27 August 2015

Don't Mention The War!

It is a commonplace among those of us who have represented our country overseas that we, along with Americans and Canadians, don't mention the war in the presence of German colleagues, while colleagues from just about every other European country which took part in WWII mention it at the drop of a hat.  One's subtle circumlocutions are drowned out by, for example, otherwise affable Scandinavians telling Germans that this is where their boys took one hell of a beating (or some such).

Simili modo, we (the royal "we" perhaps, but I don't think it's just me) who worry about the Consilium prefer to separate ourselves from the "Of course you know, Bugnini was a freemason" crowd, preferring to worry about the consequences of what he did than what his putative motives might have been: yet somebody who was there, Louis Bouyer, whose memoirs have just been translated into English, doesn't feel the same need.  Here are four:

"Cardinal Lecaro ... was utterly incapable of resisting the manoeuvres of the mealy-mouthed scoundrel that the Neapolitan Vincentian, Bugnini, a man as bereft of culture as he was of basic honesty, soon revealed himself to be."

"Father Jungmann (an excellent historian of the Roman Missal-but who, in his entire life, had never celebrated a solemn Mass!)"

"Still, I cannot reread that improbable composition [He means Eucharuistic Prayer II which he and a colleague had a couple of hours to "get right"] without recalling the Trastevere terrace where we had to put the finishing touches to our assignment"

"I shall only quote a bon mot Ratzinger whispered to me  after three quarters of an hour of Karl Rahner  making himself hoarse with a diatribe he had evidently composed for what Americans call 'televidiots' : 'Another monologue on dialogue!' Ratzinger finally sighed with a smile in my direction."

22 August 2015

Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost 1863

23 SUNDAY Thirteenth after Pentecost. St Philip Benizi, Confessor, double. Second prayers and Last Gospel of the Sunday. White. First Vespers of St Bartholomew with  commemoration only of the feast of St Philip. 

24 Monday. (Feast of Devotion) St BARTHOLOMEW, Apostle, double of the second class. Creed. Preface of the Apostles. Red. [In Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle second prayers for the Bishop.]

25 Tuesday. St Louis, King Confessor, semidouble. Second prayers A Cunctis. Third prayers at priest's choice. White.

26 Wednesday. St Zephyrinus, Pope Martyr, simple. Second prayers Fidelium (for the Dead). Third prayers A Cunctis. Red. [In Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, St Jane Frances de Chantal, Widow, double (transferred from 21 August). Second prayers of St Zephyrinus. White. In Diocese of Plymouth, St Leo II, Pope Confessor, semidouble (transferred from 28 June). Second prayers of St Zephyrinus. Third prayers A CunctisWhite.

27 Thursday. St Joseph Calasanctius, Confessor, double. White.

28 Friday.  St Augustine, Bishop Confessor Doctor, double. Second prayers of St Hermes, Martyr. Creed. White. Abstinence. [At Newcastle, The Octave of the Dedication of the Pro-Cathedral, double. Second prayers of St Hermes. Creed. White.]

29 Saturday. The Beheading of St John the Baptist, greater double. Second prayers of St Sabina, Martyr. Red.

If you want to know about localism: only four churches (the Cathedral, St Andrew's, St Patrick's and St Charles') are included in the "At Newcastle" rubric on Friday, but included they are. Rubrics aren't just unfeeling, inflexible rules: they prescribe, but also describe, a way of life.

Quite a few of the saints in this week's calendar are pretty well ignored today.  St Philip Benizi, the great Servite saint, St Zephyrinus, a martyred Pope, St Hermes and St Sabina, both Roman martyrs from the persecution of Hadrian, are no longer mentioned.  St Joseph Calasanz has been shifted up to share 25 August with St Louis, so the French King is unlikely to get much of a look in, in the UK at least. This move happened so that St Monica's feast could move from its traditional date in May to be next to that of her son Augustine. I'm sure that somebody will be able to explain to me why this isn't just a piece of treacly sentimentalism, but until then, that's what I'll believe.

St Mary's, Cadogan-terrace, Sloane-street, Chelsea, is under the care of the Missionary Rector, the Rev R G Macmullen; he is assisted by the Revs Charles Batt, and Thomas Alexander Browne.  Masses on Sundays and Holydays are at 7.30, 9.00 and 10.00, with High Mass at 11.00. Vespers and Benediction are at 3.00. On Sundays, Catechism is at 4.00 pm, and an evening Service at 7.oo. Weekday Masses are at 5.00, 8.00, 9.00 and 10.00, with an evening Service at 8.00.  Devotions, Benediction &c are every Wednesday and Thursday evening; during Advent and Lent a Sermon is added. Baptisms are on Sundays after Catechism, and every other day after the 10.00 Mass. Churchings are on Monday and Thursday at the same time. Confessions are every morning from 8.30 to 10.30; on Saturdays and the vigils of Feasts from 8.00 until 1.00; on Sunday mornings and Holydays from 7.00; on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and vigil evenings from 6.30 pm. The feast of the Immaculate Conception is kept as a solemn Festival, on account of the Confraternity of the Holy and Immaculate Heart of Mary for the Conversion of Sinners, established in Chelsea on that day in 1844. There are also Confraternities of the Blessed Sacrament, and of Christian Doctrine.  The parish is responsible for St George's Hospital, Hyde-park-corner; the Royal Military Hospital; and the Duke of York's Asylum.

In 1910, the same number of priests managed even more Masses: on Sundays at 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11, and on weekdays at 7, 8 and 10. The rest of the parish schedule: Confessions, evening services and so on, was much the same, though as in most parishes in the UK, Vespers was no longer a feature of Sunday evenings.  

Today there is only one priest, but there is Mass every day, and four on Sunday (including the Vigil). One big difference is that there are just two slots for Confession: three quarters of an hour before the Saturday Vigil Mass, and half an hour before the Sunday evening Mass.  The other is that there is Exposition and Benediction on Wednesday mornings at 11.00, but no other scheduled non-liturgical services. 

This isn't a reflection on the Rector of the Parish, but on us, both for not demanding more opportunities for Confession or for other services, and for not providing more priests to carry them out.

On a more cheerful note: there is no reason for any 1863 parish not have a good choir with a large repertoire. (Click on the images to see more detail.)

15 August 2015

Twelth Sunday After Pentecost 1863

16 SUNDAY Twelth after Pentecost. St Joachim, father of the BVM, greater double. Second prayers and Last Gospel of the Sunday. White. Second Vespers of the feast with  commemorations of the Octave of St Laurence, of the Sunday, and of the Octave of the Assumption.

17 Monday. The Octave of St Laurence, Martyr, double. Red.

18 Tuesday. St Hyacinth, Confessor, double (transferred from 16 August). Third prayers of St Agapitus, Martyr. White.

19 Wednesday. Of the Octave of the Assumption, semidouble. Second prayers Deus qui corde. Third prayers for the Church or the Pope. White.

20 Thursday. St Bernard, Confessor Doctor. White.

21 Friday.  St Jane Francis de Chantal, Widow, double. White. Abstinence. [In Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, the Dedication of the Pro-Cathedral, double of the First Class (with an Octave at Newcastle during which commemoration of the Octave and Creed). Creed. White.]

22 Saturday. Vigil of St Bartholomew. The Octave of the Assumption of the BVM, double. Second prayers and Last Gospel of the Vigil. Third prayers of Sts Timothy, Hippolytus and Symphorian, Martyrs. White.

The Indulgence ends

Coincidentally, St Joachim is celebrated on 16 August: coincidentally, because in 1863 his feast was on the Sunday in the Octave of the Assumption.  It was only after Pope Pius X's assault on the calendar that he was given a fixed feast of 16 August, eventually shifting poor old St Hyacinth one to the right, replacing in turn the celebration of the Octave of St Laurence.

The parish of St Edmund at 23 Westgate-street in in Bury St Edmund's is served by the Rev Jas Brownbill. Mass on Sunday is at 8.00, with High Mass at 10.45. On Holydays, Masses are at 7.45 and 9.00. Weekday Masses are at 7.15 and 8.00. Vespers and Benediction on Sundays and Holydays are at 3.00 pm. On Sundays Catechism and Instruction follow Vespers. On the First Sunday of the month, the Devotions of the Bona Mors are celebrated instead of Vespers. Confession on Saturdays and the eves of Holydays are at 2.00 pm and 6.00 pm; also every morning before Mass.  There are Confraternities of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and of the Bona Mors. Attached to St Edmund's is a school for poor children.

There is another Catholic parish nearby (well, six miles away) at Coldham Hall (the home of the recusant Rookwood family until 1869), but its Sunday Mass is at 10.00.  So how does Fr Brownbill manage to celebrate High Mass at 10.45 each Sunday: where do his Deacon and Subdeacon come from?

Here's another curiosity. In a Florentine Ordo for 1924 appears the following:

The Feast of the Assumption fell on a Friday but there was no abstinence.  It wouldn't have happened here!

08 August 2015

Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost 1863

The Indulgence begins

9 SUNDAY Eleventh after Pentecost, semidouble. Second prayers of St Romanus, Martyr. Third prayers A Cunctis. Green. First Vespers of St Laurence without commemorations. [In Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle Plenary Indulgence.]

10 Monday. (Feast of Devotion) St LAURENCE, Martyr, double of the First Class with an Octave, during which commemoration of the Octave. Red.

11 Tuesday. Of the Octave, semidouble. Second prayers of Sts Tiburtius and Susanna, Martyrs. Third prayers Concede. Red.

12 Wednesday. St Clare, Virgin, double. White.

13 Thursday. Of the Octave, semidouble. Second prayers of Sts Hippolytus and Cassian, Martyrs. Third prayers Concede. Red.

14 Friday.  Vigil of the Assumption. Second prayers of the Octave. Third prayers of St Eusebius, Confessor. Violet. Fasting and Abstinence.

15 Saturday. (Holyday of Obligation) The ASSUMPTION of the BVM, double of the First Class, with an Octave, during which commemoration of the Octave, Creed and Preface of the BVM. White. Second Vespers of the Assumption, commemoration of St Joachim, Father of the BVM and of the Sunday (antiphon Omnis sapientia, versicle Vespertina). Plenary Indulgence.

You can imagine sacristans up and down the land scurrying round today during the week leading up to this Sunday checking the vestments for Sunday: for the first Sunday since last year, there is no feast taking precedence over the Sunday, so the liturgical colour is Green! The Last Gospel will be the beginning of St John's Gospel.  I will reflect later in the year as this series concludes on the effect of radical Sabbatarianism of the "lex orandi, lex credendi" of the Church.

St Laurence is no longer a Holyday of Obligation so is marked as a Feast of Devotion: this year there will be two days when his Octave takes precedence over the saints of the day, though even then they will still be commemorated.

Friday, being the Vigil of the Feast of the Assumption, is a day of fasting and abstinence. No meat, eggs, cheese, milk, butter, dripping, lard or suet; just one chief meal and two collations, the sum of which must not exceed the quantity of the chief meal.

The Parish of St Pancras in Ipswich is served by the RevvJohn Charles Kemp and Patrick Rogers.  On Sundays High Mass and Sermon are at 11.00.  Catechism and Instruction are at 3.00. Vespers, Sermon and Benediction is at 6.30. On Holydays, High Mass and Sermon is at 11.00, with Vespers and Benediction at 7.30. Weekday Mass is at 8.00. On Thursdays, Night Prayersm Sermon and Benediction at 7.30.

01 August 2015

Tenth Sunday After Pentecost 1863

2 SUNDAY Tenth after Pentecost. St Alphonsus Ligouri, Bishop Confessor, double. Second prayers and Last Gospel of the Sunday. Third prayers of St Stephen, Pope Martyr. White. Second Vespers of the feast, with commemoration of  the Sunday, and of the Invention of the relics of St Stephen. [In Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle Plenary Indulgence.]

3 Monday. The Invention of the Relics of St Stephen, Protomartyr, semidouble. Second  prayers A Cunctis. Third prayers free. Red.

4 Tuesday. St Dominic, Confessor, double. White.

5 Wednesday. The Dedication of Our Lady's Church of the Snow, greater double. Creed. Preface of the BVM. White. Plenary Indulgence.

6 Thursday. The Transfiguration of OUR LORD, greater double. Second prayers of Sts Xystan, Felicissimus, and Agapitus, Martyrs. Creed. Preface of Christmas. White. Plenary Indulgence.

7 Friday.  St Cajetan, Confessor Doctor. Second prayers of St Donatus, Bishop Martyr. White. Abstinence.

8 Saturday. Vigil. Sts Cyriacus, Largus, and Smaragdus, Martyrs, semidouble. Second prayers and Last Gospel of the Vigil of St Laurence. Third prayers A Cunctis. Red.

With the exception of Sunday taking precedence the sanctoral, this week is much as would have been celebrated right up to Bugnini's reform of the Calendar, though he oversaw the getting rid of the feast of the Invention of the Relics of St Stephen in the 1950s. St Jean Marie Vianney's feast day after his canonisation was fixed on 8 August. 

There are two extra Plenary Indulgences this week (three if you live in the North East) as there are feasts of Jesus and Mary. Here are more opportunities to get souls out of Purgatory, by getting shriven and communicated.

The feast of St Laurence will fall on Monday, so, as Sunday can't be celebrated as a Vigil, the Vigil is transferred back a day.  

Hands up, by the way, everyone who was caught up at some point wondering about what on earth "The Invention of the Relics of St Stephen" or "The Invention of the Holy Cross" might mean!

The Cathedral Church of St Mary in Newcastle-on-Tyne is served by the Very Rev Mgr Canon Charles Eyre VF, and he is supported by the Revv John A Cooke, John O'Dwyre, and Alexander Drysdale.  On Sunday Masses are at 8.00 and 9.00, with High Mass at 10.45.  Rosary and Catechism is at 3.00. Baptisms and Churchings are at 4.00. Vespers, Sermon and Benediction are at 6.30. On Holydays Masses aret at 8.00, 9.00, and 10.45, and Evening Service is at 8.00. Weekday Mass is at 8.00 (at 9.00 in December, January and February). On Thursdays Discourse and Benediction at 8.00. Baptisms on Wednesdays at 10.00. Confessions on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 10.00; and on Friday and Saturday afternoons at 5.00. Way of the Cross on First Friday every month at 8.00pm. and every Friday in Lent and Advent. Confraternities of the Blessed Sacrament; of Christian Doctrine; of the Rosary; of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the Conversion of Sinners; of the BVM and St Elizabeth for visiting the sick; of the Guild of the BVM and St Joseph; and of the Scapular. The Assumption is kept as the Feast of this Church.  The Church is open every day from 7.00 to 1.00, and from 2.00 to sunset.

New and large Boys' Schools, capable of accommodating 500 boys, are attached to St Mary's parish, and large Girls' Schools for a similar number, under the care of the Sisters of Mercy.  the clergy have the spiritual charge of the Catholics in the large hospital in the town, in the fever-house, the workhouse, and vagrant wards.

Ushaw took in seven year olds.


25 July 2015

Ninth Sunday After Pentecost 1863

26 SUNDAY Ninth after Pentecost. (Feast of Devotion) St ANNE, Mother of the BVM, greater double. Second prayers and Last Gospel of the Sunday. White. Second Vespers of the feast, with commemoration of  the Sunday, St Leo II, Pope Confessor, and St Pantaleon, Martyr. [In Diocese of Plymouth, instead of St Leo II the commemoration is of St Basil (antiphon O Doctor), and in Diocese of Salford, of St Apollinaris.  In Diocese of Shrewsbury, second Vespers are of the Feast of St ANNE, with commemoration of the Sunday and of St Pantaleon, Martyr.]

27 Monday. St Leo II, Pope Confessor, semidouble (transferred from 28 June). Second Prayers of St Pantaleon, Martyr. Third prayers A Cunctis. White. [In Diocese of Plymouth, St Basil, Bishop Confessor Doctor, double (transferred from 14 June. Second prayers of St Pantaleon, Martyr. Creed. White. In Diocese of Salford St Apollinaris, Bishop Martyr, double (transferred from 23 July. Second prayers of St Pantaleon. Red. In Diocese of Shrewsbury St Pantaleon, Martry, simple. Second prayers A Cunctis. Third prayers Fidelium (for the dead). Fourth prayers for the Bishop. Red.]

28 Tuesday. Sts Nazarius, Celsus, Victor, Martyrs, and St Innocent, Pope Confessor, semidouble. Second prayers  A cunctis. Third prayers at the choice of the priest. Red.

29 Wednesday. St Martha, Virgin, semidouble. Second prayers of Sts Felix, Pope, Simplicius, Faustin, and Beatrice, Martyrs. Thitd prayers A Cunctis. White. [In Diocese of Nottingham fourth prayers for the Bishop.]

30 Thursday. Of the Blessed Sacrament, semidouble. Second prayers A Cunctis.Third prayers at the choice of the priest. White. [In the Diocese of Plymouth, St Margaret, Widow, semidouble (transferred from 10 June). Second prayers of Sts Abdon and Sennen, Martyrs. Third prayers A Cunctis. White. In Diocese of Salford, St Leo II, Pope Confessor, semidouble (transferred from 28 June). Second prayers of Sts Abdon and Sennen, Martyrs. Third prayers A Cunctis. White.]

31 Friday.  St Ignatius, Confessor Doctor. White. Abstinence.

1 Saturday. St Peter's Chains, greater double. Second prayers of St Paul, Apostle. Third prayers of the Holy Machabees, martyrs. Creed. Preface of the Apostles. White.

Another week of catching up in the dioceses which have had something of their own to celebrate recently.  But everything will sort itself out before Advent.

The feast of St Anne, the mother of Our Lady, was once a Holyday of Obligation, but has been reduced to a Feast of Devotion, though as it falls on a Sunday, everybody will be able to celebrate it.

The feast of the Chains of St Peter is, of course, the feast of the Dedication of the Church of St Peter in Rome in which the chains which bound him are kept. We can venerate as relics the chains in which St Peter was bound and use them as a mental focus to imagine ourselves in his position, as much as we can imagine him in them.

At Holywell, in Pantasaph, Flintshire, St David's Church and Monastery is home to the Capuchin Fathers. Very Rev Fr Seraphin is the Guardian, and the Rev Frs Beneventus, Eugene and Bonaventure form the rest of the Community.  Mass on Sundays and Holydays is at 8.00, and Solemn Mass with sermon is at 10.30. Compline, Instruction and Benediction is at 3.30 pm. On weekdays, Conventual Mass is at 6.30; fixed Mass is at 8.00; Catechism is at 2.30; and Vespers, Sermon and Benediction is at 3.30.  Rosary and Litany of the BVM daily at 6.00 pm.

This week's picture is from 1910 and shows the quality of decoration Catholics had come to expect in their churches and chapels.

20 July 2015


I posted this some years ago. Think of my reposting it as a contribution to prayers for the Synod.  Maybe think of it also as a set of things that heterosexuals should get their minds around before criticising homosexuals. Pray for purity. Think how God blesses the pure in spirit.

If being pure was easy, there wouldn't be
So many anonymous fathers
So many single mothers
So many betrayed husbands
So many cheated wives
So many abandoned children
So many immature engagements
So many wounding affairs
So many casual encounters
Such a cult of eroticism
Such sexual violence
Such shame of virginity
Such credulity
And such brazenness disguised as love.

It isn't easy to be pure in the absence of Jesus and Mary.
When responsible fatherhood is absent,
When the miracle of motherhood, accepted and wanted, is absent,
Or when love for children is absent,
Somebody ends up being just something for somebody else.
Sexuality without God is a disaster.
Sexuality with God is a Blessing.

Fr. Zezinho

18 July 2015

Eigth Sunday After Pentecost 1863

19 SUNDAY Seventh after Pentecost. St Vincent of Paul Confessor, double. Second prayers and Last Gospel of the Sunday. White. Second Vespers of the feast, to the little Chapter, thence of St Jerome Aemilian, Confessor (Meruit supremos in the hymn) with commemoration of St Camillus, the Sunday, and of St Margaret, Virgin Martyr.

20 Monday. St Jerome Aemilian, Confessor, double. Second Prayers of St Margaret, Virgin Martyr. White.

21 Tuesday. St Henry, Emperor, semidouble. Second prayers of St Praxedes, Virgin. Third prayers A cunctis. White.

22 Wednesday. St Mary Magdalen, double. Creed. White.

23 Thursday. St Apollinaris, Bishop Martyr, double. Second prayers of St Liborius, Pope Confessor. Red. [In the Diocese of Salford, the Octave of the BVM, double. Second prayers of St Liborius. Creed. Preface of the BVM. White.]

24 Friday.  St Alexius, Confessor, semidouble. Second prayers and last Gospel of the Vigil of St James. Third prayers of St Christina, Virgin Martyr. White. Abstinence.

25 Saturday. (Festival of Devotion) St JAMES, Apostle, double of the second class. Second prayers (in Low Mass only) of St Christopher, Martyr. Creed. Preface of the Apostles. Red. [In Diocese of Salford third prayers for the Bishop.]

¡Santiago y cierra España! Saturday 25 July is the feast of Spain's Patron.  Isn't it funny that nobody ever tried to move around the feasts of the principal patrons of the Catholic countries.

St James being an Apostle, his feast has a Vigil, though in England and Wales it is outranked by the feast of St Alexius: it is important enough, however, that its Gospel will be read as the Last Gospel on the day. You can imagine Spanish priests in England and Wales begging not to have to do the parish Mas so they could say a votive Mass of the Vigil!

St Mary Magdalene wasn't labelled as "Penitent" until after Pius X's reforms of the early twentieth century.  I imagine somebody thought a label was needed: she wasn't a virgin, a bishop, an abbess, a Pope, or a doctor, so somebody thought "Let's call her a Penitent".  Well, fair enough, it is as a penitent that she is easily portrayed, but her penitence is actually a confession of faith. In 1863 St Mary Magdalene would have been held up as a female saint for men particularly to venerate: it was men, in their sinfulness, who had reduced her to what she was, but she could intercede for and support the men who wanted to stop reducing other women to the same abuse of which she was the victim (though that probably isn't the vocabulary of an 1863 priest).

The Nidaros Ordo reminded me that I missed last week a feast which had a tenuous hold in England: it wasn't celebrated at all in 1863; became proper to Salford and then seems to have fallen away there, and in 1910 was celebrated in Middlesbrough and Nottingham on 15 July: the Division (or the Dispersal) of the Holy Apostles.  This is the feast of Evangelisation, of Missions: it commemorates Christ ordering the Apostles to go and make disciples of all nations. It would be a splendid feast to revive.

The Parish of St Anne in Sutton, St Helens, is served by the Passionist Fathers.  The Very Reverend Father Bernadine of the Sacred Heart of Mary is the Rector, and the community is composed of Father Alban of St Anthony (Vicerector), Fr Joseph of the Seven Dolours, Fr Patrick of the Virgin Mary, Fr Joseph of St Bernard, Fr Clement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Fr Alphonsus, and Fr Paul Mary.  Mass on Sundays and Holydays is at 8.00 and 10.30.  Benediction is at 3.00 pm, and a Sermon with catechesis is at 6.00 (5.00 on Holydays).  First Mass on weekdays is at 6.00 am.   

Whoever named Fr Alphonsus wasn't on the job that day!

In St Anne's Church are buried Blessed Dominic Barbieri, and two Passionists whose causes are open in Rome: Fr Ignatius Spencer, 3xGreat Uncle of Princess Diana, and Elizabeth Prout, in religion Mother Mary Joseph of Jesus. (The Passionists, when they had their eye in, were pretty good at naming themselves.) Imagine: if we prayed hard enough, we could have three saints in one English parish church.

11 July 2015

Seventh Sunday After Penetecost 1863

12 SUNDAY Seventh after Pentecost. St John Gualbert, Abbot Confessor Doctor, double. Second prayers and Last Gospel of the Sunday. Third prayers of Sts Nabor and Felix Martyrs. White. Second Vespers of the feast, with commemoration of the Sunday of St Anaclete Pope Martyr. [In the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle Plenary Indulgence.]

13 Monday. St Anaclete Pope Martyr, semidouble. Second Prayers A cunctis. Third prayers of the priest's choice. Red.

14 Tuesday. St Bonaventure, Bishop Confessor Doctor, double. Creed. White.

15 Wednesday. The Translation of St Swithin, Bishop Confessor, double. White.

16 Thursday. Our Lady of Mount Carmel, greater double. Creed. Preface of the BVM. White. [In Diocese of Salford, Patron of the Diocese, double of the First Class with an Octave, during which second prayers, Creed, and Preface of the BVM.]

17 Friday.  The Translation of St Osmund, Bishop Confessor, double. White. Abstinence.

18 Saturday. St Camillus de Lellis, Confessor, double. Second prayers of Sts Symphorosa and her Seven Sons, Martyrs. White.

Two translations this week: a most Catholic feast. And the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel shows how what some of us imagine to be God's Own Diocese celebrates His Blessed Mother as its Patron.  This is a very English week in the Calendar, or, rather, this was a very English week in the Calendar.  St Osmund had disappeared even from the English Supplement before the Second World War, and St Swithun was by then only really celebrated in Birmingham and Portsmouth, and even then Birmingham used a different date. It is interesting to note that the English Missal, about which Fr Hunwicke has been writing recently, seems to have replaced St Osmund by the Emperor St Henry just as the Roman Missal had.

The Parish of St Ann and St Mary Magdalene on the Island of Alderney is served by the Rev P H Van de Voorde and the Abbé Jean Déuis.  Mass on Sundays is at 8.30 and 10.00.  Catechism is at 2.00. Vespers, Instruction and Solemn Benediction is at 3.00. There is a special service of Rosary, Instruction and Benediction for the troops at 6.00. Every evening at 6.00 the devotions of the Confraternity of the Brown Scapular are celebrated. Stations of the Cross are every Friday evening at 7.00. In Advent and Lent there is special instruction on Thursdays. In May, the Rosary is followed by Instruction and Benediction at 7.00 pm. There are Confraternities of the Immaculate Heart of the BVM for the Conversion of Sinners, and of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

The advertisement pages of the Catholic Directory are always interesting.

09 July 2015

The Thousandth Post

According to Blogger's stats, this is the thousandth post on this blog in the nine years I have been running it, so I thought it might be worth a drop of introspection.  

Like a few others, I came to Blogger from the forum which was maintained by The Universe. I think I was probably active on it from 2002-2006, and it was there that I met the power of the Internet for the propagation of the Faith, and of matters related to the propagation of the Faith.

It was a heady time: before Summorum Pontificum, while CMO'C was still Archbishop in Westminster, before those infused with the Spirit of Vatican II had learned that the Internet could be ignored.  Here, in this anarchic counter-cultural medium, the forces of Reaction were gathering: meeting, arguing, discussing, grouping.  The forum wasn't enough, however: it was, well, a forum: a forum with an immense range of subjects, and that meant that the channels for discussion were often clogged and real debate was difficult.  It is a matter of great credit to the Editor, Joe Kelly, that he allowed his paper to host the first gathering point for what would become the Catholic Blogosphere in England and Wales, and that, even if he was not totally comfortable with what those using his forum were using it for, he didn't close it down, at least not until it had outlived its usefulness to the community which used it.  

I often wonder where Carlo-who coined the wonderfully useful catch-all phrase "ladies in green cardigans"-ended up on the Internet: I wanted to start a rumour that when The Universe's Forum changed he was so disgruntled that he turned into Mundabor, but decided not to.  The gathering point for Catholics of a more traditionalist bent was a lifeline, and those who didn't, or couldn't, hang on are people to pray for, to worry about, not to joke about.

So a few of us graduated to the new marvel: blogs.  We were a small community and (sort of) knew each other in a way that wouldn't be possible now.  Fr Ray Blake and I, for example, both watched after Moretben, later Anagnostis, who had been MTV on the Universe's forum, but who wrote, here, possibly the most moving tribute from one Catholic to another I have ever seen on the Internet.  What a pity (for us, not for him) that this was midway through what both Fr Ray and I had understood as a swimming of the Bosphorus: Ben was a Greek Orthodox in a Catholic body, and was one of the last to realise it.

Fr Tim and the Pastor in Valle (both sporting variants on the same surname) electrified us by starting from a position that traditional was normal.  The 1962 Mass, for them, wasn't something hole-in-corner which they did in spite of their Bishops: it was a natural part of their priesthood.  Pope Benedict's Motu Proprio met an audience which had been educated by priests like these to view the Mass not as a place of discord but as a place where we could meet 2000 years of History.

So I decided to blog.  I had to go to Australia and New Zealand for my work and spent the flights out and back drafting out ideas for five posts: if I could do five, I would be in, I decided. My manifesto, on starting out was as follows:

So, another Catholic blog. Why?

I think that there is a gap in the market.

There is a wonderful variety of Traditionalist thought in the blogosphere: we can learn about the structure of the Liturgy through the ages; we can discuss the pros and cons of Pius XII’s reform of the Triduum; we can learn about the Pope’s gentle nudges of praxis in the Roman Rite towards what would have been for 1500 years or so both normative and normal.

But, at least in England and Wales, we have no mechanism for discussing what all of this means for our local Church. The Bishops’ Conference seems to think that the Church (quite possibly “Church”) is mainly about supporting CAFOD and its social agenda. At least one of its Bishops thinks he is (and describes himself as) generous in allowing Sunday Mass in the Old Rite in one parish his diocese and will not permit any extension.

And the Catholic press refuses to address any question which cannot be answered within its perception of what the Bishops might consider orthodox. In August, on the Universe’s forum, I posted a comment:

“What we don't have is a Catholic organ, loyal to the hierarchy, which feels able to question the direction of the Church in England and Wales ... because if any of these issues are ever aired, they are raised and answered in the same article, and according to the current orthodoxy.”

The Universe’s editor answered as follows:

“I was about to bash out yet another indignant reply pointing out that The Universe is a loyal organ that is constantly questioning and analysing general policies through its feature writers, then I came to the second part of your comment, and actually you’ve right, and you’ve hit on something really important here – how does one write a loyal but at the same time questioning article that doesn’t end up like a soggy pastry? I must admit we’ve tended to steer our writers (and they’ve steered themselves) towards a formula just such as Ttony has described – the message tends to end up the same whatever the subject – “doing great but could do better”. I must admit this has become so commonplace that I’ve all but banned headlines that include statements of the blindingly obvious like “Church could do more to ….” And “Our duty to ….” The real difficulty here is that natural journalistic instinct says that contributors and commentators should just be allowed to sound off (within reason) on any topic they feel very strongly about. The danger is a) that your Catholic paper ends up being a shooting gallery, and that b) we must never forget that Catholic papers have a dual role – to inform the faithful, but also as tools of positive evangelisation for non-Catholics that might pick them up. Critical comment can be indicative of a vibrant, open and developing Church, but right now ours isn’t and – most importantly – I don’t think everyone has the confidence or maturity to engage some of these contentious debates, though that’s changing through the unavoidable reality of decline, and the consequences that brings. When I was formulating the loyalty policy of The Universe, my own bishop, Edwin Regan, summed up what was needed from the Catholic press perfectly – the phrase he used was ‘critical solidarity’, which sounds to me exactly what Ttony is asking for.”

This is my problem. I think that “critical solidarity" would be great! But how does the average Catholic in England and Wales deepen his understanding of the major issue facing the Church today: the impoverishment of the Liturgy leading to the impoverishment of Catholic life; when there are no fora available to all in which such issues can be addressed?

Hence this blog. It’s not about the theology underpinning orthopraxis: that’s available all over the place. It’s not about the aetiology of the current crisis: there are thousands of sites on the Internet which can give blow by blow accounts of how we have got to where we are.

(I’m sure these issues will seep in: I’m only describing the gap the blog is aiming to fill.)

I want to offer a space for people to look at practicalities: what options does the Pope have? How do we reach the hierarchy in England and Wales? What chips do we have? How much worse will it get? Let’s stop considering the problem of traditional Catholicism as one of philosophical difference and instead start thinking about the steps we need to take to force our hierarchy to treat us: first as ordinary Catholics with a valid point of view; and then as a vanguard of change, the first fruits of a realisation that what happened in the 70s and 80s was a disastrous change in the Church’s relationship with its faithful and with the world.

I'm pretty confident that that gap is still there.  The world has seen what I have prattled about in a thousand posts and has moved on to look for somebody who might have something more useful to say: I'm not actually convinced that anybody can plug it.

We've learned subsequently that for a period the Bishops' Conference, or perhaps better, its staffers, were worried about Catholic bloggers: there was a period in which bloggers were something to be worried about, just as tweeters are sometimes worried about now, as though they were people who were powerful because they commanded a strong position.  What it really shows is that the Bishops' Conference was a generation behind the bloggers, and once it had been reassured by one or two more tech-savvy people, it realised that it could ignore bloggers in exactly the same way as it had ignored all orthodox Catholic lay people and priests since the end of the 1960s.

(They still worry a bit about the potential of the Internet, though, and there are two stories I could tell, and will one day, about how we did cause real commotion; the only reason for not doing so is that the techniques we used will probably work again.  If they do, it will probably be a sign that Richard Collins is smiling down on us.)

This is, of course, about England and Wales: things are different elsewhere, but we can learn from how bloggers blog elsewhere.

There is still a vibrancy in the Blogosphere: Father Hunwicke, for example, is using his blog as part of a teaching ministry that is introducing cradle Catholics to a world of truth and tradition they never knew existed. There is a massive list of British Catholic bloggers, and look at my sidebar to see the blogs I read every time they are updated.  It is unfair to mention just a few names, but there you go: Ben, Mark, James, Rita, Mac, Mary and Lazarus are just a few of the names I look out for.  Eccles never fails to make me laugh.  Damian Thompson speaks truth to power and, perhaps uniquely, is listened to: we need to make sure he knows what's going on. A whole set of priests are using this medium for evangelisation: not just sermonising, though for those of us whose Sunday experience is a bit rocky, a prperly prepared sermon posted online is a great support, but the authentic voice of consecrated men bringing their faith, our faith, into the world.

Many of us have moved to Twitter to complement our blogging, and I think it's self-evident that traditional Catholicism (perhaps defined as Catholicism which is wholly sceptical of the Spirit of Vatican II) has a voice in England and Wales.  Ultimately, we have come to understand that the blogs are here for us to confirm each other.  We use Twitter to chat, but we blog when we have something to say; and we don't blog, when, for example consule Pope Francis, we feel that we oughtn't blog.  

These blogs are the voice of a group of people who stay together in spite of the structures of the Church, not because of them.  We are as welcome in them as we were nine years ago: grudgingly, and only at certain times. We are disheartened as we see ourselves ignored and traduced, as organisations like ACTA try to represent themselves as our spokesmen, as our Bishops say things that sound like a surrender to the world, as we endure terrible liturgies, but we don't give up.  We are Catholics and we are proud enough of being Catholics that we will continue to proclaim our Catholicism.

And we have fun, and I'm not completely convinced that they do. 


04 July 2015

Sixth Sunday After Pentecost 1863

5 SUNDAY Sixth after Pentecost. The Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, double of the second class. Second prayers and Last Gospel of the Sunday. Red. Second Vespers of the feast, with commemoration of the Octave of Sts Peter and Paul and of the Sunday. Plenary Indulgence.

6 Monday. The Octave of the Holy Apostles, double. Red. [In Diocese of Southwark, second prayers for the Bishop.]

7 Tuesday. The Translation of St Thomas, Bishop Martyr, greater double. Red.

8 Wednesday. St Elizabeth of Portugal, Widow, semidouble. Second prayers A Cunctis. Third prayers free. White.

9 Thursday. St Basil, Bishop Confessor Doctor, double (transferred from 14 June). Creed. White. [In Diocese of Plymouth, St Willibald, Bishop Confessor, double. White. In Diocese of Shrewsbury St Margaret, Widow, semidouble.  Second prayers A Cunctis. Third prayers free. White.
10 Friday. The Seven Holy Brothers, Martyrs, and Sts Rufina and Secunda, Virgins Martyrs, semidouble.  Second prayers A Cunctis. Third prayers free. Red. Abstinence [In Diocese of Plymouth fourth prayers for the Bishop.]

11 Saturday. St Margaret, Widow, semidouble (transferred from 10 June). Second prayers of St Pius Pope Martyr. Third prayers  A Cunctis. White. [In Diocese of Plymouth, St Francis Carracciolo, Confessor, double (transferred from 4 June). Second prayers of St Pius, Pope Martyr. White. In Diocese of Shrewsbury St Leo II, Pope Confessor, semidouble (transferred from 28 June). Second prayers of St Pius, Pope Martyr. Third prayers  A Cunctis. White.]

The modern, post-VII idea that Corpus Christi has become the Feast of the Body and Blood of Our Lord is worrying.  Our Lord's Body feeds us, vivifies us and prepares us for our eternal reward.  His Blood, shed seven times, redeems us through His suffering.  They do not represent the same thing at all.  I can put up with the feast being transferred to last Wednesday but the idea that the two feasts should be merged into one is as dreadful an example as there can be of the cloth-eared liturgical illiteracy of those responsible for the reformed Calendar.  The problem isn't that they weren't trying to make the Church less unacceptable to non-Catholics: the problem is that they were simply useless, culpably useless.

All Souls in Hastings and St Leonards is served by the Rev John Foy.  Low Mass on Sunday is at 8.15, with High Mass at 11.00.  Catachetical Instruction, vespers and Benediction is at 3.30.  Weekday Mass is at 8.00.  On Thursdays there is Benediction at 4.00 pm.  On Fridays in Lent, Stations of the Cross are at 4.00 pm.  The Reverend Joseph Searle is Chaplain to St Leonard's Convent ...

... and here is what the Convent does.

27 June 2015

Fifth Sunday After Pentecost 1863

28 SUNDAY Fifth after Pentecost, semidouble. White. Vespers of Sts Peter and Paul without any commemoration.

The Indulgence begins.

29 Monday. SS PETER AND PAUL, Apostles, Double of the First Class with an Octave, during which commemoration of the Octave, Creed,  and Preface of the APostles.Alban, Martyr, greater double. Second prayers of St Paulinus, Bishop Confessor. Red. Second Vespers of the Feast.

30 Tuesday. The Commemoration of St Paul, Apostle, double. Second prayers of St Peter. Red.

1 Wednesday. The Octave of St John the Baptist, double. White.

2 Thursday. The Visitation of the BVM, double of the second class. In Low Mass second prayers of SS Processus and Martinian, Martyrs. Creed.  Preface of the BVM. White. Plenary Indulgence.

3 Friday. St Angela Merici, Virgin, double (transferred from 31 May). White. Abstinence. [In Diocese of Plymouth St Eleutherius, Pope Martyr, double (transferred from 29 May). Red. In Diocese of Shrewsbury, Mass of the Octave of Sts Peter and Paul, semidouble, second prayers Concede. Third prayers for the Church or the Pope. Red.]

4 Saturday. St Francis Carracciolo, Confessor, double (transferred from 4 June). White. [In Dioceses of Clifton, St David's and Newport, and Plymouth, principal Mass of the BVM, with Gloria, one Prayer and Creed. In Diocese of Northampton, third prayers for the Bishop. In Diocese of Plymouth, St Angela Merici, double (transferred from 31 May). White.]

As ever, a feast of SS Peter and Paul is answered by one of SS Paul and Peter. How rich these four days are: the feast of the two Saints, the Commemoration of St Paul, the Octave of St John the Baptist, and the Visitation.  All of those closest to Jesus are commemorated in less than a week, long after Easter, six months before Christmas: but God's work in men and women is made manifest again.

The Indulgence attached to the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul is one of the eight in the year during which most Catholics went to Holy Communion. It is unique in the conditions attaching to it.  They are: sacramental confession, reception of Holy Communion, and prayers to God "with a sincere heart, for the conversion of Infidels and Heretics, and for the free propagation of the Holy Faith".  These feel like prayers we should be saying anyway.  Note that attendance at Mass isn't one of the conditions: receiving Communion separate from Mass was quite normal until the second half of the twentieth century.

There is another plenary indulgence available on Friday, it being a feast of the BVM.

St Mary's Abbey, at East Bergholt, near Colchester, is served by the Rt Reverend William Wareing, Bishop of Retimo.  Local people can enter an extension to the chapel where they can see from the side the priest saying Mass but can't see the community..

Bishop Wareing had been a Confessor to a Convent of English Benedictine nuns who had been forced to abandon France after the Revolution, and had also taught at Oscott, where he became Vice President and Spiritual Director.  After the reorganisation of the Vicariate, he became the first Vicar Apostolic of the Eastern District with the title of Bishop of Ariopolis, and, with the establishment of the Hierarchy in 1850, was the first Bishop of Northampton.  He received Frederick William Faber into the Church.  As an old man he resigned his See, was "translated" to a See in partibus, and became once again Chaplain to a Benedictine convent, where in time he died and was buried. 

On his deathbed he said: "I have no great talents; I have never done any great things; but I have always endeavoured to do my duty". I think this is an epitaph we might all strive for.

The Convent became a Friary, and the friars went in the 1970s.  Though the cemetery has been preserved, Bishop Wareing's tombstone is now pretty well illegible.  The Abbey/Friary has become a commune.  There are more pictures here, and here as well. They leave me feeling pretty depressed.

21 June 2015

Helping Out With Crisis Pregnancies In 1910

I found this classified advertisement from 1910 most affecting. Poor Mgr Nugent and Fr Walsh, who could probably never have imagined that the slaughter of unwanted children would become industrialised.  At least they did what could, and it strikes me as like the acts of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta: something beautiful for God.



West Dingle, Liverpool


This Institution was founded in 1897 by the late Rt Rev Mgr Nugent, its chief object being to provide a safe refuge for young unwedded mothers and their infants. and thereby to prevent the prevalent destruction of child life. Infanticide under some of its worst forms has become so widespread that an asylum of this character had long been an urgent necessity. Each week sets forth gruesome accounts of the finding of dead bodies of infants, often horribly mutilated. How many unfortunate unmarried mothers have fallen through circumstances rather than choice or wilfulness? Ruined and then cruelly deserted, they seek to hide their shame by resorting to acts from which they would otherwise naturally shrink in horror.

The knowledge gained by Father Nugent during twenty-two years' chaplaincy in the Liverpool Prison induced him to endeavour by these means to remedy in some degree, this growing evil. No infant is admitted unless the mother enters with it, and remains at least twelve months to nurse and work for her child. the natural maternal tie is thus fostered and maintained, with the satisfactory results as shown by the working of the Institution and the very gratifying successes already achieved. Help is now much needed to support and develop this merciful and beneficent agency for the saving of both mother and child.

A few words as to how the mother and child are saved may not be out of place. Whilst in the Institution at West Dingle, the mother is reformed and thoroughly confirmed in a life of virtue. She tends her own babe as one of her many daily duties. Then when she goes forth once more into the world, the devoted Sisters always see that she has a safe and respectable livelihood, which enables her to bring up her little one in security and adequate comfort.

Donations and subscriptions to be sent to the Rev Edmund Walsh, St Thomas, Waterloo, Liverpool, or the Rev Mother, West Dingle, Liverpool.