Saturday, December 31, 2022

Farewell, Pope Benedict: official statement of the LMS

From Wikipedia Commons.
Statement on the death of Pope Benedict XVI

The Latin Mass Society learns with deep sorrow of the death of the Pontiff Emeritus, Benedict XVI, Joseph Ratzinger.

As a theologian, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and as Pope, he made an outstanding contribution to the life of the Church, in ways which will continue to be felt far into the future.

Catholics attached to the Traditional Mass have a particular motive for gratitude towards him. In his writings before his election as Pope he laid indispensable foundations for the rehabilitation of the Church’s ancient Mass, which had been banished to a precarious existence on the periphery of the Church’s life, its supporters treated—as he himself expressed it—like ‘lepers’. As Pope, his Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum, which declared that the older Missal has never been abrogated, transformed attitudes towards it, and brought it back into the heart of the Church. For a generation of priests and laity, Pope Benedict’s action remains the decisive influence on how they see the question.

Pope Benedict’s public actions reflected a great sensitivity to the liturgy, a comprehensive mastery of theology, and an intellectual honesty and courage based on profound humility.

The Latin Mass Society will be organising a Requiem of suitable solemnity for Pope Benedict in due course.

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.

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Thursday, December 15, 2022

Latin Mass Society: position open for Communications Officer

After six years in the job, our lovely Publicist Clare is moving on. Who would like do this job for the Latin Mass Society? From our website.

We have a vacancy for a Communications Officer

As a consequence of the impending departure of Clare Bowskill as the Society's Publicist/Communications Officer, we are seeking a replacement.

Clare has done outstanding work for the Society - often in difficult circumstances - during the time she has been with us and we are extremely grateful to her.

Working with the Society’s General Manager, Trustees, and local activists, the Communications Officer will develop a proactive communications strategy using social media and mainstream media to promote the Society, its events, and its campaigns, and to promote membership and fundraising. The Communications Officer will also be able to react to events and news stories affecting the Society, to present the Society’s position and protect its reputation.

Attendance at some key events is essential.

Status: Self-employed. Hours: variable, averaging 10 hours a week. Salary: £7,000 pa. It is envisaged that the Communications Officer will work mainly from home.

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

The Traditional Mass at the Oxford University Catholic Chaplaincy


This was organised by the Newman Society, a Catholic student society of the University. The feast was the Martyrs of Oxford University, a feast specific to the Archdiocese of Birmingham in the calendar proper to the 1962 Missal, which falls on 1st December.


We usually have a Votive Mass of this feast at the annual LMS Oxford Pilgrimage.

Sunday, December 04, 2022

David Lloyd, Requiescat in pace

Update: a more recent

David Lloyd, sometime Chairman of the Latin Mass Society, died early on Saturday morning following a stroke. Please pray for him.

I've not been able to consult the LMS archives yet and right now I don't have a good photograph of him, but he is in the middle of the photo above, with a moustache. Next to him on the right is his predecessor as Chairman, Christopher Inman. David was succeeded by Julian Chadwick, who was succeeded by me. The occasion was the Latin Mass Society Annual General Meeting in 2009, the first with me as Chairman.

David led the Society through the very difficult period of the 1990s in which, despite the friendly overture of Pope John Paul II's Ecclesia Dei, a hostile official attitude towards the Traditional Latin Mass on the part of most bishops and many priests seemed destined to continue forever. He never gave up, however, and he was vindicated by Pope Benedict XVI's Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum, which led to the great expansion in availability of the Traditional Mass we enjoy today.

His perseverance, and that of his whole generation, was indispensable to this. Pope Benedict would not have made this concession to the Traditional movement if, at some point in the preceding decades, the movement had given up and gone home. 

David was a tough fighter for the Mass, an authentic Catholic gentleman, and a true Welshman. 

In paradisum deducant te angeli.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Bogle and Morello on the Monarchy

James Bogle and Sebastian Morello turn their attention to more misunderstandings of the role of the Monarch in the British Constitution, which end up blaming Queen Elizabeth for failing to veto the Abortion Act of 1967, for example, despite her not having a veto.

This is the most comprehensive of similar recently published treaments and deserves to be read in full.

It begins:

The article by our friend, Theo Howard, entitled Monarchy and the Great Silence, published here at OnePeterFive, contains assertions that we believe are serious errors, which misrepresent the true position of the British monarch, not least the late Queen Elizabeth II.

Truth should be the first concern of Catholic journalists and writers, and so we wish to respond to Howard’s piece in fraternal charity for the sake of the truth.

Firstly, from a practical perspective, it is our concern that Howard’s article could do real harm by having the effect of encouraging secular republicanism (the only actual alternative available today) through the spreading of untruths, and serve to sour relations between nationalists and monarchists, particularly in communities where the issue is sensitive and even explosive. After all, it was not long ago that our United Kingdom was in conflict within its territories, namely in Northern Ireland, precisely over the question of whether that part of the Kingdom ought to be under the Monarchy or under a republic.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Annual St Benet's Hall Requiem


As it has been every year since I started this series of annual Requiem Masses, it was celebrated by Fr Edward van den Burgh of the London Oratory, an alumnus of St Benet's Hall. The first of these took place in 2011, though we missed one or two due to Covid.


The first time I proposed such a Mass, to the last Master of the Hall who was a monk, Fr Felix Stevens, refused to allow it in the Hall chapel. However, I tried again with his successor, and it became an annual event.

This year, for the first time, it could not take place in the Hall chapel because the Hall has closed permanently. The buildings have been bought by St Hilda's College. I would like to thank Fr Nicholas Edmonds-Smith of the Oxford Oratory for allowing us to use the Oratory church -- which is a few hundred yards from where the Hall used to be.

Friday, November 25, 2022

A Reply to Cavadini, Healy & Weinandy

Rubrics erased in the Reform

Cross-posted from Rorate Caeli.

It would try to patience of readers, and more than exhaust the time I have available, to comment on the whole series of five articles published in Church Life Journal by John Cavadini, Mary Healy, and Thomas Weinandy (hereafter, CHW). Instead I will focus on just two points in the concluding article of the series: ‘The Way Forward from the Theological Concerns with the TLM Movement’.

Throughout this article they keep repeating two fundamental misunderstandings of the movement for the Traditional Mass, misunderstandings which make their analysis and recommendations beside the point. It is a principle of academic discussion that before criticising a position one must first be able to summarise it in a way which would be acceptable to those who put it forward. In this, CHW have, I am afraid, completely failed.

The first misunderstanding is in the motivation of the movement. It is all the more remarkable in that they express their own understanding as their reading of a passage from Peter Kwasniewski which says something entirely different. Dr Kwasnieski, as CHW quotes him, says this:

Monday, November 21, 2022

The attack on the Seal of Confession

My latest in The Critic defends the secrecy of the confessional against the proposal by the Independent Inquiry in Child Sexual Abuse that priests be legally obliged to break the seal of confession whether the contents of a confession raised safeguarding concerns: what level of concern this would be is left unclear.

There are so many things wrong with this that it is difficult to know where to start, and the Report makes no effort to engage with the issues specific to confession which make this particularly problematic. My article refers to the common argument that useful information is rarely imparted in confession, and that an obligation to break the seal would lay priests open to blackmail and prosecution with no means of defence. It also points out the hypocrisy of the Inquiry in making an exception to its demand that confidentiality be broken for the sake of safeguarding, when it concerns under-age sexual activity: despite the well-documented fact that this is commonly a context for abuse.

However, there is another point which needs to be made. This is that the point of the seal is not to protect the priest, but the penitent, the person making the confession. If the content of abused young people's  sacramental confessions were repeated in court, this would be a violation of their trust, an abuse of them. This is hardly a step towards protecting them, but the institutionalisation of their being treated as though they had neither rights nor agency.

My article it begins:

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Pontifical Canon: reprint available from the Latin Mass Society

Cross-posted from Rorate Caeli.

You can buy this here from the Latin Mass Society's online shop, which dispatches all over the world. Just in time for Christmas: for the bishop in your life?

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Mass of Ages Winter 2022 published

The Winter edition should be arriving with members right now: mine arrived today. It should also be in churches kind enough to stock it -- available free. It can be read online through the ISSUU website or app, optimised for use on mobile devices.

Details of the latest edition, and how to get a printed copy, here.

My favourite quote from the latest magazine is in Mary O'Regen's column, talking about devotion to the Holy Face. She quotes from the autobiography of Douglas Hyde, a communist who became a Catholic:

Hyde heard a Political Bureau member gripe that, “We get women into the Party…but within 12 months of our turning them into Marxists they are about as attractive as horses.” ... “The hatred which the Party kindles and uses is often quite shockingly apparent in eyes as hard as those of a Soho prostitute and lips as tight as those of a slumland money-lender.”

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

LMS Annual Requiem: photos


I've not had time to post these, but a Sung Mass was celebrated by Fr John Scott; it was accompanied with chant by the Cathedral Choir, and concluded with the blessing of a magnificent catafalque.


Monday, November 14, 2022

Sewing Retreat: photos

Fr John Hunwicke celebrating Mass on the final day of the Retreat,
wearing a set of vestments repaired by the Guild.

The weekend on which the Latin Mass Society's Annual Requiem in Westminster Cathedral took place was also the weekend of the Guild of St Clare autumn Sewing Retreat. Diary clashes are inevitable at this time of year.


The Retreat was as always fully booked, and a great success. This time a family came from Scotland, and a lady from New England.


The Retreat giver was Fr John Hunwicke of the Ordinariate. He celebrated Low Mass each day for the retreatants, and gave them a series of spiritual conferences. In between times they made and repaired vestments, many of them belonging to the Latin Mass Society.


The Guild organises two such Retreats each year, in the spring and in the autumn. The next one will take place from 3rd to 5th February in the same venue, Park Place Pastoral Centre in Hampshire; the Retreat Giver will be Fr Thomas Crean OP. More details and booking here.



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Sunday, November 13, 2022

Pilgrimage to Bedford: Photos


Yesterday the Latin Mass Society's annual Mass of Reparation for Abortion took place at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in the church of the Holy Child and St Joseph in Bedford.


The celebrant was Fr Gerald Byrne, deacon Fr Michael Cullinan, and the subdecaon Fr Gregory Pearson OP. It was accompanied by chant and polyphony.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

James Bogle on the Royal Prerogative

Cross-posted from Rorate Caeli. The idea that Catholics should bear a grudge against the late Queen Elizabeth II because she failed to veto the Abortion Act and other immoral legislation is based on the idea that she had the power to do this. James Bogle, in this article, shows that she did not. This seems to me to be of the greatest possible importance, and worth explaining with a bit of historical and legal detail.

2008 photo by 'brokenkey' via
Wikipedia commons.

In the Octave of the Feast of Christ the King…

To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the one only God, be honour and glory forever…

By James Bogle Esq

The article on the web-site of the British-based lay initiative, Voice of the Family, formed to defend Catholic teaching on the family, headed “To God alone be the honour and glory” by my good friend, Dr Alan Fimister, has all the good intentions that I have learned to associate with him.

However, it misrepresents the true position of the British monarch, not least our late Queen Elizabeth II, and that on a very serious and important issue.

I respond now to Alan’s piece in fraternal charity with the sole aim of arriving at the truth which, of course, should be the first concern of all Catholic journalists and writers. I am grateful to Rorate Caeli for publishing this article and saddened that Voice of the Family was unwilling to do so or to correct the highly misleading and damaging impression left by Alan’s article.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Memento mori: for Catholic Answers

Catholic Answers published this of mine at the beginning of November.

Yesterday began the Church’s month of the dead. We remember those who have died, and this should stimulate us to keep our own deaths in mind. Today, on All Souls’ Day, I wish to focus on the latter activity: the remembrance of death, associated with the artistic theme of the memento mori, a visual reminder of death.

Memento mori literally means “remember” (a command) “to die” (an infinitive)—that is, “remember that you, the onlooker, will die.” It is a pithy restatement of the words of the priest who places ashes on the foreheads of the people on Ash Wednesday: “Memento homo quia pulvis est et pulverem reverteris.” (“Remember, man, that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”)
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Thursday, November 10, 2022

Gregorius Magnus: new edition published.

Cross-posted from the FIUV blog.

A new edition of our biannual magazine Gregorius Magnus is published! The magazine is free and available to all; you can read it online, we handed out 150 copies to participants of the Summorum Pontificum Ad Petri Sedem pilgrimage in Rome, and a small number will receive it in the post.

Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Oxford Pilgrimage 2022: photos


I've been so busy these last few weeks I failed to post photos of this lovely event here in Oxford.

Huge thanks to the clergy and singers who made it possible! Fr David Rocks OP was celebrant, Fr Gregory Pearson OP (from Cambridge) deacon, Br Bede Mullens subdeacon; Fr David also officiated at Benediction. The procession was led by Fr Felipe Cinelli. It was accompanied by the Schola Abelis and the Newman Consort. 


Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Pilgrimage to Rome

Cross-posted from the FIUV blog.

Cardinal Zuppi processes into the Pantheon for Vespers

The Summorum Pontificum Pilgrimage 'ad Petri Sedem' (to the seat of Peter) took place as usual this year, and with the personal permission of Pope Francies, Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, Archbishop of Bologna and President of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, officiated at the traditional Vespers in the Pantheon which began the Pilgrimage, and Monsignor Marco Agostini, one of the Pope’s Masters of Ceremonies, celebrated High Mass in the Chapel of the Throne in St Peter’s.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Iota Unum talks in London this autumn

The Iota Unum talks which take place in the basement at Our Lady of the Assumption, Warwick Street, are resuming for a brief autumn season.

This Saturday we will hear the Rome-based journalist Edward Pentin, and in November, Edmund Adamus, who has worked over many years for Westminster Archdiocese, Portsmouth Diocese, and now the Order of Malta, in the areas of pastoral formation and Catholic education.

Friday 21st October, Edward Pentin: the Vatican and the Traditional Mass

Friday 25th November, Edmund Adamus: The New Evanglisation -- what does it really mean?

Doors open at 6:30 for the talk at 7pm.

Refreshments are served; £5 is payable on the door.

The talks take place in the basement of the presbytery: please enter it from the Golden Square side.

24 Golden Square, London, W1F 9JR

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Sunday, October 16, 2022

LMS Pilgrimage to Oxford, Sat 22nd October


Latin Mass Society

Oxford Pilgrimage

Saturday 22nd October 2022


In honour of the Catholic Martyrs of Oxford,

visiting the site of the martyrdom of

Bl George Napier, 1610


 11am Solemn Mass in the Dominican Rite, 

in Blackfriars, St Giles’, Oxford, OX1 3LY,

2pm Procession to the site of the martyrdom in Oxford Castle, from Carfax

3pm Benediction in Blackfriars

Saturday, October 08, 2022

Requiem for Queen Elizabeth: some photos


This morning the Latin Mass Society's organised Missa cantata for the late Queen took place. The celebrant was Fr Michael Cullinan.


The singing was superb; for the occasion the Southwell Consort (the LMS's London-based polyphonic consort in London) were directed by Gareth Wilson. They sang Victoria's Missa defunctorum. And yes, we had sackbuts and cornets too.

Tuesday, October 04, 2022

Requiem for Queen Elizabeth this Saturday in London

A Traditional Latin Requiem Mass will be held in London this Saturday in memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to mark a month since the death of the monarch.

The Sung Mass organized by the Latin Mass Society will be held at 11am at St Mary Moorfields church in the City of London. It will feature music by Tomas Luis da Victoria sung by the Southwell Consort directed by Gareth Wilson with the unusual accompaniment of Sackbutts and Cornetts.

Church location: 4-5 Eldon St, London EC2M 7LS; click for a map.

Nearest tube stations Moorgate and Liverpool Street.

Sunday, October 02, 2022

Farewell to St Benet's Hall

A Traditional Requiem Mass offered in St Benet's Chapel

The demise of St Benet's Hall, a 'Permanent Private Hall' of Oxford University and my academic affiliation, as a Fellow, since 2004, has now taken place: officially, on 30th September.

I wrote about it in The Critic here, and more recently Dan Hitchens has written about it in The Spectator here. [Link corrected]

Hitchens' angle is rather different from my own: I was concerned with the internal culture of the institution, which had I attended as a student in the 1990s. Hitchens is interested in the role of the University in its closure, which was, indeed, decisive. As I mentioned at the end of my article, without mentioning any names, the University refused to allow the Hall to accept a £40m donation which would have amply solved the problem of financial instability which has been presented as the cause of the decision to close it. We never had any official explanation as to why the donation was turned down, but Hitchen's article, which mentions lots of names, is clearly correct: key figures in the University didn't like the idea of a Catholic institution within the University.

Saturday, October 01, 2022

Children, Rigidity and the Synod

Mass at the St Catherine's Trust Summer School in 2022

Cross-posted from Rorate Caeli.

There is an interesting article in the Una Voce Scotland Newsletter, from April 2022, by a young mother who took part in the Synod on Synodality discussions in her parish. The article in anonymous. She describes how she explained to the meeting she attended that her own experiences of the Novus Ordo 'children's liturgy' and catechesis had been underwhelming, and that most of her contemporaries had lapsed. She, however, had discovered the Traditional Mass, and her small son was so taken by the bells and smells that he was copying the bell and the thurible in his play.

He takes a rattle in his hands and pretends that he’s ringing the Sanctus bells (kneeling down and saying “ring, ring”) and swings his hands in front of him in the act of censing (“chk, chk!”). Where I was hardly aware of – and even distracted from – what was taking place in front of me during (Novus Ordo] Children’s Mass, my infant son is inspired by the traditional liturgy, his imagination fueled with enough images, sounds, smells and actions to take him through the week. 

My conversation partners, formerly quite talkative, received this account with a stony silence and shifting brows – some rose, some furrowed. The pause was broken by Shona, who wanted to add another problem to our list: “You know, we had a priest in our parish who caused a few people to leave. He wouldn’t accept any change, you see, and didn’t connect well with the people, especially not with the children. He was very set in his ways.” And that was that.

Friday, September 30, 2022

Home Education meeting in Reading Saturday 1st October

From 10:30, 338 Wokingham Road, Reading RG6 7DA

Organised by the very active Catholic home-schoolers of Reading, who attend St William of York served by the Fraternity of St Peter.

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Thursday, September 29, 2022

A Muslim convert encounters the Traditional Mass

This piece on Rorate Caeli is worth reading. It is from the journal of the Fraternity of St Vincent Ferrer, Sedes Sapientia, which is now available in English translation for the first time.

The author is Derya Little.


When I attended my first traditional Latin Mass years later [after her conversion, first to Protestantism and then to Catholicism] in an old English church with dark walnut pews, that reverence I had experienced during my very first Mass reached a new height where the reason for those tedious [Old Testament] details about worship became clear. This was a God before whom I could kneel; a God who held our existence in his hands, yet chose to humble Himself to become one of us and suffer humiliation and death in love to save us from our own sinfulness.

As the priest and the faithful faced the Lord together, Mass was no longer oriented towards the priest, but to God. It did not matter who the priest was as long as he said the black and did the red. His personality was inconsequential. The prescribed rubrics and prayers made sure that the priest would not be the center of the worship, but stood in persona Christi with and for the people as the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was offered, surpassing the limits of time and space.

Yes, the priest was not the focus, but neither was the laity. With whispered prayers, the faithful stood, knelt and uttered their own prayers. The silence and solemnity directed our attention to the cross away from ourselves and each other, uniting us in a unique way as we all directed our gaze towards heaven. Of course, these impressions were all before I studied liturgy and the meaning of the rubrics and prayers. Even for a newcomer, the traditional Mass presented a kind of worship that reoriented our bodies, minds and souls to the perfect order where the Lord received the worship He was due as the loving Father. Finally, not only could I bow my head, but I could also kneel in worship and unite my prayers with the entire church. The limelight did not fall on the priest, the server or on the congregation, but to where it belonged: the crucified Word of God who loved the world unto death.

Read the whole thing there.

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Thursday, September 22, 2022

The Royal Prerogatives and the law: 1Peter 5 by James Bogle

The well-known Catholic barrister James Bogle (also a former President of the FIUV) has written about what the Queen could and could not have done about bad laws being passed, on 1Peter 5. It is well worth a read; the principle is clear enough but the technical details are helpful.

Mr Bogle explains that saying 'The Queen should have refused to sign the Abortion Act' (or any other Act of Parliament) is no different from saying that a Catholic judge should have ignored it, that a Catholic clerk working in the Houses of Parliament should have falsified the official record of the Act, or even that a Catholic soldier guarding Parliament at the time it was being voted on should have stormed in and threatened everyone with his gun. It would have been illegal, as well as totally futile and destructive of the constitution, and of course morally wrong.

In a constitutionally-governed state bad laws must be prevented, or failing that, overturned, by constitutional means. Anything else is a revolution which overturns the state itself. And yes we do want to live in a constitutional state, and not in a state of legal anarchy and permanent civil war.

Elsewhere, Mr Bogle has summarised the question of whether it is possible to hold a Requiem Mass for The Queen, as the LMS has done and will do again. This is worth quoting:

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Indifferentism and Praying for the Queen and the King

I know some traditional Catholics have misgivings about praying for the late Queen and for King Charles. 

Under the old Code of Canon Law, Requiem Masses could be said for non-Catholic Christians but these could not be publicly advertised as such. At least, this was the way Canon 2262 was enforced, though the canon referred to people who were excommunicated. Non-Catholic Christians are not usually personally guilty of the sin of separating themselves from the Church.

[Edit: Canon 1240 of the old Code / 1184 of the new are about 'Ecclesiastical burial' which is not at issue here, but in any case still have in mind Catholics who have fallen away, either 'notorious sinners' or heretics, apostates, and schismatics. See comments.]

Again, non-Catholic monarchs would not normally have the Prayers for the Sovereign said for them at the end of Mass.

Today, the first rule does not apply. On the second, permission for this was given for England and Wales, dating back to 1789.

The rules on exactly what level of communicatio in sacris (sharing in sacred things with non-Catholics) gives rise to an unacceptable risk of religious indifferentism (the attitude that all religions are equally valid) have varied over time: it is a matter not of doctrine but of discipline.

Protestant Traditionalists: Letters in The Tablet

LMS Walking Pilgrimage to Walsingham this year

The Tablet no longer publishes my letters, which is an interesting development: they used to publish them pretty regularly. However, these two are interesting. They are the only letters published this week on this subject.


Many of us will be pleased that Cardinal Arthur Roche, head of the Dicastery for Divine Worship, has come out critical of those who refuse to accept liturgical reforms as promulgated by Vatican II (“Roche asks whether traditionalists are still Catholic”, 3 September). However, I would question the way in which he demonises these dissenters as “Protestants”. 

That same Vatican Council decided that after all Protestants are good people. And the analogy falls flat when you take account that Protestants concluded some centuries before Catholics that the vernacular was indeed the better language to celebrate the liturgy.


I was sorry to hear Cardinal Roche’s judgement on Tridentine Mass-goers, as reported in The Tablet.

The Vatican Council was not legislation to impose on the faithful. It was more a path of renewal taken by all the bishops of the time, celebrants of the old Mass to a man. They re-engaged with Scripture, were opened up to the riches of Catholic tradition, were sensitive to the needs of the day and were led by the Holy Spirit. 

Shouldn’t Rome be making sure that that path remains open to all, and not labelling our brothers and sisters in the faith as Protestants? 


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Friday, September 16, 2022

Launch of Family & Life Academy

(Cross-posted from Rorate Caeli.)

I am pleased to announce the launch of a new online learning opportunity in which I am involved: the Family and Life Academy, a project of
Voice of the Family.

Some readers may know Voice of the Family through their magazine Calx Mariae.

The Academy lets you watch courses of weekly lectures at a very affordable price, either live or recorded, plus free webinars on various subjects. There are courses on Natural Law (from me), Divine Law (from Fr Thomas Crean), the moral issue of abortion (from the veteran pro-life activist John Smeaton). There will be special appearances by His Excellency Eduard von Habsburg and Roberto Mattei.

Here is their announcement with more details and links.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

King and Father as Sacred Offices: from the European Conservative

Here is another piece (links to the other two) I have written on the monarchy, which was published in the European Conservative on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth's Jubilee. It was in the print edition but is just now available online.

Here is a key passage.


Placing one’s social role ahead of one’s personal preferences is certainly a sacrifice, but the assumption by some that such a sacrifice must make it impossible to live authentically or happily is far from being true. The veteran conservative journalist Charles Moore remarked, on the occasion of the celebrations:

Perhaps the Queen’s most remarkable achievement is that, by accepting this [her role] so absolutely, she has gained a deeper fulfilment than if she had rebelled. She has become what she has tried to be. People who know her well say there is always an air of peace surrounding her. To use a phrase below the level of events, she has job satisfaction.

This echos the position of the philosopher Byung Shul Han, whose most recent book, The Disappearance of Rituals, I reviewed in The European Conservative. We do not lose our freedom by identifying with our social roles, as Romantics and Existentialists would have us believe, but gain it. As the phenomenon of social media has underlined, the effort to be ‘authentic,’ to create oneself anew at every moment, is an exhausting exercise of play-acting, a confidence-trick one plays on oneself and one’s most intimate friends, which today is packaged and sold as click-bait for advertisers. By contrast, from the stable platform, as one might call it, of a conventional role, one can be playful and creative: have the Romantics and Existentialists not noticed that play and art are themselves conventions? Without the conventions of language, there can be no satire. Without the conventions of religion, there cannot even be blasphemy. The brilliant self-defining act of the Romantic or Existentialist, without the background conventions of the societies in which these theories developed, would be completely lacking in meaning. They would communicate nothing.

Read the whole thing there.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Two pieces on the Monarchy

Queen Elizabeth II at her coronation in 1953
I have written two pieces on the British Monarchy for US-based sites: Catholic Answers and 1Peter 5. I think a lot of Americans find it difficult to get their heads round the monarchy, even conservative Catholics.

The articles inevitably overlap a bit but they are complementary. 

The Catholic Answers one talks more about the Prayer for the Sovereign which we have at the end of Sunday Mass (when it is a TLM, and the 'principal Mass' of the day).

The 1 Peter 5 article is longer and sets the monarchy in the wider context of the importance of human traditions in general, and constitutional conventions.

In the context of the Jubilee I wrote a piece for the European Conservative as well, on the nature of the sacred office, but it was in the print edition is not yet available to read online.

There is plenty more to say on the subject, but this is a start!

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Monday, September 12, 2022

Latin Mass Society: new office!

After 28 years in Lupus House, 11-13 Macklin Street in Holborn, the Latin Mass Society has moved to a new office.

Our new address is:
9 Mallow Street,
London EC1Y 8RQ

Website, email, and phone number all remain the same.

This is not far from Old Street tube station, just north of the City, London's financial district.

Friday, September 09, 2022

Prayer for King Charles, after Sunday Traditional Mass

In England and Wales, after the principle Mass on Sunday, we say a Prayer for the Sovereign. The prayer dates back to the 15th century and is used around the world for Catholic monarchs, and a version has even been used for republics where there has been a Concordat with the Pope. The Bishops of England and Wales must have sought and recieved permission to use it for the British sovereign, to emphasis their loyalty; it has been used here since 1850.

It is not used in the Novus Ordo, though it was brought out of retirement for the Jubilee. If you use the 1962 books, however, it is there.

It consists of a sung antiphon followed by a sung collect: the antiphon is begun by a cantor and taken up by everyone, and the celebrant sings the collect. Or it can all be said, if the Mass was a Low Mass.

I encourage all priests who celebrate the Traditional Mass to use this, particularly this Sunday. What Mass is the 'principle Mass on Sunday', once something quite clear-cut, has become rather subjective. But if it is the principle Mass, it should be preceded by another beautiful ceremony, the Asperges. (Again, it is perfectly possible to do this at Low Mass, without singing it.)

This is the text.

Thursday, September 08, 2022

No, the answer is not 1965, Fr Somerville-Knapman

Fr Hugh Somerville-Knapman, a monk of Douai Abbey and a former student, with me, of St Benet's Hall, has an interesting article in The Catholic Herald. Among its highlights, he notes:

Cardinal Roche seems to require that the Church deny herself, and to employ her authority today to negate her authority in former days. Many will echo Benedict XVI in asking how what was holy yesterday—and indeed for preceding centuries—can suddenly be a danger to faith and the Church today. Rome is making a serious mistake in its programme to shore up the practical reception of the reformed liturgy, and in so doing is backing itself into a corner.

The liturgical reforms were expressly pastoral, intended to increase congregational participation. The severe decline in the numbers in congregations since the promulgation of the reformed liturgy over 50 years ago suggests that the reforms have not achieved their purpose. Equating the reformed liturgy—which I celebrate, but which for all its virtues has failed in its purpose—with the will of Vatican II leads logically to the conclusion that the failure is the Council’s when in fact it is the Consilium’s.

However, at the end of the article he makes an odd claim. 

Wednesday, September 07, 2022

Fr Gwilym Evans FSSP: Mass in Cardiff 17th Sept

Fr Evans will celebrate a 'first Mass' in his native Wales, on Saturday 17th September at 10:15am.

The organisers have set up an Eventbrite page so people can add themselves to the list for the catering: there is lunch afterwards.

Fr Evans FSSP (centre) at the conclusion of the LMS Walsingham Pilgrimage

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Thursday, September 01, 2022

LMS Walsingham Pilgrimage: photos

Approaching the Priory grounds at the end of the Holy Mile.

Last weekend was the biggest ever Latin Mass Society walking pilgrimage to Walsingham, exceeding even the big turnout last year. We had about 90 in 2019; in 2021, after missing a year from Covid, it was 120, this year is was 160.
Mass in Cambridge on Thursday morning for the three
pilgrims trying out an extra leg of the walk: another 18.4 miles, to Ely

We almost filled the Church of St Ethelreda in Ely, packed the chapel at Oxborough even after getting 20 pilgrims to an earlier, Low Mass, and with day pilgrims we completely filled the Reconciliation Chapel at the Catholic Shrine.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Latin Motto from Mass of Ages

In the current and recent edition of Mass of Ages I challenge readers to provide a pithy translation of a the motto of the medieval Cluniac Benedictine Priory of St Pancras (yes, like the railway station), in Lewes.

Unfortunately the Latin was afflicted by a typo -- probably introduced by an autocorrection function at some stage of the process.

It should read

Dulcis agonista tibi convertit domus ista Pancrati memorum precibus memor esto tuorum

It was the 'r' on 'memor' which got lost.

I heartily recommend the book in which this motto is quoted: The King's Acheivent by Monsignor Benson, made available in a new printing from Silverstream Priory. You can read my review in the Autumn Mass of Ages and buy it from the LMS shop.

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Friday, August 12, 2022

What does pastoral care look like?

The Traditional Mass behind bars: so to speak. The Oxford Oratory.

It has become clear that the Dicastery of Divine Worship, which alone has the authority to permit priests ordained after Traditionis custodes to celebrate the Traditional Mass, is systematically refusing to do so, even though requests are coming not from individual priests, but their bishops.

What reasons are being given? I have been given sight of a letter of refusal, and I suspect the others are substantially identical.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

The Morning After Pill: abortion or contraception?

Annual Mass of reparation for abortion at England's
Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe organised by the Latin Mass Society.
The next one will be on 12 noon, Saturday 12th November;
St Joseph's, Bedford MK40 1HU

My latest on Catholic Answers wades into some of the complexities about the 'Morning After Pill', aka 'Emergency Contraception'.

It begins:

Recently, a spokesman for the bishops of Louisiana suggested that the use of so-called “emergency contraception” is compatible with Catholic teaching in cases of rape. The news article reporting this connected it with the explicit exception made for “emergency contraception” in the restriction of abortion by new Louisiana abortion laws, made possible by the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. There are, however, a tangle of issues here that I will try to separate.

The Catholic Church teaches that human life is worthy of protection from the moment of conception—the moment when the genetic material of an ovum and of a sperm are united to form a new human (see the Catechism of the Catholic Church 2270 and following). The Church, further, demands that this life be protected by law (2273).

Read the whole thing there.

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Tuesday, August 09, 2022

SCT Summer School: Classes and activities


The St Catherine's Trust Summer School has always been concerned not only to give the children a pleasant time, but with education: to convey something to them, not just a bit of catechism but a range of lessons on Catholic history, art, philosophy, Latin and Greek, and so on. There is a limit to what we can do in a week, but we want to give the children at least a taste of a range of things connected with our beautiful Faith.


To this end we have five 40-minute lessons most days, as well as Sung Mass, Rosary, Compline, and activities. Most of one day was dedicated to a trip to Oxford, where we had Mass in the Oratory and a tour of some sites of particular Catholic interest.