Latin Mass Society

Chairman's Blog

05/02/2019 - 15:46

Children at Mass: against Fr Michael White

An infant receiving the Blessing of Throats on the Feast of St Blase, during the
Guild of St Clare Sewing Retreat, at Boars Hill, Oxford.

I've written a fair amount on this topic on this blog; here is a piece I've done for LifeSiteNews.

It begins:

In a blog post on January 26, Fr. Michael White got himself into hot water by criticizing parents who bring their young children to Mass. 
In an article titled “Why we don’t encourage (little) kids in Church” he wrote: “There is something in Catholic Church culture that insists kids belong in the sanctuary [church?] for Mass. I must say I don’t totally understand it, but it is definitely a Catholic thing. Part of the thinking is that sheer exposure to the service imbues them with grace and other good things in some kind of effortless and mindless sort of way. But if they can’t understand the readings and they cannot take Communion, it is unclear what they are ‘receiving’ Sacramentally.”
Fr. White, who is pastor of Church of the Nativity in Timonium, Maryland, even quotes Scripture to back himself up: “Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly, which consisted of men, women and those children old enough to understand” (Nehemiah 8:3).
I was puzzled by this quotation because it appears to contradict another with which Fr. White should be familiar, as it is quoted with approval by Christ (and in relation to children taking part in what amounts to a liturgical event: Christ’s entry into Jerusalem): “Out of the mouth of infants and of sucklings thou hast perfected praise” (Psalm 8.3: see Matthew 21.15-16).
Even more directly comparable is Joel 2.15-7:
Blow the trumpet in Sion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly. Gather together the people, sanctify the church, assemble the ancients, gather together the little ones, and them that suck at the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth from his bed, and the bride out of her bridal chamber.
“Those who suck at the breasts” are invited to the Prophet Joel’s penitential liturgy. Are they really excluded from the High Priest Ezra’s solemn reading of the Law?
The puzzle over these conflicting passages evaporates, however, when one notices that the word “children” does not actually appear in the text of Nehemiah. The Latin says simply “in conspectu virorum et mulierum et sapientium”: “in the sight of men and of women and of the wise”. Looking at the Bible Hub where multiple translations can be seen side by side, it is clear that Fr. White went to a lot of trouble to find one which mentions children. It is possible that “men and women” refers to Jews, and the extra clause refers to sympathetic non-Jews. In any case, if the meaning is unclear, we must refer back to precedents, for Nehemiah is re-enacting the solemn reading of the Law found in Deuteronomy 31.12:
And the people being all assembled together, both men and women, children and strangers, that are within thy gates.
(See also Joshua 8.35 and 2 Kings 23.1-2.) It is hardly plausible to claim that Nehemiah wanted to exclude those explicitly included by Moses.
Read it all there.

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03/02/2019 - 11:12

Dialogos Institute colloquium 2019: Integralism


The Second Vatican Council spoke of the “traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ”. Over the course of the last seventeen hundred years this his duty has been realised in many different ways. In recent years the concept of Integralism has inspired renewed interest and controversy. This summer eight scholars from around the world will gather in Norcia to consider the vision and the reality of a broad cross section of integrally Christian societies.

SPEAKERS include Prof Tom Pink, Fr Thomas Crean, Dr Alan Fimister and Fr Edmund Waldstein.

Full details here.
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02/02/2019 - 15:54

Covington: don't blame social media

My latest on LifeSiteNews.

People looking at social media over the first 48 hours of the story were presented with a wall of vituperation directed at the Covington boys, and this very naturally influenced their response. However, social media also speeded up the dissemination of a fuller set of evidence. In the old days of newspapers, steam-trains, and telegraphs, there was still a gap between initial, slanted reports of events, and later, fuller information, and still the urge among commentators to make statements before the fuller information became available: if it ever did.

Read the whole thing there.

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01/02/2019 - 11:10

St Albert the Great Summer School at Norcia 2019 on the Gospel of John

June 16th – 28th In Norcia, Italy

Full details here.

The St. Albert the Great Center for Scholastic Studies will hold its 8th annual summer theology session in Norcia, Italy, in partnership with the Monastero San Benedetto in monte. This summer’s program will be focused on a close reading of the first eight chapters of the Gospel of John, supported by the commentary of St. Thomas Aquinas on this Gospel.
The St. Albert the Great Center is dedicated to the revival of higher studies in theology undertaken according to the mind and method of the great scholastics, and in particular the work of St. Thomas Aquinas.
The tutors guiding the 2019 program include: Rev. Dr. Thomas Crean, O.P. of the Dominican priory in Leicester, England; Rev. Dr. Yosyp Veresh, a Byzantine Catholic priest of the Greek-Catholic Eparchy of Mukachevo (Ukraine); Dr. Alan Fimister, who is Assistant Professor of Theology and Church History at St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver.
Besides the daily seminars and lectures offered by the tutors, there will be a guest lecture by one of the monks of the Monastero di San Benedetto. The two-week program reaches its climax in an authentic scholastic disputation, moderated by one of the tutors.
In addition to the academic program, there is the opportunity to participate in the daily life of worship of the Benedictine monks who live and pray at the birthplace of Ss. Benedict & Scholastica, including Mass and the prayers of the Divine Office.
There will be an optional excursion planned. The destination is still to be confirmed, but will likely be as in the past either Assisi or Orvieto, where Thomas lived for a time. Participants are encouraged to plan for extra time before or after the program in order to explore Rome.
Full details here.
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29/01/2019 - 09:44

John Houghton Schola launched at Maiden Lane

Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane, in London, following recent restoration.

The Latin Mass Society's new London Chant Schola, the Schola Cantorum Ioannis Hougton, has now had its first rehearsal and accompanied its first Mass.


The Masses at 6:30pm on Mondays at Corpus Christi Maiden Lane present a problem from the musical point of view because London-based singers find it difficult to get there in time for an extended rehearsal before Mass starts, after their work day. So the Houghton Schola rehearses on the previous Friday evening, in the Latin Mass Society's Office. I attended the first of these myself, as did the Schola's Chaplain, the usual celebrant at the Maiden Lane Masses, Fr Gabriel Diaz Patri.

The Schola's eight members turned out to have every level of experience--from 'lots' to 'none'--and it will be very interesting to see them develop as a group. The first Mass went extremely well, thanks to the seriousness of the singers and the preparation and leadership of Matthew Schellhorn, its director and the Latin Mass Society's Director of Music for London.

The Schola's next dates in Maiden Lane are (Mondays)

18th Feb; 11th March; 15th April; 13th May; 10th June.

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23/01/2019 - 15:01

Cafeteria Catholics won't save the Church

My latest on LifeSiteNews

It is often said in the context of the clerical abuse crisis that the laity must act, or be given responsibility. It is natural enough, in reaction to a problem arising with one part of the Church, to hope for salvation from another, and there are some wonderful historical examples of lay action to deal with clerical failures. 
My personal favorite is the action of the laity between 1268 and 1271, during the time of the longest conclave (Papal election) in the Church’s history, which took place in the town of Viterbo. Becoming impatient with the Cardinals’ inability to agree on a new Pope, the town authorities locked them into their meeting room, and proceeded to remove the roof and restrict their diet to bread and water. Something similar had already happened in the conclave of 1241.
Such rough handling of Princes of the Church must be seen in the context of the cheerful physicality of the Middle Ages, but the general principle is simply that the laity have, if they stop to think about it, all kinds of ways of making their needs and desires forcefully known to their pastors.
There have been various actions by the American laity in recent months to protest against past crimes and present foot-dragging, but vigorous action by the laity is impeded by a number of factors.

Continue reading on LifeSite.

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21/01/2019 - 15:40

Prof Tom Pink this Friday: talk in London

Friday 25th, 7pm

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

Click for a map.

Prof Tom Pink: The Church and the World

The first of a series of talks, which will focus on topics connected with the everyday life of traditionally-minded Catholics: the domestic church, homeschooling, traditional catechesis, moral instruction, culture (high, common, and religious), religious history etc., takes place in the basement of Our Lady of the Assumption & St Gregory, Warwick Street, London on Friday 25th January at 7pm. The speaker will be Prof. Tom Pink on The Church and the World’

The purpose of the talks is not only to inform but to help traditionally-minded Catholics from across London and beyond to meet, discuss matters of mutual concern, and form a greater sense of community.

Facebook event

Info on the LMS website

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20/01/2019 - 10:00

Can we believe the bishops?

My latest on LifeSiteNews.

A taster.

Catholics today find themselves in an institutional Church whose keynote appears to be moral cowardice. Those failing to display its telltale symptoms are weeded out of seminaries or, as priests, are dumped in marginal parishes. Only those willing to play the game are encouraged and promoted.
At first, all that is asked of them is to turn a blind eye to problems that they have no power to address: indeed, they know well that to make a fuss does no good to the victims, only harm to oneself. But as time goes on, more is asked of them. Playing the game means brushing off victims and their families. It means covering up. It means lying. It means facilitating abuse. It means, even for those who don’t themselves abuse, getting into the swamp right up to the neck.

Read it all there.

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19/01/2019 - 15:51

CDF absorbs PCED

Archbishop Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, with members
of the Una Voce Federation (FIUV) in 2013.

Today a decree has been promulgated dissolving the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, which has responsibility for issues concerning the Traditional Mass and the reconciliation of groups using that Mass who have been operating outside the structures of the Church, and givings its functions and powers to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Up until now, for a good few years the Prefect of the Congregation for the Faith has been ex officio the President of the Pontifical Commission, which has had its own Secretary (Archbishop Pozzo) and small staff, with offices in the CDF's building. When I write to the PCED (not a daily occurrence), I usually address the letter to the Prefect/President, knowing it would be passed on to appropriate person.

This looks like a bit of house-keeping, a tidying-up, rather than anything with implications for policy or official attitudes towards the Traditional Mass. I was surprised to read that the PCED up until now has had its own budget: well, it won't in the future, the staff will be paid by the CDF.

If there is a change of staff that may, in itself, be significant, but we don't know about that yet.

I have always been sceptical of the view that Pope Francis is planning to crack down on the Traditional Mass. Rumours about the planning for this decree may well have been the source for some of the chatter about that. Now we see the decree, I am confirmed in my opinion. I may live to eat my words: who knows? But if I were asked which department of the Roman Curia in the medium and long term I would most like to see exercise the functions of the PCED, I would not hesitate to nominate the CDF. And if they exercise those functions with the existing staff of the PCED, it is reasonable to assume that normal service will continue.

It is interesting to see the emphasis in reports on discussions with the SSPX. These makes the choice of the CDF the obvious one: they were the reason the PCED was bundled in with the CDF in the first place. And the more straightforward liturgical issues the PCED has been handling can't conveniently be handled by a completely separate department from the department handling the talks.

Here are some links to other discussions:

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14/01/2019 - 17:36

Anti-semitism, again

Further to the comments on my post on Taki's column in the Christmas edition of the Catholic Herald, I had the following comment which I think is worthy of its own post. The author has a unique perspective, being Jewish and moving in traditional Catholic circles for a number of years while in the UK in the 1990s.

His point about 'dinner party anti-semitism' reminds me of stories of casual racism focused on Africans which one hears featuring impeccably liberal Catholic churchmen.

Writing as one who would be considered an 'ultra-orthodox' Jew, I find the entire charge to be without merit. I was close with quite a few LMS folks while at University and have maintained contact with many since then. With one foolish exception, I did not encounter even the slightest hint of antisemitism. Perhaps I am simply able to understand that disagreement does not equal condemnation or hatred; I don't know. As per the Chairman's implication above, the exception I mention had spent his formative years in France. In fact, I have encountered far more 'dinner party' antisemitism from the more post-conciliar crew. Are there *some* Traditionalist Catholics who are antisemites? I dunno. Probably somewhere. But I would find it difficult to believe that it had anything to do with them being a Traditionalist Catholic, which itself is more of a barrier to antisemitism than modernity is. 

Re. the NY Times. Most of its Jewish readership is secular-liberal or Modern Orthodox. Neither of whom will, generally, shed tears over haredi-slamming articles. Even my fellow haredim would not, generally, consider the stories to be an attack. My suspicion is that the NY Times is simply losing out to the NY Post on these stories. Additionally, these are different times: when the big wave of abuse stories came out of the Church, print media was still the norm. If a newspaper did not cover all the news fit for print, then it was an impediment of sorts to its readership. Most of the orthodox abuse stories (still, thankfully, very few in number) emerged when online news is the norm. One will not cancel a newspaper subscription if they miss one-or-two stories that can be accessed easily elsewhere.
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