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.