Latin Mass Society

Chairman's Blog

28/01/2020 - 10:00

Serving and Sewing for the Kingdom of God

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What can we do to advance God's reign on earth? What does it mean, today, to work in the Vineyard? If you are in despair about state of the Church and the state of society, what can you actually do about it?

It is far from the case that you can't do anything. The work of resistance to the chaos and of restoration is going on all around you. Here are two examples taking place in London: training on how to serve the Traditional Mass by highly experienced Masters of Ceremonies, and the mending of old vestments under expert guidance. Stop complaining, and come along! You don't need any qualifications, and there is no fee to pay.

Photos from last Saturday. The next dates are

March 14th (booking page for the serving), and May 9th (booking page for the serving). More info.

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26/01/2020 - 22:00

CMA Youth Retreat, 8th Feb, Haverstock Hill, London

The Third Annual Retreat
for young (18+) Catholics in healthcare
and young (18+) Catholic adults
Organised by the Catholic Medical Association's 
Youth Branch
Where? The Rosary Shrine
St Dominic's Priory
London NW5 4LB
When? Saturday 8th February 2020
11:30 Mass, followed by lunch, talks, and tour of the shrine. 
Day ends at 17:00
How much? £5 payable at the door (day includes lunch)
For more information and to register: 
- Registration essential as places limited -

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26/01/2020 - 14:42

Are Western Christians persecuted?

My latest on LifeSite.

Are Christians in the West being persecuted? To some, it seems ridiculous to say so, smacking of paranoia, and even an insult to those being genuinely persecuted in Africa and Asia. But persecution need not be equally serious everywhere. Persecution comes in relatively mild and relatively fierce forms. It also tends to come and go over time. Life under undeniable historic persecutions went on, sometimes to a surprising extent: a priest was ordained in the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau. Being persecuted is not the same as being killed.
If the term “persecution” is distracting us, think simply about what it means to suffer for the Faith, for the truth. Suffering for the Faith, or the prospect of suffering for it if one does certain things, shapes the lives of those living under persecution. They must choose whether and when to pay the price of suffering, or take the risk of suffering, in order to receive the sacraments or to speak the truth, or whether to hold back, to allow certain possibilities to be closed off, perhaps permanently.
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24/01/2020 - 10:31

Sex abuse clerical and lay

The second of a linked pair of LifeSite articles.

In my last article on LifeSiteNews, I explained how the reluctance of the U.K’.s police and social workers to apply the law on underage sex and on drugs created an environment in which girls, very often in the care of the state, could be targeted by gangs, who groomed, abused, and pimped them over years. There is an ever-lengthening list of places where well established networks of abusers operated with apparent impunity, with victims in the thousands.
This may sound familiar to readers who have been following clerical abuse cases.
I distinguished three layers to the problem: the cover-up; the refusal to face the sociological reality of the gangs; and, most fundamentally, the assumption that the crimes were not real, or not serious, because the victims must have consented. These three layers are also at issue in clerical abuse.
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23/01/2020 - 10:30

The latest Sex-abuse cover up: by Greater Manchest Police

The first of a pair of articles on LifeSite;

This week has seen the report of yet another UK “grooming gang” pimping and exploiting vulnerable underage girls, this time in Manchester. (There is a long newspaper report here.) 
The men targeted care homes. 
The victims repeatedly told those charged with their care that they were being raped and given hard drugs, but social services, medics, and police showed enormous reluctance to get involved, an attitude that seemed to be endorsed by the coroner investigating the 2003 death of Victoria Agoglia, a 15-year-old victim of a heroin overdose (her caregivers were not to blame, he found). This death did lead to a wider investigation, but it was starved of resources and then shut down. 
It has become a depressingly familiar pattern. The RochdaleBristol, and Oxford sex abuse gangs have gained the most attention, but there are now “case reviews” and public inquiry reports from an ever-lengthening list of locations. The victims number in the thousands. It is far from clear that the lessons of these cases have been learned: the Greater Manchester Police were hanging tough and refusing to reopen the investigation, which they had mysteriously shut down in 2005, as recently as 2018. What, one might ask, is going on? 

Continue reading.

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22/01/2020 - 10:28

Some worries about Roger Scruton

The more adulatory material I see on the Catholic internet about the late Roger Scruton, the more I think some corrective is necessary. I wish I'd been more critical now, in what I wrote for LifeSite (below).
In Scruton's subtle and often brilliant work, we are gently led away from the idea that it is of any importance whether there is any objective truth, whether God actually exists, or whether there are any moral truths. It doesn't matter because we have our terribly interesting reactions to things and our terribly complex relations with each other and with the past. I want to agree with many of his positive assertions but say to him and his followers: look chaps, this isn't enough. It's not going to work on its own--it'll collapse like a souflé without some, you know, reality behind it. Look, all the people you describe living these elegant, sceptical lives in the 18th century or whatever were living off the capital of a millennium of Christianity, during which time people actually believed in something. It is when this belief starts disappearing from the mass of the population in the 20th century that society starts unravelling. You can't bind it all back up again by saying that the new barbarians should be more like Enlightenment gentlemen. The barbarians are just following the Enlightenment logic through.
Heigh ho. Here's my LifeSite article.
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The English philosopher Sir Roger Scruton has died at the age of 75. He was the most prominent proponent of conservatism in political theory of his generation, and his theory of aesthetics was also significant. He came into conflict with the intellectual establishment throughout his life, and his independence of mind was impressive. So intensely hostile to him, indeed, were his fellow philosophers that I witnessed apparently rational mainstream academics actually apologising, in advance, for saying something complimentary about him. And yet he was rather a gentle soul, not given to hasty polemic or feuds, who did not give way to bitterness. His works will long survive those of many of his detractors. 
In many ways, his work has been helpful to Catholic thinkers, particularly his articulation of the importance of community, an idea whose time in some ways seems to have come. But he was not a Catholic, and there are important ways in which his thinking went in a quite different direction from that of the Catholic tradition. As a tribute to a great man, I want to say something about this: the best way to show one’s appreciation of a serious thinker is always to engage critically with his ideas.
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09/01/2020 - 16:50

The Papal Slap

I wrote this for Rorate Caeli.

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A lot of people have weighed in on Pope Francis repeatedly slappingthe hand of a pilgrim in St Peter’s Square. Reactions have not divided simply along ideological lines. Austin Ruse suggested, on Twitter, that Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul II would have reacted even more fiercely to a pilgrim grabbing their hands and not letting go. I was undecided myself at first. The pilgrim’s action did seem a little aggressive. On the other hand, there she is, in the video, a rather small Chinese lady, making a sign of the cross to steel herself to take the hand of the much larger Pope, surrounded by body guards. From what one can see of the timing of the incident, the Pope reacts as he does not to the surprise of the physical aspect of the gesture, but to what she is saying. She is saying something about Hong Kong…

Read the rest on Rorate.

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08/01/2020 - 16:45

Roger Buck's 'Gentle Traditionalist' returns

My latest for LifeSite. Buy Roger Buck's latest book through this link which gives him a little more of the cover price.

In 2015, Catholic convert Roger Buck published The Gentle Traditionalist, a work of apologetics in a dialogue form which, like some of Plato’s dialogues, is flavoured by a fictional dramatic setting set out at the beginning and the end. Despite its classical antecedents this is an unusual format, but Buck’s work was very successful. I have been recommending it to everyone ever since, as the ideal non-threatening introduction to traditional Catholic concerns on culture, education, and politics, the issues which motivated Chesterton, Belloc, and Evelyn Waugh.
The Gentle Traditionalist was followed in 2016 by Buck’s magnum opus, the 450-page Cor Jesu Sacratissimum: From Secularism and the New Age to Christendom Renewed. This is partly autobiographical, featuring Buck’s former life as a New Age practitioner and activist. Buck’s latest book, The Gentle Traditionalist Returns: A Catholic Knight’s Tale from Ireland, returns to the characters and format of the first book but more of the issues of the second. It is an exploration of the New Age as it is invading a newly-post-Christian Ireland, Buck’s adoptive country, in the context of the abortion referendum of 2016.

Carry on reading there.

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06/01/2020 - 15:55

Learn to cook in 2020

My latest on LifeSite News

I’ve mentioned more than once the importance of culture. Catholic culture, I wrote in one article, presupposes culture. I would like to say more about this issue, not only because it is important in itself, but because people want to know what they can or should do about the current crisis in the Church. Well, they — you, we — should learn how to cook.
Our Lady of Fatima’s message to the children in 1917 was, Sr. Lucia later explained, was not primarily about the First Saturdays or the rosary or the brown scapular, important as those devotions are. It was “the faithful accomplishment of our daily duties.” The world would be converted if Catholics performed their daily duties more faithfully. That is why the enemies of the Church have attacked precisely those daily duties. For most Catholics, online zealotry is easy, or at least appears so; it is being a good Catholic father, mother, husband, wife, son, or daughter that has become extraordinarily difficult, not to mention being a good Catholic employer, or employee, a good Catholic citizen, or a good Catholic public servant. One might say, perhaps, that being a good Catholic public servant — an elected representative or career civil servant — has become impossible in some places, and that this kind of public engagement is best avoided. We wouldn’t dare say that it has become impossible to be a good Catholic spouse or parent, though, because that would imply that we could not have families at all. Somehow, we have to face the difficulties and overcome them.

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02/01/2020 - 12:35

James MacMillan interview: music, culture, politics, religion

I've just round to watching this, and it is very interesting.

Sir James is a Patron of the Latin Mass Society.

He mentions a recent book of his reflections, which can be found here.

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