Wednesday, June 19, 2024

The Sign of Peace, for Catholic Answers

The Kiss of Peace at the LMS Walsingham Pilgrimage 2023: High Mass in the Shrine

The Pax, the Kiss of Peace, is one of my favourite ceremonies of High Mass: one of the most dramatic and easily understood symbolic actions. The celebrant kisses the Altar and given the deacon a stylised embrace; the deacon embraces the subdeacon, the subdeacon the MC, and if there are clergy in choir it can be passed on down a whole row of them on both sides of the church.

For a photographer it is easy to miss. It only happens at High Mass with deacon and subdeacon, and not at Requiem Masses or on Maundy Thursday. At Prelatial Masses and First Masses of newly ordained priests, you get an extra chance to catch it, with the 'Assistant Priest'.

This is the historical context for the ceremony in the Novus Ordo, which sadly can take a form that feels not only somewhat secular but even disruptive and an invasion of personal space. I always think of a letter to the Catholic press from one worshipper in Bristol some years ago:

In my church, one elderly widower tours the pews 'making a meal'; of his license to to make contact with female bodies. ... When the 'feel good' moment arrives, they approach me expectactly, but I ignore such cheap, shallow, bonhomie. I have often felt like adding 'a little peace before Mass would not have gone amiss.'

My latest piece for Catholic Answers is on this topic. It begins:

The Sign of Peace, the handshake that takes place at Sunday Mass between the Our Father and the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) before Holy Communion, is sometimes a source of friction and confusion.

The friction derives from the experience of it getting out of hand—being disruptive and even an intrusion. These problems were serious enough to raise the question, at the 2009 Synod of Bishops in in Rome, of moving the Sign of Peace to before the Offertory. Here, I want to shed some light on the meaning of the rite, which helps to put the question into some context.

At the LMS Annual Mass of Reparation in Bedford.

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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Learn Latin this Summer!


The Latin Mass Society offers 80% discounts to clerics, seminarians, and those about to enter seminary (trainee permanent deacons too!), if they are based in or come from England and Wales, to learn Latin either online or at our in-person course in August. Lay people are also welcome of course! 

In person teaching (more here)

Monday to Saturday, 12-17th August, at Park Place Pastoral Centre near Fareham in Hampshire. 
  • An intensive course to make the most of your time
  • Based on the Latin of the Traditional Mass
  • Three tutors to make sure everyone has exactly the level of Latin instruction they need
  • Daily Traditional Mass celebrated by our chaplain
  • A Catholic ethos
  • 80% discount for clergy and seminarians
  • 50% discount for students
  • Another £55 off for LMS members
The course is very competitively priced even without the discounts!

Wednesday, June 05, 2024

Getting men to Mass: for Catholic Answers

Men outnumber women at the LMS Walsingham Pilgrimage: sign up here!

My latest pieces for Catholic Answers is about the alarming typical imbalance between men and women at Mass in the West. I devote a chapter to the 'feminisation of Christianity' in my book, The Liturgy, the Family, and the Crisis of Modernity, and there is also quite a lot on the subject on this blog.

There is a certainly a marked contrast between the imbalance of the sexes at typical Novus Ordo celebrations and the more balanced situation in the Traditional Mass, with some activities associated with it, which are particularly appealing to men, such as walking pilgrimages, often showing a clear majority of men. This is beginning to enter the discourse as a fact accepted by all sides: after all, anyone can see it for themselves by visiting a few Masses on Sunday. But as I note in this article, the tendency among liturgical progressives is not to acknowledge that they might have something to learn from others, but rather that it must be the case that anything in the Church able to attract men must be misogynistic.

That would be a pretty grim conclusion: that men will only attend Mass if it is in some sense anti-woman. It conforms, however, to an unspoken idea that seems behind a lot of modern discourse, that men are intrinsically bad, and not worth trying to save: worthy only, in fact, of condemnation, for characteristics that they cannot help having, as if God were not pleased with His creation after all.

My article for Catholic Answers begins:

Monday, June 03, 2024

Corpus Christi Procession in the rain


I think special credit is due when a procession takes place in the rain. This one was onthe feast of Corpus Christi, last Thursday, at SS Gregory & Augustine's, Oxford.


After the procession we had Benediction.


We had previously had High Mass.


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Friday, May 31, 2024

An Ordinariate for Traditionalists?

Three priests of the Archdiocese of Westminster take part in a High Mass
for Pentecost Monday in Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane, in London.

My latest on 1Peter5.

It begins:

In the new edition of the traditionalist journal Sedes Sapientiae readers will find an article by Fr Louis-Marie de Blignières FSVF on the idea of a traditionalist ‘circumscription’, a term covering Personal Ordinariates and Prelatures, and a response to this article by me. Fr de Blignières, for those who don’t know, is the founder and superior of the Society of St Vincent Ferrer, which uses the traditional Dominican Rite. His article promotes the idea of a “circumscription” for Traditionalists: a non-geographical diocese headed by an Ordinary appointed by Rome. I am a bit more sceptical.

Since then an interview with Fr de Blignières has been published on Rorate Caeli on this subject, and I have been encouraged to put my thoughts about it into the public domain as well, to further stimulate what is a very necessary debate. What follows is complementary to my Sedes Sapientiae article.

Read the whole thing there.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Dan Hitchens on Sister Clare Crocket: podcast from the Latin Mass Society


Dan Hitchens gave a talk to the Latin Mass Society's series of talks, 'Iota Unum'. He spoke about the remarkable religious sister, Clare Crockett, who hailed from Northern Ireland and died in Ecuador in 2016, aged 33. Her order was the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother (S.H.M.).

IMG_0770You can listen to Dan's talk on the LMS podcast channel: search for 'Latin Mass Society' or 'Iota Unum'; here is direct link:

If you are in reach of London, do join us for these talks in person, meet the speaker, have a glass of wine, and meet some people in real life!

The next talk:

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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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Happy 20th Birthday, Juventutem International!


For the 20th Anniversary of the foundation of Juventutem International. The celebrant was Fr Armand de Malleray FSSP, the Chaplain; the deacon was Fr Henry Whisenant, and subdeacon Fr Neil Brett. The church is their regular London venue, the beautiful church of St Mary Magdalen's, Wandsworth, in Southwark Archdiocese. Mass was for the Friday of the Octave of Pentecost. It was accompanied by the Southwell Consort and sponsored by the Latin Mass Society.


IMG_0888 Support the Latin Mass Society