Thursday, August 30, 2007

Latin Mass Society at Oxford

I see from reports in the blogosphere that the training session for the 1962 missal was a great success. I would have liked to have been there to see what was going on but as I already know how to celebrate the 1962 missal and have been doing so since 1989 I couldn`t think of a reason for going. Most of the Catholics in this country live in the north of the country yet there doesn`t seem to be the interest in having such a session up here. I suppose we were already blessed a couple of years ago when bishop Roche of Leeds asked for younger priests who were interested in celebrating the 1962 missal to come forward and instruction was arranged for them in the diocese. That was quite a prophetic move as it turns out.
Not a lot has been heard from the hierarchy of this country about how the new legal situation for the 1962 missal will affect us. I can somehow imagine we will be reminded that only qualified priests will be suitable to celebrate but will there then be diocesan training sessions for those priests who wish to become `idoneus`? Maybe we can look forward to Latin tuition for priests whose seminary training did not match the requirements of the 1983 code of canon law that they be well versed in Latin ( canon 249). It was never the case when I was at seminary that this canon was obeyed. There was an optional Latin course but with so many other compulsory courses this was never going to fulfil the requirement. It was different in Rome where the charismatic Fr Reggie Foster taught an optional Latin course for English speakers which was always popular but again so far as I am aware no-one had to do it as part of the path to ordination.

Apart from that one hopes that seminaries will now also see to it that instruction in the 1962 missal is part of priestly formation otherwise priests will be being ordained without being able to celebrate the Roman Rite in both its ordinary and extraordinary forms.

In the meantime I have listened to the requests of my `stable group` (sorry Fr Zuhlsdorf, I know you don`t like that translation of the rather rare word continenter but it is useful shorthand!) which comes for my up to now `private` 1962 Mass on a Saturday morning and will mark the new legal situation with a low Mass at St Mary`s on the evening of September 14th at 7pm. I don`t expect this will be the only request they will make!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I enjoyed this at the Curt Jester:

Here are the top five surprising results to Summorum Pontificum:

Progressive liturgists and others are now finally concerned that priests properly know and use the rubrics. At least for the extraordinary form of Mass in the Latin Rite.

A new concern for the number of people attending Mass. Declining numbers at experimental liturgy did not invoke a similar concern.

That priests more than adequately know Latin. At least if they want to be allowed to celebrate the 1962 missal.

The word "extraordinary" is finally coming to a proper understanding of what it means. Now if only they can learn to take the same view towards Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.
Some bishops are now much more concerned about how liturgy is celebrated in their diocese and even want to test their priests capability in this regard. Maybe even one day the same concern will be applied to the ordinary form of the Mass.


The first reading at Mass today is one my favourites:

Then the angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite. While his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press to save it from the Midianites, the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said, "The LORD is with you, O champion!" "My Lord," Gideon said to him, "if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are his wondrous deeds of which our fathers told us when they said, 'Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?' For now the LORD has abandoned us and has delivered us into the power of Midian."

What I enjoy is the exchange between the angel who greets Gideon with a Dominus vobiscum (`the Lord is with you` in this context) and who gets the reply `Well if He is why are things so terrible?` It almost sounds liturgical.

For more on Gideon and the angel cf. Fr Mark at Vultus Christi with reflection on how this applies t0 Summorum Pontificum.

Henshaws Society

At the suggestion of a parishioner who has tunnel vision and asked me whether I had any idea what that was like, we had a parish study session this morning on visual problems, given by Penny and Philippa from Henshaws Society. As I am, on a good day, quite interested in trying to understand other people`s experience and point of view, I found it a useful introduction to issues of visual impairment. Apart from the four most common causes of sight problems we heard about the alarming Charles Bonnet Syndrome which causes people to see things that aren`t there, often children or animals, although one lady at the meeting revealed she sees a half a man walking around, as a result of this condition. Our presenter thought it might be useful for me to know about this when people report seeing ghosts although most of the ghosts I`ve been called out for seem to respond well to holy water but its worth bearing in mind if it is an elderly person who is seeing things. Here is picture of some of the parish looking at items to help people with visual impairment.

Monday, August 20, 2007


Fr Zuhlsdorf had an article on his blog on 8th August about what is a real 1962 missal. The issue is to do with the inclusion of St Joseph`s name in the canon. I have a missal that was published in 1962. The first document is a letter of approval by Cardinal Spellman dated the 10th April 1962. The letter states that this missal conforms to the typical edition approved in Rome on 21st October 1961. This missal does not include St Joseph in the canon. Fr Zuhlsdorf has a missal with a Roman decree of 23rd June 1962 (which mine naturally lacks) and does include St Joseph. While I am happy to concede that the decree of June 1962 establishes the authoritative text for the 1962 missal when I look in Ochoa`s Leges Ecclesiae (a collection of all laws and significant documents published by the Holy See from 1917-1985) I find the decree that asked for St Joseph to be included was published on 13th November 1962 and the change was to come into effect on 8th December 1962. Was there another editio typica published after November 13th 1962? Ochoa does not have the decree of 23rd June 1962 and so may not have included another decree authorising the publication of a missal with the name of St Joseph included.
Then there`s the question of the Confiteor before Communion. It was abolished by the time of the 1962 missal but many people, myself included, like to have it. I believe that in the past Ecclesia Dei said it was ok to use it. Maybe there will be a clarification about this and other matters from that office.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Today at Mass I spoke about images we might have of Jesus Christ and how the Gospel reminds us of the danger of thinking we have our image all sorted out and how we may have to ask ourselves whether we have covered all the possibilities. The Gospel was Luke 12,49-53 where Christ says he has come to bring fire to the earth and not peace. I mentioned that other`s images of Christ may surprise us. Here are the most surprising I have ever seen. I mentioned them at Mass and said they were the work of evangelicals but I see my memory played me false and they are produced by a Catholic firm. I include one as a sample here.

Maybe this works for some people but it just seems rather weird to me. Suffice to say I won`t be buying any of these for the church! As you may have gathered I`m rather interested in church art and architecture and the effect such things have on our understanding of the faith. I`ve read the first few pages of the Moyra Doorly book and I`m sure I`m going to enjoy it. I`ll give a taste with a couple of paragraphs in another post. in the meantime Imust finish the book on Pilate by Tuesday night.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Coming to a cathedral near you?

Hat tip to Whispers in the Loggia for this video account of the Mass celebrated by Bishop Salvatore Matano of Burlington in the USA. Particularly enjoyable is the bishop`s statement: "And if this is what it takes to fill our churches, so be it!"

September`s not far off now!


As many blogs are reporting EWTN will broadcast a celebration of a Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form ( aka `Tridentine`) on September 14th, the day the new law comes into effect. I don`t have EWTN but hope to get to see this somehow. It is available to anyone with a SKY satellite system. Here is the report:

EWTN to Televise Live Tridentine Mass Celebrated by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter

DENTON, Nebraska - AUGUST 17, 2007 - For the first time in its 26 year history, Mother Angelica’s Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) will be broadcasting a live Solemn High Mass at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama on September 14, 2007 at 8:00AM EST. EWTN has asked for the assistance of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, an international Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right, to help celebrate this “extraordinary” form.

This past July 7th, Pope Benedict XVI affirmed the beauty and importance of the Tridentine Mass by issuing Summorum Pontificum, a papal document encouraging and confirming the right of all Latin Rite priests to use this more ancient use of the Mass starting September 14th. The Tridentine Mass was the normative liturgy experienced by Latin Rite Catholics prior to the Second Vatican Council.

“Most Catholics have not seen this heavenly celebration in over 40 years,” said Father Calvin Goodwin, a professor at the Society’s international English-speaking seminary located in Denton, Nebraska. “We are very excited to help EWTN and to support the Holy Father’s call for a wider presence of this form of the Mass. This is a cause for great joy.”

Priests and seminarians from Denton, Nebraska will travel to Alabama and provide the celebrant, deacon, subdeacon, preacher, master of ceremonies and altar servers.

About the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter: Established in 1988 by Pope John Paul II, the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter is an international society of Catholic priests entrusted with the preservation and administration of the Catholic Church’s ancient Latin liturgical traditions. Over 120 seminarians are preparing for the priesthood in the Fraternity’s two seminaries in Bavaria, Germany and Denton, Nebraska.

About EWTN: Founded by Mother Angelica, a Poor Clare nun, the Eternal Word Television Network has become the largest religious media network in the world, transmitting programming 24 hours a day to more than 123 million homes in 140 countries and territories on more than 4,800 cable systems, wireless cable, Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS), low power TV and individual satellite users.

Contact:Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary7880 West Denton RoadDenton, NE 68339 U.S.A.(402) 797-7700

Friday, August 17, 2007

Cardinal Lustiger

I must admit I didn`t know very much about the recently deceased Cardinal Lustiger but today I found this reminiscence on the Laus Crucis blog of a Passionist priest which I thought was interesting:

I remember well his homily at the Chrism Mass the year I left Paris (1996) at which he told us that the Diocese of Paris was now ordaining more priests per year than at any time since the French Revolution. A great promoter of vocations and supporter of young priests (-he ordained two hundred and thirty priests in his twenty four years as Archbishop of Paris), he went on in his homily to address the older priests of the diocese, reminding them that, when many of them had been young priests in the 1960s, the old parish priests had tolerated their ways of doing things and had allowed them the freedom to be priests of a different style; then he asked, “And will you not do the same for the young priests of today?”

May he rest in peace.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Church architecture

Yesterday I received my copy of `No place for God: the denial of the transcendent in modern church architecture` by Moyra Doorly, an English Catholic architect. It is published by Ignatius Press. I look forward to starting it next week once I have finished the book for the parish reading group meeting on Tuesday. We are reading Pilate the biography of an invented man by Ann Wroe. Maybe Moyra Doorly`s book could be the next book for the group. It chronicles the familiar story of the creation of Brutalist and baffling new churches and the destruction of the interiors of existing Catholic churches which has taken place over the last forty years and which shows little sign of abating. On the dellachiesa blog which I discovered tonight I saw a link to this story about Fulton Sheen`s cathedral in Rochester, New York.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Assumption

How wonderful to read on Fr Zuhldorf`s blog that Cardinal O`Brien of Edinburgh was present at the traditional Mass of the Assumption in that city tonight celebrated at the church where Fr Emerson of the FSSP has a Sunday Mass. What a marvellous example for other bishops. I just got back from Edinburgh yesterday after a couple of days at the Festival with Fr Briggs of Chislehurst. I would have liked to have had a couple more days in Edinburgh but had to get back for the Holyday of Obligation.

Tonight I filled in at the traditional Mass at Ryhope as the normal celebrant of the monthly Mass, Fr Phillips, was away. St Patrick`s at Ryhope is a lovely church. I wish I had taken my camera tonight. The former parish priest Fr Elkin re-introduced the traditional Mass in the 1990`s (and now continues to celebrate a Sunday Mass in his present parish at Barnard Castle. He is at present the only parish priest in the diocese to celebrate a traditional Mass every Sunday in his own parish. I had shared that privilege with him until my move in 2005. Fr Dixon at St Joseph`s Gateshead celebrates some Sundays.) He was followed by Fr Percy, a convert clergyman, who died in 2005 but who left money for the church to be restored. The sanctuary carpet is, I am delighted to hear, about to replaced with a marble floor.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Catholic Social Justice

This is the book to which Damian Thompson has drawn attention for its attacks on Pope Benedict, family values, pro-life campaigners and which has a forward by bishop Budd. I thought it was strange to see on Amazon the other books people have bought who bought this book. It reads:
Customers Who Bought Items Like This Also Bought

The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley
The Water Babies DVD ~ James Mason; Bernard Cribbins; Billie Whitelaw; Joan Greenwood; David Tomlinson; Tommy Pender; Samantha Gates; Paul Luty; Jon Pertwee; Olive Gregg; Lance Percival; David Jason; Cass Allan; Liz Proud; Una Stubbs
The Secret Garden (Penguin Popular Classics) by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Peter Pan (Penguin Popular Classics) by J.M. Barrie
Jungle Books (Penguin Popular Classics) by Rudyard Kipling
The Wind in the Willows (Penguin Popular Classics) by Kenneth Grahame


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Fr Tissa Balasuriya

Damian Thompson today has a post on his always interesting Holy Smoke blog about a new book, Catholic Social Justice. It appears to be a rather worrying book. In his article Fr Tissa Balasuriya speaks of the Pope`s inability to understand the developing world because he lives in an atmosphere of white racism. He also has a sentence which reads: “The 21st century was born in violence, with the ‘terrorist’ air attack on New York on 11 September 2001 and the invasion of Iraq by the USA, the UK and Australia on 18 March 2003.” Mr Thompson rightly questions why the word terrorist is in inverted commas. Fr Tissa Balasuriya was excommunicated in January 1997 for his opinions expressed in his book Mary and Human Liberation which endorsed a relativistic view of religions and so denied the unique place of Christ. In January 1998 he signed a statement which satisfied the authorities that he still held the Catholic faith and was reconciled to the Church. However the article in this book shows that he is not as much at peace with the Church as one might hope.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


The NLM and Rorate Caeli blogs carry links to a new dossier on the history of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum compiled by Don Nicola Bux and Don Salvatore Vitiello. This I found interesting and wondered how many cases there had been:

In this context, it should be noted that the Holy See does recognize the right of the priest to celebrate the traditional Mass; this is borne out by the fact that whenever priests are unjustly suspended for celebrating the Old Mass against the will of their bishops, the Roman Curia always nullifies the penalty whenever the cases are appealed. It is the present jurisprudence of the Church that, upon appeal, any suspension that an Ordinary attempts to inflict on a priest for celebrating the Old Mass against the will of the bishop is automatically nullified.

Looking forward to September!

The end of triumphalism

I thought this extract from the Pope`s recent answers to the local clergy when he was on holiday was useful. His response was about the fruits of Vatican II. He said:

The Council had said that triumphalism must be renounced – thinking of the Baroque, of all these great cultures of the Church. It was said: Let’s begin in a new, modern way. But another triumphalism had grown, that of thinking: We will do things now, we have found the way, and on it we find the new world.

But the humility of the Cross, of the Crucified One, excludes precisely this triumphalism as well. We must renounce the triumphalism according to which the great Church of the future is truly being born now. The Church of Christ is always humble, and for this very reason it is great and joyful.

I have lost count of the number of times I have come across this kind of triumphalism in Church life. There are plenty around who think that now we have at last got things right. As the Holy Father points out, what has such an attitude got to do with humility? The full text of his response which also contains interesting reflections on the chaos after the Second Vatican Council can be read here.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Let`s hope we see more of this

Damian Thompson has an interesting piece on his blog today about the conference at Merton college, at the end of the month, organised by the Latin Mass Society to help priests learn to celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Fifty priests will attend, ten more than the organisers planned for and they are young priests for the most part. It is good to see that archbishop Vincent Nichols is to be present and that an American bishop, from Tulsa, Oklahoma will celebrate the closing Mass according to the 1962 missal. Let`s hope that diocesan authorities make opportunities available for priests who want to learn how to celebrate this form of the Roman Rite available in their dioceses rather than just tell them they are not qualified and cannot be judged suitable to take advantage of this opportunity.

Thought for the Day

"When someone asks you 'think about what Jesus would do', remember that a valid option is to freak out and turn over tables" -- Unknown

Hat-tip to Catholic Pillow Fight