Wednesday, 31 July 2013

How do you 'discipline' an order?

Hair shirt? Been there, done that
Now, if I was in the higher echelons of the clergy in Rome (thank heavens that I am not) and was given the task of disciplining an Order - just how would I set about it?

That question is, of course, purely hypothetical as we do not know what indiscretions the Order is supposed to have committed.

But, I think I would start at the penitential end; I might consider asking those in the Order to undertake some form of penance such as dedicating one day each week to mortification and prayer.

Or, possibly, abstaining from meat for three months, or wearing hair shirts - but, perhaps the good Friars already do those sort of things.

These days, punishments are supposed to be given in a positive manner. Thus, if the sixth form at school had corporately committed some offence, they might be required to give up their free periods or time to works of good mercy, maybe even praying for a specific period before a crucifix.

If you applied this to the Friars, you could impose on them the duty to increase the number of EF Masses they attend beneficially open up the potential for an increase in God's grace and a greater spiritual depth to those in the Order.

It was just a thought.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Monday, 29 July 2013

The Latin Mass banned by Rome?

Disturbing news originating from Vatican journalist Sandro Magister (not necessarily right in his information).

Australia Incognita has the story and pray.

It could be the end of this...

Which way to the SSPX?

Lords of the Dance

By now, most will have seen that awful film clip showing the hierarchy of South America being led into ridiculous caperings and posturings that will, if anything, alienate any Catholic youth with any ounce of intelligence.

I have run dry on possible adjectives to use to describe this shambles but, my greatest concern is that it reflects what poor leaders we have.

Even allowing for cultural differences between Latin America and the rest of the world it was an appalling pantomime, matched only by the equally banal and blasphemous Stations of the Cross (Via Dolorosa comes to Copacabana).

I fully comprehend the fact that we have to address Catholic youth in a more enlightened manner than just shoving a catechism under their nose but to indulge them in farce is not the way; it is patronising and insulting.

Many years ago a group of Catholics used to produce what became known as 'The Pimlico Passion Play' not quite up to Oberammergau standards but very professional, nonetheless.

It ran each year and it told the story on stage and in mime (most effective) of the Passion of Christ according to St Matthew.

It did not require dancers, or special effects, or panto 'Christs' or inappropriate music; the story of the Way of the Cross, if viewed critically in dramatic terms, is the most poignant piece of theatre possible.

But, returning to our Bishops.

If they possess such a lack of judgement, if they are so easily led (by the cheerleader) and if they believe that capering is a sensible means of relating to Catholic youth, then they are in the wrong job.

And, if the Holy Father, having observed all that took place on Copacabana Beach, takes no action, then he is in the wrong job also.

And back to the 'Stations', here is a clip showing Jim Caviezel speaking of how he portrayed Jesus Christ in the film, The Passion of the Christ.

This is how we should reveal the truth to the young...

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Ragazzagallese is not a type of pasta!

Spaghetti alla Razzagallese? No.

After Mass this morning an impromptu blognic was held in the Cathedral porch (no tea facilities for Latin Mass lovers see?).

I met for the first time, a female Welsh Catholic blogger, almost as rare as the male version.

Miss Ragazzagallese had travelled all the way from Cardiff Archdiocese to touch base with us lot in Menevia, much appreciated by all who met her.
Furthermore, she has lived in Rome and shared an apartment with another Catholic blogger, Hilary White.

For me, in particular, it was rewarding to meet a young Catholic who adheres to orthodox teaching and attends the Mass of all Time the same time..... completely normal. I mean this in the best possible sense but many of us older brethren of the Latin Rite do appear somewhat...umm, eccentric?....nutty?

Not surprising really considering some of the high jumps we have had to perform over the past twenty five years in order to preserve our beloved Mass and liturgies.

My children, all of whom are adult, were brought up in the time of great persecution of those who were traditional in their beliefs and, as a result, our Masses were often held at the drop of a hat, without the Bishop's permission, in the sitting room or wherever there was space for us.

Those who attended were strong enough in spirit, not to knuckle down to the new religion, and you do have to be a bit of a nut to do that.

So now my children believe that all traditional Catholics are a bit 'off the wall', if you follow me.

If Miss Ragazzagallese is representative of our new young Catholics (and I'm sure she is), we have nothing to worry about - the future of the Faith is in safe hands.

Please visit her blog HERE and add her to your bloglist, we need more of her calibre.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

"O come and smirk with me awhile...."

A group places a cross on the stage during the Stations of the Cross event, on the Copacabana beachfront in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, July 26, 2013. Francis presided over one of the most solemn rites of the Catholic Church on Friday, a procession re-enacting Christ's crucifixion, that received...
Cross or Maypole? More Broadway than Via Crucis

I watched, briefly (very briefly) part of the World Youth Day Stations of the Cross, screened last night by EWTN, from Copacabana Beach - where else?

I came in at the eleventh station and exited at the twelfth.

I have never seen such unmitigated, puke inducing, blasphemous rubbish in all my 24 years, ahem.

At  first I thought that EWTN was showing Men in Black 3 as the screen was full of rather camp looking Brazilians in funny poses and dressed in black suits, a sort of cross between a Monty Python sketch and Morecambe and Wise at their best.

Then, cue the glamour puss who recited, presumably, a rendering of the Passion, with one of those silly half smirks on her face.
You know, the sort normally employed by CoE vicars who feel that they must lighten up and show their 'human' side in spite of the fact that they are speaking of the grimmest moment in world history.

And then we were transported back to the London Olympics, men in black were out and men and women in doctor's and nurses gear were in.

It was a farce of the grand order and only lacked the skill and expertise of the 'Carry On' team.

As I switched off the television, a grotesque 3 dimensional image of Christ on the cross swivelled in the manner of a fairy godmother leaving the stage during a Christmas panto.

Enough - Não obrigado, não minha xícara de chá 

Friday, 26 July 2013

Ten ways to impress your Bishop

Bishops appreciate a subtle approach

I may be wrong but, it seems to me that Bishops, post Vatican II are more accessible, more 'user friendly' inasmuch that you may meet them at the parish fete, the annual parish visit, on the occasion of  the Sacrament of Confirmation being conferred or, at the golf club.

And, when you do meet them, they are less tied up with things spiritual and far more worldly than their counterparts fifty years ago. Hmmm.

So, if you wish to gain a few Brownie points with your local 'Bish' and convince him that you are the best thing since EMHCs, here are my top ten ploys:-

1. Don't kneel and kiss his ring upon meeting him - Bishops are far too humble for that treatment

2. Never write to him. Bishops dislike receiving letters from their flock. Sheep can't write is their philosophy, so forget it (you won't get a reply anyway).

3. Do not address your Bishop as 'My Lord', instead call him plain 'Bishop' or, even, 'Bishop Reg' (assuming that 'Reg' is his Christian name).

4. There is a litany of words that must not be mentioned in the presence of a Bishop, these include: "Rosary, Latin, Extraordinary, Benediction, Altar Rails and Magisterium" (there are more but these are the important ones).

5. Ask him to adopt a charitable cause of your choosing; high on the popularity list are groups such as the Marxist Catholic Association and the LGBT Rainbow Liturgy Society.

6. Encourage him to appoint a Diocesan Liturgical Artist who will produce some beautiful meaningless posters in pastel colours that nobody will understand.

7. Inspire him to open a Twitter account and to read the Tweets of his priests and deacons (especially the deacons).

8. Suggest that, as his 60 or so parishes offer Masses in Chinese, Tamil, Tagalog, Polish and Latvian, the addition of Swahili and Lakota would be much appreciated. You will find him only too pleased to comply.

9. Invite him to organise some Clown Masses - the smell of greasepaint does things to Bishops.

10. Ask him what he understands regarding Summorum Pontificum.

What if he turns out to be Gay?

The Royal baby, born to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, George Alexander Louis, is likely, at some stage in his life, to become King.

All well and good and, fifty years hence or less, this may take place.

But what if the little bundle of joy turns out to have homosexual tendencies? (not unknown in the Royal family).

Laurence England posted on this a few days ago but my imagination, when projected forward twenty years or so, cannot but help speculate on what might take place should the unthinkable happen.

How would the British public, to say nothing of the Commonwealth countries, respond to an announcement of the engagement of HRH Prince George to the Right Honourable Freddy Ponsonby-Ffrench?

And how would the Church of England (if it is still in existence then) cope with having a Head who is not so much red, white and blue as pink, white and blue?

Westminster Abbey would be packed, for the "wedding" with the other Farm Street community and the Stonewall bunch....and Britain would be the laughing stock of the world.

Or, would it?

The rate of moral decline is now so rapid that, in twenty years time, homosexual unions will be as common as.....well, very common.

And heterosexual marriages as rare as an unbleached candle.

After the wedding, a few months after the wedding, the Royal couple, the Prince and Prince of X, might wish to have children.

Just think, what disarray the British constitution would be in, trying to sort out the hereditary rights of a surrogate child born out of wedlock to the Royal couple.

They can't even provide for a Catholic to become heir to the throne (Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Jews and bush born Baptists, yes, but Catholics - no!).

Such are the inequalities of the equality laws in this country.

May the Good Lord save us all!

The child that shows the beauty of wearing a mantilla

Loving Mantillas blog has encapsulated the debate in favour of women wearing mantillas at Holy Mass.

You may see and read it HERE

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Out of the mouths of babes and atheists

Does it strike you as odd that most of the Popes of the last fifty years or so appear to be heading for saint status without most of the usual conditions being fulfilled?

It has been niggling away in my mind for some time, yet, because they are Popes of HMC, I have been unwilling to say anything that could be construed as curmudgeonly.

Now, it appears, an atheist has beaten me to it and come up with an "Emperor has no clothes" letter to The Times.

My thanks to a good Swansea friend who pointed me in the right direction.

Here is the letter from a Mr Ian Slade of London N7:-

In the past, centuries elapsed between Pope Saints - St. Pius V, died 1572, and St. Pius X, died 1914.  Now we are to believe that every pope since 1958 (1939 if one counts Pius XII) was of exalted sanctity.  John XXIII, imminent canonisation; Paul VI, imminent beatification; John Paul I, case opened; John Paul II, imminent canonisation.
As an atheist I cannot comment on the medievalism of miracles or their holiness.  However, it does seem odd to laud those under whose guidance the practice of the faith, numbers of clergy and moral authority  of the Catholic Church have all but collapsed."
Well, for once I agree with the words of an atheist.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The Latin Cardiff

Good news! Father Antony Tumelty OSB will be celebrating a Low Mass this coming Thursday 25th July at 7pm at Cardiff University, Park Place, Cardiff.

Just ask for the Catholic Chaplaincy....(students don't bite), and you will be directed to the Latin Mass.

The Latin Mass at Cardiff University needs more support so please attend if you are able.....there may even be a post Mass coffee or something stronger at a local hostelry if there is a critical mass for the Latin Mass.

Picture: LMS Cardiff

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Joseph of.......Cardiff?

The Welsh have an endearing habit of linking famous people with a Welsh heritage.

Elvis Presley aka Elvis Evans

"Look at Nelson Mandela" they will say: "His granddad was from Merthyr Tydfil"

Or, even less probably: "Mother Theresa was Welsh, her family moved to Albania when she was two years old".

I have long become accustomed to such claims which, a Welsh friend claims, are a product of an insecure nation. He can say that, I could not possibly.

But now, it seems, an English author has lodged a claim that fairly and squarely (if true) places Wales on the map.

According to Michael Clark, Joseph of Arimathea is buried in Cardiff, capital city of Wales.

England also has a claim to Joseph of Arimathea who, allegedly, travelled to Glastonbury where he rammed his staff into the ground, whereupon it took root and is now known as 'the Glastonbury Thorn'.

Joseph was, of course, a trader and it seems highly likely that he did undertake voyages from time to time; but whether he made land in England or Wales is still, I suspect, a matter for conjecture.

But Mr Clark claims that Joseph's body is intact and located at the ruined chapel of St Mary, in Bute Park, Cardiff.
Furthermore, he also believes that Joseph was known in Wales as 'St Ilid' and that he founded a church at Llanelid, near Pencoed (if he indeed went to Pencoed he would have been lucky to leave with a coat on his back).

His claims are made in his book 'Maelgwyn of Llandaff and Joseph of Arimathea'.

Meanwhile, we labour on, happy in the knowledge that William Shakespeare, Albert Schweitzer, Abraham Lincoln, Robin of Locksley, Clark Kent, Alexander the Great, Elvis Presley and Alexander Fleming all had Welsh blood in them!

Monday, 22 July 2013

Ad clerum from Bulinga Fen Archdiocese

Hello Boys

It's me again, your beloved Archbish, your NBF (how about that for a bit of being with it eh?).

Well, here we are in the midst of the summer break and our Sunday Mass attendances are at an all time's the hot weather, of course, nothing to do with, umm, er, you know, the one who must not be named.
We all know that he doesn't exist and that we all have a bad as well as a good side to our character.

Well, that's quite enough theology for one ad clerum!

Now for more important matters.
I am rather concerned to see that my pal Peter in Southwark, has no less than ten secondary schools who proudly boast a Muslim Prayer Room on their premises.

Ten Catholic schools with Muslim Prayer Rooms! Disgraceful!

This is nothing short of scandalous and I will not allow this situation to continue.

Please extract your digits and get some Bulinga schools equipped with the same.

Chuck in a few prayer mats, washing facilities and an arrow on the wall, that sort of thing...anything for the ecumenical cause.

Speaking of schools, please ask your chaplain lasses to get focused on more of the jolly old liturgical dancing and tell them to forget any of that Latiney stuff, that's for weirdos.

And while I'm on the subject of Latin, I have noticed what I call 'Latin creep' in some parts of this glorious diocese; some parishes on the outer fringes are promoting EF Masses on alternate Wednesday afternoons (when there's and 'r' in the month), at 2.45pm.

Please, boys, please stay focused.

We have our Indian Masses and our Chinese Masses, no one can take those away from us, so we don't need to go all retro and pretend that we are all holy joes (or josephines, I hasten to add. I am nothing, if not inclusive).

And, speaking of inclusivity please take some time to learn the equality for all version of the Lord's Prayer so carefully written for us by the diocesan artist, Ms Lilith O'Flannery, here it is again, just to jog your memories:-

Our Person
who is out there somewhere
respect to your name.
We want your sovereign state to arrive
And for your most of your intentions to be considered and, 
possibly, complied with,
Please donate some organic wholemeal bread today;
And overlook our rambling on other people's property
As we turn a blind eye when people wander into our gardens;
and help us overcome our lack of re-cycling and usage of fossil fuels
But help us out when it comes to climate change,



I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome five young men of the diocese who have been interrogated as being suitable candidates for our seminary.
Welcome lads, I know we will get along just fine (provided I don't catch you with rosary beads in your pocket or kneeling to receive holy communion).

Well, chums, as the charcoal of time splutters to ashes, and the thuribles of destiny grow cold, it's time for me to sign off and to wish you all well.

So, until your next AC - tatty bye!

++ NBF

Please note: The above missive is a work of pure fiction and the product of a fevered mind!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Compare the OF with the EF - on now!

Watch and weep

H/T to Te igitur blog for a most beautiful and moving piece of film on meditation on the sacrifice of the Holy Mass.

And many thanks to Michael Sestek who produced it.....orthodox Catholics everywhere should be most grateful.

School chaplains, liturgical artistes, parish commissars should be sat down and made to watch this...

...could you not watch one hour with me?

If you do nothing else today, watch this film.

Thanks to Fr J who guided me to TI.

Friday, 19 July 2013

M = Server F = Serviette

If you can't walk, donate (please)

Tomorrow, a small group of stalwarts will march from Wandsworth to Wapping to raise funds for The Good Counsel Network to help them assist those who have had abortions and counsel those who are contemplating this awful act.

It is going to be very warm - around 30 degrees celsius, (that's 86 degrees in English and 'bloomin' hot' in Welsh).

Please, if you cannot join them, consider making a donation here

And, if you cannot make a donation, please pray for them and their cause....

"O Lord, Jesus Christ, You Who are the Way, the Truth, and the Life; 
grant graciously that by the intercession of Blessed Mary,
Your Virgin Mother, we, running in the way of Your commandments,
may attain to life-everlasting, Who lives and reigns,
 one God, world without end. Amen."

God has girded me with strength and set my way immaculate.

Our Lady of the Wayside, pray for us and guide us.
Then add three times — the ‘Our Father’, the ‘Hail Mary’, and the ‘Glory be . .... . 
....‘in Our Lady's honour.

Cardinal says: "Call out the guard....the Swiss Guard!"

How I like and admire Cardinal Arinze.

He, in my mind, is the perfect apologist, he does not beat about the bush, he tells the truth and he cocoons most of his teachings within a wonderful sense of humour.

God bless him!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Tinker, Tailor, Liberal, Traditionalist, Orthodox, Modernist?

Big Ears was a Traditionalist

It seems that people, understandably, do not like labels.

But the word 'Catholic' is a label and, back in the early 60s it was enough to establish your spiritual lineage.

Now it is not.

So, we have become fragmented and divided; we are no longer one holy Catholic and apostolic Church.

We are modernists, CINOs, uber conservatives, right wingers, liberals and so on.

And the labels are often inaccurate; I really do not know how I would describe myself.

I am right wing politically, but does that apply also to my Faith?

I believe the core of the problem lies in the fact that our secular acts are working in opposition to our spiritual ones.

We like to stand and receive the Host in our hand, therefore, we are liberal.

We prefer to kneel and receive by mouth, therefore, we are......what?

When I first entered the education sector back in 1989 one of my first duties was to send a group of lecturers to our local Ferryside post graduate teacher training base. I forget the nature of the course, it has no relevance.

When they returned I asked how the day had been received and I was told this story:-

" They put us into two groups with the College X staff in one and us in the other. And then they called us Group A and Group B.
Well, College X did not like to be referred to as 'Group B as they felt that was second rate so the instructors deliberated for ten minutes and then re-classified us as Group 1 and Group 2.

We were now Group 2 and we felt that we had been relegated to second place so we objected.

The instructors thought again and came up with the idea of Black Group and White Group but College X felt that to be dubbed 'Black' was insulting (but not in a racial context, of course).

We then had the mid morning break while various other ideas were put to us and all were rejected.

At about 11.15am, the instructors came back in and offered us the titles of Pixie Group and Fairy Group and these were found to be acceptable to both teams".

So that's it then.

History was made on that day in October 1989 - the link to Catholic identity was outlined for the very first time.

So, I propose that this innovative lead is adopted at once and, from now on we shall be known by the following nomenclature:-

Liberals - Fairies

Modernists - Goblins

Traditionalists - Dwarves

Orthodox - Elves

Charismatics - Pixies

Job done!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

An evening of choral evensong

Names that will not be given to the Royal baby

What's in a name?

So far, 'George' has been mooted if the Royal baby is a boy and, 'Elizabeth' if the child is a girl.

Both are good names and both would win approval at a Catholic baptismal font.

And, I suppose we should be grateful that William and Kate have not gone down the Darren and Kylie route.

But it would be a good and wholesome thing if the Royal couple broke with tradition and named their baby either Joseph or Mary according to the gender of the infant.

What effect would that have?

Well apparently, there are hundreds of new parents and pregnant mums to be out there who are holding off having their child baptised just so that they may adopt whichever name is chosen for the Royal baby. How unwise. How very unwise.

We all know the dangers of the period between birth and baptism.

But, back to the copying of the Royal name.

If 'Mary' or 'Joseph' were adopted we would have hundreds, possibly thousands of little Marys and Josephs trailing in the wake of the Royals - excellent!

If nothing else it might shove all those Poppydoodah and Harryhooha ridiculous names down the popularity list.


Tuesday, 16 July 2013


Not a T shirt worn by a Catholic

The current, and seemingly worldwide usage of the ejaculation, 'Oh my God' has now reached totally unacceptable proportions.

It is, 'Not very good' to use this phrase, in any circumstances other than when on one's knees in a church or in prayer in the home.

I am certain, in fact, that any street usage of this chavvish and blasphemous phrase is unacceptable but, today, it appears to have become the vox pop, not only for the chavs, but also many of those who use the new social networks.

Texting, Facebook and Twitter seem to be littered with 'OMGs' and, walking down any high street, you can hear the phrase coming at you from all directions.

I really admire the Muslims for the way they revere their holy names - but that's as far as it goes.

I am certainly not in favour of dishing out floggings (or worse) for any incontinent usage of the name of the 'prophet' or 'Allah'....although, they do have attractions at times.

What can be done?

Well.......we could start by telling those who make such utterances that it is offensive and unacceptable.

Of course, we face arrest by the authorities or a beating up by the ungodly (or both) by making such statements but, we have to start making a stand somewhere and, the older I get, the less sensitive I am about upsetting the apple cart.

A good start would be in the retail trade in the situation where, in response to the question: "This chicken is well past it's sell by date"  the assistant says: "Oh, my God" you can gently point out that you find it offensive, along with the chicken.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Feminists, homosexuals? misunderstood

H/T to St Peter's List for this...

Why I am now orthodox and not traditional

There are a lot of comments flying around at present regarding labels and sniping at people's appearances...some of it is good, some of it is not.

"O God, I thank Thee I am not like other men
(and am well dressed and slim)"

It is not good manners, for example, to criticise a person's hairstyle and dress code.

But, it may be (just maybe) fine to satirise them in a non personal manner.

Well, at least, I hope that is the case.

For example, we have many good deacons and some distinctly dodgy ones; I quite like to lampoon the dodgy ones but I would never individually criticise their dress sense (apart from the shell suits, that is).

But, it is certainly not edifying for men, especially, to be snarky about a woman's appearance.

And to make an ultra personal point of highlighting a person's weight goes far, far beyond the realms of common courtesy and good manners.

It is, in fact, gross bad manners showing a distinct lack of breeding.

That is why, I am finally laying claim to the label of being an 'orthodox Catholic' (of the Roman Rite).

Ten years ago you never heard the word 'orthodox' being used, we were all either modernists or traditionalists then.

Both sides have an ugly facet to them; one that is at odds with the teachings of Our Blessed Lord.

But orthodoxy has no such emotional baggage (as yet) and that is why I am now in this camp.

I do not wish to be associated with individual viewpoints, or, indeed, the operational actions of any particular organisation that solely avows 'Tradition' as its raison d'etre.

Sadly, we do have to be labelled; we are either Conservative or Labour, Black or White, Jewish or Catholic, Modernist or...... Orthodox.

Traditionalism has shot itself in the foot too many times.

It is now on the World Wildlife Fund's 'species threatened with extinction' list.

And the sooner it becomes extinct, the better.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

33 barriers to the Ordinary Form

Following on from my last post focusing on Dr Tracey Rowland's talk on the 3 Barriers to the Latin Mass, I have cobbled together a list of 'obstacles' to the Novus Ordo Mass.
Barrier....or gateway? Barrier

But, before I begin, let me pre-empt any comments that might be in the offing concerning my view as to the validity of the Ordinary Form.

Many orthodox priests are forced to celebrate this Mass and do so reverently.

It is still not quite the round shilling in my book and I return to Fr Hugh Thwaites' description of the two forms as being water and milk.

Both are valid and provide what is required; but one provides sparingly whilst the other is rich fare indeed.

So here is my litany of the Novus Ordo...please add any 'obstacles' that I may have missed:-

1. The congregation gossip, often at the tops of their voices

2. No one  genuflects

3. Children are often taken out of Mass for...what?

4. The church and, often the sanctuary, carry banal playschool posters (often)

5. The priest begins by saying: "Good morning everybody" as if he was a Redcoat at Butlin's.

6. The priest invariably ad libs throughout the Mass

7. There are no communion rails

8. The tabernacle has gone walkabouts

9. At the kiss of peace the congregation go berserk, hugging and kissing

10. There are guitars and other musical instruments of the street in use

11. The bidding prayers are banal

12. Strange people greet you as you arrive to attend Mass

13. The Parish Co-ordinator's nephew and niece always get to take up the bread and wine at the Offertory

14. The singing content is abysmal

15. There is a mob of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion doing incorrect things with sacred vessels and, anyway, they shouldn't be there.

16. The Deacon's brother-in-Law always does the reading (followed by his Sister-in-Law for the second reading

17. The altar servers wear albs

18. There are female altar servers on the sanctuary

19. The Deacon's uncle always takes the collection plate round

20. The altar is actually a card table

21. At the Consecration the families of the Parish Co-ordinator and the Deacon hold hands around the altar

22. The Priest's host is the size of a frisbee

23. All of the hosts are made with brown flour and look dirty

24. The Deacon's sermons go on for far too long and are totally pointless anyway

25. The celebrant deviates constantly and makes up additions to various parts of the liturgy

26. The laity dress strangely, men in shorts and T shirts and women in beachwear

27. The altar servers are untrained

28. The priest wears a polyester chasuble so brightly coloured you need sunglasses to look at it

29. When announcements are made, the congregation claps (sometimes)

30. Holy Communion is distributed under both kinds (pointless)

31. Reception is standing and in the hand

32. The sacred vessels are made of pottery (from the Parish Co-ordinator's evening class)

33. Women do not cover their heads

Phew!.....any advance on 33?

Friday, 12 July 2013

Three barriers to the Latin Mass.....

....and thirty three barriers to the Ordinary Form!

Fr Abberton at Stella Maris blog has an interesting post on why people are put off by the Extraordinary Form of Mass, the Latin Mass.

Fr A links to the video clip below featuring Dr Tracey Rowland, an eminent Australian Catholic theologian.

It leaves me a little cold and, also, a little apprehensive that I am, perhaps, missing something.

I don't recognise the three points made by Dr Rowland.

I (in all my years) have never encountered point one, namely, that those who attend the Latin Mass, come out afterwards and dissect it in great detail.

And if they do (as I suppose could happen outside the London Oratory), then so what?

I have attended Latin Masses in London, Bristol, Cardiff, Swansea, Oxford, Cambridge, and many other towns and cities, but never have I heard the Mass being "dissected."

The good Doctor goes on to compare the Latin Mass 'critics' with those who attend performances at the opera, sniping at the fact that the soprano did not hit the top note.
Well, I do not go to the opera very often but when I do, if someone fails to hit the right note, it is a topic of the interval conversation over a glass of lemonade.

Similarly, should a priest hit what Peter Sellers might have called a 'bum note', that, too, might be mentioned in passing.

But dissecting? No.

Her next point is that young people are put off coming to the EF Mass because people "wear funny clothes".

Oh dear, is this a mantilla rant again?

Or, is it that many women, young and old, dress modestly at the Latin Mass?

I suppose that, if you wear a skirt with a hem around your armpits and a mini halter top, you would think that Catholic women  do dress oddly if you were plonked into their midst at Mass.

But, surely Dr Rowland does not mean that?

Or, does she?

And finally, Tracey Rowland makes the point that the 'politicisation' of Vatican II and the blame that orthodox Catholics attach to it, also puts people off.

To a degree she has a point on this one; Vatican II is a constant source of angst to many but I think that most, if not all, believe that there was not a lot inherently wrong with the Council.
What went wrong was the way in which the periti  took advantage of the Council to foist the Catholic world off with a vast number of horrific changes.

But, I would bet anyone reading this, a pint of Rev James bitter, if, on standing outside my parish church on a Sunday, they would receive an answer to the following question:

"What have been the benefits of Vatican II?"

You see, most modern 30 year old Catholics have little knowledge (if any) of Vatican II and would give you a blank look if you popped that question to them.

But please, judge for yourself, here is the clip:

Fr Abberton (who celebrates the Latin Mass) is concerned at the way some priests dress and hold hard to the rubrics.

Now, I would not wish to upset Fr Abberton but, again, I think a priest in a biretta looks much better than one in a shell suit.

And rubrics are great. Much better than the free for all that goes on at the Novus Ordo.

So, sorry Father.....I beg to about you (dear reader)?

* And should there be anyone out there who would like to know the 33 barriers to the OF Mass, I shall attempt a post on the subject sometime over the weekend.
I may not make 33, but then, who knows?

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Mass, in a time of lunacy

When I was a young man I lived in the parental home at the very poorest end of Virginia Water in leafy Surrey.

In those days there really was still a 'poor end' to this Surrey enclave, now I read that the average house price is in excess of £1 million.

Such is the way of the world.

Just a short distance away lay the rambling Franco Gothic towers that is now divided by gated apartments for uber rich yuppie types and one of London's most prestigious Universities, the Royal Holloway, part of the University of London.

But, in my day, it was not merely a seat of academic excellence, (part of it was a Women's College) it was.....can you guess?

A lunatic asylum.

I'm not sure if I may still call it that, perhaps I should have called it a home for the mentally challenged.....but then, I am not very pc.

This magnificent old building, more architecturally akin to Molesworth's St Custards than a seat of learning, or an asylum for that matter, also housed a Catholic Chapel for the inmates to attend on Sundays and Holydays and, as my home was within half a mile (and the parish church five miles distant), we availed ourselves of the opportunity to attend Mass regularly.

This made for interesting experiences.

The residents were a varied lot apparently from all walks of life proving that madness, as with any illness, is a great leveller.

You never really knew what would take place in the course of, naturally, a Latin Mass (this was the mid 1960s).

One resident whom we called affectionately 'Old Thumper' would stand at the Confiteor, Sanctus and the Domine non sum dignus to noisily but reverently thump his chest three times.

Others wandered around the Chapel and even the sanctuary at will.
Most of them muttered or shouted, often in falsetto tones, at various times during the Mass; unnerving at first but we soon, in a strange way, felt quite at home

The celebrant always proceeded with the Mass as if all intruders into the holy area were invisible; nothing could interrupt the unfolding Sacrifice that was taking place.

They soon got used to me and my parents and paid us no attention whatsoever.

 And we, at times, as the changes in the liturgy began to unfold, we felt that, maybe we should be locked up with these poor souls also.

The whole Catholic world was going mad.

I recall one holy day of obligation where I was able to attend an early morning Mass before setting off to work.

Before Mass commenced I knelt in the Chapel surrounded by the usual residents when I heard the sound of clinking, of chains being rattled and of the shuffling of feet.

The noise drew closer until the Chapel door opened and in came ten or twelve inmates, manacled at the hands and shackled together.
These were the serious cases, the dangerous ones that could not be trusted to attend Sunday Mass when there was a sizeable 'lay' congregation present but, on a weekday with only one or two non asylum folk in the congregation, the authorities had allowed it.

And, certainly, my pulses quickened a little.
This was definitely adding a new dimension to attending Holy Mass.

This was positively medieval in aspect; I had never imagined that the mentally insane could be treated in such a fashion but do they control such people? Is medical sedation any better?

The Mass proceeded almost without incident until, at the Consecration, a large, heavily built male (now unshackled), marched to the altar rails and performed the most basic functional act in the centre of the aisle.

Again, the Mass, quite rightly, continued without pause, despite the lavatorial noises that accompanied this act.

The poor demented man was led away and asylum attendants cleared up the mess.

Such experiences may appear bizarre but they did truly represent the nature of Holy Mother Church.

If this sanatorium had been around at the time of Christ, I felt that He would have been there, ministering to them and embracing their needs.

It emphasized that the Mass is for all, regardless of their secular or physical state.

 As for their spiritual state, the Irish have a phrase for people so afflicted.

They used to say that: "Their minds are with God" and I think they were right.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

As SSM draws nigh.....a few words from a Welsh poet....

The hand that signed the paper
by Dylan Thomas

The hand that signed the paper felled a city;
Five sovereign fingers taxed the breath,
Doubled the globe of death and halved a country;
These five kings did a king to death.

The mighty hand leads to a sloping shoulder,
The finger joints are cramped with chalk;
A goose's quill has put an end to murder
That put an end to talk.

The hand that signed the treaty bred a fever,
And famine grew, and locusts came;
Great is the hand that holds dominion over
Man by a scribbled name.

The five kings count the dead but do not soften
The crusted wound nor stroke the brow;
A hand rules pity as a hand rules heaven;
Hands have no tears to flow.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Did you enjoy your first cigarette?


Maybe you relished your very first sip of whisky?

Or were uplifted by hearing Prokofiev for the first time.......or reading your first Shakespeare play?

For most people, such experiences are not always overwhelmingly pleasant; invariably (and, in the case of smoking, inexplicably) you have to repeat the process several times before full appreciation sets in.

Tastes or experiences that, at first seem strange and alien may need time and repetition  before mind and body become attuned.

                                                    The Latin Mass

Friday, 5 July 2013

If you walk in a westerly direction

Assuming that you are in England somewhere, you will, most probably, come to Wales, a green and pleasant land populated by sheep and a roguish, likeable race of Irish and Italian descent.

And if you keep walking taking a point that is close to the middle, in north/south terms, you will come to the unassuming town of Cardigan, home to a certain type of knitwear and twinned with a similar Welsh town in the east called, Raglan (ahem).

Visitors to this pleasant place will encounter the extraordinary generosity of Cardigan folk who like to shower guests with gifts of cash with elastic string quaintly attached.

And Cardigan is also home to the Welsh National Shrine of Our Lady; once one of the major sites of pilgrimage for thousands who flocked there on foot facing outlaws and vagabonds, poor roads and inclement weather conditions.

Even in 2008 there were a goodly few who would travel to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Cardigan to pay homage to the Mother of God.

But then, something happened....who knows what?

And the pilgrimages became, how can I put it? Less well attended.

And now - there is no pilgrimage. Dim pilgrimageo as they would say in Wales.

We have had Chartres, Holywell is, I believe, this weekend and Walsingham is to come in August.....but nothing for Our Lady of Cardigan.

Why? Because people will not travel, they say.

But travel is an integral part of any why?

I know why...but Catholic charity forbids me to say more other than, pilgrimages are not about numbers.

They are about paying tribute to Mary our mother and to the worship of Almighty God.

What would it take to organise a successful 2014 pilgrimage to the National Shrine?

Not much, here are a few starting points:-

1. Juventutem to form a Cardiff branch

2. Appoint a well known priest (or Bishop) to lead the pilgrimage

3. Create a programme of devotions (Rosary procession through the town)

4. Invite like minded organisations to play an equable role

5. Apply to Rome for a specific indulgence

And also throw a bit of money at the project.....with no elastic string attached!


Thursday, 4 July 2013

Will you walk to Walsingham?

"When England returns to Walsingham Our Lady will return to England" ~ Pope Leo XIII

You are invited to the fourth Latin Mass Society (LMS) walking pilgrimage to Walsingham. We will be walking from Ely to Walsingham from 23 to 25 August 2013. This is a bank-holiday weekend. You can book online today on the LMS website (, or call the office and book over the phone: (+44) (0)20 7404 7284
In total the walk is about 55 miles. On the way there will be:

* Solemn High Mass each day
* Mass in the private chapel of historic Oxburgh Hall
* Confession available throughout the pilgrimage
* Traditional Pilgrims Blessing at departure
* Pilgrim's booklet with all prayers, hymns, devotions and Masses
* Camping or indoor accommodation (contact the LMS for details)
* Support vehicles throughout the route (water, first aid, pick up)


There will also be a coach going from London to Walsingham on the Sunday for the final Mass of the pilgrimage and the Holy Mile. Contact the LMS for details.

Full details for the pilgrimage and frequently asked questions at the following link: 
Priests or religious interested in attending do not need to book online and should contact the LMS directly.
Ancient Walsingham Prayer
O alone of all women, Mother and Virgin, Mother most happy, Virgin most pure, now we sinful as we are, come to see thee who are all pure, we salute thee, we honour thee as how we may with our humble offerings; may thy Son grant us, that imitating thy most holy manners, we also, by the grace of the Holy Ghost may deserve spiritually to conceive the Lord Jesus in our inmost soul, and once conceived never to lose him. Amen

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

A call to prayer from.....

...Channel Four.....and....Catholic Secondary Schools in Southwark Archdiocese.

  Southwark or Saudi Arabia - hard to tell

Good old conservative Channel Four is to feature the Muslim call to prayer throughout the fasting period of Ramadhan this year.

You know Ramadhan? It's the time when devout Muslims fast from before dawn till sundown (a long period in British Summertime) and, at either end, stuff themselves with as much grub as is humanly possible.
Fast and feast.

In this process they operate lathes and commercial guillotines, drive buses, trains and lorries as well as conduct brain surgery, all without the benefit of energy generating food.

At all of the Colleges that I have worked in, we would bar Muslim students from using any dangerous machinery during Ramadhan; the capacity for seriously injuring themselves, and others is immense.

 But following closely on the heels of Channel Four is the Archdiocese of Southwark.

Archbishop Peter Smith has conducted an investigation into the diversion of hard pressed resources into the provision of Muslim Prayer Rooms in no less than ten (yes, ten) of his schools.

And, to cut a long story short, he is cool about it.

In fact, he sees it as his bounden duty to make such provision.

He didn't actually say: "We're all members of the same club" but he might just as well have done so.


63 good Catholics and true, signed the letter querying this most dubious of practices but ++ Smith has waved two episcopal fingers at all just to tell us to keep our noses out of Southwark madrassas practices and to let him get on with what he started so successfully in Cardiff.

And Archbishop Mennini, whom we have kept in the loop, has stated that he has no jurisdiction in such matters..but....but....but....

....he has hinted that he will have a word in someone's ear (my words, not his).

He was bit more forthright, good man that he is.

Now, I hope that I am not reading too much into that phrase but isn't the sentence:
"Have a word in his ear" Cosa Nostra speak for "I'm sending some of da boys round as we speak" - meaning: "He will never walk in a straight line again"

The more I see of our Nuncio, the more impressed I am.

He is a true Godfather in every sense of the word.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

The wearing of unfair


I mean, we men have no such easy means of assuming an aura of humility and dedication of self to God.

Women may carry a mantilla with them in their pocket or handbag and, hey presto, within a few seconds transform themselves from the worldly to the angelic.

Whenever I attend Mass with my daughters, my heart misses a beat when I turn and catch sight of them, head bent in prayer and a mantilla gracefully hiding the glory of their hair from the sight of man, but not from God.

In that instant I realise that they belong not to me but to Almighty God and that I am just the part time caretaker, the hired hand who only has a passing involvement in something much more intimate and beautiful, the relationship between them and Our Lord.

So, the mantilla has a transforming effect and that is why it is so unfair; we males have nothing remotely approaching this mantle of sanctity; we have to remove our cloth caps and go bareheaded into the House of the Lord, like schoolboys removing their caps while in the presence of the Head.

We stand there, dull and ordinary and zombie like while our wives and daughters positively glow.

It is good, therefore, to see another 'mantilla' blog appear, this time from Oxford's Amanda Lewin, please visit her blog 'Loving Mantillas' and add it to your bloglist.

This is Amanda's second blog (masochist) her first one being
 Catholic Home Education.

Why not visit both?  Why not add both?

Fr Hugh Thwaites - his wisdom lives on

Mark Lambert has a post prompted by Rhoslyn Thomas's piece on Fr Hugh Thwaites and the NO Mass compared with the Tridentine Latin.

Well worth reading HERE

Monday, 1 July 2013

Who's afraid of the Latin Mass?

I mean, of course, the Tridentine Latin Mass, the Mass of all time, the EF Mass.

There certainly does seem to be a fear of this form of Mass (Latinophobia?) among many members of the clergy and, certainly among the laity, the bulk of whom, I suspect, have never attended a Latin Mass in their young lives.

We know, of course, that most of the English and Welsh Bishops are phobic about the old Mass but, leaving them on one side for a change let's examine the fear amongst priests and laity.

I believe that the 'fear' takes two forms.

Firstly the fear of the  unknown and of hearing or using a foreign language, and, secondly, the fear of what they believe the old rite of Mass might represent (old fashioned, fuddy duddy fire and brimstone type attitudes and smoke and bells pageantry).

Let us employ some aversion therapy:-

1. The Latin Mass is only 'unknown' because it is unfamiliar - you know how to crack that one don't you Father?
Just say the black and do the red.

2. Worried about the 'Latin'? - remember those initial summer holidays in France and how you struggled to muster enough French to order a round of drinks?
 Well, it's the same with Latin, only.....much easier.

Basically, you won't go far wrong pronouncing Latin more or less as it appears on the page.
Just a couple of exceptions...'J' is pronounced as a 'Yay' or a 'Yu' and 'C' can be either a 'Ch' sound (when it appears followed by a vowel as in 'Caeli' ('Chay-lee') or, as a hard 'K' sound when it is followed by an 'H', for example, 'Choro; becomes 'Kor-oh'.

There, that was easy wasn't it?

Also, if you are worried about how you can follow a Mass in Latin as a layman, your missal has a vernacular translation opposite the Latin text.

And if you still think that only Oxbridge graduates can speak Latin, remember that medieval peasants coped with it very well.

3. As for the ritual and smoke and bells, they all help to link us back both to elements of the Jewish tradition of the Old Testament and to the formation of the liturgy in the years following the crucifixion and resurrection. And they all have a meaning, they are not symbolic relics of a dimly remembered past, although, at times, some symbolism may be involved.

4. Lastly, some priests and laymen and women are worried that attendance at Latin Masses will change them in some way.
That is true. You will become less self focused and more God focused, you will be led down a route to greater reverence, you will comprehend the benefits of meditative prayer and you will understand the universality of the Faith.

Best of all, you will no longer be Latinophobic!