Latin Mass Society

Chairman's Blog

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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20/03/2020 - 10:37

EF Communion Rite outside Mass: handy printable pdfs

From Una Voce Scotland
We have prepared PDFs of the formula for administering Holy Communion outside of Mass in the Traditional Rite. It should be noted that Holy Communion in the Old Rite can only be received kneeling and on the tongue. This is still permitted in some of the Scottish Dioceses.
  • Click here to download a PDF including the rubrics for priests (2pp, A4)
  • Click here to download a PDF for servers or communicants (2pp, A4)
  • Click here to download a PDF for servers or communicants, which can be cut to A5 size.
Please make these sheets available to priests with whom you are in contact, or print it out and take it to a priest if you wish to receive Holy Communion in the Traditional Rite.
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18/03/2020 - 10:18

LMS Caversham Pilgrimage cancelled

The Latin Mass Society's annual Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Caversham, at the church of Our Lady and St Anne's outside Reading, due to take place on Saturday 21st, has been cancelled.
This is due to the extra burden of sick visiting falling on the priests of the Fraternity of St Peter in Reading, who were due to celebrate this Mass.
Please remember them in your prayers.
Above all, do not allow the necessary practical measures to distract you from the appropriate spiritual response to public calamities. Persevere in prayer and penance, and unite yourselves with Our Lord in His Passion.
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14/03/2020 - 10:00

Corona virus and Holy Comunion: letters in the Catholic press

Holy Communion at the LMS Oxford Pilgrimage, at the Oxford Blackfriars (Dominican Rite)

This weekend I have had a letter (the same one) published in The Catholic Herald, The Tablet, The Catholic Universe, and The Catholic Times.

I am very grateful to the Editors of our UK Catholic national weeklies for publishing it, and in this way making it possible for the Latin Mass Society to get our vi

ew out to the widest possible public.

As well as publishing our own 'statement' online and through social media, we have written on related matters to all our priest supporters, and to the Bishop Chairman of the Bishops' Conference Committee on Worship (Bishop Alan Hopes of East Anglia), who is our regular liaison with the Conference.

The current situation is a reminder of the utility of an organisation such as the Latin Mass Society which has the recognition and standing, and the resources and contacts, to do something like this when the need arises.

Here it is. (It has been edited slightly in different ways in the different papers; this is the ur-text.)



In light of the news of the continuing Corona virus epidemic and measures responding to that from bishops around the country, I would like to note the following.

At celebrations of the Extraordinary Form (the Traditional Mass) it is not permitted to distribute the Host in the hand. Should the suspension of distribution on the tongue be necessary for the safety of the public, there would be no Communion of the Faithful at celebrations of the Extraordinary Form.

This is not a matter of legalism. The Extraordinary Form places great emphasis to the reverence due to the Blessed Sacrament in all its ceremonies and texts, and reception in the hand in this context would be not just incongruous but a cause of distress to the Faithful. The overwhelming majority of Catholics attached to the ancient Mass would rather make an Act of Spiritual Communion.

There seems, however, to be no objective medical foundation for the claim that reception in the hand is safer than reception on the tongue. The office of Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland, Oregon, notes, following consultation with medical specialists, that in terms of the danger of passing on infection from one Communicant to another by the Minister inadvertently touching them in turn, ‘done properly the reception of Holy Communion on the tongue or in the hand pose a more or less equal risk.’

There is also the danger of each Communicant infecting his own Host from his own hands, which is entirely avoided by the method of receiving on the tongue.

Yours faithfully,

Joseph Shaw
Chairman, Latin Mass Society

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13/03/2020 - 09:57

Corona virus and God's anger

My latest in LifeSiteNews.

Immediately this was published someone in the LifeSite comment box appeared to say I am wrong: God is not punishing us. It's not me who needs to be persuaded, however, but the Holy Ghost who inspired so many texts in both Testaments about divine punishment. 

What we should certainly avoid doing is trying to determine individuals' spiritual state according to the burden of suffering they bear. Perhaps such an extrapolation works in Budhism or Hinduism, but Christians are familiar with the fact that the saints frquently suffered, and sometimes the more God loved them, the more they suffered, and the greater their glory in heaven. But not always: you can't read off an inner state from outward circumstances the other way either.
In relation to an epidemic, we must exercise prudence and take seriously the consequences of what we are doing for the good of our neighbor. Exposing others to a significant and unnecessary risk of infection, for example, is a sin against justice. There is also a risk involved in excessive caution. Closing down all schools and businesses, were that to happen, would have a huge cost. To impose this cost on children and employers without sufficient justification would also be a sin against justice.
Of even greater concern are measures taken or considered that affect the spiritual good of the faithful. In nearly all cases, the response of bishops to the epidemic has been restrictive, public Masses being suspended in Italy being the most extreme, but the suspension of the Kiss of Peace or the Reception of the Chalice, at the less serious end of the scale, are now becoming widespread. All of these measures may, or may not, be justified; I do not have the expertise to judge. But what they have in common is that they are negative and reactive.
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10/03/2020 - 09:48

Sense on COVID 19 from Peru

This is a Google-translate (slightly improved) version of an article from Aciprensa. The medical experts consulted by Archbishop Eguren of Piura, Peru, agree with those consulted by Archbishop Sample of Portland, Oregon.


Based on the advice of world experts in immunology, José Antonio Eguren, Archbishop of Piura (Peru), will allow Communion to be received in the mouth during the COVID-19 Coronavirus epidemic, and called not to close the churches or yield to the "virus of fear."

In a statement published on March 7, Mons. Eguren announced measures to "contribute to this evil not spreading among us."

The Metropolitan Archbishop of Piura said that “Holy Communion can continue to be received in the usual way at the choice of the faithful Christian, that is, either in the mouth or in the hand, since world experts in immunology point out that the risk of contagion, between to give communion in the mouth or in the hand is the same ”.

"Ordinary and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion are asked to avoid the risk of touching the mouth or hands of communicants, and that the faithful be instructed on how to receive Communion properly in each of these cases," he said.

Bishop Eguren also asked “ordinary and extraordinary ministers of holy communion should wash their hands carefully before and after the distribution of it.”

“Washing should include the front and back of the hands and the area between the fingers. For this, it is advisable to use alcohol gel, which should be available in all the sacristies of the churches of Piura and Tumbes, ”he said.

The Peruvian Archbishop also indicated that at the time of giving peace during Mass “instead of shaking hands or giving a hug, another kind of greeting and fraternity gesture can be made, such as a nod, and this give it only to the person we have on each of our sides, avoiding displacements to exchange peace. ”

"The stoups of holy water of the churches should be kept empty," he said, but said that "this does not mean to stop blessing the water that the Faithful customarily bring to Mass for blessing."

Bishop Eguren then encouraged the faithful that "in our daily lives we follow the measures and instructions that are issued by the health authorities, and we invoke to keep calm and trust in God."

The Metropolitan Archbishop of Piura recalled that “churches are places of salvation and healing where we welcome who life itself is: Jesus Christ, our Lord,” and recalled that “throughout history when great plagues struck humanity, churches remained open and the Christians kept helping the sick. ”

Churches, he stressed, “are spaces where faith is strengthened, hope is renewed and grows, and charity is revived. They are also places of fraternal encounter where trust is strengthened and peace is revived.”

“That is why it is important to keep them always open, because along with this world virus, another as dangerous as the 'virus of fear' has emerged, and it is overcome above all in shared prayer, which reaches its maximum expression in the Sacred Liturgy, ”he said.

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