Latin Mass Society

Chairman's Blog

11/06/2019 - 10:14

Summorum Pontificum at the Order of Malta?

Fr Zuhlsdorf has this remarkable letter from the Grand Master of the Order of Malta banning celebrations of the Traditional Mass at their events.

I wonder if the misspelling of the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontific[i]um is a cunning ruse to stop recipients googling Article 3. Here it is, anyway:

Art. 3. If communities of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, whether of pontifical or diocesan right, wish to celebrate the conventual or community Mass in their own oratories according to the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal, they are permitted to do so. If an individual community or an entire Institute or Society wishes to have such celebrations frequently, habitually or permanently, the matter is to be decided by the Major Superiors according to the norm of law and their particular laws and statutes.

So, no, it doesn't say that in order to have celebration of the EF in the context of religious communities the permission of the Superior is necessary.

Heigh ho. Since Chaplains of the Order, unlike members of clerical orders like the Dominicans or Jesuits, celebrate most of their Masses outside the context of the Order, and celebrate for the Order really at the Order's request, the situation is rather unique. It becomes a question not so much of priests having the right to celebrate the EF, as of lay (including religious) members of the Order having the right to request it. The Grand Master doesn't seem to anticipate this possibility, but he can't take away their right to do so under Summorum Pontificum Article 5, by analogy with the situation of parishes. But who wants to go into battle with the Grand Master? And how much sympathy would they get, if they can access the EF down the road?
I know that the Traditional Mass means a great deal to many members of the Order, and to many of the Order's Chaplains. This letter is going to make an important difference to the character of the Order.
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08/06/2019 - 14:41

Hospital fined for false imprisonment

I wrote this for LifeSite News a while ago but forgot to link to it from here.

Last weekend, a British newspaper reported on a legal first: A hospital was fined for “false imprisonment”; that is, for refusing to allow a patient to leave.
The details are complicated, but certain facts stand out.
The patient was unable to make decisions for herself, but devoted family members — two of whom were medically qualified — visited her daily. Doctors had written on the patient’s notes that the issue of her discharge was not to be discussed with them, however. The final act of the drama was her transfer to a nursing home without the family’s knowledge, let alone agreement, where she died shortly afterward.

Read it all there.

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06/06/2019 - 14:39

Do Traditional Catholics worship ash?

My latest on LifeSiteNews.

On the plane back from Romania, Pope Francis responded to a question about Pope Benedict, who, he said, he thought of as a wise old grandfather. He then spoke about the nature of tradition:
Speaking of tradition, [the composer Mahler] said that tradition is the guarantee of the future and not the keeper of ashes. It is not a museum. Tradition does not preserve ashes; the nostalgia of fundamentalists [is] to return to the ashes. No, tradition is the roots that guarantee the tree grows, flowers and gives fruit. 
Pope Francis is here freely combining two images: Mahler’s, and one of his own, of tradition as a root or source for what we do. In Evangelii Gaudium he expressed it slightly differently, in relation to evangelization:
Nor should we see the newness of this mission as entailing a kind of displacement or forgetfulness of the living history which surrounds us and carries us forward.
Tradition, memory, history, give energy to even the perpetually new enterprise of evangelization.
Mahler’s dictum says something similar. The original German is “Tradition ist nicht die Anbetung der Asche, sondern die Weitergabe des Feuers”: that is, tradition is not the worship of ash, but the passing on of flames. 
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30/05/2019 - 16:28

Fr Lawrence Lew: talk in London on Friday

Fri 31 May: Fr Lawrence Lew OP will speak on 'The Traditional Liturgy and Lay Men in the Church'

This is one of the Iota Unam talks; it will start at 7pm in the basement of Our Lady of the Assumption, Warwick Street. Doors open at 6:30pm.

Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory
Warwick Street
LONDON, W1B 5LZ

(click for a map)

Please use the Golden Square entrance.

The talk will be preceded by drinks and followed by questions and a recitation of Compline of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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21/05/2019 - 21:56

Conference on the Liturgy 8th June in London

Sign up here.

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19/05/2019 - 10:56

Letter in the Tablet

Google images suggests that Fr Baldovin favours
the 'tab' collar, when he's not in a
jacket and tie.

This weekend I have a letter in The Tablet. Last week they carried a strange lament by an aging liberal, Fr John Baldovin SJ, complaining about the traditional tendencies of young Jesuits: I assume his experience is of the USA. Since the formation of these men is in the hands of his own generation, it must feel like a bit of a failure. He informs Tablet readers that he has to spend ages explaining to these youngsters that the Traditional Mass and associated things like the Roman collar (horrors!) are bad because they carry with them the baggage of an 'insular' conception of the Church from before the Council. Alas, he doesn't have space to explain exactly what that means or how it works. Why prayers composed in the 7th century, for example, or ceremonies developed in the 12th, are all about the Church of the 1950s.

They have published my response.

Fr John Baldovin SJ (11th May) makes a surprising criticism of the ancient Latin Mass: that it brings with it a ‘insular’ vision unsuited to mission. Is this not the Mass which converted Latin America, which established the Church in Imperial China, and which was equally at home at the court of Louis XIV, and the mission stations of Africa?

The astonishing breadth of historical and cultural circumstances in which the Church’s venerable Latin liturgy has sustained martyrs and formed saints reflects both the long and varied period in which it was developed, and also an attitude, which it encourages, towards the liturgy as something objective, given to us, and precisely not specially adapted to our personal needs and circumstances.

The reformed Mass, by contrast, not only relies more heavily on the personality of the celebrant, but [inevitably] bears the marks of its creators’ interests and concerns. These are those of a small group of mainly European liturgists, whose ideas formed in the 1940s and ‘50s. To the younger generation of traditionally-inclined priests who cause Fr Baldovin such concern, the Mass these men produced looks about as up-to-date as the transistor radio.
The Letters Editor cut out the word 'inevitably', making me sound a little less reasonable, a little more hostile. When trying to win the argument about the Mass, every advantage is worth having, isn't it?

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16/05/2019 - 18:15

Review of Mosebach "Subversive Catholicism"

This was commissioned by, and is printed in, the European Conservative, a journal of which I had not previously been aware.

The book is Martin Mosebach Subversive Catholicism, a collection of essays, which you can buy from Angelico Press (which also pubishes a revisised edition of his Heresy of Formlessless) or Amazon.
Here's the beginning:
In 2006 Martin Mosebach sprang to fame, in the English-speaking world, as the author of The Heresy of Formlessness. It was a defence of the ancient Latin liturgical tradition of the Catholic Church: the liturgical tradition which had been celebrated by all western Catholic priests until just 40 years earlier, had provided the spiritual roots for the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, had sustained the martyrs of the Nazi and Communist prison camps, and had inspired the Church’s greatest artists, poets, and musicians.

That such a phenomenon as the ancient Roman Rite should find a conservative defender might not seem surprising, but at that time this form of the liturgy had become a kind of forbidden fruit, something which conservatives who wished to be taken seriously as mainstream figures had ritually to disavow. In this context, it was little short of astonishing that Mosebach’s volume of reflections would be published by Ignatius Press, a conservative American Catholic publisher which had made the avoidance of this ‘third-rail’ issue the key to its intellectual respectability.

11/05/2019 - 11:00

The book of the Position Papers is now available

Long-term readers will remember the series of short 'Position Papers' I published on behalf of the FIUV--Una Voce International--on a variety of subjects about the ancient Mass, both aspects of it which need to be explained to those unfamiliar with it, and ways in which it can assist the Church in evagelisation.

These papers, gathered together and thoroughly revised, are now available as a book from Angelico Press, with a Preface by Cardinal Burke.
I will be organising book launch events in Oxford, London, and Rome.
You can buy them from the Latin Mass Society in England, from Angelico Press in the USA, and from Amazon.
the-case-for-liturgical-restoration cover

The Case for Liturgical Restoration

Una Voce Studies on the Traditional Latin Mass

EDITED BY JOSEPH SHAW

Preface by Raymond Cardinal Burke

432 pages
Paper (ISBN 978-1-62138-440-3): $19.95 / £16.50
Cloth (ISBN 978-1-62138-441-0): $30.00 / £24.00
THE CASE FOR LITURGICAL RESTORATION, which gathers the complete and definitive texts of the widely-admired “position papers” of the International Federation Una Voce, tackles the questions: What is the point of the Extraordinary Form? What is its rationale? What can it contribute to the life of the Church here and now? Taking up one by one the most controversial topics in liturgy today—among them, active participation, the role of the laity, eastward orientation, extensive silence, the use of Latin and Gregorian chant, male-only service of the sanctuary, communion received kneeling and on the tongue, the calendar, the lectionary, veiling, fasting, and the needs of the New Evangelization—the chapters argue that the traditional Roman Rite has its own internal logic, its own way of offering worthy worship to God and of sanctifying souls. It is a way often notably distinct from that of the reformed liturgy, and for this reason much in danger of being misunderstood or missed entirely by the casual critic.
This book therefore stands to benefit everyone. Catholics already attached to the usus antiquior will arrive at a deeper understanding of its merits and a better ability to articulate them. Catholics puzzled by tradition-loving coreligionists and their own predecessors in the Faith will acquire fresh perspective. All will grow in appreciation for the Church’s rich liturgical heritage.
“The importance of the publication of The Case for Liturgical Restoration: Una Voce Studies on the Traditional Latin Mass cannot be exaggerated.”
 — ✠ARCHBISHOP THOMAS E. GULLICKSON
The Case for Liturgical Restoration represents a comprehensive, competent, balanced, and constructive contribution to the field of liturgical science, and above all to liturgical life and practice in the Church of our days.”
 — ✠MOST REV. ATHANASIUS SCHNEIDER
“The Position Papers address frequently advanced reformatory propositions, with the great merit of responding soberly, conservatively, and without polemic.”
 — REV. JOHN BERG, FSSP
“This volume offers the reader the opportunity to judge the strength of the case for a radical change of direction, a ‘reorientation’ as it were, in how the liturgy of the Latin Church is to be understood and presented.”
 — REV. JOHN HUNWICKE
“Detailed and dispassionate, this book examines those features of the traditional liturgy that have been the subject of controversy in recent decades, explaining their origins and their abiding value.”
 — REV. THOMAS CREAN, O.P.
“How propitious to show, in a moment of cultural decadence and ad intra dogmatic bewilderment, the beauty and sacredness of the liturgy in its ancient Latin tradition! To discuss these central topics, as this collection does with precision, is a well-timed enterprise.”
 — REV. SERAFINO M. LANZETTA, STD
“The liturgical devastations of our times make it more and more urgent that the immutable lex credendi of the Church should be restored. This book represents a significant contribution in that direction.”
 — PROF. ROBERTO DE MATTEI, President of the Lepanto Foundation
“The Una Voce position papers are wide-ranging and comprehensive in their discussion of the traditional liturgy and of how God is properly to be worshipped.”
 — PROF. THOMAS PINK, King’s College London
“With brilliant dialectical skill and exceptionally apposite sources, The Case for Liturgical Restoration argues the need for preserving and promoting all of those traditional aspects of Catholic worship that churchmen, in the name of adapting to modernity, jettisoned or downplayed.”
 — PETER A. KWASNIEWSKI, author of Tradition and Sanity: Conversations and Dialogues of a Postconciliar Exile

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07/05/2019 - 21:13

Can we accuse the Pope of heresy?

My latest on LifeSiteNews.
For any Catholic of the last two or three centuries, the idea that one might accuse the Pope of heresy seems almost unthinkable: almost a contradiction in terms. The Holy Father is the guarantor of the Faith, the recipient of the gift of infallibility; union with the Pope is union with the Church.
Nevertheless, it is not quite unthinkable.
When Jesus Christ gave St Peter the Keys, to bind and loose, and the guarantee that the gates of Hell would not prevail over the Church which would be built upon the ‘rock’ of Peter (Matthew 16:18-19), the very next thing he said to him was to call him ‘Satan’ (Matthew 16:23), for trying to divert Christ’s mission in a worldly direction. When the Risen Christ gave St Peter the mission of feeding his sheep, he did so in the context of a thrice-repeated question, ‘Do you love me?’ (John 21:15-17), a question recalling, and undoing, St Peter’s thrice-repeated denial of Christ in the house of the High Priest (John 18:17, 25-27).
We are called to accept this painful paradox, of the Pope’s supreme spiritual authority, and his infallibility in solemn acts of teaching, along with his limitations as a member of the fallen human race. History tells us that popes have been guilty of all kinds of sins, including sins against the Faith. It is unsurprising that popes have tended to be theologically sound, politically astute, and morally upright. But there is no supernatural guarantee that they must be. 
The recently published letter accusing Pope Francis of the crime of heresy makes for uncomfortable reading. Most readers will know that Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (2016) contained passages which were troubling to many orthodox theologians. Many people, including me, thought that those passages could be explained in an orthodox sense. The difficulty with this approach, as time has worn on, is that Pope Francis has given no indication that such orthodox readings are correct. On the contrary, the whole tenor of papal remarks, documents of varying levels of official status, and the guidance given to and conclusions drawn from bishops’ synods in Rome, has tended to undermine those orthodox readings.
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04/05/2019 - 12:26

Don't modernise Notre Dame

My latest on LifeSiteNews

LifeSiteNews has a petition going to oppose the reconstruction of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, badly damaged in a fire, with modern additions. Ominously, President Emmanuel Macron has already opened a competition for architects to propose designs.
Like previous French presidents, Macron may well wish to leave a mark on a great historic building. President Mitterrand spoiled the classical masterpiece of the Louvre Palace, now a museum, with a much derided glass pyramid in the middle of the great courtyard and added insult to injury by obliging visitors to use it as the entrance.
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