Latin Mass Society

Chairman's Blog

20/07/2019 - 10:00

Why do people lapse? More from Stephen Bullivant

My latest on LifeSiteNews. This post focuses on a shorter book of Prof Bullivant, which has also come out this year. One of the interesting and perhaps counter-intuitive results of the survey of lapsed Catholics he carried out for Portsmouth Diocese is that the lapsed are not all what you might call liberal ex-Catholics: they include a fair number of conservative or even traditionalist ex-Catholics. I think it might be tempting to think of the more conservative type of Catholic as the core vote who are least likely to leave, people with a higher level of committment. The truth is more complicated. People who want traditional liturgy, beautiful churches, and clear teaching, can lose heart and lapse. Indeed, 10% of respondents even agreed (or 'strongly agreed') with the statement 'I prefer the Latin Mass but there is none in my area.'

You know how many lapsed Catholics there are? The massive and authoritative British Social Attitudes Survey indicates that there are 3.7 million in the UK. If anything like 10% of these, plus who knows what percentage of practicing Catholics, prefer the Latin Mass, even when most Catholics under 70 do not even know what it is like, then our bishops are clearly missing a trick in not making sure it is available.

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Alongside his book Mass Exodus, which I discussed in another post, the British sociologist Professor Stephen Bullivant, with some co-authors, has published a shorter book titled Why Catholics Leave, What They Miss, and How They Might Return.This gives a summary of the results of a survey Prof Bullivant undertook for the diocese of Portsmouth in England, which appealed to people who had been baptized Catholic, but no longer attended Mass regularly. The survey was to help explain why people left. The results, from 256 respondents with some connection with Portsmouth diocese, are pretty interesting, if not always surprising.
One thing which emerges from the survey is how difficult it is to maintain the Faith today. The assumptions of the modern world, about sex before marriage and contraception, about homosexuality, about gender roles, and so on, are deeply unfriendly to Catholic teaching and practice: only deep commitment will withstand the constant attrition of the secular media, friends, college professors, government policies, and so on.
This is no secret, of course: so how has the Church responded? Many in senior positions are convinced that to teach sound doctrine, from the pulpit or in catechism class, would drive people away. They reason that it is easier for Catholics influenced by modern attitudes to sex and gender, for example, to keep coming to church if they are not confronted by the Church’s hard teachings. This approach was first applied to the condemnation of contraception by Pope Paul VI in his 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae; it is sometimes called the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. It seems to apply to great swathes of doctrine today. 

Carry on reading.

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19/07/2019 - 10:37

Prof Bullivant on What Went Wrong after Vatican II

I'm going to be writing more about Prof Bullivant's new book, Mass Exodus, which examines the catastrophic decline of Catholic affiliation and practice since the Second Vatican Council, from a sociological point of view.

Here is a piece I have written for LifeSiteNews.

In a newly published book, Mass Exodus: Catholic Disaffiliation in Britain and America Since Vatican II, Professor Stephen Bullivant has explored in detail what went wrong with the Church after the Second Vatican Council, from the point of view of the sociology of religion. The sociological, as opposed to the supernatural, perspective has its limitations, but we should hear what it has to say.
I want to explore just one aspect of Bullivant’s argument (I heartily recommend the book for those interested in more). He introduces readers to the well-established theory of the “social network effect” in sustaining a world view. Simply put, if all your neighbors are Catholics, it is easier to remain a Catholic yourself. If you meet fellow worshipers from your parish in your workplace, in local shops, and in your leisure pursuits, if you read Catholic news sources, and if you are surrounded by Catholic devotional statues and holy pictures, the Catholic worldview will begin to seem not just one option among many, but the obvious way to look at things. Doubts can be answered or ignored. Going to church is just what everyone does. Examples of personal holiness and self-sacrifice for the Faith are easy to witness and to give.

Carry on reading.

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15/07/2019 - 17:21

LMS Latin Course: book now

For details and booking see the LMS website here.

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Dates: 29th July to 2nd August 2019

The Latin Mass Society’s Residential Latin Course for adults is an intensive course, taught by two experienced tutors, focusing on the Latin of the liturgy.

It is ideal for priests and seminarians wishing to improve their Latin, and all clerics and seminarians (and those about to enter seminary) enjoy a 50% discount on the course fees, which are extremely low anyway.

They are joined by lay men and women who wish to engage more closely with the ancient Latin liturgy, or do studies involving Latin.

Venue: The Latin Course will take place in the Carmelite Retreat Centre at Boars Hill outside Oxford.
Duration and price: it will be Monday to Friday.
Tutors: Fr Hunwicke, of the Ordinariate, and Jean van der Stegen, both of whom taught the course last year.
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Mass celebrated by Fr John Hunwicke at Boars Hill for the Guild of St Clare sewing retreat

For details and booking see the LMS website here.
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08/07/2019 - 16:26

The Dominican Rite in Cambridge

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On Sunday, a First Holy Communion took me to Cambridge Blackfriars, a place I have not visited before. The Dominican priory churches in Oxford, London, and Leicester, where I have attended Mass, are large and impressive neo-gothic buildings; for various reasons the Cambridge Blackfriars is very modest. The chapel was, I am told, originally intended as a lecture-room, but plans for a chapel elsewhere were shelved for various reasons.

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Nonetheless, the chapel was packed, and a beautiful Mass was celebrated by Fr Aidan Nichols OP, and accompanied by a five-strong local schola. This Mass, at 9:15am, takes place every Sunday, either Sung or Low.

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06/07/2019 - 12:30

Friars ordained by Bishop Egan: photos

Last night Bishop Philip Egan ordained four members of the Franciscan community based in Gosport, in his cathedral in Portsmouth: St John's. I was there.

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The community at Gosport is called the Family of Mary Immaculate and St Francis. This is an institute of diocesan right established by Bishop Egan, and the superior is Fr Serafino Lanzetta. At their parish in Gosport, which comprises St Mary's and St Columba's churches, they celebrate both Forms of the Roman Rite. The ordinations took place in the older Rite. The new priests are Fr Philomeno and Fr Rosario, who will be familiar to readers who have attended the LMS Walsingham Pilgrimage, and Fr Faustino and Fr Michele.

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22/06/2019 - 12:12

Is this a persecution of the Old Mass?

My latest on LifeSiteNews.

I have been reflecting on Henry Sire’s article about the recent decision by the Grand Master of the Order of Malta to ban the celebration of the Traditional Mass in the Order. He seeks to debunk the idea that the former Grand Master, Fra’ Matthew Festing, who likes the Traditional Mass, was seeking to impose this Mass onto everyone in the Order, and was simultaneously trying to create (along with Cardinal Burke, the Order’s Cardinal Patron), a center of opposition to Pope Francis and all he stands for.
This narrative is set out with great enthusiasm, but absolutely no evidence, by Christopher Lamb of the UK’s liberal Catholic weekly The Tablet, and by Austin Ivereigh, the English biographer of Pope Francis, among others. Sire points out (to simplify) that Festing believed that Pope Francis had ordered him to deal with the problem of his subordinate, Albrecht von Boeselager, distributing condoms as part of the Order’s charitable works. Festing was forced out (according to Sire) by an alliance between Boeselager and Cardinal Parolin, the powerful Secretary of State, who had a common interest in stopping the Order of Malta disputing the way a large sum of money, supposedly left to the Order, was being distributed.

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22/06/2019 - 11:12

Successful book launch

Thanks to everyone who joined us at the launch for The Case for Liturgical Restoration in the St Wilfrid Hall at the London Oratory.

We were joined by Felipe Suarez, President of the Una Voce Federation (FIUV). It is him on the left in the top picture.


Buy the book here (in the UK), or from Amazon; here is the publisher's page.

Endorsements:

“The importance of the publication of The Case for Liturgical Restoration: Una Voce Studies on the Traditional Latin Mass cannot be exaggerated.”
— +ARCHBISHOP THOMAS E. GULLICKSON
The Case for Liturgical Restoration represents a comprehensive, competent, balanced, and constructive contribution to the field of liturgical science, and above all to liturgical life and practice in the Church of our days.”
— +MOST REV. ATHANASIUS SCHNEIDER
“The Position Papers address frequently advanced reformatory propositions, with the great merit of responding soberly, conservatively, and without polemic.”
— REV. JOHN BERG, FSSP
“This volume offers the reader the opportunity to judge the strength of the case for a radical change of direction, a ‘reorientation’ as it were, in how the liturgy of the Latin Church is to be understood and presented.”
— REV. JOHN HUNWICKE
“Detailed and dispassionate, this book examines those features of the traditional liturgy that have been the subject of controversy in recent decades, explaining their origins and their abiding value.”
— REV. THOMAS CREAN, O.P.
“How propitious to show, in a moment of cultural decadence and ad intra dogmatic bewilderment, the beauty and sacredness of the liturgy in its ancient Latin tradition! To discuss these central topics, as this collection does with precision, is a well-timed enterprise.”
— REV. SERAFINO M. LANZETTA, STD
“The liturgical devastations of our times make it more and more urgent that the immutable lex credendi of the Church should be restored. This book represents a significant contribution in that direction.”
— PROF. ROBERTO DE MATTEI, President of the Lepanto Foundation
“The Una Voce position papers are wide-ranging and comprehensive in their discussion of the traditional liturgy and of how God is properly to be worshipped.”
— PROF. THOMAS PINK, King’s College London
“With brilliant dialectical skill and exceptionally apposite sources, The Case for Liturgical Restoration argues the need for preserving and promoting all of those traditional aspects of Catholic worship that churchmen, in the name of adapting to modernity, jettisoned or downplayed.”
— PETER A. KWASNIEWSKI, author of Tradition and Sanity: Conversations and Dialogues of a Postconciliar Exile

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21/06/2019 - 10:46

The Order of Malta: article in the Catholic Herald


I'm on the front cover of the Catholic Herald this weekend. My article begins:

Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre, the Grand Master of the Order of Malta, has informed members that henceforth all Masses celebrated in the context of Order events must be celebrated according to the Ordinary Form: that is to say, there must be no more Traditional Latin (Extraordinary Form) Masses.

This will come as a heavy blow to many of those associated with the Order in England and Wales, where it has long had celebrations in both Forms. It is one more example of an ongoing problem, however: that even as the Church’s ancient liturgy becomes more and more a normal part of Catholic life around the world, some religious orders have found it difficult to handle.

17/06/2019 - 14:08

Statement of the FIUV on the Order of Malta

I neglected to post this on my blog until now. Edward Pentin also has an article about the issue here.


Rome, June 13, 2019

The FIUV notes with regret the letter, dated 10th June, from Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre, Grand Master of the Sovereign Military and Hospitaler Order of St John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes, and of Malta (the ‘Order of Malta’), forbidding the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass (the Extraordinary Form) in the context of the Order’s liturgical life.

Since this letter has become public, we would like to observe that it does not accurately present the provisions of Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Letter, given motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum. Article 3, cited in the Grand Master’s letter, explicitly allows religious communities to have not only private but conventual celebrations of Mass in the Extraordinary Form, without reference to the Major Superior (in the case of the Order of Malta, the Grand Master or the Prelate). His permission is required only in cases where the community ‘wishes to have such celebrations frequently, habitually or permanently’.

The Grand Master’s letter also neglects the right of the faithful, from which the religious and lay members of the Order of Malta are not excluded, from requesting celebrations of Mass in the Extraordinary Form (Article 4). Celebrations in the context of special occasions such as pilgrimages are explicitly anticipated (Article 5 §3). Pastors and rectors of churches are directed to accede to such requests (Article 5, §1 and §5).

The Federation would like to emphasise that the Extraordinary Form is a part of the liturgical patrimony of the Church which represents ‘riches’ for the Church, which should not be neglected or excluded, and certainly not on the basis of a narrow conception of unity which excludes the variety of liturgical expressions permitted in the Church. As Pope Benedict expressed it:

‘These two expressions of the Church’s lex orandi will in no way lead to a division in the Church’s lex credendi(rule of faith); for they are two usages of the one Roman rite.’ (Summorum Pontificum, Preamble)

Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce


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16/06/2019 - 13:23

Feminine modesty: the third-rail issue claims another victim

My latest on LifeSiteNews.

Last week saw the deletion of another Twitter account by someone who aroused the anger of the mob. Fr. Kevin Cusick deleted his account when, after tweeting about the importance of modest attire in church, he was overwhelmed by angry responses. Actually, “angry” was not the right word. It was deranged.

Twitter’s moderators inevitably found that Fr. Cusick has breached their rules.

In explaining why women should cover their shoulders, Fr. Cusick volunteered the suggestion that it was for the benefit of men who are otherwise distracted during Mass. This fits the same pattern of thought expressed by Maryann White, a mother who wrote to a Notre Dame student paper that the leggings worn by some female students in the Notre Dame Basilica distracted her sons. White also suffered a huge social media backlash. The more substantial objection made against both Fr. Cusick and Mrs. White is also that made against the judges or police officers who occasionally make the mistake of warning women that they increase the chance of being raped by wearing practically nothing, late at night, in less salubrious city districts, while under the influence of alcohol.

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