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.