Seeing lamp posts, poles carrying street signs, parking-ticket machines, benches, post boxes and so on covered in stickers, some partially torn off by irritated humans or the effects of the weather, contributes to an impression of lawlessness and neglect. Along with litter from fast-food outlets blowing about the gutters and homeless people sitting in doorways, central Oxford, which is of course a World Heritage Site, can look pretty slummy. Perhaps the police really do have more pressing priorities, but it doesn’t take much imagination to anticipate the consequences of allowing one side in the most contentious cultural issue of the day to have the run of public spaces for their propaganda, in a city full of students. Yes, someone is going to go into competition.
- Clerical abuse
- Conservative critics of the EF
- Correctio Filialis
- FIUV Position Papers
- Historical and Liturgical Issues
- Liberal critics of the EF
- Marriage & Divorce
- New Age
- Pope Francis
- Reform of the Reform
- Young people
Thursday, December 03, 2020
Wednesday, December 02, 2020
|Another image from the Bedford Pilgrimage|
Saturday, November 28, 2020
|The 'commixtum': High Mass for the LMS Pilgrimage|
to Our Lady of Guadaloupe at Bedford
Having been “cancelled” by various charities and academic institutions for racism, David Starkey has taken to a new, British, anti-woke magazine, The Critic, to snipe against the “trans” phenomenon, as the champion of common sense against the “experts”. How does he do this? By comparing gender ideology to Catholicism.
In case anyone of intellectual self-respect was inclined to feel sorry for Starkey, allow me to fisk this strange article for you. The idea, you see, is that when transsexuals tell us that they can change sex just by saying so, so the Church says that the bread and wine is changed into the Body and Blood of Christ just by a priest saying some words. This is terribly neat because Starkey can then say that trans ideology is taking us “back to the Middle Ages”.
Monday, November 23, 2020
|Viewing Mass through the window at the back of SS Gregory & Augustine, in Oxford|
Some people are excited about a post-Covid future, since the epidemic and government responses to it have had some good results, such as cleaner air, and have speeded up some processes they regard as positive, such as a move of economic activity online. For the World Economic Forum, which may perhaps be beginning to regret popularizing the phrase “the Great Reset” (too late now), a bright future beckons. All we need to do is “adapt”. Well, I don’t mind if some tedious and pointless meetings in the future take place online, and if that means that some people take fewer long-haul flights, that’s great. But I’m not sure they have really thought about the cost.
Monday, November 16, 2020
John Mulholland (Letters 7th Nov) regrets the lack of a memorial to both Catholic and Protestant ‘martyrs’ in our cathedrals. Having lived with such a monument in Oxford’s University Church for some years now, I cannot agree.
As well as obvious candidates like Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley and a number of canonised Catholics, this large and expensive memorial lists Catholics who took up arms in the local version of the Prayer Book Rebellion in 1549, who were executed by Cranmer’s regime, Archbishop Laud, executed by Protestant zealots, and Stephen College, a co-conspirator with Titus Oates, executed by the spiritual heirs of Laud.
I think College’s name alone renders this memorial deeply embarrassing, not to say insulting, but the alternating rounds of persecution it recalls raises deeper questions. Do we really want to say that the persecutors of the Prayer Book rebels, or of later Protestant non-conformists, or of High Churchmen, were sanctified simply by the fact that the wind changed direction and the law caught up with them?
It is surely a good principle that people should not be commemorated together who would not wish to be. Putting Thomas Cranmer alongside Edmund Campion may make us feel virtuous, but it is an historical falsehood. As Mgr Ronald Knox pointed out, ‘Each of them died in the belief that he was bearing witness to the truth; and if you accept both testimonies indiscriminately, then you are making nonsense of them both.’
Wednesday, November 04, 2020
You can read a good dal about the response of the Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce (FIUV) to the survey of the world's bishops on the Traditional Mass carried out by the CDF earlier this year in the newly published magazine of the FIUV: Gregorius Magnus 10.
Having recently returned from Rome, I can say from multiple sources that what the bishops have said about the EF in their dioceses is not all negative by any means, and no one seems to expect any bad outcomes from this survey. Nevertheless, the FIUV has also presented the CDF with a report, covering 364 dioceses from 52 countries, of the experiences of the traditional faithful, whether in enjoying the Traditional Mass or merely asking for it, to supplement the perspective of the world's bishops.
Gregorius Magnus also has much else of interest which I hope readers will appreciate, including extracts from traditional Catholic magazines from around the world, some published in English for the first time.
It is now available as a pdf here.
Monday, November 02, 2020
|A be-masked Supply of Ceremonies Omitted in the Private Baptism|
in Oxford last weekend.
A lot of people are very upset about the obligation to wear masks, particularly in church. Certainly, there is something a bit weird and oppressive about being obliged, nor for any religious or symbolic reason—for example as a sign of mourning—to cover one’s face, and to see everyone around one doing the same. I can’t say I’m happy about my four-month old baby not being able to see me smiling at her during Mass.
Perhaps the public health arguments in favor of masks are justified, and perhaps they are not. I’m not qualified to take a view on that, but equally I’m not one to insist on the most stringent interpretation of the rules where there is room for maneuvre.
What I determined to do, however, is to make the most of what freedom there is to maintain my own sacramental life, and to help others to do the same. The Latin Mass Society is organizing and facilitating events to the maximum amount allowed. Most parishes and dioceses are doing the same. If the Government says something is allowed, after all, then it is allowed.
Friday, October 30, 2020
On 6 October 2020, the Children’s Commissioner told the Committee that the Department for Education (DfE) has committed to introduce a compulsory register of home-educated children. She also insisted that the DfE should introduce termly inspections of home-educating families.
This will inevitably result in state interference in what and how parents teach their children at home, in the same way that the RSE and LGBT agendas have been imposed on schools.
The Christian Institute have produced a very good short briefing on the matter setting out the key issues at stake and suggestions of best way to respond in the consultation:
The consultation itself is here (I understand the proposals only apply to England though anyone can respond):
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Some weird things have been happening online recently. If you search for certain words or phrases on Google, you are directed not to the website or news story about the thing you are searching for, but a series of sources attacking or debunking it. When you try to post about certain things on Twitter or Facebook, your followers see your words accompanied by a link to an article attacking what, according to some algorithm, you may be promoting, or else you can find yourself suspended or banned from the platform.
I’m not talking about searching for racist political parties, pornography, or how to make a bomb. This happened to the ‘Great Barrington Declaration’, a statement by a group of scientists about government policy on the coronavirus. Even with the weight of the New York Post behind it, a major story about Hunter Biden, the son of the Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden, disappeared from social media and Google results. Even tweets by President Donald Trump have been vanishing. Rather than expressing concern over this, or countering its effects, mainstream media outlets have in many cases been following the tech companies’ lead in burying particular stories.
Friday, October 02, 2020
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Below is a piece I've written for LifeSite on the campaign against Sex Education in Catholic schools. Our Coalition in Defence of Primary Educators now has a website, and with LifeSite we have created the following video.
Last week, on the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary, I knelt with two others in front of Westminster Cathedral, the magnificent Byzantine-style mother-church of the premier diocese of England and Wales, and the seat of Britain’s only Cardinal, Vincent Nichols. We prayed the Rosary together for our bishops. We had already written to them: we, and supporters or our three organisations, which have come together for this cause—the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, Catholic Man UK, and the Latin Mass Society, of which I am the Chairman—and we received formulaic responses from most of them, telling us that everything will be fine.
But it is already not fine, and we can all read for ourselves the legislation and official guidance which will before long be enforced on schools under our bishops’ authority, which will make things even less fine. For this legislation is imposing a program of “Personal, Health, and Sex Education” (PHSE) which demands that choosing not to kill the child in the womb is just one acceptable option among others, and that Christian marriage is just one life-style choice alongside same-sex unions, and every other possibility. We know from the lesson-plans, produced not only by the Government but by the Bishops’ own agency, the Catholic Education Service, that children in schools claiming to be Catholic and funded in part by Catholic offertory collections are already bullying, browbeating, and shaming children who dare to give voice to their instinctive regard for natural marriage. This approach will be rolled out and enforced with greater and greater rigor when the new legislation comes into force next year, after a delay caused by the Coronavirus.
Monday, September 21, 2020
Classical pianist Matthew Schellhorn founded the prize in 2014 in memory of his parents to foster artistic endeavour and encourage excellence in the Sacred Liturgy. The inaugural Prize was awarded in 2015 and was won by Marco Galvani.
The Schellhorn Prize for Sacred Music Composition competition is announced for 2020 and will be held in December with the winning entry performed on Christmas Eve.
The panel of judges for the 2020 Prize will include:
Mr Matthew Schellhorn (Chairman)
Diana Burrell (composer)
Marco Galvani (composer; Yehudi Menuhiin School)
Dr Peter Kwasniewski (composer)
Professor Nicola Lefanu (composer)
Mr Andrew Morris (Pastmaster, Worshipful Company of Musicians)
Mr Tim Watts (composer; Affiliated Lecturer, Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge & Sub-Director of Studies in Music and Teaching Associate, St John’s College, Cambridge)
The Schellhorn Prize for Sacred Music Composition is supported by The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales.
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
|Westminster Cathedral: the LMS Annual Requiem|
The saga of Westminster Cathedral Choir School claimed a fresh victim last week with the of another senior employee, the Music Administrator Madeleine Smith. Like the Director of Music, Martin Baker, she was unhappy about the sidelining of the choir at England’s premier Catholic Cathedral. Baker late last year, and was absent from Christmas services. There was no official explanation, and he has not been replaced. What is going on?
Westminster Cathedral Choir is served by men and boys, in the ancient Catholic tradition. The boys attend a school set up specially for them by Cardinal Vaughan, the founder of the Cathedral, in 1902. He wanted to have something in his new Cathedral equivalent to the great choirs of the Anglican Cathedrals, which commonly have their own schools—boarding schools—so the boys can be recruited from a wide area and are available to sing on Sundays. Vaughan’s vision was realized, and Westminster Cathedral Choir is famous. It is, or was until recently, at least as good as the best Anglican Cathedral choirs, such as those of Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s, and in the context of the global melt-down of Catholic sacred music since the 1960s, it was regarded as the best Catholic Cathedral choir in the world. Westminster Cathedral was the only Catholic Cathedral in the world to have a Sung Mass every single day: again, until recently.
Monday, September 14, 2020
Saturday, September 12, 2020
Friday, September 11, 2020
Thursday, September 10, 2020
OPEN LETTER OF APPEAL TO DOWNSIDE
On behalf of untold people throughout the world I write to appeal against the monks of Downside surrendering to the current zeitgeist and leaving their monastery. Downside is part of the fabric of English Catholic history. The restoration of the Catholic Church and of monasticism is one of the great victories of Grace after the horrendous rape and interruption by Henry VIII in the 16th Century. We appeal against this decision in the face of a more insidious enemy: that of secularism, relativism and modernism which destroys the Church from within.
Surrendering does not solve the problem. We have faced enemies before and a flight or dispersal to another location(s) is simply the recipe for swift extinction as we have seen previously (Fort Augustus and countless female communities). Have we no faith in the grace of God and the irresistible attraction to the consecrated life and the eternal truth of the Catholic Church?
Wednesday, September 09, 2020
Friday, September 04, 2020
|The mighty Abbey Church at Downside, where Bishop Schneider celebrated the EF|
for the Latin Mass Society's Priest Training Conference in 2010.
Wednesday, September 02, 2020
|High Mass of Requiem for Colin Mawby, Patron of the Latin Mass Society,|
in St Mary Moorfield, shortly before the Coronavirus epidemic.
Q. Isn't the intellectual conception behind this dedication to the Tridentine Mass just another form of "antiquarianism"?
Joseph Shaw: ...The question can be approached from a subjective or an objective perspective. Subjectively, it is legitimate to ask what forms of liturgy and what devotions are most helpful to souls. Some may be of particular benefit to some Catholics, and others to others. Some like the Divine Office, or the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady, but they are not compulsory, and to say one legitimate devotion or liturgical form is outdated or inappropriate for the current year is ridiculous. If it has been approved the Church, and someone finds it helpful, that is all that needs to be said.
Monday, August 31, 2020
|Bust of St John Henry Newman in lay clothes in The College, Littlemore|
Friday, August 28, 2020
Thursday, August 27, 2020
Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Every year since 2010 the Latin Mass Society has had a walking pilgrimage from Ely to Walsingham, which is about 60 miles, for the conversion of England. This year we can't do it because of the Coronavirus: it would have taken place this weekend. Instead we are doing an online version, which you can take part in not only as a participant in live-streamed Masses and devotions, spanning the Shrine of Our Lady of Willesden, Our Lady of the English Margyrs in Cambridge, and the Slipper Chapel in Walsingham, the restored Catholic shrine to Our Lady of Walsingham.
Futhermore, you can join our prayer and penance by actually walking - whereever you are.
How will it work?
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Friday, August 21, 2020
LMS WALSINGHAM VIRTUAL PILGRIMAGE Friday 28th to Sunday 30th August
Every year for the last 10 years the Latin Mass Society has held an annual Pilgrimage to Walsingham, walking from Ely in Cambridgeshire to Walsingham in Norfolk over three days during the August Bank Holiday weekend. This year, because of the Covid-19 Pandemic, we have decided to continue this tradition but this year it is to be a virtual pilgrimage from Willesden in north London to Walsingham, and we invite you to get involved.
How will it work?
We invite you to join the walk in your own locations; Willesden to Walsingham is 118 miles. We need pilgrims to pledge to walk a distance during the Pilgrimage, which can be anything from half a mile to 100 miles! You can do your own pilgrimage in your back garden, in your street or even the local countryside, wherever you are in the world and whatever feels safe and suits you. With as many pilgrims as possible signed up to the virtual pilgrimage, and all praying together, we can add up the total of the miles walked, along with rosaries said and songs sung, as we pray this August to Our Lady of Walsingham.
How can l sign up?
How do I participate as a walker?
We would then like to share your experiences during the Pilgrimage online and amongst our other pilgrims. If you are unable to join in with our walk then we hope you will pray for the pilgrims.
Thursday, August 20, 2020
Saturday, August 15, 2020
Friday, July 31, 2020
Dr John Lamont made the theological case against the infallible nature of decrees of canonisation on Rorate Caeli a couple of years ago: here's the first post, and here is a follow-up. The other day I stirred up Twitter by repeating some of his arguments and it didn't surprise me at all to see a fair amount of resistence to this idea from traditionally-inclined Catholics.
This follows very naturally from the fact that a lot of old books and old authorities say that canonisations are infallible. What one has to remember is that St Alphonsus and the rest used the term 'infallible' in a far looser way than Vatican I's definition, and when the term is used today it is that definition which tends to uppermost in our minds. Again, the process of determining the sanctity of individuals has been vastly, well, 'speeded up' would be a polite term. Saints generally needed four miracles to be canonised in the past, now they need two. And so on.
But I'm not going into all that again: Dr Lamont lays it all out. No one outside Twitter has ever seriously suggested that the infallibility of canonisations was itself a doctrine of the Church which requires the assent of Catholics. So we can agree to differ, as theologians in fact always have.
I want to point out something else which is of huge importance. The process of canonisation has always required money - the researchers have to be paid - and many of those canonised have well-funded supporters. Having rich chums does not in itself show that a person is not holy - even Christ had some rich friends, after all. But joined to a, ahem, streamlined process, there is a potential problem.
Thursday, July 30, 2020
|A Guild of St Clare Vestment Mending Day before the Coronavirus|
|The Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace|
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