Latin Mass Society

Chairman's Blog

07/04/2020 - 11:52

EF Triduum to be Live-streamed from Warrington

This is great news. Here is part of the Catholic Herald report which used the LMS press release on the subject.


Archbishop Malcolm McMahon asked the priests at St Mary’s Shrine to live-stream their Holy Week ceremonies in order to “enable viewers to draw close to the sacred liturgy at the most important time in the Church’s calendar”.

The archbishop’s request comes after the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales received several appeals to live-stream the Paschal Triduum in the Extraordinary Form. Fr Chris Thomas, General Secretary of the Bishop’s Conference, informed the Latin Mass Society of Archbishop McMahon’s request.

While the FSSP at Warrington have been live-streaming ceremonies for the past three years, this is the first time the bishops have specifically requested and endorsed their doing so.

As churches remain closed due to the coronavirus lockdown, St Mary’s Warrington is also one of the very few places in the country where five clerics are able to perform a Traditional Missa Cantata behind closed doors as they live as one household.

The Masses will be available to watch at


Read the whole report there.

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07/04/2020 - 10:00

Faggioli and liturgical onanism

 Judah and Tamar. You can read abou them and Onan in Genesis 38

My latest on LifeSite. It may be worth noting that Prof Faggioli's tweet which I quote which seems to have beed deleted was only the saltiest of a number of tweets attacking the Bishops of Umbria; others can still be seen, here.

The well-known liberal Catholic theologian Massimo Faggioli declared his irritation with the Bishops of the Italian region of Umbria, who are encouraging their priests to continue to celebrate Mass even while the people are unable to attend. 
In a now-deleted tweet, Faggioli, who is a professor of theology at Villanova University and one of Pope Francis’ staunchest defenders, suggested that Mass without the people was a form of “liturgical onanism”.

When I wrote to the UK-based liberal Catholic weekly The Tablet mentioning, among other things, the practice of Spiritual Communion for times when the reception of Holy Communion is impossible for some reason, this idea (which has since been promoted by Pope Francis and bishops all over the world) was similarly subjected to ridicule. In the next edition (21st March) they published a short letter from a certain Fr David Sillence:
Continue reading.

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06/04/2020 - 16:26

A queue for

A queue for confession in St Bede's, Clapham Park. 

My latest for LifeSiteNews.

During the coronavirus epidemic, many Catholics have been cut off from the Sacrament of Penance (Confession). Confession has been so neglected in recent decades that the amount of controversy this has created is a small sign of hope. 
Also pleasing is the spotlight it has shone on the concept of an ‘act of perfect contrition’.  ‘Perfect contrition’ is simply being sorry for our sins out of our love for God, and not merely for other reasons, such as disgust at sin or fear of its consequences. If a penitent has perfect contrition his sins are forgiven, though he retains an obligation to confess any mortal sins in the usual way. (There is more about this and related issues here.)
Much less reassuring, however, has been the reaction of some bishops, several of whom have placed severe restrictions on the hearing of confession, which seem to go beyond what is required by the civil authorities or prudence. Other bishops have taken a different view. 
03/04/2020 - 14:28

Baptisms when public services can't take place


My latest on LifeSite

Much has been written about the lack of Holy Communion and the Sacrament of Penance (Confession) in the current public health situation, but I’d like to say something about the Sacrament of Baptism. This will only affect a small number of people, but it has a particular interest because in principle, as we are all taught in Catechism, anyone having the use of reason can baptise. You can’t baptise yourself, but if you’ve not been baptised you can get your atheist cell mate to baptise you before you are thrown to the lions or whatever, if he follows the correct procedure.
The response of many priests and others will be that ‘private baptism’, without the full ceremonies, whether carried out by a priest or a lay person (and obviously only a priest can do the full ceremonies, with the anointing, blessings and so on), is only to be contemplated where there is ‘danger of death’.
This is clearly not the full story, however, since Catholics have found themselves in situations of persecution where priests were simply not available, sometimes for decades, like Japanese Catholics in 17th century. Readers may remember the classic film The Magnificent Seven: one of the features of the Mexican village that the seven gunmen go to protect was that the priest only visited them once a year. This was indeed the situation for many remote Mexican communities in that era, and historical parallels are not lacking. In the Catholic Highlands and Islands of Scotland, for example, for much of its history priestly visits were not as frequent, or predictable, as that.

Continue reading over there.

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30/03/2020 - 16:29

LMS Guide to Holy Communion, Confession, and Baptism during the lockdown

St Charles Borromeo ministering to victims of the plague in Milan

The Latin Mass Society has published these short but comprehensive guides to the Sacraments of Holy Communion, Penance, and Baptism, while getting access to priests is restricted or impossible, in light of the Extraordinary Form and the Traditional Practice and Discipline of the Church.



Holy Communion

What is a perfect act of contrition? What value has watching a live-streamed Mass? When would it be justified to baptise infants in the absence of a priest? Is it possible to gain indulgences if one can't go to Communion? What is the ceremony of 'supplying the ceremonies' after an emergency bapism?

Your questions are answered.

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27/03/2020 - 15:42

New Prefaces and new Saints for the EF: Press Release from the FIUV

PDF version here.

Press Release:

CDF Decrees on new Prefaces and Saints for the Extraordinary Form

From the President and Officers of the FIUV

26th March 2020

Yesterday the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), now exercising the functions of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, has issued two decrees, one on Prefaces to be added to the 1962 Missal (Quo Magis), and the other on the possibility of saints, canonised since 1962 to have Masses celebrated in their honour (Cum Sanctissima). (English translation here.)

The Federation was consulted on both issues, and we would like to thank the CDF for taking the views of our members into account in developing these decrees.

The Federation welcomes in particular the possibility of making a liturgical commemoration of saints canonised since 1962, without excessive disruption to the Sanctoral Calendar as it has come down to us. We wish, however, to issue some notes of caution.

On Prefaces, we note that the Note presenting the decree explains that while three of the seven newly permitted Prefaces are of the ‘Neo-Gallican’ tradition (of 18thcentury French origin), the other four are Prefaces used in the Ordinary Form, though not composed from scratch for the reformed Mass: ‘their central section(s), known as the “embolism”, appear in ancient liturgical sources’.

This implies that these ancient Prefaces have been adapted for use in the Ordinary Form, a process which makes them conform less, rather than more, with the spirit of the Extraordinary Form. If the value of these Prefaces lies in their antiquity, it is not clear what is to be gained by their being used in the Extraordinary Form in a redaction designed to make them conform to the themes and preferences of the Ordinary Form.

Further, we would like to appeal to priests celebrating the Extraordinary Form to bear in mind the great antiquity, theological importance, and centrality to the ancient Roman liturgical tradition, of the Preface of Trinity Sunday, and the Common Preface, whose use would become less frequent if the newly optional Prefaces were systematically employed. These two Prefaces have been of such centrality to the celebration of ancient Mass up to this point, that to downgrade them to mere options among others would be to make a fundamental change in the balance of texts and theological ideas which the Missal presents to the Faithful over the course of the year.

On the Saints, we note the list of saints celebrated as 3rd Class feasts, whose celebration remains obligatory. We recognise that in order to make possible the celebration of the new saints room must somehow be made for them, and we endorse the method proposed. We have reservations, however, about the composition of this list.

We note with particular dismay that the only male lay saints on the list are SS Cosmas and Damian: this seems an omission in need of correction, particularly as the excluded category include men central to the development of their countries: St Louis of France, St Stephen of Hungary, St Henry the Emperor of Germany, St Edward the Confessor of England, and St Wenceslas of Bohemia, outstanding examples of the vocation of the laity to ‘to penetrate and perfect the temporal order with the spirit of the Gospel’.


Also completely absent are female founders of religious orders, such as St Angela Merici, St Juliana of Falconieri, and St Jane Francis de Chantal.

Although we are pleased to see two widows on the list—St Monica and St Francis of Rome—it would seem in general that non-clerical vocations, of the active or the religious life, which are richly represented in the ancient sanctoral calendar, have been set aside as of marginal importance.

Another category poorly represented on the list are Doctors of the Church. Some of the highest importance have been excluded: St Isidore, St John Damascene, St Bede, and St Irenaeus.

The imbalance represented by the list of obligatory saints appears to have been inherited from the list of non-optional Memorials found in the sanctoral cycle of the Ordinary Form, which it closely resembles. The lack of interest in the lay vocation and in the Doctors of the Church shown by the reformers of the 1960s should not be allowed to distort the presentation of the Church’s great patrimony of saints in celebrations of the Extraordinary Form today.

In choosing when to avail themselves of the option to celebrate newly ordained saints, we would like to appeal to priests celebrating the Extraordinary Form to consider carefully the balance of the categories of the saints, the importance of maintaining the connection to the distant past represented by the most ancient saints, and the value of the Marian devotional feasts also now rendered optional, such as Our Lady of Lourdes and the Presentation of Mary.

As an indication of feasts which we regard as particularly worthy of continued celebration, we give the following, non-exhaustive, list.

14/01   St Hilary

10/02   St Scholastica

11/02   Apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary (of Lourdes)

17/03   St Patrick

18/03   St Cyril of Jerusalem

27/03   St John Damascene

4/04     St Isidore

27/05   St Bede

3/07     St Irenaeus

15/07   St Henry, Emperor

25/08   St Louis, King

30/08   St Rose of Lima

2/09     St Stephen, King

28/09   St Wenceslas, Duke and Martyr

8/10     St Bridget, Widow

13/10   St Edward, King

24/10   St Rafael the Archangel

15/11   St Albert the Great

21/11   Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

25/11   St Catherine of Alexandria


Second Vatican Council Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity Apostolicam actuositatem 5

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26/03/2020 - 19:13

Joy amid sorrow

Last Gaudete Sunday, Holy Trinity Hethe with Fr Richard Conrad OP

My latest on LifeSite.

Last Sunday, Laetare Sunday, was a feast of joy. Stuck at home, in preparation for watching Mass on a small computer screen I read the commentary on the day from Fr Pius Parsch’s classic The Church’s Year of Faith. 
This Sunday has a unique distinction in the Church year—a day of joy in the season of penance and sorrow! …All the Mass texts ring with joy; the entrance song is a joyous shout, ‘Laetare—rejoice!’
This particular Sunday is a little moment of joy in a season of sorrow. As we approach Easter, there are, in fact, others: the joy of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, remembered on Palm Sunday, and the joy of the Institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper, on Holy Thursday. Earlier, there was the Feast of the Transfiguration. Though not tied to the Easter cycle, but generally falling in Lent, are the great feasts of St Joseph and the Annunciation: not to forget St Patrick. And then, of course, is Easter itself, and the long Easter season.
As Fr Parsch likes to say, the Church is a good psychologist. You can’t have uninterrupted misery throughout Lent. It would wear us out, emotionally and spiritually, and we would become numb to it. The moments of joy, in fact, enable us to face the difficulties, the penance, and the sorrow: to face them and suffer them. Yes, sorrow: sorrow over our own sins, which is sharpened by our compassion for the sufferings of Our Lord, sufferings which He bore for our sins.

Read the whole thing.

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21/03/2020 - 12:52

Mass at a distance: devotional aids

Mass in Chartres Cathedral relayed to Pilgrims outside (2014)

Tomorrow for the first time in my life I am going to sit down to watch the celebration of Mass on my computer screen. I'm not a great one for watching liturgy on screens. The experience of the liturgy cannot easily be reproduced through a screen, and indeed it is important to remember that at the end of the day one is looking at a (moving) picture of Mass, by contrast with one one can see, for example, through a window or a glass door. (I have extensive experience of following the Mass through windows and doors, in the company of small children who need a breath of fresh air.)

Huge screens outside a church for the overflow crowd, as we have at Chartres Cathedral for the Chartres Pilgrimage, are rather different, as you know it is happening right there in the church and the people around you are all taking part in the usual way. But no one would suggest that these are as good as being in the church.

But in one's home? In one's work space? On a little mobile device?

In these strange times we must do the best we can, and if we can't get to church, this is better than nothing. The experience of a live, as opposed to pre-recorded, Mass will give us a more intimate connection with what is happening, and it will be the liturgy of today, the liturgy intended by the Church specially for this moment in the Lenten season.

The Latin Mass Society has collected links to live-streaming Masses being celebrated in England and Wales here.

To get the most out of it we should consider the ideal preparation one might make for Mass: not only prayer, but looking ahead at the texts, and commentaries on the texts. The great liturgical commentaries of Prosper Gueranger, Ildefonso Schuster, and Pius Parsch - especially the last of these - are intended to facilitate the Faithful in liturgical participation precisely through explaining the texts in themselves and in the context of the season and feast. If we can't get the ordinary liturgical experience, nor receive Holy Communion, one can at least do this.

The LMS online shop has a number of books which explain the Traditional Mass, which will be helpful not only to the newcomer but to even long-established EF Mass-goers.

If you don't have a hand Missal, this situation should prompt you to get one. The Latin Mass Society's online shop has a large range of Missals for the Traditional Mass, for children, for Sundays only, and ones with pretty well everything one can find in the Altar Missal, with a facing translation. We even have a Latin-Polish Missal, with an Imprimatur from a certain Bishop Wojtyła: pretty cool, eh?

You will find that even the smaller ones have lots of things in addition to the text of Mass: lots of traditional devotions and prayers, prayers for Confession, and often very useful explanations and commentaries on the Mass. Your hand missal is your spiritual treasure-trove.

Even without a live-stream of Mass, you can pray the prayers of the Mass and meditate on them, using your hand Missal. Peter Kwasniewski discusses it here, and provides downloads to assist you further, with the texts of Mass and prayers for a Spiritual Communion.

Acts of Spiritual Communion are of particular importance at this time. Here is most widely used one, by St Alphonsus of Ligouri.

My Jesus, I believe that thou art present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love thee above all things, and I desire to receive thee in my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive thee sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace thee as if thou wert already there, and unite myself wholly to thee. Never permit me to be separated from thee. Amen.

Also to be considered, particularly if the lockdown continues for a long time, is the reception of Holy Communion outside Mass. A century ago it was the universal practice: Holy Communion was distributed between Masses, and on demand outside Mass, as Confession is often provided today.

Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote a lovely poem about giving a First Holy Communion in this way to a little bugler boy:

Here he knelt then ín regimental red.
Forth Christ from cupboard fetched, how fain I of feet   
        To his youngster take his treat!
Low-latched in leaf-light housel his too huge godhead.

The law of the Church still gives the Faithful the right to receive Holy Communion outside Mass, and the current situation is one in which this right has an application which it would not normally have. While being sensitive to the extra demands being made on many of the clergy dealing with the sick, it is legitimate to ask if this can be arranged, with all necessary precautions. I know one priest who is making slots available for advance booking for Holy Communion. This should become widespread. The ritual to be followed for this in the Extraordinary Form has been made available by Una Voce Scotland in handy downloadable pdf format.

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20/03/2020 - 16:54

Prayer resources for epidemic

This Lent we are experiencing a special time of penance, including the cessation of public liturgies, even those of Easter itself.

At this time we must remember the Church’s patrimony of devotions suitable to such times: prayers expressing our sorrow for sin, and filial confidence in the mercy of God.

With this in mind I have created a printable booklet with the Seven Penitential Psalms in it (free download). Yes you can find these on lots of websites but this booklet has a facing translation, stress marks on the Latin, and 'pointing' to facilitate singing. 

The Psalms (without the translation) and many other such devotions can be found in the Latin Mass Society’s Vademecum Peregrini: a Pilgrims’ Handbook.

The Stations of the Cross: we include the version found in many editions of the Manual of Prayers, the official handbook of devotions and prayers for public use authorised by the Bishops of England and Wales over many decades up to the time of the Second Vatican Council.

Rosary Meditaions: to accompany the Rosary, the Vademecumincludes the meditations on each mystery found in the Manuel of Prayers.

Prayers set to chantincluding the Marian favourite Salve Mater, Misericordiae; the Lenten Sequence, Attende, Domine; the Passiontide chants the Vexilla Regis and the Crux Fidelis; and the perennial prayer of penance, the Parce Domine.

In addition to these, the Vademecum includes chants, prayers, and hymns of Easter joy and thanksgiving, and the prayers of the Mass, including a Spiritual Communion.

Buy the Vademecum here. The LMS online shop may be slower than usual because of the steps we have taken to protect the staff, but we are still fulfilling orders.

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20/03/2020 - 12:00

Taking part in the Prayer of the Church during the epidemic

My latest in the Catholic Herald, below.

This would, incidentally, be a great time to discover the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary: a wonderful way to take part in the Public Prayer of the Church, which can easily be said or sung in Latin, or said in English, with 'offices' (Matins, Vespers etc.) of very managable length, connecting you to the devotions of our Medieval predecessors. 
You can get two different editions of this from the Latin Mass Society online bookshop: this one includes what you need to sing it; this one includes the Office of the Dead.
An alternative would be to take up Compline from the Roman Office: this is quite short, mostly unchanging, and you can get a book dedicated to it from the LMS here.

Public Masses, the Bishops of England and Wales have announced, will cease from tomorrow. It makes perfect sense, given the speed with which coronavirus can spread. It is also a reminder that Mass is about more than Communion, and the public prayer of the Church is more than Mass. Saying the prayers of Mass at home, and making a Spiritual Communion, perhaps in the context of a recorded or live-streamed Mass, is one way of uniting ourselves with the Holy Sacrifice. We also participate in the perfect prayer offered to the Father through the Son by praying the Office (Liturgy of the Hours), including the Little Offices, and the rosary.

Read the whole thing there.

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