Thursday, April 18, 2024

Guild of St Clare Sponsorship for the Royal School of Needlework, 2024

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.

Six 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.

Deadline for applications is the 23rd June 2024

See HERE for more information and how to apply.

Volunteers at a Vestment Mending Day in London

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Iota Unum talks: Dan Hitchens and Sebastian Morello

Sr Clare Crockett

I am pleased to announce two talks in the Latin Mass Society's Iota Unum series:

Friday 17th May, Dan Hitchens: ‘Sister Clare Crockett: a modern saint?’

Friday 28th June, Sebastian Morello: ‘Cartesian Catholicism and the Loss of Sacred Space’

Talks 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 is a charge of £5 on the door to cover refreshments and other expenses.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

New edition of Gregorius Magnus published

Gregorius Magnus is the twice-yearly magazine of Una Voce International (FIUV), which groups together 41 lay-led Una Voce and Latin Mass Society groups from every part of the world.

This edition has a photographic report on the Summorum Pontificum Ad Petri Sedem pilgrimage, articles from new contributors, and contributions from the the magazines of the FIUV's member associations.
  • Pope Benedict, one year on: Caroline Farey on 'The Way of Beauty'; Andrew Cusack on the liberation of the Old Mass.
  • 120 year anniversary of Evelyn Waugh
  • St Thomas Becket, by Thomas Colsey
  • T.S. Eliot, by Robert Lazu Kmita
  • Cardinal Ambongo on Fiducia supplicans, by Michael Haynes
  • A Traditional Catholic school in Nigeria
and much else

See it on ISSUU, optimised for mobile devices.

Download the pdf for viewing on a screen.

Download the high-res pdf for printing.

Join the email list here.

Please support the FIUV by becoming a Friend.

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Monday, April 15, 2024

Why do bishops cover up sexual abuse? In the European Conservative

I have an article in the European Conservative about clerical abuse, though my analysis applies equally to abuse in secular institutions. We have moved on sufficiently in this debate that the focus is now often more on the covering up of this abuse, than on the abuse itself. Whatever form the abuse took, the motivation of the abusers is not difficult to discern: they get a kick out of it. More in need of explanation is the protection of the abusers by those in positions of authority.

I argue in this article against the now-standard explanation, that religious superiors, managers etc. are motivated by a desire to protect the reputation of the institution. But people who want to protect reputations get abusers to go away, by threatening exposure or investigation. The cover-up bishops I have in mind typically moved them to new parishes, enabling them to abuse a fresh set of victims.

My explanation is that these bishops accepted the heightened risk of scandal because they liked having the abusers inside the organisation, because they were reliable in other ways: they supported the bishop's power.

Friday, April 05, 2024

Catholic Monarchs and bad laws

Requiem Mass for the late Queen Elizabeth II at St Mary Moorfields, London,
8th October 2022, organised by the Latin Mass Society

Conservatives criticising Queen Elizabeth II for failing to veto the UK's Abortion Act in 1967 has become a depressingly familiar spectacle. I just wish they would do some minimal research on the subject, and at least start their argument with the acknowledgment that British monarchs do not have any such veto. This would save me the trouble of having to point out what is obvious to anyone minimally familiar with British history and politics, and then imagine what a critic would say if he actually knew this.

Today I respond to the pro-life activist Jonathan van Maren. He was writing the European Conservative; my reply has appeared in Crisis.

It begins:

Jonathan Van Maren’s European Conservative article, “Europe’s Pro-life Royals,” raises once again the question of Catholic monarchs and the legalization of abortion.

Van Maren helpfully provides some detail on how King Baudouin of Belgium avoided signing Belgium’s 1990 abortion law, and how Prince Alois of Liechtenstein defeated abortion in Liechtenstein. The courage and determination of these monarchs are an example to us all, and particularly to Catholic statesmen tempted to compromise in their defense of the most vulnerable in society.

They followed quite different strategies, because of the quite different political and constitutional circumstances in which they found themselves. Before we criticize any heads of state for acting as they did, we need to be clear what strategies we think were available in their cases.

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Wednesday, April 03, 2024

Traditional Triduum Services restricted: in the Catholic Herald

Easter Vigil at St Mary Moorfields in 2023

On Maundy Thursday the Catholic Herald published an article by me about the disappearance of the long-standing Traditioinal Easter Triduum in the Archdiocese of Westminster.

It begins:

The liturgical celebrations of the Easter Triduum – spanning Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday – according to the ancient (Traditional Latin) rite will not take place in the Diocese of Westminster this year.

The changes follows the decision of Cardinal Vincent Nichols, archbishop of the diocese, and the head of Catholics in England and Wales, to discontinue the custom of featuring liturgy over the Easter weekend in the traditional form – ­something which had taken place annually since the 1990s.

Cardinal Nichols acknowledged in correspondence to Fr Michael Cullinan denying the latter’s request to host this year’s triduum at St Mary Moorfields – the only Catholic church in The Square Mile of the City of London – that he was aware the decision would cause disappointment.

“I realise that this will disappoint some people,” he revealed, “but I have to keep the wider picture in view”, in an email which has been shown to the Herald.

Read the whole thing there.

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Monday, April 01, 2024

Easter Vigil in Bedford: photos

I attended the Easter Vigil in Bedford, which was well attended in the church of SS Philip & James in the north of the city. The celebrant was Fr Miguel Coelho, who is assisting the Fraternity of St Peter apostolate. Fr Armand de Malleray FSSP was deacon at the Missa Cantata (that is, he sang the Exultet, the Epistle and so on).




Monday, March 25, 2024

Mass of the Ages film, Part 3: Guardians of Tradition

In which I appear, among other people. They've put together a very interesting film, combining history, commentary, and personal stories. I hope it is watched by many people: please spread the word.


Parts 1 and 2, and other things, can be seen on their YouTube channel, here.

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Saturday, March 09, 2024

Walsingham Pilgrimage Volunteers needed, 5: First Aiders and photographers

A photo by a professional photographer, John Aron.
See what he's done with the depth of field?

Booking is now open for the LMS Walking Pilgrimage to Walsingham, which takes place from Thursday 22nd August to Sunday 25th August. But before we can welcome 200+ pilgrims, we need to be able to look after them. This is the last of these appeals, for two more categories of volunteers: First Aiders and photographers.

First Aiders need (at least) a certificate showing they have done a short course about it. These courses can be done in a single day and if you do one specially then the LMS will repay you the cost of the fee. (We'll pay for a First Aid bag for you as well of course.) Courses are done by St John's Ambulance and others and certificates last for three years. This is an opportunity to learn something useful and make yourself useful on the pilgrimage, and we'll even waive the pilgrimage fee.

We waive the fee because being a First Aider will change your pilgrimage experience. In breaks and at the end, your time is not your own: you'll have to make yourself available to the needs of others. On the road you may need to drop out to minister to a twisted ankle or a pilgrim with sun stroke. We'll get you a lift back to the column of course, but you will have a duty to your fellow-pilgrims first and foremost. It is a burden, and also a privilege.

Very few First Aid needs on the pilgrimage go beyond the very basic -- stinging nettles, blisters and (when it is hot) sun stroke cover about 90% of them -- but we absolutely need to have people to help with these, and less experienced First Aiders will be backed up by more experienced as required, with the support drivers available to get injured pilgrims to where they need to be.

Taken by me.

On photography, if we are to promote the pilgrimage from year to year we need photographs of it. We have a system of pilgrims' snaps being gathered up for social media but we do also need someone with a proper camera willing to take time out at regular intervals to take high-quality photos. This makes a huge difference to public perceptions of the event.

You might think: who cares what people can or can't see online? Actually, it is important. We walk down lanes and through villages, and passers' by see us, bearing witness to the Faith and to the significance of Walsingham as a sacred place. Photography magnifies this witness and extends it to people who are not physically there at 9am or whatever in some tiny Norfolk village. Photography is part of the apostolate.

So if you have a decent digital camera and know how to use it; if you are fit enough to get ahead of the column from time to time; if you understand the liturgy enough to get decent photographs of that: then let us know and we'll give you a big discount on your booking fee. And you can make some beautiful images of a truly remarkable event.

If you wish to be considered for these roles, please email

Another by John Aron.

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Friday, March 08, 2024

Walsingham Pilgrimage volunteers needed, 4: marshals and campsite volunteers


Booking is now open for the LMS Walking Pilgrimage to Walsingham, which takes place from Thursday 22nd August to Sunday 25th August. But before we can welcome 200+ pilgrims, we need to be able to look after them. Today I appeasing for two more categories of volunteers: marshals for the walking part of the pilgrimage, and volunteers to assemble and dismantle things like gazebos at the campsites.

Being a marshal is an unglamorous role, and it can also be quite solitary, since you walk between, behind, or ahead of the chapters. It is nevertheless essential. First, for road safety, managing cars passing sometimes on quite narrow roads. Secondly, to assist pilgrims who need to drop out.

We prefer to have as marshals people who have walked the pilgrimage at least once before. An obvious qualification is being sufficiently fit to do the walk!

Thursday, March 07, 2024

Walsingham Pilgrimage volunteers wanted, 3: singers


Booking is now open for the LMS Walking Pilgrimage to Walsingham, which takes place from Thursday 22nd August to Sunday 25th August. But before we can welcome 200+ pilgrims, we need to be able to look after them. We need volunteers! Today I am going to talk about singers.


Good Music, along with good food, may be said to power the pilgrimage in its natural aspect. But unlike the food, however good, the music has a significance at the supernatural level as well, because it can also be prayer.

It will be no surprise for readers to hear that a lot of prayers are said on the pilgrimage. Pilgrims are divided into 'chapters' which are small enough for people to hear instructions from the front to the back, with the help of megaphones, and also for collective prayer. When we say the Rosary, we sing it: we have settings of the Hail Mary in English, Latin, and French. We also sing the Litanies of Our Lady, of the Saints, of St Joseph, and of the Sacred Heart. In addition, we sing many popular chants, such as the O filii et filiae (though we sing it better than the guys in the link), vernacular hymns, and when the going gets tough, even some patriotic songs.

We believe the singing is very important and go to a lot of trouble over it. We have a book of all the chants and hymns, often with the music (and other useful prayers and information), the Vademecum Peregrini, which everyone has, and every chapter has a cantor.

Wednesday, March 06, 2024

Walsingham Pilgrimage Volunteers wanted 2: drivers


Booking is now open for the LMS Walking Pilgrimage to Walsingham, which takes place from Thursday 22nd August to Sunday 25th August. But before we can welcome 200+ pilgrims, we need to be able to look after them. We need volunteers! Today I am going to talk about drivers.

The Pilgrimage has always had 'support drivers', and these have been becoming more and more numerous in recent years. For this year, we are in particular need of a van driver, as we need to have two luggage vans, and not just one. We can't get a lorry down the country lanes, so we hire an 'extra long' Mercedes Sprinter, or the the equivalent.

Tuesday, March 05, 2024

Walsingham Pilgrimage Volunteers needed, 1: cooks and cleaners


Booking is now open for the LMS Walking Pilgrimage to Walsingham, which takes place from Thursday 22nd August to Sunday 25th August. But before we can welcome 200+ pilgrims, we need to be able to look after them. We need volunteers who give up their chance to walk in order to do some quite unglamourous jobs, such as cooking and cleaning.

Each day of the walk there is breakfast and an evening meal. We don't just give pilgrims a paper cup of coffee or an empty milk carton of instant soup (happy though these memories of Chartres are!). While the size of the pilgrimage makes it possible, our cooking team continues to provide real food: bread and jam, porridge and hard boiled eggs for breakfast, and a hot meal made from basic ingredients in the evening. 

There is plenty of penance to be had in getting up early to walk 20 miles or so, but our pilgrims don't set off with an empty stomach, and the evenings are convivial. It is another element of Catholic culture which we are aiming to restore, and a reflection of our respect for the walking pilgrims.

Quisquis enim potum dederit vobis calicem aquƦ in nomine meo, quia Christi estis : amen dico vobis, non perdet mercedem suam. Mark 9:41

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Westminster Diocese Triduum cancelled

Cardinal Nichols will not permit the celebration of the Vetus Ordo Triduum in St Mary Moorfields this year. Here is our press release.


Traditional Latin Easter Triduum Services in the Archdiocese of Westminster cancelled

The Latin Mass Society is grieved to announce that the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, will not give permission for the celebration of the major services of the Sacred Triduum (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday) according to the liturgical books in use before the Second Vatican Council: the Traditional Latin liturgy or Vetus Ordo.


There has been a celebration of the Traditional Triduum in the Archdiocese, with the permission of successive Archbishops, since the 1990s: first in Corpus Christi Maiden Lane, and then in St Mary Moorfields in the City of London. In recent years these services have been attended by up to 200 people.

His Eminence places this decision in the context of his ongoing dealings with the Dicastery for Divine Worship in Rome, writing ‘My approach to these matters is to be within the parameters laid down by the Holy See while waiting for the judgment of the Holy See on which, if any, parish church may be used for the celebration of Mass according to the Missal antecedent to the reform of 1970.’[1]

His decision, he explains, was made ‘for the sake of the wider provision’.


Comment from the Latin Mass Society

The faithful attached to the Vetus Ordo, served by Sunday celebrations in St James Spanish Place, the London Oratory, and other locations, will now be denied the chance to attend the most important liturgical days of the year according to this liturgy within the Archdiocese of Westminster.

When Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter Traditionis custodes, which restricted the Vetus Ordo, was published in 2021, Cardinal Nichols summarised the Holy Father’s concerns, adding: ‘In my judgement, these concerns do not reflect the overall liturgical life of this diocese.’[2]

LMS Chairman Joseph Shaw comments: “In this decision, as in the earlier ending of the 50-year tradition of two annual Vetus Ordo Masses at the High Altar of Westminster Cathedral, and the 20-year practice of the Archdiocese providing the Sacrament of Confirmation according to the Vetus Ordo, it seems that Catholics attached to the older liturgy are being punished for misdemeanours that Cardinal Nichols believes they have not committed.

“We await with concern the decision of the Dicastery of Divine Worship concerning the current celebrations of the Vetus Ordo on Sundays and weekdays in the Archdiocese, which have enriched and consoled many hundreds of Catholics over the decades. This form of the Mass never ceased to be celebrated regularly in the Archdiocese, thanks to the pastoral solicitude of Pope Paul VI in 1971, and of successive Archbishops, in allowing it to continue. It is tragic to see that pastoral attitude now being put aside.

“At the same time, we can reassure Catholics attached to the ancient Latin liturgy that the Triduum will still be celebrated in London, outside Westminster Archdiocese, and that the Latin Mass Society will continue to support these and other celebrations of this venerable liturgy.”


Notes for Editors

The Latin Mass Society was founded in 1965 to support the continued celebration of the Catholic liturgy in the form it took at the eve of the Second Vatican Council: the ‘1962 Missal’, the ‘antecedent Missal’, the Vetus Ordo or Traditional Mass.

The Greater London area is served by three Catholic dioceses: Westminster, Brentwood, and Southwark.

The “English Indult” granted by Pope Paul VI in 1971 allowed the Vetus Ordo to continue to be celebrated in England and Wales without a break, even while it was prohibited in the rest of the world.

Services of the Easter Triduum began to be celebrated in Corpus Christi Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, by the parish priest, Canon McDonald, in the early 1990s; the full set of major services were celebrated from 1999. Ten years later these moved to the larger church of St Mary Moorfields in the City of London. They were not celebrated in 2021 due to COVID restrictions.

Latin Mass Society


Press contacts:

Communications Officer, Portia Berry-Kilby

Chairman, Joseph Shaw


Registered Office: 9 Mallow Street, London EC1Y 8RQ

020 7404 7284


Registered Charity Number: 248388

[1] In an email of 23rd February to Fr Michael Cullinan, who was to have been the principle celebrant of the Triduum services. Quoted with permission.

[2] See the website of the Archdiocese of Westminster

[Photos from last year's services.]

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Friday, February 23, 2024

Guild of St Clare Sewing Retreat: photos


Another successful Sewing Retreat was organised by the Guild of St Clare, for prayer, the traditional Mass, spiritual conferences, and the making and mending of vestments.

The retreat giver was Fr Edward van den Burgh of the London Oratory.


Thursday, February 22, 2024

Trip to Ireland, part 3: Waterford


The final stop of my trip to Ireland was Waterford, where I attended Mass in the very impressive St John's church, celebrated by Fr Patrick O'Donahue FSSP. I joined the chant schola for the occasion.


The Latin Mass Society of Ireland very kindly organised another occasion for me to give a talk, and although fairly short notice they filled a room in the Galmont Hotel to listen. I spoke about Catholic Families and Intentional Communities: spoiler alert, they aren't the same thing. You can listen to the talk here:

You'll find the Latin Mass Society's 'Iota Unum' series on any podcast platform.


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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Trip to Ireland, 2: Galway


At the Roundtower Association conference in Galway we had a beautiful Mass celebrated by Fr Philomeno of the Marian Franciscans, and a rosary procession through the streets.



Then the conference continued, with Robert Colquoun of 40 Days for Life, and me. With due acknowledgement to the Roundtower Association, you can hear my talk here:

Culture, Modernity and Post-Modernity

You'll also find it on any podcast platform by searching for 'Latin Mass Society' or 'Iota Unum' (the name of our series of talks).

Videos of all the talks will be available in due course.


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Trip to Ireland: part 1, Silverstream, Dublin, Knock


Last week I was in Ireland, to attend a splendid conference in Galway. Before going there, however, I visited Silverstream Priory, which is north of Dublin, where I met Prior Basile McCabe. 

The following day, I gave a talk in Dublin's Catholic Central Library, on the 'Family and Culture: Lose One, Lose the Other'. I introduced the idea of luxury beliefs, developing the argument of my book, The Family, the Liturgy, and the Crisis of Modernity.

I recorded my talk, so you can listen to it as a podcast (I've given it a slightly snappier title):

Families, Culture and Luxury Beliefs

You'll find the Latin Mass Society's 'Iota Unum' series on any podcast platform.


Before the Galway conference, which will be the subject of the next post, I and other conference participants visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock, where Fr Philomeno of the Marian Franciscans celebrated a Low Mass (in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel).


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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Ash Wednesday and St Valentine: for Catholic Answers


I'm behind with my blogging, but here's something I wrote for Catholic Answers and some photos of an Ash Wednesday Mass.

The article begins:

The Church’s liturgical calendar throws up some oddities sometimes. One set of Sundays, and other feasts and fasts, is fixed in relation to Easter, which moves around the spring. Another of feasts is fixed to Christmas, and a third is fixed to calendar dates. And so different occasions can coincide: a feast of the “sanctoral cycle” can fall on a Sunday, and all the feasts of the spring and early summer are vulnerable to being swallowed up by the events of Lent and Eastertide.

A feast day like Christmas will fall on a Sunday only approximately once every seven years. Even less frequent are the occasions when significant dates of the sanctoral and paschal cycles coincide. The most famous of these occasional coincidences is that between Good Friday and the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25. It last happened in 2016 and will not happen again until 2157.

This year, we have the coincidence of Ash Wednesday and the traditional date of the feast of the Roman martyr St. Valentine.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Talks and Endorsements for 'A Defence of Monarchy'

Buy the book from the publisher, Angelico, the Latin Mass Society shop, and elsewhere. 

Short talks on the book from the book launch (you can also find these on pod-cast platforms under 'Latin Mass Society: Iota Unum):


HE Eduard von Habsburg, Hungarian Ambassador to the Holy See

This is an incredibly interesting and well done book. It is especially valuable that it makes the argument in favour of even a weak monarchy, in its constitutional powers and even in terms of the personal commitments of it representatives. Instead of giving way to despair, the book encourages us to continue to appreciate the constitutional and symbolic importance of monarchy, while we wait for a monarchy that embodies Catholic principles in their fullness.

Fr Calvin Robinson, Patron of the British Monarchist Society

This book provides many lessons to Roman Catholics on why the British monarchy is a good thing; how Christians can be united around the British institution, even with our differences; and a staunch reminder that British heritage is undeniably Catholic, and a strong preserver of Catholic tradition through ceremonies such as the coronation and funeral services of the monarch. The last thing any traditionalist should want to see is the end of Catholic tradition.

Gavin Ashenden, Chaplain to the Queen 2008-2017

This excellent and intriguing new book edited by Dr Shaw, defending the monarchy from a Catholic perspective, offers not only an informed perspective on  constitutional developments and realities, but makes a powerful case that the monarchy we have offers us a great deal more than would a republic. It also serves as a defence of the integrity of Elizabeth II against under-informed anxieties held by some passionate defenders of the rights of the unborn child.  The grasp of constitutional and historical development makes refreshing reading for anyone interested in our constitutional settlement not only as a matter of history, but also to furnish us with ways of judging the political dilemmas a turbulent cultural future may present us with.

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Saturday, February 10, 2024

Server training and vestment mending in London


One of our regular events at St Mary Moorfields, the Society of Tarcisius doing server training and the Guild of St Clare, in the basement, mending vestments.


The next dates are 

Saturday 20th April (booking page)

Saturday 8th June (booking page)

See the Society of St Tarcisius website, and the Guild of St Clare, for more information.

Thursday, February 08, 2024

Candlemas in Oxford


It's been too long since I posted images of a High Mass in Oxford. This was for Candlemas; we had polyphony, blessing of candles, procession, and the full works in SS Gregory & Augustine's Oxford. The celebrant was Fr John Saward, Priest in Charge.

The congregation for such Masses has been growing: this time it was close to 80; 50 used to be a good turnout.


SS Gregory & Augustine's is not a church in which I can easily sneak closer to the sanctuary with the camera; as a result, as Mass progresses the photos are taken through a bank of incense-smoke.


We are indebted to Tom Neal (right) and Dominic Bevan (left) for leading professional polyphonists and amateur chant singers on this and on many other occasions.


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Tuesday, February 06, 2024

Visit to Ireland

I shall be giving talks in Dublin and Galway in the next few days; all are welcome.

On Thursday 8th February I will be speaking at Dublin's Catholic Central Library T 7PM. 

Central Catholic Library,
74 Merrion Square S,
Dublin 2, D02 HH99

The talk will be called 'Culture and the Family: Lose one, Lose them both'.

On Saturday 10th, I am taking part in a conference in Galway, with Robert Colquoun and Fr Philomeno of the Franciscans of the Immaculate. The Conference is called 'She Will Crush Your Head'.

My talk will be called 'Modernity and Postmodernity, on the Liturgy and Marriage'

I will also be at the regular FSSP Mass in Waterford on Sunday 11th.

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Monday, January 22, 2024

Chairman's Briefing: the African Bishops and the Vatican

Another of my 'briefings' to supporters of the Latin Mass Society.

It begins:

Cardinal Abongo
In the last Briefing I introduced Fiducia supplicans and initial reactions to it. These reactions have continued to come in, and many of them are less than welcoming. Indeed, only a small number of Bishops’ Conferences have made statements expressing any pleasure about the document being published. Most official reactions have been very guarded, and some, while diplomatic, clearly regard the document as ill-judged. Many of the strongest negative reactions have come from African Bishops’ Conferences.

You can see my latest 'briefing' here.

Sign up to receive them by email here, along with our monthly newsletter.

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Saturday, January 13, 2024

Book launch for 'A Defence of the Monarchy'


Short podcasts from contributors' presentations forthcoming.

Coincidentally, Gavin Ashenden has published Part I of a conversation we had on the subject: find it on your podcast provider (Gavin Ashenden: 'Merely Catholic') or listen to it here.



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Thursday, January 11, 2024

Blessings for Irregular couples: a conversation with Fr McTeigue

Fr McTeigue has a Catholic radio programme -- you can listen to episodes as podcasts, as well as live -- and I've talked to him before more than once. Last evening we discussed Fiducia supplicans.

I enjoy these conversations. Fr McTeigue is well-informed and always displays admirable common sense.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Anniversary Requiem for Pope Benedict XVI: photos


This took place on Monday 8th January in Corpus Christi Maiden Lane. Sung Mass was accompanied by the Southwell Consort who sang Palestrina's Missa pro Defunctis. The celebrant was Fr John Scott. It was well attended and the music was wonderful--as usual, the Consort fielded a huge number of singers, both amateur and professional, with a professional conductor.

May Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, rest in peace.


Tuesday, January 09, 2024

Artistic modernists rally for the Traditional Mass: in the Catholic Herald

My latest for the Catholic Herald, on my book on the petitions to save the Traditional Mass: The Latin Mass and the Intellectuals.

Strange bedfellows: Unlikely figures who rallied around the Traditional Latin Mass in the 60s and 70s

When the post-Vatican II liturgical reform was getting underway in 1966, and again when the reformed Mass had been unveiled in 1971, petitions signed by intellectuals and cultural figures – poets, writers, artists, musicians – called for the preservation of the older liturgy, alongside the new. These voices were heard by Pope Paul VI, who tried to insist on the preservation of the sung Latin Office in Sacrificium laudis in 1966, and granted England and Wales permission for continuing celebrations of the older Mass in 1971. This was extended to the whole world by Pope John Paul II in 1984.

It is not surprising to find among the 1966 petitioners the reactionary convert novelist Evelyn Waugh, or the 1971 petitioner Agatha Christie, with her appreciation for the reassuring and nostalgic alongside the sinister and murderous. It is more surprising to find the non-Catholic, homosexual artistic modernists Benjamin Britten and WH Auden, both signatories in 1966. Auden, who by then had returned to the High Anglicanism of his upbringing, went on to criticise Anglican liturgical reform in the strongest terms. Before his death, TS Eliot also turned out to have archly traditional opinions on Anglican worship.