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Showing posts from October, 2012

What liturgy used to be like

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Fascinating footage from the restoration of Pluscarden Abbey to Catholic worship in 1948. The crowds are impressive, with people sitting precariously on various bits of stonework.

The liturgy looks rather haphazard by today's standards, reminding me of some of the footage of papal liturgies under Blessed John XXIII on YouTube. I suppose that television has had an influence in making MCs faff around less obviously.

It may be that there is also some "mutual enrichment" in that priests who say the usus antiquior Mass do not rush through it in 15 minutes, and High Masses, even with sacred ministers who are not too familiar with the rites, tend to be less obviously shambolic.

It could also be suggested that back in the 1940s people had a greater sense of the objective value of the Liturgy and did not worry so much about what it looked like. I don't think I buy that.

H/T New Liturgical Movement. The video was posted to YouTube by A Wandering Oblate.

Rowan Atkinson on freedom of speech

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There is more to this question than just the freedom to insult people - there are some kinds of speech that should be prohibited in a civilised society. Still, Rowan Atkinson is right on the ludicrous consequences of Section 5 of the Public Order Act and it is entertaining to hear him put the case.

H/T to LifeSite News

More photos fo the Forty Hours at Blackfen

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Mac McLernon at Mulier Fortis has posted some more photos of our Quarant' Ore.

Pange lingua gloriosi corporis mysterium
Tantum ergo sacramentum veneremur cernui
Da pacem, Domine
Early morning, set up for the Missa coram Sanctissimo
There are more photos at Mac's Flickr set

The blessing of the Forty Hours

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Our Forty Hours finished this morning with 10.30am Mass coram sanctissimo. It is a great blessing to be able to have such a devotion in the parish. People are generous in giving their time, day and night, to come and watch before Our Lord, and I have not doubt they will receive many blessings from Him. It is good for the priest too, to be there on the sanctuary as a priest (with cotta and white stole) praying together with his people, "a member of each family yet belonging to none."

I think that Our Lord works powerfully through this devotion, as though the illumination of His presence goes beyond those who come and watch, and passes through closed doors throughout the parish. Perhaps a marriage will be saved, or a man converted, or some discord settled. We do not know how Christ will use the little that we offer Him.

On a more mundane note, we have now more or less got the candle drill sorted. The thinnest candles, those in the Benediction candelabra, last about seven hour…

Good advice on promoting vocations

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At the Colloquium of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, Fr Stephen Langridge, Vocations Director for the Archdiocese of Southwark, gave a presentation explaining the rationale of vocations promotion and in particular, the change of model from recruitment to discernment.

He quoted Pope Benedict who pointed out that the priesthood is not like other professions: we cannot simply recruit people by using the right kind of publicity. We need to accompany those who are discerning their vocation, and be ready to give spiritual direction and advice. If a young man confides that he thinks he might have a vocation, it is no good telling him to come back after he has finished at university.

Fr Langridge pointed out that the process of discernment involves a conversion of life - turning away from sin, especially habits of sin, being involved with the service of others, and developing a structured rule of life appropriate to one who is considering preparing for sacred ministry.

At the same time…

Report on the Colloquium of the British Confraternity of Catholic Clergy

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Quam bonum et quam iucundum habitare fratres in unum.” The Colloquium of the British Province of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy was a great success. I missed lunch, having to travel after my morning duties in the parish, but arrived in time for the first Mass, celebrated by Bishop Philip Egan. An entertaining point in his sermon was his emphasis on the fostering of union with Christ which cannot be brought about by programmes or structures. He said that he did not believe in the doctrine of sola structura. Bishop Egan also encouraged us to make our own his desire to be humble and holy, orthodox, creative and courageous.

Fr Michael Lang spoke in the evening on the subject of “Fifty years after Sacrosanctum Concilium, Towards a New Liturgical Movement.” As we have come to expect from such a scholar, his lecture was informative, amusing, and encouraging. I look forward to reviewing it again when it is published in due course.

Yesterday morning we were treated to superb presentati…

The Ordinariate's Customary printed

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The new Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham has been published, and a fine book it looks, too. It contains the office for the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, the psalms in the Coverdale translation, and the office arranged according to the calendar for the Ordinariate.

I'm rather hoping to have choral evensong at Blackfen during the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity.

There are more photos of the new book at the Ordinariate's Flickr set and there is a report by Mgr Andrew Burnham at the Ordinariate website.

You can buy a copy from Amazon:



Celebrate the good of marriage while we still can

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The Coalition for Marriage have produced this short and simple video celebrating the good of marriage. It would be a good idea for Christians to produce more publicity of this sort while we still can.

It seems that even before any law is passed redefining marriage, people are being discriminated against for speaking in a way that recognises and upholds marriage as between a man and a woman.

For example, Adrian Smith commented on his Facebook page that permitting same-sex ‘marriages’ to take place in churches was “an equality too far”. The taxpayer-funded Trafford Housing Trust judged that he was guilty of gross misconduct and demoted from his managerial post with a consequent cut of 40% in his pay. The Christian Institute is supporting his legal fight against this action. (See the report from Christian Concern.)

And there was me thinking that our rule of democracy meant that people were able to debate the rights and wrongs of proposed new laws.

More from LMS Pilgrimage to Aylesford

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A new Facebook profile picture, possibly. I reported last week about the Latin Mass Society Aylesford Pilgrimage. Joe Shaw has published a Flickr set of photos and written a report. Matthew Schellhorn, Director of Cantus Magnus which provided music for the Mass has also written a report for LMS Southwark North. There you can find my sermon on St Edward the Confessor.

Papal fanon reappears

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This morning at Mass, the Holy Father wore the Fanon, a vestment reserved to the Pope alone and worn by him at Pontifical Mass.

Southern Order also reports that the Old Testament Lesson, Responsorial Psalm and Epistle were proclaimed from the Epistle side of the altar and the Gospel from the Gospel side of the altar.

As Fr Z would say: Brick by Brick

The infallibility of Canonisation

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Pope Pius XII canonising St Maria Goretti
It is a theologically certain doctrine that the canonisation of a saint is an infallible act of the Church's magisterium. I thought it might be useful to set down here some of the arguments that have been used by theologians. Just to be clear: the question is whether the doctrine:
"That the canonisation of a saint is an infallible act of the Church's magisterium." is itself theologically certain.

In his Quodlibets, St Thomas considered the question. Having affirmed that it was impossible for the Church to err in matters of faith, he went on to say:
“Because the honour which we show to the saints is a certain profession of faith by which we believe in the glory of the saints, it should be devoutly believed that not even in these matters can the judgement of the Church err.”(This is usually quoted in older books as Quodlibet 9.16 At the Corpus Thomisticum, you can find it at [68756] Quodlibet IX, q.8 corpus.)

Then a couple of …

Marie Stopes Belfast - Mass to pray for its closure

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Pro-abortionists have long been determined to introduce abortion to Northern Ireland, despite the majority of people from both Catholic and Protestant communities being opposed.

Sadly, Marie Stopes opened a new clinic in Belfast on Thursday, offering medical abortions up to nine weeks. There was a well-attended protest on the opening day. Latin Mass Belfast has the following announcement:
A Votive Mass of the Holy Angels will be offered in St Mary's Parish Church, Chapel Lane, Belfast, BT1 1HH on Tuesday, 30th October at 7pm. It will be offered with the intention of the closure of the new abortion facility in Belfast and the conversion of heart of those who would destroy their unborn children or help them in doing so.

CD 263 on being late for Mass

If I am late for Mass, at what point have I failed to fulfil the Sunday Mass obligation? For example if I miss the Gospel, have I missed Mass?
In older manuals of moral theology, this subject was discussed extensively. In the first place, it was always stated, and remains the case today, that Catholics are under obligation to attend the whole of Mass on days of precept. The answer to the question “When am I late for Mass?” is the same then as now: “If you arrive after it has started.”

The secondary question that was asked by the manualists, and considered at length, was what omission would constitute a mortal sin rather than a venial sin. Briefly, the answer is that it is grievous matter to miss a part of the Mass that is notable either because of its length or its importance. I would rather not go into the calculation of what is “notable” because we should regard all of the parts of the Mass as important, rather than trying to rank them so that we only commit a venial sin. Neverthel…

Ordinariate Day Conference on Evangelisation

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The Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham are holding a Day Conference for members and supporters on Friday 9 November at St Patrick's, Soho Square. The focus is on the new evangelisation as part of the development of the mission of the Ordinariate. See the Ordinariate website for full details.

The day concludes with Mass celebrated by Mgr Keith Newton, the Ordinary. Interestingly, the Mass will be celebrated according to the Book of Divine Worship which is permitted for use in the Personal Ordinariates. Clergy wishing to assist in choir at the Mass should bring cassock, surplice/cotta, and white stole.

Laity! Don't for heaven's sake read the texts of Vatican II

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Poster for talks on Vatican II at Blackfen. We will be looking at the texts.
For some time, various pressure-groups have been urging us to rediscover Vatican II, to celebrate those halcyon days when everything changed and we realised that the Church of the fifties was dead and a new dawn was breaking upon us – a New Pentecost, no less.

Now that the Year of Faith has begun, and many parishes are busily dusting off their copies of the documents of Vatican II, a new fear is beginning to stalk the land: “Vatican II fundamentalism.” There has been some nostalgia for the days when the young priest cast away his collar and took up a guitar, Latin was thrown out, and dissent from the teaching of the magisterium became widespread. This is rapidly giving way to panic that the People of God might actually read the documents – this would be disastrous because they will not see between the lines to the hidden meaning, and will only read the bad bits.

They will learn that Vatican II taught that th…

Last chance to book for CCC Colloquium

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There is still just time to book for the Colloquium of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy (details at the website) but you need to do so today, or tomorrow (Wednesday 17th) at the latest.

As I mentioned before, there is a great line-up of speakers, including the newly appointed Bishop Egan of Portsmouth. With nearly 100 priests attending so far, this promises to be a great get-together.

New edition of Ronald Knox Bible from Baronius Press

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Baronius Press today launches its new edition of the Knox version of the Bible.

Mgr Ronald Knox translated the Bible according to the classical English pattern (now found more commonly in the United States) rendering the text accurately into good English so that it would sound as if an Englishman had written it.

I have a 1955 edition given to me on the occasion of my Confirmation by my great-aunt, "Auntie Stella" who was "Mother Theresa" in the Daughters of Jesus. I took it with me to Rome as a student. One year (I think as an optional course in second cycle) I went to lectures given by a kindly American priest on the redaction criticism of the gospels. I think that he wanted to check that people were present, so he would look down his list, select a name and ask the person to read the passage under consideration from the bible that he had with him. He would then ask which translation the student had used. In a slightly mischievous frame of mind, once I saw that th…

St Edward, Blessed Alexandrina and Fatima

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Rather a rich day, devotionally speaking, when it is the feast of St Edward the Confessor, also of Blessed Alexandrina da Costa, and the anniversary of the last apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, coupled with the miracle of the sun.

After my own Low Mass, Exposition, Confessions and Benediction in the parish, I set my trusty Hyundai off on the A2 to Aylesford, a lovely location to celebrate further. Today was the Latin Mass Society Pilgrimage to Aylesford. We had Missa Cantata with John Taverner's Kyrie "Leroy", the rest of the Mass being his "Western Wynde". The singers were the group Cantus Magnus, led by Matthew Schellhorn, the LMS representative for Southwark North.

For the sermon, I concentrated on St Edward the Confessor, relating his saintly preservation of peace in the realm to the need for spiritual peace today in the face of of sin, the moral corruption of the young, the redefinition of marriage and the increasing encroachment of the state on the righ…

Savile, the BBC and the Church

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Have a look at the BBC's Obituary of Jimmy Savile from 29 October 2011. Here are some quotations which, I think, can be pasted without the need for me to add comments:
In his distinctive Yorkshire tones, the words "Now then, now then" meant Sir Jimmy Savile was getting down to business. [...]
He was on BBC television for nearly two decades from 1974 in his guise as a perennial Santa Claus, granting viewers' wishes from his magic chair on Jim'll Fix It. [...]
He personally helped the nursing staff at Leeds Infirmary and ran the entertainments section of Broadmoor high security psychiatric hospital. [...]
For more than three decades, Savile was most actively involved with the spinal unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire. He stayed there so often he had his own suite. [...]
Some questioned the motivation of the man behind such a singular public persona, but his energy and ability were beyond doubt. [...]
A self-professed loner, he nevertheless made a…

James MacMillan at Year of Faith Mass

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James MacMillan with students at the Faith Conference in 2010
James MacMillan, the Scots composer whose music was part of the Papal Masses at Glasgow, Birmingham and Westminster during the Papal visit to the UK, is in Rome this morning for the Mass to launch the Year of Faith. He is there to represent the artists of the world at this celebration with 400 Bishops and 60,000 pilgrims.

On BBC Radio's "Good Morning Scotland" programme, David Kerr of the Catholic News Agency speaks about this event and about James MacMillan. You can listen to the piece for the next seven days at this iPlayer link. The three minute segment starts at about 1hr 20min.

"October Baby" pro-life film evening

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Going out to see a good film at the cinema with friends is always a good night out. Even better if it is a private showing of a pro-life film and there are loads of other pro-life people there. So if you are free on Thursday 18 October, join Good Counsel Network and 40 Days for Life at Notting Hill.

Good Counsel Network are in the good position of already having more mothers who want their help in keeping their babies, as a result of the 40 Days for Life campaign. They are always in need of funds for their direct pro-life work and the showing of the film will also help them with much-needed funds.
Good Counsel Network and 40 Days for Life Presents October Baby
October Baby is a must see Pro-life film and will be showing for one night only at the Notting Hill Coronet Cinema, 103 Notting Hill Gate, London W11 3LB on Thursday 18th October at 6.30 pm.

Please note this is a PG-13 (in America) rated film, so should be suitable for all the family.  This film has been described as "a major …

Fr Hunwicke returns to the blogosphere

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In June 2011, Fr Hunwicke stopped blogging because of a misunderstanding of the content of his blog, which he regretted. He did post the news of his ordination to the diaconate and the priesthood earlier this year, but has now, Laus Deo,started blogging again in earnest.
The blog is now called Fr Hunwicke’s Mutual Enrichment, though it has the same URL. In the first new post, he has some good news from the Birmingham Oratory and an interesting snippet about Newman.
Welcome back to the blogosphere, Father!

C4M holds the largest fringe meeting at Tory conference

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The Coalition for Marriage yesterday put on the largest fringe meeting of this year's Conservative Party Conference. About a thousand people turned out to hear speakers defend the institution of marriage against its proposed redefinition, supported by the Prime Minister. Even the BBC admitted that
David Cameron could only dream of this sort of fervour when he delivers his big conference speech on Wednesday. The Coalition for Marriage petition has over 600,000 signatures to date. If you have forgotten to sign up, you can do so now.

Parish Feast Day

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We had a wonderful day today, celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary at Blackfen. First of all sung English Mass with the texts sung and a delightfully brisk "Daily Daily sing to Mary" at the offertory. Then Fr James Bradley of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham celebrated High Mass, assisted by Fr Bernard McNally as Deacon and myself as Subdeacon. Fr Bradley managed to bring into his excellent sermon the battle of Lepanto, our spiritual battle today, and the place of the Ordinariate in the Church.

After Mass, Christopher Lamb interviewed some of us about Vatican II for the Radio 4 Sunday  programme to be broadcast next Sunday morning. He got quite a lot of material so it will be interesting to see how the piece is put together. I'll post a link when the programme is broadcast.

After meeting people in the parish club, a group of us repaired with Fr Bradley to one of our favourite restaurants for Sunday - a Chinese restaurant in Bexleyheath which is packe…

There ain't no tropes in the Agnus Dei

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Jeffrey Tucker at The Chant Café has an article on the welcome news of a minor step forward in the reform of the reform. The Congregation for Divine Worship has asked the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops to change its musical guidelines so that the insertion of unauthorised texts into the middle of the Agnus Dei is no longer approved.
The headline which showed up on my google desktop, google reader, and various other reminders was "No more tropes in the Agnus Dei." I knew that this reminded me of something and this evening it came to me. It is Mrs Ape's famous hymn "There ain't no flies on the Lamb of God" which features during a rough sea passage in Vile Bodies. The reference deserves to be quoted in context:
To Father Rothschild no passage was worse than any other. He thought of the sufferings of the saints, the mutability of human nature, the Four Last Things, and between whiles repeated snatches of the penitential psalms. The Leader of his Ma…

Plenary Indulgence for the Year of Faith

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The Sacred Penitentiary has announced a plenary indulgence for the Year of Faith. Here are links to the official text (Latin) and to the summary at news.va.

Indulgences are an important and neglected part of the life of the Church. Pope Paul VI's Indulgentiarum Doctrina is the best exposition of the theology and practice of indulgences that I have read. I don't necessarily agree with all the practical reforms (but, of course, I observe them in obedience to the Church) but Pope Paul VI added an important magisterial teaching to that of the Council of Trent which had to focus on eradicating abuses. For example, Pope Paul explains the benefit of indulgences for us:

They teach us how sad and bitter it is to have abandoned the Lord God by sin (cf. Jer 2.19)They teach us how closely we are united to each other in ChristAnd therefore they encourage charity in us, especially when we apply indulgences to those who have died.
If you are not sure about indulgences, I do recommend reading…

A resource to help people understand the reform of liturgical music

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Ben Whitworth’s pamphlet for the CTS "Music in the Liturgy" is an authoritative and accessible introduction to the question of music in the Liturgy, a discussion that is at last beginning to filter down to at least some ordinary parishes.

The pamphlet relates to the Novus Ordo Mass. For the usus antiquior, the music question is more straightforward: if you have High Mass or a Missa Cantata, the choir sings the propers, and you have the choice of the congregation singing the Ordinary, either all together or antiphonally with the choir, or the choir singing a polyphonic setting. It is also possible to have low Mass with hymns.

The work of the New Liturgical Movement, Chant Café, and let's be fair, Jeffrey Tucker especially, has begun to have an influence on the celebration of the Novus Ordo. (Though there are still plenty of people who just don’t get it: the Liturgy Music Planner for my own Diocese, sent to all parish priests, still gives a list of hymns that are suppose…

Tablet attack on Vatican II

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This week’s Tablet editorial speaks of the texts of the Second Vatican Council as a “baseline” for any interpretative application of the Council’s teaching. Like me, you may be scratching your head, since the texts are the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, with the authority of the Bishops of the universal Church, confirmed and ratified by the Pope.

Later we are told that the texts are not “legal documents or unalterable Holy Writ, once-for-all and perpetually binding.” Well no, none of those things. In practical, pastoral and prudential matters, the Council’s provisions are not perpetually binding any more than Lateran IV’s instruction to Jews to wear a badge or the Council of Vienne’s mandating of the burning of homosexuals. As was pointed out by a learned friend of mine, nobody today would want to invoke the spirit of Vienne.

Nevertheless, if we are talking about the second Vatican Council, it is the texts that matter. Subsequent legislation, implementation, or interpretatio…

CD 261 on perfect contrition

You spoke of an act of perfect contrition, but I thought it was almost impossible for an average person to make such an act because you have to be free of all attachment to sin. (Or am I confusing this with indulgences?)
Yes, it is the plenary indulgence for which we need to be free of all attachment to sin – but I think that an average person can gain plenary indulgences, and indeed make an act of perfect contrition.

The word “perfect” here refers to the motive for which the act of contrition is made, namely the love of God. An act of imperfect contrition is made when we have a lesser motive such as fear of hell, disgust for sin, or a sense of letting ourselves down. Imperfect contrition is sufficient for the sacrament of penance but an act of perfect contrition means that our sins are forgiven immediately, provided that we also intend to confess them in the sacrament of penance. The various traditional acts of contrition found in prayer books give us a form of words in which we expr…

Mgr Gordon Read new LMS chaplain

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The Latin Mass Society has announced the appointment of Mgr Gordon Read, Chancellor of Brentwood Diocese, as its new National Chaplain. Here is a link to the full press release.

People sometimes think that I am a canonist. Speaking to canon lawyers over the years, especially over breakfast at Wonersh, I am left in no doubt at all that I have little expertise in that area: I like to tell people that I am not a canonist but a dogmatist.

Mgr Read however, is a highly respected canonist of great experience. I have had occasion to consult him in the past, always profiting from his expertise. He is also a thoroughly genial chap, and held in great respect by clergy and laity alike.

Please also say a prayer for the former chaplain, Fr Andrew Southwell who is going to study in Rome, at the Angelicum


Catholic Church Hall - no samadhi-seeking here please

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Fr John Chandler, a recently ordained priest of Portsmouth Diocese, must be somewhat nonplussed that his decision to withdraw the use of his Church Hall for a Pilates class that turned out in fact to be a Pilates and spiritual Yoga class, has led to a feeding frenzy in the world's press. Fr Chandler is to be commended for his clear-sightedness and courage in taking a stand on this issue despite the storm of negative publicity. He is quite right to refuse to allow the Church premises to be used for something incompatible with the Catholic faith. I am sure that Bishop Egan, the new Bishop of Portsmouth, will be very supportive of his action.

Read Daily Telegraph article or any one of the other 250 or so pieces you will find with a quick Google News search. They all seem to have the same quotes repeated probably from one of the agencies. Hence you learn of Cori Withell's indignant protest that she paid £180 for the use of the Hall - without hearing that (obviously) she got her m…

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