Latin Mass Society

Chairman's Blog

19/09/2019 - 17:29

Cardinal Burke in London: photos


His Eminence Raymond, Cardinal Burke, celebrated Low Mass in the Shrine Church of Corpus Christi on Monday 16th September, at the request of the Latin Mass Society. We were very honoured by his kindness in doing this, which is very characteristic of him.


This church is one of London's historic Catholic churches, and has a special place in the history of the Traditional Mass, as thanks to various parish priests over the years the celebration of the ancient Mass never ceased here. Today it is, of longstanding custom, celebrated every Monday evening, a Mass organised by the Latin Mass Society, and on some other occasions as well. Cardinal Burke was a very special celebrant, therefore, for this regular Mass, which is usualy a Missa Cantata.


The Shrine Custodian and Parish Priest, Fr Alan Robinson, very generously assisted us in preparing for this Mass in his church, which took place also with the knowledge and good will of His Eminence Vincent, Cardinal Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster. We are very grateful to all those who made this Mass possible.


The church was absolutely packed, with about 300 people. Cardinal Burke had previously been to Glasgow and had celebrated Mass there for the anniversary of Summorum Pontificum. He subsequently addressed the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy in London.


The Mass was Low, celebrated in a solemn form, and accompanied by some lovely music by Elgar, Franck and Palestrina, sung by Cantus Magnus under the direction of Matthew Schellhorn.


His Eminence was assisted by two Chaplains of Honour, Mgr Gordon Read and Fr Rupert McHardy of the London Oratory. The Master of Ceremonies was Mr Richard Picket. We had a very well-prepared serving team, which included many of those who serve regularly for the Monday Masses in Corpus Christi. These photographs were taken by a professional photographer, John Aron.





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11/09/2019 - 11:00

Reminder: Server training in London this Saturday

Enrollmemts into the Society of St Tarcisius on the Walsingham Pilgrimage

The training days for Altar servers have been a great success, regularly attracting a dozen participants. The servers' sodality we have established, the Society of St Tarcisius, now has 59 enrolled members, from as far away as Bristol and Edinburgh.

In the London events, the Guild of St Clare has a vestment-mending day running alongside the server training, making use (at St Mary Moorfield's) of the large and well-appointed basement.

The next two events, on this Saturday, one next month, are both in St Mary Moorfields, 4-5 Eldon St, London EC2M 7LS (click for a map):

Saturday 14th September (booking page here)

Saturday 30th November (booking page here).

Please book for the server training; if you wish to participate in the vestment mending, email the Guild of St Clare. (It really helps to know how many people are coming!)

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09/09/2019 - 11:42

Gender theory is ruining theatre

My latest on LifeSiteNews.
By the time I finally stopped watching television, more than a decade ago, even the shows I liked best were being spoiled by the producers’ need to include politically correct themes, issues, and characters. There can be no objection to having, for example, bad people, in fiction, who are nominally Christian, or good people who are same sex–attracted, but if they invariably turn out that way, one begins to wonder if something strange is going on. At the same time, writers were having to make their plots more and more macabre to maintain a constant level of shock value. Between the obeisance to political correctness and the display of dismembered corpses, the human interest of the drama seemed to have slipped away.
The decay of modern culture manifests itself in a different way in theatre. I watch a fair number of plays, including open-air Shakespeare and student productions in and around Oxford. The summer season has just come to a close, and while some of the productions have been excellent, others have been problematic. When presenting classical drama, a view has taken hold, less so at the top level of professional theatre, but elsewhere, that the sex of a character does not affect the relationships between that character and others.
06/09/2019 - 13:17

Eucharistic Adoration is not the answer to the crisis of faith in the Real Presence


My latest on LifeSiteNews.
Recently, it was reported that more than half of self-described Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence at all. As I have written before, this represents an emergency, a pastoral crisis, which has received a somewhat lethargic response. Not long before the survey about beliefs came out, Stephen Bullivant’s survey on lapsation recorded lapsed Catholics complaining that their parish catechists didn’t believe the Faith and were not passing it on. It seems that some of our lapsed brothers and sisters would like to insist on higher standards of orthodoxy than some of our priests and bishops.
Apart from catechesis and preaching, one traditional response to error about one doctrine or another is to emphasize the correct teaching liturgically. Bowing or kneeling at references to the Incarnation (in the Creed, when we say “and was made man”), for example, helps to hammer home the truth about that. I am a strong believer in the power of the liturgy to reinforce the Faith: for one thing, it is impossible to get adult Catholics to go to catechism classes, but if they come to church at all, they will experience the liturgy. Can Eucharistic Adoration help, then, in restoring the sense among Catholics that Christ is truly present in the Host?
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05/09/2019 - 14:51

Paganism old and new

My latest on LifeSiteNews.

recent study by the London-based Benedict Centre has shown that up to half of self-described atheists and agnostics across different countries believe in ‘underlying forces of good and evil’ and that ‘significant events are “meant to be”’. This is a reminder that a large part of the decline of religious practice and belief in the West is not about rejecting the supernatural realm, but adopting a kind of vague paganism. This should not be confused, however, with the paganism of the ancient world.
Contrary to what is sometimes claimed, the people of ancient Greece and Rome had an uneasy conscience about many of the practices Christianity later suppressed, which are re-emerging today. The Greek historian of Rome, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, praised Rome’s mythical founder, Romulus, for making marriage a holy and indissoluble institution (Roman Antiquities II.25), from which it later declined. It’s far from clear what historical basis there might be to this claim, but it represents an ideal, a golden age, from which the Romans and Greeks of Dionysius’s own day fell short.

Carry on reading.

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04/09/2019 - 10:39

Cardinal Pell and contempt for justice

My latest on LifeSiteNews.


As I have written before, the conviction of Cardinal Georgy Pell, despite being upheld on appeal, is difficult to understand. On the one hand, as Pell’s legal team painstakingly explained, it was essentially impossible for Pell to have abused two choristers (as alleged) in a sacristy, while still vested, without anyone noticing, at a time when he would actually have been outside the front of the cathedral talking to Mass-goers. On the other hand, the only evidence against him is the word of one accuser; the other alleged victim denied that the abuse took place.
However the jury and two court of appeal came to their decisions, doubts will continue to be voiced, especially in light of the carefully argued dissenting opinion by one of the appeal-court judges.

Carry on reading.

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29/08/2019 - 10:00

Young Catholic Adults annual retreat 25-27 Oct

During the weekend of the 25-27 October 2019, Young Catholic Adults will be running a retreat at Douai Abbey, it will feature author and associate editor of the Catholic Herald Stephen Bullivant, Fr. Stewart Foster (Brentwood Diocese), Canon Poucin ICKSP, Dom. Jonathan Rollinson (Bemont Abbey) and Dom. Christopher Greener (Douai Abbey).

The weekend will be full-board. YCA will be running the weekend with the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge who will be holding Gregorian Chant workshops.

There will also be a Marian Procession, Rosaries, Sung Masses, Confession and socials. All Masses will be celebrated in the Extraordinary form.

Please note to guarantee your place this year Douai Abbey have requested that everyone books in 3 weeks before the start of the weekend i.e.4th Oct 2019.

More information:

To book:-

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29/08/2019 - 10:00

Young Catholics deserve answers, not scorn

Cross-posted from Rorate Caeli.

LMS Pilgrims at the site of the Holy House in Walsingham on Sunday.

Recent days have seen one of those waves of attacks on Traditional Catholics on social media. I have responded to one aspect of it, that of simple charity, with a Twitter-thread you can see here. Here I want to look at another aspect of it: the kinds of things the supposedly hateful traddies are talking about.

We all know how anti-trad moral panics work. Some one claims to have experienced ‘bossybitter’, or ‘extreme’ views, not from an established writer, but by some Twitter or Facebook account with 12 followers, if we are allowed to know who it is. Other people then chime in to say, Wow, I’ve had the same experience: not pausing to consider the fact that, unless they live under a stone, they’ll also have had one or two bad experiences with every other category of human being on the planet with more than a handful of members.
It doesn’t seem to occur to those making this criticism that they are doing precisely what they are usually accusing Traditional Catholics of doing: of being rather quick to condemn others. Those of them who are not obscure Twitter accounts with 12 followers ought to know better. But let that pass. The other question is whether we should be having these discussions which the trads are having, and if so, what they should be like.

It is sometimes said that in former ages of theological dispute, ordinary Catholics became involved in a way which demonstrated the liveliness of their faith. Many do not seem very pleased when they see this happening in our own day. When ordinary Catholics, Catholics without technical theological knowledge or intellectual formation, get involved, then the debate tends to be conducted at a less sophisticated level, than it would be in a theology seminar. What do you expect?

I won’t deny that on some topics I find the online debate frustrating. The topic of women’s clothing is an example which could stand for a number of others. A bit of historical and theological context would—in my view—be useful. A few distinctions would help. I don’t want to criticise the people raising the issue, however, because it is a debate we have to have. And if it only being discussed in fairly crude terms, that reflects the failure of intellectual leadership on this issue, as on so many others. Intellectual leadership which those complaining about the situation would do well to display themselves.

On this topic, as on so many others, the only view which is not going to be labelled ‘extreme’ is the view of not having a view at all: of not having anything to say on the subject. When young Catholics ask what resources the Catholic Tradition might have which would help them in living with the accelerating melt-down of ordinary social norms, because they want to live in decency and raise children formed in purity, the Catholic ‘mainstream’ has nothing to say. Actually, it is worse than that: too often it is implied that it is improper even to ask such a question.

I remember this attitude from my own school days. Towards the end of a lesson in ‘religious studies’ I once asked my teacher, a Benedictine priest, ‘Well, what does the Church teach about this?’ From his look of horror, you’d think I’d asked for instruction in necromancy.

So what happens is that these young Catholics search the internet and discover, say, that St Pio of Pietrelcina didn’t like women to wear trousers. Yes, it’s a pretty limited data-set from which to reconstruct a robust and nuanced Catholic culture of clothing. If you don’t like it, then you’ve got to stop abusing people for wanting answers, and take the risk of offending some people by providing better answers. (I’ve made a bit of a start on this here.)

The same goes for long-standing issues about Vatican II and its consequences, and newer issues raised by Pope Francis. Like the ‘Dubia Cardinals’, young Catholics want answers to some pretty important questions, not because they want to condemn others for getting it wrong, but because in an era of moral and spiritual crisis they want to conform themselves to the truth. They are told that they should not be asking the questions, let alone trying to articulate possible answers among their friends on social media.

I can hear the scoffs as I write these words. Those young, traddy Catholics: don’t they just think they are better than others?

Actually, these young people are often people who have changed, who have struggled with temptation, who have resolved to live a life at odds with the expectations of the modern world out of respect for the teaching of the Church. Yes, they are imperfect, and they suffer from the lack of formation common in our parishes and schools. But they are the ones who are trying to think things through and do better. If you see young Catholic women wearing mantillas, or young Catholic men even going to church on a Sunday, you are looking at people who are almost certainly scorned by their work colleagues, their college contemporaries, and quite possibly their parents, for taking the Catholic Faith seriously. It is depressing to see self-described Catholic moderates joining the pile-on.

If you think they’ve got in wrong, point them towards resources which will help them. If you think they shouldn’t be allowed to discuss issues which make you feel uncomfortable, then you are part of the problem.

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28/08/2019 - 18:00

More photos of the Walingham Pilgrimage 2019


 Fr Terrance Naughton OFM Conv was the celebrant at the High Mass in the Catholic Shrine's Reconciliation Chapel. Since it was a Sunday, we had the Asperges, though in the Shrine it is possible to have a Votive Mass of Our Lady.


The chapel presents a challenge for photography, with strong sunlight pouring through the windows behind the altar.


We begin the procession to the site of the Medieval Shrine in the ruined Priory: the Holy Mile.




At the site of the Holy House, which was the original shrine at Walsingham dating to before the Norman Conquest, we have a final series of devotions. We finish the Rosary we began on the procession, sing the Te Deum, the Litany of Loreto, and Faith of Our Fathers, and finally have the blessing of returning piligrms from the Roman Ritual.


In the meantime pilgrims venerate the statue we have carried for the last 15 miles. This has been blessed for public veneration; we also use it for the Oxford Pilgrimage.


Thus ends the Pilgrimage. For pilgrims staying the night locally, we always have a Sung Mass in the Slipper Chapel on Monday. This medieval chapel marked the start of the Holy Mile; since it came back into Catholic hands in the early 20th century, it has been restored and become the centre of the Catholic shrine.


This year our Sung Mass was followed by two Low Masses, back to back, celebrated by different priests: above, by Fr Henry Whisenant, and below, by Fr Philomeno.


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28/08/2019 - 11:55

Photos of the Walsingham Pilgrimage


High Mass in St Ethelreda's, Ely. We had four priests with us so High Mass was possible every day of the pilgrimage. (Votive Mass for Pilgrims.)


Fr Michael Rowe, who is based in Perth, Australia, blesses the pilgrims before the start of the walking, in the Methodist Hall in Ely, where we had breakfast (and dinner the evening before).


Mass in the chapel of Oxburgh Hall is always a highlight of the pilgrimage, thanks to the hospitality of the Bedingfeld family who still live in the historic Catholic house. Fr Henry Whisenant sings the Gospel (feast of St Batholemew).



Walking through the charming village of Great Massingham, where we stop on Saturday evening.


At Great Massingham we camp on the playing field behind the village hall. We had an enrollment of the Society of St Tarcisius, the LMS' guild for altar servers, of six new members.


Setting off again after an early lunch on Sunday. On Sunday we carry the processional statue with us.


The final approach to Houghton St Giles and the Catholic Shrine: the three chapters join up into one procession.


Prayers and a blessing outside the Slipper Chapel, before our Mass.

To be continued.

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