Latin Mass Society

Chairman's Blog

13/03/2021 - 17:36

Private Masses in St Peter's: who's in the cross-hairs?

Private Masses before a 'First Mass' of a newly ordained priest
(Fr William Barker FSSP) in Bavaria, in a church near Wigratzbad.
I was at school next to a vast church with masses of unused side-altars, and they are an apt symbol of the changes which followed the Second Vatican Council. Why would a priest wish to celebrate Mass on a day when he has no public Mass to say? Why bother? Or else, why not tag along with a crowd of priests putting on a concelebrated Mass, so he can tick the box saying he's attended the community's 'conventual' Mass and the box saying he's celebrated, both at once?

The answer is: out of devotion. Because priests can celebrate Mass (almost) every day, pastoral need is not the only reason why they might want to do so. This devotion will very often be fed more effectively at a 'private' Mass sine populo, than a concelebrated Mass with a crowd of other clergy. 
This is without saying anything of the, ahem, controversial theology of concelebration, a concept which came more or less out of nowhere in Vatican II. And no, newly ordained priests don't concelebrate with the ordaining bishop in the modern sense, in the EF: their ritual concelebration is not intended to be sacramentally efficacious. They follow the words of the Canon in a Missal with the help of another priest, in a charming ritualised lesson, not in an attempt to say Mass 'with the bishop'.

Private Masses at an LMS Priest-Training
Conference at Prior Park, Bath
The war on private Masses, which has been waged by vindictive liberal sacristans, Cathedral administrators, and the like over the decades, has now come to St Peter's, where the practice of a millennium has apparantly been brought to a halt by the stroke of a pen. No more 'individual celebrations' will be allowed - except for four each morning in the EF.
That seems like a puzzling qualification. If the 'conservative Novus Ordo' option of celebrating Mass without the people is to be banned from the Basilica, it seems surprising that provision, however inadequate, is being made for the celebration of the Traditional Mass.
Part of the answer may be how at odds with Canon law the powers-that-be are comfortable with being. Canons 902 says:
'They [sc. priests] are completely free to celebrate the Eucharist individually, however, but not while a concelebration is taking place in the same church or oratory.'
But that is generally speaking exactly what has been happening in St Peter's: multiple simultaneous celebrations, very often including concelebrations in one of the larger chapels.
Pressing this provision is unreasonable in St Peter's, in my view, for several reasons: one being that a concelebration happening in (say) St Joseph's Chapel (the big chapel in the north transcept) is invisible and inaudible from most of the rest of the Upper Basilica, let alone the crypt, and another being that these larger celebrations are frequently in the language of visitors to Rome, not necessarily shared by priests wishing to say a private Mass. Again, there is the question of the application of Canon 903, allowing priests to celebrate Mass in churches on demand. Nevertheless, it may be that this Canon is providing the faceless functionary behind this strange decree with some kind of cover.
Unilaterally suspending Summorum Pontificum on the other hand may be thought to be a bit much. Rather than to ban the EF- since it can't be concelebrated - they have contented themselves with restricting it to four Masses a day in a tiny chapel in the crypt.
A private Mass at another LMS Priest Training Conference, at Belmont Abbey.


It seems a fair assumption that those who are motivated to stamp out individual celebrations in the OF probably aren't very keen on the EF, but this is a striking result all the same. From now on (while this decree is in force), the only way of celebrating an individual Mass in St Peter's will be by doing so in the EF. The Traditional Mass, thanks to having its own rules, has actually escaped, at least in a limited way, the effects of this decree.
I'm not saying that the paranoia of traditional Catholics is not generally justified, but on this occasion I don't think the Traditional Mass is what this decree has in its sights. What I see here is part of the same pattern with Pope Francis' condemnation of the Reform of the Reform, his slapping down Cardinal Sarah on the subject of celebration ad orientem, and his changes to Canon law allowing the foot-washing of females on Holy Thursday. It is the 'conservative Novus Ordo' which is the target. It is that which represents the prime threat to the progressive project, in the view of the people behind these initiatives. It is that which must be suppressed.
We Catholics attached to the EF need to remind ourselves every now and then how utterly insignificant the Traditional Mass is around the world, as far as most Catholics are concerned. Perhaps a good parallel would be the liturgical adaptations allowed to the Neo-Catechumenate: occasionally a matter requiring some attention, but for most practical purposes of a level of importance indistinguishable from zero.
Long may our opponents continue to take this view. For the 'conservative Novus Ordo' folk, however, I'm afraid the party's over.
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13/03/2021 - 09:08

New podcasts, with Roger Buck

The Latin Mass Society's Iota Unum Podcast series continues with two podcasts with the author Roger Buck. You can find them on Podbean, Spotify, and ITunes: search for the Latin Mass Society

The New Age: Roger Buck talks to Joseph Shaw

Part 1: What is the New Age? (Podbean)

Part 2: Theosophy and the roots of the New Age (Podbean)

Roger Buck was born in California, was brought up partly there and partly in England, and has also lived in various places on the Continent. He is currently living in Ireland. He spent close to three years living at the New Age centre at Findhorn in Scotland, and nearly twenty years in the New Age milieu, before his conversion. Roger’s conversion story is described in his book Cor Jesu Sacratissimum, which defends the Latin Mass and details the tragedy of the post-Vatican II Church.

More about Roger Buck can be found here:

Roger’s website

Roger’s YouTube channel

Roger’s books:

The Gentle Traditionalist: A Catholic Fairy-Tale from Ireland (2015) (LMS Shop)

The Gentle Traditionalist Returns: A Catholic Knight’s Tale from Ireland (2019) (LMS Shop)

Cor Jesu Sacratissimum: From Secularism and the New Age to Christendom Renewed (2016) (LMS Shop)

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08/03/2021 - 17:27

The New Feminism tells women to accept abuse

Most people are blissfully unaware of the vast extent of intellectual fakery which inhabits universities around the world. The fact that a great deal of it is paid for by taxpayers is bad enough, but sometimes it rises to levels which raise a different kind of question. This is the case with this articleby Alison Phipps, Professor of Gender Studies at Sussex University. She shares this institution with the ‘Gender Critical’ feminist Kathleen Stock whom I wrote about here, but describesher colleague’s views, such as that women should not have share refuges with biological males, as beneath debate (“‘Reasonable debate’ cannot counter unreasonable ideas.”). In the article, Phipps writes that women expressing trauma about sexual violation, a phenomenon she describes as “white tears”, is a tool of oppression.

It is difficult to find words to do justice to the outrageous nature of this claim, and it calamitous consequences if taken seriously. But these are not the ravings of a lone madwoman. Phipps is a professor at a serious university, these reflections of hers are published in a mainstream journal, and she has also published a book on the same theme, with Manchester University Press. More significantly, she is one of many radical feminists of the new school. Put “white tears” (with quotation marks) into Twitter’s search bar, and say hello to a truly grim new world.

Phipps’ central idea is summed up in the title of her book: “Me Not You”. In the cover design these words are superimposed on the words “Me Too”. The idea is that when a woman complains about being raped, as happened with the “MeToo” movement, she is drawing attention to her own suffering, and therefore drawing attention away from the suffering of others. If she is relatively privileged, this is an act of oppression against those less privileged than her, who are thereby silenced. 

It is a very strange argument. It is certainly true that when a more “privileged” person is the victim of abuse or injustice, he or she has an opportunity to fight back which other victims may lack. All kinds of resources, contacts, legal assistance and so on may be available to such a victim. Again, an abuser so bold as to tackle a Hollywood star, for example, will almost certainly have been abusing less well-connected victims. Is this a reason for the star to ignore the abuse and remain silent? Of course not. When the most well-resourced victims, the ones with least to fear, finally turned on Harvey Weinstein, they did what many other victims could not so easily do: they brought his abuse to an end.

As a matter of fact, even very humble victims of abuse can sometimes be successful. The gilded career of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, then head of the International Monetary Fund, was shipwrecked by a New York hotel maid. (The criminal prosecution was dropped but he settled a civil suit out of court.) As so often happens, when the appearance of vulnerability is diminished, other victims come forward. In one sense it doesn’t matter who is the first victim to take the plunge with a formal accusation, but I bet the poorer, more isolated, and less well-advised ones fervently hope that the way will be cleared by someone with the best possible chance of success.

Indeed, I would say that to make an accusation can in certain circumstances be a public duty, and this is a duty particularly incumbent on the most privileged. If an abuser can silence even them, then he is truly invulnerable. Many victims of abuse are plagued with the worry that they won’t be believed, but someone whose social status gives them credibility can make the testimony of other victims’ more credible.

In Phipp’s world view, one might imagine that there is a limited amount of outrage to go round, but the “MeToo” movement showed, on the contrary, how outrage can magnify itself: the more outrage is generated, the more, in some cases, there is left over for others. It is certainly not a zero-sum game.

What are the practical implications of Phipps’ view? That those considering complaining about any kind of bad treatment should “check their privilege” and remain silent if they decide that they lack status in the inverted hierarchy of victimhood, which is conceived of at least in part in racial terms. This is not an inversion of the view she is attacking: she is actually doing the same thing as she accuses others of doing: namely, of determining, by reference to an arbitrary and racially-aligned set of criteria, who is to be allowed justice, and who should continue to suffer exploitation and abuse in silence.

In her world, it is to be women, above all, whose abuse will be tolerated, and whose suffering ignored. This is the woke Feminism of the 21 st century, whose advice to women seems to be “suck it up, buttercup”.

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06/03/2021 - 16:37

Letter of the Week: Brexit

In this weekend's The Tablet.

I suspect that Robert Tombs, emeritus professor of French history at Cambridge, knows rather more about the workings of history than your reviewer, Christopher Bray (Books, 27 February). 

But however much he objects to the optimistic message emerging from Professor Tombs’ book, This Sovereign Isle, one wonders how the post-Brexit counsel of gloom which Mr Bray prefers is supposed to help anyone, particularly when so much of the same has already been disseminated by The Tablet

Of course, passionate Remainers may find it embarrassing if this country achieves prosperity, over coming years, outside the European Union. They may even be tempted to work against it. But isn’t it now time to face reality and move on? We’ve left, and we must make a success of it. 

The author, the journalist Jonathan Luxmoore whose international reporting often appears in The Tablet and The Universe, and who has also written on Poland for Mass of Ages, is the author of The God of the Gulag, a two-volume study of the persecution of Christians under Communism.

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01/03/2021 - 13:41

Spring Mass of Ages available

In this issue: • Fr Timothy Finigan shows what we should learn about Lenten penance from Challoner • We report on an LMS gift of a set of faldstool covers to Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane • David Gornall SJ looks at where we are now, fifty-five years after the Second Vatican Council • Charles A. Coulombe remembers John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute.

Thanks to the cooperation of priests in whose parishes the Traditional Mass is celebrated, Mass of Ages is available from more than 120 cathedrals and churches around the country. See HERE for stockists. If you do not live near one of these but would like a copy of the magazine, we would be very happy to send one from the LMS Office. However, due to the high cost of postage, we do ask that you cover the cost of postage. See here for details.

A digital copy of the magazine may be read HERE.If you have the ISSUU APP, you can also read it in mobile-friendly format.

Are you on our E-Newsletter mailing list? To keep up to date with our news, subscribe HERE

To help the Latin Mass Society continue its work of promoting and developing Traditional life and practice in the Church, please consider signing up to our Anniversary Supporters’ Appeal.

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19/02/2021 - 09:38

Conspiracies! Podcast with Kevin Symonds from the LMS

Iota Unum Podcasts

Catholic Conspiracy Theories Part 1:

The Prayer to St Michael; Bugnini and the Freemasons

Kevin Symonds talks to Joseph Shaw

Kevin Symonds is the author of books on private revelations and aspects of modern Catholic history, including some which seek to get to the bottom of some famous stories: did Leo XIII really have a vision of Satan before composing his Prayer to St Michael? Has the Vatican hidden the key part of the Third Secret of Fatima? He has recently been working on the question of Annibale Bugnini’s alleged Freemasonry, and the question of Communist infiltration of the Catholic Church: both issues discussed in the podcast.

See Kevin’s personal website. His most recent books are Pope Leo XIII and the Prayer to St. Michael (2018) and On the Third Part of the Secret of Fátima (2017).

Discussed in the podcast is the story of Annibale Bugnini and the briefcase, which is recounted in a book review by Kevin in the Latin Mass Society’s magazine, Mass of Ages, from Spring 2020.

This podcast can be found on various Podcast platforms, including Spotify: just serach for 'Latin Mass Society'. Here's a link to it on Podbean:

This is Part 1 of my conversation with Kevin: Part 2 will be released on Thursday 25th Feb.

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13/02/2021 - 11:10

French Bishops: Statement from the FIUV

Un-marginalised: Archbishop McMahon of Liverpool celebrates
the EF having conferred Holy Orders on two priests of the FSSP, 
in St Mary's, Warrington, in 2017.
I have just posted a statement from the FIUV which reacts to the Bishops' Conference of France, on the FIUV blog here.
Some, perhaps many, French Bishops, insofar as this document of their Conference accurately reflects their views, are worried about the Traditional Mass being a cause of division, establishing congregations and their priests lacking in their connection with their bishop and diocese. Who, we may ask, is responsible for this? Who was has it been, over the last half a century, denigrating the Traditional Mass and driving its adherents into an isolated corner? Who is ultimately responsible for things like excluding traditionally-minded Catholics, priestly or lay, from diocesan staffs, consultative panels, and newspapers, from Catholic schools, and from diocesan events? Here's a clue: it wasn't the traditionalists.
How do you undo the effects of decades of marginalisation? If you are serious about it, the first thing to do is to end the marginalisation. This is a lesson, sadly, that the authors of this document have yet to learn.
In 2015, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Latin Mass Society's foundation, I had occasion to send an Open Letter to the Bishops of England and Wales. I thanked them for the increasingly welcoming atmosphere which characterises the Church here for Catholics attached to the ancient liturgy. I also felt it necessary to address the complaint that this Form of the Mass can become 'ideologised'.
I wrote: is well to consider the relationship between a perceived ‘ideologisation’ and effective marginalisation. As Cardinal Ratzinger so memorably expressed it at the end of the last century:

Anyone who nowadays advocates the continuing existence of this liturgy or takes part in it is treated like a leper; all tolerance ends here.

Sociologists tell us that marginalised groups typically become radicalised, and attract new members who are already marginal, perhaps for unrelated reasons. I believe that we have resisted these tendencies very successfully for the fifty years of the Latin Mass Society’s existence. Those who have any worries in this regard, however, will be able to see the remedy. Problems created by marginalisation will be cured by ending the marginalisation.
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09/02/2021 - 16:01

The French Bishops and the Traditional Mass

LMS Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Bedford, 2019

My latest on LifeSite.

As LifeSiteNews has reported, a document emanating from the French Bishops’ Conference has found its way into the public domain on the subject of the Traditional Mass or Extraordinary Form (EF). It describes itself as a summary of the responses made by individual bishops on the application of Summorum Pontificum, the 2007 Apostolic Letter of Pope Benedict XVI which made it easier for priests to celebrate, and for people to request, the Mass in the form it had at the eve of the Second Vatican Council, in Latin.

The document has angered many French traditionalists for its hostile tone. Una Voce France, for example, fails to find in it “the slightest trace of empathy, cordiality, or ‘heart’.”

One should not too quickly assume that this tone is representative of the French bishops: the document is clearly the work of a middle-ranking functionary of the Conference staff, and not a very well-educated one at that, in light of its numerous errors of syntax and spelling. Nevertheless, it has some relationship with individual bishops’ reports, which are often quoted, and two themes in particular stand out.

Read it all there.

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07/02/2021 - 10:00

Holy Communion from the Tabernacle: Letter in The Tablet

SS Gregory & Augustine's, Oxford

It is sad to see The Tablet's Letters Editor reverting the habit of cutting out the key sentences of my letters. Here is my letter in full - with the expurgated sentences in red. In this weekend's edition.

This particular issue is a favourite of the kind of progressive liturgist who likes to sprinkle his attacks on the Tradition with plausible-sounding quotations and references. Don't be fooled. The distribution of Hosts from the Tabernacle is a practice perfectly in line with the Tradition of the Church for very important theological reasons, and is licit in both Forms of Mass, whatever the faddish 'recommendations' of the General Instruction may say.



Canon Atthill (Letters, 30th January) quotes Pope Pius XII quoting Benedict XIV encouraging priests to give, in Holy Communion, hosts consecrated at the Mass being celebrated. In context, however (Mediator Dei 118, 121), the passage reads slightly differently. Pius XII is speaking of those who request to receive the hosts consecrated at the same Mass as a special act of devotion, and notes that ‘not infrequently’ this is not convenient. He clearly envisages the reception of Hosts consecrated at the same Mass as the exception, not the rule.

The practical considerations at issue have not gone away since 1947. The number of communicants is not always easy to establish in advance, and the hosts which are reserved need to be regularly consumed and refreshed.

But there is also a theological consideration. The ritual of commingling recalls the ancient practice of dropping into the consecrated chalice a portion of a host consecrated at a previous Mass, to express ‘the continuous unity of the Eucharistic sacrifice’ (as Josef Jungmann put it). The use of reserved hosts today has the same significance. As Pius XII remarked, when insisting that tabernacles be joined to the altar: ‘it is the same Lord who is present on the altar and in the tabernacle’ (Assisi allocution, 1956).


Yours faithfully,


Joseph Shaw 

Chairman, the Latin Mass Society

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06/02/2021 - 16:01

China steps up persection

My latest on LifeSiteNews.

With almost every day that passes, there are new revelations about human rights abuses by the Communist-run People’s Republic of China. Those of a sensitive disposition are not advised to listen to this BBC report on the systematic rape of Uighur girls. It is just the latest news from a particular region of China, where the majority population is distinct ethnically, culturally and religiously from the Han Chinese who dominate China.

The Uighurs, who are Muslim, have received no detectable public defense from the Islamic world, which seems more concerned with doing deals with the Chinese government. They are not alone. Governments and especially universities around the world have been silenced by China’s policy of buying influence. A committee of the U.K.’s House of Commons recently declared, after taking evidence on the problem:

There is clear evidence that autocracies are seeking to shape the research agenda or curricula of UK universities, as well as limit the activities of researchers on university campuses. Not enough is being done to protect academic freedom from financial, political and diplomatic pressure.

Read the whole thing there.

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