Saturday, May 14, 2022

LMS Walsingham Pilgrimage 2022

TLM pics-97

This year's walking pilgrimage to Walsingham will gather on the afternoon of Thursday 25th August, with walking on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, with an extra Mass on Monday 29th in the Slipper Chapel at the Catholic Shrine for those who stay the night locally.

It's just over 20 miles walking on the first two days, and a bit less on the Sunday. It's a pretty serious walk, but shorter than Chartres and some of the other walking pilgrimages.

Physically, socially and above all spiritually it is an intense and (ultimately) invigorating experience which no-one attached to the Traditional Mass, and physically active, should miss. We will have three priests with us and, yes, Bishop Alan Hopes of East Anglia has given the necessary permissions for us to have the old Mass.

Register now and get a 10% discount for an early booking until Ascension, 26th March, on top of your member's discount, if you are a member. If you aren't, you can join at the same time and still save money. 

Unless you are always pretty fit a bit of walking preparation will pay dividends. I started mine yesterday, easing myself into the groove by walking eleven miles from Oxford to Woodstock, mostly by the canal. It didn't kill me, so that's something.

TLM pics-238

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Friday, May 13, 2022

Review of Kwasnieski 'True Obedience'

Obedient unto death: shrine of the Chideock Martyrs in England.
Bishop O'Toole on the occasion of a pilgrimage Mass celebrated for the 
Latin Mass Society by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

My latest on 1Peter5. It begins:

There has long been a strange asymmetry between conservatives and progressives in the Catholic Church. Theological conservatives—priests and bishops as well as lay people—have prided themselves on their obedience, and progressives have flaunted their disobedience. To give the most extreme examples, progressive bishops would make their chums laugh by talking about how they had tossed the latest Instruction from Rome—on liturgical abuses, for example—into the bin. Conservatives would obey rules and superiors’ orders even if it broke their hearts to do so, for example the rule forbidding the celebration of the older form of the Mass from Rome, or a demand by their own bishop to wreck their church’s sanctuary.

Differing conceptions of the virtue of obedience is only part of the explanation for this phenomenon. The other side was political realism. Both sides knew that when push came to shove most bishops, bishops’ conferences, the Catholic media, and often the Holy See as well, would enforce rules and back up superiors when they pushed the progressive agenda, but not when they sought to preserve things which conservatives held dear. Although in theory no priest is obliged to have females serving the Altar, in practice endless problems nearly always await priests who do not. Although in theory denying the teaching of the Church on contraception or the Resurrection should get a priest into very serious trouble, up to and including suspension as a priest and excommunication, in practice this almost never happens.

Read it all there.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Reply to Gavin Ashenden: the evangelising power of the Traditional Mass

Evangelising by doing something recognisably sacred: Walsingham Pilagrimage

Cross-posted from Rorate Caeli.

I have an article in the current issue of Inside the Vatican, and by coincidence it is preceded by one by Dr Gavin Ashenden, the former Anglican cleric received into the Catholic Church just before Christmas. Ashenden has become an important commentator on Catholic affairs, so I was dismayed to read his treatment of the movement for the Traditional Mass, which is the subject of his article. I think, however, that Dr Ashenden’s analysis may appeal to many, in trying to put together the kinds of things Pope Francis has said along with a perhaps superficial knowledge of the movement itself. For this reason, as well as because of the respect I have for him as an intellectual, I would like to make a response.

His article is not freely available online but it is possible to buy access to just this issue of Inside the Vatican, May-June 2022, through the ISSUU platform, for a small sum, if anyone thinks I am misrepresenting him.

The first thing with which I would like to take issue is the background Ashenden proposes for the debate about the liturgy. He writes:

The civil war that dominates our day has narrowed down to a fight over liturgy. But only because liturgy has become emblematic of two ways of looking at the world; two perspectives, two competing theologies.

Thursday, May 05, 2022

Liturgy and the War in Ukraine: Inside the Vatican

I have an article in the latest edition of Inside the Vatican, edited by Robert Moynihan (May-June 2022).

It can most easily be seen online on ISSUU, though you have to buy one issue or take out a subscription if you want to read the whole thing.

My article concludes:

Good will implies that we take the religious values of the region seriously. The liturgical debate taking place in the Western Church, particularly after Traditionis Custodes, can leave one with the impression that the Western Catholics, at bottom, see the whole phenomenon of the Eastern Rites as faintly ridiculous, and accordingly that disagreements among their different groupings is little more than a squabble among foolish children. This impression will not be dispelled until the Holy See has made its peace with its own liturgical tradition, and gives it the place of honour which Pope Benedict XVI hoped for it, and from which Pope Francis has tragically plucked it. 

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Saturday, April 30, 2022

Triduum Photos


I didn't get round to posting these until now.

The celebrant was Fr Michael Cullinan, in St Mary Moorfields in the City of London. They were accompanied by Charles Finch with his group, Cantores Missae.

These first ones are from Good Friday.


Friday, April 22, 2022

More mischevious nonsense from The Pillar

Cross-posted from Rorate Caeli.

April 14th this year was Maundy Thursday. It is an interesting day for The Pillar to choose to publish a shoddy attack on two Catholic intellectuals, Prof Thomas Pink and Fr Edward Waldstein, for their alleged 'integralist' views, in an interview by Charlie Camosy with Joseph Capizzi.

Plant the critique out there in public, on the day in the year the victims are least likely to notice it quickly or react before the social media circus has moved on. Better still, if someone--like me--does notice and uses Twitter to call on the Pillar's editors, J.D. Flynn and Edward Condon, to account for it over the following 24 hours, they can just piously not react for the duration.

So here I am drawing attention to this interview once again. I happen know the targets of this piece. Prof Pink is a Patron of the Latin Mass Society. I know Fr Waldstein a little from the Roman Forum Summer Symposium. There are a great many would-be lay intellectual leaders of the Catholic world, and the field is quite crowded even if you focus on the Traditional Catholic niche, but Prof Pink and Fr Waldstein are the real thing: they are established and respected academics who are orthodox Catholics and engaged in some of the fundamental issues of the day. Prof Pink is one of the foremost Catholic intellectuals in the UK. 

Accordingly, I suppose it is not surprising that they should be the focus of asinine criticisms. Towards the end the interviewer Camosy tries to draw in a gaggle of other names into the discussion, but Capizzi doesn't really rise to the bait.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Monday Masses in London


Music and feasts/ Votive Masses are now confirmed for the 6:30pm Masses in Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane (Covent Garden, WC2E 7NA) in London up to the end of August.

These are accompanied by the Southwell Consort with polyphony or by the Houghton Schola with chant, under Dominic Bevan.

  • 2nd May: St ATHANASIUS

Missa Euge Bone, Tye

Surrexit Pastor Bonus, L’Heritier

Dum Transisset, Taverner 


Missa Vidi Speciosam, Victoria 

O Maria Vernans Rosa, Clemens non Papa

Christe qui Lux est Dies, White

Thursday, March 31, 2022

FIUV Magazine, Gregorius Magnus, now out!

Download the pdf here; see it optimised for mobile devices on ISSUU here.

The latest Gregorius Magnus includes articles from Malawi, Australia, New Zealand, and Ukraine, plus our regular selection of magazine articles from member associations in England, Germany, and France, book reviews, responses to the Responsa ad dubia, and a photographic report on the 2021 Summorum Pontificum--Ad Petri sedem Pilgrimage.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Sponsorship for Royal School of Needlework Course from the Guild of St Clare

One of our sponsored students, helping to make a replacement stole
for a violet Low Mass set belonging to the Latin Mass Society
Traditional hand embroidery techniques, required for restoration of old vestments and the construction of new ones in the traditional way, was saved from oblivion in England by the Royal School of Needlework (as it soon became), which was founded in 1872. Today the RSN is commissioned to restore antique fabrics for museums and to create things for state occasions, such as the Coronation, as well as private commissions. They pass on these precious skills to new generations of students in their courses. including the skills of traditional vestment-making.

Their Certificate in Hand Embroidery, in which students master four different techniques by doing a project in each one, could be regarded as the entry level for serious work. 

It is, naturally, expensive and time-consuming. The good news is that the Certificate Course is also extremely flexible, making it possible for students to do it at times convenient to them, over a longer of shorter period of time. 

The even better news is that in association with the Latin Mass Society (and a benefactor) the Guild of St Clare is offering sponsorship which will pay up to 50% of the tuition fees.

We have already sponsored two students, who are now nearing the end of the Certificate. This year we will be able to sponsor two students.

The deadline for applications in 24th June 2022. More information here.

A Certificate Course piece of work by the other of our current sponsored students.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2022

A prayer for Friday's Consecration of Russia

149 - IMG-20190715-WA0161
On Friday the Holy Father is going to consecrate Russia, and Ukraine, 'especially', to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in union (at the Pope's request) with the bishops of the world.

There is little we can do to make the consecration more perfect from a spiritual point of view as far the words and intentions of the hierarchy are concerned. But we can join in as best we can on our own behalfs.

No official prayer has been suggested, but here is one from the Raccolta--the old handbook of indulgenced prayers--which seems suitable to say on Friday. I have just added a phrase to specify the intention. It was promulgated by Pope Pius XII in 1942.

Pope Francis will start his act of consecration at 5pm Rome time (4pm here in the UK).


Prayer of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

O Queen of the most holy Rosary, help of Christians, refuge of the human race, victorious in all the battles of God, we prostrate ourselves in supplication before thy throne, in the sure hope of obtaining mercy and of receiving grace and timely aid in our present calamities, not through any merits of our own on which we do not rely, but only through the immense goodness of thy mother’s Heart. In thee and in thy Immaculate Heart, at this grave hour of human history, do we put our trust; to thee we consecrate ourselves, not only with all of Holy Church, which is the mystical body of thy Son Jesus, and which is suffering in so many of her members, being subjected to manifold tribulations and persecutions, but also with the whole world, torn by discords, agitated with hatred, the victim of its own iniquities.

Be thou moved by the sight of such material and moral degradation, such sorrows, such anguish, so many tormented souls in danger of eternal loss! Do thou, O Mother of mercy, obtain for us from God a Christ-like reconciliation of the nations, as well as those graces which can convert the souls of men in an instant, those graces which prepare the way and make certain the long desired coming of peace on earth. O Queen of peace, pray for us, and grant peace unto the world in the truth, the justice, and the charity of Christ.

Above all, give us peace in our hearts, so that the kingdom of God may spread its borders in the tranquillity of order. Accord thy protection to unbelievers and to all those who lie within the shadow of death; cause the Sun of Truth to rise upon them; may they be enabled to join with us in repeating before the Saviour of the world: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will.” Give peace to the nations that are separated from us by error or discord, and in a special manner to those peoples who profess a singular devotion toward thee; bring them back to Christ’s one fold, under the one true Shepherd. Obtain full freedom for the holy Church of God; defend her from her enemies; check the ever-increasing torrent of immorality; arouse in the faithful a love of purity, a practical Christian life, and an apostolic zeal, so that the multitude of those who serve God may increase in merit and in number.

Finally, even as the Church and all mankind were once consecrated to the Heart of thy Son Jesus, because He was for all those who put their hope in Him an inexhaustible source of victory and salvation, so in like manner do we consecrate ourselves, and the nations of Russia and Ukraine, forever to thee also and to thy Immaculate Heart, O Mother of us and Queen of the world; may thy love and patronage hasten the day when the kingdom of God shall be victorious and all the nations, at peace with God and with one another, shall call thee blessed and intone with thee, from the rising of the sun to its going down, the everlasting “Magnificat” of glory, of love, of gratitude to the Heart of Jesus, in which alone we can find truth, life, and peace.

(Pope Pius XII, 17 Nov 1942: with the addition of the words in red).

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Friday, March 11, 2022

Penance: for Catholic Answers

Blow the trumpet in Sion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly. Gather together the people, sanctify the church, assemble the ancients, gather together the little ones, and them that suck at the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth from his bed, and the bride out of her bridal chamber. (Joel 2.15-7)

My latest for Catholic answers.

Presented with the imperative to “do something” for Lent, a familiar response is to “give something up.” In itself, this is a healthy enough instinct. Depending on your lifestyle, giving up alcohol, or even chocolate, can be a reminder of the nature of the season and a noticeable sacrifice. Alternatively, people think of giving up something bad, trying to overcome a habitual sin. This is laudable, but penance is the sacrifice of something good, not something bad. Catholics should be able to go beyond both kinds of “giving up.”

The imperatives of Lent in particular, and of the Christian life in general, are the eminent good works of prayer, penance, and almsgiving. These really are good works—works that earn us merit. These works will cancel out temporal punishment we would otherwise suffer in purgatory, and add to our glory in heaven, and we can offer them for the good of the holy souls in purgatory and for the conversion of sinners. Good works in this sense are possible only if we are in a state of grace (sanctifying grace), and they will themselves be done in and through God’s assisting grace (actual grace). When we do them, we may say with St. Paul, it is not we who do them, but God who does them through us (Phil. 2:13). They are in fact a gift of God to us—but when God gives us something, we really do possess it.

Read it all there.

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Thursday, March 10, 2022

Server training and vestment-mending in London


We had a splendid day at St Mary Moorfields with the Society of St Tarcisius (server training) and the Guild of St Clare (vestment mending), taking place simultaneously.

The next such event will take place on

2nd April, St Dominic's Haverstock Hill, 
from 11 am to 4pm (please come to the parish hall on the left of the church).

There is a booking page for the server training for men and boys: more information here.

Contact the Guild of St Clare if you'd like to join them.

For the vestment mending we will find you something to suit your skills! In a pause in the server training, I was myself put onto the unpicking a seam...




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Wednesday, March 09, 2022

The 'Latin Mass' Society: letters in The Tablet

Ash Wednesday. A new generation of Latin Massers.

Although printing two letters challenging the Latin Mass Society directly, The Tablet took their time in printing my response, which appeared two editions ago (yes I've been busy too). It is the old canard about our name. The Latin Mass Society is a lot easier to understand than a few other names I could mention. The Tablet, for example: what is that all about? Did its founders really look forward to the day when it would be referred to a 'the Bitter Pill'?

As for the Latin language not being the issue of polarisation, I welcome the greater depth of research and understanding which has focused attention on changes to the texts even in the Latin version. But Latin is still a sticking point. The correspondents who point out, correctly, that the reformed Mass can be celebrated in Latin, need to ask themselves: why isn't it?

Letters on 4th Feb

...While not quite accurate, it does not seem entirely misleading to speak of two rites. What is misleading – and completely inaccurate – is to refer to the “extraordinary” form as the “Latin Mass”. I find it frankly annoying that the term “Latin Mass” is so frequently used in this way, and has been adopted as a rallying cry on both sides of the current, unfortunate, liturgical conflict.
What is at issue is not only, and certainly not primarily, the use of Latin. All the post Vatican II liturgical texts – for the celebration of Mass and the sacraments, the daily Liturgy of the Hours, for ritual consecrations and blessings – were promulgated in Latin. Latin may be, and is, the language in which these rites are celebrated if and when it is appropriate to do so.
Latin is not the root cause of today’s liturgical polarisation. Please, let us agree to avoid this confusing use of the term “Latin Mass”. And, in passing, perhaps the Latin Mass Society (which I do not support, despite a personal love of Latin as a liturgical language) might consider changing its name, to represent more accurately what appear to be its own aims and ethos.


...The congregation was mixed: English, Irish, Swiss, German. Although the form of the service was post-Tridentine as prescribed by Vatican II, the language was Latin. 

Interesting to reflect on how the Latin Mass Society would view this service.


My response.

Fr Clayton and Jim Malia (Letters, 5th Feb) are correct that the Mass loved by ‘traditional’ Catholics is not simply the Mass in Latin.
The Latin Mass Society was founded to preserve the ancient Mass in Latin, when it began to be celebrated in the vernacular in 1965, and continued to seek the preservation of the ancient Mass in Latin, when it disappeared more or less completely in 1969.
Like the names of many organisations, ours reflects the circumstances of our foundation, but it remains universally understood.
The reformed Mass has never been widely celebrated in Latin. It would be pointless to make the rites ‘short, clear’ and ‘within the people's powers of comprehension’ (Sacrosanctum Concilium 34) if, at the same time, ‘the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites’ (36). The inner conflict in Vatican II’s Decree on the Liturgy has been resolved, in practice, in favour of the vernacular: to pretend otherwise is to engage in make-believe.

Joseph Shaw
Chairman, The Latin Mass Society

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Tuesday, March 08, 2022

A Post-Modern Defence of Ritual: a book review

My latest for the European Conservative: a review of Byung-Chul Han The Dispearance of Rituals.

This short book (about 100 pages) could be described as a post-modern critique of the forces that are destroying both traditional societies and the remaining traditional elements of Western civilisation. It is not unique in this project, but it is a representative example of a kind of book that has become more common in recent years, and the arguments it contains are worthy of serious consideration by conservatives approaching the issues from a rather different perspective.

I am not an expert on Han’s sources—Gadamer, Foucoult, Baudrilland, Barthes, and others—so I take Han’s arguments simply as presented in this work. They display some of the characteristics of post-modernism which make it such a frustrating area to work in: sweeping generalisations, simplistic contrasts, dubious historical claims, and inconsistencies. To give an extreme example, Han appears to believe that ancient warfare did not involve projectiles (arrows and so on), which I think would have been a surprise to anyone living at the time. To some extent, one has to go along with him and see if a sound argument can be constructed out of the impassioned and intriguing elements he presents.

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Monday, March 07, 2022

Support Fr Michael Rowe of Perth, Australia


Fr Michael Rowe is diocesan priest in the Archdiocese of Perth in Australia, who for many years has celebrated the Traditional Mass for the 'quasi-parish' of St Anne's in the city of Perth. Since 2018 Archbishop Costelloe has been trying to eradicate this community, which had been established by his predecessor. Having exhausted the Church's own procedures of appeal, Fr Rowe and his community has taken the matter to the civil courts. 

Please consider donating to the (considerable) cost of making an appeal.

Fr Rowe has a special connection with Traditional Catholics in England as until Covid made it impossible he participated in the Latin Mass Society's walking pilgrimage to Walsingham: these photos are from 2017, and were taken by John Aron.

See here for the crowd funding account.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Pope Francis' Roller-Coaster

LMS AGM Mass 2019; photo by John Aron

My latest on 1P5

It took some time for everyone to adjust to the violent overthrow of thirteen years’ pastoral arrangements, policies, and attitudes by Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter Traditionis Custodes (TC), not least because of the way it was promulgated, to come into immediate effect, on a Friday. The implications needed thinking through, canon law advice needed to be considered, the practical possibilities in implementation needed to be worked out. Just as things were settling down, another document came out: the Responsa ad dubia, which presented itself as an interpretation of TC, but in fact purported to add a whole lot of new obligations. The adjustment needed for this was also considerable, exacerbated by the fact that it was promulgated a fortnight before Christmas.

Bishops and papal apologists, in their different ways, have worked like Trojans to make sense of this and to put it into practice. I don’t envy either group. Just as the implications of the Responsa seemed to have been straightened out, at least to the satisfaction (if that is the right word) of various Bishops’ Conferences, official policy has been thrown once more into reverse gear. The latest decree, applicable to the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter (FSSP), puts an entirely different spin on the whole issue of the Traditional Mass and its place in the life of the Church.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Countdown Easter: Septuagesima

Ash Wednesday: closer than you think.

My latest for Catholic Answers.

Until the reform of the calendar in 1969, Latin Rite Catholics observed a period of preparation for Lent: the three Sundays of Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima. The names are derived from Latin numbers: Lent is quadragesima, “forty,” septuagesima “seventy,” sexagesima “sixty,” and quinquagesima “fifty.” It is a (very rough) countdown to Easter.

As in Lent, during this period, the liturgical color is violet, and the readings and prayers refer to our need for conversion and penance. This season is actually older than Ash Wednesday; it is discussed in the writings of Pope St. Gregory the Great, who died in the year 604. There is a similar pre-Lent season in the calendars of the Eastern churches; it was preserved by the Anglican Book of Common Prayer and in some Lutheran calendars; it has been restored in Divine Worship, the liturgy of the Ordinariate; and it is still found in celebrations of the pre-Vatican II Mass, the usus antiquior. It is the post-Vatican II calendar, in fact, that is unusual in doing without Septuagesima.

Read it all there.

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Monday, February 21, 2022

London: Server Training this Saturday


You can still book for the Society of St Tarcisius Server Training on Saturday in St Mary Moorfields in Eldon Street, London.

26th February, St Mary Moorfields, from 10:30 am to 4pm. Booking page.

More on the venue.

Other dates for server training for the first half of the year are also confirmed@

2nd April, St Dominic's Haverstock Hill, from 11 am to 4pm (please come to the parish hall on the left of the church). Booking page. Note the new venue.

21st May, St Mary Moorfield, from 10:30 am to 4pm. Booking page.

All these events will be accompanied by Vestment Mending Days with the Guild of St Clare, in the parish halls of these two churches. This means that different members of a family can take part in both on the same day.


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Saturday, February 12, 2022

Cause of Celebration, 2: a Successful Sewing Retreat


From last Friday to Sunday, the Guild of St Clare Spring Sewing Retreat took place. The Guild is affiliated to the Latin Mass Society. They have two Sewing Retreats a year and booking for the next one can be done here.

This was the first time we have used this venue, Park Place Pastoral Centre in Hampshire, and we will be using it for the next retreat as well, and for the residential Latin and Greek Course the LMS is running in August (details).

The Retreat was fully booked, and led by Fr Stephen Morrison of the Norbertines at Chelmsford. Mass before lunch on Sunday, which I attended, was sung, with the assistance of two of the participants. 

The retreat was a huge success and we are grateful to Fr Morrison and to the staff at Park Place.


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Monday, February 07, 2022

Cause for Celebration, 1: a reception into the Church and High Mass in Oxford


Last evening we had a very special Mass at Holy Rood in Oxford. It was preceded by the reception into the Church (and Confirmation) of a University student, and by way of celebration we had a really splendid Mass: High Mass with deacon and subdeacon, a polyphonic choir singing Palestrina, and an organist. We also had a splendid team of servers.

Friday, February 04, 2022

Confirmations, the SSPX, and Alessandro Manzoni

Photo by John Aron

One of the greatest Catholic works of literature, of any age and language, is Alessandro Manzoni's novel I Promessi Sposi: the Betrothed. Among the characters is Frederick, Cardinal Borromeo, of Milan, the nephew of St Charles Borromeo; the simple village parish priest, Don Abbondio, and the engaged couple, Renzo and Lucy.

In the opening pages of the book a powerful local landowner threatens Don Abbondio with death should he marry the young couple; he has designs on Lucy. The couple attempt to force the issue, by contracting marriage before the priest as an unwilling witness. This would be recognised by the Church, under the canon law of the day, as valid but illicit.

Eventually, Cardinal Borromeo hears of the case and confronts Don Abbondio. The latter protests:

“But these persons who have told your lordship these things, have they not also told you that they introduced themselves treacherously into my house, for the purpose of compelling me to perform the marriage ceremony, in a manner unauthorised by the church?”

“They have told me, my son; but what afflicts and depresses me, is to see you still seeking excuses; still excusing yourself by accusing others; still accusing others of that which should have formed a part of your own confession. Who placed these unfortunates, I do not say under the necessity, but under the temptation, to do what they have? Would they have sought this irregular method, if the legitimate way had not been closed to them?”

Sunday, January 30, 2022

The LMS and the SSPX

I can't find an image of Houghton-Brown online,
but he was an artist and this is by him:
Richeldis founding the Holy House at Walsingham.
The long-lost autobiography of Fr Bryan Houghton is being republished by Angelico Press. It contains a description of a famous meeting, which Fr Houghton attended himself, between the Chairman of the Latin Mass Society, Geoffrey Houghton-Brown, the President of Una Voce International, Eric de Saventhem, and some others, with Archbishop Lefebvre, in 1969. At this meeting it was agreed that Latin Mass Society/ Una Voce groups should stick to seeking permissions for the Traditional Mass from bishops and the Holy See, while the Archbishop, and the fledgling SSPX which he founded, could continue to act as he saw fit, with or without permission. (Fr Houghton was a cousin of Houghton-Brown, incidentally.) 

From Unwanted Priest, p141

I may say that this was not the first time that I met Monsignor Lefebvre. I had already met him (perhaps in the summer of 1969) at the Kenworthy-Browns. There had been present: Mr and Mrs Kenworthy-Brown, Monsignor Lefebvre, Mr and Mrs de Saventhem, Mr Geoffrey Houghton-Brown, Mr Vernor Miles (representing the Countess of Kinnoull) and myself. Monsignor’s lack of English was a bit of a bore, but luckily the de Saventhems, Geoffrey and I were fluent in French, and the Kenworthy-Browns understood most of it, although a bit tongue-tied. But poor Vernor Miles was still at school-French: “My aunt’s pen: la plume de ma tante.” This was perhaps rather fortunate—divine Providence. Monsignor Lefebvre wanted money to start up in England in a big way. Now, Vernor Miles represented Lady Kinnoull, who had one of the biggest Catholic fortunes in England. It had been left to her by her husband and she was childless. At the crucial moment Mr Vernor Miles was unable to understand.

Anyway, the problem was: whether the Latin Mass Society should associate itself with Lefebvre or not? It was decided that the two organisations should remain divided: the LMS trying to get the hierarchy to admit the old Mass; Lefebvre producing the old Mass in spite of the hierarchy. I felt quite sure that this was the right decision.

With hindsight the wisdom of the decision may seem evident, but of course in 1969 the SSPX had not been suppressed (1975), and the Archbishop had not been excommunicated (1988). Neither side knew how the situation of the other would develop, what threats and opportunities it would face. In 1971 the LMS won the first great concession from the Holy See, the English Indult, under which it gained the thankless task of seeking permissions for celebrations of the ancient Mass. A world-wide version followed in 1984. These document rather defined the task of the Una Voce movement up to 2007, and it seems we are back to that situation again today. On the other hand, the SSPX gained complete freedom of action at the cost of canonical regularity.

Whether the Archbishop and his followers were justified in doing what they did I leave to readers to judge. What is perfectly clear is that it would not have helped the situation if the Una Voce movement had stopped trying to get permissions from bishops and popes. Insofar as we have been successful, we have carried on the same battle, the battle for the Traditional Mass and the Faith it embodies, as the SSPX, from another direction. Insofar as we have failed, we--or rather, the bishops and popes at issue--have provided the SSPX with evidence that their disobedience was necessary.

This has been true throughout our history, and it certainly has not ceased to be true today.

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Saturday, January 29, 2022

Learn Latin and become a citizen of Europe

Reading the Epistle: Fr Gabriel Diaz at Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane

We are delighted to announce the opening of bookings for the Latin Mass Society's Latin and Greek Summer School: an intensive course of one week looking at the Latin of the liturgy for beginners and intermediate students, and New Testament Greek for students with the basics of the language. It will take place 8-13 August at Park Place Pastoral Centre in Hampshire. We also have on-line courses to recommend; all of these have huge discounts for clergy.

And here is an unexpected, but perfectly logical, new reason for learning Latin and Greek, which appeared in the press before the Christmas rush but is worth repeating.

Jean-Michel Blanquer, France's Education Minister, is re-introducing the study of Latin and Greek into France's professional schools: it will be possible to study them as part of the 'technical' baccalaureate. This is part of an international effort to 'strengthen the EU', alongside Italy, Greece and Cyprus.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Confirmations: Being Stricter than the Law


My latest in the Voice of the Family Digest

Since 2004, with a break in 2020 for COVID, the Archdiocese of Westminster has supplied an auxiliary bishop to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation according to the 1962 liturgical books. In the 16 services which have taken place over 17 years, 593 candidates have been confirmed using this rite. These services were open to Catholics from all over England and Wales, and indeed beyond: occasionally we had candidates from Scotland and France. As time has gone on several other bishops have plucked up the courage to hold confirmation services in their own dioceses. One such was due to take place in just a couple of weeks, 6th February, in the Oratory at Birmingham.

These have now all been cancelled. It seems the bishops of England and Wales had a meeting, online, and decided that they must not be allowed, under the terms of the Responsa ad dubia, which the Congregation for Divine Worship published before Christmas. The Responsa ruled out the use of the older Pontifical, the liturgical book which contains the Rite of Confirmation, and also the Roman Ritual. Neither of these books was mentioned in Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter, Traditionis Custodes. It is not clear how or why a Roman Congregation, supposedly interpreting Pope Francis’ document, is adding entirely new regulations not found in the original. They are, we might say, being stricter than the law.

Bishops in England and Wales, and around the world, have in any case the authority to abrogate from the universal law of the Church for the good of souls, under Canon 87.1. They referred to this Canon in addressing the problem thrown up by Traditionis Custodes, which appeared to say that parish churches should not be used for the traditional Mass, when the overwhelming majority of such masses are being celebrated in parish churches, with no practical alternatives available. This Canon has not been changed. If bishops, who can see the harm done to the good of souls by a strict implementation of the Responsa which itself does not have the force of law, want to implement it anyway, they themselves are being stricter than the law.

Read it all there.

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Monday, January 24, 2022

Traditional Confirmations cancelled in England and Wales

Bishop Sherrington, an auxiliary bishop of Westminster Diocese,
administers the confirmation 'slap'. He wears a cope and mitre, and holds a
crozier, symbols of his office.

Latin Mass Society Statement on Confirmations: January 2022

The Latin Mass Society regrets to report that Cardinal Vincent Nichols has made the decision (communicated to the Society by letter) that the Sacrament of Confirmation is not to be celebrated according to the 1962 liturgical books in the Archdiocese of Westminster. The annual celebration which has for nearly twenty years been organised by the Latin Mass Society at St James’ Spanish Place, at which candidates were confirmed by an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese—and on one occasion, by Cardinal Raymond Burke—will accordingly not take place this year, or until this decision is reversed.

We understand that another planned celebration of this Sacrament, by Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, has also been cancelled.


Sunday, January 23, 2022

Server Training in London: February, April, May

Server training in St Mary Moorfields

Cross-posted from the Society of St Tarcisius blog.

We have booked dates for the first half of the year as follows:

26th February, St Mary Moorfields, from 10:30 am to 4pm. Booking page.

2nd April, St Dominic's Haverstock Hill, from 11 am to 4pm (please come to the parish hall on the left of the church). Booking page. Note the new venue!

21st May,  St Mary Moorfield, from 10:30 am to 4pm. Booking page.

St Mary Moorfield's is 4/5 Eldon Street, London EC2M 2LS: more on the venue.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Are Traditional Catholics 'corrupt'? A response to Austen Ivereigh

Mass of Reparation, celebrated in response to clerical abuse revelations in 2018.

Cross-posted on Rorate Caeli.

Austen Ivereigh writes that he has been troubled by a criticism of the restrictions on the Traditional Mass brought in last July by Pope Francis' Traditionis Custodes. This is the point, made even by people with no particular interest in the ancient Mass, that it was an example of collective punishment: the innocent were being deprived of the Mass alongside those, whoever they are, who are truly guilty, of whatever it is they are supposed to be guilty of. Even if we accept Pope Francis' characterisation of Bad Trads, it can't be true of everyone who has derived solace from the old Mass. It can't, in fact, even be true of most, because it implies a degree of theological engagement which is unusual. Most Catholics don't spend their time talking about Vatican II's teaching on Religious Liberty, for example, because most Catholics, whether they have encountered the old Mass or not, don't have a very clear idea of what it is -- the idea is absurd.

Ivereigh even takes a moment to consider those simple faithful who really aren't involved in these disputes: people who appreciate the ancient Mass because they find it predictable, orderly, and calming, like the neuro-diverse: people with Aspergers and the like. Austen's comment: they are 'oddballs'. They are beneath his consideration. 

Furthermore, we have been told over and over again that Pope Francis is all about 'dialogue', 'meeting people where they are', not expecting people to be perfect, seeing the Church as a 'field hospital', not 'throwing stones' and all the rest of it. His treatment of Catholics attached to the Old Mass seems, to put it mildly, in tension with this

Ivereigh quotes Greg Hillis: “At a time when we as a church are embarking on a synodal path,” Hillis wrote, “I have difficulty understanding why a more synodal—a more dialogical—approach is not being taken with traditionalists.”

Friday, January 21, 2022

Iota Unum 2022 Season

The talks are in the basement of Our Lady of the Assumption, Warwick Street. Doors open at 6:30pm for the talk at 7pm.

Refreshments provided. £5 on the door.
Prof Tom Pink

Please come to the Golden Square entrance directly to the basement: 24 Golden Square, W1F 9JR, near Piccadilly Tube Station (click for a map)

Friday January 28th, Prof. Thomas Pink: ‘Papal Monarchy’
Thomas Pink is a Professor in Philosophy at King's College London and a Patron of the Latin Mass Society. He has a particular interest in the history of theology in the early modern and modern periods, on religious liberty and the role of the Papacy.

Theo Howard
Friday February 25th, Theo Howard: ‘The Dominicans and the English Parliament’
Theo Howard is a contributing editor of the traditionalist web journal OnePeterFive. His writing has also appeared in Crisis, the Catholic Herald and The European Conservative.

Friday March 25th, Pierpaolo Finaldi ‘On the vocation of the Catholic author’
Pierpaolo Finaldi
Pierpaolo Finaldi is the CEO and Publisher of The Catholic Truth Society, Master of the Catholic Writers' Guild, a regular guest on EWTN global Catholic TV, a Catholic Herald top 100 trailblazer Catholic, a husband and father of seven.

Friday April 29th, David Hunt ‘The perennial sin of Usury’
David Hunt
David Hunt studied at the International Theological Institute in Austria to study philosophy and theology, and recently completed an MA in Philosophy at the University of Buckingham with a thesis titled ‘Usury Redux: A defence of the scholastic position on usury’. David lives in Kent with his wife and five children.

Friday May 27th, Dr Jeremy Pilch ‘St John Henry Newman and Our Lady Mediatrix of All Graces’
Jeremy Pilch

Following undergraduate studies at Oriel College, Oxford, and an MA at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (UCL), Dr Jeremy Pilch was awarded a scholarship for a doctorate at the University of Bristol, researching on the doctrine of deification in the Russian tradition, focusing especially on the thought of Vladimir Solov’ev. At St Mary’s University, Dr Pilch is the Programme Director for the BA In Theology, Religion, and Ethics. He regularly teaches across a range of topics, including modules on Systematic Theology, Mariology, Mystical Theology, Theological Anthropology, Christian Ethics, Ecclesiology, and Eastern Christianity.
Tim Stanley

Friday June 17th, Dr Timothy Stanley ‘Whatever Happened to Tradition?”
Dr Stanley is a well-known historian and journalist, and author of the recent Whatever Happened to Tradition?

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Thursday, January 20, 2022

The attack on Latin: Tito Casini

The celebrant blesses the deacon before the latter proclaims the Gospel at High Mass.
LMS Annual Mass for our Annual General Meeting in Westminster Cathedral, 2021

My latest on 1Peter5

I have been reading the Traditionalist classic, Tito Cassini’s The Torn Tunic, first published (in Italian, La Tunica Stracciata) in 1967, reprinted by Angelico Press. It is an impassioned, indeed ferocious, statement of the case for liturgical traditionalism, written and published before the Novus Ordo Missae was promulgated. Casini, like most Catholics of the time, has only the vaguest idea what further changes were being cooked up. What he was objecting to was the things which had already been done, notably by the 1964 Instruction Inter Oecumenici, and the liturgical abuses which had been springing up. Casini’s focus, like that of the Latin Mass Societies and Una Voce groups which were founded as early as 1964, was the use of the Latin language.

Read the whole thing there.

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Monday, January 17, 2022

Iota Unum talks: Prof Tom Pink on Papal Monarchy, Friday 28th Jan


We are delighted to announce a new series of Iota Unum talks. The following have been confirmed. Great speakers, great topics, plenty of wine, an intimate setting and lots of time for discussion: if you in reach of London, don't miss out!

January Friday 28th: Thomas Pink: ‘Papal Monarchy’

February Friday 25th: Theo Howard: ‘The Dominicans and the English Parliament’

March Friday 25th: Pierpaolo Finaldi ‘On the vocation of the Catholic author’

April Friday 29th: David Hunt ‘The perennial sin of Usury’

May Friday 27th: Dr Jeremy Pilch ‘St John Henry Newman and Our Lady Mediatrix of All Graces’

June Fri 17th: Dr Timothy Stanley ‘Whatever Happened to Tradition?”

Doors open 6:30pm; talk at 7pm

Basement of Our Lady of the Assumption & St Gregory, Warwick Street: enter via

24 Golden Square, London W1F 9JR (click for a map)

Refreshments provided; £5 on the door.


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Tuesday, January 11, 2022

The Direction of Worship, for Catholic Answers

LMS Pilgrimage to Chideock. Photo by John Aron.

My latest on Catholic Answers.

It begins:

The subject of which direction the priest should stand while celebrating Mass has generated a great deal of attention since about the middle of the twentieth century. The celebration of Mass “facing the people” (versus populum) was officially encouraged after Vatican II, but the historic practice, of “facing East” (ad orientem), is still permitted in the reformed Mass and normative for the traditional Latin Mass.

Even before the Second Vatican Council, some important historic churches, notably St. Peter’s in Rome, had altars at which celebration facing the people was possible. In St. Peter’s (and also in the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem), this was because the high altar was over an important holy place, which needed to be accessible from the nave of the church, via steps. The solution to the design problem was to allow the priest to celebrate facing east, toward the rising sun, from the apse side of the altar. This general arrangement was imitated (or anticipated) in some other ancient churches.

Monday, January 10, 2022

The idealised past and anti-Tradition: the Brown Windsor Myth

King Alfred the Great lets the cakes burn.

A key feature of tradition is the notion of a past as in some sense normative: the past as a guide to action in present, because that past should in some sense be restored. Tim Stanley talks about this in his Whatever Happened to Tradition? 

As Stanley says, this is not nostalgia in the simple, and often pejorative sense. Critics of appeals to the past often say: but look that past you like was also characterised by Bad Things! Stanley responds by pointing out the obvious: if we agree they are bad, then obviously they are not among the aspects of the past we want to restore. We want to 'restore', if that is the right word, an idealised past. In fact, the creation and development of a shared sense of an ideal past is essential to a society's sense of what it should be like now and in the future. Idealising the past is a way of imagining the future. It is a way of developing a political programme.

Saturday, January 08, 2022

Online Latin Courses: discounts for Clergy & Seminarians

The new year will see a new set of online Latin Courses from Matthew Spencer. The Latin Mass Society is happy to sponsor clergy (priests and deacons) and seminarians (or those preparing for the diaconate) to tune of 80% of the course fees.

Yes, we are serious about promoting Latin! It is not only the key to the celebration of the ancient Latin Mass: this language is, within the Latin Church, an abundant well-spring of Christian civilisation and a very rich treasure-trove of devotion (Paul VI).

We have even arranged a way for your grasp of Latin to be certified by a senior academic Latinist at a British university: if you need to show anyone you have it.

Details here.

More from Matthew Spencer.

Do you wish you had better Latin — to follow the liturgy, or immerse yourself in the theology and history of the Church?