Latin Mass Society

Chairman's Blog

25/08/2020 - 09:18

Bishops' onerous obligation

My latest on LifeSite

Bishops are discouraged by all sorts of things from performing their duties with the fidelity and vigor that the nature of their job enjoins. I don’t envy them. It is often said that many priests decline the offer of episcopal promotion, and it is not difficult to see why. But there is a big difference between saying that doing the right thing is very difficult and saying it is impossible. We can be obliged to do what is very difficult. We can’t be obliged to do the impossible: that is, really impossible.

What should bishops be doing? They have an obligation to safeguard the salvation of all the Catholics in their dioceses, so they must act against spiritual dangers to their flock. Thus, they are under an obligation to denounce ideas or individuals who present an urgent threat to their people’s spiritual welfare, and remove people from roles in the diocese, including schools, where they threaten people’s spiritual welfare. 

This kind of thing must be done in an intelligent and strategic way, and there is nothing wrong in itself in a bishop minimizing bad publicity and observing his obligations as an employer and things like that. But it is difficult to avoid the impression that even many bishops who have a reputation for orthodoxy are not doing this intelligently and strategically: they are just not doing it.

Read the whole thing.

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21/08/2020 - 10:00

LMS Virtual Walsingham Pilgrimage 28-30th August


LMS WALSINGHAM VIRTUAL PILGRIMAGE Friday 28th to Sunday 30th August

Our Lady of Walsingham small


Every year for the last 10 years the Latin Mass Society has held an annual Pilgrimage to Walsingham, walking from Ely in Cambridgeshire to Walsingham in Norfolk over three days during the August Bank Holiday weekend. This year, because of the Covid-19 Pandemic, we have decided to continue this tradition but this year it is to be a virtual pilgrimage from Willesden in north London to Walsingham, and we invite you to get involved.

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How will it work?
After the success of our July Digital Conference, we will be bringing pilgrims a daily schedule of Live-streamed Masses, Meditations, Online Rosary and prayer sessions as we travel along our virtual route from Willesden to Walsingham.

We invite you to join the walk in your own locations; Willesden to Walsingham is 118 miles. We need pilgrims to pledge to walk a distance during the Pilgrimage, which can be anything from half a mile to 100 miles! You can do your own pilgrimage in your back garden, in your street or even the local countryside, wherever you are in the world and whatever feels safe and suits you. With as many pilgrims as possible signed up to the virtual pilgrimage, and all praying together, we can add up the total of the miles walked, along with rosaries said and songs sung, as we pray this August to Our Lady of Walsingham.

The three day event will be streamed live on our Facebook page and Youtube channel.

How can l sign up?
To register your interest in the pilgrimage, sign-up from our website and you will receive reminders and updates about the pilgrimage.

How do I participate as a walker?
If you would like to take part as a walker, you need to download the Starva app to your mobile phone. Once in the app, you should join our ‘LMS Walsingham Club’, details of how to do this are on our website.

We would then like to share your experiences during the Pilgrimage online and amongst our other pilgrims. If you are unable to join in with our walk then we hope you will pray for the pilgrims.

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20/08/2020 - 18:20

New webite for the Catholic Medical Association, and their annual Requiem 14th November

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The CMA has a cool new website here: https://catholicmedicalassociation.org.uk/
With sponsorship from the Latin Mass Society, they are holding their annual Requiem in the traditional Domincan Rite at St Dominic's, Haverstock Hill, on Saturday 14th November at 11:30am.
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15/08/2020 - 09:47

It is time to admit that French Catholic Churches are under attack

My latest on LifeSite.

A Rwandan refugee who had been employed as a caretaker has confessed to starting the July fire at Nantes Cathedral, for reasons that remain obscure. The causes of the terrible 2019 fire that severely damaged Notre Dame in Paris may never be known. Fires can start for all kinds of reasons, but there is sadly a pattern of Catholic churches in France being deliberately burned down by people with a hatred for the Church and the Faith. There are, indeed, about 1,000 attacks a year.

The British weekly The Tablet recently reported:

“Something is happening in French society that's long been neglected but is  becoming evident with these fires”, said Stefan Lunte, secretary-general of Justice and Peace Europe. “The country is becoming de-Christianized, and there are people who wish, for whatever reason, to vandalize and destroy Christian symbols ... The long-held strategy of keeping this under wraps simply does not work”.

The Justice and Peace movement is not normally associated with wild claims about culture wars, and as an adviser to the Commission of Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community, Lunte must be familiar with the safe and stodgy institutional mainstream of the Catholic Church in Europe. He is clearly fed up with it.

Read the whole thing.
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31/07/2020 - 10:00

One problem with infallible canonisations

Dr John Lamont made the theological case against the infallible nature of decrees of canonisation on Rorate Caeli a couple of years ago: here's the first post, and here is a follow-up. The other day I stirred up Twitter by repeating some of his arguments and it didn't surprise me at all to see a fair amount of resistence to this idea from traditionally-inclined Catholics.

This follows very naturally from the fact that a lot of old books and old authorities say that canonisations are infallible. What one has to remember is that St Alphonsus and the rest used the term 'infallible' in a far looser way than Vatican I's definition, and when the term is used today it is that definition which tends to uppermost in our minds. Again, the process of determining the sanctity of individuals has been vastly, well, 'speeded up' would be a polite term. Saints generally needed four miracles to be canonised in the past, now they need two. And so on.

But I'm not going into all that again: Dr Lamont lays it all out. No one outside Twitter has ever seriously suggested that the infallibility of canonisations was itself a doctrine of the Church which requires the assent of Catholics. So we can agree to differ, as theologians in fact always have.

I want to point out something else which is of huge importance. The process of canonisation has always required money - the researchers have to be paid - and many of those canonised have well-funded supporters. Having rich chums does not in itself show that a person is not holy - even Christ had some rich friends, after all. But joined to a, ahem, streamlined process, there is a potential problem.

Among those being touted for canonisations there are bound to be celebrity Catholics backed by rich and powerful institutions associated with them which are determined to gain the prestige of having a founder or member canonised, and who fall below the moral standards of sanctity. We have seen how some of these institutions operate. The Legionaires of Christ were able to gain presigious endorsements not for a few years after concerns were raised, but for decades. They paid off some witnesses and denounced others. I think we are fortunate that the monster Macial died after being exposed.

It says something about the capacity of ecclesial institutions to discern who is holy and who is a career criminal that one after another of the founders of successful religious orders and institutions are found, often after their deaths, to have been evil men. The latest is Jean Vanier. A few years ago the suggestion that Vanier was anything other than a saint would have been shouted down by thousands of people genuinely moved and influenced by his work and writings. I don't blame them. Vanier was clever and he was careful. Are we quite sure that no one has been more careful?

At some point one of these individuals is going to be canonised. In fact, I would be very surprised if that hasn't already happened. Who could even read a short account of the life and work of all the people canonised since the system was, er, 'reformed' in 1983? There are thousands of them. But plenty of well-resourced people in the secular media will be happy to make it their business to find some dodgy ones.

One fine day in the next ten years credible allegations will be made against a beatus or canonised saint. Remember, you read it here first. And if we are not careful, the people defending the indefensible will be the conservative and traditional Catholics, the ones who want to defend the whole system and the very concept of heroic virtue and sanctity.

The liberals will just walk away from the shambles. Heck, they don't even believe in supernatural virtue, let alone miracles. 

Those Catholics most queasy about the accelerated canonisation process, the ones most leery about canonising every Pope since Vatican II, the ones least comfortable about the scramble to find people to canonise who tick various ethnic and ideological boxes: these are the people who are going to be left to defend the 'St Jean Vanier' or the 'St Marcial Maciel' to be revealed in the future. As the details gradually emerge, as they tend to do, they will be utterly humiliated, and forever associated with the crimes of the accused.

My friends, you are walking into a trap.

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30/07/2020 - 17:49

Guild of St Clare sponsorship awarded

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A Guild of St Clare Vestment Mending Day before the Coronavirus
This is the second year we have awarded sponsorship to assist a student undertake the Royal School of Needlework Certificate Course. The RSN is planning to restart teaching, with various safeguards, so our sponsored student will be able to start in August.

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The Guild of St Clare and the Latin Mass Society are pleased to announce that an award has been made for their Sponsorship Scheme which assists students in doing the Certificate in Hand Embroidery at the Royal School of Needlework. 

The recipient is a religious who prefers to remain anonymous. We are delighted that the skills offered by the Royal School of Needlework will be joined to a vocation of hidden prayer and service to the Church.

The Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace

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23/07/2020 - 10:00

Communion on the tongue is an ancient practice

My latest on LifeSite.
I was honoured to be included in one of the videos created by LifeSite of people affirming their intention to receive the Holy Eucharist only kneeling and on the tongue. There are many ways of approaching the issue. John Henry Westen has approached it with a piece titled 5 reasons why Catholics should only receive Holy Communion on the tongue; also worth reading on this website is Peter Kwasniewski’s response to the suggestion by Fr Dwight Longenecker that reception on the tongue is somehow indicative of self-righteousness. 
I would like to open up another avenue, a historical one. It is constantly reiterated by the proponents of reception in the hand that this is what the early Christians did. This is often put forward as part of a historical narrative that goes like this. As with many doctrines, the early Church had a very basic and common-sense understanding of the Blessed Sacrament, which was turned into something much more elaborate and extreme by the theology and devotional practices of the Middle Ages, which established the term ‘transubstantiation’ and the practice of Eucharistic reservation and adoration. The Protestants reacted against these extreme ideas with some justification, and Vatican II rowed back from them as well in the interests of getting back to the pure doctrine of the earliest Christians.
While it is true that theological terms became more precise, and devotional practice did develop, it is demonstrably false to suggest that Christian authenticity requires us to repudiate the more developed teaching and practice of the Church. 
Read the whole thing.
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21/07/2020 - 22:45

Liturgy should be beautiful

My latest on LifeSite

What is one to make of the claim, apparently made in all seriousness, by Jesuit David Inczauskis, who rejoices in the Twitter handle @LibTheoJesuit?
Liturgy should not be beautiful.
At the Last Supper, Jesus washed stinky feet.
In the Garden, Jesus sweat blood.
At the cross, Jesus was violently murdered.
Upon rising, Jesus still had open wounds.
No, liturgy should not be beautiful. It should be ugly & scandalous.
I should like to engage with this tweet, which is of course a public statement intended to stimulate reflection and debate, with seriousness and charity. It is, nevertheless, presumably intended to shock. 
I had imagined, naively perhaps, that when we see ugly vestments and church decorations, or hear hideous liturgical music, it was the result of well-intentioned efforts which had failed somehow—or that perhaps others’ tastes just differ from mine. 
Was I wrong? Do some liturgists actually want to make the Mass repugnant, horrible, and off-putting? 

Read the whole thing.

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16/07/2020 - 10:54

LMS Online Conference on Saturday

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A real-world conference organised by the LMS in pre-covid days

An online conference “Catholicism in a Covid-19 World” will be hosted by the Latin Mass Society this Saturday, 18th July, from 12 noon (GMT + 1) until 4.45 pm (GMT + 1) featuring speakers Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Fr Tim Finigan, Fr John Zuhlsdorf, Dr Joseph Shaw, Archbishop Thomas Gullickson and Mgr Gordon Read. The event will be hosted by Dr Shaw and Sebastian Morello and will begin with Live High Mass in the Traditional Rite from St Mary’s Warrington.
Joseph Shaw writes “I am delighted to be taking part in the Latin Mass Society’s first online conference with a wonderful selection of speakers. I hope that many people will be able to join us on the day.”
This event is being held online for free and can be viewed on the Latin Mass Society’s new YouTube channel. To bookmark the LMS YouTube channel go HERE.
The direct link for the Conference is HERE.
No registration is necessary, although to sign up for updates before and during the event, go to HERE.
A recording of the day will remain on our YouTube channel.
Itinerary (Subject to change)
12 noon Introduction from Dr Joseph Shaw, Chairman of the Latin Mass Society and Sebastian Morello, Formation Adviser for the Archdiocese of Southwark.
12.10pm High Mass Live from St Mary’s Warrington. Celebrant Fr Armand de Malleray FSSP
13.25 Archbishop Gullickson, Apostolic Nuncio to Switzerland and Liechtenstein and Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan
13.45 Fr Tim Finigan, Priest of the Archdiocese of Southwark
14.15 Mgr Gordon Read, National Chaplain to the LMS
14.45 Fr John Zuhlsdorf, President of the Tridentine Mass Society of Madison and Blogger: Covid-19 : What are the implications for Tradition?
15.45 Dr Joseph Shaw, Chairman of the LMS: After the Plague
16.15 Live Q & A with Dr Shaw, Fr Tim Finigan and Sebastian Morello
16.45 End
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22/06/2020 - 11:11

Online Latin Course in August and September

I'm delighted to announce that although our annual, residential Latin Course has had to be cancelled for 2020, another option for learning Latin has emerged. I can't take any credit for this, but am happy to advertise it: an online course using Christian Latin run by an experienced teacher of ancient languages, Matthew Spenser.
One reason for optimism about Latin is the continuing enthusiasm of teachers and students, and their continuing willingness to experiment with different approaches to language learning and the delivery of lessons, to reach new people, both beginners and those wishing to improve their Latin.
These won't take over your life: they will be 2 hours of online tuition a week, and homework between sessions is optional.
I am myself planning to do this course: join me and Mr Spencer in the adventure of Christian Latin!
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This year the Latin Mass Society's long-standing annual residential Latin Course has had to be cancelled due to the Coronavirus epidemic. We are delighted therefore to be able to announce a new initiative by an independent language teacher, Matthew Spencer, for the online teaching of Christian Latin over August and September.

Mr Spencer has previously been teaching ancient languages to university students preparing for further studies, and he would now like to apply his skills to teaching Latin. The course’s focus on the distinctive, later period of Latin of writers such as Augustine and Boethius will make this course of particular interest and usefulness to Catholics and all those interested in discovering the rich world of Christian Latin.

He plans to teach very small groups once or twice a week, some aimed at 'Beginners' and others at those with some previous experience of Latin.

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