Thursday, 11 October 2012

A 'new' Latin Mass for London?

My youngest daughter has just informed me of a 'new' Latin Mass centre in London - Whey-hey! and all that!

I thought that I knew all the crevices wherein a Sunday EF Mass was to be found in the London area.

 The Oratory at 9am, of course, St James's (I like the apostrophe) Spanish Place at 9.30am and St Bede's Clapham Park at the very social hour of 10.45am.

Then there's St Mary Magdalen at Wandsworth Common at the even more social hour of 11am and that's it for parishes with a TLM every Sunday (I'm leaving Blackfen out of it as they are, I think, a bit beyond the London boundaries, sorry Fr T).

Not a lot for Britain's capital city and mother Diocese of England and Wales but......there you go, come the revolution etc.

But now, thanks to Miss Collins, I am informed that St Margaret's Convent Chapel, Canning Town, has a Latin Mass at 6pm every Sunday! How come this one passed me by?

Easy. It's not in Southwark or Westminster, it's in Brentwood Diocese.

Aaah....Brentwood Diocese. Last time I mentioned the scarcity of Sunday EF Masses in Brentwood I got a good roasting from many good bloggers who knew otherwise but, on checking the Latin Mass Society quill and parchment Mass Listings online, I see that only St Margaret's offers the Mass of all time on every Sunday - in the whole Diocese!

Now, if you have the knowledge as the London Cabbies say, please don't beat me up, if you know of other Latin Mass parishes where a Sunday EF Mass is offered, write to the LMS and ask 'em to feature in it in their ledger.

But, in all of this is there a smidgeon of misinformation?

Can you say, with any accuracy which town is in which Diocese? Is Baldock in Westminster or Brentwood? Guildford in Southwark or Arundel and Brighton? Ware in Northampton or Westminster?

And don't even start on Southwark North and Southwark (Kent) ugh!

If you were a visitor from overseas (are we still allowed to say 'foreigner'?) not knowing the geography of England and Wales, where would you begin with a Diocesan index?

I would suggest that the LMS might consider two things in all of this; one, that they produce an index of Mass centres by town or city in alphabetical order, and, two, that they expand their listings to include all Latin Masses, not just ones where they have a finger in the liturgical pie.
Not just those that they support and organise.

And one final point regarding St Margaret' was the parish wherein my dear parents were born and brought up.
My mother was the organist when just a slip of a girl and my father painted extensive murals for the church, I don't suppose for one minute that they are still there.
All colour was whitewashed out after the Second Reformation. I think I'm still allowed to say that.


  1. I think the dioceses were originally based on the counties as they existed at the time. Westminster covered Middlesex and Hertfordshire, Southwark covered Surrey and Kent and Brentwood covered Essex. Greater London is a fairly modern construct.

  2. If we're talking about the Latin Mass we also need to consider Latin Masses in the Ordinary Form, of which London has more than the rest of the country put together. In the dark days of the 1970s, when 1962 Masses were a rarity, the London Oratory showed that musical and liturgical excellence could be maintained using the Pauline missal. The LMS lists all EF Masses, not just those it organizes; the ALL, which I also belong to, lists Latin and part-Latin Masses in the OF (its main remit) and scheduled EF Masses.

    The task in hand (and the Pope admits it is only just beginning) is to resacralize the liturgy, and the Novus Ordo is where it has to happen. It isn't going to be replaced any time soon. By the way, to describe 1962 as "the Mass of all ages" is stretching it a bit!


  3. John Nolan, I am only concerned with the Tridentine Latin Mass, the EF Mass if you will. I do not attend the OF Mass because of the antics of clergy and laity. Therefore, I regard London, accurately, as a wasteland for the Latin Mass. I did not describe "1962" as the Mass of ages. I did refer to the TLM as "The Mass of all Time". Not my words but true ones nevertheless. Richard


  4. are right but I'm still awaiting the designation of Pembrokeshire as a Diocese. Richard

  5. It should be pointed out that St. Mary Magdalen, Wandsworth does not have a traditional Mass at 11am every Sunday.

    I used to go there (within the the last 12 months) but it was very hit and miss. The last three times I tried it they had the new Mass being said at that time.

    You will notice that the newsletter only says 'Latin Mass'. It doesn't say that it will be the traditional rite and there is no guarantee that it will be.

    I wouldn't want anyone to go and be disappointed.


  6. Anonymous - thank you. The LMS listing states every Sunday. That is very confusing (and disappointing). Richard

  7. Richard, don't get me wrong, I agree with Joseph Gelineau SJ when he said in 1967 that the Roman Rite 'as we know it is no more; it has been destroyed'. He knew what he was talking about, since he was one of the destroyers. The NO Mass is valid per se but it is what it says on the tin, a New Order. Since the sung Latin Mass is still normative, I would prefer (on Sundays and Holy Days at least) a sung NO to a said EF, but that is because I was brought up in the Missa Cantata tradition and sing Gregorian chant. However, when the Birmingham Oratory last year put its Solemn Latin Mass into the EF the improvement was palpable and attendance has increased by some fifteen percent.


  8. Thanks John, fully understood. Richard