Saturday, June 03, 2023

Letter in the Catholic Herald from Sir Edward Leigh MP

Sir Edward Leigh, the distinguished Catholic Member of Parliament, recently agreed to be one of the Latin Mass Society's Patrons. I was delighted to see this letter from him in the current Catholic Herald.

Catholic Herald, Letters, June 2023

Keep the old Mass alive

Sir — I was appalled to read in the Catholic Herald of the way in which bishops are restricting the Traditional Latin Mass (April 2023). In a world beset by rampant indifference to religion, what possible harm is caused by a few faithful attending a form of Mass which has been used for centuries? I do not write on my own behalf; I am very content to attend the new-rite Latin Mass at 10.30am in Westminster Cathedral every day. It is a good compromise and the sung version on Saturday morning is wonderful. But for many, particularly for young people, the old rite is a beautiful and calm spiritual experience, so unlike the rest of our busy, crowded lives. Some people do not find the stream of everyday English in the Mass a joyful experience. Many of our ancestors — including, in my family, Blessed Richard Leigh, who went to Tyburn in 1588 — suffered greatly, even to the point of martyrdom, to say and attend the old Mass in England and thus keep the Faith alive. Surely we should allow its use in their memory, if nothing else.

(Sir) Edward Leigh MP

London, UK

As a poscript, Bl Richard Leigh was a priest, ordained at Rome; he was beatified in 1929, after the Catholic Encyclopedia entry was written. His feast is on 30th August.

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Friday, May 26, 2023

Ad orientem at the Last Supper; Hebrew from the Cross

Mass at Corpus Christi Maiden Lane

The Tablet has published a letter from me in the ongoing discussion of the celebration of Mass 'ad orientem', facing the apse. It is remarkable how people have strong feeling about this (and many other things) and just assume that the Scriptures support them.

This time The Tablet has published my letter in full. (I always keep them short.)

I could have added that the Mass, while it certainly memorialises both the Last Supper and Calvary, is also a continuation of the Temple and Synagogue traditions, and the heavenly liturgy described in the Apocolypse. Although certainly a liturgy, what happened at the Last Supper is not some kind of template for Mass, as if the question of 'facing the people' could be settled on that basis.



Peter Simmons informs us that at the Last Supper and at Calvary Jesus ‘faced those who were present and spoke to them in their own language.’ It would seem Mr Simmons’s imagination is more powerful than the facts.

The awkwardness of seeing and conversing with Christ as he was reclining at the head of the table at the Last Supper, with the Apostles arranged in a row on the same side as depicted in ancient mosaics, is reflected in the need for St Peter to pass a message to Him via the Beloved Disciple (John 13:22ff). Moreover He would certainly have addressed them at a Passover meal in the liturgical language, Hebrew, and not the day-to-day language, Aramaic, just as Jews do to this day.

On the cross Jesus’ use of Hebrew actually caused confusion and misunderstanding: hearing the Hebrew ‘Eli’, ‘Lord’, bystanders thought He meant ‘Elijah’ (Matt 27:46ff). He didn’t care, because He was addressing not them, but His Heavenly Father. As Mr Simmons says, this is a lesson for us.

Yours faithfully,

Joseph Shaw
Chairman of the Latin Mass Society

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Thursday, May 18, 2023

Take children to Mass


My latest on Catholic Answers.

The presence and management of children at Mass is an issue that can generate more heat than light. I would like to tackle it here on the basis of a slightly deeper set of principles than is usual.

Full disclosure: I am a father of nine; my youngest has recently turned three. We have had to manage a child under five at Mass since our first was born in 2003; for most of the time, we’ve had two under five. That may sound extreme, but a couple who have three children at three-year intervals will have a child under five, and sometimes two of them, for fourteen years. This is a big chunk of your life.

The first question is whether bringing small children to Mass is good in principle. Children under the “age of reason” (usually about seven) are not bound by canon law to attend Mass. Often parents have no choice but to bring them in order to attend themselves. But supposing they had the choice—if they could attend different Masses, or leave the children with friends—is the ideal to bring them or leave them behind?

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Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Letter to the Tablet, from 1965

The tenth station: Jesus is stripped. Fr the Church of SS Gregory & Augustine's,

My researches on the background to the petitions to save the Traditional Mass have revealed something else worthy of a wider audience: a published letter to the press by a certain Gillian Edwards. The writer had been a member of the Latin Mass Society Committee, and the letter indicates that she had been a convert and lived in Cambridge, but I don't know anything else about her. The then-Chairman of the the Latin Mass Society, Geoffrey Houghton-Brown, said this letter had more effect than anything else written at the time, so I looked it up in the archives of The Tablet.

Published in The Tablet 21st August 1965.

Dear Sir,

Your correspondents are convinced that all who love the Latin Mass must be classical scholars. This is quite untrue. Latin is so rich for us precisely because it does not tie us down to one particular limited meaning. When we hear the common and familiar phrases we know if we are glorifying God, confessing our sins or asking for mercy. Consciously they unite us with the priest, with our fellow-men, with the whole Church in space and time, praying the same words. Unconsciously they leave us free to approach God in our own way. They say for us all those things we long to say and cannot. They liberate us from ourselves as only great poetry and music can do, and combined with what used to be a charged and holy silence bring us as close to the knowledge and love of God as we are ever likely to come.

This is what Mr. [Evelyn] Waugh means by the "raising of the heart and mind to God." It is what drew many of us into the Church, a potency and depth of worship which few other Christians preserved and which we had been looking for all our lives. It is also what the Church, to our bewilderment, now appears to condemn as "private devotion" and to look on as not only worthless but sinful. Misery is not a strong enough word for what we feel.

Unfortunately those who do not share this conception of what worship should be cannot understand it. But unless it is an attitude reprehensible in itself, which I cannot believe, that is no good reason why their joy in singing hymns and reciting English prayers should deprive us of the quieter joy we used to know. Isn't there room for both?

Yours faithfully, 

Gillian Edwards, Cambridge.

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Tuesday, May 09, 2023

Defending the monarchy: with Timothy Flanders

Here is a 5 in clip from an interview with Timothy Flanders of OnePeterFive on the British monarchy.

The full podcast, of which is this a clip, with more about the monarchy and about my new book The Liturgy, the Family, and the Crisis of Modernity, can be seen here.

I've written for the blog on this subject here.

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What has the LMS achieved? 1972 edition

Quietly getting on with it. Mass at the Guild of St Clare spring sewing retreat.

More from the unpublished history of the LMS by Geoffrey Houghton-Brown. At a certain point he makes this remark, which seems to me true today, as it was then, not only for the LMS but for the Una Voce Federation and Una Voce/Latin Mass groups all over the world.


After reading so many quotations from the Press and so little, in comparison, about the activities of the L.M.S. it may be asked “but what actually was the L.M.S. doing all this time? What had it achieved? The answer is that we did, in our News Letters give our members as much information regarding the liturgical changes etc. as we could; that we did organize the saying of Latin Masses both in London and in the country so far as we were able, that our various Diocesan representatives were in touch with their bishops trying to persuade them that Latin Masses were wanted, organizing meetings and Masses where possible. But, in my opinion, our greatest activity was the mere fact of our existence. An organized body of some two thousand Catholics, small as that number is, could not be completely ignored by the bishops and was a constant witness to the existence of a body of people who wanted the Latin Mass, something that the bishops were constantly denying. It seemed to me essential to keep the Society in existence if only because of its witness as representing these many people, the vast majority of whom were not even members of the Society, who loved and wanted the Latin Mass.


Houghton-Brown goes on to talk about the great triumph of the English Indult in which the LMS had a key role, and as the years have gone by the Society has organised a vast number of Masses, pilgrimages, training events, talks, and so on. Nevertheless, what he says remains true. Even a Una Voce group which can do little of all this by its very existence is a rebuke to those who say that there is no demand for the Traditional Mass, and this is the argument our opponents love to fall back on. Like it or not, when Catholics encounter their ancient liturgy, many of them want it.

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Saturday, May 06, 2023

Prayers and a Mass of Thanksgiving for the Coronation

The LMS has organised a Mass in thanksgiving for the Coronation on Monday in Corpus Christi Maiden Lane (London WC2E 7NB) with some splendid polyphony: 6:30pm.

Dominic Bevan of the Southwell Consort, who will accompany this Mass, tells me: "we shall have a votive Mass of the Holy Ghost for the new king and queen. We shall include a motet by Taverner, commissioned by Cardinal Wolsey for Henry VIII (altered for Queen Elizabeth I), now edited with the original text and rhyme to include the name of King Charles."

This is the text of the Prayer for the King to used at the conclusion of the principal Mass on Sunday under the 1962 rules, in England and Wales. It is the basis of the prayer for private and public use recommended by the Bishops of England and Wales for King Charles on the occasion of the Coronation.

V. Dómine salvum fac Regem nostrum Cárolum.
R. Et exáudi nos in die, qua invocavérimus te.

Quǽsumus, omnípotens Deus, ut fámulus tuus Cárolus, Rex noster, quæ tua miseratióne suscépit regni gubernácula, virtútum étiam ómnium percípiat increméntum; quibus decénter ornátus et vitiórum monstra devitáre, [in time of war: hostes superáre,] et ad te qui via, véritas, et vita es, cum regina consorte et prole régia gratiósus valeat perveníre. Per Christum Dóminum nostrum.

R: Amen.

In English:

Friday, May 05, 2023

On pomp and ceremony, by Geoffrey Houghton-Brown

Bishop Campbell processing into the sanctuary of Westminster Cathedral
to celebrate Mass for the LMS in 2019. Photo by John Aron.

I have been reading a very interesting document from the Latin Mass Society's archives, an unpublished history of the early years of the Society by Geoffrey Houghton-Brown: Notes on the Struggle to Retain the Roman Liturgy, 1964-1972

Houghton-Brown, an artist and convert, was a founding member of the LMS, at first a Vice President and later Chairman and Diocesan Representative for Westminster. His history of these eight years is quite comprehensive, and every now and then he makes an interesting observation.

Archbishop John Carmel Heenan was made a cardinal in 1965, just when some of the pomp and ceremony of the occasion, in Rome and on his return to Westminster Cathedral, was being abolished, including the "canopy of state" which was held over his predecessors as they entered the Cathedral. This is Houghton-Brown's comment.


I do not imagine that the Cardinal refused the customary canopy in order to be better seen [as suggested by the report in The Times] but in order to comply with the Pope's wish for "simplicity". If these customary symbols of high office are abandoned the office itself, be it of Pope, King, Bishop, Judge, or Mayor, will lose its significance, its dignity, its solemnity. By the sight of these symbols we recognise that which they represent. High Office must be made visible in order to be recognised and it can only be made visible by such symbolic and customary signs as the canopy of state, the crown, the mitre, the Judge's wig and robes, the Mayor's chain etc. Remove symbols and you lesson, even destroy, all respect, for authority.

In connection with the canopy of state it should be noted that The Times (of February 26th) reported that "The public Consistory has, however, lost some of its pomp, just as it has lost the great cardinal's hat beneath which the new princes of the Church used to swear their oath before the Pope -- the great cardinal's hat has now vanished altogether from the formalities of creating members of the Sacred College."

In comparison with other reforms now taking place the suppression of the cardinal's red hat may seem extremely trivial but nonetheless it is extremely significant, indicating as it does the loss of an emblem bound up with the history of the Roman Church. A generation that has no reverence for the past is doomed to become rootless, isolated, adrift. This is the sin condemned in the commandment of Moses, - if you do not hold your ancestors in honour you will not keep for long the inheritance that they handed down to you. The keeping of this commandment is the secret of the miraculous survival of the Jewish race. It is by the preservation of their ancient laws, festivals, fasts, and liturgical language that the Jews have kept their racial identity. Pope Paul is advocating a policy of ecclesiastical suicide when he announces that the Church will "despoil herself -- of that old royal mantle -- in order to reclothe herself in more simple manner suitable to the taste of to-day." The disappearance of the canopy of state and the red hat may be small matters but like certain small marks on the body they can indicate a deadly disease.

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Thursday, May 04, 2023

Part-time vacancy at the Latin Mass Society

Would you like to work part-time for the Latin Mass Society? We are advertising for a part-time position. In addition to looking after members, the LMS Office supports our events around the country, distributes our magazine Mass of Ages, and looks after our busy on-line shop.

Our office is in central London, 9 Mallow Street, London EC1Y 8RQ.


Salary: £15,000 - £17,000 per annum
Part-time: 21 hours per week

The Latin Mass Society is recruiting an Office Assistant to work at its office in central London. The Office Assistant will be responsible for supporting the administrative work of the charity, including:

  • Office administration
  • Membership administration
  • Online retail
  • Information administration
  • Volunteer administration
See full details on our webpage here.

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Wednesday, May 03, 2023

Feast of St Joseph in Maiden Lane: Mass for the Catholic Police Guild


With the support of the Latin Mass Society, the first Monday Mass of each month in Corpus Christi Maiden Lane is being celebrated for the intentions of the Catholic Police Guild. Last Monday, which was the Feast of St Joseph the Workman, the Guild dedicated themselves to the Sacred Heart, and their processional banner was blessed.


Wednesday, April 26, 2023

LMS Residential Latin Course 2023


I'm delighted to announce that booking is open for the Latin Mass Society's annual residential Latin and New Testament Greek course.

It will run Monday 14th August - Saturday 19th August 2023, 
at Park Place Pastoral Centre, Wickham, Fareham, Hampshire PO17 5HA.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Continental Synodal Reports and the TLM

The 'Continental Stage' of the Synod on Synodality has concluded, with the publication of the 'Continental Reports': they can be seen here.

Since the FIUV and the LMS asked people to contribute to the consultation process, it is interesting to see whether our voices have actually made it through to these reports. I discussed the national reports here.

The voice of Catholics attached to the Traditional Mass do emerge in two of the reports: not surprisingly, those of Europe and North America. This is not because Traditional Catholics are absent from Oceania, Asia, Africa, and South America, but because the bishops of those regions have been unwilling to allow celebrations or to acknowledge their point of view. It is worth reminding ourselves that the Traditional movement is well-established in Australia and New Zealand; there are many apostolates of the Traditional priestly institutes in Africa, notably the ICKSP in Gabon; and South America is home to the Apostolic Administration of St Jean Vianney in Campos, Brazil, the one place in the world where one can find a bishop exercising ordinary jurisdiction over a community of traditional faithful.

The reports are a reflection not only of the inputs, of course, but of the process of selection. The reports as a whole have very little to say about the liturgy.

This is what got through in the European and North American reports: emphasis mine.

Europe (pdf)

67. From a fundamental point of view, it is possible to detect the link between Church and liturgy, between ecclesiology and the theology of liturgy: The liturgical dimension in the Church is a place of strong tensions. These tensions are part of a deeper tension of an ecclesiological nature. Ecclesiological tension often arises from a vision of the Church based on one’s own expectations (Italian language working group). In this context, the tensions and sufferings concerning the ancient form of the Roman liturgy should be understood, with explicit references by France, England and Wales, and Nordic countries to the pre-conciliar liturgy according to the Missal of 1962.

North America (pdf)

27. Some participants in the synodal process reported on the profound sense of suffering of those prevented from receiving the Eucharist. While there are a variety of reasons for this reality, perhaps preeminent among them is Catholics who are divorced and remarried without an annulment, and others whose objective situation in life contradicts the beliefs and teachings of the Church. Additionally, some delegates spoke of those wounded by the limitations placed on the pre-conciliar Latin rite. Unfortunately, liturgy is not always experienced as unifying. “We could find our unity in common prayer, but liturgy is one of the things that is divisive in the Church and we must break through that” (Session X Group 18).

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Thursday, April 13, 2023

Walsingham Pilgrimage: booking open


You can now book your place on the Latin Mass Society's annual walking pilgrimage from Ely to Walsingham. The dates are 24-27 August (Thursday evening in Ely to Sunday afternoon in Walsingham). For those staying overnight there will be a Mass in the Slipper Chapel at the Catholic Shrine in Walsingham on the Monday.

For the first time, a limited number of places are available to walk on Thursday from Cambridge to Ely.

There is a 10% discount for early booking until the Ascension. Make sure you are a member of the LMS for a further discount: you can join while booking and still save money.

Note the new venue to meet on Thursday evening!


Monday, April 10, 2023

Easter Triduum Photos from St Mary Moorfields

This celebration of the Easter Triduum liturgy is organised by the Latin Mass Society. The services were celebrated by Fr Michael Cullinan, who was assisted by Fr Thomas Crean as deacon and, on Friday, by Fr Mark Elliot-Smith, and on Saturday by Fr John Hemer. Lovely music was provided by Cantores Missae directed by Charles Finch.



Sunday, April 09, 2023

On Good Friday: for Catholic Answers

My latest for Catholic Answers. It begins:

One of the markers of the utter desolation of the Chosen People at certain points of their history was the cessation of the daily sacrifice in the Temple: when Solomon’s Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians, when its replacement was defiled by the Seleucid Empire in the time of the Maccabees, and finally when it was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70. The profound grief of these moments found expression in the biblical book of Jeremiah’s Lamentations.

A similar note of grief afflicts the Church in contemplating the crucifixion and death of Our Lord Jesus Christ, commemorated most solemnly on Good Friday. The Lamentations form a major element in the traditional services of Matins and Lauds celebrated over the Triduum, called Tenebrae.

We know that the story does not end there: Jesus rose again. Nevertheless, his death was real, and the grief of his mother and disciples was real. The grief of Our Lady was not based on a misunderstanding or a failure to accept God’s will. It was natural, and it was demanded by the occasion: the suffering and death of her Son. The sorrowful stage of the journey was a necessary one: Christ had to suffer through it, and Our Lady, our model, kept him company in that suffering. We must not succumb to the temptation of flipping the pages of the story too quickly to get to the happy ending.

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Saturday, April 01, 2023

Una Voce International: new edition of Gregorius Magnus magazine

Gregorius Magnus is the twice-yearly magazine of the FIUV, Una Voce International.

Gregorius Magnus 15, Summer 2023, is now available as a PDF. 

and on ISSUU, optimised for mobile devices.

This issue has two appreciations of Pope Benedict XVI and a report of the most recent Summorum Pontificum 'Ad Sedem Petri' Pilgrimage in Rome, and meeting of CIEL in Rome.

Would you like to advertise? Or to contribute to future editions? Click on the links.

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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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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 'Authority and the image of God’

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 Légion 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.

Sir Edward Leigh in response to the appointment said: ‘Through its work preserving and expanding access to the full richness of the Latin liturgy, the Latin Mass Society of England & Wales has proved to be one of the most beneficially influential bodies in the history of the post-conciliar Church.’

John Smeaton commented: ‘It is a great privilege to be invited to be asked to become a Patron of the Latin Mass Society whose distinguished service to the Church in England and Wales has so immeasurably benefited the Catholic community, including my family, for almost 60 years.’

Welcoming them, Joseph Shaw, Chairman of the Latin Mass Society, said: ‘I am delighted that Sir Edward and John Smeaton have agreed to become Patrons of the Society. Each in his own sphere represents the best of lay Catholic leadership in this country, playing key roles in public life over many decades with courage, perseverance, and faith. They join an already very distinguished group of Patrons, who have kindly associated themselves with the Society and its work for the traditional Latin Mass.’

Sir Edward and Mr Smeaton join five other Patrons of the the Latin Mass Society:

• Sir James MacMillan CBE, the distinguished Scottish composer;
• Charles, Lord Moore of Etchingham, former Editor of the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, and the Spectator, journalist and biographer;
• Brian, Lord Gill KSG, retired Lord President of the Court of Session (the most senior judge of Scotland), and the President of Una Voce Scotland;
• Professor Thomas Pink, philosopher, recently retired from King’s College London;
• Sir Adrian FitzGerald, a senior Knight of Malta and the Green Knight of Kerry.

Prince Rupert Löwenstein and Colin Mawby KSG, the composer, were Patrons of the Society until their deaths in 2014 and 2019 respectively.

For more about our Patrons see the LMS website HERE


John Smeaton (image via 1Peter5)


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