Friday, February 29, 2008

LMS training course for the Extraordinary Form

I have been asked to post this press release:

29 February 2008


For Immediate Release

Residential Training Conference for Priests Wishing to Learn the Traditional Latin Rite at Merton College, Oxford, Monday 28 July to Friday 1 August 2008

The Latin Mass Society’s August 2007 training conference for priests was a great success with 47 priests attending. (It was opened by Archbishop Vincent Nichols and attended by Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa, Oklahoma). Many of these priests are now offering the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Traditional Rite) or are far advanced in their preparations to do so.
The LMS now announces its second Priests’ Training Conference at Merton College, Oxford, which this year will accommodate over 60 priests and seminarians and will last for a full week. This reflects feedback from priests last year who asked for more ‘hands on’ training time.

The main features of this year’s conference will be:
● two training streams, one for complete beginners
● small training groups of about 5 students to ensure one-to-one tuition
● training in the Low Mass and the Missa Cantata
● training in all the Traditional Sacraments from baptism to funerals, and including Vespers and Benediction
● lectures in Traditional spirituality and the Usus Antiquior in a parish setting; Latin, and the Traditional Calendar
● Daily Mass, Lauds and Vespers – all in the Traditional Rite
● opportunity for all priests to offer their private Masses in the Traditional Rite with a priest ‘guide’
● More accommodation for seminarians.

To provide such intense practical training in the Traditional Mass and Sacraments and to ensure a daily high standard of liturgy, the LMS will have a large training, liturgical and music staff of about 25 – all knowledgeable in their fields. Priests will be charged a low fee of £150 to cover all tuition, board and accommodation. The LMS membership is generously paying the rest of the conference costs.

Julian Chadwick, LMS Chairman, said: “We know from the highest levels in the Vatican that our training conference last year greatly impressed the Roman authorities. It is with their approval that we are organising this second conference. We hope to make this an annual event which will roll out ever increasing numbers of priests briefed in the Traditional Rite and able to take it back to their parishes.
“The LMS’s aim is to ensure that the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite is freely available in all the dioceses. To this end we will step up our training of priests, seminarians, choirs and servers. We will liaise closely with the bishops and seminary rectors to ensure that all who wish to learn and worship in the Traditional Rite are able to do so.”

. . . . ENDS . . . .

For further information, please contact John Medlin, General Manager, or James Murphy, LMS Office Manager, on (T) 020 7404 7284;
(F) 020 7831 5585; (E mail)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hurrah! Valle Adurni is back

I am delighted to see that Fr Sean Finnegan is back with his Valle Adurni blog. I`m particularly happy to see his series of videos of one of his Sarum Use Masses he organised in Oxford in 1997. I went to one of them and it may have been that one. I am due to give a talk to the North East Catholic History society next Wednesday on `the Sarum Use and the recusants`, information about which has been hard to come by, despite consulting a number of people I thought might be able to help, but I think I have enough for a talk. I would have liked to have had more on 19th century attitudes to the Sarum use amongst Catholics but have found little. Two stories in particular continue to do the rounds but I can`t find a reference for them. One is that Pius IX offered the new English hierarchy the Sarum Use and they turned it down out of a desire to be thoroughly Roman and the other is that there was talk of having the Sarum Use at Westminster cathedral when it was opened in 1903. If anyone has any information on either of these stories I`d be very grateful for it.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Orientation of the Mass

On Tuesday nights in Lent at St Mary`s I have started a Mass with priest and people facing the same way following the example of Pope Benedict in the Sistine chapel. This is the New Mass in English but it has given rise to some unfavourable comments. This video by Fr Fessio may help to explain what is going on and why Pope Benedict thinks it is an important aspect of the Mass to re-discover.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

From Forest Hall to Forest Gate

Today I was talking to a priest friend about a priest we both know Fr Dennis Hall of Forest Gate in the Brentwood diocese. I`ve only met Fr Hall once when he came to St Wilfrid`s Gateshead to hold a `Day with Mary` but my parish sister had worked with him for a number of years. It was quite a coincidence when tonight I looked at Holy Smoke and found that he is in the news because of a wrangle over the 1962 missal in his parish.

It raises interesting issues which I hope the imminent instruction from the Ecclesia Dei office will help resolve.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

More on bishop Kevin Dunn

From Independent Catholic News

Bishop Kevin Dunn critically ill

Parishioners across the diocese of Hexham and Newcastle are praying for Bishop Kevin Dunn, who is very seriously ill in hospital. Over the weekend, his condition deteriorated, a diocesan spokesman said.

Canon Seamus Cunningham, vicar general of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, told the Sunderland Echo: "Bishop Kevin was admitted to hospital on Tuesday, February 5, and then on Friday, February 8, was transferred to intensive care with pneumonia. He is responding to treatment and the priests and people of the diocese are being asked to remember him in their prayers."

Father Bill O'Gorman, of St Michael's Church in Houghton, said: "We are very sad. The diocese is shocked to hear that he's critically ill. He's a wonderful bishop. He's been in the diocese since May 2004, coming up to four years, and has made his mark already. Every day we have prayers for him. We would wish him a speedy and full recovery."

Bishop Kevin, 57, was ordained as the 12th Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle in May 2004 by bishop Ambrose Griffiths.Born in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, he studied for the priesthood at Oscott College in Birmingham and was ordained at Our Lady and St Werbergh's Church in Clayton, Newcastle-under-Lyme in 1976.

Since then, he has worked mainly across the West Midlands. He studied at the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas in Rome and was awarded a doctorate in Canon Law in 1991.In 2001, he was appointed full-time episcopal vicar for Wolverhampton, Walsall, the Black Country and Worcester. In 2002, he became a Canon of the Metropolitan Chapter of St Chad and a member of the Episcopal Council in the Archdiocese of Birmingham.

A message on the Hexham and Newcastle diocesan website site says: "He is being remembered and supported in prayer by so many people at this time, both in the diocese and beyond. We ask that you continue to keep him and his family and the whole of the diocese in your prayers at this time
© Independent Catholic News 2008

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Prayers Please

Our bishop, Kevin Dunn, has been suffering with kidney problems recently and has spent the last week or so in intensive care with pneumonia. He is very ill and was anointed this morning. If you are reading this, then out of kindness, please say a prayer for him. He has been bishop since 2004 and is 57 years old.
Diocesan website here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lenten Talks at St Mary`s

Tonight at 7.30pm we have the first in a series of talks on matters of Catholic interest to be given during Lent. The programme so far is:

12th February: Terry Middleton, a local historian and genealogist, will talk on the Northern Rising of 1569.

19th February: Fr David Milburn, author of a history of Ushaw College and until recently chairman of the North East Catholic History society will talk about Ushaw (which this year is celebrating its bi-centenary).

26th February: Ian Graham the director of the Schola Gregoriana of Northumbria will give a talk entitled: More than One Line: The Development of Polyphony in Liturgical Music 1300-1600.

4th March: Mike Collins, a local representative for Aid to the Church in Need will talk about the history of that organisation and the life of its founder Fr Werenfried van Straaten.

11th March: Dorothy Allen, member of the Schola Gregoriana of Northumbria and former pupil of Dr Mary Berry, on `The place of the psalms in Christian life`.

Una Voce statement on the Good Friday prayer for the Jews

I received this last night. It is interesting to note that the SSPX-affiliated Transalpine Redemptorists based on the island of Papa Stronsey in Scotland have embraced the new prayer. This will make life interesting if the SSPX itself does not. Let`s hope that this willingness to follow the Holy Father in this may lead to the Transalpine Redemptorists finding regularisation in the Church.

Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce.
Quae patronum invocat sanctum Gregorium Magnum Papam.

LEO DARROCH, Executive President.


Good Friday Prayer for the Conversion of the Jews.

The recent Nota from the Secretariat of State on the revision of the Good Friday prayer for the conversion of the Jews has received much comment in the media; much of it unfavourable, unfortunately, from some of those for whom the revision was intended to placate. The fact that there has been a great deal of misinformation and misunderstanding from certain quarters has not helped to promote a sensible appraisal of the revision. The Jewish Journal states, “The change would affect the Missal of 1962 which the pope brought back into use.” Other Jewish sources have made the same mistake and are blaming Pope Benedict XVI for re-introducing the traditional form of Mass. This is completely untrue and indicates, perhaps, an understandable lack of knowledge about the Catholic Church which, however basic, cannot be attributed to Catholics.

It cannot be emphasised strongly enough that Pope Benedict has not ‘re-introduced’ anything. The Missal approved in 1962 was never abolished and, thus, the prayer for the conversion of the Jews has always been available in its traditional form. In his explanatory letter to the bishops that accompanied his Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum (7 July 2007) Pope Benedict declared “I would like to draw your attention to the fact that this Missal (of 1962) was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted.”

A new Missal was promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970 (and included a revised version of the prayer) but in 1971, following receipt of a petition signed by a number of international figures, including the violinist Yehudi Menuhin, Pope Paul VI authorised the continuity of the older form in England and Wales. In 1984 Pope John Paul II, in his Apostolic Letter ‘Quattuor abhinc annos’, extended the permission to the rest of the Latin Church and stipulated that “These celebrations must be according to the 1962 Missal and in Latin”. Only four years later, because this document was found to be too restrictive, Pope John Paul II, in 1988, widened the authorisation even further through another Apostolic Letter ‘Ecclesia dei adflicta’. He declared “Moreover, respect must everywhere be shown for the feelings of all those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition, by a wide and generous application of the directives already issued some time ago by the Apostolic See, for the use of the Roman Missal according to the typical edition of 1962.”

It is a fact, therefore, that the prayer for the Jews has been recited in Catholic Churches around the world more or less without interruption since 1962. It is pertinent to ask why complaints were not ranged against Pope Paul VI in 1971, or Pope John Paul II in 1984 and 1988? Why has Pope Benedict been unjustly, and falsely, accused of re-introducing a prayer that was never abolished and was publicly sanctioned by two of his predecessors? It is this kind of ill-informed comment and partial approach that does nothing to help the cause of improving Judeo-Catholic relations that Pope Benedict’s accusers purport to pursue.

Pope Benedict XVI, like Pope John Paul II and Pope Paul VI before him, is the supreme authority in the Catholic Church on matters pertaining to the celebration of the Church’s liturgy, insofar as the deposit of the Catholic Faith is preserved and propagated. The revised version of the prayer for the Jews as published by the Secretariat of State on 4 February 2008 quite clearly maintains Catholic doctrine. Our Holy Father has considered this matter and given his decision. The International Federation Una Voce welcomes this decision in filial obedience and will accept the new form with immediate effect.

Leo Darroch – Executive President.
10 February 2008.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Things you don`t expect to hear: no 1

Papal Secretary of State quotes Woody Allen. (Ansa)

Cardinal Bertone has been noted for a sense of humour. He is an ardent fan of Juventus football team, and has even acted as commentator on football matches for Genoese television stations. He once observed that although the Vatican opposed human cloning, "an exception might be made in the case of Sophia Loren". Nonetheless he still caused surprise when he began a homily at a Mass to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the San Egidio community on February 1st by quoting Woody Allen`s line ` God is dead, Marx is dead and I don`t feel too well myself`! He went on to denounce the state of mind of a large part of humanity which is apparently always more and more unhappy and less confident of the future.

Whatever next?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

At last!

Readers may already have seen the pictures of Pope Benedict`s Ash Wednesday Mass. I know some may think this is getting obsessed with details but I was very pleased to see that at last the `Benedictine reform` has reached the Pope`s chasubles. This is in keeping with his intention of stressing the continuity of the Catholic faith rather than any idea of a rupture and a beginning from scratch again. Liturgical continuity reiinforces doctrinal continuity. Thus I was pleased to see the Pope wearing this Roman style vestment for Mass yesterday for the first time since he became Pope. It was also encouraging to see the seven candles for a papal Mass now seem to be a constant feature althogh the arrangement here left something to be desired.

For more learned comments see the NLM blog. For a brief introduction to chasubles see Wikipedia

Latin in demand

This story appeared on Tuesday in the Guardian. H/T to rogueclassicism. I have heard it said that the enthusiasm is only for GCSE Latin and few follow it to A level, but who knows? I have offered to start a Latin for beginners class in the parish and there is quite a lot of interest from teenagers as well as adults. I hope to start in the next couple of weeks. Certainly my intermediate Latin class this year at Newcastle University is the biggest I have known by far.

Back in 1965, Oxford and Cambridge decreed that applicants no longer required O-level Latin to gain admission to their hallowed halls and cloisters. The following year saw the founding of the Cambridge School Classics Project (CSCP) with the aim of keeping alive not only the flickering flame of classical culture, but also a language that even some academics regarded as past its sell-by date and the preserve of a snobbish elite.

More than four decades on, something strange is happening. The demand for Latin teachers in schools is going up, while the supply is going down. "Universities aren't producing enough, so we're all scrabbling around for the same people," says Andrew Hutchinson, headteacher at Parkside Community College in Cambridge - a comprehensive serving the centre of the city. "Quite a lot of academics live around here, which means the parent body can be quite demanding." Unusually for a state school, both he and his deputy are classicists.

Hutchinson has an MA in the subject from King's College, London, one of just two universities that are still training classics teachers. The other is Cambridge. Every year, its faculty of education gives PGCEs to 15 graduates qualified to teach classics, including Latin. King's College trains another 12. A total of 27, then. Meanwhile, around 72 Latin teachers are retiring or leaving annually, according to the CSCP.

The CSCP also estimates that there has been a three-fold rise over the past seven years in Latin classes of one form or another. The subject is now taught in 1,042 schools, including 453 independents and 118 grammars. But the biggest increase has come in state comprehensives, with a total of 471. Before addressing how this has come about, perhaps King's should be asked why it is training only a dozen classics teachers annually."

Good question," says Aisha Khan, subject director for PGCEs in Latin and classical civilisation. "Our head of department recently made a bid to increase the numbers to 16, but that was turned down. We've been told by the Training and Development Agency that the figure will stay at 12 until at least 2011."

Khan's counterpart at Cambridge, Bob Lister, points out that 20 years ago there were 15 higher education providers of classics teachers. "But then 20 years ago," he goes on, "universities were happy to have PGCE courses with four or five students. Financially, that won't work now."

Times change. The number of higher civil servants with Oxbridge classics degrees is in decline just as the number of employers demanding graduates with more practical skills is increasing. What can a profound knowledge of classical civilisations offer in this brave new world? "The same benefits as any humanities degree - the ability to develop and sustain argument with reference to evidence," Lister says. "What's more, a knowledge of classical heritage is invaluable to anyone trying to understand culture in the 21st century."

Roots of English

Or the new millennium, to put it another way. Millennium is a good Roman word, and one of many that lie at the roots of English and other European languages. Ironically, the revival of an ancient language in schools has come about through modern technology. DVDs and computer terminals bring the subject to life in a way that would seem unimaginable to older generations who were forced to conjugate verbs by rote. "In 2000, the government put out a tender for software to support the teaching of Latin," says Will Griffiths, director of the Cambridge project, based on the second floor of the university's faculty of music. "One aim was to improve standards in schools where the subject was being taught by trained teachers. The other was to allow the majority of schools to be able to offer the subject through English or modern language teachers."

For the most part, the subject is taught on an extra-curricular basis to children who tend to be academically bright. "You find them in state schools all over the country," Griffiths enthuses. "I remember a girl in Dagenham who did GCSE by following our distance-learning course. The girl was highly sought after by top clubs in the field of women's football, but she turned them down to concentrate on her studies and came out with an AS in Latin by video link."

In one of its offices, the CSCP harbours a bank of screens from which one teacher, Verity Walden, holds what might be termed a video conference in Latin with some 260 schools around the country. Meanwhile, the demand grows for specialist Latin teachers on site. "They're becoming like gold dust. I sometimes receive two inquiries a day from heads looking to hire one," says Griffiths, 37, a former classics teacher at a comprehensive. "The issue for higher education is how it can support this surge in interest from schools. The government will always prioritise subjects like English and maths, but there's no reason why it shouldn't support more training for teachers in classics."

And the children who are creating the demand for those teachers - how do they see a knowledge of Latin and classical civilisation helping in their future degree and career choices?"

I think there's still an idea that a knowledge of Latin is helpful for medicine and law," says Griffiths. "That may be a misconception. But there's little doubt that Latin helps with an understanding of the make-up of English and other modern European languages. As teachers it's our job to enthuse and make that understanding a lively process."

Not an easy option

On the other side of the River Cam, dusk is drawing in and children are streaming away from Parkside Community College as Latin teacher Nicky Parr is going to work. From key stage 3 onwards, between 25 and 40 pupils in each year group stay behind after normal classes, and the numbers taking the subject at GCSE level are approaching double figures. "It's not an easy option," says Parr, "Latin is marked particularly rigorously and children have to put in long hours. It demands commitment as well as academic ability."

At least one of her pupils, Molly Makinson, 13, is also studying ancient Greek. ("My grandad used to teach it," she says.) Another, David Mestel, 15, acquired an A* GCSE in Latin in year 9. Along with Luke Freeman-Mills, currently studying A-level Latin at sixth-form college, he's producing a booklet containing translations of Virgil, Horace, Ovid and others. So does he fancy studying the subject as part of a classics degree?"

No," he says. "I will probably do something scientific." For young Mestel, it would seem, translating Latin poetry is simply a bit of fun.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Latin Mass Society on the new Good Friday Prayer

I received this this morning which I am happy to share.


For Immediate Release

6 February 2008

* Latin Mass Society Responds to New Good Friday Prayer

The Vatican has announced that Pope Benedict XVI has issued a new Prayer for the Jews to replace that in the Missal of Blessed John XXIII (1962). The new prayer is to be used with immediate effect.

Pope Benedict XVI when issuing his Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum of 7 July 2007 indicated that he would consider certain organic changes to the 1962 Missal, such as introducing a wider selection of Prefaces. The Good Friday prayer is his first change.

The unofficial translation of the new Good Friday Prayer for the Jews is:

Let us pray, and also for the Jews:
May our God and Lord enlighten their hearts, so that they may acknowledge Jesus Christ, saviour of all men.
Let us kneel…
Almighty and Everlasting God, who desirest that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth; mercifully grant that, as the fullness of the Gentiles enters into Thy Church, all Israel may be saved.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The new prayer was written by Pope Benedict himself and keeps the key idea of conversion to Christ. It situates the Jewish people as one group among all the groups of humankind who are offered conversion and salvation through Christ.

Although the Good Friday Prayer for the Jews had previously been revised by Blessed Pope John XXIII, some still found a hint in it that it was offered at rather than for the Jews. This possible ambiguity has now been removed.

Although some might wonder if there was indeed a pressing need to rewrite the prayer, nevertheless the Latin Mass Society in loyalty to the Holy Father’s clear wish will use the new prayer in all Good Friday services organised under its auspices.

John Medlin, General Manager of the LMS, expressed a personal opinion and said: ‘The new Good Friday Prayer for the Jews is self-evidently more concise and unambiguous than the current Prayer for the Jewish People in the 1970 Missal of Paul VI. I wonder if consideration might be given to introducing the new prayer into the 1970 Missal.’

. . . . ENDS . . . .

For further information, please contact John Medlin, General Manager, or Yvonne Windsor, LMS Office Administrator, on (T) 020 7404 7284; (F) 020 7831 5585;
(E mail)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Blog Statistics

I`ve never published one of these before but I see Fr Ray Blake has done so today so I thought I`d follow suit as it may be of interest. This blog gets about 120 visits a day.

New Good Friday prayer

Readers of Rorate Caeli will have seen that the expected new Good Friday prayer for the Jews for the Extraordinary Form has been published today by the Vatican. I have no problem with the prayer. It still clearly calls for the Jews to acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Saviour of all. I had no problem with the old prayer but if the Holy Father sees fit to make this change to remove some language which may make relations with the Jews difficult while retaining the meaning of the prayer than that is a good thing.
Another Good Thing is that it removes the claim that was made by some through an inaccurate reading of Summorum Pontificum that there was no permission for the EF in the Triduum. All that is forbidden is a private celebration which is natural enough. Yet another Good Thing is that this shows that the EF is here to stay and is a full part of the current Roman Rite.
Here is the prayer and translation courtesy of Rorate Caeli:

Oremus et pro Iudaeis. Ut Deus et Dominus noster illuminet corda eorum, ut agnoscant Iesum Christum salvatorem omnium hominum.

Flectamus genua.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui vis ut omnes homines salvi fiant et ad agnitionem veritatis veniant, concede propitius, ut plenitudine gentium in Ecclesiam Tuam intrante omnis Israel salvus fiat. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

From the Vatican, February 4 2008.

Let us pray also for the Jews.

May our God and Lord enlighten their hearts, so that they may acknowledge Jesus Christ, saviour of all men.

Let us pray.

Let us kneel.

Almighty and everlasting God, who desirest that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of truth, mercifully grant that, as the fullness of the Gentiles enters into Thy Church, all Israel may be saved. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Of course supporters of the SSPX will complain bitterly about this (cf. Angelqueen) and it will make reconciliation with them more difficult but if they really believe in the authority of the Pope it would be refreshing to see some humility on the part of the SSPX leadership, for them to really show willingness to accept the authority of the Pope and agree to use it.
This prayer came out rather quickly. I wonder how near to completion the long-awaited explanatory document from Ecclesia Dei might be?
UPDATE: 6.02.08 I thought this would not be very acceptable to Jews who were offended by the idea that the church should pray for conversion and so it seems it isn`t
Prayer for Conversion of Jews Remains Troubling Despite Vatican Changes
New York, NY, February 5, 2008 …. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said the Vatican's changes to the Latin Good Friday prayer for the conversion of Jews amount to "cosmetic revisions" and the prayer remains "deeply troubling" because it calls for Jews to "acknowledge Jesus Christ as the savior of all men."
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
While we appreciate that some of the deprecatory language has been removed from a new version of the Good Friday prayer for the Conversion of Jews in the 1962 Roman Missal, we are deeply troubled and disappointed that the framework and intention to petition God for Jews to accept Jesus as Lord was kept intact.
Alterations of language without change to the 1962 prayer's conversionary intent amount to cosmetic revisions, while retaining the most troubling aspect for Jews, namely the desire to end the distinctive Jewish way of life. Still named the "Prayer for Conversion of the Jews," it is a major departure from the teachings and actions of Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, and numerous authoritative Catholic documents, including Nostra Aetate.
ADL wrote to Pope Benedict on January 22 expressing concern that a revised Good Friday prayer that Jews abandon their own religious identity, would be devastating to the deepening relationship and dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.
I can`t get too excited by this as I have mentioned before that celebrating the 1962 Good Friday liturgy I discovered it is essentially the same as that of the Novus Ordo apart from using black vestments. I would be interested in using the older form, from before the changes of the 1950`s but there is no permission to do so (although rumour has it that the Institute of Christ the King have permission). I ony wish that this new prayer for the Jews could be used instead of the rather weak one in the Novus Ordo.