Latin Mass Society

Chairman's Blog

09/08/2019 - 12:23

Schola Sainte-Cécile in England 2019

Programme                                                                             1 August 2019
Monday August the 19th

Oxford Oratory

Oratory Church of St Aloysius Gonzaga, 25 Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HA

by courtesy of the Fathers of the Oratory and Fr Oliver Craddock, Cong.Orat., Prefect of Music

6:30 pm       Vespers and benediction (Trad Roman Rite - 2ndVespers of St John Eudes)

Tuesday August the 20th

Balliol College chapel

The Broad, Oxford OX1 3BJ

by courtesy of the Revd Dr Bruce Kinsey, Chaplain, Balliol College.

9:30 am       Solemn mass of St Bernard of Clairvaux (Trad Roman Rite)
Wednesday August the 21st

Oxford Oratory

11:00 am     Solemn mass of St Jeanne de Chantal (Trad Roman Rite)
2:00 pm       Visit to Littlemore

International Centre of Newman Friends, 9 College Lane, Littlemore, Oxford OX4 4LQ

Blessed Newman commemoration and devotions

Balliol College chapel

6:30 pm       Vespers (Sarum Rite - of the Octave of Assumption, memory of the Martyrs Timotheus and Symphorian)

Thursday August the 22nd

Farnborough Abbey

St Michael’s Abbey, 280 Farnborough Road, Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 7NQ

by courtesy of the Rt Revd Dom Cuthbert Brogan OSB, Abbot of Farnborough.

11:00 am     Solemn mass of Requiem for the imperial family (LLMMII Napoleon III, Eugenie, Prince Imperial) (Trad Roman Rite)
Dominican Priory, Hampstead

Southampton Road, London NW5 4LB

by courtesy of Fr Lawrence Lew OP, Sub Prior

7:30 pm       Mass of the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary – octave of the Assumption, followed by the Rosary procession of the Blessed Sacrament, & benediction (Dominican Rite)

Friday August the 23rd

Ukrainian Cathedral of the Holy Family in Exile

22 Binney St, London W1K 5BQ

feast of the Archdeacon Lawrence (Memory of his companions in martyrdom the Pope Sixtus II of Rome, the deacons Felicissime and Agapit, and the soldier Roman) (Russian Byzantine Rite – Julian Calendar)

Westminster Cathedral; Lady Chapel

42 Francis Street, London SW1P 1QW

by courtesy of Fr Daniel Humphreys, Sub-Administrator

3:00 pm           Vespers & benediction (Trad Roman Rite – 1st Vespers of St Bartholomew)
Saturday August the 24th

London Oratory; Little Oratory (west side of the courtyard in front of the Oratory House)

Brompton Road, London, SW7 2RP

by courtesy of the Fathers of the Oratory and Fr Edward van den Bergh, Cong.Orat., Prefect of Music

9:00 am       Solemn mass of the feast of St Bartholomew, Apostle (Trad Roman Rite)
St James’s, Spanish Place

22 George Street, London W1U 3QY

by courtesy of Fr Christopher Colven, Rector

4:30 pm       Vespers & benediction (Trad Roman Rite - 2nd Vespers of St Bartholomew)
Sunday August the 25th

Saint Bede, Clapham Park, London

11 am          solemn mass of the XIth Sunday after Pentecost (Trad Roman Rite)

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08/08/2019 - 12:01

Review of Stephen Bullivant in Catholic Herald

I'm late posting this on here but my latest in the Catholic Herald is a review of Mass Exodus by Stephen Bullivant. It begins:

Was Vatican II in some way responsible for declining Catholic practice and “affiliation” (people calling themselves Catholics), or is this phenomenon a matter of trends beyond the Church’s control? Focusing on Britain and the United States, Professor Stephen Bullivant, a sociologist of religion at St Mary’s University, London, presents the evidence with precision, while still producing a highly readable book. The thesis of Mass Exodus is that the Church, like other ecclesial bodies, has clearly faced considerable headwinds since the 1960s as a result of wider social forces, but has also made things worse for itself.

Bullivant’s analysis revolves around three key sociological concepts. The first is the role of networks in nurturing belief, or “social network theory”. The denser the social network of believers, the more they are connected with each other (as opposed to non-believers), and the lower will be the rate of lapsation and disaffiliation. The Amish, for example, with their distinctive way of life and close-knit community, have a very low level of disaffiliation. Catholics were never like them, but up to the 1960s there was, to some degree, a “Catholic ghetto” in both the US and Britain where, in a hostile world, they had social support from fellow believers. The community was marked out by customs such as eating fish on Friday, distinctive forms of worship and spirituality, and interest in a common history, particularly of persecution.
Carry on reading.

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23/07/2019 - 10:54

Two ideas for stemming lapsation

My latest on LifeSiteNews.
Contemplating the problems in the Church today, I feel like the countryman in the joke about the stranger asking for directions. 'If I were going there,' he replies, 'I wouldn't start from here.'
I wouldn't start from a situation in which, because of fifty years of bad or absent catechesis, some people walk out of church if they hear a sermon which talks about moral issues. I wouldn't start from a situation in which, because of fifty years of poor and occasionally sacrilegious liturgy, some people walk out because they see anything redolent of reverence or tradition.
We are where we are. How could we begin to make things better, without making things too much worse in the short term? Bearing in mind that if you make things too much worse in the short term, you lose your chance to persist in the experiment for the long term.
Here are a couple of ideas. If implemented, they would drive some people out: but any policy will do that, including the policy of no policy, just leaving things alone. The hope is that with the right ideas, a counter-trend of growth might be established.
I have now written short reviews here of both of Professor Stephen Bullivant’s books: one on a recent survey of lapsed Catholics for the Diocese of Portsmouth in England, the other an in-depth discussion of the sociology of Catholics leaving the Church. These form the background to my consideration, today, of what the Church can do to stem the tide of lapsation, which continues, notwithstanding Catholic immigration into both the U.K. and the USA, which flatters the overall numbers.
Prof. Bullivant asked the lapsed Catholics who completed the Portsmouth survey the simple question: “Can you imagine yourself returning to the Church? If so, what specific things might the Church do to help towards this?”
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22/07/2019 - 17:49

AGM Mass in Westminster Cathedral


I've been reading in the archive of the Catholic Herald about the first ever Mass for the Latin Mass Society to mark an Annual General Meeting: in June 1972. You can read it here. 2,700 people packed the Cathedral for the Mass and 400 attended the AGM itself afterwards.


People are not quite so starved of the Traditional Mass today, and this one Mass doesn't attractice such an enormous crowd. About that many people, by my estimation, attend a Latin Mass on any given Sunday. Many of those at the Mass in 1972 probably hadn't attended any for a year or more. Indeed, most Masses were celebrated in the vernacular from 1965, and at the same time the rubrics and prayers began to chance quite radically.


It is a reflection of the febrile atmosphere that the report of this Mass in 1972 is the first mention the Catholic Herald made to the 'Indult granted last year to England and Wales by the Pope at the Cardinal's request'. Why hadn't they mentioned it when it was granted? It had been reported in full in The Times, whose editor, William Rees-Mogg, was one of the petitioners, along with Agatha Christi, asking for it. The Catholic papers were told to keep it quiet.


Although not as well-attended as in 1972, our AGM was, as always, a jolly affair. We provide sandwich lunch (with wine) to attendees (on payment of a nominal £5) and it is a chance for anyone to talk to the Society's Officers (and staff) formally, at the meeting, or informally, over lunch. We were addressed by Bishop Campbell who gave us a little talk about St Augustine of Hippo: he is an Augustinian. We look forward to seeing him again at the Annual Requiem in Westminster Cathedral, which falls on All Souls Day this year.



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20/07/2019 - 10:00

Why do people lapse? More from Stephen Bullivant

My latest on LifeSiteNews. This post focuses on a shorter book of Prof Bullivant, which has also come out this year. One of the interesting and perhaps counter-intuitive results of the survey of lapsed Catholics he carried out for Portsmouth Diocese is that the lapsed are not all what you might call liberal ex-Catholics: they include a fair number of conservative or even traditionalist ex-Catholics. I think it might be tempting to think of the more conservative type of Catholic as the core vote who are least likely to leave, people with a higher level of committment. The truth is more complicated. People who want traditional liturgy, beautiful churches, and clear teaching, can lose heart and lapse. Indeed, 10% of respondents even agreed (or 'strongly agreed') with the statement 'I prefer the Latin Mass but there is none in my area.'

You know how many lapsed Catholics there are? The massive and authoritative British Social Attitudes Survey indicates that there are 3.7 million in the UK. If anything like 10% of these, plus who knows what percentage of practicing Catholics, prefer the Latin Mass, even when most Catholics under 70 do not even know what it is like, then our bishops are clearly missing a trick in not making sure it is available.


Alongside his book Mass Exodus, which I discussed in another post, the British sociologist Professor Stephen Bullivant, with some co-authors, has published a shorter book titled Why Catholics Leave, What They Miss, and How They Might Return.This gives a summary of the results of a survey Prof Bullivant undertook for the diocese of Portsmouth in England, which appealed to people who had been baptized Catholic, but no longer attended Mass regularly. The survey was to help explain why people left. The results, from 256 respondents with some connection with Portsmouth diocese, are pretty interesting, if not always surprising.
One thing which emerges from the survey is how difficult it is to maintain the Faith today. The assumptions of the modern world, about sex before marriage and contraception, about homosexuality, about gender roles, and so on, are deeply unfriendly to Catholic teaching and practice: only deep commitment will withstand the constant attrition of the secular media, friends, college professors, government policies, and so on.
This is no secret, of course: so how has the Church responded? Many in senior positions are convinced that to teach sound doctrine, from the pulpit or in catechism class, would drive people away. They reason that it is easier for Catholics influenced by modern attitudes to sex and gender, for example, to keep coming to church if they are not confronted by the Church’s hard teachings. This approach was first applied to the condemnation of contraception by Pope Paul VI in his 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae; it is sometimes called the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. It seems to apply to great swathes of doctrine today. 

Carry on reading.

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19/07/2019 - 10:37

Prof Bullivant on What Went Wrong after Vatican II

I'm going to be writing more about Prof Bullivant's new book, Mass Exodus, which examines the catastrophic decline of Catholic affiliation and practice since the Second Vatican Council, from a sociological point of view.

Here is a piece I have written for LifeSiteNews.

In a newly published book, Mass Exodus: Catholic Disaffiliation in Britain and America Since Vatican II, Professor Stephen Bullivant has explored in detail what went wrong with the Church after the Second Vatican Council, from the point of view of the sociology of religion. The sociological, as opposed to the supernatural, perspective has its limitations, but we should hear what it has to say.
I want to explore just one aspect of Bullivant’s argument (I heartily recommend the book for those interested in more). He introduces readers to the well-established theory of the “social network effect” in sustaining a world view. Simply put, if all your neighbors are Catholics, it is easier to remain a Catholic yourself. If you meet fellow worshipers from your parish in your workplace, in local shops, and in your leisure pursuits, if you read Catholic news sources, and if you are surrounded by Catholic devotional statues and holy pictures, the Catholic worldview will begin to seem not just one option among many, but the obvious way to look at things. Doubts can be answered or ignored. Going to church is just what everyone does. Examples of personal holiness and self-sacrifice for the Faith are easy to witness and to give.

Carry on reading.

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15/07/2019 - 17:21

LMS Latin Course: book now

For details and booking see the LMS website here.


Dates: 29th July to 2nd August 2019

The Latin Mass Society’s Residential Latin Course for adults is an intensive course, taught by two experienced tutors, focusing on the Latin of the liturgy.

It is ideal for priests and seminarians wishing to improve their Latin, and all clerics and seminarians (and those about to enter seminary) enjoy a 50% discount on the course fees, which are extremely low anyway.

They are joined by lay men and women who wish to engage more closely with the ancient Latin liturgy, or do studies involving Latin.

Venue: The Latin Course will take place in the Carmelite Retreat Centre at Boars Hill outside Oxford.
Duration and price: it will be Monday to Friday.
Tutors: Fr Hunwicke, of the Ordinariate, and Jean van der Stegen, both of whom taught the course last year.
Mass celebrated by Fr John Hunwicke at Boars Hill for the Guild of St Clare sewing retreat

For details and booking see the LMS website here.
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08/07/2019 - 16:26

The Dominican Rite in Cambridge


On Sunday, a First Holy Communion took me to Cambridge Blackfriars, a place I have not visited before. The Dominican priory churches in Oxford, London, and Leicester, where I have attended Mass, are large and impressive neo-gothic buildings; for various reasons the Cambridge Blackfriars is very modest. The chapel was, I am told, originally intended as a lecture-room, but plans for a chapel elsewhere were shelved for various reasons.


Nonetheless, the chapel was packed, and a beautiful Mass was celebrated by Fr Aidan Nichols OP, and accompanied by a five-strong local schola. This Mass, at 9:15am, takes place every Sunday, either Sung or Low.



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06/07/2019 - 12:30

Friars ordained by Bishop Egan: photos

Last night Bishop Philip Egan ordained four members of the Franciscan community based in Gosport, in his cathedral in Portsmouth: St John's. I was there.


The community at Gosport is called the Family of Mary Immaculate and St Francis. This is an institute of diocesan right established by Bishop Egan, and the superior is Fr Serafino Lanzetta. At their parish in Gosport, which comprises St Mary's and St Columba's churches, they celebrate both Forms of the Roman Rite. The ordinations took place in the older Rite. The new priests are Fr Philomeno and Fr Rosario, who will be familiar to readers who have attended the LMS Walsingham Pilgrimage, and Fr Faustino and Fr Michele.















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22/06/2019 - 12:12

Is this a persecution of the Old Mass?

My latest on LifeSiteNews.

I have been reflecting on Henry Sire’s article about the recent decision by the Grand Master of the Order of Malta to ban the celebration of the Traditional Mass in the Order. He seeks to debunk the idea that the former Grand Master, Fra’ Matthew Festing, who likes the Traditional Mass, was seeking to impose this Mass onto everyone in the Order, and was simultaneously trying to create (along with Cardinal Burke, the Order’s Cardinal Patron), a center of opposition to Pope Francis and all he stands for.
This narrative is set out with great enthusiasm, but absolutely no evidence, by Christopher Lamb of the UK’s liberal Catholic weekly The Tablet, and by Austin Ivereigh, the English biographer of Pope Francis, among others. Sire points out (to simplify) that Festing believed that Pope Francis had ordered him to deal with the problem of his subordinate, Albrecht von Boeselager, distributing condoms as part of the Order’s charitable works. Festing was forced out (according to Sire) by an alliance between Boeselager and Cardinal Parolin, the powerful Secretary of State, who had a common interest in stopping the Order of Malta disputing the way a large sum of money, supposedly left to the Order, was being distributed.

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