Sunday, October 02, 2022

Farewell to St Benet's Hall

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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.

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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

CHRIS LARKMAN LONDON SW20 


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? 

JIM SPENCER GILLINGHAM, KENT

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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.

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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.


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

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Thursday, September 01, 2022

LMS Walsingham Pilgrimage: photos

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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.
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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?

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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?

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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

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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.

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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.

Monday, August 08, 2022

SCT Summer School photos: liturgy

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We have just concluded our annual Summer School, organised by the St Catherine's Trust: a small charity I set up for this purpose in 2004. It took place this year (for the first time) at the St Cassian's Retreat Centre, Kintbury. The Chaplain was Fr Andrew Southwell, a priest of Southwark Archdiocese. This was the first Summer School since 2019, due to Covid, and ran from 31st July to 6th August.

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On the Wednesday of the week, we had a day-trip to Oxford, with Mass at the Oratory--thanks to the hospitality of the Fathers.

These are photos of our liturgies: Mass in St Cassian's, in a temporary chapel (the permanent one was too small for us); in the Oxford Oratory; Compline, Benediction, Stations of the Cross outside, and veneration of a relic of St Pius X which has been given to the Latin Mass Society.

Sunday, August 07, 2022

LMS AGM Mass: photos

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I didn't have time to post these photos until now, but here they are: from Saturday 30th July, in St Mary Moorfields. The celebrant was Canon Amaury Montjean ICKSP, the deacon Fr Michael Cullinan, and the subdeacon Fr John Scott.

My address to the Annual General Meeting, which followed this Mass, can be heard here.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Radio discussion with Fr Robert McTeigue SJ

You  can hear my latest chat with Fr McTeigue SJ on his Catholic Current radio show here.

It is always a pleasure to shoot the breeze with Fr McTeigue! This was my second visit to the show, and our theme was Pope Francis' Apostolic Letter Desiderio desideravi on liturgical formation.

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Thursday, July 14, 2022

New video on the LMS Walsingham Pilgrimage

Here is a 6 1/2 minute promotional video for the Latin Mass Society's Walking Pilgrimage to Walsingham; it's a longer version of the one embedded in the LMS booking page.


For more information and to book a place on the pilgrimage, see here.


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Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Part-time Job opportunity at the Latin Mass Society

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The current LMS Office, when it opened in 2009.

The Latin Mass Society is advertising for a part-time employee.

We have two full-time employees, plus this part-time role, two freelancers who work for us, and  many volunteers, in the Office and around the country. I believe the Latin Mass Society is the only national 'Una Voce' group around the world to have permanent staff of any kind.

This role is administrative: answering the phone, maintaining data-bases, fulfilling orders to our online shop, and so on. 

We will soon be in a new, larger, office, where our thriving shop can continue to expand. We last upgraded our office space in 2009, and were planning to do this again before Covid struck. 

The deadline for applications is 26th August.

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Thursday, July 07, 2022

New podcasts: interview with Timothy Stanley

In this podcast with Tim Stanley I discuss his recent book Whatever Happened to Tradition?

You can find on various platforms; on Podbean it is here.

He also gave a talk in the Latin Mass Society's Iota Unum series in London; more about that series here.

Tim writes in the Telegraph and is on Twitter as @timothy_stanley

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Wednesday, July 06, 2022

Learn Latin this Summer! Residential and Online options

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Mass at Park Place during the Guild of St Clare Sewing Retreat in the spring.

Not many of those reading this blog will be able to put their hands on their hearts and say that their Latin could not be improved. So why not do something about it?


Residential Latin Course, 8th - 13th August


The Latin Mass Society hasn't had a residential Latin course since before Covid, but this year we are back, better than ever: a better venue, and the option of beginners' New Testament Greek as well as beginners or intermediate Latin. The great Fr John Hunwicke will be with us to teach Latin.

The venue is Park Place Pastoral Centre in Hampshire (PO17 5HA), a quiet rural setting with en suite rooms and excellent food.

There are discounts for LMS members (yes, join us to get one, it's cheaper that way) and enormous discounts for clergy, seminarians, and religious.

All the details are here.


Online Courses, July–October 



Can't make it to Hampshire in August? From later this month the next round of online courses organised by Matthew Spencer, now with an assistant, Peter Day-Milne, starting late this month.

The courses accommodate Latinists of all levels, and include options to explore a wide range of Latin registers: liturgical Latin, the Latin of the Fathers, Classical Latin, the Latin of modern Church documents, and so on.

The courses are essentially ongoing through the year, and can be done from anywhere in the world.

The LMS' sponsorship for clergy and seminarians applies to these as well. In fact we will pay 80% of the cost for clergy etc. based in or from England and Wales.

All the details are here.


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Tuesday, July 05, 2022

What does Pope Francis mean in Desiderio desideravi?

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The laying-on of hands at the recent priestly ordination in Bavaria
for the Fraternity of St Peter.

My latest on 1Peter5.

Desiderio desideravi: “with desire have I desired,” Our Lord said to His Disciples before the Last Supper, “to eat this Pasch with you.” The quaint Latin phrase is a literal translation of the Greek of the Gospels (Luke 22:15; Matthew 13:14), but it is no less quaint in Greek. It is in fact an expression at home in Hebrew, which does this kind of thing to express a superlative. No doubt this was an expression in use in Our Lord’s native Aramaic as well. The fidelity of a succession of translators has brought it to us today as something at once mysterious, poetic, intriguing, and rather beautiful. The effort necessary to understand it, its very elusiveness, has the effect of fixing it in our minds, and making it echo in our souls. To put it another way, the slight barrier to propositional understanding increases its transformative potential for us.

Every poet, every novelist, knows this. It is a mystery hidden, however, from modern Biblical translators, who come up with phrases like the one used in the English version of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter of this name: ‘I have earnestly desired.’ It is flat, utilitarian, and drab; defensible as a translation, to be sure, on modern principles, but about as memorable as a corporate mission statement.

Which is to be master, one may ask? The Church’s Tradition, which draws us in through mystery, or the flattened-out, dreary rationalism of liturgical Modernism? It is a problem with which Pope Francis struggles in this Letter. He sees the struggle in terms of avoiding two bad options, which present themselves as opposites.

I want the beauty of the Christian celebration and its necessary consequences for the life of the Church not to be spoiled by a superficial and foreshortened understanding of its value or, worse yet, by its being exploited in service of some ideological vision, no matter what the hue (16).


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Friday, July 01, 2022

The Myth of Liberal Neutrality














My first article for The Critic magazine is online now. It begins:

Beleaguered liberal academics often appeal to the idea that universities should be neutral on substantive issues: they should teach the scientific or philosophical method, or the method of literary criticism, or whatever, but not enforce a single view of the correct answers. This kind of argument is also used in relation to schools, and in general to all the activities of the state. It is not just a bad argument, but a strategically disastrous one.

Classical liberals claim that what they want is simply a framework within which free enquiry can take place. The only limit to the debate which a classical liberal can accept is the defence of free enquiry itself. The only voices which are excluded are those which would silence other voices. But — they say — this is not a real limitation, a limit on what substantive results are allowable, because it is merely the limit imposed by rationality itself. Those who would silence other voices are rejecting rationality, in rejecting the value of the free debate which those voices would stimulate.

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Thursday, June 30, 2022

Iota Unum Podcasts: Prof Thomas Pink

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Over the Summer we are launching a new season of Iota Unum Podcasts.

The first, published today, is a recording of Professor Thomas Pink's Iota Unum talk on The Papal Monarchy, which he delivered in January, at our regular location, the parish hall of Our Lady of the Assumption, Warwick Street, in London.

You can hear it on Podbean here; it is also on Spotify: search for the Latin Mass Society.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Traditional Catholics in the Synod on Synodality

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A newly ordained priest, of the Fraternity of St Peter, concluding his first,
Traditional, Mass in Munich. Fr Gwilym Evans comes from Wales.
Traditional Catholics' contributions to the Synod on Synodality have not been entirely ignored. The Synthesis document for England and Wales includes this paragraph:

(viii) Traditionalists 72. Although very few in number, a sense of grievance and marginalization is strongly expressed by those who worship using the Missal of 1962. Traditionalists complain of “sadness and anger” at the restrictions they believe were imposed by Pope Francis’s Traditionis Custodes, which restored to bishops the regulation of the provision of preSecond Vatican Council liturgies. 89 Adherents of the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) complain of the “watering down” of liturgical devotion in eucharistic celebrations following the Council, and fear that the Church has capitulated to “modernistic” ideas. 90 In response to questions about marginalisation and exclusion, both TLM adherents and those committed to “maintaining traditional Catholic teaching against what they interpret as harmful modifications” feel “badly treated by the bishops and by Pope Francis“ and “saddened by a sense that their views are habitually denigrated and their voices left unheard and unanswered.”91

This appears under other categories: the Traveller Community, People of Colour, the Divorced and Remmaried, and so on.

Friday, June 24, 2022

Fr Gwilym Evans FSSP: First Mass, photos

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Cross-posted between Rorate Caeli and LMS Chairman. Photos by me.

Fr Gwilym Evans FSSP celebrated his First Mass on Sunday 18th, the Sunday within the Octave of Corpus Christi. Although Corpus Christi is a public holiday in Bavaria, and a public procession had taken place on the day in Munich, on the Sunday another procession took place, organised by one of the parishes, the Peterskirche. After his Mass, Fr Evans and his congregation joined this procession.

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His Mass took place in the small but extraordinary Baroque 'Asamkirche', which has relics (in a waxwork) of St John Nepomuk above the altar. It was a Low Mass.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

FSSP Ordinations in Bavaria: photos

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Photo by Monika Rheinschmitt

Cross-posted between Rorate Caeli and LMS Chairman.

On Saturday 18th June, Archbishop Wolfgang Haas of Vaduz (Liechtenstein) ordained two members of the Fraternity of St Peter to the priesthood. They stand either side of the Archbishop in the above photograph: Daniel Bruckwilder, left, and Gwilym Evans, right. Fr Bruckwilder is from Germany; I and many others from the UK attended this event because Fr Evans is from Wales. He has attended many traditional events in England over the years, particularly the Latin Mass Society's walking pilgrimage to Walsingham: and will do so again this year.

Most of the photos in this post are by my Una Voce International (FIUV) colleague, Monika Rheinschmitt; a few are by me. Readers can click through to Flickr albums of more of her photographs of this event and mine. Tomorrow (Friday) I will post some photographs of Fr Evans' First Mass in Munich.

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The ordinations took place some distance from the FSSP Seminary at Wigratzbad, Bavaria, in the Church of our Lady of the Assumption, Turkheim.

Everything about the event was meticulously prepared and executed; it was truly uplifting. 

Thursday, June 09, 2022

Latin and NT Greek intensive week with the LMS

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Mass at Park Place at the Sewing Retreat

Booking is open for our intensive study week of either liturgical Latin or New Testament Greek, 8th August - Saturday 13th August 2022.

The venue is Park Place Pastoral Centre, a Catholic retreat centre in Hampshire (Wickham, Fareham, Hampshire PO17 5HA).

  • Find your own level with our experienced Latin tutors: Fr John Hunwicke and Ethan Freeman will be dividing students into beginners and the more advanced.
  • Matthew Spencer will be teaching the New Testament Greek, as he has been doing online.
  • A relaxed and Catholic atmosphere focusing on the liturgical and scriptural uses of the languages.
  • A comfortable setting, with en suite single and twin rooms, and rather good food -- which we've experienced before in the Guild of St Clare Sewing Retreat.
  • There are huge discounts for clergy and seminarians for the Latin.

Wednesday, June 08, 2022

The Teaching of the Church on Fashion: review

Cross-posted from Rorate Caeli

Christian Fashion in the Teaching of the Church, by Virginia Coda Nunziante (Calx Mariae
Publishing, 2022) pp108.

This book is being launched in London, in the St Wilfrid Hall of the London Oratory, on Thursday 9th June, and I have been asked by the publishers, Calx Mariae Publications, to review it in advance of this event. please click here for more details.

Buy it here.

This short book comprises the author’s own introduction to the subject, and materials drawn from the speeches and writing of Popes Benedict XV, Pius XI, and Pius XII, with two final contributions from Cardinals Siri and Colombo. The documents date from 1914 to 1971. They end at this point because the Popes after Pius XII do not seem to have addressed the issue. Although small, therefore, this collection is comprehensive, at least in terms of the modern era, and for this reason extremely helpful to anyone interested in the subject.

Sunday, June 05, 2022

LMS Pilgrimage to Harvington

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Last Sunday I joined a pilgrimage to Harvington Hall, with Mass in the parish church which is close to it. Sung Mass was celebrated by Fr Douglas Lamb.

Harvington Hall, a moated Tudor manor house, has the largest number of surviving 'priest holes' (priest hides) of any house in the country: seven. Many are very impressive: hidden under stairs which can be lifted up on hinges; up a fake chimney; and behind a swinging beam. Many of them were built by the Jesuit lay-brother, St Nicholas Owen, who himself was martyred in 1606.

Saturday, June 04, 2022

Pentecost: for Catholic Answers

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The Descent of the Holy Ghost on the Apostles: from
the Rosary Walk at the Shrine at Aylesford, the destination
of a traditional walking pilgrimage this weekend.

Catholic Answers has published an 'explainer' type article by me on Pentecost.

It begins:

Pentecost comes from the Greek pentekoste, which means “fiftieth.” The ancient Jewish feast of Pentecost (as it is occasionally called in the Greek Old Testament) is also called the Feast of Weeks or of First Fruits, in Hebrew, Shavuot. In the year of Jesus’ passion, this was also 50 days after the Resurrection (more or less) and was the occasion of the coming of the Holy Spirit on the apostles. The Ascension had taken place forty days after the Resurrection, and Pentecost followed a nine-day period of prayer and interior preparation for this event by the apostles, in the Upper Room, the Cenacle, in Jerusalem.

Holy Scripture and the Church’s liturgical calendar alike rejoice in numerology, the symbolism of numbers. Forty is a period of preparation: the Hebrews were forty years in the desert before they came to the Promised Land; Jesus, like Moses and Elijah before key moments of their missions, spent forty days in the desert in preparation for his public ministry; we have forty days of Lent. Fifty is associated with completion and eternity: the fifty days of Eastertide represent, in a sense, the end of the story, the “happily ever after,” as well as the period between Easter and Pentecost.


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Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Review: Unwanted Priest, by Fr Bryan Houghton

This appears in the current Mass of Agesmagazine of the Latin Mass Society.

It is available to buy from the LMS online shop: Unwanted Priest | Latin Mass Society (lms.org.uk)


Fr Bryan Houghton: Unwanted Priest: The Autobiography of a Latin Mass Exile


Another Traditionalist Classic from Angelico is Fr Houghton’s autobiographical Unwanted Priest. With this the publisher has secured a first, however, for although it was published in French in 1990 (as Pretre rejeté), the English version never made it into print.

This has now been put right, and Houghton’s life story is available in both languages. It is a fascinating one. The son of Protestant English parents, he had much of his education in France, and became a Catholic as a young man. He had independent financial means, and consistently used this to further the apostolates he was given as a priest. While working for Northampton Diocese, he was respected as an intellectual and also elected Dean by his brother priests. Nevertheless, he was the only priest in England and Wales to resign from his position rather than celebrate the Novus Ordo Missae, in 1969. He spent his remaining years in France, where he supported an early Latin Mass apostolate, with the tacit permission of the local bishop, in a privately owned chapel. He wrote two novels well worth reading: Mitre and Crook and Judith’s Marriage, and died in 1992.

Fr Houghton’s description and analysis of what was going on in his lifetime are sober and perceptive. He distances himself from Archbishop Lefebvre, but is merciless in his assessment of the progressive faction which led the changes to the liturgy and went on to attempt a revolution in the conception of the priesthood.

Like Tito Cassini [author of Torn Tunic], Fr Houghton was particularly sensitive to the experience of the laity, and understood the laity’s mode of engagement with the liturgy as few priests of his generation did. Unlike them, as a convert he had been an adult Catholic layman himself: seminarians of that time typically went from one enclosed Catholic institution, a school, to another, the seminary, at a very young age. The laity, Fr Houghton realised, did not participate in the Mass despite the Latin and the obscurity: rather, the sacredness evinced by the ancient Mass created a setting for them to engage in contemplative prayer.

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Monday, May 30, 2022

Review: Faith of our Fathers, by Chessman

This appears in the new Mass of Agesmagazine of the Latin Mass Society.


This is available to buy from the LMS online bookshopFaith of Our Fathers | Latin Mass Society (lms.org.uk)

Stuart Chessman: Faith of our Fathers: A Brief History of Catholic Traditionalism in the United States.

The United States is the location of a major part of what we can call the Traditional Movement, but over the decades it has not had a single, continuing organisation or institution to represent it or, for that matter, to keep records. Stuart Chessman, who bloggs at The Society of St Hugh of Cluny, has put together a number of articles about the American movement’s past and present, which will do something to prevent some important events and individuals it disappearing from public consciousness, notwithstanding the geographical bias of the book.

Chessman explains the early role of those ‘conservative’ Catholics who refused to get involved in the liturgical debate; the strengths, weaknesses, and eventual collapse of Triumph magazine; and its partial replacement by the Latin Mass Magazine. Chessman notes the eagerness of Triumph to rally round the papacy following the condemnation of artificial contraception in 1968, which led to a tension in the magazine’s position as it continued to document the institutional failures of the Church in America.

A similar rallying to the establishment cause by conservative Catholics took place in the latter years of Pope John Paul II’s reign. This was led by Opus Dei and the Legionaires of Christ, and took place despite the poor episcopal treatment of conservative institutions like Ignatius Press and EWTN. It was particularly unfortunate in blinding some conservative Catholic commentators to the grim beginnings of the clerical abuse revelations. Relations between conservative and traditionalist Catholics have, since then, been transformed for the better.

One useful feature of the book is its inclusion of some historical documents. Bishop Donohoe of Fresno threatening excommunication to traditionalists in 1976; a letter from Archbishop Weakland which had to be presented by those attending a permitted Traditional Mass in 1985; a questionnaire designed to ascertain the theological soundness of would-be Old Mass-goers from the Archdiocese of New York from the same year; and so on. It is well to be reminded of some of the sillier aspects of the persecution of Catholics who, as Pope Benedict was later to describe them, were ‘totally rooted in the faith of the Church’, and wished only to worship in continuity with their predecessors in the Faith.

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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Review: The Great Betrayal by Hugh Ross Williamson

I am going to publish a series of reviews of short books suitable for light(ish) summer holiday reading, which appear in the current Mass of Agesmagazine of the Latin Mass Society.

This is available to buy from the LMS online bookshop.

Hugh Ross Williamson: The Great Betrayal: Thoughts on the Deformation of the Mass 

Hugh Ross Williamson, a founding figure of the Latin Mass Society, composed two important pamphlets in the early days of the movement: The Modern Mass: A Reversion to the Reforms of Cranmer (1969) and The Great Betrayal: Some Thoughts on the Invalidity of the New Mass (1970). These have been republished by Arouca Press, with Preface by his daughter, Julia Ashendon, and a Foreword by me.

The central concern of both pamphlets is the replacement of liturgical texts with clear theological implications, notably on the sacrificial nature of the Mass, with ambiguity and silence. This happened above all in the new Eucharistic Prayers and the Offertory.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Mass of the Ages video trilogy: Part 2 released

This hour-length documentary goes into some detail about the creation of the reformed Mass and its relationship with Vatican II.

I have three short appearances! The team came to England as well as interviewing people in the USA.



This is Part 2 of a trilogy: Part 1 is here. It has already had more than a million views.


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Friday, May 27, 2022

Summer Mass of Ages! Get your copy now.

To have it delivered each quarter, join the LMS!


If your local church doesn't get it, you can order a copy - it is free so you only pay the postage.


You can read it online on ISSUU.


In this issue: • Joseph Shaw reviews the Raphael exhibition at the National Gallery until 31 July • Charles A. Coulombe remembers Dr Halliday Sutherland, a remarkable and wise Catholic convert • Alan Frost explains how devotion to the Rosary was revived in the late 15th century by a Dominican Friar • Joseph Shaw reviews six short but important books

Our regular columnists:
• The Chairman’s Message: On what we should all be promoting
• Family Matters: James Preece on how our love of God should not remain purely theoretical
Art and Devotion, Caroline Farey on a late 15th century Netherlandish picture by Juan de Flandes
• Rome Report, Diane Montagna talks to Abbé Brice Meissonnier, parish priest of Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini
• Architecture: At a time when Ukraine is very much in the news, Paul Waddington takes a look at the London cathedral of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
• Mary O’Regan suggests we pray for our detractors
• Wine: Sebastian Morello on the ales of The Chiltern Brewery
• World News: Paul Waddington reports from around the Globe

We promote the walking pilgrimage from Canterbury to Ramsgate, organised by the Marian Franciscans and The St Benedict Academy in Preston, who are looking to appoint tutors for the coming academic year.


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Saturday, May 14, 2022

LMS Walsingham Pilgrimage 2022

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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.


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