Latin Mass Society

Chairman's Blog

09/03/2020 - 10:00

Una Voce International Magzine: new edition

Una Voce International, the Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce (FIUV), the federation of lay groups attached to the Traditional Mass, publishes a magazine twice a year. Here is the latest: Gregorius Magnus 9.

Contents include:
-Photographic report of Bishop Schneider in St Petersberg
-Photographic report of the Polish Ars Celebrandi conference
-News from Canada, Nigeria, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and India
-Articles from the magazines of Una Voce France, PMT Germany, and the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales
-Book reviews and more!

It can be downloaded here.
Join the email distribution list here.

See past editions here.

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03/03/2020 - 12:25

LMS Statement on the Coronavirus and Holy Communion


The Bishops of England and Wales have issued ‘Guidelines’ (dated 27th February 2020) on steps to be taken in parishes in relation to the possible spread of COVID-19 (the Coronavirus).
While noting that these guidelines do not take the form of a decree with the force of canon law, we welcome them. We should like to make the following clarifications on their application to celebrations of the Extraordinary Form and other traditional Rites and Usages of the Latin Church, such as the Dominican Rite.
1.  In these celebrations the Sign of Peace is not given among members of the congregation; the Precious Blood is not distributed to the Faithful (from the Chalice); and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are not employed. In these respects these celebrations already adhere to or render unnecessary recommendations given in the Guidelines for a heightened level of hygiene necessary in the case of a more serious outbreak of the virus.
2.  In these celebrations Holy Communion (the Host) may not be distributed in the hand, according to the universal liturgical law applicable to them. Should the spread of COVID-19 necessitate the suspension of the distribution of Holy Communion on the tongue, this would mean the suspension of the distribution of Holy Communion to the Faithful in these celebrations.
The Communion of the Faithful is in no way necessary to the validity or liceity (in such circumstances) of the Mass. Should prudence dictate the necessity for such a step, the Faithful should be encouraged to make a ‘Spiritual Communion’. One form of words for making such a Spiritual Communion is given below.
3.  We wish to observe, however, that the distribution of the Host in the hand does not appear to be less likely to spread infection than the distribution on the tongue. On the contrary, distribution on the hand has the result that the Host touches possibly infected surfaces, the palm of the left hand and the fingers of the right hand of the communicant, which is avoided in distribution by a priest directly onto the communicant’s tongue.

The Guidelines state:
When giving communion in the hand seek to ensure you place the host in the hand of the recipient in such a way that you do not touch their hands.
In the same spirit the distribution of the Host on the tongue should never involve the touching of the communicant’s tongue by the priest.
Instruction and training on the correct manner of distributing Holy Communion on the tongue, to those not used to this manner of distribution, may be useful in this context.
Issued by the Chairman and Officers of the Latin Mass Society, 3rd March 2020

Further information
An Act of Spiritual Communion
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.

The Latin Mass Society
The Latin Mass Society, founded in 1965, is an association of Catholic faithful dedicated to the promotion of the traditional Latin liturgy of the Catholic Church, the teachings and practices integral to it, the musical tradition which serves it, and the Latin language in which it is celebrated.
More information about the Society and its work can be found on its website:
Our Publicist Clare Bowskill can be reached at
A pdf copy of this Statement may be downloaded HERE.
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24/02/2020 - 10:00

New CTS booklet on the Traditional Mass

A new booklet from the Catholic Truth Society is coming out on the Traditional Mass. It is available for pre-order now and will launch on 3rd April. It is the standard pocket-sized CTS production, and priced at £3.50.

It is by me. Here is a little excerpt:


... attending the Extraordinary Form can be understood as the privilege of seeing, from a distance, something of great solemnity and holiness. The things which contribute to the distance between the priest and his doings, and the congregation, are essential to creating the corresponding sense of the sacred. The fact that we can’t see things clearly because the priest has his back to us; the use of Latin; silent prayers; the exclusion of the laity from the sanctuary, except for vested servers: all these things serve to remind us that we are looking in at something very special, from the outside.

The distance here is not a distance of understanding. We can, if we wish, learn all about the ceremonies and prayers; those who learn to serve Mass must do so. We can follow all the texts in a hand missal. Even without doing either of those things, a Catholic attending Mass can, should, and usually does know what is going on, in general terms—it is the Sacrifice of the Mass—and in specific terms—the significance of each part of the Mass.
There is a distance all the same. It is the distance between heaven and earth, between what is holy and set apart, and what is profane, the everyday world: not between the good and the bad, but between the supernatural and the natural. By acknowledging the reality of the distance between heavenly and earthly things, the Extraordinary Form allows us to witness, to experience, heavenly things, and not only to experience them, but to unite ourselves with them. In other words, by representing, symbolically and dramatically, the chasm which separates us mortals from the things of God, the EF makes it possible to bridge that chasm. 
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24/02/2020 - 10:00

Traditional Mass in Campion Hall

On Thursday 20th the first public Traditional Mass was sung in the chapel of Campion Hall, Oxford.

Campion Hall is the Jesuit house of studies, a Permanent Private Hall, in the University of Oxford. The building, including the fine chapel, was designed by Lutyens.

Mass was celebrated by Fr Joseph Hamilon, an American priest doing studies in Oxford and a regular celebrant of the Traditional Mass at the Oxford Oratory.

Fr Joseph Simmons SJ preached.

The Mass was organised by the Newman Society - Oxford's student Catholic society.

The Mass was accompanied with chant and polyphony by a group led by Dominic Bevan. It was a Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit.

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23/02/2020 - 10:00

Requiem for Colin Mawby: photos


Last Saturday Mgr Gordon Read, National Chaplain of the Latin Mass Society, celebrated a High Mass of Requiem for the late composer Colin Mawby, who had been a Patron of the Society.

It took place in St Mary Moorfields in the City of London.

It was accompanied by Cantus Magnus under Matthew Schellhorn, with Officium Defunctorum by Victoria, and two motets by Colin Mawby: Jesu dulcis memoria and Hodie nobis de cœlo. 





Matthew Schellhorn the LMS Director of Music with some of the singers, who had been choristers at Westminster Cathedral.

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22/02/2020 - 16:18

Sunday Masses in Holy Trinity, Hethe


We have had some lovely Sung Traditional Masses in this historic church--the oldest Catholic parish church in Oxford, founded in 1839. And these will continue in 2020!

Quarterly Masses, Sung, at 11am, on the following:

22nd March, Laetare Sunday

31st May, Whitsun
1st Sunday of October: Our Lady of the Rosary, 4th Oct
Gaudete Sunday, 13th Dec
Holy Trinity Church
Hardwick Road
Hethe, Oxfordshire England
OX27 8AW
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21/02/2020 - 19:18

Spring 2020 Mass of Ages available

In this issue: • We feature the Pontifical High Mass at Birmingham Oratory in thanksgiving for the Canonisation of St John Henry Newman • Joseph Shaw finds no evidence to support the idea that traditionally minded Catholics are 'rigid' • Fr Armand de Malleray FSSP reports on the success of the Priory Campaign • Charles A. Coulombe shows how the British Empire helped spread the Faith • Henry Walker is inspired by the number of young people attending the Traditional Mass • Barbara Kay reports on a visit to a new hybrid education venture in Bedfordshire • Jeremy Boot introduces a Muslim colleague to the beauties of the Traditional Mass.

Copies are mailed to members and available in many churches around the country for free: or get one here.

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15/02/2020 - 10:00

The liturgical reform and 'the missions'

A key part of the argument for the liturgical reform was that it was needed for 'the missions'. What was never explained was why a reform which responded to objections from Enlightenment thinkers to the liturgical tradition was appropriate for cultures to which such objections were completely alien, and indeed incomprehensible. The Emperor Joseph II, Voltaire, and the like complained about excessive ritual, supposedly superstitious veneration of holy places, images, and objects, the obscurantist use of sacred languages, silence, and so on and so forth. What on earth have these concerns to do with traditional societies? Unless, perhaps, one imagines that they are Rousseauist 'noble savages', like the lovers of 'noble simplicity' imaginatively projected in the Early Church by liturgists.
Daniel Dolley put paid to such fantasies about the native peoples of South America in his excellent article in the Catholic Herald which I commented on here, and this weekend Dr Pia Joliffe has had a letter published in the same place about the traditional culture she studied in Thailand, the Karen.

SIR – It was with great joy and interest that I read Daniel Dolley’s article on “how to evangelise the Amazon” (Cover story, January 24).

Dr Dolley’s point that the Amazon communities are more traditional in their approach to gender roles, religion and ritual action than those who advocate on their behalf is also valid for the Karen communities in northern Thailand, where I did my own ethnographic fieldwork for my DPhil in International Development.

I lived for a total of 12 months in a Catholic Karen village in Chiang Mai province. An elderly French missionary priest was responsible for the village church and the community appreciated his liturgical correctness. There were daily Masses and morning prayer and weekly rosaries and Stations of the Cross during Lent. The women in the village formed a Legio Mariae group and most households had holy water at home.

The village elders started to become Catholics in the 1950s and spiritual protection was – just like for the Amazon people – a major reason for conversion.

During my stay, villagers told me several times that they preferred priests who wore proper vestments, including an alb, to those who just use a stole for celebrating Mass. A good liturgy and the correct vestments gave the religious service the dignity that the Karen expected from sacred rites. Indeed, like the Amazon people Dr Dolley wrote about, the Karen people in Thailand did not find it difficult to engage with the traditional rituals of the Church.

Perceiving this parallel between the Amazon people and the Karen of northern Thailand highlights to me the global dimension of the issue at stake, ie how the Church can best serve indigenous peoples around the world.

Pia Jolliffe Cumnor, Oxfoorddshire
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14/02/2020 - 14:33

The usefulness of Latin

Mass during the LMS Priest-training Conference in Prior Park.

Letter published this weekend in The Catholic Herald.

On Richard Ingrams’ reminiscences of his classical education (‘The Perils of Latin’, Charterhouse, 7th Feb), it is indeed astonishing how much time many of our predecessors spent on Latin and Greek. It didn’t seem to do them much harm: this was, after all, the generation which invented the computer, space travel, and the nuclear bomb.

Cobbett’s rejection of learning ‘what can never be of any real use to any human being’ (quoted by Ingrams) is corrosive of a humane education. Even in the sciences, the vast majority of what children learn, once they get beyond the kindergarten level, is not going to be of direct use to them in adult life.

For a few, it lays the foundations for later specialisation. For the great majority, it serves as a pedagogical task which trains memory and reasoning, and gives an intellectual formation in the fundamental concepts and world-view of their culture. Latin and Greek are ideally suited to both roles.

Ingrams wonders if the Prime Minister Harold MacMillan was well-prepared by his classical education to deal with the Profumo Affair. MacMillan’s exposure to the intense interest among classical authors in the way lust can disrupt society would certainly seem more more relevant to that particular challenge than knowledge differential equations or the formation of the Himalayas.

In Boris Johnson we seem to have a Prime Minister not only educated in the Classics, but actually living them: displaying a combination of high principle, opportunism, and a complicated loved-life which could have taught Pericles and Julius Caesar a thing or two.

Sadly, this Classical education was shaped by the Enlightenment to connect modernity to the ancient world while bypassing Christianity and the ages of Faith. Boris would have benefitted from  the psychological insights of St Augustine, the subtle vision of St Thomas Aquinas, and the beauty and insistent faith of the Latin liturgical tradition.

Catholic schools and parents must do their best to ensure that our own children do not miss out on these key components of our religious culture.

Yours Faithfully,

Joseph Shaw

Chairman, The Latin Mass Society

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11/02/2020 - 13:01

Reply to Prof Healy in Homiletic and Pastoral Review

Low Mass in the Slipper Chapel at Walsingham, England

Professor Mary Healy, a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, recently wrote a piece for the Homiletic and Pastoral Review on the 50th Anniversary of the Novus Ordo Missae: the 'Ordinary Form'. She wrote:

It has become common to blame today’s lack of Eucharistic faith and fervor on the revised rite. Critics rightly point to certain weaknesses such as collects that are less expressive of God’s majesty, and the omission of important biblical texts from the lectionary. Another unfortunate change is the elimination of the Octave of Pentecost, giving the impression of downgrading the great solemnity that culminates the Easter season. The primary problem, however, is not the reformed rite itself but its flawed implementation, due to poor — and, in some cases, catastrophically defective — theological and spiritual preparation among clergy and laity alike. Too often, the liturgical changes were accompanied by a downplaying of the notion of sacredness. A casual attitude toward the liturgy was fostered, and beautiful churches were “wreckovated.” Lukewarm liturgy has, tragically, obscured the authentic renewal called for by the Council itself.

I found this very encouraging, in the sense that it represents a big advance on the anti-Old Mass polemic one might have expected in a mainstream organ like the Homiletic and Pastoral Review. Official and establishment publications would until recently have thought unstinting praise for the reform would be compulsory, with just a nod towards the problem of liturgical abuses. Prof Healy agrees that criticisms of core aspects of the reform such as the collects are actually justified, and though this is not made explicit, the implication is that she also accepts that the liturgical reform has played a role in 'today's lack of Eucharistic faith and fervor', even if the 'primary' driver is the issue of implementation and abuses.

It is admittedly difficult to quantify the effect of different factors, but it seems to me that this is a defensible claim: that the abuses/ 'implementation' issues of ad-libbing, invalid matter, female altar servers, communion in the hand, the complete elimination of Latin and traditional sacred music, terrible English translations, and the wrecking of churches to make 'versus populum' celebration possible, had at least slightly more negative effect on the eucharistic faith of the people than the changes to the collects, lectionary, signs of reverence, and the loss of so many beautiful and expressive ceremonies.

Even if we disagree, this is a pretty interesting discussion to be having 50 years after Pope Paul VI promulgated the reformed missal. We have truly come a long way.

Healy goes on, nevertheless, to assert the superiority of the Ordinary Form in a number of respects, and I have responded to her points in a piece now also published in the Homelitic and Pastoral Review. I am delighted that they given house-room to a debate such as this, and I hope readers find it interesting.

You can read my article here.

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