Sunday, September 30, 2007

Not all sixteen year olds are the same

This letter to the Georgia Bulletin I found on the Crescat blog. It`s worth a read. I know America is different but I think I was this kind of sixteen year old (although I never wrote to the press about it).

Sixteen year old Ethan Milukas from Peachtree City, Georgia, writes to the Georgia Bulletin:

To the Editor:
I am 16 years old, and for the past 11 months I have attended the traditional Latin Mass weekly, while still attending the Novus Ordo Mass during the week. Because of this, I decided to address certain points made by Carroll Sterne in the Sept. 6 edition of The Georgia Bulletin. Mr. Sterne speaks about the type of Mass that someone of a younger generation is drawn to, and I thought that a teenager’s point of view might be helpful.
Mr. Sterne in his letter gives voice to the opinion of many of today’s liturgists when he says that no one from a younger generation would be drawn to the Latin Mass (many take this even further and assume that we would not like a reverent Novus Ordo Mass either). This opinion causes many of those who plan modern liturgies to do veritable back flips in an attempt to draw teenagers and young adults in. Sometimes this works, but it has a side effect: by doing these things, liturgists show that they have absolutely no faith in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to change the lives of those in my generation. My generation knows about this lack of faith, we are able to see it every time we go to a “teen Mass” and experience priests ad-libbing prayers in an attempt to make them more relevant to us.
This lack of faith backfires; it sends us the message that we also should distrust the power of the liturgy, and it also can turn the Mass into something of a joke.
After experiencing this for months, I attended a Traditional Latin Mass and experienced something that I’d never seen before: Here was a priest who expected my life to be changed without adding anything to the Mass in an attempt to bring this change about. This priest had perfect faith in the power of the liturgy, and it showed. It was beautiful. The traditional Mass did more to change my life then any “relevant” teen Mass ever did.

Ethan Milukas, Peachtree City

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Latin Mass Society press release

I was delighted a few weeks ago to be asked to the Latin Mass Society`s reception at the Travellers Club in London to mark the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. Unfortunately it proved impossible for me to go. Although London is only three hours away it just wasn`t going to work out. I read about it on other blogs. Now there is an official press release which I have been asked to put on this blog and which I am very happy to do.


For Immediate Release

24 September 2007

Latin Mass Society Reception at The Travellers Club, London to Celebrate the Motu Proprio

The Latin Mass Society held a crowded and successful reception at The Travellers Club in the heart of St James’s on Tuesday 18 September. Priests, Knights of Malta, academics, LMS Committee members and Diocesan Representatives, and a wide cross-section of the Traditionalist faithful packed the reception room for drinks, canapés and a well-received speech by Julian Chadwick, LMS Chairman.

The mood was festive, although everyone paused to remember the many thousands who departed this life without seeing the great day which Pope Benedict XVI had opened for the Church by his gift of the Motu Proprio. There was also a steely determination to buckle down to the huge amount of work which still needs to be done to stabilise the new rite, reintroduce the Traditional Rite and reintroduce orthodox catechesis and educational methods throughout the Church.

The text of the speech given by Julian Chadwick follows:

“Monsignori, Fathers, Confrères,
‘The Tablet’ in its coverage of the Holy Father’s Motu Proprio, ‘Summorum Pontificum’ kept its trump card to the end. The problem was that the Pope “is not a trained liturgist.” So perhaps I should address you as “dear untrained liturgists”. And perhaps I should say first what a huge debt of thanks we owe to the German professor, Cardinal Ratzinger – Pope Benedict XVI.

It is marvellous of you to come to The Travellers tonight to celebrate the Motu Proprio.

Today I think of the theological crisis in the Church in fourth century Alexandria when Arianism threatened the very life of Catholicism. Saint Athanasius was bishop and was repeatedly exiled and at the receiving end of all that the ‘orthodoxy’ of the time could hurl at him. But he was repeatedly brought back to Alexandria at the insistence of the laity because they knew instinctively that all was not well in the Church. They had an impatience with the ‘well-formed’ and ‘enlightened’ Catholic opinion of the time. They knew something was wrong. So they rioted and they evicted the Arian bishops.

John Henry Newman used this period as an example of the laity saving orthodoxy. He was derided for this. Mgr Talbot wrote that the laity should stick to fox hunting!

Newman’s belief in the laity supposedly made him a Father of the Second Vatican Council. So when in our own age a section of the laity and clergy held out against bien pensant opinion, there were grounds for saying that Traditionalists are children of the Council – empowered laymen and women!

This is what the Latin Mass Society represents. The LMS is the strongest lay Traditional body in the world. Our Society has held a belief for over forty years that the Classical Roman Rite or Usus Antiquior is a treasure and a store of graces as limitless as the skies; as Fr Faber said: “the most beautiful thing this side of Heaven.”

Without over-stressing its defects, we have always believed that the Rite of 1970 has presented the Church with grave problems – a crisis in short. That belief was at first an instinct. It was followed by anecdotal and practical evidence – plummeting Mass attendance, dearth of vocations, collapse of religious orders etc.

Now, increasingly, liturgical scholarship is showing that much of the theology and ecclesiology of the 1970 Mass must be re-thought – from the orientation of the altar to sloppy thinking about ‘Eucharistic Ministers’ to the rewriting of the Propers and so on. We should be proud that much of this scholarship is based in England and your Society has played a large part in encouraging this.

Ultimately our worship and our theology are intertwined and we are winning the theological and philosophical arguments.

Tonight we reflect on the past. Many of you have persevered for years – forty long years – in the hope that there would be a beginning of the end of the liturgical crisis. Many – countless thousands - have gone to their reward praying for this day. We remember the great Michael Davies who kept a flame burning through the darkest days. May they all rejoice from Heaven at this great moment.

Last Saturday (15 September 2007) the LMS made its annual Pilgrimage to Walsingham. In the ruins of the great medieval shrine we naturally reflected on a previous case of destruction – wrought by a renegade king. The Feast was that of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows – “a sword shall pierce thy heart also”. How many hearts have been pierced in the last four decades…

For myself, to be your Chairman at this historic time is a great privilege. And so I ask, what does the future hold? I will tell you, but first, tonight, we may pause and thank those benefactors who have helped us to arrange this party and to enjoy ourselves. Surely we have earned it for this one night!

But tomorrow there is work to be done – much work. This is the beginning of the next phase. We must educate, catechise, publish, witness. We must win back the young and young families to the practice of the Faith; we must support our priests as they feel their way back to Traditional ways; we must combat the mindless secularism and relativism which is undermining the faith of so many. In short, your Society must be busier than ever to justify the commitment of our predecessors in those desert decades just passed.

Please lift your glasses and I give you a toast – the Latin Mass Society!”

Sunday, September 23, 2007

High Mass at St Mary`s

Tonight we had a High Mass at the request of the Latin Mass group in the parish. Attendance was about 40-50 I think. Unfortunately I had not realised that tonight was one of the nights when the parish youth group meets in the hall next to the church. Although they did their best to keep the noise down and didn`t have their usual musical evening with electric guitars it did some what impinge on the atmosphere of the Mass. However it was my fault for not realising there would be a meeting. Nonetheless Frs Dickson and Phillips, both natives of Forest Hall, and myself, managed to get through the rubrics of High Mass which we normally only do once a year so we can be a bit rusty. Many thanks to the schola for their singing. At the meeting of parishioners afterwards there was a good deal of enthusiasm for more Masses in the Extraordinary Form. Here are the pictures, courtesy again of Frank Erskine. Vestments courtesy of Fr Bellamy, parish priest of the lovely church of St Michael`s, Newcastle.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Motu pictures

There have been many pictures in the last week of Masses from around the world to celebrate the coming-into-effect of Summorum Pontificum, many of them involving bishops. Many of them are to be found on the NLM blog. However the latest one, from Santiago in Chile, I found strangely moving. I suppose it might be because I don`t know much about Chile, but it`s good to see that this is more than just a European, American and Australian event. I wonder if we shall see any pictures from Africa? The world is beginning to feel more recognisably Catholic. Here are some of the Chilean pictures courtesy of El Soldado Romano via NLM.

Apologies to all those who find this more recognisably Catholic (H/T to Catholic Church Conservation):

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dublin Chaplaincy

This story is to be found on CWNews today.Good to see an imaginative move from the Archbshop of Dublin.

Irish archbishop sets up traditionalist chaplaincy
Dublin, Sep. 18, 2007 ( - Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has established a special chaplaincy in the Irish capital for Catholics devoted to the traditional Mass.

The archbishop has designated St. Kevin's church in Dublin as a chaplaincy where Mass will be celebrated regularly using the 1962 Roman Missal. The interior of the church building is being restored to accommodate the older liturgy.

Archbishop Martin-- who celebrated the Tridentine Mass himself in 2005, under the terms of the indult that was superseded by Summorum Pontificum-- was acting in response to that papal initiative encouraging wider use of the traditional liturgy. The Sunday Business Post of Dublin reports that next Sunday, Bishop Colm O'Reilly of Ardagh and Clonmacnois, "will be the first Irish bishop to use the old rite since Summorum Pontificum came into force."

Saturday, September 15, 2007

September 14th

Last night at St Mary`s we had a Low Mass according to the 1962 missal to celebrate the coming into effect of Summorum Pontificum. There was a good turn out. The main celebration will be on Sunday 23rd September when we will have a Solemn High Mass, provided I can find a green High Mass set in time!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Study Day for Priests with Dr Alcuin Reid in Hexham and Newcastle

I am pleased to be able to forward this information:

The local Latin Mass Society is organising a study day on the Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum, of Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday 24th October in either Newcastle or Gateshead. The main speaker, we are very proud to say, is the distinguished liturgical scholar, Dr Alcuin Reid author of `The Organic Development of the Liturgy` (Click here for a review of the book by the then Cardinal Ratzinger.)

We would like to invite you all to this day. Numbers will be limited and we do require names no later than Thursday 20th September.
Provisionally, the day will run from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. There may be a small charge for lunch/refreshments as a contribution towards expenses.

I am only sorry that I won`t be able to make it.

UPDATE: 13.09.07 a comment on the Fr Zuhldorf`s blog reads:
There is no one better to lead such a seminar than the Rev. Dr. Reid. No one else combines his encyclopedic knowledge with such a gentlemanly, unpretentious demeanor. This man has forgotten more than most of us who love the Extraordinary Form will ever know. Priests should run to sign up for this opportunity.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Good News from Longbenton

Tonight we had a parish council meeting at SS Peter and Paul`s Longbenton. The parish is having a tough time although there are signs of growth. The agenda was fairly ad hoc but I was delighted to be asked` Why can we not have a Latin Mass here?` I am very happy to oblige and will try to arrange something at a suitable time. The other question I liked was `What has happened to the idea of having statues of SS Peter and Paul in the church?` The idea was actually to have icons on the back wall of the sanctuary. I hope to have an icon of Christ, Pantocrator, in the centre and SS Peter and Paul on either side. I was expecting objections on ground of cost but everyone seemed happy if it meant parish funds being spent on the church. It was also suggested that people might be willing to make donations. If only life was always as straightforward!

We have a number of Indian families from Kerala in the parish and I am happy to report that they have suggested having a prayer group for intercession. We also have a headteacher who is doing his utmost to promote parish-school links and is willing to try any suggestion to motivate the children to come to Mass. One of the mothers of school children has volunteered to teach Mass 18 to the children and asked `Can we not have Latin lessons for the children on a Saturday morning?` I supppose if mosques manage to teach Arabic I don`t see why it is out of the question to teach Latin to children through the church.

North East Catholic History Society

On Wednesday night I attended the AGM of the North East Catholic History Society. I have been getting the magazine of the society since at least 1980 but had never attended a meeting until recently when I went to hear a fascinating talk by the chairman, Fr David Milburn, a few months ago, on Ushaw which offered his own reflections on his involvement with the college from the late 1930`s. Fr Milburn is the author of a history of Ushaw college, taught church history there, became vice-president and has for sixteen years been chairman of the society.

I had been asked a few months ago by Fr Milburn whether I would be willing to be chairman of the society as he was thinking of retiring. Although I do not have the credentials in history that he has ( I can only boast a joint honours Medieval History and Latin degree from St Andrews) I was delighted to be asked and look forward to getting involved in local Catholic history.

The Society hosts five talks a year and a number of outings to places of Catholic interest, often with a Mass. I`m very experienced now in packing everything but the kitchen sink to go and say Mass in historical locations so that may be my main qualification for the job!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Everything but the deacon

The Brinkburn Mass went well yesterday. The weather was great and I remembered to take everything this time. (Last year I forgot the acolyte candlesticks and I remember saying I`d forgotten something in 2005 on the tenth anniversary of the Mass.) However there was a major hold up on the A1. I thus expected that we might have to delay the start. Mass was scheduled for 12 noon but since Fr Dickson, our deacon had not arrived, I waited until 12.25 before deciding we would have to go ahead with a Missa Cantata. It was planned that if he did arrive then he could vest and come on with Fr Phillips, the subdeacon, after the sermon. However this was not to be. Father was using the latest sat.nav. technology to find his way to Brinkburn Priory. Unfortunately when it told him he had arrived, he was in the middle of a field. The Reformation was cruel but not that cruel to Brinkburn! He did eventually arrive and I hope that all that swotting up on how to deacon to high Mass was not in vain as we hope to have a High Mass on 23rd September at the Forest.

The congregation was seventy-two strong. The Rudgates and the Schola sounded glorious in the wonderful acoustic of the priory. The serving team was rock-solid. Fr Emerson made it too. Unfortunately we didn`t have a spare alb to let him make up the team for High Mass. Afterwards many of the congregation stayed on for a picnic in the grounds and enjoyed the good weather. Here are some pictures courtesy of Frank Erskine:

Thursday, September 06, 2007

This is a true Catholic revolution

Here`s an interesting piece from The Spectator on the provisions of Summorum Pontificum.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Brinkburn Priory

This Saturday I will be saying Mass at Brinkburn Priory in Northumberland. This is an annual Latin Mass in the usus antiquior. It started in 1995 with the encourgement of a group of parishioners of St Robert`s in Morpeth. Most years we manage to have a High Mass and I`m glad to say that, with the assistance of Frs Dickson and Phillips of the diocese, this will be the case this year too. We also hope to have Fr Emerson, of the Fraternity of St Peter with us.

Over the years music has been provided by the Schola Gregoriana of Northumbria who have occasionally been joined by other choirs. This year we are glad to welcome back the Rudgate singers from Yorkshire. This year the schola are singing the ordinary of the Mass while the Rudgates sing the Byrd setting of the propers for the birthday of Our Lady.

Normally this Mass is very well attended, often by people I never see at a Latin Mass any other time of the year. The setting is ideal. A history of the building, which is now in the care of English Heritage can be found here.

Mass begins at 12 noon.

More Ecumenism

On Tuesday night I attended the installation of the new vicar of Killingworth, Tony Pattison. I took choir dress along with me and joined the Anglican clergy in the choir stalls. The first hymn was one by Wesley I didn`t know but I was amazed by the gusto of the singing in two parts by the whole congregation. The other hymns were not as exciting and included some I had heard in Catholic churches such as `The Servant king` and `Our God reigns`.

The sermon was by the assistant Anglican bishop of Newcastle, Paul Richardson. Much to my surprise he spoke about Pope Gregory the Great whose feast he pointed out had been on Monday. It was really excellent. He recalled that Anglicans generally hadn`t said much about Gregory as the Apostle of the English as they tended to concentrate on St Augustine of Canterbury or St Aidan and had forgotten Gregory because he was a pope. He spoke of how Gregory had given Augustine freedom to adopt the customs of the English to Christianity and that was how we should start today. On the other hand he said that Christians have to have something distinctive to offer society and not just mirror it, if they are to have anything to offer to the modern world. It was one of the best sermons I`d heard in a while even though the element of surprise may have added to its impact.

I also enjoyed the more formal language of the Anglican service. It made me hope that the new ICEL translation of the Mass won`t be too long in coming.

St John`s at Killingworth has the advantage of still looking like a church, with an altar in the apse. I was interested to see that the passion for carpeting the nave was in evidence there but at least the sanctuary floor had been spared.

The centenary Mass at St Aidan`s Benton

On Sunday night bishop Dunn came to St Aidan`s to celebrate a Mass to mark the centenary. Well we think it was the centenary. The diocesan calendar says that the church was opened in 1906 but the parish priest, Fr Kennedy, in 2006 , who was about to retire that year, said that 2007 was the real date and so we celebrated as near as we could to the feast of St Aidan on August 31st. There had been a priest in the area since at least 1899 when a chaplain was appointed to the large convent nearby. We used a chalice at the Mass which had the inscription St Aidan`s 1904. The centenary was thus to mark 100 years of the church on its present site. Not that it is the same church! The present building dates from 1960 and has been described elsewhere on this blog.

As well as myself, the three other priests of the cluster who help with the running of the parish were present and concelebrated. I welcomed the bishop and also noted that bishop Lindsay, our senior bishop emeritus, who had consecrated the present church in 1990, had sent his congratulations to the parish.

At the end of the Mass a parishioner gave a summary of the parish`s history. He noted that now the parish attracts people from a wide area mainly because of the 5pm Saturday vigil Mass which was introduced by Fr Kennedy and seemed to fulfil a need. Bishop Dunn in reply was keen to point out that although there is not now a resident parish priest at St Aidan`s, it is still a real parish. I`m glad to say that the parish is well-looked after by an active parish council.

An incident which wasn`t mentioned at the Mass but which quite a number of parishioners have told me about was Fr Kane`s Golden Jubilee Mass in 1960. All was ready in the sacristy for the Mass to begin when poor Fr Kane dropped dead. My sources tell me that the Mass went ahead but it was `a different kind of Mass` by which I take it to mean it was a requiem. Fr Kane`s grave is in Benton cemetery and recently the headstone has fallen over after the council went around testing to see whether the headstones could withstand 35lbs of pressure. Many failed, including Father`s, so we are getting it repaired.

It would have been rather nice to have bowed out in 1960 before everything started. I can`t imagine what it must have been like as a priest in the 1960`s and 1970`s if you still had a love for the traditions of the Church. Fortunately now with Pope Benedict I hope a new balance will emerge and a new interest in the `hermeneutic of continuity` will make for saner times.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Kenyan Christian group wants Jesus' crucifixion declared illegal

I found this story on the religion section of the Moscow interfax news service. It recalls an incident a number of years ago in Gateshead. There is an annual Catholic walk in honour of the martyr Blessed John Ingram every July from Newcastle to the site of his execution outside St Edmund`s chapel in Gateshead High street. There follows a service inside the chapel where the Anglican parishioners make everyone very welcome. As this walk had been going on for quite some time, I heard that it was suggested that there be a plaque installed in the chapel to commemorate the martyrdom. When application was made to the C of E authorities, it was turned down on the grounds that John Ingram had been executed as a traitor and, never having as yet received a royal pardon, he could not be thus commemorated. I had wondered whether it was ok to worship Christ there as he also had been executed and had never received a pardon but if this goes ahead there will be no more worries on that score! Although this story claims a BBC connection I couldn`t find anything on the BBC website.

Moscow, August 31, Interfax - A Christian group wants Kenya's High Court to declare Jesus Christ's conviction declared 'null and void' and his Crucifixion 'illegal.'

The petition has raised a novel set of jurisprudence quandaries - not the least of which involved the statute of limitations and whether the high court of Kenya had jurisdiction over Jesus.

However, the high court spokesperson Dola Indindis said that the appellants actually 'might have a right in court because the issues raised touch on human rights and the high court has unlimited powers on that line,' the BBC reports.

Little is known about Kenya's Friends of Jesus (FOJ), which did not proselytize and was reticent about its numbers, saying they could not be counted in figures, but in 'the many who are ready to heed the Jesus teaching and be his friend.

`The FOJ includes Kenyan lawyers and wealthy businessmen who view their worldly fortune in this east African country, where half the population lived below the poverty line as a gift from God.

The FOJ's lawyer Humphrey Odanga said Jesus' Crucifixion was a wrongful punishment for a trial based on charges of "blaspheming the Holy Spirit" and should be corrected by modern law.

Some lawyers say the FOJ's complaint was legitimate but they rather should have filed it in the International Criminal Court in The Hague which has the mandate to hear that case. Nairobi constitutional lawyer Albert Kuloba, for one, said: 'The Kenyan courts do not have jurisdiction because the 'course-of-action' never arose within its jurisdiction. And even if they have jurisdiction, the application is time-barred.'

Still the group was determined. One member said: 'We need the court to clarify, for the record, that Jesus was not a criminal. He advocated for the rule of law. Do you mean to worship a convicted criminal?'

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Catholic leaders are abandoning Amnesty

An interesting report from Radio Netherlands on the current situation.

That would be an ecumenical matter

Great news from Moscow where the Patriarch has hailed Summorum Pontificum as A Very Good Thing. Zenit wrote a couple of days ago:

Alexy II Praises Letter on 1962 Missal

ROME, AUG. 29, 2007 ( Benedict XVI's move to allow for wider celebration of the Roman Missal of 1962 has received a positive reaction from the Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow.

"The recovery and valuing of the ancient liturgical tradition is a fact that we greet positively," Alexy II told the Italian daily Il Giornale.

Benedict XVI's apostolic letter "Summorum Pontificum," published in July, explains new norms allowing for the use of the 1962 missal as an extraordinary form of the liturgical celebration.

"We hold very strongly to tradition," he continued. "Without the faithful guardianship of liturgical tradition, the Russian Orthodox Church would not have been able to resist the period of persecution.

"When asked about the relationship between Rome and Moscow, the patriarch said: "It seems to me that Benedict XVI has repeated many times that he desires to work in favor of dialogue and collaboration with the Orthodox Churches. And this is positive.

" Regarding a possible meeting between Alexy II and Benedict XVI, the patriarch said it must be well-prepared, and "be an encounter that truly helps to consolidate relations between our two Churches."

So now supporters of the 1962 missal when asked why they adhere to it can reply with Fr Jack`s all purpose answer. I never thought to be in the forefront of the ecumenical movement!