Thursday, July 29, 2021

A reply to JD Flynn's attack on Cardinal Burke

Cardinal Raymond Burke in London, celebrating Mass for the
Latin Mass Society in Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane 2019 (photograph by John Aron).

Cross-posted from Rorate Caeli.

In the Pillar, JD Flynn criticises ‘the siren voices calling for disobedience, or casting into doubt the authority of the Vicar of Christ’. He has earlier quoted Cardinal Raymond Burke, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, and Bishop Robertus Mutsaerts, but he leaves it to his readers to connect what he quotes them as saying with ‘calls for disobedience’ and ‘casting into doubt the authority of the Vicar of Christ’. This seems on the face of it a serious injustice, and a failure to give these individuals the respect due to their office and indeed to every Catholic, who has a right to his good name: see Canon 220.

For readers such as myself to be expected to examine the quoted remarks and look for possible support of these serious allegations is ridiculous and an invitation to uncharity. Flynn does not even give us a clue which of the three is implicated in these two alleged offences. Indeed, it might even be that Flynn would, if challenged, refer us instead to the unnamed others he vaguely refers to in the course of the article. However, the insinuation remains, it is serious, and it should be withdrawn.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Latin Mass: no hysteria. A reply to David Gibson

Cross-posted on Rorate Caeli.

Update: since writing this Crisis Magazine has published a useful study on the recent growth of the Tradition Mass in the Unites States.

On a the website of Sapientia, which claims to be 'exploring Faith, Culture, and Society', a film-maker (yes) called David Gibson has written to debunk what he calls the 'hysteria' about Pope Francis' Apostolic Letter Traditionis Custodes.

Here is a brief response to his main points, which he lists as three 'misconceptions': 

First, the pope has not prohibited priests from saying Mass in Latin

Unlike under the other points, Gibson is unable to illustrate this with any quotations or links to people saying what he alleges supporters of the Traditional Mass are saying. Perhaps someone should point out to him that these Catholics are actually acutely aware of the difference between 'banning the Traditional Mass' and 'banning the Latin Novus Ordo': rather more sensitive than he is, in fact.

His debunking of what no-one is saying is backed up by an unintentionally amusing quotation:

“If you like the Latin Mass, you can keep the Latin Mass, because the Missal of Paul VI is the Latin Mass,” Adam Rasmussen, an adjunct professor of theology, wrote at the blog Where Peter Is

Monday, July 26, 2021

Traditionis Custodes: a disaster for interreligious dialogue and ecumenism

My latest on LifeSiteNews.

A key passage:

If [Fr Thomas] Reese [on NCR] is concerned about ecumenism and interreligious dialogue, then he is faced with a different kind of problem. Traditionis Custodes has set the Church’s relations with other religions back fifty years, and it is difficult to see how they will recover.

On interreligious dialogue, defined as discussions aimed at greater mutual understanding between the Church and non-Christian religions, the Apostolic Letter and the polemic being produced by Fr. Reese and others in its support is saying that a genuine engagement of the religious instinct is impossible through worship in a sacred language, using chant, complex ceremonies, elaborate vestments, and so on. That, as they say, is a point of view. But it is a point of view incompatible with taking seriously the search for God represented by Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, the Jain religion, Shamanic religions, and indeed practically any non-Christian religion you could mention. Sacred languages are found in all the major non-Christian religions — Hebrew, Sanskrit, and Classical Arabic most obviously — and sacred music, ritual, and clothing, in practically all of them.

How are Catholic interreligious dialoguers going to face their non-Christian friends the next time they meet? “It okay”, they might say. “It is only our own traditions which we fear and loath: We think yours are wonderful!” How credible is this going to be?

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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Keep calm and carry on: Server Training and Vestment Mending with the Latin Mass Society yesterday

The best way to respond to Traditionis Custodes is to carry on with the work of restoring Tradition. And that is exactly what the Latin Mass Society is doing.


We have good numbers for both our two practical events in St Mary Moorfields yesterday, the first since Covid: for the sewing it was a record, though it is a small scale event. Several new people came to the Guild of St Clare Vestment Mending Day and a great deal of sewing was done, bring many projects closer to completion and starting several new ones, to bring old vestments back into use for the Traditional Mass, repaired with skill, care, and love.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

LMS: Confirmations in London


The day after the publication of Traditionis Custodes, the Latin Mass Society-organised Confirmation service took place in St James', Spanish Place, in the Archdiocese of Westminster. For many years now--since before Summorum Pontificum, in fact--they have been providing an auxiliary bishop to give the Sacrament of Confirmation to people all over the country, and beyond. The Latin Mass Society advertises it, does the paper-work, and pays the (excellent) parish choir, so that Catholics attached to the older liturgy can receive this sacrament in that form in union with the bishops.


Thanks to Covid, the service, which usually takes place in November, did not happen in 2020, so this was a 'catch-up' one, and was smaller than usual. (This made the remaining Covid measures a lot easier to apply.) If there is demand, we'll try to organise another at the usual time of year as well.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Traditiones Custodes: unity vs. uniformity

My last on LifeSiteNews.

In his Letter to Bishops accompanying his Apostolic Letter Traditionis Custodes, among many things worthy of comment Pope Francis says that Pope Paul VI:

“declared that the revision of the Roman Missal, carried out in the light of ancient liturgical sources, had the goal of permitting the Church to raise up, in the variety of languages, ‘a single and identical prayer,’ that expressed her unity. This unity I intend to re-establish throughout the Church of the Roman Rite.”

This is a puzzling statement. First, “the Church of the Roman Rite” has many other liturgical books besides the standard edition of the Roman Rite. Second, the standard Roman Missal contains an enormous number of options, and hardly seems to be aiming at uniformity of prayer in the sense which seems to be intended in Pope Francis’ new letter. Third, the Second Vatican Council and the subsequent Papal Magisterium teach that liturgical uniformity is not necessary to the unity of the Church, but rather that the latter is best expressed in liturgical diversity.

Read it all there.

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Thursday, July 22, 2021

Canonical guidance on Traditionis Custodes from the Latin Mass Society

The 1962 Mass in the Chapel of the Throne, in St Peter's Basilica, Rome, celebrated by
Bishop Rey of Frejus, France, for the Summorum Pontificum Pilgrimage 2019.

With thanks to Edward Pentin for breaking the story on the National Catholic Register, with some helpful commentary, the Latin Mass Society is pleased to present the fruits of our consultations with a number of Canon lawyers, in a short document available on our website.

We have circulated this a little privately but we believe that it would be valuable to present it to the widest possible audience. It is clear to us that many bishops, priests, and lay Catholics, are finding it difficult to see exactly what the force of the Apostolic Letter might be.

It is our hope that the arguments contained in this Guidance will commend themselves to careful readers from across the spectrum of opinion, and contribute to a calm and reasoned discussion. 

Key points from the Guidance:

Fr Thomas Reese on Traditionis Custodes: fisked

(Cross-posted from Rorate Caeli)

Fr Reese's column is here. My comments in red.

Despite the recent decision of Pope Francis to curtail celebration of the Latin Mass, we are not going to see it disappear anytime soon for a simple reason: Local bishops can and will still permit it.

This is true

Francis' new rules on the old liturgy were laid out in Traditionis Custodes on July 16.

Unlike his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Francis is no fan of the pre-Vatican II liturgy. Like Pope Paul VI and most people in the church, Francis welcomed the liturgical reforms enacted by the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and believed the old liturgy would gradually fade away as Catholics who were raised with it died off.

Would ‘most people in the Church’ include the 50% or so who stopped going to church? Statistics of church attendance are unreliable but here’s something easy to count: marriage.

Catholic marriages as a percentage of all marriages in England and Wales (1913-2010)


Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Traditionis Custodes and Families

My latest in the magazine of Voice of the Family, Calx Maria.

The practical effects of Pope Francis’ new Apostolic Letter will no doubt vary from place to place, but one thing is clear: at the highest level, the pastoral solicitude of Pope John Paul II and above all of Pope Benedict XVI, towards Catholics attached to the ancient liturgical tradition, has been replaced at the highest level of the Church by an attitude of suspicion, and even of hostility.

I started attending the Traditional Mass in 2002, and so I had a taste of life before Pope Benedict. Ordinary Catholics, even quite conservative ones, would literally recoil in horror when they heard that I was attending the ancient Mass, regardless of the fact that it had the approval of the local bishop and was celebrated by a priest in good standing in the Church. Ferocious attacks on us appeared in mainstream and, again, conservative Catholic publications. This continued for some time even after 2007, but as time has worn on it has become less and less of a problem.

Read it all there.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Marian Franciscan Vocations retreat, August

This is a "Marian Franciscan" Vocation Discernment Retreat to be held on the weekend of the Solemnity of St. Maximilian Kolbe and the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven body and soul. 

This will be held in the Marian Home of Walsingham from 13th to 15th August at the Little Way Association. For those interested, and discerning a Franciscan Vocation, please either email or contact the Friars according to the details on the attached Flyer.  

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Monday, July 19, 2021

Who is Pope Francis punishing?

In his Apostolic Letter Traditionis Custodes and its covering letter, Pope Francis is introducing stringent new restrictions on the celebration of the ancient Latin Mass, now called not the Extraordinary Form but simply the 1962 Missal or “earlier Missal.”

Pope Francis writes, in the letter, that the use of the 1962 Missal is

often characterized by a rejection not only of the liturgical reform, but of the Vatican Council II itself, claiming, with unfounded and unsustainable assertions, that it betrayed the Tradition and the “true Church”.

Pope Francis indicates that this concern, and the desire for measures such as those he has adopted, has been expressed by bishops responding to the survey on the implementation of Summorum Pontificum which the Congregation for Divine Worship carried out in 2020. This is very surprising, since those who had sight of the results consistently reported that a great many bishops were positive about the place of the Old Mass in their diocese. Even the French bishops, whose rather negative collective response was leaked, had to acknowledge many positive aspects of the phenomenon, and concludes that “if it [Summorum Pontificum] honors a principle of reality, then a tireless work of unity is always necessary.” What the French bishops had in mind, to assist this “work of unity,” was things like reconciling the calendar and lectionary, issues which Pope Francis has not broached.

Read the whole things there.

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Friday, July 16, 2021

Some Comments on the Apostolic Letter Traditionis Custodes

This has already gone out by email to LMS supporters.

This document will be a grave disappointment to those many priests and lay Catholics who responded to the words of Pope St John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, who encouraged the use of the earlier liturgical tradition, calling it a ‘rightful aspiration’ and ‘riches’ for the Church, respectively. These Catholics have worked hard over many years, particularly since 2007, to build up the unity of the Church, which as the Second Vatican Council declared does not depend on liturgical uniformity but on unity of faith under the Pope (Sacrosanctum Concilium 37; Orientalium Ecclesiarum 2).

The provision that the EF not be celebrated in parish churches appears entirely unworkable, in the context of the careful provision which has been made over many years by bishops all over the world.

The overall negative judgement of the EF and the communities which attend it seems wholly unwarranted, and we would challenge any apologist for this document to produce real evidence that the EF has undermined the unity of the Church, compared, say, to the celebration of Eastern Rites in the West, the special liturgical celebrations of the Neocatechumenate, or the great variety of liturgical styles found in the context of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

In detail, looking at the provisions of the document:

Art 1: This appears to overturn Pope Benedict XVI’s claim that the Roman Rite can be considered as having two ‘Forms’, Ordinary and Extraordinary. The document adopts the terminology of ‘the 1962 Missal’.

Art 2: This rolls back the presumption of authorisation for the 1962 Missal which was created by Summorum Pontificum in 2007. However, that claim was based on the fact that the older Missal had never been abrogated. Since this document does not formally abrogate it, this creates a legal anomaly.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Requiem for Fr Anthony Conlon

As a priest, the catafalque (coffin stand with pall, representing the body)
has a chalice and paten, and biretta, on it.

Yesterday evening the Latin Mass Society arranged a High Mass of Requiem for our former National Chaplain, Fr Anthony Conlon (14th July 1947-19th April 2020). It took place in the church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory in Warwick Street. It was celebrated by the Parish Priest Fr Mark Elliot Smith assisted by Fr Stephen Morrison O.Praem and Fr Rupert McHardy Cong Orat, accompanied by Cantores Missae under Charles Finch. Arranged by the Latin Mass Society.

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

Concelebration: a new front in the liturgy wars?

Individual Masses at the LMS Priest Training
Conference in Prior Park a few years ago.

My latest on LifeSite.

The celebration of priests together, when two or more priests celebrate one Mass, has long caused controversy. For decades after the Second Vatican Council priests have felt under pressure to take part in “concelebrated” Masses instead of celebrating their own Mass, perhaps without a congregation. Concelebration is now being enforced in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, ending the long tradition of large numbers of priests celebrating individually at side altars. Now concelebration is being used as a weapon against priests who celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass: the Archbishop of Dijon, Roland Minerath, is ending the 23-year-old apostolate of the Fraternity of St Peter in the Archdiocese because the priests serving it prefer not to concelebrate.

Many bishops, religious superiors and seminary rectors like concelebration, as it gives them effective power over the celebration of Mass by their priest subordinates. They can insist that these priests not only attend a “conventual” or “community” Mass when priests are gathered together, but do so in a way which prevents them from celebrating a Mass of their own. When there is a large number of priests, most of them have hardly anything to do in concelebration, and of course they have no control over it: they can’t celebrate it at an earlier or later time, in a chapel with special significance to them, or using liturgical options of their choice, such as a votive Mass. Concelebration is a control-freak’s dream.

Read the whole thing there.

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Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Who is afraid of the Traditional Mass?

My latest on LifeSite.

On Sunday July 3, the FIUV — the International Una Voce Federation — took out an advert in the Rome edition of the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, to make a statement about the Traditional Latin Mass. It points out:

“The growth of interest in the traditional liturgy is not due to nostalgia for a time we do not remember, or a desire for rigidity: it is rather a matter of opening ourselves to the value of something that for most of us is new, and inspires hope.”

That it is controversial to be attached to the liturgy used by the Church for more than a dozen centuries is the sign of a deep malaise in the Church. Two prominent prelates in the Roman Curia have recently been reported making remarks about the Extraordinary Form (EF) of extraordinary hostility, and these have come after weeks of speculation about a new official document which will in some way roll back the freedom which Pope Benedict XVI gave to the more ancient liturgy in 2007.Possibly all these stories and rumors are false or taken out of context — the Vatican can seem like a hall of mirrors sometimes — but the mere fact that these stories are circulating is a reminder that the Old Mass has determined enemies in Rome.

Read it all there.

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Sunday, July 04, 2021

Statement from the FIUV

Cross-posted from the FIUV blog.

The Una Voce Federation has taken out an advert in the mass-circulation Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica, appearing today Sunday 4th July.

The English text is as following (for other languages see here):

Living the faith, living the future:
The Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite
Declaration of the International Federation Una Voce