Monday, March 20, 2023

On the Rescript: for Catholic Answers

Mass at the most recent Guild of St Clare Sewing Retreat

My latest on Catholic Answers is about the Rescript. I make the point that not only does the set of recent documents--Traditionis custodes, Responsa ad dubia, Rescriptum ex audientia--reverse a policy of making incremental concessions to the Traditional Mass dating back to the English Indult in 1971 and going right up to Christmas Eve 2020, when Pope Francis gave a Roman basilica to the ICKSP to use, but, especially in light of the FSSP Decree of February 2021, it is impossible to know what the goal of the new policy actually is.

It begins in this way:

The average Catholic may hear the term Rescriptum ex audientia and suddenly remember a number of pressing engagements he has to get to. But this term has profound and troubling implications for the faith life of everyone looking for authoritative, magisterial guidance in how best to follow and worship Our Lord.

What is the Rescriptum, or Rescript? It is a document, published on February 21, that doubles down on restricting the availability of the traditional Latin Mass (TLM). It says that bishops may not allow its celebration in parish churches without the agreement of the Dicastery for Divine Worship in Rome. Up to now, when the Dicastery has been involved in such decisions, the number of places where the TLM has been offered has fallen sharply—for example, from seven to three in the Archdiocese of Washington.

Read it all there.

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Monday, March 13, 2023

Staff changes at the Latin Mass Society

The start of the Easter Vigil last year at St Mary Moorfields. Richard Picket
was the Master of Ceremonies

I posted the job adverts here, so it behoves me to publish the results of the selection procedure. We had excellent candidates and I am delighted with the result of the process.

I'd like to reiterate our thanks to the outgoing members of staff. Their longevity in post has underpinned a period of stability and steady progress at the Latin Mass Society. We now have a new office, a new Communications Officer, two new Patrons, and will soon be joined by a new General Manager. There is always lots to do, and I'm excited by the prospect of fresh energy and ideas to bring to the task.


The Latin Mass Society Announces Staff Changes


After eight years as the Latin Mass Society’s General Manager, Stephen Moseling is retiring from this position at the end of March, 2023. The Society is very grateful for Stephen’s hard work over the years and prays that he enjoys his retirement

The Society is pleased to announce his successor will be Richard Pickett. Richard has an in-depth knowledge of the Traditional Rites and has helped with Confirmations, the Sacred Triduum, Pontifical Masses in Westminster Cathedral and other high-profile Masses in London. In addition to this, he previously worked at Westminster Abbey and the City of London Corporation in protocol and organisational roles. Richard will start work on 1st April and the Society is delighted that it will benefit from his experience and proven administrative and managerial skills. In anticipation of starting his new job, Richard commented: “I look forward to the prospect of working for the Latin Mass Society at this important moment. Tribute is due to Stephen Moseling, who has done so much to advance the work of the society."

Stephen reflects that “It has been an honour to have been a part of the work of the Society for the past eight years. I have every confidence that Richard will take the work of the office forward and I wish the Society well for the future."

The Latin Mass Society also welcomes Portia Berry-Kilby who has taken over the role of Communications Officer from Clare Bowskill who, after seven years as the Society’s Publicist, felt the time had come for the Society to have a new perspective on the way it portrays itself on social media and in the public domain. The Society is immensely grateful to Clare for all she has done and wishes her well for the future.

Thursday, March 09, 2023

Letter in The Tablet: the quickest way to a parallel Church

Last week Christopher Lamb wrote a feature article in The Tablet -- in addition to his weekly column -- on the Rescript and the general question of Vatican policy towards the Traditional Mass. It contained many things I could have objected to, and overall Lamb seems lacking in seriousness. For example, in response to the careful argument made by JD Flynn -- and many other canonists -- based on the legal implications of the fact that the Responsa ad dubia from December 2021 was approved by Pope Francis in forma communi and not in forma specifica, Lamb tells us artlessly that Cardinal Roche informed him 'that the Pope approved it'. So that's settled, then.

However, I decided not to address these sorts of things and they have published (most of) a letter I sent them, which comments on the situation in a more general way. (Words cut in red.)


Christopher Lamb’s article (Critical Mass, 4 March) reiterates the central mystery of the recent instructions from Rome on the Latin Mass: the idea that Catholics attached to it should be moved from parish churches to various obscure alternative places of worship, or perhaps to the chapels of the SSPX outside the structures of the Church, in order to prevent a ‘parallel Church’ developing.

I am a witness to the effect on Traditional Catholics, when restrictions were eased in 2007, of being moved into parish churches, after a long period in the wilderness. This led to their greater integration into the life of the parish and diocese, their greater sense of solidarity with the wider Church, and the undoing of the marginalisation which can breed isolation, bitterness, and radicalisation.

Reversing this process, after 13 years in which deep wounds had healed, is the high road to creating a ‘parallel Church’, where those who worship in Latin never meet their fellow Catholics and feel permanently—and, we must admit, justifiably—aggrieved by the actions of the hierarchical Church.

There are two important differences between today, and the previous time this happened, in the 1970s. One is the vastly increased numbers of Catholics who have, with the encouragement of Pope Benedict XVI, made the ancient Mass their spiritual home. The other is the much greater sympathy they receive from priests and bishops.

How this ends, I leave to readers to imagine.


I'm always interested by what The Tablet letter editor cuts out from my letters. It seems he'd rather readers did not think about what happens next. I would suggest that, as they say in the army, time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted.

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Saturday, March 04, 2023

Interview with Fr Robert McTeigue SJ

I always enjoy talking to Fr McTeigue, and I think this is the third one we've had, on his online Catholic radio programme 'The Catholic Current'.

We welcome back Dr. Joseph Shaw of Una Voce and the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales to discuss the latest document from Rome regarding the traditional liturgy. What is the basis for shutting down traditional Masses, and why does that seem to be a top priority among those in authority?

You can find it on podcast providers like Spotify: search for Fr Robert McTeigue or The Catholic Current.

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Friday, March 03, 2023

Podcast with Gavin Ashenden

I had a very enjoyable chat with Dr Gavin Ashenden on his Catholic Herald podcast, 'Merely Catholic': our episode is number 39, 'The Latin Mass Life Raft'.

We discuss the work of the Latin Mass Society, the Rescript, the motivation for restrictions on the Latin Mass and why it is not going away.

You can find it on podcast providers (search for 'Catholic Herald') or direct from the Catholic Herald here.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Video interview with Catholic Family News

I was delighted to talk to Brian McCall the Editor in Chief of Catholic Family news on my new book, The Liturgy, the Family, and the Crisis of Modernity'. The book launch is in London on Thursday 9th March: RSPV here.

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Thursday, February 23, 2023

Guild of St Clare Sewing Retreats past and to come


The last Guild of St Clare Sewing Retreat took place 3-5 February 2023 at the St Joseph Centre near Southampton. The chaplain was Fr Thomas Crean. Details of the next one, 3-5 November, here.


In the above two photographs, from Sunday Mass, Fr Crean is wearing a set of vestments completed by the Guild. The Latin Mass Society has had (I don't know for how long) an incomplete High Mass set, which was missing all the 'small items'. Here used as a Low Mass set, the original chasuble is joined by a new Chalice veil, maniple, and burse. If you look carefully you'll see the fabric for these items is not exactly the same as that of the chasuble, though it is a close match. The Guild is also making a new humeral veil, and the whole thing will be useable once more as a High Mass set.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

The Rescript: back to the Catacombs?

What does the Rescript mean for Catholics attached to the Traditional Mass around the world? Our press release on the subject can be found here. Here I shall expand on the question of ongoing provision for the 1962 Mass, which is going to depend on a number of things.

Before I say anything else, I should stress that existing arrangements and permissions continue to be valid until explicitly revoked by the bishop, whether he is acting spontaneously or passing on the judgement of the Dicastery for Divine Worship. Given the enormous number of cases the Dicastery will be asked to consider, and the ‘utmost care’ the Dicastery demands from bishops in preparing their requests for permission (see the Responsa ad dubia), this is going to take a very long time to implement. Since we seem to be getting new documents about the Traditional Mass every few months, it would be a brave man who would say that the law will be the same as it is now when a decision comes through in this or that case.

Nevertheless, the Rescript will make no difference at all in some places: places where the TLM is already celebrated in a place of worship which is not a ‘parish church’. I myself regularly attend the Traditional Mass in one such place, a secondary church (“chapel of ease”), even though the Mass is celebrated by the parish priest. Most—though not all—of the locations used by the Traditional Institutes are not parish churches: they may once have been, but they’ve lost their ‘geographical parish’ and been made shrines, for example. Then again, if you attend Mass in a monastery, convent, or seminary, or in a private chapel attached to an historic house, then it will make no difference: unless you find your congregation is swelled by refugees from elsewhere.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Lenten vestment-making challenge from the Guild of St Clare

From the Guild blog.

Una Voce International has today launched an Appeal for Lenten prayers and penances with the special intention of the liberty of the traditional Mass. Rumours have been circulating recently which suggest that further restrictions will be placed on the Traditional Mass this year, perhaps in Holy Week, and the Appeal is a response to this possible threat. The Guild of St Clare is joining the Appeal by offering our usual Lenten Vestment Mending Challenge for this intention.

The Appeal does not ask for a particular prayer to be said; rather, that individuals and groups should make their own particular offerings for the intention. We at the Guild of St Clare therefore invite anyone who may wish to join us in mending or making a particular vestment during Lent as our contribution to the Appeal, uniting the work with our special vestment-mending prayer: Jesu, via, veritas et vita, miserere nobis (Jesus, the way, the truth and the life, have mercy on us).

It is not necessary to be local to the Guild to participate in this endeavour. If you are unable to attend local Chapter meetings, or the mending workshops in London, it is nevertheless possible to take part from your own home. Any vestment or altar furnishing can be the object of your work, although in accordance with the ethos of the Guild of St Clare, it should be one which will be used, at least occasionally (not necessarily exclusively), for the Traditional Mass. Neither is it necessary to undertake a colossal project on a grand scale (although this isn't discouraged!). Simply sewing down loose braid, or replacing the tapes in a chasuble, can make a big difference to a priest living with the inconvenience of such a problem, and will be also be welcomed as a contribution to the Appeal.

If this suffering is indeed to come to us, it must be understood as an invitation to prayer: let us be like the widow praised by Our Lord for the donation of her mite to the Temple, and give as much as we can, be it ever so little, to support the Church and preserve the great treasure of her ancient liturgy.

If you would like to take part in this Lenten Challenge, please email me at for further details. If you are unable to participate but are interested in the project, we will be updating our blog and Twitter feed with news about how our Lenten work is progressing.

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Thursday, February 16, 2023

Video about 'The Liturgy, the Family, and the Crisis of Modernity'

Come along to the book launch if you are in London: St Wilfrid's Hall, London Oratory, SW7 2RP, Thursday 9th March, 6:30 for 7pm.

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Saturday, February 11, 2023

Pray for the TLM this Lent

 Appeal for prayers and penances

for the Liberty of the Traditional Mass in Lent

From Una Voce International and others

Una Voce International and other organisations, groups and individuals concerned with the Traditional Latin Mass would like to appeal to all Catholics of good will to offer prayers and penances during the season of Lent, particularly for the intention: the liberty of the Traditional Mass.

We do not know how credible rumours of further documents from the Holy See on this subject may be, but the rumours themselves point to a situation of doubt, conflict, and apprehension, which is severely harmful to the mission of the Church. We appeal to our Lord, through His Blessed Mother, to restore to all Catholics the right and opportunity to worship according to the Church’s own venerable liturgical traditions, in perfect unity with the Holy Father and the bishops of the whole Church.

Una Voce International (Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce, FIUV,)

This initiative has the support of The Remnant newspaper, Preserve the Latin Mass, the many member associations of Una Voce International, and others.

Other language versions: French

Thursday, February 09, 2023

Book Launch 9th March London Oratory: The Liturgy, the Family, and the Crisis of Modernity

My new book, The Liturgy, the Family, and the Crisis of Modernity has been published by Peter Kwasniewski's Os Justi Press, and is available to buy from

I will be launching the book with a talk, refreshments and a chance to buy it at a reduced price in the St Wilfrid's Hall, London Oratory, SW7 2RP, Thursday 9th March, 6:30 for 7pm.

"Shaw doesn’t propose that we turn back the clock, but reveals a path ahead out of the current crisis through a mature dialectic with those modern ecclesiastical developments that allow for a recovery of the tradition that belongs to all Catholics by a claim of right." Dr Sebastian Morello

"I commend it very enthusiastically." Fr John Hunwicke

"With this book, Joseph Shaw provides Traditionalist Catholics with an antidote to such madness when dealing with our own deepest concerns, showing how the problems of the liturgy, the family, and the crises brought about by Modernity's Original Sins must be tackled as a unit, and with respect for historical mistakes." Dr John Rao

"For after all these years, it is rare to find something as fresh, as thought-provoking, as original as the exploration of the crisis in these pages—one that marries acute, up-to-the-minute observation of unfolding secular trends with a striking inquest into the deep, underlying reasons for these trends (or rather tragedies)." Roger Buck

"These essays are marked not only by clarity of style and breadth of knowledge, but also by something even more welcome: fresh thinking." Fr Thomas Crean

Here is Peter Kwasniewski talking about the book.

Saturday, February 04, 2023

Candlemas in Oxford


A Sung Mass celebrated by the Priest in Charge, Fr John Saward, at SS Gregory & Augustine's in Oxford. It was well attended.


It was accompanied with chant and polyphony led by Tom Neal and Dominic Bevan.

Friday, February 03, 2023

Servers' responses videos launched

The Latin Mass Society is pleased to present this set of short videos giving the texts with which those learning to serve the Traditional Mass need to familiarise themselves, setting the written text alongside an audio recording. This is presented in the context of the Latin Mass Society's sodality for Altar Servers, the Society of St Tarcisius.

The Collect, Epistle, and Gospel used are taken from the Votive Mass of Our Lady used 'per annum.' 

In these videos the texts are said as slowly and distinctively as possible, to assist servers and others unsure of the principles of Ecclesiastical Latin pronunciation. In Mass these texts should be said in a more flowing way. 

The texts are taken from parts of the Mass where the server has to make responses; there are separate videos for different parts of the Mass. Links to all the videos can be found under the Resources tab here.

We would like to thank Fr John Saward, Priest in Charge of SS Gregory & Augustine's for his assistance with these. The responses were made by Joseph Shaw, Chairman of the Latin Mass Society.


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Monday, January 23, 2023

Online Latin Course sponsored for clergy and seminarians

Cross-posted from Rorate Caeli.

It is good to see Latin Courses focused on the Church's Latin springing up in different places. This one is online and can be done from anywhere. The Latin Mass Society is offering an 80% subsidy for clergy and seminarians from England and Wales to do it; in other places it could be regarded as a parish expense, or other local groups might like to consider helping their priests meet the cost. After all, Catholic priests are supposed to know Latin, not only for the liturgy, but for their understanding of theology and canon law.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Iota Unum dates for 2023

Prof Pink giving a talk on a previous occasion.

We are delighted to announce dates for the spring and summer.

Talks take place in the basement room at Our Lady of the Assumption Warwick Steet. Please enter it from the Golden Square side:

24 Golden Square, London, W1F 9JR

Some titles to be confirmed.

24th Feb Dr Caroline Farey 'Does morality affect beauty for artists? Fra Angelico, Caravaggio and Rupnik'

24th March Dr Sebastian Morello ‘Technocracy and the Process of Un-Personing’

28th April James Bogle 'Queen Elizabeth and Royal Assent: could she have vetoed immoral laws?'

19th May Dr Joseph Shaw 'Clericalism and Clerical Abuse'

30th June Prof Thomas Pink 'Religion and Human Nature'

Doors open at 6:30pm, talk starts at 7pm. Refreshments provided. £5 on the door.

Fr Edward van den Burgh giving a talk.

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Friday, January 13, 2023

The problem of religious traditionalists

My latest piece in The Critic draws a parallel between Catholics attached to the traditional Mass and Anglicans attached to unspoilt Victorian churches, and the contrast between the way these are treated, and the way those who champion other aspects of traditional culture are treated.

Whereas those who preserve cultural traditions are generally regarded in a positive way, religious traditionalists are often regarded, by their co-religionists, as dangerously misguided or mentally ill.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2023

New Patrons for the Latin Mass Society

Official portrait of Sir Edward Leigh crop 2
Official portrait of Sir Edward Leigh,
By Chris McAndrew, via Wikipedia Commons

Press Release from the LMS

The Latin Mass Society is delighted to announce two new Patrons: Sir Edward Leigh MP, and John Smeaton, former Chief Executive of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.


Sir Edward Leigh has sat as a Member of Parliament for Gainsborough since 1983. He is among the most respected Catholic members of Parliament, and has served as a Secretary of State and held many important roles in Parliamentary committees. He was knighted in 2013, is an Officer of the L├ęgion d’honneur of France, and a Commander of the Order of the Star of Italy.


John Smeaton was Chief Executive of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) from 1996 to 2021, and is the foremost pro-life campaigner in Britain. In 2013, he received the Cardinal John J. O’Connor Pro-Life Award from Legatus, an international organization of Catholic business leaders; and in 2015, he received the first Fr Paul Marx Award from Human Life International. He now leads Voice of the Family, which was founded in 2014 to defend Catholic teaching on the family, and publishes Calx Mariae magazine.

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

Vacancy for a General Manager at the LMS

The Latin Mass Society has a permanent office in London and a small paid staff: two full-time, one part-time, plus two freelancers. Our senior member of staff, the General Manager, holds a full-time position with important responsibilities, for the Society's major events, its online shop, and a lot of other things. Our current GM, Stephen Moseling, has been with us for about six years, and having reached pensionable age he is retiring. It has been a pleasure for me to work for him, and the Society has benefitted enormously from him experience and dedication. Our online shop, most obviously, is very much his creation, and has grown enormously over the last few years. Stephen has most recenty overseen a painless move of office, to a larger space.

Who would like to step into his shoes? £45,000 p/a. 


From the LMS website.

Our present General Manager, Stephen Moseling, will reach retirement age this year and has taken the decision to retire at the end of March, therefore we are looking for a replacement.

The purpose of the role is to support the work of the Society’s volunteer activists, manage an office with a small staff, online shop, and website, and to be the first point of contact for many enquiries to the Society.

Reporting Lines

The General Manager reports to the Committee of the Society under the Terms of the Constitution, but will deal directly with the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer on a day-to-day basis to ensure the efficient administration and development of the Society.

The Society's Bookkeeper and IT specialist, Office Assistant, the Editor of the Society’s magazine Mass of Ages, and the Communications Officer, report to the General Manager.