9 May 2020


The politicians are already indoctrinating us to accept that, post-pandemic, we shall have a "New Normal". I'm pretty sure what they have in mind is that so many clergy will have been celebrating, privately in their studies, the Extraordinary Form of the Holy Eucharist, that they will find it hard to drag themselves back to ... er ...

You are all going to have to prepare for this. But help is at hand. Very cheap help.

You would need to dive in the deepest seas, or traffick for the strangest webs with the most Eastern of merchants, before you found better value for your £3.50 than you will get by buying a little book, written by Joseph Shaw of the Latin Mass Society and published by the dear old Catholic Truth Society (mind you, their pamphlets used to cost 4d at the back of any Catholic Church when I was a boy).

The book is called:


It is full of information, it covers a vast field, and, unusually in this age, does not condescend to the reader. You are treated as an adult, and given footnotes!

Joseph Shaw is, as many readers will be aware, a man of exemplary energy and drive. His activism has been the main impulse behind the publication of the very fine FIUV Position Papers. This is an age when many ordinary Catholics seem to have a faintly bewildered manner. Not so the laymen and laywomen and laychildren attached to the Traditionalist movement. Do you want passive laypeople who simper submissively in the presence of domineering clerical bullies? Steer clear of the Latin Mass Society.

Of course, not everybody would write any book in exactly the same way. I would have welcomed a clear statement that the rules of the Old Rite allow celebration facing the people or facing the same way as the people ... and that the rules of the New Rite ...  have precisely the same two options!!! And that Benedict XVI allowed the Readings in the Old Rite to be in  the vernacular. I myself would not do disturbing things in the presence of a congregation likely to be irritated by my eccentric personal choices, but ... for example ... when offering Mass at an open air Altar a few years ago on August 15, at a recusant House not far from Oxford, I said the Old Mass facing the people (literally, I think, versus australia) and with vernacular readings. They were a congregation mostly, I think, not familiar with the Old Mass. They seemed perfectly happy.

My stuff about seas, webs, and merchants ... I can't remember whether I'm alluding to Walter Pater on La Gioconda, or Evelyn Waugh on Mr Scott-King, or Boris Johnson on Winston Churchill. Amazing how vague one gets in old age.


Pelerin said...

I still have a couple of dozen of the CTS pamphlets I bought from the back of churches in the late 50s and early 60s. I even have four priced at 3d each! One of the 3d publications is the Catechism of Christian Doctrine. It was 72 pages of Questions and Answers all of which eventually lead me to embracing the One True Faith. I look forward to seeing Joseph Shaw's book and long may the CTS continue.

DMG said...


Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father. The Novus Ordo is as beautiful and edifying as the Stephen Lawrence center in London

S. F. Griffin said...

This is the first 'new normal' that I have seen proposed that I like more than the 'old normal' it hopes to replace.

Alastair said...

Since lockdown in the UK one diocesan PP of my acquaintance has indeed already switched to celebrating his daily private Mass in the EF (and I have a very lucky friend invited to serve those Masses!) and he is also considering replacing the parish monthly Sunday Low Mass with a weekly one after lockdown!

Deo volente there are many other priests out there quietly doing and preparing the same ...

John Nolan said...

Since the bishops banned public Masses, the esteemed Fathers of the Oxford Oratory have been live streaming Mass in the EF every day. After all this is over, I would be surprised if one of the three scheduled weekday Masses did not continue the practice.

Prayerful said...

Nowadays, a public Mass has become a crime. Thank you Bill Gates!

Richard said...

Dear Mr/Fr/Br Pelerin

I have learned that you have a copy of the 3d version, pre 1985, of A Catechism of Christian Doctrine. When I was a little girl, aged under 10, my younger sister and I were sent to Saturday Catechism classes because we lived in a small town without a Catholic school. I am now busy writing my childhood memoirs, 1950 – 1955, and I have found it difficult/impossible to track down an original copy of the publication.

I would be very grateful if you could let me have sight of your copy, and I will send a donation to your selected charity.

If you are agreeable, here is my postal address.

Bridget Gubbins

2 Old Bakehouse Yard



NE61 1AS

With many thanks