Sunday, December 31, 2023

Artistic modernism and the Traditional Mass

My latest for the European Conservative: some reflections arising out of the work I did for The Intellectuals and the Latin Mass, about the intellectual and artistic signatories of petitions to save the Traditional Latin Mass.

A key passage:

This is a reminder that the relationship between artistic modernism and traditional artistic forms is a complex one. By definition, modernism involves a rejection of artistic conventions, but there is an open question as to which conventions are being overturned. The impulse of modernism is a response to modernity—new technology, social change, and so on—but there is again an open question regarding what form this response will take.

Those brought up in a strongly-manifested Catholic culture may feel that modernity is a challenge that requires the Church to change in order to address it, or they may feel even that modernity has proved the Church wrong. Artistic modernism may be an expression of this stance: James Joyce is the outstanding artistic example of such a view.

Other artists, no less rebellious, took things in a very different direction. Those whose lives have been dominated by a secularised culture, characterised by mass-produced art, may also take the view that their own culture is inadequate to the demands of the time: demands made, in particular, by the wars, political crises, and economic convulsions of the modern age. It is equally clear, however, that this culture is itself the product of modernity: in other words, modernity has created a culture which does not equip people to deal with modernity. To rebel against it, and to seek out less inadequate cultural forms, may involve the overthrow of the modern in the interest of reviving something older.

Support the Latin Mass Society

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Non-Catholics supporting the Traditional Mass

My latest on 1Peter5. It begins:

Last month I launched a new book, The Latin Mass and the Intellectuals: Petitions to Save the Ancient Mass from 1966 to 2007. Many, if by no means all, readers will have heard of the “Agatha Christie Petition” which was presented to Pope Paul VI in 1971, stimulating him to given the first “indult” in favour of the Traditional Mass, for England and Wales. The story is much more complex and interesting than this, however.

For many years the main public source of information about the petitions was a 1999 article by Alfred Marnau, that had appeared in the Latin Mass Society’s Newsletter and was subsequently made available online. English-language references to the 1971 petition since then, up until now, have invariably used this as their sole source. It hasn’t helped that the UK Catholic press at the time of the petition and indult observed a substantial, if now quite complete, news blackout about them. The Latin Mass Society had to feed the news to The Times newspaper in order to get it into the public domain at all, and the text of the Indult was not made available to them by Cardinal Heenan for many months. Readers may remember the inability of the archivists at the Dicastery for Divine Worship to find the indult (we sent Cardinal Roche a copy).

Alfred Marnau was a hero of the early movement; after the petition he became the Chairman of the Latin Mass Society, and later founded Pro Ecclesiae et Pontifice to campaign on orthodox doctrine and Catholic education. However, in 1999 he was dying, and his article gives a rather incomplete picture of the petition, its organisation, and its wider context. He doesn’t claim to have written the text, for example, but does not explain that the original was in Italian, and that in addition to the

57 names
that were published in The Times on 9th July 1971 there were another 48, non-UK based petitioners, whose names later appeared in Italian and French publications. The whole list of 105 was finally published in Una Voce Italia in their newsletter, that December.

Read the whole thing there.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Reactions to Fiducia Supplicans

I'll try to keep this up to date: not with the reaction of every bishop in the world, but groups of bishops and other significant groups.

The text of the Declaration Fiducia supplicans

Bishops of Kazakstan

'To bless couples in an irregular situation and same-sex couples is a serious abuse of the most Holy Name of God, since this name is invoked upon an objectively sinful union of adultery or of homosexual activity.'

Bishops of Ukraine

'We see the danger in ambiguous wording that causes divergent interpretations among the faithful. What we missed in the document is that the Gospel calls sinners to conversion, and without a call to leave the sinful life of homosexual couples, the blessing may look like an approval. '

Bishops of Zambia

'In order to avoid any pastoral confusion and ambiguity as well as not to break the law of our country which forbids same sex unions and activities, and while listenig to our cultural heritage which does not accept same sex relationships, the Conference guides that the Declaration from the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith of December 18th 2023 concerning the blessing of same-sex couples be taken as for further reflection and not for implementation in Zambia.'

Bishops of Malawi

' avoid creatuig confusion among the faithful we direct that for pastoral reasons, blessings of any kind for same-sex unions of any kind, are not permitted in Malawi.'

Thursday, December 21, 2023

A conversation with Sebastian Morello and Charles Coulombe

We talk about monarchy and democracy, 're-enchantment', clerical abuse, Catholic education, Chesterton, and a few other things.


Support the Latin Mass Society

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

2024 Ordos from the LMS and the FIUV

The Federation's own Ordo, giving the Mass to be said every day of the year according to the Universal Calendar (1962), is now available as a pdf download here.

Hard copies will be available to buy in the New Year, from the LMS online shop.

The FIUV took up the publication of this Ordo when the PCED, which used to do it, ceased to exist. It is modelled on the old PCED Ordos.

Do support the FIUV by becoming a Friend!

The Latin Mass Society's Ordo, which has the feasts of the dioceses of England and Wales, be be purchased in hard copy here. It will be available online here.

Support the Latin Mass Society

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

LMS Chairman's Briefing No3: on blessings for irregular unions

I have recently started something new: occasional, short, news-driven briefings from me as Chairman of the Latin Mass Society, to anyone who would like to receive them.

We already have a monthly email newsletter, which goes out to the same mailing list.

Today I have used this format to comment on Fiducia supplicans, the issue of the hour; this is the third of the series. It begins:


On Monday the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a Declaration, called Fiducia supplicans, on the possibility of blessing people in irregular unions: the divorced and civilly remarried and same-sex couples.

The document points out that priests giving blessings do not in general refuse to bless sinners (e.g. when blessing a group of pilgrims, or a stranger who has asked for a blessing in the street (40)). Further, it says that asking for a blessing is itself ‘a petition for God’s assistance, a plea to live better, and confidence in a Father who can help us live better’ (21).


Read the whole thing here.

Subscribe to these briefings by putting your email address in below.

Support the Latin Mass Society

2024 Dates for Server Training

Cross-posted from the website of the Society of St Tarcisius.

Enrolments at the November Training Day

We are pleased to announce new server training dates.

These will take place at St Mary Moorfields: more about the venue here.

There is no charge. Please book, and please be on time: both of these really help us in organising the training on the day.

Saturday 3rd February (booking page)

Saturday 20th April (booking page)

Saturday 8th June (booking page

Doors open at 10am for a start at 10:30am. The day concludes with the ceremony of enrolment for new members, if there are any, at 3:30pm; we depart at 4pm. We have a break for lunch.

The Guild of St Clare's Vestment Mending Days take place in the basement of St Mary Moorfields at the same time as the training in the church. Adults accompanying children to the training are welcome to meet the Guild and join their activities: there are things for people of all levels of sewing experience to do. If you are interested, email the Guild at

The Guild of St Clare hard at work in the basement, while the server-training
continues upstairs.

Support the Latin Mass Society

Monday, December 18, 2023

Talk on clerical abuse, by me

In November I gave a talk for the Iota Unum monthly series we have in London, on the subject of clerical abuse. The talk developed a chapter of my book, The Liturgy, the Family, and the Crisis of Modernity, which you can buy here (more about the book here).

What is distinctive about my approach to this topic--apart from the fact that I wade into it at all, as part of a traditionalist analysis of the crisis in the Church--is that I reject the idea that bishops and others inside and outside the Church cover up abuse as part of a risk-averse strategy to save the reputation of their institution. 

This idea is repeated so often that it has become habitual, but on examination it is obviously false. It would be far safer, for the reputation of the institution, to get the perpetrator to go away quietly once the accusations start piling up. This does happen, in fact, in many cases. What needs to be explained is why, instead of doing this, so many people in charge over so many years chose to fob off the victims and move the abuser to another position where he can abuse.

To find out what I think, listen to the talk, or better still, buy the book. That link will take you to the talk on a special website, but you can also find it on all the podcast platforms, if you search for 'Latin Mass Society'.

Support the Latin Mass Society

Sunday, December 17, 2023

A Defence of the Monarchy: book launch

A date for the diary: we will be launching A Defence of Monarchy: Catholics Under a Protestant King on 11th January in the St Wilfrid Hall at the London Oratory.

All are welcome; refreshments provided. Please sign up here so we can keep track of numbers.

I am the editor; the contributors are Sohrab Ahmari, James Bogle, Charles Coulombe, Peter Day-Milne, and Sebastian Morello.

Buy the book from the publisher, Angelico, and elsewhere.

Support the Latin Mass Society

Saturday, December 16, 2023

The Abomination of Desolation: for Catholic Answers

My latest on Catholic Answers, on the Gospel of the Last Sunday After Pentecost.

The traditional lectionary for the Twenty-Fourth, or Last, Sunday After Pentecost has for the Gospel reading Matthew 24:15-35, which begins this way: “When therefore you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place: he that readeth let him understand. Then they that are in Judea, let them flee to the mountains.” This is from what is called the Gospel of Matthew’s apocalypse: mysterious, profound, and troubling.

One mystery about it is why it should be found on that particular Sunday, as we are about to enter Advent. (It is not found anywhere—not even as an option for some category of martyr—in the lectionary produced after the Second Vatican Council.)

The obvious, but wrong, answer is that a treatment of the “Last Things” (death, judgement, hell, and heaven) is called for on the occasion of the end of the Church’s year. This is wrong because the Last Sunday After Pentecost was not, historically, regarded as the end of the Church’s year; there was no such concept. The liturgical year is not a linear thing, but a cycle.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Requiem roundup


There were a few requiems in November I was involved in that didn't get their own blog-posts.


Above all, I didn't post any photos of the Latin Mass Society's own Annual Requiem, which had to be moved from Westminster Cathedral to Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane, on 7th November. It was accompanied with polyphony from the Southwell Consort and celebrated by Fr John Scott. Photographs by John Aron.

Wednesday, December 06, 2023

The Tablet on Bernard Wall, and 'The Latin Mass and the Intellectuals'

I'm delighted to see short piece on Bernard Wall in the latest issue of The Tablet, in the 'Word from the Cloisters' column. Wall is a central figure in my book, The Intellectuals and the Latin Mass, as this piece explains. On the one hand he rented a room from Tom Burns, legendary Tablet editor (the one who came out against Humanae Vitae in 1968), and on the other hand he was the chief 'convenor' of the 1971 petition to save the Traditional Mass. The letter of invitation to sign asked signatories to send replies to him, at his address in Ladbroke Grove.

Wall is somewhat obscure figure, and one of his chief claims to fame is as the first translator of Teilhard de Chardin. He was an enthusiast for Vatican II, to start with, but like many others was disappointed by the results. He wrote in a book published in 1969, reminiscing about his naive earlier enthusiasm for reform:

In those days liturgical reform meant the exact opposite of what it has come to mean since the Second Vatican Council. It meant a purging of the liturgy of hideous accretions—sugary nineteenth-century hymns and their counterparts, mass-produced statues—but also restoring it to its pristine purity of Latin chanted in the Gregorian manner.

You can see more about the book here. I'd link to the Tablet piece, but it is paywalled.

Support the Latin Mass Society

Monday, December 04, 2023

LMS Mass listings

Cross-posted from Rorate Caeli.

Since its inception, the Latin Mass Society has published lists of traditional Masses in England and Wales; for many years these have been available to all on its website. If you go to the relevant page now you will be asked to log in as a member. The reason for this is explained in the 'Chairman's Message' of the currant Mass of Ages, the magazine of the Latin Mass Society, which arrived with members over the weekend.


Chairman’s Message

Joseph Shaw

Mass of Ages began as the Latin Mass Society’s Newsletter; we started selling a few copies in about 2005 and we made it free in 2009. It’s availability to non-members, indeed to anyone in the world online, allows us to explain ourselves to a wider audience. It also means that in these pages we are not simply talking among friends.

With this issue, we are instituting a new approach to the information available to readers. Readers picking up Mass of Ages for free at the back of church will no longer find, bound into their copies, a list of Masses celebrated according to the 1962 Missal around England and Wales. Nor will this list henceforth appear on the publicly accessible part of our website. Members of the Latin Mass Society who receive their copies in the post, on the other hand, will find them included.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Requiem for the Catholic Military Association


On Wednesday 29th November, the Latin Mass Society arranged a Requiem Mass for the Catholic Military Association of Our Lady of Victories (see their website and their Facebook page). This association, which is only a few years old (though it had precursors), supports Catholics in the British armed services, and their families.


The traditional Missa Cantata was celebrated by Fr Mark Elliot Smith, parish priest, in Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, Warwick Street, in London.


It was accompanied by Gregorian Chant and Anerio's Requiem, sung by the Southwell Consort under Dominic Bevan.


It was attended by two members of the Association, in uniform: Wing Commander Gerry Doyle and Captain Francis Osborn.



Support the Latin Mass Society

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Bishop Schneider in Milton Keynes


Last Sunday Bishop Schneider celebrated Mass in Milton Keynes. This was part of a trip organised by Catholic Voice, a newspaper based in Ireland. As news of the Mass spread, it became clear that the local churches would be too small, so it took place--with the approval of the bishop and the parish priest--in a school hall, with a remarkable portable altar. 


It was a Pontifical Low Mass, and the Latin Mass Society sponsored polyphonic motets to accompany it. Following Mass Bishop Schneider gave a talk in the same venue.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Who is to blame for lapsations? Me in Crisis magazine

Closer than most young Catholics will ever get to the Traditional Mass.
LMS Annual Mass in Bedford in honour of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

My article begins:

Every now and then we read on social media about a Catholic lapsing from the practice of the Faith, or apostatizing—transferring allegiance to some grouping not in communion with the Holy See. This is always a tragedy. As St. Peter said to Christ when some disciples left Him because of His teaching on the Eucharist, “Thou hast the message of eternal life” (John 6:68).

There are many reasons why people leave, and it is something which has happened on a truly apocalyptic scale in recent decades, starting in the 1970s, in Europe and North America. It is depressingly predictable that many Catholic commentators display very little curiosity about why it has been happening, until they think they have found a way to use it as a stick to beat an opponent. This is what happened to Eric Sammons on Twitter/X when he shared the content of an email he had received by someone who had left for the Orthodox Church. 

Not only do many of Sammons’s respondents show no compassion for the man in question, or understanding of the factors which influenced his decision, but they contrive to blame Sammons, and the Traditional movement in general, for what happened. Their argument seems to go like this: the guy complains about poor liturgy; therefore, the people who recognize that liturgy is indeed often poor and want to improve it must have influenced him into thinking that liturgy is important enough to leave the Church over. The same goes for his other complaints: effeminacy, the lack of “challenge,” the impression that even some priests don’t believe in the Real Presence, and so on. If we address these concerns by trying to improve things, we are part of the problem because we are admitting that some aspects of Church life could be improved. 

Read it all there.

Support the Latin Mass Society

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Annual Mass of Reparation for Abortion in Bedford: photos


The Latin Mass Society began this Mass following the tragic abortion referendum in Ireland. The Church of the Holy Child & St Joseph, Bedford houses the national shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the pro-life movement.


The celebrant, Fr Gerard Byrne, was assisted by Fr Michael Cullinan and Fr Thomas Crean OP. Fr Byrne preached a barnstorming sermon.

Wednesday, November 08, 2023

Sewing Retreat: photos


The Sewing Retreat took place from Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th November. The Retreat giver was Fr Stephen Moseling OPraem; it took place at St Joseph's Centre, Ashurst. It was well-attended and a lot of sewing, and a lot of praying, took place!


Tuesday, November 07, 2023

Talk on the Latin Mass and the Intellectuals

Come along to the London launch on Thursday 9th November! More details, and to sign up, see here.

This is the talk I gave to the Pax Liturgia Conference in Rome to launch my book, The Latin Mass and the Intellectuals. If you click below it will start at 3 mins 35 secs and skip the introductory matter.

More about the book, including how to buy it.
  Support the Latin Mass Society

Monday, November 06, 2023

Book launch: The Latin Mass and the Intellectuals, 9th Nov

(Reposted) I delighted to announce the launch of 

The Latin Mass and the Intellectuals:
Petitions to Save the ancient Mass from 1966 to 2007

Preface by Martin Mosebach

With contributions from Leo Darroch, Fr Gabriel Díaz-Patri, Philip Maxence, Sebastian Morello, Matthew Schellhorn, and Erik Tonning

In due course it will be available from Arouca Press (in the USA) and the Latin Mass Society shop (in the UK), and Amazon: see my author page.

I introduced it in Rome, at the Pax Liturgia Conference, Friday 27th October.

The London launch will take place at the St Wilfrid Hall, London Oratory  SW7 2RP

6:30 for 7pm; refreshments

All welcome. Please RSVP through Eventbrite

More about the book can be found here.

When the Church's ancient Mass was in peril, in 1966, 1971, and in later years, a huge outpouring of support for it came from artists and intellectuals, many Catholic, many not, including Anglicans, Jews, non-believers, and even Communist sympathisers. What they recognised is that this Mass is part of the cultural and spiritual patrimony of the whole world, and that it would be a tragedy if it were to cease to be celebrated.
    This book looks at the petitions, the petitioners, their historical context, the arguments they used, and the intellectual and artistic movements of which they were part. It includes long-forgotten documents, new archival research, and discussions of key ideas. Why did the pacifists like Lanzo Del Vasto and E.I Watkin sign? What was the appeal of the Mass to artistic modernists like David Jones, Benjamin Britten, Robert Lowell, and Sir James MacMillan? How is this connected with the movement promoting the Middle Ages? Why did so many converts sign, like Evelyn Waugh, Malcomn Muggeridge, and Compton MacKenzie? Why are there so many Argentinians among the signatories, so many members of the Académie française, so many Nobel laureates and nominees, and so many people who had distinguished themselves in the fight against Fascism?
    Furthermore, this book draws out from the shadows the outstanding contribution to the organisation of the early petitions by otherwise obscure figures: the Italian Cristina Campo, and the Englishman Bernard Wall, their circles and their concerns.

As the Trappist, and theological liberal, Thomas Merton wrote in 1964:

As you know, I have many friends in the world who are artists, poets, authors, editors, etc. Now they are well able to appreciate our chant and even our Latin. But they are all, without exception, scandalized and grieved when I tell them that probably this Office, this Mass will no longer be here in ten years. And that is the worst. The monks cannot understand this treasure they possess, and they throw it out to look for something else, when seculars, who for the most part are not even Christians, are able to love this  incomparable art.

Support the Latin Mass Society

Monday, October 23, 2023

Oxford Pilgrimage 2023: photos


Another successful Oxford Pilgrimage, thanks to the Dominican community and some hardy pilgrims, willing to run the gauntlet of tourists, shoppers and students to retrace the steps of the martyrs, dragged on hurdles from the Bocardo prison (next to St Michael's at the North Gate in Cornmarket) to Hangman's Corner, the far end of Holywell Street. It was particularly good to see plenty of students this year.

Click on the photos to see the whole album.

Friday, October 20, 2023

Oxford Pilgrimage Saturday 21


High Mass in the Dominican Rite in the Priory Church of the Holy Spirit, Blackfriars

St Giles, OX1 3LY, at 11am. Accompanied by polyphony from the Newman Consort.

This is followed, after a break for lunch, by a procession to one of the sites of Martyrdom in the city at 2pm. This is followed by Benediction at Blackfriars.

Do join us! We even have a gallows at the site of the martyrdoms.

Support the Latin Mass Society

Wednesday, October 04, 2023

Westminster Cathedral: in Crisis magazine

The Kiss of Peace at a Pontifical Mass following the LMS AGM in 2019

I have written more about this, in Crisis Magazine. Some key paragraphs:

"The Cathedral was packed with people, many standing all down the aisles, in the galleries, and at the back of the Church. It was a most impressive celebration and astonished the foreign visitors by the beauty of the church, the music, and the intense devotion of the congregation. We could not have hoped for a more triumphant assembly.… There were representatives from Italy, France, Germany, Belgium, Holland and other places."

This is a description by Geoffrey Houghton-Brown, my predecessor as Chairman of the Latin Mass Society, of the first Traditional Mass to be celebrated in Westminster Cathedral after the liturgical reform, on Saturday, June 17, 1972. 


One of the many puzzles of Traditionis Custodes and subsequent documents is whether it is seeking to marginalize traditional Catholics or to integrate them. The radicalization of traditional Catholics that it condemns, fairly or not, is the predictable result of marginalization. The “parallel Church,” which it decries, develops when one group suffers marginalization. But the solution being put forward is also marginalization.


The policy of Traditionis Custodes is not a policy founded on hope, like Pope Benedict’s hope for the enrichment of the Church by the ancient liturgy. It is, instead, fearful of the future, fearful of young Catholics and the changes they may bring. It is a policy that “stands athwart history yelling Stop.”

Read the whole article there.

Preparing to process out of the sacristy, Annual Requiem 2016. Photo by John Aron.

Support the Latin Mass Society

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Westminster Cathedral and the Traditional Mass: in the Catholic Herald

The Annual Requiem in 2016. I'd forgotten I'd been on the serving team on that occasion.
Photo by John Aron.

The Catholic Herald has published a short piece by me reflecting on the cancellation of our Annual Requiem. It begins:

The Latin Mass Society has been informed that the Traditional Latin Mass may no longer be celebrated at the High Altar of Westminster Cathedral, as is has been twice a year since 1972. With a break for Covid, there have therefore been about 100 such Masses over fifty years. The next one would have been a Requiem Mass on 4 November.

A monthly Low Mass will continue, on First Saturdays in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, but these two annual Masses are regarded as being for the Latin Mass Society, and therefore not part of the Cathedral’s pastoral provision. Many Catholic associations have Masses in the Cathedral, and over many years these ones have, indeed, served as the Society’s Annual Requiem and the Mass for our Annual General Meeting. Nevertheless, they had the same origin as the monthly Masses, as part of Cardinal Heenan’s response to the “English Indult” for the Traditional Mass, which he personally sought and gained from Pope Paul VI.


Support the Latin Mass Society

Friday, September 29, 2023

Pilgrimage, suffering, and sacred geography: for 1Peter5

LMS Procession through the streets of Little Walsingham, in the rain.

My latest for 1Peter5. It begins:

I recently walked the 76 miles from Cambridge to Walsingham in Norfolk, via Ely, over four days, a walk organised by the Latin Mass Society. I met most of my fellow pilgrims—for that was what they were—after the first leg, and walked with them for the remaining 57 mile: 200 people slogging along paths and roads, or looking after the walkers as drivers or cooks. Some of the young men never seemed to lose their bounce, but I think for everyone at certain points, and for a lot of us for a lot of the time, the element of suffering, of penance, dominated our feelings. After a certain point you can keep walking in a mechanical way, despite the discomfort of your feet or legs, but the discomfort remains.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

LMS Annual Requiem in Westminster Cathedral Cancelled

LMS Annual Requiem 2018, celebrated by
the retired Bishop Patrick Campbell, in Westminster Cathedral.

28th September 2023

The Latin Mass Society has been informed that the Annual Requiem (sung, 1962 Missal) scheduled to take place at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 4th November at 2:30pm will not take place.

The 1962 Missal will continue to be used in the Cathedral on First Saturdays at 4pm (Low Mass), including Saturday 4th November. A Sung Requiem Mass for deceased members and benefactors of the society will take place at Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane on the following Monday, 6th November, at 6:30pm, accompanied by the Southwell Consort.

The Annual Requiem has taken place in consultation with the Latin Mass Society since Cardinal Heenan gained the 1971 ‘English Indult’. The series of monthly Low Masses were established at the same time. The Latin Mass Society lays a wreath on the tomb of Cardinal Heenan annually, in thanksgiving for his intervention, and this tradition will continue.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Annual Mass in Snave: photos


Yesterday say the eighth annual LMS Mass in St Augustine's, Snave (bearing in mind a break for Covid). St Augustine's is one of fourteen churches in the care of the Romney Marsh Historic Churches Trust. While the others continue as Anglican Parish churches, this does not, and has only two services a year: a Harvest thanksgiving/ evensong, and this Missa Cantata organised by the Latin Mass Society Local Representative, Marygold Turner.


Thursday, September 21, 2023

On Lying, for Catholic Answers

My latest for Catholic Answers.

It begins:

The Catholic tradition takes the Eighth Commandment—“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor”—extremely seriously. Strict condemnations of all kinds of lying can be found from the Fathers of the Church, notably St. Augustine (who wrote two short works on the subject), to the Doctors and the modern Magisterium. The act of lying is per se malum: it cannot rightly be done even for a good end.

One reason for this is that lying is contrary to the nature of God, who is Truth. It is of the utmost importance that we can believe what God tells us—both what he reveals about himself and what he promises to those who love and obey him—since this is the basis of the Christian life. God could permit the children of Israel to take others’ property, as when the Israelites conquered Canaan, because he is the primary owner of the whole universe. God could permit Abraham to kill Isaac, because all humans born in original sin owe God a life. But he cannot permit anyone to tell a lie.

Read the whole thing there.

Support the Latin Mass Society

Thursday, September 14, 2023

A short film on St Elisabeth Hesselblad: Sweden's 20th century saint

Cross-posted from Rorate Caeli.

This beautiful 30-minute was produced by EWTN's Norwegian branch, EWTN Norge, and is narrated by Dr Clemens Cavellin, a traditional Catholic academic.

Elisabeth Hesselblad (1870-1957) was canonized in 2016, as the first Swedish saint since the late middle ages. She emmigrated to the United States in 1888, where she converted to the Catholic Church. Her life mission became to bring the Bridgettine order back to Rome, to the house of Saint Bridget, and to Sweden. She founded a new branch of Bridgettines that now has many convents worldwide, particularly in India. This film focuses especially on her early life as she describes it in her memoirs.

Support the Latin Mass Society

Saturday, September 09, 2023

Byrd Festival in London


The Latin Mass Society is sponsoring a festival of William Byrd's Catholic liturgical music, to mark the 400th anniversary of his death, in London. You can see the full programme of Masses here. William Byrd, one of England's greatest composers, managed to combine a job at the court of Queen Elizabeth I ('Bloody Bess') not only with his Catholic Faith, but active support of the underground Catholic community through his composing.

Monday, September 04, 2023

Walsingham Pilgrimage 2023: photos

Photo by John Aron

The Latin Mass Society's annual Walking Pilgrimage to Walsingham continues its post-Traditionis Custodes rapid growth: whereas before Covid we were treading water at 80-90 pilgrims, this year we have 200, and are bursting out of various churches and venues.

Photo by John Aron

I'm grateful for a charming write-up by Thomas Colsey of the Catholic Herald which can be seen here. Here are some photos.

Photo by John Aron

Many thanks to the more than 30 volunteers and all the pilgrims who made this such a success.

Photo by John Aron

Saturday, September 02, 2023

Iota Unum talks in London this autumn

After a break for the summer, we resume the Iota Unum series with three talks for the autumn.

They take place in the basement of Our Lady of the Assumption; please enter by the back entrance into the basement: 24 Golden Square, W1F 9JR near Piccadilly Tube Station (click for a map)

Doors open at 6:30pm; the talk will start at 7pm.

There will be a charge of £5 on the door to cover refreshments and other expenses.

28th Sept (Thurs), Joseph Shaw: Clericalism and Clerical Abuse

19th October (Thurs), Fr Thomas Crean OP: Can a Christian be a restorationist?

24th Nov (Fri) Henry Sire: Pope Francis: how much lower can we go? A personal view.

Fr Thomas Crean OP at a Guild of St Clare Sewing Retreat

Henry Sire

Support the Latin Mass Society

Tuesday, August 08, 2023

On liturgical abuses: for Catholic Answers

Fr Alan Robinson of Corpus Christi Maiden Lane. Note what he's doing 
with his fingers: he has to hold forfinger and thumb together from the
Consecration to the washing of his fingers after Communion.

My latest for Catholic Answers is about liturgical abuses. It is an interesting and important topic and one to which I have devoted a fair amount of time to over the years. But I also feel a bit detached from it, since this debate is all about the Novus Ordo. Attending the Traditional Mass provides an opportunity to worship God without worrying about this issue, except on very rare occasions.

People sometimes say: surely liturgical abuses are possible in the TLM too? In one sense they are actually easier, as there are more rules to break. There was an old joke about how many mortal sins a priest could commit while saying Mass. Many of these things would be invisible to the people, however, and the rule-defined nature of it inculcated, and continues to inculcate, a very different attitude to the liturgy from that characteristic of the Novus Ordo. It is more likely that a priest will break the rules that do exist, if he is trained up to use his own words in numerous places, and to experiment with countless options. The Novus Ordo has a distinct spirit and liturgical culture: everyone knows this. And this culture is not about strict adherence to the rules.

Sunday, August 06, 2023

St Catherine's Trust Summer School 2023


We held our annual Summer School last week at St Cassian's Centre, Kintbury, in Berkshire, with the largest ever number of children: 62. Three others dropped out at the last minute, but apart from that we were at the capacity of the venue.


These Summer Schools are supported by the Latin Mass Society. They are not Summer 'camps': it is not just fun activities, or sleeping in tents, but lessons, designed to support the children in their education and expand their horizons of Catholic thought and culture. We do a bit of Latin, introduce them to Greek, explain a bit of Gregorian Chant, look at some sacred art, and Catholic history; this year I taught some lessons on the Problem of Evil. The children answered questions on all their subjects in the quiz we had with great enthusiasm.

Monday, July 24, 2023

St Walburge's, Preston, with the ICKSP


By good fortune I was in St Walburge's, Preston, yesterday, for Sung Mass, a church that is in the care of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. It is a magnificent edifice, gradually being fixed up by the ever-active Institute. Water penetration to the sacristy and the nave of the church has been stopped, so decoration and restoration of the interior can be addressed.


Sunday, July 16, 2023

LMS AGM 2023: photos


Our Annual General Meeting took place yesterday, and as always it was a jolly occasion, a chance for members to meet the Society's Officers and staff and spend some time together. This year, as well as a rather good cold lunch there was a book stall.


We were addressed this year by John Smeaton, who recently honoured by taking up the position of Patron--one of several we currently have. His talk and my own will soon be available in video and podcast format.