Latin Mass Society

Chairman's Blog

06/11/2018 - 16:40

Annual Requiem in Westminster Cathedral

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Last Saturday the Latin Mass Society's Annual Requiem took place in Westminster Cathedral. As more than ten years not it is always, thanks to the generosity of the Archdiocese of Westminster, a Pontifical Mass. This year it was celebrated by the recently retired Bishop Patrick Campbell of Lancaster.

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A special feature of interest this year was the vestments. We have in the past used the Cathedral's, but this year they were the property of the Latin Mass Society. We have received a large bequest from a late member, John Arnell, and wished to perpetuate his memory with the purchase of a really good black High Mass set. Each item in the set is now marked with the Latin Mass Society's name, and the note 'Please pray from John Edward Arnell.'

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The Latin Mass Society has not, historically, been a repository for fine vestments; for most of our history we haven't had the money. A few years ago we purchased a beautiful Green High Mass set in memory of another large benefactor, or rather a couple, Mr & Mrs Smith (John Herbert and Josephine Smith). We've also had Masses said for them, obviously.

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This is a time to remember. Every year I (as Chairman of the LMS) place a wreath on the tomb of Cardinal John Hennan, in gratitude for his role in securing the first ever 'Indult' for the ancient Missal. He didn't just persuade Pope Paul VI to do this, but started the series of two annual Masses, of which last Saturday's was the latest, and a monthly Low Mass in the Crypt.

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For all our deceased benefactors, members, and friends: Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. You are not forgotten.

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05/11/2018 - 16:53

Requiem in Oxford University Catholic Chaplaincy

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With the kind permission of Fr Matthew Power SJ, a traditional Requiem Mass was celebrated on Saturday 3rd November in the St Thomas More Chapel of the Oxford University Catholic Chaplaincy. The celebrant was Fr Daniel Seward of the Oxford Oratory.

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The previous Traditional Mass, and only other, public Mass in the Extraordinary Form celebrated in the Chaplaincy was also a Requiem, celebrated on All Souls Day 2013, also by Fr Seward. On both occasions it was the result of requests mediated by the Latin Mass Society.

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02/11/2018 - 14:00

How Agatha Christie saved the Latin Mass

This weekend I have an article in the Catholic Herald's print edition. It begins:

On November 26, 1971, the front page of the Universe informed its readers as follows:

As from this Sunday, the first in Advent, it is forbidden to offer Mass in the Tridentine rite anywhere in the world. In very special circumstances old or retired priests may apply to their own bishop for permission to use the rite, but for private use only.

Only a few days later, however, on December 2, the Times carried a rather different story, under the headline “Pope sanctions traditional Latin Mass in Britain”. The Tridentine Mass was, in fact, celebrated in Westminster Cathedral on June 17 the following year, the first of a series of two annual Masses at the High Altar using the older Missal. Monthly traditional Masses in the Cathedral’s crypt were also initiated. Both series of Masses continue to this day, although the crypt Masses have now moved to the Lady Chapel.

In the nick of time, it would seem, the public celebration of the Vetus Ordo, now also called the Extraordinary Form, was preserved, at least in England and Wales. How had this come about?

Continue reading.

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01/11/2018 - 22:02

Marriage lite comes to England

I have a new post on LifeSiteNews. It begins:

Following a ruling of Britain’s Supreme Court over the summer, Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that the Government will make the necessary changes to allow heterosexual, and not just homosexual, couples to contract ‘Civil Partnerships’, as opposed to marriages, in England and Wales. (Scotland will probably follow.)

Bishop Peter Doyle of Northampton, on behalf of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, urged couples not to use this option:

God blesses the marriage bond only when the couple freely and without conditions exchange their consent. We hope that today’s ruling does not deter people from that sacred and life-long commitment.

Back in 2004, when Civil Partnerships were introduced for same-sex couples in the UK, the Bishops of England and Wales did not oppose the legislation, on the basis of government assurances that they would be clearly distinct from marriage. The idea seemed to be that Civil Partnerships addressed the legitimate grievances of same-sex couples, notably over hospital visiting rights and exemption from Inheritance Tax when leaving each other money, and that it would obviate the need for same-sex ‘marriage’.

Things did not turn out that way. Having established the principle that the state has an interest in regulating same-sex relationships in a way clearly paralleling the regulation of marriage, the scene was set for same-sex ‘marriage’ itself in 2014.

Read it all there.
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01/11/2018 - 10:00

Newman Colloquium series continues

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There was a good turn out for the first Newman Colloquium on Saturday 27 Oct 2018. Michael Wee of the Anscombe Centre and I discussed 'Humanae Vitae at 50'.

Hot drinks and plenty of biscuits were very welcome afterwards as it was rather drizzly and cold in Oxford.

The next Newman Colloquium takes place on Saturday 24th November, when I talk to Fr Jeremy Davies, a experienced missionary, doctor, and exorcist.

Visit Newmancolloquium.eventbrite.com to sign up.

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28/10/2018 - 10:00

London Vespers and Book-launch for Peter Kwasniewsky, 30th October

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Peter Kwasniewski directing the chant at Mass in Oxford

Tuesday, October 30th – Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, Warwick Street, London: Vespers with Palestrina at 6pm, followed by talk and book-signing by Peter Kwasniewski.

More on Peter's latest book here.

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A High Mass of Requiem in Warwick Street last year
6:00 pm – Vespers with Palestrina’s Magnificat quinti toni
(Sung by Cantus Magnus under the direction of Matthew Schellhorn)
6:30 pm – Lecture by Dr Kwasniewski: “Liturgical Reform, Ars Celebrandi, and the Crisis on Marriage and Family”
7:30 pm – Signing of Tradition and Sanity: Conversations & Dialogues of a Postconciliar Exile (Angelico, 2018)

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26/10/2018 - 14:30

LMS Pilgrimage to Aylesford, Saturday 27th October

Our annual pilgrimage to The Friars, the home of the Carmelites.

The original friary was established in 1242, and was (probably) the site of St Simon Stock’s mystical vision of the scapular. Bought back by the Order from its secular owners in the 20th century, today the complex houses the Shrine which contains the Relics of St Simon Stock. Saturday, 27th October 2018.

There will be a Sung Mass at 1.30pm in the Relic Chapel and the day concludes with Vespers and Benediction at 4pm.

Included in the music for the Mass (supplied by Cantus Magnus, dir. Matthew Shellhorn) will be the UK premier and world prenier of pieces by Peter Kwasniewski:
Missa a cuatro voces (K, G, S, A) de Rivera
Benedicta et venerabilis Kwasniewski UK PREMIERE
Ego mater Kwasniewski WORLD PREMIERE

Mass is at 1:30pm, at

Aylesford Priorym Aylesford, ME20 7BX

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25/10/2018 - 10:00

Peter Kwasniewski's book launch in Oxford: Friday, after 6pm High Mass in SS Gregory & Augustine

All the details are below. We'll have copies of Peter's most recent three books.

On Saturday he will be at the LMS Pilgrimage to Aylesford. See here for more details.

More on Peter's latest book here.


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24/10/2018 - 10:00

The Pope and the Papacy

My latest on LifeSiteNews begins thus:

 The canonization of Pope Paul VI raises the question of how the Papacy is viewed. The elevation to the Altars of the Church of Pope John XXIII, Pope Paul VI, and Pope John Paul II, seems a surprising legacy of the Second Vatican Council. The Pope’s triple crown has been locked up in a museum; his Noble Guard has been disbanded; the harmless fun of ostrich-feather fans at Papal Masses has ceased; and the Gestatoria has been retired. But something has come in instead: a process of canonization which increasingly seems to be the norm and not the exception for a deceased Pontiff. 
Many theological conservatives hoped that the canonization of Pope John Paul II would canonize, so to speak, his writings as Pope. It would surely be harder, they said, to ignore his fearless condemnation of abortion, contraception, and divorce, once his heroic sanctity was officially recognized. However, this has not come to pass. Pope Francis, who canonized him, seems to have made the keynote of his pontificate the minimization of John Paul II’s teaching in Familaris Consortio(1981) 84 that divorced Catholics in illicit second unions must not receive Holy Communion. It would be foolish to expect the canonization of Pope Paul VI to offer any extra protection or prestige for his condemnation of contraception in Humanae Vitae (1968), or indeed to the doctrinal orthodoxy defended with such vehemence in his Credo of the People of God (1968) and Mysterium Fidei (1965). The teaching of the Church, which Pope Paul reasserted in Evangelium Nuntiandi(1974) 5, that the preaching of the Gospel to unbelievers is of vital importance for their salvation, has long been unsayable. 

Read it all there.

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23/10/2018 - 12:42

On relics and their uses

My latest on LifeSiteNews starts thus:

Over at the New Liturgical Movement, Gregory DiPippo passes on for English-speakers Italian-language reports of a scientific analysis of the relics (a full skeleton) of St Ambrose of Milan.
St Ambrose (337-397) was one of the great figures of his day, who baptized St Augustine of Hippo, and with St Augustine is one of the four Latin Doctors often depicted in art (the others being St Jerome and St Gregory the Great).
Not only are the bones the right age for St Ambrose, but they display the poorly-healed broken collarbone which, as his letters attest, troubled St Ambrose for many years. They are, so far as science can speak on the subject, authentic. 
Contrary to the wise-acres who for centuries have been casting doubt on the genuineness of the relics venerated by Catholics, this kind of scientific vindication keeps happening. The Holy Chalice of Valencia, according to tradition used at the Last Supper, was created (from agate) using techniques unique to the time of Our Lord’s life and earlier. The Holy Thorn of Andria, said to be from the Crown of Thorns and to bleed when Good Friday falls on 25th March, did so again under the cold gaze of scientific instruments in 2016. If these are the products of medieval forgers, those chaps certainly knew a thing or two.

Read it all there.

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