Thursday, September 22, 2022

The Royal Prerogatives and the law: 1Peter 5 by James Bogle

The well-known Catholic barrister James Bogle (also a former President of the FIUV) has written about what the Queen could and could not have done about bad laws being passed, on 1Peter 5. It is well worth a read; the principle is clear enough but the technical details are helpful.

Mr Bogle explains that saying 'The Queen should have refused to sign the Abortion Act' (or any other Act of Parliament) is no different from saying that a Catholic judge should have ignored it, that a Catholic clerk working in the Houses of Parliament should have falsified the official record of the Act, or even that a Catholic soldier guarding Parliament at the time it was being voted on should have stormed in and threatened everyone with his gun. It would have been illegal, as well as totally futile and destructive of the constitution, and of course morally wrong.

In a constitutionally-governed state bad laws must be prevented, or failing that, overturned, by constitutional means. Anything else is a revolution which overturns the state itself. And yes we do want to live in a constitutional state, and not in a state of legal anarchy and permanent civil war.

Elsewhere, Mr Bogle has summarised the question of whether it is possible to hold a Requiem Mass for The Queen, as the LMS has done and will do again. This is worth quoting:

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Indifferentism and Praying for the Queen and the King

I know some traditional Catholics have misgivings about praying for the late Queen and for King Charles. 

Under the old Code of Canon Law, Requiem Masses could be said for non-Catholic Christians but these could not be publicly advertised as such. At least, this was the way Canon 2262 was enforced, though the canon referred to people who were excommunicated. Non-Catholic Christians are not usually personally guilty of the sin of separating themselves from the Church.

[Edit: Canon 1240 of the old Code / 1184 of the new are about 'Ecclesiastical burial' which is not at issue here, but in any case still have in mind Catholics who have fallen away, either 'notorious sinners' or heretics, apostates, and schismatics. See comments.]

Again, non-Catholic monarchs would not normally have the Prayers for the Sovereign said for them at the end of Mass.

Today, the first rule does not apply. On the second, permission for this was given for England and Wales, dating back to 1789.

The rules on exactly what level of communicatio in sacris (sharing in sacred things with non-Catholics) gives rise to an unacceptable risk of religious indifferentism (the attitude that all religions are equally valid) have varied over time: it is a matter not of doctrine but of discipline.

Protestant Traditionalists: Letters in The Tablet

LMS Walking Pilgrimage to Walsingham this year

The Tablet no longer publishes my letters, which is an interesting development: they used to publish them pretty regularly. However, these two are interesting. They are the only letters published this week on this subject.


Many of us will be pleased that Cardinal Arthur Roche, head of the Dicastery for Divine Worship, has come out critical of those who refuse to accept liturgical reforms as promulgated by Vatican II (“Roche asks whether traditionalists are still Catholic”, 3 September). However, I would question the way in which he demonises these dissenters as “Protestants”. 

That same Vatican Council decided that after all Protestants are good people. And the analogy falls flat when you take account that Protestants concluded some centuries before Catholics that the vernacular was indeed the better language to celebrate the liturgy.


I was sorry to hear Cardinal Roche’s judgement on Tridentine Mass-goers, as reported in The Tablet.

The Vatican Council was not legislation to impose on the faithful. It was more a path of renewal taken by all the bishops of the time, celebrants of the old Mass to a man. They re-engaged with Scripture, were opened up to the riches of Catholic tradition, were sensitive to the needs of the day and were led by the Holy Spirit. 

Shouldn’t Rome be making sure that that path remains open to all, and not labelling our brothers and sisters in the faith as Protestants? 


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Friday, September 16, 2022

Launch of Family & Life Academy

(Cross-posted from Rorate Caeli.)

I am pleased to announce the launch of a new online learning opportunity in which I am involved: the Family and Life Academy, a project of
Voice of the Family.

Some readers may know Voice of the Family through their magazine Calx Mariae.

The Academy lets you watch courses of weekly lectures at a very affordable price, either live or recorded, plus free webinars on various subjects. There are courses on Natural Law (from me), Divine Law (from Fr Thomas Crean), the moral issue of abortion (from the veteran pro-life activist John Smeaton). There will be special appearances by His Excellency Eduard von Habsburg and Roberto Mattei.

Here is their announcement with more details and links.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

King and Father as Sacred Offices: from the European Conservative

Here is another piece (links to the other two) I have written on the monarchy, which was published in the European Conservative on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth's Jubilee. It was in the print edition but is just now available online.

Here is a key passage.


Placing one’s social role ahead of one’s personal preferences is certainly a sacrifice, but the assumption by some that such a sacrifice must make it impossible to live authentically or happily is far from being true. The veteran conservative journalist Charles Moore remarked, on the occasion of the celebrations:

Perhaps the Queen’s most remarkable achievement is that, by accepting this [her role] so absolutely, she has gained a deeper fulfilment than if she had rebelled. She has become what she has tried to be. People who know her well say there is always an air of peace surrounding her. To use a phrase below the level of events, she has job satisfaction.

This echos the position of the philosopher Byung Shul Han, whose most recent book, The Disappearance of Rituals, I reviewed in The European Conservative. We do not lose our freedom by identifying with our social roles, as Romantics and Existentialists would have us believe, but gain it. As the phenomenon of social media has underlined, the effort to be ‘authentic,’ to create oneself anew at every moment, is an exhausting exercise of play-acting, a confidence-trick one plays on oneself and one’s most intimate friends, which today is packaged and sold as click-bait for advertisers. By contrast, from the stable platform, as one might call it, of a conventional role, one can be playful and creative: have the Romantics and Existentialists not noticed that play and art are themselves conventions? Without the conventions of language, there can be no satire. Without the conventions of religion, there cannot even be blasphemy. The brilliant self-defining act of the Romantic or Existentialist, without the background conventions of the societies in which these theories developed, would be completely lacking in meaning. They would communicate nothing.

Read the whole thing there.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Two pieces on the Monarchy

Queen Elizabeth II at her coronation in 1953
I have written two pieces on the British Monarchy for US-based sites: Catholic Answers and 1Peter 5. I think a lot of Americans find it difficult to get their heads round the monarchy, even conservative Catholics.

The articles inevitably overlap a bit but they are complementary. 

The Catholic Answers one talks more about the Prayer for the Sovereign which we have at the end of Sunday Mass (when it is a TLM, and the 'principal Mass' of the day).

The 1 Peter 5 article is longer and sets the monarchy in the wider context of the importance of human traditions in general, and constitutional conventions.

In the context of the Jubilee I wrote a piece for the European Conservative as well, on the nature of the sacred office, but it was in the print edition is not yet available to read online.

There is plenty more to say on the subject, but this is a start!

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Monday, September 12, 2022

Latin Mass Society: new office!

After 28 years in Lupus House, 11-13 Macklin Street in Holborn, the Latin Mass Society has moved to a new office.

Our new address is:
9 Mallow Street,
London EC1Y 8RQ

Website, email, and phone number all remain the same.

This is not far from Old Street tube station, just north of the City, London's financial district.