Latin Mass Society

Chairman's Blog

19/04/2017 - 16:16

Children misbehaving in Mass: and an interview in Regina Magazine

I recently completed an interview with Anna-Maria Vesey of Regina Magazine on children at Mass. She said, what I am sure is true, that some parents with small children are concerned that their children won't be engaged at the Traditional Mass, or else that their behaviour won't come up to the expectations of the regulars, and that such thoughts put them off trying it out.

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Watching (part of) the Easter Vigil two sets of closed doors away from the action...

It is impossible to guarantee no one at the Traditional Mass will tick off parents of small children, but I can say this to reassure parents:

There is such a thing as hostility to families and children in some churches, but this is much more common at the Ordinary Form than it is at the Traditional Mass, where there is a noticeably higher proportion of children present. This is partly because of larger families, and partly because the Traditional Mass is sought out by young parents. The sour looks and tut-tutting one gets as a parent trying to manage small children at Mass generally come from people, usually lay people but occasionally priests, who aren’t used to seeing children at Mass. People who go regularly to the TLM are that much more likely to be used to them.

You can read the whole interview here.

Here I want to say more about people ticking off parents at Mass. I've been ticked off a few times, sometimes for the behaviour not of my own but of other people's children. Inside a church at the end of Mass is not the best time and place for a discussion, still less a heated argument, and it is hard to know what to say in response.

I think a good quick rejoinder would be to direct the annoyed person to the celebrant or parish priest. It is for the priest in charge to determine what behaviour is intolerable, and it is legitimate for people unhappy with things happening in church to take their concerns to him. It is the priest who has the authority to ask parents to try a different approach to dealing with their children in Mass, if this really is necessary. He is also in a better position than a parent (or bystander) suddenly confronted with a complaint at the end of Mass (or, still worse, in the middle of it) to have a rational discussion about it.

Other things I'd like to say to those complaining about children in Mass, if it were possible to engage them in extended discussion, would be these.

Have you had the experience of bringing small children to church yourself?
Complaints seem almost invariably to come from people who have no such experience. Parents aren't perfect - we are sinners like the rest of you - but with experience comes an understanding of what strategies parents have been using or could use, why things might be difficult on a particular occasion, and so on.

Did you move from your pew near the children to somewhere further away?
Astonishingly, people complaining about children rarely seem to think of doing this. They expect parents to go to all sorts of lengths, including not coming to church at all, before it occurs to them to walk ten yards to a quieter part of the church.

Have you noticed the efforts parents are making to keep their children quiet in Mass?
The complaints of Mass-goers about one's children are particularly hard to bear when one has been standing up holding a small child, to keep him quiet, for forty minutes at a stretch, or when one has spend more than half of Mass outside with one. Sympathy for others' complaints can be directly correlated with their gratitude for one's own efforts.

Do you think that parents of small children should attend Mass?
What complainants tend not to appreciate is that if the children aren't there, their parents won't be there either, because it is generally impossible for the parents to attend without the children. This will be particularly so at the Traditional Mass, where you can't pick and choose between lots of Mass times. Another aspect is, of course, that the experience of people being extremely rude to them is likely to put many parents of small children off attending your particular church, and perhaps any church, under any circumstances. Either way, you are driving whole families away from Mass. Does anyone think that that is a good idea?

Do you think that small children themselves should attend Mass?
The subtext of at least some complaints about children is that small children should not be there at all. Indeed, hard-core tut-tutters often object not simply to children making a noise in church during Mass, but to small children playing quietly outside the back of the church, under parental supervision, when this has proved necessary. This may sound incredible, but I have experienced it with my own family more than once.

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LMS Pilgrimage in honour of St Winefride, Holywell

It is true of course that small children are not under the same obligation to attend Mass as older children and adults, and it is also true that for certain classes, at certain times and places in the history of the Church, it was common to leave children at home with domestic servants while the adults went to church. (Again, in many historical and cultural contexts mothers have not been expected to leave home for a long time after childbirth.)

However, the attitude of Jesus Christ is emphatic: do not hinder little ones (pavuli in Mark; infantes in Luke) in coming to him (Mark 10:13-16). Again, he did not simply permit, but actually defended the role of children (pueri) in singing at his entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:15-16). The High Priests thought they were making too much noise...

Something which surprised me in researching for the FIUV Position Paper on Children were the Old Testament passages demanding the presence small children at liturgical events. For example:

'gather together the little ones, and them that suck at the breasts' (Joel 2:15-7)
'both men and women, children (parvuli) and strangers' (Deuteronomy 31:12)
There are many more examples of 'everyone' being called to attend the liturgy in the Old Testament, and in light of these explicit verses there is no reason to suppose that children are ever meant to be excluded.
This goes beyond the practical question of avoiding forcing mothers to stay at home to look after them. On the contrary, Our Lord tells us that small children are the model of liturgical participation, applying to the children singing for him in the Temple the (now) famous words of the Psalmist: 'ex ore infantium et lactentium': 'out of the mouths of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise' (Ps. 8:3). Again, Christ tells the Disciples that they must 'receive the kingdom of God' like a child (Mark 10:15). This is reflected in Christian practice in both East and West of giving infants and small children sacraments and blessings. In this context, why should anyone think that children should not be present at Mass?
The answer, in a nutshell, is a rationalistic conception of the liturgy. If you think that liturgical participation requires an intellectual grasp of what is going on, then you won't think that children will get much out of it (and nor will many adults). If, on the other hand, you think that the liturgy brings an objectively valid blessing down on those present and on those for whom it is offered, and if you think that the sacraments represent an objective divine intervention into the lives of those who receive them, then you will want to bring children to it and them. It is a rationalistic mindset that demands a liturgy in the vernacular, that wants to delay baptism, first holy Communion, and confirmation until later and later ages, that thinks that priestly blessings, holy water and scapulars, and the veneration of relics, are at best a purely natural means of reminding people (intellectually) of something or other, and at worst plain superstition, and it is this same mindset, at bottom, which objects to children being in Mass. It is this mindset which is rejected by the Old Testament and by the words of Our Lord. 
So here is another advantage of the Traditional Mass over the Novus Ordo for parents of small children, and one I didn't mention in my Regina Magazine interview. This rationalistic mindset is, thank heavens, much less prevalent in Latin Mass congregations.
Finally: Would you like to be part of the solution instead of being part of the problem?
The atmosphere of disapproval which in some congregations greets parents with small children makes handling the children infinitely more difficult. Why, you ask? Because it makes everyone tense. Small children pick this up and they fidget and squeak. The people craning their necks to give them dirty looks should first of all blame themselves.

What would actually help? The single thing which would make the biggest difference for children attending any service is the timing. Masses scheduled when small children would normally be eating or sleeping are, for reasons which I need not labour, going to be a lot more difficult for them than other times. We can all appreciate the difficulty of squeezing the Extraordinary Form into an already crowded church timetable, but given the fact that parents with small children will want to attend it, some consideration should be given to this reality. The support of all parishioners in bringing the Traditional Mass in from the margins, and from the least child-friendly time slots, would make a far more positive impact than all the tut-tutting in the world.
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Blessing of throats for the Feast of St Blaise.

Related: commentary on the FIUV paper on Children and the Extraordinary Form (with a link to the paper);
on Geoffrey Hull on children at Mass.

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19/04/2017 - 10:01

Is Pope Francis 'restoring tradition' in the Mandatum?

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Taking the Blessed Sacrament to the Altar of Repose
on Maundy Thursday. 

Reposted from January 2016.
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Austen Ivereigh claims that in opening the Mandatum to women, Pope Francis is 'restoring an older Tradition'. Claiming the change has 'infuritated traditionalists' (sorry, Austen, I'm not infuriated), he explains:

Yet Francis has been restoring what once was tradition. The custom in the seventeenth century, for example, was for bishops to wash, dry and kiss the feet of 13 poor people after having dressed them and fed them. Nor is there any obligation for the foot-washing to be part of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.

This is a bit thin as an explanation, so let me fill it in a bit. Because Ivereigh has a point.

It is the rubrics of 1955 and 1970 which say that the foot-washing of Maundy Thursday should happen (a) after the Gospel, (b) in the choir or sanctuary of the church, and (c) to 'viri', men as opposed to women.

N.b. the word 'viri' (plural of 'vir') is only used if you want to exclude women. There is another Latin word for 'men' in the sense of 'people': 'homines' (plural of 'homo'); again, you might expect the gender neutral 'christifideles' (the Faithful) or some such term to be used, if gender was not an issue.

Before 1955, and in accordance with an organically developing tradition going back to the earliest times, the Mandatum took place (a) after Mass was over, after the 'stripping of the Altars' ceremony, (b) not in the sanctuary, and (c) to 'pauperes': the poor. Also, interestingly, as as Ivereigh notes, the number of pauperes was 13, not 12. Indeed, the Mandatum carried out in the context of a parish celebration of the Mass of Maundy Thursday, by a parish priest, was simply a particular case of a wider phenomenon, of Maundy Thursday foot-washing by bishops, abbots, abbesses, kings and queens, lords and ladies, of poor folk. Rubricarius (who knows about these things) tells us in my com-box that the Parish Priest, in line with the wider phenomenon, would have been expected to give these pauperes food, clothing, and money afterwards.

Male foot-washers would have washed male feet, and female washers female feet, as a matter of pudicy. If Ivereigh thinks that a 17th century bishop would have washed the feet of women, he's wrong. (I love the way he implies they did, without quite implying that they did.) Such considerations of pudicy are still relevant in our multi-cultural world: yes, multi-culturalism can mean taking care not to offend people with more old-fashioned attitudes that your own, such as those of American gangsters (bad language warning). What that famous scene from Pulp Fiction demonstrates is that a man touching a woman's feet has an erotic meaning.

I really wouldn't want any priests to 'develop a speech impediment' as a result of washing ladies' feet.

What happened in 1955 was that the Mandatum was made a liturgical act, in the middle of Mass and in the sanctuary, in the form of a literal-minded re-enactment of the scene described in the Gospel of St John (13:1-17). As has often been pointed out, Our Lord washed the feet of His Apostles, His priests: but that is not how it has been understood and imitated in the Latin liturgical tradition. Rather, the command has been understood in a more general sense that the higher should serve the lower, whether the higher is religious or secular, whether the relationship is sacramental or economic. Indeed, one can see in the tradition an application of a specifically lay obligation, to conform secular relationships to the reign of Christ.

As for the 1955 rite, it goes along with a current of thought which understands the liturgy as re-enactment in a way it had never been understood before, a form of antiquarianism. The argument that the 'original meaning' or 'original form' of something should be restored, often on the basis of bad scholarship or simple fantasy, was heard even more loudly in 1970 than in 1955. Along with supposedly authentic vestments and pottery chalices, we have a 'restored' kiss of peace, 'restored' bidding prayers, and a 'restored' offertory procession, and it is common to hear people unable to understand why the priest does not break the Host while saying the words 'He broke the bread', and why the Feast of the Holy Innocents is celebrated before Epiphany, when the event it commemorates took place after. In every case the wisdom of the developed tradition is lost, along with the continuity of what we do with what our immediate predecessors did - usually for at least the last eight centuries, and often for a lot longer.

I said in my last post that the latest change to the Mandatum reflects the results of the contradictions of the 1970 Missal. I should make clear that in this case, the contradiction was inherited from the 1955 reform of Holy Week, for which I have no brief to defend. The contradiction consists specifically in the way the rite uses the sanctuary. The sanctuary is a space for the clergy and their assistants, and the nave is the space for the Faithful. The distinction between the sanctuary and the nave is similar to the distinction marked by the use of Latin, marking out sacred time and space. It is just inappropriate for a dozen lay men to troop into the sanctuary, wearing ordinary clothes, and start taking off their shoes and socks. Adding lay women to the mix doesn't help. The result of the conflict between seeing the sanctuary as a sacred space, and seeing it as a handy 'performance space' for all sorts of activities, results in the disappearance of the former idea. The placing of the Mandatum there wasn't the decisive move, but it was part of a problematic trend.

Maundy Thursday with the FSSP in Reading: the Altar of Repose.

For the meaning of the distinction between sanctuary and nave, see the Position Paper on Altar Girls.

For the problems of the 1955 Holy Week Reform, see the Position Papers on that, Part I and Part II.

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17/04/2017 - 15:02

Easter Vigil at St Mary Moorfields

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The LMS-organised Easter Vigil service in London, at St Mary Moorfields, was celebrated by Fr Michael Cullinan, with Fr Christoper Basden (of St Bede's, Clapham Park) as Deacon and preacher, and Fr Patrick Hayward as Subdeacon. Cantus Magnus under Matthew Schellhorn accompanied.

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15/04/2017 - 11:37

New Book: St John Fisher on the Priesthood

St John Fisher was the learned and heroic Bishop of Rochester, was the only one of all the Bishops of England and Wales refused to consent to Henry VIII's Act of Supremacy of 1534, the Act supporting to separate the kingdom from the jurisdiction of the Holy See. He was executed on 22nd June 1535.

He had earlier written a book against Luther defending the Catholic theology of the priesthood: ironically, in support of Henry VIII's own work against Luther, to which Luther had made a characteristically intemperate response.

Fisher's work deserves wider recognition, and I am pleased to see this new edition and printing available. It can be bought from Amazon here.

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14/04/2017 - 17:45

Maundy Thursday in St Mary Moorfields, London

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Each year the Latin Mass Society organises Easter Triduum services in London. For the last few years this has included all three Tenebrae services as well as the Mass of Maundy Thursday, the Solemn Liturgy of Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil. These are taking place in St Mary Moorfields in Eldon Street in the City of London.
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I was part of the liturgical schola for the first two Tenebrae services, and was able to attend the Mass of Maundy Thursday: and for the first time ever I found myself conscripted into the group having their feet washed.
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The church was packed for Maundy Thursday, with many standing at the back. I advise readers intending to go to the Easter Vigil to come early: if they want a seat. (Although you then have to leave the church for the blessing of the Easter fire.)
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Here are some photos from yesterday (Thursday). The Celebrant was Fr Michael Cullinan, who was assisted by Fr John Hemer (as Deacon) and Mgr Jamieson (Sub-deacon).

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All the services were accompanied by Cantus Magnus directed by Matthew Schellhorn, which performed Gesueldo's stunning responsaries for Tenebrae and Tallis' Mass for Four Voices at Mass: for the full list of pieces sung see their website here.

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Above: the Blessed Sacrament is taken to the Altar of Repose. Below: Tenebrae.

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10/04/2017 - 10:00

The Mandatum: let's not be hard on Pope Francis

I see from my stats a small spike of interest in this post: someone must have linked to it somewhere. So I thought I'd repost it. I'll repost a follow-up post on the same subject tomorrow. They both first appeared in January 2016.

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It is tempting to see the decree allowing women's feet to be washed on Maundy Thursday as an indication of an acceleration of liturgical decay underway with Pope Francis, following his breaking of the rule up to now. However, what has happened is no different from what happened under his predecessors.

Bl Pope Paul VI gave in to the pressure of endemic abuse when he allowed the reception of Communion in the hand. But there are other examples too from his troubled reign. One of the most peculiar documents of the Papal Magisterium is his Sacrificium laudis, an Apostolic Letter directed to religious superiors, begging, cajoling, and ordering them to preserve Latin in the Office. You won't find this document in the Acta Apostolicis Sedis, and only in Italian on the Vatican website. The speed of its transformation into waste-paper gives new meaning to the phrase 'dead on arrival'. (You'll find an English translation on the LMS website.)


Pope St John Paul II gave way, again because of the pressure of abuses, on Altar girls. It was he, also, who permitted another set of countries to take up Communion in the hand. It was on his watch, again, that the restrictions on Communion under Both Kinds fell by the wayside - this was forbidden on Sundays, in theory, and for 'large congregations', but the American bishops defied him, and he gave in. It was under him that major investigations of American seminaries and women religious were turned into whitewash, liturgical abuses were established on an industrial scale at the World Youth Days, and being blessed by witch doctors, kissing the Koran, and putting Buddha on altars became de rigeur. Religious sisters not wearing their habits sat right in front of him at a Papal Mass of beatification in Australia in 1995. That day, liturgical discipline was dead.

Pope Benedict XVI allowed Communion in the hand in Poland, where Pope John Paul II never had. Did Pope JP know something his successor did not? It was Pope Benedict who chose to continue JPII's Youth Day Masses, and Assisi ecumenical gatherings, at a moment when it would have been perfectly possible to let both series stop, and merely tried to make them less awful. But he did not continue JPII's series of Instructions lambasting liturgical abuses: he must have realised it was pointless. It was under Pope Benedict that the investigation of the American women's religious lost its conservative mojo: yes, he was the one who appointed João, Cardinal Braz de Aviz as Prefect of the Congregation for Religious, in 2011, with entirely predictable results.

There is, however, an important difference between the actions of these three Popes and Pope Francis. As far as one can tell, Paul VI, John Paul II, and Pope Benedict believed that poor liturgical discipline was a bad thing. Paul VI lamented Communion in the hand and the loss of Latin. John Paul II apparently dislike Altar girls, and condemned abuses vigorously before permitting them. Pope Benedict surely had no sympathy with the ghastly things which were happening in American convents. There is no reason to think that Pope Francis is similarly conflicted when he allows the washing of women's feet on Maundy Thursday.

And another thing: to be crass about it, the Mandatum is not all that important. It happens once a year, and it is optional. It is not an integral part of the Maundy Thursday service - despite its name. Allowing Altar girls and EMHCs and syncetistic pagan rites during Mass are far more serious issues.

Let's not get on a high horse about Pope Francis at this juncture. This is just another step, and not a particularly large one, in the development of the Ordinary Form away from Tradition, and it is not happening because of the personality of the Pope. It is happening because the Novus Ordo Missae of 1970 was unstable. It included a series of compromises which were never going to last. Given the direction of pressure, these compromises were always going to unravel the same way.

This is the real lesson to be learnt. Attempting to shore up the tottering edifice of the Novus Ordo with ferocious-sounding rules has failed. JPII and Pope Benedict didn't manage it, and obviously - obviously - Pope Francis, though not a liturgical 'meddler', is not going to succeed in a project in which he has no interest. If it is collapsing, it is collapsing under the weight of its own contradictions.

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08/04/2017 - 13:36

Scotland's 'Two Shrine' Pilgrimage 2017

I noted the success of the first 'Two Shrines Pilgrimage' a while ago; her is the booking info for the next one.

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Two Shrines Pilgrimage: 5th - 7th August 2017

St Andrews

We are pleased to announce the dates of the second annual Two Shrines Pilgrimage, a three day walk from Edinburgh to St Andrews with the particular intention of the reconversion of Scotland. The pilgrimage will incorporate the Extraordinary Form of the Holy Mass and traditional devotions.

If you are interested in walking all or part of the route, please register your interest by e-mailing the2shrines@gmail.com as soon as possible.

The itinerary will be as follows:
Saturday 5 August - St Mary's RC Cathedral, Edinburgh, to St Margaret's Memorial Church, Dunfermline;
Sunday 6 August - St Margaret's Church to Falkland Palace;
Monday 7 August - Falkland Palace to St Andrew's Cathedral, St Andrews.

Members of the public are welcome to follow the pilgrimage and to attend its liturgies and other events, which will be advertised in due course. If you wish to be kept updated by e-mail please contact us using the address above.

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07/04/2017 - 13:05

Debate about teaching music (and Latin)

James MacMillan, Patron of the Latin Mass Society, has signed a joint letter on musical education in response to an article by Charlotte Gill wrote in the Guardian. Gill wrote:

For a creative subject, music has always been taught in a far too academic way, meaning that theoretical knowledge is the main route to advancement. While there are routes into musical careers for the untrained, and many pop, rap and grime artists have never studied music formally, there are also dozens of choirs and amateur collectives that put a huge focus on musical notation.

This is a cryptic, tricky language – rather like Latin – that can only be read by a small number of people, most of whom have benefited from private education. Children who do not have the resources, or ability, to comprehend it, are written off. Even when they are capable performers.

Gill is winding a good few issues up together here. We might agree with her criticism of the 'Grade' system of learning instruments, followed by many children, that it can make learning an instrument something of a grind. But a more important issue she has left out is the poor quality (or motivation) of many music (instrument) teachers. This is not be unrelated to their poor pay, and their poor treatment by many schools, where they have to eke out an existence on the fringes of the timetable and the school community, often working for several schools at once, resented by the teachers of other subjects for taking children out of their classes. It's a pretty bad system, all things considered. (Would anyone tolerate this for sports? For art? For Maths?)

When she points out that people who can't or simply haven't mastered musical notation have many opportunities to make music in contexts where this lack isn't a problem, it is hard to know what she is actually complaining about. The choirs who do need it, or at least find it vastly convenient, and the classical music world in general, are perfectly rational and within their rights to demand it.

The comparison with Latin is telling. Being able to read musical notation, or Latin, opens up to you a whole world of Western culture. Gill is right to deplore one result of the most recent educational reorganisation (the 'English Baccalaureate' focusing attention on core academic subjects), which is the narrowing of the opportunity to enter this world to children whose parents can afford private music tuition. We might say something similar about Latin's disappearance from state schools (though it is now coming back).

But Gill then makes the wholly illogical, Guardianisty inference that, despite having just said that the reason for the decline in musical literacy is a shift of resources, somehow the mere fact that it has become the preserve of an elite means that it is intellectually beyond the children of the less wealthy. As if this were not crazy enough, her next assertion is that, apparently for this reason, reading music shouldn't be taught as much as it is now. She seems to be angry with the elite who preserve this skill, though it certainly isn't its fault that music budgets have been cut, and out of anger with this elite she does not want ordinary children to join it.

It is important to understand Gill's position, because it is widely held in the progressive educational establishment. There is a sneaking idea that poor people are stupid, and a less hidden idea that highly skilled and cultured people are wicked. The first means that it would be impossible to give people from materially deprived backgrounds real intellectual skills or an appreciation of culture. The second means that it would not be desirable to do so. Grasp this mindset, and you grasp a lot of what has gone wrong with education since 1960.

Nothing more destructive, educationally, could be imagined. Applied to music, this attitude excludes children not only from a closer engagement with their culture, but the chance of making music a career, or a better one. John Lennon, one of the 20th century's most commercially successful musicians, lamented the poor musical education he had had, which made it harder for him to express his musical ideas as he wished to. At least there was no one at that time actively stopping him from learning about music, as Gill would apparently want to do today. Memo to the Guardian: ignorance is not liberating.

James MacMillan et al. (the letter has more than 600 signatories), has pointed out the patronising and oppressive absurdity of Gill's sequence of thoughts: let's not call it an argument.

Gill will at any rate be pleased to hear that the many Chant choirs singing at the Traditional Mass tend not to expect people to be able to read music: chant notation isn't the same as modern music anyway. With familiarity, the square notes can serve as an excellent aide-memoir to singers not able to sight-sing. But the educational point she is making is chilling: that the correct response to declining standards should be to drive them still lower, to exclude more and more people from the West's cultural patrimony.

Of course musical notation can be taught more widely, as could Latin: it is a matter of educational priorities. Unfortunately, before we can have a useful debate about timetable hours, we'd need to have at our disposal enough enthusiastic and skilled teachers to use those hours. Not only do we not have enough today, but on present trends we will have even fewer tomorrow.

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06/04/2017 - 11:27

Why home school your children? Matt Walsh

I criticised a post of Matt Walsh's the other day, on the subject of getting men to 'man up', so it is only fair I note this post of his on home schooling which is excellent.

Read it here

Here are just a couple of his points. He's writing about the USA. How much better is the UK?

Third, yes, my kids will eventually be exposed to all kinds of strange and terrible things. As much as I’d like to keep them shielded from the evils of the world forever, I know that I can do no such thing. The question is not whether our kids will be exposed to this or that depravity, but when and how and in what context? Are you prepared to trust the school’s judgment on when Junior is ready to learn about concepts like “transgenderism”? Do you trust their judgment on how he learns about it, and what he’s told about it? If you do, I suppose you aren’t even reading this post right now because you’ve been in a vegetative state for the past 30 years.

Fourth, when a kid is sent to public school, he’s expected to navigate and survive and thrive in a hostile, confusing, amoral environment, basically untethered from his parents, 6–8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 9 months a year, for 12 years. Is a child ready for that challenge by the time he’s 5 years old? Is he ready at 8? At 10? No. Our job as parents is to “train them up in the way they should go,” equip them with the armor of God, fortify them in the truth, and then release them into the world. That process has not been completed in conjunction with them first learning how to tie their shoes. I mean, for goodness’ sake, most adults can’t even manage to withstand the hostilities and pressures of our fallen world for that amount of time. And we expect little kids to do it? That’s not fair to them. It’s too much to ask. Way too much. They aren’t equipped, they aren’t ready, they aren’t strong enough, and they will get eaten alive.

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03/04/2017 - 14:31

Family Retreat: Photo essay

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The St Catherine's Trust Family Retreat took place last weekend, in the Oratory School. It was our ninth Family Retreat, and a wonderful event as always.

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One of the highlights was Stations of the Cross outside, which concluded with Benediction in the 'old' chapel.

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We had Vespers on the Saturday and Compline each evening.

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On Sunday the younger children had an Easter Egg hunt.

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Alongside the Retreat Fr Guy Nichols and Chris Hodkinson led a Chant Training weekend for the Gregorian Chant Network.

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Two of the participants were able to have a go conducting the schola in the final Mass of the weekend.

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