Sunday, November 27, 2011

Jesse Tree Begins

First Sunday of Advent

Today's Gospel (1st Sunday of Advent)

Gospel According to St Luke: Jesus said:

25. And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;

26. Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

27. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

ST BEDE; The events which were to follow the fulfillment of the times of the Gentiles He explains in regular order, saying, There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars.

ST AMBROSE; All which signs are more clearly described in Matthew, Then shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven.

EUSEB. For at that time when the end of this perishing life shall be accomplished, and, as the Apostle says, The fashion of this world passes away, then shall succeed a new world in which instead of sensible light, Christ Himself shall shine as a sunbeam, and as the King of the new world, and so mighty and glorious will be His light, that the sun which now dazzles so brightly, and the moon and all the stars, shall be hidden by the coming of a far greater light.

ST CHRYS For as in this world the moon and the stars are soon dimmed by the rising of the sun, so at the glorious appearance of Christ shall the sun become dark, and the moon not shed her ray, and the stars shall fall from heaven, stripped of their former attire, that they may put on the robe of a better light.

EUSEB. What things shall befall the world after the darkening of the orbs of light, and whence shall arise the straitening of nations, He next explains as follows, And of the earth distress of nations, by reason of the confusion of the roaring of the sea. Wherein He seems to teach, that the beginning of the universal change will be owing to the failing of the watery substance. For this being first absorbed or congealed, so that no longer is heard the roaring of the sea, nor do the waves reach the shore because of the exceeding drought, the other parts of the world, ceasing to obtain the usual vapor which came forth from the watery matter, shall undergo a revolution. Accordingly since the appearance of Christ must put down the prodigies which resist God, namely, those of Antichrist, the beginnings of wrath shall take their rise from droughts, such as that neither storm nor roaring of the sea be any more heard.

And this event shall be succeeded by the distress of the men who survive; as it follows, Men's hearts being dried up for fear, and looking after those things which shall come upon the whole world. But the things that shall then come upon the world He proceeds to declare, adding, For the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

THEOPHYL. Or else, When the higher world shall be changed, then also the lower elements shall suffer loss; whence it follows, And on the earth distress of nations, &c. As if He said, the sea shall roar terribly, and its shores shall be shaken with the tempest, so that of the people and nations of the earth there shall be distress, that is, a universal misery, so that they shall pine away from fear and expectation of the evils which are coming upon the world.

ST AUG. But you will say, your punishment compels you to confess that the end is now approaching, seeing the fulfillment of that which was foretold. For it is certain there is no country, no place in our time, which is not affected or troubled. But if those evils which mankind now suffer are sure signs that our Lord is now about to come, what means that which the Apostle says, For when they shall say peace and safety. Let us see then if it be not perhaps better to understand the words of prophecy to be not so fulfilled, but rather that they will come to pass when the tribulation of the whole world shall be such that it shall belong to the Church, which shall be troubled by the whole world, not to those who shall trouble it. For they are those who shall say, Peace and safety. But now these evils which are counted the greatest and most immoderate, we see to be common to both the kingdoms of Christ and the Devil. For the good and the evil are alike afflicted with them, and among these great evils is the yet universal resort to licentious feasts. Is not this the being dried up from fear, or rather the being burnt up from lust?

But not only shall men be tossed about when the world shall be changed, but angels even shall stand amazed at the terrible revolutions of the universe. Hence it follows, And the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

ST GREG. For whom does He call the powers of heaven, but the angels, dominions, principalities, and powers? which at the coming of the strict Judge shall then appear visibly to our eyes, that they may strictly exact judgment of us, seeing that now our invisible Creator patiently bears with us.

EUSEB. When also the Son of God shall come in glory, and shall crush the proud empire of the son of sin, the angels of heaven attending Him, the doors of heaven which have been shut from the foundation of the world shall be opened, that the things that are on high may be witnessed.

ST CHRYS. Or the heavenly powers shall be shaken, although themselves know it not. For when they see the innumerable multitudes condemned, they shall not stand there without trembling.

ST BEDE; Thus it is said in Job, the pillars of heaven tremble and are afraid at his reproof. What then do the boards do, when the pillars tremble? what does the shrub of the desert suffer, when the cedar of Paradise is shaken?

EUSEB. Or the powers of heaven are those which preside over the sensible parts of the universe, which indeed shall then be shaken that they may attain to a better state. For they shall be discharged from the ministry with which they serve God toward the sensible bodies in their perishing condition.

ST AUG. But that the Lord may not seem to have foretold as extraordinary those things concerning His second coming, which were wont to happen to this world even before His first coming, and that we may not be laughed at by those who have read more and greater events than these in the history of nations, I think what has been said may be better understood to apply to the Church. For the Church is the sun, the moon, and the stars, to whom it was said, Fair as the moon, elect as the sun. And she will then not be seen for the unbounded rage of the persecutors.

ST AMBROSE; While many also fall away from religion, clear faith will be obscured by the cloud of unbelief, for to me that Sun of righteousness is either diminished or increased according to my faith; and as the moon in its monthly wanings, or when it is opposite the sun by the interposition of the earth, suffers eclipse, so also the holy Church when the sins of the flesh oppose the heavenly light, cannot borrow the brightness of divine light from Christ's rays. For in persecutions, the love of this world generally shuts out the light of the divine Sun; the stars also fall, that is, men who shine in glory fall when the bitterness of persecution waxes sharp and prevails. And this must be until the multitude of the Church be gathered in, for thus are the good tried and the weak made manifest.

ST AUG. But in the words, And upon the earth distress of nations, He would understand by nations, not those which shall be blessed in the seed of Abraham, but those which shall stand on the left hand.

ST AMBROSE; So severe then will be the manifold fires of our souls, that with consciences depraved through the multitude of crimes, by reason of our fear of the coming judgment, the dew of the sacred fountain will be dried upon us. But as the Lord's coming is looked for, in order that His presence may dwell in the whole circle of mankind or the world, which now dwells in each individual who has embraced Christ with his whole heart, so the powers of heaven shall at our Lord's coming obtain an increase of grace, and shall be moved by the fullness of the Divine nature more closely infusing itself. There are also heavenly powers which proclaim the glory of God, which shall be stirred by a fuller infusion of Christ, that they may see Christ.

ST AUG. Or the powers of heaven shall be stirred, because when the ungodly persecute, some of the most stout-hearted believers shall be troubled.

THEOPHYL. It follows, And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds. Both the believers and unbelievers shall see Him, for He Himself as well as His cross shall glisten brighter than the sun, and so shall be observed of all.

ST AUG. But the words, coming in the clouds, may be taken in two ways. Either coming in His Church as it were in a cloud, as He now ceases not to come. But then it shall be with great power and majesty, for far greater will His power and might appear to His saints, to whom He will give great virtue, that they may not be overcome in such a fearful persecution. Or in His body in which He sits at His Father's right hand He must rightly be supposed to come, and not only in His body, but also in a cloud, for He will come even as He went away, And a cloud received him out of their sight.

ST CHRYS. For God ever appears in a cloud, according to the Psalms, clouds and darkness are round about him. Therefore shall the Son of man come in the clouds as God, and the Lord, not secretly, but in glory worthy of God. Therefore He adds, with great power and majesty.

ST CYRIL; Great must be understood in like manner. For His first appearance He made in our weakness and lowliness, the second He shall celebrate in all His own power.

ST GREG. For in power and majesty will men see Him, whom in lowly stations they refused to hear, that so much the more acutely they may feel His power, as they are now the less willing to bow the necks of their hearts to His sufferings.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Catholic Schools

I have been reading about how the Bishops Conference of England & Wales met this week about the standards of Catholic schools nationwide. It reads much like any committee who are in charge of an educational structure under the wider monitoring of a centralised secular state. It firstly praises itself, whilst acknowledging some schools are underperforming.

The Catholic Education Service of England & Wales are developing a strategy which states that a good Catholic school is united in both "ethos and standards" and that as well as "prayer life and liturgy" it it achieves academic success.

I ask, why must the two be divided? Granted, there is always going to be variety in academic achievements depending of the area of the school, and it's socio-economic make-up. But I think good academic standards can be achieved through, and not independent of, Catholic ethos.

Thinking for a moment about my secondary education (half in State Education and half in Independent Catholic) I come to the conclusion that success (and failure) are due to the degree of two important factors: the strength of the pupil's family and upbringing, as well as genetics; and the extent to which the pupil rebels or goes off the rails. By the latter I mean sex, drugs and rock & roll (succumbing to extreme secular influences). I strongly recommend traditional Catholic moral teaching to optimise these things (well, except genetics!)

It is when pupils are strongly taught and led by Catholic social values that they have the stability to work hard, achieve their potential, and produce a school with good academic results and a strong attractive ethos.

We therefore need stronger rational arguments presented to our young, on sexual morals and social ethics; by genuinely Catholic and upright teachers who inspire admiration and emulation.

These incidentally are also the principles of a thriving homeschooling family.

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The Holy Spirit

Part of the essential message of the Gospel over existing Spiritual Methods, including the old Law of Judaism, was the promise of the Holy Spirit for the Church; it's leaders and laity alike.

When Jesus spoke of the necessity of Baptism, he promised that in addition to John's Baptism of desire, and the symbol of water cleansing the penitent, they would also be "Baptised by fire and the Holy Spirit". He also exhorted His Disciples to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit after His Ascension into Heaven, so that He, as God, would continue to be with them. It is this Trinitarian transformation of God's relationship with His people that salvation is possible: Having become incarnate and conquered Death, God is able to live in His Creation in a much more profound and atoning way. The last words Jesus gave His Disciples was to "Baptise all Nations in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit".

This shows Christians that the Holy Spirit is a powerful, purifying and Godly force which has the power to transform the believer. The idea of Sacraments is based on this: that a physical action like Baptising can be imbued with God to change the soul of the believer.

Rather than making a concerted effort in acquiring secret knowledge and experiencing transcendence (like in Gnosticism), or in following a ritually prescribed Law of physical purity (like in Judaism); the gifts of the Holy Spirit really are that: Gifts. Freely given.

This Gift was prophecised by Isaiah many centuries before Christ came into the world:

“There shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him: the Spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the Spirit of knowledge, and of godliness. And He shall be filled with the Spirit of the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge according to the sight of the eyes, nor reprove according to the hearing of the ears. But He shall judge the poor with justice, and shall reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips He shall slay the wicked. And justice shall be the girdle of His loins: and faith the girdle of His reins.” (Isaiah 11:1-5)

Although this Prophecy is applied to Christ; we can assume from what He told us, as well as the teaching of St Paul, that this Gift applied to all believers through Baptism. A gift which will lead to the total fulfilment of the Law, and truly Holy Fruit overcoming all the evils of the world:
I say then, walk in the spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the spirit: and the spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary one to another: so that you do not the things that you would. But if you are led by the spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is, charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity. Against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's, have crucified their flesh, with the vices and concupiscences. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be made desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:16-26)

Let us pray on this Feast of the Four Holy Martyrs, that we may be granted the Gift of the Holy Spirit, acquired through our Baptism, and that this may be present and fruitful in the world.

-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, September 23, 2011

CMA UK Midlands/ Worcs 2011

Catholic Medical Association Meeting Thurs 20 Oct ‘11

‘Induced Abortion: Its effect on Mental Health’

Speakers: Drs Pravin Thevasathan (CMA Worcs Branch Secretary, Cons Psychiatrist LD) & Greg Gardner (Birmingham GP and protestant ethicist for Midlands Ethics Group)

Chair: Dr Tony Cole
Venue: Newman House Catholic Chaplaincy, 29 Harrisons Rd, Edgbaston, Birmingham

19:30: Mass
20:10: Meeting Followed By Discussion & Light Buffet

To assist with catering, would those wishing to attend please notify (email) John Kelly ( by 12 Oct.

There is no charge for Buffet

Friday, September 16, 2011

Return of Friday Meat Abstinence

I am not eating meat today, by order of the Bishops Conference of England & Wales.

Today the Bishops are reviving this ancient custom and obligation of Abstince from Meat every Friday, in commemoration of 'Good Friday' the day Our Lord was crucified.

After 26 years of 'optional' acts of charity, this requirement is returned, to celebrate the 1 year anniversary of Pope Benedict's visit to the UK.

Abstinence, or 'self denial,' are little acts of penance and sacrifice which are to be offered up by us people in union with Christ's ultimate sacrifice. Partaking in this is, and always has been, an essential part of Christianity. Even in the times of ancient Israel, sacrifice, especially when done communally, was offered to appease God's wrath. In the New Testament it is more indicative of ultimate love & life giving sacrifice, in imitation of the God-man. The Bishops particularly feel, by witnessing this in common, it will help Christ shine through into our society.

In the Western Church, fasting, which is going without food for a similar reason as abstinence, was relaxed. The strict Lenten fasting seemed to change its significance during the rationing of food in the Wars of 20th Century Europe, and was therefore all but abolished by Rome.

A cursory glance at current practice in the Eastern Church, reveals that not eating meat is the very least we can do. During Lent they abstain from Meat, fish, alcohol and dairy products. Sometimes really zealous Christians will only eat nuts for example.

In the Western Church the requirement is only to fast on 2 days a year (Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, which commemorate either end of Jesus' 40 days in the desert).

The change today in UK Catholic Law just put into context the continued and prevailing English tradition of Fish & Chips on a Friday!

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Saturday, July 09, 2011

West Heath Martyrs High Mass 2011

West Heath High Mass 2011
Once again this year, for the third time, Fr George Grynowski invited the Latin Mass Society to his Parish of St John Fisher in West Heath, South Birmingham. The Feast of Ss John Fisher & Thomas More fell on a Saturday this year, which would have otherwise meant a larger turnout. However, today coincided with the Franciscans of the Immaculate second visit to the Birmingham Oratory for their Day with Mary (As well as enjoying a packed congregation, they also benefit from the FI specialty of Sung Mass in the Usus Antiquor).

The Neri Singers sang sang Missa O Quam Gloriosum by Victoria for the mass ordinary, Credo III De Angelis, Exultate Justi by Viadana at the offertory, O Quam Gloriosum by Victoria at communion, and settings of the Gradual and Alleluia to faux bourdons by Ignaz Mitterer. The Organist Mr Oliver Hayes, played the Hymn Rex Gloriose for the chorale prelude before the Introit, and the Bach Little Fugue in G Minor as the voluntary, as well as improvisations on the chant and the polyphony.

Fr George, the Parish Priest, was for the second time Celebrant; with Frs Christopher Miller & Jan Nowotnik as Deacon & Subdeacon respectively. All these three Priests reside in the South Birmingham Deanery, which is fortuitous for Fr George.

In total only about 40-50 people were in attendence, but we know we were also accompanied by the Choir of Heavenly Angels, almost tangible with Victoria's rendition of the Sanctus.

An incense filled Byzantine-style church was as ever grateful for such a beautiful expression of Latin Catholic Worship, beginning with the quiet prayers at the foot of the altar, Judica Me (Ps 42), so the silent and reverent flectamus genua of the Last Gospel according to St John (1:14)... It is a liturgy resplendent in its noble simplicity and reverent decorum. Thanks be to God!
West Heath High Mass 2011

For more Photos see my Flickr Set

The next Sung Mass will be for St Pius X to honour the Modern Feast Day of Pope St Gregory the Great on Saturday 3rd September 2011 at 11am in St Michael's West Bromwich, followed by sung Benediction and refreshments.

There will be NO 7 pm Mass next Friday 15th July 2011 at West Heath; A Low Mass will instead be offered at 6 pm next WEDNESDAY 13th July 2011.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Oratory & Maryvale join forces for Liturgical Music

We've been interested in the Birmingham Oratory for some years, so it takes us great pleasure to announce the new Blessed John Henry Newman Institute for Liturgical Studies. Apparently it will get us all singing together, so I'm all for it!

Fr Guy Nicholls CO is director to the project. For more go to :

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Latin Mass Society Calendar 2012

Latin Mass Society of England & Wales
For the Promotion of the Traditional Latin Rite
Calendar 2012

Plans are well underway for the next LMS Calendar, showcasting some of the big events of 2010-11 as well as illustrating the good work the LMS is helping achieve. It is always a very popular product and sells out fast.

This year we are introducing a new A3 spiral bound format which will give more room for the excellent photos we are in the process of choosing from. If you have any photographs of Latin Masses that you've attended in England & Wales over the last 12 months, please email them to the LMS head office immediately for inclusion in the calendar.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Guild of St Clare Needle work in Birmingham!

The Guild of St Clare was started by Lucy Shaw in Oxford last year. It now has branches in London and Birmingham, and my wife has run two sessions, one of which Lucy joined. They meet in local lady's houses.

The eventual aim is to help make and restore sacred vestments for use at the Traditional Latin Mass.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

2nd Guild of St Claire meeting

Next Thursday, there is the 2nd guild of st claire meeting. We will be meeting in a private home of one of our group in edgbaston

We will be starting at 7.30 with the rosary, then a intro by Lucy shaw, followed by the craft, which will be to begin our bunting! I have got hold of the tape to attach the bunting to but please try to bring- 1-2 meters if a fabric you like for your bunting, I will bring spare you can purchase off me if you don't get the chance to buy some. Sharp fabric scissors. A piece of cardboard for the triangle template.

Looking forward to seeing you all
Comment any questions

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Use the 2nd Confiteor!

Dr The Hon Joseph Shaw draws our attention to a letter of instruction regarding the traditional Mass and whether to implement novelties, like girl altar servers (in this case) as well as communion in the hand etc.

But whatever its context, Ecclesia Dei (the Vatican branch) quotes the above section of their recent Instruction. If I'm reading it right, it says "...from 1962 onwards" which I interpret to include also the removal of the second Confiteor, as well as other things.

St Joseph's, Burslem

The Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate took over this poor parish church a couple of years ago, and now offer a sung Latin Mass (EF) every Sunday at 6pm.

On the first Sunday of the month there is a family after preceding it at 2pm with lots of refreshments and activities for the whole family (today three age groups).

I would heartily recommend any Catholic Family to make the trip to Staffordshire once per month. This afternoon we had Adoration and Benediction with the Novena to the Holy Ghost for Pentecost.

V./ Sacred Hearts of Jesus & Mary,
R./ Bless up and keep us.

For Pentecost Sunday it will be a Solemn High Mass.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

'In' vocations 2011

St Mary's College, Oscott, North Birmingham
17-19 June 2011

I sent an email a while back, asking if they'd like my services to offer a Latin Mass. Unfortunately they probably didn't get it, because I didn't receive a reply. But it looks like a 'Yoof' gateway thing into the Catholic Faith and religious vocations. The type of clerics at these events are usually fairly sound. Our family have definitely benefited from our exposure to Youth 2000 type stuff. It will inevitably be this youth, 16-35, who will build up the Church along Traditional lines. Everyone's life is a journey.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Summer Fun

I love this time of year! We have had luscious sunshine all spring, and although a bit cooler now I'm sure there's still summer to come!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Recent News: Friday the Thirteenth
I haven't blogged in a while, whilst everyone else seemed to jam blogger on May 13th, and bring it down with attempts at discussing the new Vatican document Universae Ecclesiae! On the same day news from the Bishop' Conference of E&W announced we would be going back to meatless Fridays (whenever did that change? Does this mean I get extra points for fulfilling an obligation I've been doing for the past 22 years?)
Well, regards the clarifying document on Summorum Pontificum, it has apparently "restored a Bishop's role in the oversight of the liturgy in the diocese" (according to Archbishop Vincent Nichols), and that pastorally the seminary program is too full to accommodate the Holy Father's wishes. However, the Latin Mass Society beg him to read it in the original and binding Latin language to catch the nuance that His Grace's seminarys should really pull their finger out and teach the rest of the Roman Mass to their clerics.
However, the Bishop is right in that there are lots of already ordained Priests willing to learn and say the Latin Mass, at least if the stigma and scorn are taken away from the process. But up till now the LMS has been funding Priest's Training on an organised scale, so perhaps it is time to start working more closely with the LMS rather than being suspicious and cynical about it.

Strangely, Cardinal Kurt Koch addressed the first major conference on Summorum Pontificum in Rome, presuming to declare that the Holy Father really wants to blend both Rites into One "Common" Roman Rite. I don't see how the Pope would follow such an incorrect interpretation of Tradition. Even Pope St Pius V in 1570 declared that the Tridentine Missal would not supercede any remaining Holy and Venerable Rites lasting for at least a couple of centuries.

It is easy to agree with the Cardinal very much on the fact that slow "growth and purification" are essential in the Rite, the Liturgy is definitely organic. That is, changing with the seasons of centuries to best edify the Christian Faithful. The Pope, in releasing the older (some would say frozen) Latin Missal in use until 1962-5, he is allowing Traditional Catholics to live and breathe this older and more rigorously traditional brand of Catholicism. Yes, this will mean the Older Rite develops; but the sensus fidelium attached to it will not allow flagrant abuses, such as communion in the hand and altar girls, both of which have been really pushed on these shores in recent years. It doesn't work.
28. Furthermore, by virtue of its character of special law, within its own area, the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum derogates from those provisions of law, connected with the sacred Rites, promulgated from 1962 onwards and incompatible with the rubrics of the liturgical books in effect in 1962. (Universae Ecclesiae)
The Novus Ordo, however (now an official term in the Church documents), lives and breathes within a generation of Catholics who have become strangely fixed in their contemporary era, and push for the same sort of old reforms which are becoming badly out of fashion in younger Catholics. Either the New Rite will feature more 'Yoof' and Rock style liturgy, or it will lean towards the Old Rite for an example of splendour and dignity. The latter wouldn't be a bad thing, but ultimately I can't see Traditionalists bending in a similar way; it goes against the whole point in being devoted to Catholic Tradition.

This isn't a swift and bloody battle between Liberals and Conservatives, or whatever; it is a gentle move in the Church for what is sober, prayerful worship of God. This sort of humble persuasion will be inspired by the Holy Spirit, if it is effective in bringing the modern Church into line with Christ's will. And that takes generations, not years.

In connection with this last point, something tells me the Holy Father is making a real stand-off. Recent reactions from the Bishops Conference of England & Wales make me think he really shook them into action along a certain direction. The aforementioned link to the meatless Friday document has something even more interesting embedded: It will take effect in thanksgiving for the Holy Father's visit, which featured an exhortation to take a more active role and witness in civic life. The conference is looking to consolidate Catholic Social Action under one umbrella. This could be an excellent thing, especially if it absorbs CaFOD and its errant ways (But somehow I doubt this). Also there is to be a restructuring of the actual Conference itself, led by secretary Fr Marcus Stock, who is urging the Bishops to look more closely at the Conference's "purposes and priorities" as defined in Vatican documents. This 3-5 year plan really does look like a deep change, and the kind that needs reviewing, as Summorum Pontificum has shown in a positive way. (as well as the effect of a similar period of exclaustration!)

In summary I think there a wonderful opportunities for the Church in this country at the moment. These recent developments (or rather regressions!) into the Catholic identity and way of life, are very much interconnected in the mind of the Holy Father. I will certainly be praying for everyone to respond to the Pope's call to holiness last September, as well as seeing its significance in my own life.

Friday, May 06, 2011

LMS Oxford Greyfriars-Littlemore Bl JH Newman Pilgrimage

Saturday May 7th 2011

For the first time the Latin Mass Society of England & Wales are having a Pilgrimage to Littlemore with the Traditional Mass, in honour of Bl John Henry Newman.

It starts with Mass of the Immaculate Heart of Mary at Greyfriars at 2.30pm, sung with polyphony provided by the Schola Abelis, and celebrated by Fr Anthony Conlon.

Read more on my LMS Blog

Friday, April 29, 2011

Congratulations the Royal couple HRH Prince William Windsor, and Kate Middleton: Duke & Duchess of Cambridge.

And here's hoping that the Lady will be dressed as stunning and chaste as her late mother-in-Law!

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Monday, April 25, 2011

The "Liturgical Creed"

I believe that the Traditional Rites of East and West contain within themselves so many elements of Apostolic origin that it is impossible to separate these from the elements added by post-Apostolic ecclesiastical tradition.

I believe no man here on earth (Pastor Aeternus, IV, 6) can rightfully determine the complete abrogation, full substitution, or substantial derogation of any received Traditional Rite, of East and West, which contains inextricable Apostolic elements.

I believe Ecclesiastical History continuously proves that the rights of the liturgical rites "established by long and immemorial prescription" have always been respected by the Holy Roman Church, even in ages of great liturgical crises and heresies (Quo Primum; Quod a Nobis).

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

Famous FSSP on NLM!

check it out over at New Liturgical Movement, who deigned to check out my Blog and publish one of my photos and linked to me, in accordance with my Creative Commons License. So why not pop over there and boost their stats!

It was fabulous Good Friday Liturgy. Some of us in the congregation were very old-fashioned in our postures with pre-'55 rubrics!

God bless the FSSP in their Reading Apostolate. But what a shame we can't have something like that in Birmingham for the Triduum.

1950 St Michael Miracle

True story of a Soldier and the Intervention of St. Michael

What follows is a letter written by a young Marine to his mother while he was hospitalized after being wounded on a Korean battlefield in 1950. It came into the hands of a Navy Chaplain who read the letter before 5,000 Marines at a San Diego Naval Base in 1951.

The Navy Chaplain had talked to the young man, to his mother, and to the Sergeant in charge of the patrol. This Navy Chaplain, Father Walter Muldy, assured anyone who asked, that this was a true story. This letter was read once a year in the 1960's over a mid-western radio station at Christmas time. We present the letter and let it stand on its own merits.


Dear Mom,

I wouldn't dare write this letter to anyone but you because no one else would believe it. Maybe even you will find it hard, but I have to tell somebody.

First off, I am in a hospital. Now don't worry, you hear me, don't worry. I was wounded but I'm okay. The doctor says that I will be up and around in a month. But that is not what I want to tell you.

Remember when I joined the Marines last year; remember when I left, how you told me to say a prayer to St. Michael every day. You really didn't have to tell me that. Ever since I can remember you always told me to pray to St. Michael the Archangel. You even named me after him. Well I have always prayed to St. Michael. When I got to Korea, I prayed even harder. Remember the prayer that you taught me? "Michael, Michael of the morning, fresh corps of Heaven adorning…" You know the rest of it. Well, I said it every day, sometimes when I was marching or sometimes resting, but always before I went to sleep. I even got some of the other fellas to say it.

Well, one day I was with an advance detail way up over the front lines. We were scouting for the commies. I was plodding along in the bitter cold; my breath was like cigar smoke. I thought I knew every guy in the patrol, when along side of me comes another Marine I never met before. He was bigger than any other Marine I'd ever seen. He must have been over 6 feet 4 inches and built in proportion. It gave me a feeling of security to have such a body near me.

Anyway, there we were trudging along. The rest of the patrol spread out. Just to start a conversation I said, "Cold ain't it." And then I laughed. Here I was with a good chance of getting killed any minute and I am talking about the weather!

My companion seemed to understand. I heard him laugh softly.

I looked at him, "I've never seen you before. I thought I knew every man in the outfit."

"I just joined at the last minute," he replied, "the name is Michael."

"Is that so," I said surprised, "that's my name too."

"I know," he said, and then went on saying the prayer, "Michael, Michael of the morning..."

I was too amazed to say anything for a minute. How did he know my name, and a prayer that you had taught me? Then I smiled to myself, every guy in the outfit knew about me. Hadn't I taught the prayer to anybody who would listen? Why now and then, they even referred to me as St. Michael.

Neither of us spoke for a time, and then he broke the silence.

"We're going to have some trouble up ahead." He must have been in fine physical shape for he was breathing so lightly I couldn't see his breath. Mine poured out in great clouds. There was no smile on his face now. Trouble ahead, I thought to myself; well with the commies all around us, that's no great revelation.

Snow began to fall in thick great globs. In a brief moment the whole countryside was blotted out, and I was marching in a white fog of wet sticky particles. My companion disappeared.

"Michael!" I shouted in sudden alarm. I felt his hand on my arm, his voice was rich and strong, "This will stop shortly."

His prophecy proved to be correct. In a few minutes the snow stopped as abruptly as it had begun. The sun was a hard shining disc. I looked back for the rest of the patrol. There was no one in sight. We lost them in the heavy fall of snow. I looked ahead as we came over a little rise. Mom, my heart stopped. There were seven of them, seven commies in their padded pants and jackets and their funny hats. Only there wasn’t anything funny about them now. Seven rifles were aimed at us.

"Down Michael!" I screamed, and hit the frozen earth. I heard those rifles fire almost as one. I heard the bullets. There was Michael still standing.

Mom, those guys couldn't have missed, not at that range. I expected to see him literally blown to bits, but there he stood, making no effort to fire himself. He was paralyzed with fear. It happens sometimes, Mom, even to the bravest. He was like a bird fascinated by a snake. At least that's what I thought then. I jumped up to pull him down and that was when I got mine. I felt a sudden flame in my chest. I often wondered what it felt like to be hit. Now I know.

I remember feeling strong arms about me, arms that laid me ever so gently on a pillow of snow. I opened my eyes, for one last look. I thought I was dying. Maybe I was even dead. I remember thinking, “Well, this is not so bad.”

Maybe I was looking into the sun. Maybe I was in shock, but it seemed I saw Michael standing erect again, only this time his face was shining with a terrible splendor.

As I say, maybe it was the sun in my eyes, but he seemed to change as I watched him. He grew bigger, his arms stretched out wide, maybe it was the snow falling again but there was a brightness around him like the wings of an angel. In his hand was a sword. A sword that flashed with a million lights.

Well, that's the last thing I remember until the rest of the fellas came up and found me; I don't know how much time had passed. Now and then I had but a moment's rest from the pain and fever. I remember telling them of the enemy just ahead.

"Where's Michael?" I asked. I saw them look at one another. "Where's who?" asked one.

"Michael, that big Marine I was walking with just before the snow squall hit us."

"Kid," said the sergeant, "you weren't walking with anyone. I had my eyes on you the whole time. You were getting too far out. I was just going to call you in, when you disappeared in the snow."

He looked at me, curiously. "How did you do it, kid?"

"How did I do what?" I asked half angry, despite my wound. "This Marine named Michael and I were just..." "Son," said the sergeant kindly, "I picked this outfit myself and there just ain't another Michael in it. You are the only Mike in it."

He paused for a minute. "Just how did you do it, kid? We heard shots, yet there hasn't been a shot fired from your rifle, and there isn't a bit of lead in them seven bodies over the hill there."

I didn't say anything; what could I say? I could only look open-mouthed with amazement.

It was then, the sergeant spoke again. "Kid," he said gently, "every one of those seven commies was killed by a sword stroke."

That is all I can tell you, Mom. As I say, it may have been the sun in my eyes, it may have been the cold or the pain, but that is what happened.

Love, Michael

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle;
be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.

May God rebuke him, we humbly pray:
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.


Sancte Michael Archangele,
defende nos in proelio;
contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium.
Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur:
tuque, Princeps militiae Caelestis, satanam aliosque spiritus malignos,qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo,divina virtute in infernum detrude. Amen

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

My photos of todays Solemn High Liturgy at Reading by the FSSP

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Maundy Thursday

I have been on leave, and maundate, have been serving my little ones in their playing court football, climbing trees in Saltwell Nature Reserve, and getting generally dirty!

Spy Wednesday we had a Latin Low Mass with the long readings from Isaiah and St Luke's Passion. I think I'm glad it was not sung, especially with the kids, who will be going to a couple of High Liturgies this Triduum these next 2 days.

We are also watching the Passion of the Christ which is our annual custom, with the kids firmly in bed!

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

A very medical Palm Sunday

Forget the 'Passion Sunday' you may hear (that was last week) today is Palm Sunday. A restrained and yet intensified aspect of Lent and Passiontide: the point of entry into Holy Week and the culmination of our Lord's Passion. For that reason in the traditional liturgy the procession would have been clothed Violet, with the Cross veiled, and Ministers wearing folded chasubles. No Red Vestments for the Mass: The violet colour of Lent and our Lord's royalty was retained. Although modern liturgy gave way to a forward-facing table to distribute palms (a Bugnini innovation which led to the 'table-altar); the traditional form involved a miniature 'mass' with blessing having its own collect and preface, and distribution of blessed palms (corresponding to the consecration of the species at Mass with communion).

Peter Jennings © 2008
The congregation would then join a procession to a stational church, all holding blessed palms signifying the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem.
Glória, laus et honor tibi sit, Rex Christe, Redémptor: Cui pueríle decus prompsit Hosánna pium.
R. Glória, laus et honor tibi sit, Rex Christe, Redémptor: Cui pueríle decus prompsit Hosánna pium.

This quickly turns into sorrow, as arrival in the second church gives way to the Red Vestments and Mass proper, whose chant includes Psalm 21. Then the solemn singing of St Matthew's Passion during the Gospel, sung by coped clerics. This has been set to music by many famous composers.

But today I am sitting in the Doctors mess at a local psychiatric hospital, responding to bleeps and starting some revision for this summer's exam. It is through my own loss of the Mass on this day, as I work the 12-hour shift, that I most sharply experience Lent. My work, a burden at weekends, can be offered up as I watch the Holy Sacrifice on my iPod!

Please remember to make your UK response to the

RCPsych's draft consultation to the DoH's investigation into the effects of Induced abortion on mental health.

Studies vary in their conclusions, and with regards validity; but some find Abortions are harmful, in it's resultant mental health. But other studies find that women have just as many psychological problems following birth of an unwanted pregnancy.

But NONE of them would have the legal effect of justifying the Abortion legislation; 97% cases being performed on the grounds of avoiding mental and physical health problems which continuing to birth would cause. The only kind of evidence the DoH should be satisfied with, is a demonstrable better mental and physical health in the abortion group. This draft publication and literature review clearly do not show this.

Therefore the very basis of the clause in the law should be closely examined and hopefully removed, which would eliminate 'abortion on demand' and at least result in the consent counseling including that any women susceptible to mental health problems are at increased risk of developing 'post-Abortion syndrome'.

This, paradoxically, (perhaps poetic irony) nullifies the rationale of 97% of the use of the 1967 Act.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Not that I'll be going, but...

Picture: from recent Pontifical EF Mass in Amsterdam. Not going is also avoiding occasions of sin, but this photo is a truly beautiful example of the fullest expression of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Faith is Christ Jesus truly present in the Mass!

Also being advertised by Joe Shaw:

The Association Youth and Tradition

And the Sodality Priestly Friends of Summorum Pontificum

Rome, 13-15 May 2011


The Third Conference on the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of

the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI

“Hope for the entire Church”

Monday, April 11, 2011

Back from Retreat!

Family RetreatAnother wonderful St Catherine's Trust Family Retreat! This time at the earlier liturgical point of the commencement of Passiontide (previously it has often been during Eastertide).

Family RetreatDespite the sombre tone to the liturgy, which culminated in the statues, crucifixes and images being veiled on Sunday; we were basked in glorious sunshine for the whole duration. This was particularly splendid for the Marian Procession on Saturday afternoon around the grounds of the school, which the children had made beautiful little banners for. Despite the retreat taking place during Lent this year, the children were not deprived of their Easter egg hunt!

It has always been an important weekend for us to unwind and address our spiritual concerns, pulling our lives firmly into focus. The abundance of small children there help with this; injecting real joy and laughter into our time there. It is quite easy to stand back and realise one is looking at the future of the Catholic Church in these Isles. Deo Gratias!

More of my Images: Flickr

St Catherine's Trust
LMS Chairman's Blog

Monday, April 04, 2011

My LMS Blog

If you're interested in upcoming Latin Masses in Birmingham, the don't forget to check my LMS Blog

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Sunday, April 03, 2011

Fr Leo Chamberlain criticises the LMS and Joe Shaw

The Latin Mass Society got too much "party spirit"? Criticism of the Novus Ordo "will not do"? I'd say both these characteristics make the LMS as strong as it is today. Otherwise all the volunteer workers, including me, simply wouldn't bother!

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Saturday, April 02, 2011

Coughton Court

Although my battery ran out, I was able to get some nice photos of this magnificent Catholic Recusent home, which is still the property of the Throckmorton family, but open to the National Trust visitors.The house is built around a sixteenth century gate tower, with handsome tudor timberwork surrounding it. Visitors are able to follow the history of the Throckmorton family, seeing two priest hides and being able to scale the tower and look out over spectacular Warwickshire countryside. We also enjoyed the intricate gardens which have been arranged by the daughter of Mrs McLaren-Throckmorton, the present owner of the estate.

During the seventeenth century when Catholicism was illegal in this country, the house was ransacked and searched several times, but they were not able to discover the Mass Cabinet; a late 17th Century Anglo-Dutch veneered cabinet which opens to reveal an altar recess which hides away a tabernacle and alcoves for liturgical vessels.

We will undoubtedly return to this focus of Catholic devotion, and learn more about our faith through this historical testament to the ingenuity and determination of its local population. Since the Catholic emancipation a church has been built for Catholic Worship, now separate from its neighbouring 'Anglican' parish church. Up until the recent departure of Fr Paul Chavasse, Latin Mass was said regularly here, and I hope and pray it will soon return, and that the Throckmortons can once again be a locus of traditional Latin worship in this part of the country.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

LMS Chairman on Direction in the Society

"When I became Chairman there was a lot of talk about the 'direction' the LMS was going in. The talk was a little baffling because no one seemed to know what this direction was, despite having very strong views about it being a good or a bad thing. I've come to realise that this seeming paradox was quite natural: because people didn't know what was going on, they began to think something sinister was being cooked up behind closed doors. It's been a while since I've heard that kind of talk now: if you want to know what direction the LMS is going in, have a look at the website and you'll see all our initiatives and activities. Not only are we actually doing things, but they are all in the open; there's no need for cloak-and-dagger stuff after Summorum Pontificum. God bless the Pope!"
Dr Joseph Shaw: 24/03/11

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Monday, March 21, 2011

St Marie's, Rugby

A few weeks ago, on the same weekend as a High EF Nuptual in Oxford, Miss C Bister, LMS Member and Oratory Parishioner; married in her Groom's home town of Rugby. The Church is AWN Pugin (1846-7) and represents a time of reduced productivity, before his death in 1852. The sanctuary, the Hibbert Chantry, had Rood Screen (removed 1962) and stalls to seat twenty. His son EW Pugin continued (1863-4) the work to include a larger nave with the older becoming the Lady Chapel.

The impressive tower and spire (1871-2) was by the younger Pugin's pupil RL Boulton who later became a Rosminian. The Church has always been run by the Institute of Charity, and is to this day. The past Parish Priest, Rev Fr Philip Sainter, was a good friend to me as school chaplain in the 90s, and married us in 2003.

The magnificent high altar is by Donnelly, a Coventry artist, and carved by Boulton. As well as with many other Pugin churches, apse wall paintings are by Hardman & Co, another West Midlands company.

The Mass was Low and the celebrant was Rev Fr Anton Guziel CongOrat. Newly installed parish priest of the Birmingham Oratory. He is very helpful for me, being Oratory link to the Birmingham LMS. He is even giving us a spiritual conference on the Seven Dolours of the Blessed Virgin in our recently organized coach trip to the York Minster national LMS Pilgrimage. I think I'm right in saying there will be three priests coming on our coach.

The Nuptial Mass is special in the extra blessings for the bride and groom, who kneel close to the altar throughout. Organ music accompanied the service at various points.

Ad Multos Annos!

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sidcup Healthcare Conference

Our Lady of the Rosary is hosting a spiritual and learning conference built upon faith and clinical excellence for healthcare workers, arranged by the Catholic Medical Association (Kent Branch.)

The Conference will take place on Saturday 19 & Sunday 20 March 2011. for medical professions, this will gain 6 hours of CPD: Certificates of attendance will be available.

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The Plight of English Catholicism

I thought of writing a long elaborate post about all the stuff that has been happening in the Catholic Church, from December 2009 till September 2010 and beyond... I actually think of it everytime I go to my local church and see the empty confessionals.

But instead I will "hold my tongue", as Archbishop Vincent Nicholls so eloquently urges those who dissent from his ideal of modern Catholicism. But instead I will post a couple of pictures, completely unrelated.
St Joseph, Ora Pro Nobis