Latin Mass Society

Chairman's Blog

22/01/2020 - 10:28

Some worries about Roger Scruton

The more adulatory material I see on the Catholic internet about the late Roger Scruton, the more I think some corrective is necessary. I wish I'd been more critical now, in what I wrote for LifeSite (below).
In Scruton's subtle and often brilliant work, we are gently led away from the idea that it is of any importance whether there is any objective truth, whether God actually exists, or whether there are any moral truths. It doesn't matter because we have our terribly interesting reactions to things and our terribly complex relations with each other and with the past. I want to agree with many of his positive assertions but say to him and his followers: look chaps, this isn't enough. It's not going to work on its own--it'll collapse like a souflé without some, you know, reality behind it. Look, all the people you describe living these elegant, sceptical lives in the 18th century or whatever were living off the capital of a millennium of Christianity, during which time people actually believed in something. It is when this belief starts disappearing from the mass of the population in the 20th century that society starts unravelling. You can't bind it all back up again by saying that the new barbarians should be more like Enlightenment gentlemen. The barbarians are just following the Enlightenment logic through.
Heigh ho. Here's my LifeSite article.
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The English philosopher Sir Roger Scruton has died at the age of 75. He was the most prominent proponent of conservatism in political theory of his generation, and his theory of aesthetics was also significant. He came into conflict with the intellectual establishment throughout his life, and his independence of mind was impressive. So intensely hostile to him, indeed, were his fellow philosophers that I witnessed apparently rational mainstream academics actually apologising, in advance, for saying something complimentary about him. And yet he was rather a gentle soul, not given to hasty polemic or feuds, who did not give way to bitterness. His works will long survive those of many of his detractors. 
In many ways, his work has been helpful to Catholic thinkers, particularly his articulation of the importance of community, an idea whose time in some ways seems to have come. But he was not a Catholic, and there are important ways in which his thinking went in a quite different direction from that of the Catholic tradition. As a tribute to a great man, I want to say something about this: the best way to show one’s appreciation of a serious thinker is always to engage critically with his ideas.
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09/01/2020 - 16:50

The Papal Slap

I wrote this for Rorate Caeli.

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A lot of people have weighed in on Pope Francis repeatedly slappingthe hand of a pilgrim in St Peter’s Square. Reactions have not divided simply along ideological lines. Austin Ruse suggested, on Twitter, that Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul II would have reacted even more fiercely to a pilgrim grabbing their hands and not letting go. I was undecided myself at first. The pilgrim’s action did seem a little aggressive. On the other hand, there she is, in the video, a rather small Chinese lady, making a sign of the cross to steel herself to take the hand of the much larger Pope, surrounded by body guards. From what one can see of the timing of the incident, the Pope reacts as he does not to the surprise of the physical aspect of the gesture, but to what she is saying. She is saying something about Hong Kong…

Read the rest on Rorate.

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08/01/2020 - 16:45

Roger Buck's 'Gentle Traditionalist' returns

My latest for LifeSite. Buy Roger Buck's latest book through this link which gives him a little more of the cover price.

In 2015, Catholic convert Roger Buck published The Gentle Traditionalist, a work of apologetics in a dialogue form which, like some of Plato’s dialogues, is flavoured by a fictional dramatic setting set out at the beginning and the end. Despite its classical antecedents this is an unusual format, but Buck’s work was very successful. I have been recommending it to everyone ever since, as the ideal non-threatening introduction to traditional Catholic concerns on culture, education, and politics, the issues which motivated Chesterton, Belloc, and Evelyn Waugh.
The Gentle Traditionalist was followed in 2016 by Buck’s magnum opus, the 450-page Cor Jesu Sacratissimum: From Secularism and the New Age to Christendom Renewed. This is partly autobiographical, featuring Buck’s former life as a New Age practitioner and activist. Buck’s latest book, The Gentle Traditionalist Returns: A Catholic Knight’s Tale from Ireland, returns to the characters and format of the first book but more of the issues of the second. It is an exploration of the New Age as it is invading a newly-post-Christian Ireland, Buck’s adoptive country, in the context of the abortion referendum of 2016.

Carry on reading there.

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06/01/2020 - 15:55

Learn to cook in 2020

My latest on LifeSite News

I’ve mentioned more than once the importance of culture. Catholic culture, I wrote in one article, presupposes culture. I would like to say more about this issue, not only because it is important in itself, but because people want to know what they can or should do about the current crisis in the Church. Well, they — you, we — should learn how to cook.
Our Lady of Fatima’s message to the children in 1917 was, Sr. Lucia later explained, was not primarily about the First Saturdays or the rosary or the brown scapular, important as those devotions are. It was “the faithful accomplishment of our daily duties.” The world would be converted if Catholics performed their daily duties more faithfully. That is why the enemies of the Church have attacked precisely those daily duties. For most Catholics, online zealotry is easy, or at least appears so; it is being a good Catholic father, mother, husband, wife, son, or daughter that has become extraordinarily difficult, not to mention being a good Catholic employer, or employee, a good Catholic citizen, or a good Catholic public servant. One might say, perhaps, that being a good Catholic public servant — an elected representative or career civil servant — has become impossible in some places, and that this kind of public engagement is best avoided. We wouldn’t dare say that it has become impossible to be a good Catholic spouse or parent, though, because that would imply that we could not have families at all. Somehow, we have to face the difficulties and overcome them.

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02/01/2020 - 12:35

James MacMillan interview: music, culture, politics, religion

I've just round to watching this, and it is very interesting.

Sir James is a Patron of the Latin Mass Society.

He mentions a recent book of his reflections, which can be found here.

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31/12/2019 - 14:18

Blessing of Wine for the feast of St John

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At SS Gregory & Augustine's, Oxford, following the EF Low Mass.

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The bottles in bags on the floor were also blessed and sprinkled with holy water. They include our current stock of red wine for the Iota Unum talks.

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30/12/2019 - 13:06

The Logic of the Incarnation

My 'Christmas article' for LifeSiteNews.

In Advent, we expect Christ’s coming in several senses. There is an eschatological sense: we expect Christ to come as Judge at the end of time, an expectation key to the Christian life. There is a sacramental sense: we expect the coming of Christ in the Eucharist, where He will be as real as He was in Bethlehem. There is the spiritual sense: we hope and prepare for Christ to come into our hearts. And then there is the most obvious one, which forms the backdrop to the others. The Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, is to be revealed as a baby.

Christ has been present on Earth since the Annunciation, hidden in the womb of His Mother. That day, 25 March, was for centuries the start of the English financial year; it is also the date JRR Tolkien chose for the final destruction of the Ring in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It is, in truth, the date of the Incarnation. In His birth, however, Christ is revealed to us: He becomes, as a man, a public person. It is now possible and appropriate for Him to be venerated by the shepherds and the Wise Men. In His birth He becomes subject to the Law of Moses, at least apparently, though really He is the Lord of it: it pleases Him and His Mother to fulfil the Law scrupulously. In His birth He also becomes vulnerable, and He must be carried into safety from the wrath of Herod. We might say that in His birth, the logic of the Incarnation is worked out more fully.

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18/12/2019 - 13:30

Iota Unum talks confirmed for 2020

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Fr Edward van den Bergh giving the last Iota Unum talk of 2019

In 2019 the Latin Mass Society undertook a number of new initiatives in London: notably, a new chant schola, the Schola Cantorum Sancti Ioanni Houghton, to train new singers; a series of Server Training days under the Society of St Tarcisius; and a monthly series of talks, the 'Iota Unum' talks.

These three initiatives have each been a great success. I have already announced the early 2020 dates for server training, and I am delighted to announce another 6 months' of Iota Unum talks have also been confirmed, with some great speakers and topics.

They take place in the basement of Our Lady of the Assumption, Warwick Street (please enter through the basement stairs from Golden Square), on Friday evenings.

Doors open at 6:30pm for talk at 7pm.

All welcome. £5 on the door; light refreshments.

Join the mailing list for London events here.

January: Fri 31 Dominic Jones ‘Holiness and Chastity’
Dominic is a doctoral student in philosophy and runs the Sedes Sapientiae summer school.

February: Fri 14 Charles Coulombe: ‘Living the Liturgical Year’
Charles is a prolific author on Catholic history and a columnist for Mass of Ages, the magazine of the Latin Mass Society.

To note: Fri 28 Martin Mosebach will be speaking in the London Oratory about the new edition of The Heresy of Formlessness and his recent Subversive Catholicism. 7:30pm. Co-sponsored by the LMS.

March: Fri 27 Maria Madise ‘Attacks on the Family from Within the Church’
Maria is a leading organiser of Voice of the Family and edits their magazine Calx Mariae.

April: Fri 24 Joseph Shaw ‘Headship and Hierarchy in the Household’
Joseph teaches philosophy at St Benet's Hall, Oxford University, and is Chairman of the LMS.

May: Fri 29 Matthew Ward: ‘Latin Chant as Prayer’’
Matthew is Director of Music at Mayfield School and a the Southesat Regional Director of the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge.

June: Fri 19  Mgr Keith Newton ‘The Ordinariate and the Traditional Movement: A Truly Catholic Alliance.’
Mgr Keith is the Ordinary of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

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17/12/2019 - 13:34

Rose Vestments in Holy Trinity, Hethe

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Fr Richard Conrad celebrated Mass in the Dominican Rite for the Latin Mass Society's quarterly Mass in Holy Trinity, Hethe, the oldest Catholic parish church in Oxfordshire.

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13/12/2019 - 11:52

Help the Sons of the Holy Redeemer replace their boat

IMG_9485 A recent visitor to the Sons of the Holy Redeemer on Papa Stronsay Island in the Orkeneys, a former LMS Local Representative, writes as follows:

I left Papa Stronsay yesterday evening [9th Dec]. Fixed up the boat and myself and Fr Magdala launched it in a weather window on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. But- that evening a gale – a ten year freak - with 50-60 mph gusts and swell - blew up when it was on the other side at Stronsay pier. The front rope gave way on tying up. The monks were thank God all off. The boat spun round and was tossed ten to fifteen feet in the air like a toy and came down on the stone pier- smashing the deck off and the front. It ended up on the beach at Stronsay as matchsticks.

I helped pick up the bits off the beach last night. Tragic but not a disaster as they just get on with things. Boat had been overhauled for last three months rebuilding the engine, electrics, fuel and repainting. The other small boat is old, leaky and unreliable - so not useable as a main boat.

Had to get a local in a fishing boat to get us off the Island and the monks are relying on the good people of Stronsay for emergency supplies this Christmas.

This is a fundraiser!!! Please make this go viral.

This request is from me - private laity - not one of the Sons and not a representative- As the strict Rule of Saint Alphonsus does not allow soliciting. Your prayers and money in that order are vital.

Links here.
http://www.papastronsay.com/contact/index.php
http://www.papastronsay.com/donate/

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These photographas are from my own visit to Papa Stronsay in 2014: I assume it is the same boat, which carried me across from the larger island of Stronsay, which is accessible by public ferry and also by small aircraft. If not the same, it'll be something very similar. The Sons use it to get all their supplies to the monastery.

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The Sons celebrate the Traditional Mass exclusively and have an apostolate also in Christchurch, New Zealand. Please remember them this Christmas.

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