Wednesday, 15 February 2017

The Splendour of Worship

Pope St John XXIII celebrating Mass..
if it was good enough for him...

Good article articulating some excellent points on the splendour of the liturgy by Peter Kwasniewski on the New Liturgical Movement, emphasising something so often lost in our modern worship - that it is God's doing, not ours. Hence when the liturgy is impoverished and de-ritualised, ("simplified" - as some would have it) all that happens is that many extraneous innovations are added in by individuals. Hence we end up with a liturgy with many accretions - just not ones mandated by the Church. Imported from other denominations, other religions and the secular world. It may be in time these things could become "sacralised" but this is the work of centuries - and the criticism levelled by those who reject so vociferously the "ornament" of past centuries, which has already gained a ritual and sacral meaning and been hallowed by use and honed by legislation.
"While it is sometimes possible that a saintly priest or bishop would choose to rid himself of anything valuable in order to give the money to the poor, in our own times it is much more common to encounter what might be called “ostentatious bad taste” or “hypocritical poverty,” when a priest or bishop who claims to be renouncing pomp and circumstance for the sake of the Gospel is really drawing attention to himself as a paragon of social justice, whose ugly garments or clumsy chalices in fact still cost a great deal of money — money that could have been spent on something truly beautiful, which spiritually enriches all who behold it, including the poor. We could put it this way: a priest or bishop who does not see himself as essentially a symbol of another and therefore as able to accept and promote liturgical beauty for the sake of that other will, perforce, see himself as —himself, in front of the people, on display. At this point, two roads are open to him: to be ostentatiously wealthy for the sake of worldly glory, or to be ostentatiously poor and virtuous. In either case, it’s all about him, and the result is thoroughly dis-edifying. In contrast, when a man of God really acts and speaks as a man of God, one who totally belongs to Christ the Eternal High Priest, it is extremely edifying to see him robed in splendour, uplifted in honour. When Our Lord said: “Whatsoever you do to the least, you do unto Me” (cf. Mt 25:40), He was certainly not excluding the truth that whatsoever you do to the greatest, you do to Him as well."

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Clergy Lunch and Talk in Warrington

Clergy Day 
The Divine Aspect of the Internet

Wednesday 15th February, 1-3pm

Priests, deacons, friars, seminarians 
are invited to gather 
St Mary’s by 1pm

short walk to a local venue for lunch
then a half hour spiritual conference by 
Fr James Mawdsley, FSSP 


‘The Priest and the Internet: 
Challenges and Opportunities’ 

followed by coffee & discussion 

There is the usual daily Mass at 12.10
for anyone who would like to come along.  
01925 635664
St Mary’s Shrine, Buttermarket Street, 
Warrington WA1 2NS
(The Presbytery & small car park 
can be accessed from Smith Street 
off the A49 dual carriageway.)

Fr James Mawdsley with Bishop Athanasius Schneider at St Mary's.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Communion on the tongue is an Apostolic Tradition

An issue much revisited here on this blog, I know, but I discovered a set of quotes about it conveniently gathered in one place by Roman Catholic Man. So here they are below.It does seem odd that such an ancient and much lauded tradition has been so casually superseded with no obvious reason that pertains to the good of souls.

Statements from Popes, Saints and Church Councils:

St. Sixtus 1 (circa 115): “The Sacred Vessels are not to be handled by others than those consecrated to the Lord.”

St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church (330-379): “The right to receive Holy Communion in the hand is permitted only in times of persecution.” St. Basil the Great considered Communion in the hand so irregular that he did not hesitate to consider it a grave fault.

The Council of Saragossa (380): Excommunicated anyone who dared continue receiving Holy Communion by hand. This was confirmed by the Synod of Toledo.

The Synod of Rouen (650): Condemned Communion in the hand to halt widespread abuses that occurred from this practice, and as a safeguard against sacrilege.

6th Ecumenical Council, at Constantinople (680-681): Forbade the faithful to take the Sacred Host in their hand,
threatening transgressors with excommunication.

 St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274): “Out of reverence towards this Sacrament [the Holy Eucharist], nothing touches it, but what is consecrated; hence the corporal and the chalice are consecrated, and likewise the priest’s hands, for touching this Sacrament.” (Summa Theologica, Part III, Q. 82, Art. 3, Rep. Obj. 8.)

The Council of Trent (1545-1565): “The fact that only the priest gives Holy Communion with his consecrated hands is an Apostolic Tradition.”

Pope Paul VI (1963-1978): “This method [on the tongue] must be retained.” (Memoriale Domini)

Pope John Paul II: “To touch the sacred species and to distribute them with their own hands is a privilege of the ordained.” (Dominicae Cenae, 11)

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Burns' Night Supper in France

 This young man is engaged in just some of the preparation for the Burns' Night Supper I attended at Chavagnes International College last week. As always, it was a joy to visit there and see young men being truly formed for life in the fullness of the Catholic Faith.

The clergy seem to be getting a taste of the aperitif ahead of times.
A moderate scoop of Vendean sparkling pear juice and Kir.

Although it didn't take long for others to spot the preferential treatment 
and follow suit.


 A pipe band, including drummers, 
(apparently quite popular in this part of France)
led us in to the Supper.

 Visitors joined the boys for the traditional fare.


 The Headmaster prepares teh chef and his helper for the piping in of the Haggis.

And here it comes.

 Making quite a tour of the room.

 The address to the Haggis was given by one of the students,
having practised his Scottish accent under the unenviable tutelage of the School's Chaplain.

 The precious liquid is poured in.

And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, 
Great chieftain o the puddin'-race!

 One of the younger guests was keen to get in on the action.

The Immortal Memory!
Or was this to the King over the Sea?
(one added in to Catholicise the occasion!)

 A toast to the Lassies!

 Being Chavagnes Boys, there was a certain amount of striking a pose 
and a certain amount of eccentricity.

 The Band put on a good show
- and it was certainly loud!

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Talk and Retreat with the FSSP in Warrington

FSSP Superior General Fr John Berg will give a talk to any clergy interested at St Mary's, Warrington on Wednesday 25th January, 2:30pm. All welcome. Ends with coffee.

Arrive earlier for 1pm Lunch (booking now at or even at 12noon for Holy Mass celebrated by Fr Berg.

I've only met Fr Berg once, whist I was visiting the FSSP seminary in Wigratzbad a few years ago and found him very welcoming and charming. He is an an American, originally from Minnesota, so language won't be (too much) of a problem!

Unfortunately, I can't make it next Wednesday, which is a pity, as you always receive a warm welcome from the Fathers at St Mary's.


The Priestly Fraternity of St Peter are also organising a retreat for clergy at Prior Park College, Ralph Allen Drive, Bath BA2 5AH.

The Latin Mass Society is handling the bookings for the Retreat, (click here. )which will be held in the splendid setting of Prior Park, Bath, Somerset. The Retreat will run from the afternoon of Monday 27th March until after lunch on Friday 31st March. It will end before Passiontide, and will be a timely opportunity for priests to pray and meditate in preparation for Holy Week (Easter falls on 16th April). 

Fr Armand de Malleray, FSSP will give the silent retreat on the theme: “I have come to bring fire to the earth - Ignem veni mittere in terram” (Luke 12:49).

Fr de Malleray writes: “This is the motto of the English College in Rome. According to tradition, students gathered to sing a Te Deum whenever news reached Rome of a martyrdom of a former student. 

“Admittedly, we clergy in Great Britain do not actually plan to die heroically. Our priestly journey might unfold on a more gentle pace, led by Christ’s “kindly light”, to quote Blessed John-Henry Newman. So did probably Fr Jacques Hamel think, at the age of 85, when vesting before Mass at Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray on 26th July last. Like him however, we want to be faithful until the end, whatever the circumstances, if our end is to be a blissful beginning... This means fidelity in small things for an ever deeper union with Christ through Mary, and a deepening of our priestly identity in the light of Christ’s sacrifice of love.”

Cost: £333 per person, single room, full board. 
Bookings: a non-refundable deposit of £33 is required at the time of booking.
Final payment is required by Tuesday, 7th March 2017.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Liturgical Abuses

A distorted experience.

I read an article by Brian Williams on his Liturgy Guy site concerning his view that the Reform of the Reform is not sustainable in the long term. A great deal of what he says is very valid. So, for example, he says: 
Those who most vociferously argue for the Reform of the Reform need to remember that any parish currently embracing liturgical renewal is only one pastoral change away from a return to banality.
Which is certainly true. Although one hopes that the people have been catechised to understand why one is an improvement on the other and will retain that understanding. So, in case he reads this, my issue is a very particular one, rather than any general disagreement. (Indeed, I've added him to my blog roll.)

However he also says some things that I'd disagree with. Most startlingly that:
The Novus Ordo both by design, as well as by its own post-conciliar development, is a liturgy of options. The most liturgically impoverished Sunday Mass might be irreverent and profane, but rarely is it guilty of any actual liturgical abuse.
Too many options there - certainly. Some of the innovations he cites as intrinsic to the Novus Ordo , though, are certainly not so. Some of the  things he cites as now controversial in the Novus Ordo are indeed generally considered controversial but this is because of abuses of the Novus Ordo rubrics. Which leads us to his statement that most liturgically impoverished Ordinary Form Masses are rarely guilty of any liturgical abuse. Here I would disagree most strongly. Liturgical abuse is rife. 

To use some of his examples.

The Churches rules clearly state that Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion should only be used where there is an absolute necessity. However, in many parishes it is seen as way of involving as many laity as possible, and there is an excess of extraordinary ministers so routinely used that they grow into the idea that it is a right they have. Extraordinary ministers are obviously not needed when there are enough priests to give out Holy Communion but it is routinely seen that priest stay seated whist lay ministers give out Holy Communion. Another instance of the extraordinary becoming ordinary and then demanded as a right.

One of means by which such abuses permeate the Church is by clergy taking legislation meant for unusual situations, perhaps meant for mission territories, and transferring those practices to everyday settings in parishes. Communion Services led by laity, for example. A practice meant only for Sundays where a community CANNOT get access to a priest. But here in the UK, and I know elsewhere as well, these have become regular on weekdays, for which they were never intended. But it has the advantage in the modernist mind of getting the congregation used to seeing laity at the altar and in particular, women presiding at the altar. Quietly undermining the Churches teaching on a male only priesthood. There is also an inversion of the meaning: thus when such things are discussed at deanery meetings it becomes NOT where the community cannot get access to a priest but where a priest cannot get to a particular place to offer Mass. Bypassing the fact that it might be quite possible for people to get to a nearby Mass with relative ease or a little advanced organisation. 

The singing the Propers of the Mass instead of popular hymns, mentioned as now controversial, is another one of those things that should be incorporated into every Ordinary Form Mass. Replacing these texts of Sacred Scripture with popular hymns is not a real option but a liturgical abuse. Obviously so, for Scripture takes precedence and pride of pace in the Mass.

The use of Chant for the Ordinary of the Mass is, according to the Church's rules in this matter, important and to be encouraged. Indeed every Catholic is supposed to be able to join in things like the Gloria, Creed, Sanctus and Agnus in Latin. How many can? How many schools incorporate this into their liturgies? 

I could go on and on with other examples not mentioned in this particular article of practices so routinely seen in the Ordinary Form of Mass in most parishes that most people have come to believe they are intrinsic to it (ad libbing, changing wording in the Eucharistic Prayers, forbidding kneeling to receive Holy Communion, abandoning the use of the communion plate, not wearing a chasuble, to mention but a few). My point is that liturgical abuses, as well as the irreverent and profane, are rife. I think most priests never read the rubrics or the General Instruction often enough (and I include myself in that) so they pick up liturgical abuses seen or read about elsewhere and think they must be okay. Of course, there are those too who deliberately introduce foreign elements with an modernising agenda in mind. That's something else again.

Many liturgies routinely seen are as much distorted from the Norm (technically understood) as a Salvador Dali painting, so that most people's experience is rather distorted one.

(And "No" - I'm not a Dali fan!)

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Christmas Masses

Christmas Masses at St Catherine Labouré
Stanifiled Lane
PR25 4QG


 First Mass of Christmas at 11pm
(OF Sung Latin)
(followed by a glass of wine in the Pope John Paul Room)


8.30am (OF Said English)

10am Missa Cantata
(EF Sung Latin)