Monday, 9 May 2011


Apologies for not responding to recent comments but I have spent the last four days rushing around London. Give me a little time and I will reply.

Some of you may recall my avowed intent to attend the SSPX Mass last Sunday at Wimbledon, it being the only one I could reach in time.
Well, my wife and myself rolled up at the due time but who should process onto the sanctuary but Bishop Richard Williamson himself. This threw us into a state of flux; was it legitimate to attend a Mass celebrated by this man? We both wrestled with the canonical implications and, finally, agreed to stay but not to receive Holy Communion,  purely on the ground that our frames of mind would not be appropriate for reception.
However, the time arrived for the sermon and the Bishop launched into a rather fragmented, wooden and unstructured rant that was, at times, most unChristian to the point of detraction. He veered from subject to subject, seldom stopping to conclude a train of thought. I began to appreciate how sinister this approach is because some of the points he made were sound and irrefutable but he would then go on to add a twist that, to us at any rate, was unnacceptable in the extreme.

Bishop Williamson - more Protestant than Catholic!
 He touched on the Royal wedding (as he called it "Wills and Kate getting married") he liked the pageantry but did not like the fact that they had been "shacked up together" for several years. Now the meaning of this may be true but it is not for me and certainly not for a Bishop to assume that they have been "living in sin". The use of slang words such as "shacked up" were peppered throughout the sermon which was proving to be long and boring. At times, as if he sensed that maybe he had sent the congregation off  into sleep mode he would suddenly shout out a few words very aggressively. This was not a pleasant experience and it was provident that there were no children present as his style of presentation and his prophetic utterances would have been frightening for them.
Finally, in his last twisted sentences he attacked the Holy Father. It was cleverly done, first he would praise or semi praise him and then he would deliver the kick below the belt "I don't know whether he has sinned against the Church or not, he is  a well intentioned man I am sure but the road to hell is paved with good intentions" was the gist of what he said.
That changed my mind totally as I then thought that there was no way that this man would included the Pope in his prayers during the consecration.
We left swiftly and silently, angry with him and ourselves because we had missed Sunday Mass.
As we left we were followed by a parishioner who pleaded with us to stay and stated that the Bishop's views were not liked and that the best thing to do was to pray for him and to go to Holy Communion.
We agreed to the former (with some difficulty) but not to the latter.

It left a nasty taste in our mouths that has still not gone away, especially so since, coming the previous day from the Guild of Catholic Bloggers' meeting where all had stated clearly the desire to remain 'loyal to the Magisterium', it was shattering to find a senior churchman who was so opposed to Pope Benedict XVI.

Three issues arose from this. Firstly, I was under the impression that Bishop Williamson was under orders not to celebrate Mass in public, something that Bishop Fellay might like to check up on.
Secondly, that is probably the last SSPX Mass I will attend. A pity but I cannot chance this happening again.
And, thirdly, because of my assumption that prayers for the Pope would have been omitted, I do not believe this Mass would have been valid.


  1. Dear Linen on the Hedgerow,
    As an (American) SSPX parishioner, as well as someone who knows the bishop in question (he's friends with my Grandpa), I feel in a position to tell you that no matter how kooky his sermon was, I don't doubt it was very...distinct, he himself would be horrified at the idea of changing a single word of the Mass. All Society priests have had it drummed into their skulls since day one that You Don't Change the Mass. I'm sorry that you had to endure his sermon. He is, for the Society, like your slightly odd uncle who makes a nuisance of himself at family reunions. I also was under the impression that he wasn't supposed to preach. But don't be too discouraged, the rest of the family isn't like "Uncle Rickie"
    Yours etc.

  2. I think Williamson recognises the Pope, he just doesn't like him very much!

    By the way, not praying for the Pope in the Canon wouldn't actually invalidate the Mass. Priests allied to anti-Popes in the past, and sede vacantists today, can still say valid Masses. Not that I'm recommending it...

  3. Just go to a proper Mass at a normal Church next time!

  4. I just had a scoot around the Internet to look 'Bishop'Richard W up, he apears to be either mad or deluded or evil and should have no place in the Church that involves any kind of preaching or leadership!Send him to a nice enclosed monastery and let some nice kind Brothers look after him.

  5. I too was under the impression that Bishop Williamson was not allowed to offer Mass. However, I think this was a decision made by Bishop Fellay to keep +Williamson out of the public eye until the scandal died down.
    I just took a look around the web and most of the information available is damning indeed!There is no charity in a man like that.
    Put the bad experience behind you, you will appreciate your Mass at home even more!

  6. Joe, I was under the impression that one may only attend an SSPX Mass on the proviso that there was a genuine intention to pray for the Pope, or, rather, not to pervert that part of the Mass in any way.
    There must be some correlation between excising parts of the Mass and invalidity. A specious argument would be to say, for example, let us leave out the Kyrie, Gloria and the Consecration.....would it still be valid?

  7. I think that if you were to consult 'the manualists', you'd see that even omitting to include the name of the Roman Pontiff or the bishop/ordinary wouldn't invalidate the Mass, nor would omitting the Kyrie and Gloria. The gravity of the illiceity involved is more or less serious, of course.

    One cannot have a valid Mass without the Consecration, but one can have one with the right intention and with it-- e.g. in a time of violent persecution-- presuming that one has bread and wine available; I'd have to look to the books to confirm that, though.

    It is precisely because of the presumption of validity that I stopped (long ago) using that as the standard: I will tolerate this or that minor illicit act or omission but there is a level of illicitness (and I know it when I see it) beyond which I don't stay. Happily, in these parts, priests are generally observant of the letter if not the spirit of the laws.

    And I know from a friend who does the chapels that Mons W.'s sermon style is usually just that which you describe-- you didn't witness an aberration or a 'bad day'.

  8. Marc - hmmm.......I used the word "invalid" to draw out some debate. Without wishing to appear semantic would it be correct to say that my attendance at that Mass would have not validated my Sunday obligation?
    I felt it would be the case.

    All - thank you for your comments. I have been very guarded with my post as I did not wish to be the subject of litigation but the things that were said were much worse than I have portrayed (allegedly).

  9. I would say that it certainly satisfied your Sunday obligation-- however much Mons W.'s antics may have disturbed the propriety and serenity of the sacred Rite's celebration-- since it seems to be the case that Rome does, in effect, tolerate attendance at the SSPX's Masses.

    I wouldn't consider myself free to receive Holy Communion at their chapels, though, under any normal circumstances.

  10. I am sure + Williamson does pray for the Pope in the Canon. Why wouldn't he? He's not a sedevacantist. The Church is full of bishops and priests who oppose the Pope in one way or another. I don't know why + Williamson should be regarded as more scandalous than they.

  11. "it is not for me and certainly not for a Bishop to assume that they have been "living in sin".

    Quite the contrary is the case.
    The two have been living together more uxorio for some time, and this is a scandal that a bishop has not only the right, but the duty to condemn.

    Strange as the man is, I do not doubt that he is a much better Catholic than the vast majority of bishops in good standing.


  12. Mundabor- welcome! I still believe that, unless one has absolute proof, one should not condemn individuals. The sin, yes, every time.

  13. Decidedly a one-sided and slanted demi-rant from the attendee at mass where Bishop williamson gave sermon.

    His actual words on the Holocaust [or Holo-hoax-Holo-Caustianity -Hollow-Hoax which is the ineluctable conclusion from honest, rigorous research untainted by the information controllers] when in Sweden were very measured and he requested that his honest views be not broadcast in Germany.

    One pities the self-righteous ignorance whether vincible or invincible of those who are too lazy or arrogant to undertake the detailed and objective research that allows one to be released from the pincer-hold of cohorts concatenating control over history ---and brazenly confabulating for influence and material gain;Egregious example is the internet outed zio-agent of influence i.e.,one's MP who publicly in Westminster lied about non-existent anti-semitism locally and repeatedly fails to admit the truth [local authorities confirmed there was absolutely no substance to the allegations].

    Spare carping or deluded self-rage to criticize for daring to talk straightly and informedly.


  14. Anonymous JohnTheB.......and you think my post was a demi-rant?