Latin Mass Society

Chairman's Blog

05/03/2018 - 16:15

The Gospels of the first three Sundays of Lent

St Paul

Peter Kwasniewski has an excellent discussion of the contrast between the Epistles (first readings) of the first three Sundays of Lent given us by the ancient Lectionary, and the Second Readings of Sunday Mass, usually Pauline Epistles, offered us by the 1969 Lectionary. Since there are three years of readings in the Ordinary Form there are nine passages to compare with the three of the EF. Not one of these nine passages so much as mentions the major theme of all three of the EF's selections: the importance of repentance from a sinful lifestyle, above all in relation to sexual sins.

So concerned were the compilers of the reformed Lectionary to avoid mentioning sin that they even cut out of the passages bits where the subject came up.

It is a nice illustration of a major strand of what happened in the Catholic Church when the reforms following Vatican II were implemented. Consider this, a passage commenting on yesterday's Epistle by Mgr Patrick Boylan (The Sunday Epistles and Gospels) which had its Imprimatur in 1941.

If there are among us Catholics, apparently convinced and genuine, who seek to minimise the sinfulness of unchastity, or the danger of its occasions, let us not be deceived by their words, nor follow their example. On all sides one hears voices raised against every attempt to check the growth of profligacy, every effort to restrict evil amusements and evil literature. We hear constantly of the 'sacred rights', of freedom--freedom, that is, to disregard the moral code, to follow the blind guidance of passion, to satisfy every form of curiosity, so see everything, to read everything. Popular literature is full of the 'empty words' [St Paul's phrase] with which all that is seductive to sense is represented as innocent because it is 'natural', or 'healthy', or because it 'develops the personality'!

Boylan, and no doubt the majority of his clerical and pious lay readers, was acutely aware of the ferocious assault which was being carried out against traditional sexual mores, a full twenty years before its hideous triumph in the sexual revolution of the 1960s. St Paul's exhortations were exactly what was needed at that time.

It was the moment when things were getting really, really bad--when a bad case of the common problem of all young people since time immemorial was turning into a social revolution which would permanently destroy the expectation of the permanency of marriage and of children being raised by their biological parents--that was the moment when the reformers chose to bury St Paul's message.

Everyone in the West in the middle decades of the 20th century was aware of the increasing gulf between the Catholic Church and the maxims of the world. Everyone was aware that Catholic communities, teachings, culture, and institutions were as a tightly-integrated group the last major refuge of a traditional Christian attitude.

It was for the Second Vatican Council to decide how to address this problem, and the path chosen, as far as anyone could tell through the confusion and chaos, was the path of appeasement.  The consequences tell their own tale.

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02/03/2018 - 09:41

Letter on older Traditionalists, in the Catholic Herald

The LMS Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Caversham last weekend.

Today the Catholic Herald has published my letter answering Michael Davis (not to be confused with the late Michael Davies), who criticised the older generation of Catholics attached to the Traditional Mass.

I have written a blogpost about his article here.


Michael Davis’s attack on the ‘older generation’ of Traditional Catholics (Comment, 16th Feb) misses the mark. The tone of the mainstream lay movement for the preservation of the Traditional Mass, represented by the Latin Mass Society and it sister organisations around the world, was set by men like Dietrich von Hildebrand and Eric de Saventham, both of whom risked their lives for their opposition to Hitler; Hamish Fraser, a convert from Communism; and Hugh Ross-Williamson, deselected as a Labour parliamentary candidate for being too left-wing. The extraordinary devotion of Traditional Catholics to the Papacy, over decades when they received little but hard knocks from the hierarchy, prevented them from taking the easy option of leaving the structures of the Church. Now that their central argument has been vindicated—the ancient Mass was never abrogated—we can see that their obedience to the bishops of their day was supererogatory.

The Traditional Movement today, as Davis notes, contains many young people. Through no fault of their own, a great many come from broken homes, and nearly all from homes where the Faith was scarcely practiced, if at all. They have grown up seeing Tradition vilified, and its rebellious image has proved attractive. If you want to shock ‘boomer’ parents, a mantilla may be more effective than cannabis.

Fortunately, the Traditional Movement has something they not only like—the ancient Mass—but which is an objective channel of grace. It takes seriously the issue of sin. And it hasn’t driven away the older age-groups who can provide example and guidance.

We value the older generation of Catholics attached to the Traditional Mass for their fidelity, for their generosity, for their experience and their wisdom. Of special importance are those who can remember how it was when Tradition was normal: when to be a Traditional Catholic was simply to be a Catholic. I will miss them when they are gone.

Davis mentions the principle that we are obliged to respect our parents. On the basis of this principle I suggest he owes an apology to his often heroic predecessors in the movement for the Traditional Mass.

Yours faithfully,

Joseph Shaw
Chairman, the Latin Mass Society

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01/03/2018 - 15:48

Position Paper on the Sanctoral Cycle

Today I publish the last of the FIUV Position Papers: The Sanctoral Cycle of the Extraordinary Form. Go over to Rorate Caeli to read it.

Researching the calendar, specifically the cycle of saints' days, has been very interesting. It has underlined how reletively empty of saints the 1969 calendar is (although the Novus Ordo it has picked up a few more over the decades since then). If you go to a weekday Mass in the Novus Ordo, the priest will more often than not be wearing green, during 'Ordinary' time, or violet in Advent or Lent, or white in Paschal time: the colour of a 'ferial' day, when no feast is being celebrated. I have heard of this being taken even further, and a preference for the ferial Mass taking over even on days when according to the rule there should be a saint. But in the Traditional Mass ferial Masses are downright rare. On the few days each week when there is no saint to celebrate, priests tend to say a Votive Mass.

It is important to understand the rationale behind this preference for ferias. In the EF a succession of ferial Masses would mean a succession of celebrations of the Mass of the previous Sunday (without the Gloria or Creed). Doing this sometimes can be nice, and occasionally the Mass of the previous Sunday may not have been celebrated on the Sunday (for example, the First Sunday after Pentecost is always replaced by Trinity Sunday). But doing this every day of the week would be a bit odd. For those who attend the Traditional Mass either every day or one or two days in a week, Masses are distinguished from each other by the saints and by the Votives chosen by the celebrant. On Fridays we tend to get the Mass of the Sacred Heart; on Wednesdays the Mass of St Joseph (a Mass formulary which isn't used elsewhere in the year, for historical reasons); Our Lady on Saturdays; and so on: these are devotions which will often be marked by statues or side-altars in traditonally-decorated churches. The saints and the Votives slot into our devotional lives: we can read up about the saints and prat to them, we can engage with the devotion celebrated in the Votive Mass. As you become used to the EF, it all slots together.

It is not so in the EF. Why? It was not an accident: Archbishop Bugnini said the fuss about the reform of the sanctoral cycle came from people who had a 'devotional attitude' to the liturgy. He thought that a devotional attitude to the liturgy was wrong. It wasn't, he thought, truly liturgical, and it wasn't truly scriptural. It had to be stripped away to reveal the bare reality of the Mass, like a modernist building with all the pipes showing. On the one hand the worshipper was not to be distracted, more than necessary, by devotions, from the action of the Mass itself. On the other hand, the liturgy would day by day introduce him to reams and reams of scripture, through the 'lectio continua' Lectionary: a Lectionary which, particularly in weekday Masses, plods through the books of both Testaments page by page (leaving out the odd embarassing bit, of course).

As someone who for periods of my life attended daily OF Masses I'd say that the reformed Lectionary does to an extent give one's liturgical experience a both continuity and difference: the readings of today's Mass will very probably continue the story or exhortation or whatever it is of yesterday's. Indeed, the more obscure readings are easier to understand if you've been keeping up. But the saints are rather left out of it. Even when they are celebrated, and the priest is wearing the red of a martyr or the white of confessor, the lectio continua will probably carry on, however innappropriate the reading may be to the saint whose day it is.

I leave it to others to defend the Novus Ordo in more detail. I hardly it necessary to defend the Traditional practice. It is just obvious to those who attend it that the traditional approach, which has been the Church's approach since the early centuries, feeds the spiritual lives of those open to it. The saints are not a distraction from Mass: they accompany us in it, and draw attention to its glories, since it was by it that they were themselves sanctified. The devotions of Massgoers and of the Votive Masses themselves point to Christ present in the liturgy as Our Lady points to the Christ-child in a thousand Rennaissance masterpieces. Why is St Joseph important? Why do we celebrate lots of Votive Mass of Our Lady? Because of their role in relation to Christ. And so it is with every authentic traditional devotion.

I hope this Position Paper, the last (at least
for now) in the series, will help those who are and also those who are not familiar with the Traditional Mass to understand it better, and appreciate it more.

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27/02/2018 - 18:05

LMS Pilgrimage to Caversham 2018


On Saturday the Latin Mass Society went on pilgrimage to Our Lady of Caversham, which is always very edifying. It was interesting to see, this year, improvements to the shrine, with a new painted backdrop to the shrine image.


The Pilgrimage usually coincides with the Ember Saturday of Lent: not all pilgrimages can take place in the summer, and the Ember Saturday is something well worth celebrating in a solemn way. However, the Ember day was only commemorated this year, because it was the feast of St Matthias.


St Matthias was chosen, between Ascension and Pentecost, to replace Judas: when the Holy Ghost descended upon them, there was a full complement of Apostles. However, representations of the 12 Apostles tend to leave him out to make room for St Paul, so he can be neglected.


We didn't neglect him this year, however, with a splendid High Mass, celebrated by Fr Anthony Conlon, assisted by Fr James Mawdsley FSSP (deacon) and Fr Gabriel Diaz (subdeacon), and accompanied by the Schola Abelis (chant) and the Newman Consort. The Newman Consort sang John Taverner Kyrie Leroy, Thomas Tallis Mass for Four Voices, and Noel Bauldeweyn Ave caro Christi cara, all of which were lovely.

 (This is what it looked like last year.)

This year we had a buffet lunch in the parish room, which was extremely jolly and which we will certainly do again.

With thanks to Mgr Patrick Daly, the parish priest and shrine custodian.

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27/02/2018 - 10:00

Mass in Didcot for the Chair of St Peter


Last Thursday was the feast of the Chair of St Peter, and Fr Philip Pennington Harris celebrated it with a Traditional Missa Cantata. It was accompanied by the Schola Abelis of Oxford.


One of the difficulties a priest faces in starting to celebrate the Traditional Mass in a parish is that, if he wants to have sung Masses, both singers and servers are likely to be difficult to find. This can become a chicken-and-egg problem, as sung Masses are in many ways the best way to present the ancient liturgy to those who have not encountered it before. Only if people see how beautiful it can be, will they be motivated to go to great lengths to support it.


The Latin Mass Society is well placed to help in this situation, and singers and servers converged on Didcot from Oxford, Newbury, and London to assist Fr Pennington Harris. In the long term, if the EF continues to be celebrated in the parish, I am sure more local resources will develop. But these things can't be rushed.


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26/02/2018 - 10:00

Evangelising the Culture: guest post

Evangelising the Culture: The Great Commission for Traditional Catholics
By Mike Carrol, LMS Representative for Lincolnshire.

Titian: great art still evangelising after five centuries. Seen by SCT Summer School pupils in 2016.

It is now ten years since Summorum Pontificum and it is now time for those within the traditional Latin Mass community to collectively use the great virtue of prudence to transmit the message of the Gospel into the culture and society. It is time to evangelise the culture. The great virtue of prudence gives us foresight and the mental and spiritual means of achieving even the most great and overarching goals. After we sanctify ourselves and our families through the Latin Mass, devotions, mortification, and dieing to self by way of The Imitation, we have one Great Commission left which to evangelise. Our traditional message can no longer be kept under a bushel. Christ's light must once again enlighten a society which is groaning under the weight of sin and a dystopian nightmare.

It is now the responsibility of traditionists to evangelise the culture, because since Vatican II we have not collectively as a Church become the Lumen Gentium as was predicted by the council. The great hope was that the faithful would also become 'The Light of the Nations' and that the faith would be transmitted into society from the bottom up, but this never happened.

Firstly there is our personal duty. It has been noted elsewhere that true evangelisation is a consequence not a program. The renewal of the Church, the culture, and our broken society will not come about by plans and structures, but by holiness of life. What is required is the sort of mortifications taught us by St. Thomas A Kempis, St. Francis de Sales, St. Therese of Lisieux and Christ Himself, when He said "Go and sin no more". In order to transmit the Gospel to the men and women of today we must first become a holy people.

Secondly, there are those of an artistic, cultural, and literary ilk whom with great transcendant skills whom, with a girding of grace from God, can transmit great works of literary, cultural, and artistic merit from the top down. The airwaves, the broadcasting media, our libraries, and galleries can be transformed into conduits of God's grace through high artistic endeavours.

As Archbishop Gomez eloquently put it, "Catholicism creates a culture. Catholicism is a way of living born from the encounter with a divine person, Jesus of Nazareth, who is the Word of God and the Son of God humbling himself to come among us in human form. With the incarnation, the world becomes charged with the grandeur of God."

Since the fruits of Vatican II have so far not provided the solutions to transmit the faith into the culture, the responsibility now falls on tradition to enlighten the world and bring Christ to the world once again. This message must be transmitted into the culture from the top down, starting with the high culture.

Archbishop Gomez goes on to say...

"For nearly 20 centuries, the world’s greatest artists were inspired by religious themes. By the search for God in a fallen world and by the great questions of human existence — who are we, where do we come from, why do we suffer and what is it that truly matters?... The people of our times are not satisfied by the temporary consolations and diversions of our consumer, secular society. Their hearts are troubled. They are restless to know that their life has value and meaning. They want to know love and wholeness and community. They want to know that there is something that lies beyond here, something more than this life. So let us pray for artists and writers, students, teachers, critics and readers."
This revolution will only come from individuals and brave souls who are willing to step up to the plate in mortification and from the fullness of grace that flows from tradition and the Latin Mass. It will take courage of individuals, but it is clear that there should now be a clarion call to transmit the goodness, beauty, and truths of Our Lord Jesus Christ into the culture and wider society.

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25/02/2018 - 10:00

Rosary on the Coast

Rosary on the Coast

for Faith, Life and Peace in the British Isles

Sunday 29 April 2018 at 3pm

How to get involved

On the website you will find:


Letter from the General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales, with the good wishes and prayers of Cardinal Nichols for this act of witness, and stating that Mgr. Armitage and Fr. Harries from the two National Shrines of Our Lady have recommended the project, and that the Bishops Conference of Scotland have given it a strong endorsement.


3 min YouTube with message of support from Bishop John Keenan of Paisley, Scotland


Interactive map with many locations already registered


Form to sign up a new Location, and link to sign up for email updates


Rosary on the Coast logo to use on any local event promotional material


A schedule of National Preparations from 1st March - Feast of St David, Patron of Wales

The intention is to include all coastal regions and offshore islands. Inland locations are also invited…

    Under the Resources section you will find practical guidelines and spiritual preparations, to be augmented in time.

Context of Prayer for a re flourishing of Faith across the British Isles

An opportunity to pray for a re-flourishing of faith across the British Isles as a means of preparing for a New Spring Time within the Church, so that we Christians of these lands might spread the Gospel in its fullness in a renewed and joyous way. We hope that Rosary on the Coast will bring from heaven the grace of renewed evangelistic outreach and zeal as we further the work of the New Evangelisation.

Context of Prayer for the Sanctity of the Human Person

The Abortion Act came into effect on 27 April 1968. This Act has overseen the killing of nearly nine million unborn children and yet society is in denial. The rosary is a powerful spiritual instrument to bring about a return to belief in God, an end to evil and for a rebuilding of a culture of Life.

Context of Prayer for Peace in our National life and throughout the World

There is a great unease in people’s hearts as helplessly they watch daily the news channels and their incessant litany of bad news and of horrors unthought-of. How are we all to respond with both generosity and compassion? Rosary on the Coast seeks through prayer for peace to awaken HOPE again and plead for PEACE from God throughout the world.

Please do whatever you can to help promote this Rosary prayer campaign as a contribution

to the re-evangelisation of our country. God bless you, and thank you,

Rosary on the Coast Coordinator

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24/02/2018 - 10:00

Chartres Pilgrimage: booking open

British pilgrims setting off from Notre Dame in Paris in 2014

Registration for the Chartres Pilgrimage is now open!
UK Pilgrims are spoilt for choice:
The long standing 'Chartres UK' group organised by Francis Carey, who will have a 'youth' chapter and one other: see the text below, or go here.
The Institute of Christ the King are organising a chapter: see the video below, see Facebook here and email
There is also a Scottish Chartres Chapter, which I introduced here. Email

From Francis Carey, Chartres UK.
Registrations for this year’s Pilgrimage to Chartres are now open! The 36th Chartres Pilgrimage has, as it’s theme, “St Joseph, Pilgirm and Servant”. We hope you are able to join us for this unforgettable pilgrimage in honour of Our Blessed Mother and the Holy Ghost.

The 25th British Pilgrimage leaves London on Friday, 18 May 2018 at 7:30 AM. (There will be a Mass of Departure in Westminster Cathedral Crypt at 7:00 AM). The Registration Form (attached/enclosed) should be completed and returned with a deposit of £50 per person to reserve your place. Payment in full by 25 March 2018 (Palm Sunday this year) please. We arrive back in London about 8PM on the following Tuesday, 22 May 2018. Following the Mass before departure; we take the Ferry to France; overnight stay Friday at the Hotel ibis, Aulnay sous Bois; 3 days of Pilgrimage; a hot meal and overnight stay in Chartres (L’Hotel); Mass in Chartres Cathedral Crypt; and return via Eurotunnel to London. We have decided to maintain the cost at £275.00 (£140.00 for Children under 12). Preliminary information is contained in the attached/enclosed sheet.

We will have one Youth chapter (ages 13-30) dedicated to St. Alban and one chapter (Our Lady of Walsingham) for everyone else! Please note that we have been unable to obtain our usual allocation of rooms in our hotel in Chartres and, therefore, there will be very few single rooms available. A single room in the Paris hotel only will be at a supplement of £30.00.   

Further information and updates may be posted to our website, Please contact us for any further information on email: We look forward to seeing you on the road to Chartres, Deo volente!

Video from the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest

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23/02/2018 - 17:52

An attack on older Traditionalists in the Catholic Herald

I'm cross-posting this from Rorate Caeli.

Davis in the Catholic Herald
In last weekend's Catholic Herald (Feb 16) Michael Davis (not to be confused with the late, great, Michael Traherne Davies) makes an extraordinary attack on the older generation of Catholics attached to the Traditional Mass. He does so in the context of an alleged contrast with younger Traditionalists. You can read the first part of his article, or pay to read the whole thing; I include some screenshots to give a flavour.
To generalise about Traditional Catholics as 'going out of [their] way to be nasty' or tainted by 'repugnant anti-Semitism' is wearily familiar, and I would not dignify it with a response but for the fact that Davis presents himself as a 'Traditionalist' (as he puts it), and the Catholic Herald is one of the more trad-friendly Catholic newspapers. Furthermore, Davis is the paper's US Editor, on the eve of their big launch in the USA. Rorate's Twitter feed put it well: what we see is the phenomenon of the "the self-hating self-righteous not-really-trad Trad." I've discussed other examples of the type here.

2nd snippet
If challenged Davis would doubtless claim that he is being frightfully clever, on behalf of the Traditional movement, since the thrust of the article is that the stereotype of the nasty trad is becoming out of date. But a moment's thought should have been enough to reveal that saying 'Yes the stereotype is true: but only of the older generation of traddies, and they are all dying off, hoorah!' is not a good PR strategy. The self-righteousness and lack of charity are awe-inspiring, but the take-home message is that the vicious polemic against us for the last forty years has been spot on: even self-confessed Traditional Catholics admit it.
But is it true? As I pointed out in my letter to the Editor of the Catholic Editor, which may be published next weekend, the founding leaders of the lay Traditional movement (and it is the laity Davis appears to have in mind), cannot be accused of these traits. Internationally and in Germany, the dominating figure from the 1960s to the 1980s was Eric de Savanthem, who had risked his life for his opposition to Hitler, and whose decency and kindness are admitted by everyone. Intellectual leadership was given by the philosopher Dietrich Von Hildebrand, who was on a Nazi assassination list when he fled Austria, eventually to arrive, penniless, in the USA. Other major figures in the movement include Hugh Ross-Williamson, a founder of the Latin Mass Society and a man of the political Left, and the Scot, Hamish Fraser, a former Communist Party activist who had fought for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War.
3rd snippet.
Are these the 'older generation' of Traditionalists Davis is talking about? Were they 'gratuitously nasty'? Were they anti-Semites? No one even superficially acquainted with their actions or writings could say so. The same is true of the following generation of leadership, who include the likes of the late Michael Davies and John Rao.
Davis refers to Bishop Richard Williamson and Hutton Gibson. He admits that what he is talking about is 'only a minority that gives the rest of us a bad name. But sadly the extremists are always the noisiest.' But they are not a 'minority', they are not even 'extreme' members of our group: these two, the only named targets in the article, are not any part of the Traditional movement which Una Voce organisations, the Traditional Institutes under the PCED, or the SSPX, would recognise. They are, as a result of their own choices, on the outside. No-one would have even heard of Gibson were it not for his famous son. Are Traditionalists to be judged by mainstream leaders, or by such marginalia? Well, do we judge the Novus Ordo world by reference to excommunicated pink-haired feminists who've had themselves ordained? De-frocked child-abusers? Priests excommunicated for breaking the seal of the Confession? Celebrity 'Catholics' who campaign for abortion? Of course not. Why are Traditionalists judged by a different standard?
Again, Davis may have met an anti-Semite or an aggressive older person at the Traditional Mass. He may even have met two or three. I could show him, at some of London's famous churches, tramps who sleep in the aisles, mad old ladies who carry statues around or hand out incoherent tracts about private revelations, and the occasional aggressive schizophrenic. Should we be expecting Novus Ordo Catholics to cringe and apologise for these figures? Of course not. But why are Traditionalists judged by a different standard?
Davis claims it is the older generation who are the problem. Well, I could introduce him to some very angry and off-putting older Novus Ordo Catholics, if we are in the business of invidious comparisons. People who don't just make themselves unpleasant in church, but make a public spectacle of themselves in print. I've made a particular study of the ones who regard themselves are 'conservatives', so I'm not just talking about the shouty liberals. It would never occur to me to say their behaviour is a problem for the Novus Ordo milieu as a whole, or to look forward to their deaths with anticipated satisfaction. Good grief! But why should Traditionalists be judged by a different standard?
Michael Davis' attack on the older generation of Traditional Catholics is not just lacking in filial pietas, a virtue he recommends to others in this very article, but is grossly unjust. The Traditional movement owes everything to the older generation: were it not for them, there would be no movement and no Traditional Mass today. As I wrote in 2013:

I should say, in passing, what a joy it is to meet and work with the older generation of the traditional movement. People sometimes characterise them as embittered and battle weary, but that is not my experience. Of course, things are beginning to go their way, which always helps. But these are people who maintained their integrity, or have rediscovered it, who lived through the horrors without giving in to the horror. Their obedience has been learnt by suffering. They have much to teach us, and are more than willing to pass it on. This is how the Church is supposed to work. (Here's one illustrative obituary, and here's another.)

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23/02/2018 - 09:03

Vestment repair day in the LMS Office

From the Guild of St Clare.

The Guild of St Clare has been asked to repair some vestments for the Latin Mass Society. These repairs will need to be undertaken in the LMS's office, in central London. We have arranged two dates when we will do this work: the 21st April and the 12th May, between the hours of 10am and 4pm. Lunch will be provided.

This violet High Mass Set is among the things needing attention

If you would like to join us, or want to know more about the details, please email me at Space in the LMS office is fairly limited, so we need to know how many people are planning to come.

The Office is at 11 - 13 Macklin Street LONDON WC2B 5NH

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