Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Guild of St Clare Sponsorship Scheme for the Royal School of Needlwork

At a Guild of St Clare Sewing Retreat

The Royal School of Needlework is one of the world's great centres of expertise keeping alive the tradition of hand embroidery. They do work for museums and the Royal Family, and they teach new generations of students. These include the skills necessary for making and restoring liturgical vestments, and several members of the Guild of St Clare have been through their rigorous courses, which take one to fours years.

The courses are very flexible: they can be done at the student's own pace, and there is even a choice of venues.

Five years ago we decided we needed more of such people: so we found a benefactor to make possible a sponsorship scheme to pay up to half of the fees, for one student a year. 

If you are interested, don't miss this opportunity. The deadline is 23rd June.

From the LMS;

Do you have a passion for hand embroidery and the restoration of fine vestments?

We are pleased to announce an exciting sponsorship opportunity for those interested in studying Needlework.

The Guild of St Clare is offering sponsorship for candidates wishing to study The Royal School of Needlework Certificate Course.

Dealine for applications is the 23rd June 2023

See HERE for more information and how to apply.

At a Guild of St Clare Vestment Mending Day in London.
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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Reply to Cardinal Roche on the BBC

My latest for 1Peter5.

More on the issue of Catholics being encouraged to see themselves as offering Mass with the priest, with the necessary qualifications to this idea, in traditional liturgical spirituality, has been provided by Peter Kwasniewski here.


As I recently wrote on Catholic Answers, the confusion surrounding the meaning of Traditionis custodes, and its flotilla of supplementary documents, is beginning to resemble that around Amoris Laetitia. I was talking specifically about the purpose of the document: what vision of the ecclesial landscape inspires it. Here I want to focus on the equally opaque reasoning behind it.

Last Sunday BBC Radio 4 aired a short report on the Traditional Mass. They talked to the Catholic blogger Maria Jones (do have a look at her channel ‘One of Nine’), a priest who says the TLM, and some Traditional Mass goers they found by chance outside a church. We also heard clips from Austen Ivereigh, papal biographer, and Cardinal Arthur Roche. (Listen here, 5min to 12min.)

On the subject of why TC had been issued, Ivereigh tells us that people who attend the Traditional Mass constitute a sinister ‘movement’ opposed to Vatican II. This claim is presumably inspired by Pope Francis’ 2021 Letter to BishopsThe difficulty with it is that even the most emotional and unsophisticated supporters of the Traditional Mass that the BBC journalists could find lend absolutely no support to this idea. If the ‘movement’ Ivereigh speaks of is only found in some obscure corner of the internet, then it is hard to know why Pope Francis has caused such heartache by restricting the Traditional Mass all over the world.

Cardinal Roche, on the other hand, spoke as follows:

You know the theology of the Church has changed. Whereas before the priest represented, at a distance, all the people. They were channelled, as it were, through this person who alone was celebrating the Mass. It is not only the priest who celebrates the liturgy, but also those who are baptised with him. And that is an enormous statement to make.

This is completely unrelated to the claims made in the Letter to Bishops, and it is hard to think of such a claim being made by a Curial Cardinal before. 

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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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