that, unless they live under a stone, they’ll also have had one or two bad experiences with every other category of human being on the planet with more than a handful of members.

It doesn’t seem to occur to those making this criticism that they are doing precisely what they are usually accusing Traditional Catholics of doing: of being rather quick to condemn others. Those of them who are not obscure Twitter accounts with 12 followers ought to know better. But let that pass. The other question is whether we should be having these discussions which the trads are having, and if so, what they should be like.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

More photos of the Walingham Pilgrimage 2019

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 Fr Terrance Naughton OFM Conv was the celebrant at the High Mass in the Catholic Shrine's Reconciliation Chapel. Since it was a Sunday, we had the Asperges, though in the Shrine it is possible to have a Votive Mass of Our Lady.

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The chapel presents a challenge for photography, with strong sunlight pouring through the windows behind the altar.

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We begin the procession to the site of the Medieval Shrine in the ruined Priory: the Holy Mile.

Photos of the Walsingham Pilgrimage

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High Mass in St Ethelreda's, Ely. We had four priests with us so High Mass was possible every day of the pilgrimage. (Votive Mass for Pilgrims.)

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Fr Michael Rowe, who is based in Perth, Australia, blesses the pilgrims before the start of the walking, in the Methodist Hall in Ely, where we had breakfast (and dinner the evening before).

Saturday, August 17, 2019

SCT Summer School: more photos

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Asperges at Mass on the first day (Sunday)

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Benediction in St Augustine's Shrine

Friday, August 16, 2019

SCT Summer School: some photos

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I have had trouble getting my photos of the St Catherine's Trust Summer School off the memory cards, but here are some, at last. The Summer School took place 27th July to 3rd August, in the Divine Retreat Centre, which is over the road from St Augustine's Shrine in Ramsgate.

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It was a great privilege to be able to have Mass during the Summer School in the Shrine church, which thanks to recent restoration, now looks as Pugin intended it, with a splendid Rood Screen. In these photographs Fr Andrew Southwell, our Chaplain, is celebrating Mass.

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As the historian Eamon Duffy has pointed out, the Medieval Rood Screnn, which Pugin tried to revive, served not to hide the action in the sanctuary, as curtains had done in more ancient times, but more to frame it: we see what is going on through a series of windows.


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Sohrab Ahmari: the story of his conversion

My latest on LifeSite.
I have just finished reading ’s From Fire by Water (Ignatius, 2019), an engaging, perceptive, and edifying account of his spiritual and intellectual journey from a not-very observant Islamic early childhood, to Catholicism, with a lot of secular modern allegiances in between.
Ahmari was born in Iran to a secularized, middle class, intellectual family. Having some access to American culture, especially films, Ahmari was thoroughly seduced by the American way of life before he had any personal contact with it. When he and his mother managed to emigrate to America when he was 13, the reality of a financially precarious life in rural Utah was a letdown. He was a precocious reader and in time discovered Nietzsche and the Existentialists, drifting into Trotskyite Communism and then Post Modernism as he passed through college. 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Patreon page launched

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I thought I would experiment with a Patreon page. My thought is that I am producing a fair mumber of articles, and from time to time doing long audio interviews, for which I am not paid, and often are not easily seen by my regular readers.

If people would like to support this work, and the other things I do, they can do so through Patreon, and I can make some of this material available to them.

So here is the link: Become a Patron!

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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Roosh takes the 'God' pill

My latest on LifeSite is about Roosh, the writer of 'Game' books: books about how to pick up women. Particularly in light of his repudiation of meaningless sex, I am planning to write more about him, probably on this blog.

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It is good to hear every now and then of someone who has turned away from a self-destructive way of life. The conversion of Daryush Valizadeh, known as “Roosh,” is an example that deserves some attention. It has received less, I think, at least partly because he has not become a Catholic, but joined the Armenian Apostolic Church, presumably because of his own religious and cultural heritage (he describes himself as half-Armenian and half-Iranian), and partly because he still harbors some peculiar views (more on that later). But it is still an astonishing turnaround. He announced his Christian commitment on March 29, 2019.
So what was he before? To put it bluntly, he made his living from fornication. On the basis of vast experience persuading women to sleep with him, he wrote books and gave talks and workshops about it, facilitating the sexual sins of other men. He was one of the premier “pick-up artists” of the world.
Continue reading.

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New Mass of Ages

In this issue:
• We celebrate the Ordination of four men, in the Traditional Rite, by Bishop Philip Egan in his Cathedral in Portsmouth • Joseph Shaw explains the ‘Confirmation slap’
• A selection of pictures from our recent pilgrimage to Holywell
• Maurice Quinn remembers the Dorset men who died for the Faith – the Chideock Martyrs
• Jonathan Luxmoore explains why Polish Catholics rally to their Church undeterred by a new crisis
• Fr Lawrence Lew OP on the traditional liturgy and Catholic masculinity
• Joseph Shaw explains how Catholic Linguistic Survivals from the Ancient Liturgy are embedded in the fabric of our lives

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Friday, August 09, 2019

Schola Sainte-Cécile in England 2019

Programme                                                                             1 August 2019

Monday August the 19th
Oxford Oratory
Oratory Church of St Aloysius Gonzaga, 25 Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HA
by courtesy of the Fathers of the Oratory and Fr Oliver Craddock, Cong.Orat., Prefect of Music
6:30 pm       Vespers and benediction (Trad Roman Rite - 2nd Vespers of St John Eudes)

Tuesday August the 20th
Balliol College chapel
The Broad, Oxford OX1 3BJ
by courtesy of the Revd Dr Bruce Kinsey, Chaplain, Balliol College.
9:30 am       Solemn mass of St Bernard of Clairvaux (Trad Roman Rite)

Wednesday August the 21st
Oxford Oratory
11:00 am     Solemn mass of St Jeanne de Chantal (Trad Roman Rite)

2:00 pm       Visit to Littlemore
International Centre of Newman Friends, 9 College Lane, Littlemore, Oxford OX4 4LQ
Blessed Newman commemoration and devotions

Balliol College chapel
6:30 pm       Vespers (Sarum Rite - of the Octave of Assumption, memory of the Martyrs Timotheus and Symphorian)

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Review of Stephen Bullivant in Catholic Herald

I'm late posting this on here but my latest in the Catholic Herald is a review of Mass Exodus by Stephen Bullivant. It begins:

Was Vatican II in some way responsible for declining Catholic practice and “affiliation” (people calling themselves Catholics), or is this phenomenon a matter of trends beyond the Church’s control? Focusing on Britain and the United States, Professor Stephen Bullivant, a sociologist of religion at St Mary’s University, London, presents the evidence with precision, while still producing a highly readable book. The thesis of Mass Exodus is that the Church, like other ecclesial bodies, has clearly faced considerable headwinds since the 1960s as a result of wider social forces, but has also made things worse for itself.

Bullivant’s analysis revolves around three key sociological concepts. The first is the role of networks in nurturing belief, or “social network theory”. The denser the social network of believers, the more they are connected with each other (as opposed to non-believers), and the lower will be the rate of lapsation and disaffiliation. The Amish, for example, with their distinctive way of life and close-knit community, have a very low level of disaffiliation. Catholics were never like them, but up to the 1960s there was, to some degree, a “Catholic ghetto” in both the US and Britain where, in a hostile world, they had social support from fellow believers. The community was marked out by customs such as eating fish on Friday, distinctive forms of worship and spirituality, and interest in a common history, particularly of persecution.

Carry on reading.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Two ideas for stemming lapsation

My latest on LifeSiteNews.
Contemplating the problems in the Church today, I feel like the countryman in the joke about the stranger asking for directions. 'If I were going there,' he replies, 'I wouldn't start from here.'
I wouldn't start from a situation in which, because of fifty years of bad or absent catechesis, some people walk out of church if they hear a sermon which talks about moral issues. I wouldn't start from a situation in which, because of fifty years of poor and occasionally sacrilegious liturgy, some people walk out because they see anything redolent of reverence or tradition.
We are where we are. How could we begin to make things better, without making things too much worse in the short term? Bearing in mind that if you make things too much worse in the short term, you lose your chance to persist in the experiment for the long term.
Here are a couple of ideas. If implemented, they would drive some people out: but any policy will do that, including the policy of no policy, just leaving things alone. The hope is that with the right ideas, a counter-trend of growth might be established.
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I have now written short reviews here of both of Professor Stephen Bullivant’s books: one on a recent survey of lapsed Catholics for the Diocese of Portsmouth in England, the other an in-depth discussion of the sociology of Catholics leaving the Church. These form the background to my consideration, today, of what the Church can do to stem the tide of lapsation, which continues, notwithstanding Catholic immigration into both the U.K. and the USA, which flatters the overall numbers.
Prof. Bullivant asked the lapsed Catholics who completed the Portsmouth survey the simple question: “Can you imagine yourself returning to the Church? If so, what specific things might the Church do to help towards this?”
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Monday, July 22, 2019

AGM Mass in Westminster Cathedral

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I've been reading in the archive of the Catholic Herald about the first ever Mass for the Latin Mass Society to mark an Annual General Meeting: in June 1972. You can read it here. 2,700 people packed the Cathedral for the Mass and 400 attended the AGM itself afterwards.

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People are not quite so starved of the Traditional Mass today, and this one Mass doesn't attractice such an enormous crowd. About that many people, by my estimation, attend a Latin Mass on any given Sunday. Many of those at the Mass in 1972 probably hadn't attended any for a year or more. Indeed, most Masses were celebrated in the vernacular from 1965, and at the same time the rubrics and prayers began to chance quite radically.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Why do people lapse? More from Stephen Bullivant

My latest on LifeSiteNews. This post focuses on a shorter book of Prof Bullivant, which has also come out this year. One of the interesting and perhaps counter-intuitive results of the survey of lapsed Catholics he carried out for Portsmouth Diocese is that the lapsed are not all what you might call liberal ex-Catholics: they include a fair number of conservative or even traditionalist ex-Catholics. I think it might be tempting to think of the more conservative type of Catholic as the core vote who are least likely to leave, people with a higher level of committment. The truth is more complicated. People who want traditional liturgy, beautiful churches, and clear teaching, can lose heart and lapse. Indeed, 10% of respondents even agreed (or 'strongly agreed') with the statement 'I prefer the Latin Mass but there is none in my area.'

You know how many lapsed Catholics there are? The massive and authoritative British Social Attitudes Survey indicates that there are 3.7 million in the UK. If anything like 10% of these, plus who knows what percentage of practicing Catholics, prefer the Latin Mass, even when most Catholics under 70 do not even know what it is like, then our bishops are clearly missing a trick in not making sure it is available.

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Alongside his book Mass Exodus, which I discussed in another post, the British sociologist Professor Stephen Bullivant, with some co-authors, has published a shorter book titled Why Catholics Leave, What They Miss, and How They Might Return.This gives a summary of the results of a survey Prof Bullivant undertook for the diocese of Portsmouth in England, which appealed to people who had been baptized Catholic, but no longer attended Mass regularly. The survey was to help explain why people left. The results, from 256 respondents with some connection with Portsmouth diocese, are pretty interesting, if not always surprising.
One thing which emerges from the survey is how difficult it is to maintain the Faith today. The assumptions of the modern world, about sex before marriage and contraception, about homosexuality, about gender roles, and so on, are deeply unfriendly to Catholic teaching and practice: only deep commitment will withstand the constant attrition of the secular media, friends, college professors, government policies, and so on.
This is no secret, of course: so how has the Church responded? Many in senior positions are convinced that to teach sound doctrine, from the pulpit or in catechism class, would drive people away. They reason that it is easier for Catholics influenced by modern attitudes to sex and gender, for example, to keep coming to church if they are not confronted by the Church’s hard teachings. This approach was first applied to the condemnation of contraception by Pope Paul VI in his 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae; it is sometimes called the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. It seems to apply to great swathes of doctrine today. 
Carry on reading.

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Prof Bullivant on What Went Wrong after Vatican II

I'm going to be writing more about Prof Bullivant's new book, Mass Exodus, which examines the catastrophic decline of Catholic affiliation and practice since the Second Vatican Council, from a sociological point of view.

Here is a piece I have written for LifeSiteNews.

In a newly published book, Mass Exodus: Catholic Disaffiliation in Britain and America Since Vatican II, Professor Stephen Bullivant has explored in detail what went wrong with the Church after the Second Vatican Council, from the point of view of the sociology of religion. The sociological, as opposed to the supernatural, perspective has its limitations, but we should hear what it has to say.
I want to explore just one aspect of Bullivant’s argument (I heartily recommend the book for those interested in more). He introduces readers to the well-established theory of the “social network effect” in sustaining a world view. Simply put, if all your neighbors are Catholics, it is easier to remain a Catholic yourself. If you meet fellow worshipers from your parish in your workplace, in local shops, and in your leisure pursuits, if you read Catholic news sources, and if you are surrounded by Catholic devotional statues and holy pictures, the Catholic worldview will begin to seem not just one option among many, but the obvious way to look at things. Doubts can be answered or ignored. Going to church is just what everyone does. Examples of personal holiness and self-sacrifice for the Faith are easy to witness and to give.
Carry on reading.

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Monday, July 15, 2019

LMS Latin Course: book now

For details and booking see the LMS website here.

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Dates: 29th July to 2nd August 2019

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.

Monday, July 08, 2019

The Dominican Rite in Cambridge

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On Sunday, a First Holy Communion took me to Cambridge Blackfriars, a place I have not visited before. The Dominican priory churches in Oxford, London, and Leicester, where I have attended Mass, are large and impressive neo-gothic buildings; for various reasons the Cambridge Blackfriars is very modest. The chapel was, I am told, originally intended as a lecture-room, but plans for a chapel elsewhere were shelved for various reasons.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Friars ordained by Bishop Egan: photos

Last night Bishop Philip Egan ordained four members of the Franciscan community based in Gosport, in his cathedral in Portsmouth: St John's. I was there.

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The community at Gosport is called the Family of Mary Immaculate and St Francis. This is an institute of diocesan right established by Bishop Egan, and the superior is Fr Serafino Lanzetta. At their parish in Gosport, which comprises St Mary's and St Columba's churches, they celebrate both Forms of the Roman Rite. The ordinations took place in the older Rite. The new priests are Fr Philomeno and Fr Rosario, who will be familiar to readers who have attended the LMS Walsingham Pilgrimage, and Fr Faustino and Fr Michele.

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Saturday, June 22, 2019

Is this a persecution of the Old Mass?

My latest on LifeSiteNews.

I have been reflecting on Henry Sire’s article about the recent decision by the Grand Master of the Order of Malta to ban the celebration of the Traditional Mass in the Order. He seeks to debunk the idea that the former Grand Master, Fra’ Matthew Festing, who likes the Traditional Mass, was seeking to impose this Mass onto everyone in the Order, and was simultaneously trying to create (along with Cardinal Burke, the Order’s Cardinal Patron), a center of opposition to Pope Francis and all he stands for.
This narrative is set out with great enthusiasm, but absolutely no evidence, by Christopher Lamb of the UK’s liberal Catholic weekly The Tablet, and by Austin Ivereigh, the English biographer of Pope Francis, among others. Sire points out (to simplify) that Festing believed that Pope Francis had ordered him to deal with the problem of his subordinate, Albrecht von Boeselager, distributing condoms as part of the Order’s charitable works. Festing was forced out (according to Sire) by an alliance between Boeselager and Cardinal Parolin, the powerful Secretary of State, who had a common interest in stopping the Order of Malta disputing the way a large sum of money, supposedly left to the Order, was being distributed.

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Successful book launch


Thanks to everyone who joined us at the launch for The Case for Liturgical Restoration in the St Wilfrid Hall at the London Oratory.


We were joined by Felipe Suarez, President of the Una Voce Federation (FIUV). It is him on the left in the top picture.

Friday, June 21, 2019

The Order of Malta: article in the Catholic Herald


I'm on the front cover of the Catholic Herald this weekend. My article begins:

Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre, the Grand Master of the Order of Malta, has informed members that henceforth all Masses celebrated in the context of Order events must be celebrated according to the Ordinary Form: that is to say, there must be no more Traditional Latin (Extraordinary Form) Masses.

This will come as a heavy blow to many of those associated with the Order in England and Wales, where it has long had celebrations in both Forms. It is one more example of an ongoing problem, however: that even as the Church’s ancient liturgy becomes more and more a normal part of Catholic life around the world, some religious orders have found it difficult to handle.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Statement of the FIUV on the Order of Malta

I neglected to post this on my blog until now. Edward Pentin also has an article about the issue here.


Rome, June 13, 2019

The FIUV notes with regret the letter, dated 10th June, from Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre, Grand Master of the Sovereign Military and Hospitaler Order of St John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes, and of Malta (the ‘Order of Malta’), forbidding the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass (the Extraordinary Form) in the context of the Order’s liturgical life.

Since this letter has become public, we would like to observe that it does not accurately present the provisions of Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Letter, given motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum. Article 3, cited in the Grand Master’s letter, explicitly allows religious communities to have not only private but conventual celebrations of Mass in the Extraordinary Form, without reference to the Major Superior (in the case of the Order of Malta, the Grand Master or the Prelate). His permission is required only in cases where the community ‘wishes to have such celebrations frequently, habitually or permanently’.

The Grand Master’s letter also neglects the right of the faithful, from which the religious and lay members of the Order of Malta are not excluded, from requesting celebrations of Mass in the Extraordinary Form (Article 4). Celebrations in the context of special occasions such as pilgrimages are explicitly anticipated (Article 5 §3). Pastors and rectors of churches are directed to accede to such requests (Article 5, §1 and §5).

The Federation would like to emphasise that the Extraordinary Form is a part of the liturgical patrimony of the Church which represents ‘riches’ for the Church, which should not be neglected or excluded, and certainly not on the basis of a narrow conception of unity which excludes the variety of liturgical expressions permitted in the Church. As Pope Benedict expressed it:

‘These two expressions of the Church’s lex orandi will in no way lead to a division in the Church’s lex credendi (rule of faith); for they are two usages of the one Roman rite.’ (Summorum Pontificum, Preamble)

Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce


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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Feminine modesty: the third-rail issue claims another victim


My latest on LifeSiteNews.

Last week saw the deletion of another Twitter account by someone who aroused the anger of the mob. Fr. Kevin Cusick deleted his account when, after tweeting about the importance of modest attire in church, he was overwhelmed by angry responses. Actually, “angry” was not the right word. It was deranged.

Twitter’s moderators inevitably found that Fr. Cusick has breached their rules.

In explaining why women should cover their shoulders, Fr. Cusick volunteered the suggestion that it was for the benefit of men who are otherwise distracted during Mass. This fits the same pattern of thought expressed by Maryann White, a mother who wrote to a Notre Dame student paper that the leggings worn by some female students in the Notre Dame Basilica distracted her sons. White also suffered a huge social media backlash. The more substantial objection made against both Fr. Cusick and Mrs. White is also that made against the judges or police officers who occasionally make the mistake of warning women that they increase the chance of being raped by wearing practically nothing, late at night, in less salubrious city districts, while under the influence of alcohol.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Summorum Pontificum at the Order of Malta?

Fr Zuhlsdorf has this remarkable letter from the Grand Master of the Order of Malta banning celebrations of the Traditional Mass at their events.


I wonder if the misspelling of the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontific[i]um is a cunning ruse to stop recipients googling Article 3. Here it is, anyway:

Art. 3. If communities of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, whether of pontifical or diocesan right, wish to celebrate the conventual or community Mass in their own oratories according to the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal, they are permitted to do so. If an individual community or an entire Institute or Society wishes to have such celebrations frequently, habitually or permanently, the matter is to be decided by the Major Superiors according to the norm of law and their particular laws and statutes.
So, no, it doesn't say that in order to have celebration of the EF in the context of religious communities the permission of the Superior is necessary.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Hospital fined for false imprisonment

I wrote this for LifeSite News a while ago but forgot to link to it from here.

Last weekend, a British newspaper reported on a legal first: A hospital was fined for “false imprisonment”; that is, for refusing to allow a patient to leave.
The details are complicated, but certain facts stand out.
The patient was unable to make decisions for herself, but devoted family members — two of whom were medically qualified — visited her daily. Doctors had written on the patient’s notes that the issue of her discharge was not to be discussed with them, however. The final act of the drama was her transfer to a nursing home without the family’s knowledge, let alone agreement, where she died shortly afterward.
Read it all there.

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Thursday, June 06, 2019

Do Traditional Catholics worship ash?

My latest on LifeSiteNews.

On the plane back from Romania, Pope Francis responded to a question about Pope Benedict, who, he said, he thought of as a wise old grandfather. He then spoke about the nature of tradition:
Speaking of tradition, [the composer Mahler] said that tradition is the guarantee of the future and not the keeper of ashes. It is not a museum. Tradition does not preserve ashes; the nostalgia of fundamentalists [is] to return to the ashes. No, tradition is the roots that guarantee the tree grows, flowers and gives fruit. 
Pope Francis is here freely combining two images: Mahler’s, and one of his own, of tradition as a root or source for what we do. In Evangelii Gaudium he expressed it slightly differently, in relation to evangelization:
Nor should we see the newness of this mission as entailing a kind of displacement or forgetfulness of the living history which surrounds us and carries us forward.
Tradition, memory, history, give energy to even the perpetually new enterprise of evangelization.
Mahler’s dictum says something similar. The original German is “Tradition ist nicht die Anbetung der Asche, sondern die Weitergabe des Feuers”: that is, tradition is not the worship of ash, but the passing on of flames. 
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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Fr Lawrence Lew: talk in London on Friday

Fri 31 May: Fr Lawrence Lew OP will speak on 'The Traditional Liturgy and Lay Men in the Church'

This is one of the Iota Unam talks; it will start at 7pm in the basement of Our Lady of the Assumption, Warwick Street. Doors open at 6:30pm.

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

(click for a map)

Please use the Golden Square entrance.

The talk will be preceded by drinks and followed by questions and a recitation of Compline of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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Sunday, May 19, 2019

Letter in the Tablet

Google images suggests that Fr Baldovin favours
the 'tab' collar, when he's not in a
jacket and tie.
This weekend I have a letter in The Tablet. Last week they carried a strange lament by an aging liberal, Fr John Baldovin SJ, complaining about the traditional tendencies of young Jesuits: I assume his experience is of the USA. Since the formation of these men is in the hands of his own generation, it must feel like a bit of a failure. He informs Tablet readers that he has to spend ages explaining to these youngsters that the Traditional Mass and associated things like the Roman collar (horrors!) are bad because they carry with them the baggage of an 'insular' conception of the Church from before the Council. Alas, he doesn't have space to explain exactly what that means or how it works. Why prayers composed in the 7th century, for example, or ceremonies developed in the 12th, are all about the Church of the 1950s.

They have published my response.

Fr John Baldovin SJ (11th May) makes a surprising criticism of the ancient Latin Mass: that it brings with it a ‘insular’ vision unsuited to mission. Is this not the Mass which converted Latin America, which established the Church in Imperial China, and which was equally at home at the court of Louis XIV, and the mission stations of Africa?

The astonishing breadth of historical and cultural circumstances in which the Church’s venerable Latin liturgy has sustained martyrs and formed saints reflects both the long and varied period in which it was developed, and also an attitude, which it encourages, towards the liturgy as something objective, given to us, and precisely not specially adapted to our personal needs and circumstances.

The reformed Mass, by contrast, not only relies more heavily on the personality of the celebrant, but [inevitably] bears the marks of its creators’ interests and concerns. These are those of a small group of mainly European liturgists, whose ideas formed in the 1940s and ‘50s. To the younger generation of traditionally-inclined priests who cause Fr Baldovin such concern, the Mass these men produced looks about as up-to-date as the transistor radio.


The Letters Editor cut out the word 'inevitably', making me sound a little less reasonable, a little more hostile. When trying to win the argument about the Mass, every advantage is worth having, isn't it?

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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Review of Mosebach "Subversive Catholicism"

This was commissioned by, and is printed in, the European Conservative, a journal of which I had not previously been aware.
The book is Martin Mosebach Subversive Catholicism, a collection of essays, which you can buy from Angelico Press (which also pubishes a revisised edition of his Heresy of Formlessless) or Amazon.

Here's the beginning:

In 2006 Martin Mosebach sprang to fame, in the English-speaking world, as the author of The Heresy of Formlessness. It was a defence of the ancient Latin liturgical tradition of the Catholic Church: the liturgical tradition which had been celebrated by all western Catholic priests until just 40 years earlier, had provided the spiritual roots for the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, had sustained the martyrs of the Nazi and Communist prison camps, and had inspired the Church’s greatest artists, poets, and musicians.

That such a phenomenon as the ancient Roman Rite should find a conservative defender might not seem surprising, but at that time this form of the liturgy had become a kind of forbidden fruit, something which conservatives who wished to be taken seriously as mainstream figures had ritually to disavow. In this context, it was little short of astonishing that Mosebach’s volume of reflections would be published by Ignatius Press, a conservative American Catholic publisher which had made the avoidance of this ‘third-rail’ issue the key to its intellectual respectability.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

The book of the Position Papers is now available

Long-term readers will remember the series of short 'Position Papers' I published on behalf of the FIUV--Una Voce International--on a variety of subjects about the ancient Mass, both aspects of it which need to be explained to those unfamiliar with it, and ways in which it can assist the Church in evagelisation.

These papers, gathered together and thoroughly revised, are now available as a book from Angelico Press, with a Preface by Cardinal Burke.

I will be organising book launch events in Oxford, London, and Rome.

You can buy them from the Latin Mass Society in England, from Angelico Press in the USA, and from Amazon.

the-case-for-liturgical-restoration cover

The Case for Liturgical Restoration

Una Voce Studies on the Traditional Latin Mass

EDITED BY JOSEPH SHAW

Preface by Raymond Cardinal Burke

432 pages
Paper (ISBN 978-1-62138-440-3): $19.95 / £16.50
Cloth (ISBN 978-1-62138-441-0): $30.00 / £24.00

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Can we accuse the Pope of heresy?

My latest on LifeSiteNews.

For any Catholic of the last two or three centuries, the idea that one might accuse the Pope of heresy seems almost unthinkable: almost a contradiction in terms. The Holy Father is the guarantor of the Faith, the recipient of the gift of infallibility; union with the Pope is union with the Church.
Nevertheless, it is not quite unthinkable.
When Jesus Christ gave St Peter the Keys, to bind and loose, and the guarantee that the gates of Hell would not prevail over the Church which would be built upon the ‘rock’ of Peter (Matthew 16:18-19), the very next thing he said to him was to call him ‘Satan’ (Matthew 16:23), for trying to divert Christ’s mission in a worldly direction. When the Risen Christ gave St Peter the mission of feeding his sheep, he did so in the context of a thrice-repeated question, ‘Do you love me?’ (John 21:15-17), a question recalling, and undoing, St Peter’s thrice-repeated denial of Christ in the house of the High Priest (John 18:17, 25-27).
We are called to accept this painful paradox, of the Pope’s supreme spiritual authority, and his infallibility in solemn acts of teaching, along with his limitations as a member of the fallen human race. History tells us that popes have been guilty of all kinds of sins, including sins against the Faith. It is unsurprising that popes have tended to be theologically sound, politically astute, and morally upright. But there is no supernatural guarantee that they must be. 
The recently published letter accusing Pope Francis of the crime of heresy makes for uncomfortable reading. Most readers will know that Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (2016) contained passages which were troubling to many orthodox theologians. Many people, including me, thought that those passages could be explained in an orthodox sense. The difficulty with this approach, as time has worn on, is that Pope Francis has given no indication that such orthodox readings are correct. On the contrary, the whole tenor of papal remarks, documents of varying levels of official status, and the guidance given to and conclusions drawn from bishops’ synods in Rome, has tended to undermine those orthodox readings.
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Saturday, May 04, 2019

Don't modernise Notre Dame

My latest on LifeSiteNews

LifeSiteNews has a petition going to oppose the reconstruction of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, badly damaged in a fire, with modern additions. Ominously, President Emmanuel Macron has already opened a competition for architects to propose designs.
Like previous French presidents, Macron may well wish to leave a mark on a great historic building. President Mitterrand spoiled the classical masterpiece of the Louvre Palace, now a museum, with a much derided glass pyramid in the middle of the great courtyard and added insult to injury by obliging visitors to use it as the entrance.
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Friday, April 26, 2019

Rigid Catholics: a talk in London

Corrected time: 7pm (door open at 6:30pm)

And I ask myself: Why so much rigidity? Dig, dig, this rigidity always hides something, insecurity or even something else. Rigidity is defensive. True love is not rigid.

I shall be giving a talk, 'Why do they call you rigid?', in London on Friday.

It is part of the Iota Unum series, and will take place at

7pm (door open at 6:30pm)

in the basement of Our Lady of the Assumption, Warwick Street, on Friday 26th (Easter Friday).

Access via the basement steps from Golden Square (map).

£5 on the door; drinks provided.

I shall be discussing the development of the notion of psychological rigidity from the 1930s, the way the theory has been used, problems with the theory, its relationship with the Catholic faith, and how one can respond when accused of rigidity.

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Thursday, April 25, 2019

Easter Triduum in London: photos

I have processed my photographs from the Easter Triduum at St Mary Moorfields in London, which were organised by the Latin Mass Society. Here are some highlights; click through to find the whole set.

Maundy Thursday: the Mandatum
IMG_3412

Maundy Thursday is always well attended. The church was packed.
IMG_3437