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.


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  1. A very sad day for Catholicism in England & Wales. Is Rev Roche - I cannot call him cardinal - saying that the Catholics who carried on during the Reformation & other times not Catholic? Or is he saying that Holy Mass in former times was illegitimate? It seems to me that he is denigrating our forbearers who in many cases gave their lives or livelihoods to preserve what had served our ancestors. Roche should be ashamed of himself as should Pope Francis for this blatant attack on our heritage.

  2. Agreed with David O'Neill. The two Masses of the 1962 Missal (that which is happily named the Traditional form in Latin or TLM) will no longer take place at the High Altar of Westminster Cathedral. The reasons given, that the two Masses in this form were regarded only as being for LMS supporters, followers and sympathisers only. Have I read this correctly ? Who is it that has stated that we should not have these Masses any longer at the High Altar ? Who are the faceless in this matter ? Above all should we not put forward a point that the Requiem Mass on November 4th is in order and fitting so to pray for Holy Souls of Martyrs, in the Faith format that our Holy Fathers would have been accustomed to. This appears as an ill-advised and petty-minded decision based on the lack of reason in the matter and sadly the lack of Faith. I'm not afraid to illustrate as I have done so here, that the time to be uncritical in what would appear to be a constant restriction of worshippers' freedoms in practicing the 1962 Missal has long since gone; and I am saddened to say that the time to be moderate in response is passed. We are no longer in peace time