Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Being normal

Cardinal Cañizares Llovera, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments will celebrate Mass in  the Extraordinary Form on Saturday at the altar of the Chair in St Peter`s in Rome. Thanks to Rorate Caeli for highlighting this interview the cardinal has given in advance of the Mass. Those of the `it`s against Vatican II` school of thought may find his words of interest. Looking forward to seeing if the new secretary of the Congregation, the former bishop of Leeds, will be there!
What is the point of the pilgrimage?
“To give thanks to God and thank the Pope for the motu proprio he issued five years ago, recognising the value of the liturgy celebrated according to the missal of the Blessed John XXIII and marking continuity with the tradition of the Roman Rite. By recognising the previous liturgy one understands that reform does not mean doing away with older traditional practices.”

Why did you agree to celebrate mass for pilgrims who follow the pre-conciliar Rite?
I agreed because it is a way to show people it is normal to use the 1962 missal: there are two forms of the same Rite but there is only one Rite, so it is normal to use it during mass celebrations. I have already celebrated a number of masses according to the missal introduced by the Blessed John XXIII and I will gladly do so again on this occasion. The Congregation in which the Pope has called me to act as Prefect does not oppose the use of the old liturgy, although the task of our dicastery is to enhance the meaning of liturgical renewal according to the directives of the Sacrosanctum Concilium constitution and follow in the footsteps of the Second Vatican Council. In relation to this it must be said that the extraordinary form of the Latin Rite must draw inspiration from the conciliar Constitution which in the first ten paragraphs focuses on the true spirit of the liturgy and so is relevant to all rites.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Faure on Friday at Forest Hall

I always like to have a sung Mass on All Souls` Day. This year, thanks to our LMS representative, David O`Neill who has contact with the Jesmond Choral Group and Priory Singers, the Requiem will be sung to the setting by Faure. We are also fortunate in having the services of Fr Phillips and deacon Andrew Bunce so that we will be able to have a Solemn High Mass. We will be using a silk black High Mass set which was made in Macao. Mass is at St Mary`s at 7.30pm followed by refreshments.
Somewhat overshadowed by this, there will be an Extraordinary Form Low Mass at SS Peter and Paul`s, Longbenton for the feast of All Saints at 7.30pm. As usual I will be thinking of Fr Oswald Baker of Downham Market and his famous recording of Mass for All Saints from the 70`s when he was driven out of the diocese of East Anglia for his adherence to the Extraordinary Form. We live in happier times although there are still pockets of resistance to the legitimate place of the Extraordinary Form in the life of mainstream Catholic life. Who knows one day even the diocesan website may mention the Extraordinary Form?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Confraternity of Catholic Clergy at Reading

This week I was glad to be able to make the annual colloquium of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy held at the Oratory school at Reading. Fathers Henry, Blake and Finigan have all provided accounts. It was wonderful to see how the CCC has blossomed so quickly in this country and largely by word of mouth. Ad Clerums tend not to refer to it but episcopal approval was there in the presence of bishop Egan and a letter of welcome from archbishop Longley of Birmingham. 

I don`t intend to repeat what others have said and Fr Henry gives a useful summary of the talks but when I got home and opened the post to find detailed proposals for monthly parish council meetings I thought warmly of bishops Egan`s observation that he does not believe in salvation sola structura!

The liturgies were particularly encouraging with the ordinary form celebrated ad orientem to chant settings. Walking into the chapel before breakfast and seeing an extraordinary form Low Mass at the high altar warmed my heart and exercised its usual fascination on me.  It was also very good to see old friends and meet one or two readers of this blog. I think I could easily think of twenty or so priests who would have enjoyed the colloquium and I will do my best to spread the word and let`s hope next year our numbers have doubled!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Catching up

I`m getting behind with things. First I should say in response to Sceptical Believer,  the Hexham Mass went well. Estimates are between 30-40 in the congregation. I understand a good proportion of these were recent converts and the majority of the congregation were locals. Thanks to the schola and servers as well as the sacred ministers and Fr Warren. It was good to meet `Seeker` who often comments on this blog. However I think I should remember to book an organist next time: I`ve had my fill of silent processions!

I was glad to see the LMS have appointed Mgr Gordon Read, the judicial vicar and chancellor of Brentwood diocese,  as the national chaplain. Mgr Read is one of the leading canonists in the country and has had a long association with the Extraordinary Form.

Finally Fr de Malleray has set information about forthcoming events he is planning which I am happy to mention.

Altar servers’ weekend (residential): at St John Fisher House in Reading on 26-27-28 October 2012:
For single Catholic men between 18 and 35 years of age (under 18 please contact us).
Starts on Friday 26 October at 6pm – ends on Sunday 28 October mid-afternoon. Led by Fr Armand de Malleray, FSSP, with Fr Matthew Goddard, FSSP.
In a convivial atmosphere, come and learn (or improve) how to set the vestments and sacred items before Mass and to serve EF Masses and Benediction. EF Mass on the Friday evening, Saturday morning and Sunday morning. Limited overnight accommodation: please book now. Non residential participants welcome.
Cost [for the whole weekend, 2 days + 2 nights, including full board accommodation at St John Fisher House]: no set price for students or unwaged – any donation welcome; others: £50 suggested.
Contact: Tel: 0118 966 5284; Email:; website:

Vocation discernment weekend: 14-15-16 December 2012 at St John Fisher House in Reading:
For any English-speaking Catholic men between 18 and 35 years of age (under 18 please contact us).
Starts on Friday 14th December 2012 at 6pm (arrivals from 5pm) – ends on Sunday 16th December 2012 at 3pm. Led by Fr Armand de Malleray, FSSP, assisted by Fr Matthew Goddard, FSSP.
Location: St John Fisher House, 17 Eastern Avenue, Reading, RG1 5RU, England. Off-street parking available.
Programme: Spiritual conferences, socials, Holy Mass each of the three days (Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite) including polyphonic Sung Mass on Sunday, silent prayer, and optional private talk with Fr de Malleray, FSSP. Fr de Malleray will explain what a vocation is in general and to the priesthood in particular.
Cost [for the whole weekend, 2 days + 2 nights, including full board accommodation at St John Fisher House]: no set price for students or unwaged – any donation welcome; others: £50 suggested.
Contact: Tel: 0118 966 5284; Email:; website:
We are looking forward to welcoming you here.
Please pray for our 9 seminarians from these Isles. God bless you!

Clergy retreat in Bavaria 15-19 April 2013, led by Fr Armand de Malleray, FSSP.
Priest? Come and pray next door to the largest international seminary in Europe (motherhouse of an institute admitting over 40 new seminarians each year) in Pope Benedict’s native Bavaria! What a grace to be supported during our retreat by the presence and prayer of 90 seminarians and priests from various European countries, singing in choir the peaceful Gregorian melodies 4 times a day in the local Church of Atonement, dedicated to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. What a good deed in return to include them and every candidate to the priesthood in our prayer intentions. Wigratzbad is also a Marian shrine and we will ask the Mother of God to teach us how to better know, love and serve Her divine Son in the Most Holy Eucharist.

Theme: ‘The priest and the Eucharist in the recent magisterium of the Church’.
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Pope John-Paul II’s celebrated encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia (17 April 2003), Fr de Malleray will give meditations on the centrality of the Most Holy Eucharist in the life of priests, developing in particular the notions of the Real Presence, the Sacrifice, the Adoration, the liturgy. In the context of the current ‘Year of Faith’, focusing here on priests, the conferences and table readings will includes quotes from Presbyterorum Ordinis, Sacrosanctum Concilium, Mysterium Fidei, Pastores dabo vobis and other magisterial teaching. Examples from the lives of holy priests and classical spirituality will also be used.

Programme: Silent retreat with a one-hour conference in the morning and another in the afternoon. Three daily meals taken in silence with table readings. Free time. Retreat-master available for confession and spiritual advice. Optional Lauds, community Mass, Sext, Vespers and Compline prayed in Latin with the seminarians and staff of the St Peter International Seminary. Daily hour of Eucharistic Adoration. The many altars will offer ample opportunity for private daily Mass (both EF and OF Missals can be used at the Shrine).
Arrival: Monday 15 April afternoon: landing at Memmingen Airport (direct Ryanair flights from London-Stansted, Manchester, Edinburgh, Dublin) and 40-minute drive to Wigratzbad.

Departure: Friday 19 April after lunch; landing in the UK in mid afternoon.

On option: stay on with us for one day of tourism: Lindau peninsula on Lake Constance, dinner in local ‘Gasthaus’ (restaurant) and colossal Benedictine Abbey of Ottobeuren – with take off from Memmingen on Saturday afternoon.

Cost: £220 (all inclusive for 4 days full board in single room with en-suite bathroom + transportation from the airport and back). Not included: return journey from your parish to Memmingen airport: for convenience, each priest will book his own flight (estimated cost of return flight with Ryanair: between £80 and £150). Extra cost for the optional tourism day: add about £50 in total.

Booking: Please send your Name-Surname-Address-Telephone-Email with your £100 deposit cheque made payable to FSSP ENGLAND to our address: St John Fisher House, 17 Eastern Avenue, Reading, RG1 5RU, England.

Info – Contact: Please contact Fr de Malleray if you have any questions:; Tel.: 0118  966  5284.
(Picture: Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger after having offered a pontifical high Mass in the usus antiquior at our motherhouse in Wigratzbad on Easter Sunday 1990.)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Newcastle Brown Ale and ICEL!

Thanks to Ben Whitworth for noticing this. I`ve not seen these posters in Newcastle. In fact I can`t remember the last time I was with anyone in Newcastle who chose to drink Newcastle Brown. Maybe we should tell them about the new translation! Full article here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mass at Hexham

Just a quick note to mention that there will be a Solemn High Mass at St Mary`s Hexham this Friday night at 7.30pm at the invitation of the parish priest, Fr Warren. Friday is the feast of St Wilfrid who for a time was bishop of Hexham.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Hayes and Finch

Yesterday the latest Hayes and Finch catalogue arrived. This doesn`t normally detain me very long. However p.98 stood out for me. Summorum Pontificum has reached Hayes and Finch! I was only disappointed that I couldn`t identify the clergy involved (although the people in the catalogue are models this just seemed a bit specalised). There are even a few Roman-style chasubles for sale on p.111.

Eamon Duffy, Mass facing the people and Vatican II.

A few of posts ago I mentioned a series of lectures to be given at Ushaw starting on October 17th. The first speaker is Eamon Duffy, the distinguished Catholic historian. Prof Duffy back in 1996 gave an opinion on the question of Mass facing the people which readers may find of interest in the light of recent posts.

'Mass facing the people': did Vatican II require it?

It  is widely believed that the modern practice of celebrating Mass facing the people has solid historical foundations in Church tradition and was called for by Vatican II. As Dr Eamon Duffy argues, both claims are false. Dr Duffy is Reader in Church History at the University of Cambridge and author of a definitive analysis of the Reformation in England, 'The Stripping of the Altars.' The following article first appeared in the UK publication 'Priests & People'. It is reprinted with permission.

A well-known Catholic architect recently complained that the high altar in Westminster Cathedral remains in its old position, facing east. The most important cathedral in the land, he declared, was "setting a bad example," and he asked, "How do we live out our faith through the liturgy and sacraments in that place?"
Everybody thinks that the arrangement of the altar so that the priest faces the people was ordered by the Council. In fact it wasn't, and although "Mass facing the people" has now become almost universal, in important ways it represents a dramatic departure from Christian tradition. It expresses a symbolic understanding of the Eucharist which is at best partial, at worst defective, and, paradoxically, it encourages a depressing clericalism quite at odds with the teaching of the Council.
Mass "in the round" or facing the people does, of course, express an important dimension of the Eucharist, that of the Church as a community gathered around the family table, and among whom the Lord is fully present. But this is by no means the only dimension of the Eucharist that we need to grasp, nor, despite modern emphasis on the present experience of community, is it necessarily the most important. Too strong an insistence on this community now can lead to an enclosed and sectarian understanding of the nature of the Church and Eucharist, which is unreal in failing to grasp or acknowledge the sinfulness and incompleteness of the Church.
In the New Testament and early Church, the Eucharist was above all a pledge of a fulfilment yet to come; it pointed away from itself, away from the sin and brokenness of this world (and of the Church), to the great in-gathering and healing of humanity at the edge of the ages. The world labours and groans towards that fulfilment, and the Church too is a pilgrim looking towards her Lord. The deepest prayer of the Eucharist is a prayer not of achieved unity and peace, but of expectant longing: "Maranatha, Our Lord come."
For most of her history the Church expressed this vital truth in the stance of those taking part in the Eucharist. Priests and people alike faced east. The point was not that the priest turned his back on the people, but that everyone faced in the same direction, towards the rising sun, as they waited and prayed for the dawn of the Kingdom. Even the posture of the pope in the Roman basilicas, invariably used as the precedent and justification for "westward" celebrations, is no exception for, unlike most later churches, the Roman basilicas were oriented towards the west, and when the pope celebrated Mass he at least faced the rising sun, visible through the great door at the end of the church.

Vatican II theology

By abandoning the eastward position, the Church sacrificed the heightened solemnity with which all turned in prayerful expectancy towards the altar. She also lost a precious witness to the eschatological openness and incompleteness of the Church and her Eucharist - a fundamental theme of Vatican II's theology of the "pilgrim Church." In the process, we also saddled ourselves with a clerically-dominated liturgy.
The celebrant is now the focus of everyone's attention, seated in a chair which often occupies the place of the old tabernacle or altar-cross, centre-stage and in eye-to-eye contact with us throughout the Mass. Fr O'Flynn, whether he or we like it or not, is now the star of the show, a reality blood-curdlingly underlined in those churches where the priest opens proceedings with "Good morning everybody," and the congregation, like a school assembly, chorus back "Good-morn-ing-Fa-ther."
For several years I regularly attended Anglican celebrations of the Eucharist with my (then Anglican) wife. The small church had been re-ordered on best "Vatican II" lines, with the altar facing the people and the celebrant's chair behind it; the priest conducted the liturgy of the word from his chair; and the liturgy of communion, from the Lord's Prayer and Agnus Dei onwards, also took place with the priest facing the people. But for the eucharistic prayer itself the priest and his ministers came around the altar, and faced the east, just as the people did.
The effect was electric, a perceptible changing of gears and heightening of atmosphere, and a growing sense of solemnity as the whole congregation, with the priest as their spokesman, turned to the Lord for the greatest prayer of the Church. Yet there was no sense of alienation, of the priest with his back to us, for, in the parts of the Eucharist which appropriately emphasised dialogue and communion, he faced towards us. Instead, there was a profounder sense of reverence, and of a people waiting in a shared hope for the gift of God.
Both that sense of reverence and that sense of expectancy, once almost palpable in the hushed silence which surrounded the elevation, are all too often lacking in modern Catholic eucharistic worship. At least occasional celebrations in which priest and people turned together towards the east, and the dawn of the Kingdom, might help give it back to us. Maybe we should try it and see.

Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 9 No 1 (February 1996), p. 8

So there we have it. What makes me annoyed is that the sort of person who goes on about the need for the Church to be `inclusive` and `open to new idea`s suudddenly discovers that there are unquestionable dogmas to be defended when presented with an argument which questions what they take for granted.

I say Mass facing the people most the time. The ony time I face the same way as the congregation in the Ordinary Form  is for school Masses with St Stephen`s primary school because young people don`t have the historical baggage which more elderly Catholics carry around. However it has gone down well with the school up to now after explaining the reasons for it.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

`Against Vatican II`?

I am assured here are people out there who think this blog is `against Vatican II` but so far none of them has offered any proof. Maybe that`s because there isn`t any. So would those who make such claims please now take back their accusation or at least stop making it?