31 July 2021

Pro forma; from Barchester

 As part of my on-going service to my brother priests, here is a a draft of a letter they might (mutatis mutandis) like to send to their bishops. I charge no fee for the use of this (pro) format.

To the Rt Revd the Lord Bishop of Hogglestock

Dear Bishop

Thank you for your letter and the attached pro forma regarding use of the Missal of S Pius V.

Before going any further, may I just check with you what a pro forma is?  I know what a form is; the thing, for example, one fills in for the tax man. But pro forma? How is that different from a form? The Latin phrase could in different contexts mean quite a lot of different things ... "For the sake of appearances" ... even, I think,  "Because you're so pretty" ...

As to the Holy Father's questions ... thank you for passing them on so very promptly ... Frankly (ut ita dicam ... geddit?!) ...

(1) I have no trouble whatsoever reassuring you that I do regard the Second Vatican Council as a true, validly convoked Ecumenical Council. No ifs, no buts!

(2) As far as the validity of the Pauline Mass is concerned, again, no problem at all! As far as its liceity is concerned, I can robustly reassure you here too, with loads and loads of parrhesia

It is not the first example in history of a maimed and unedifying Rite being 'legal', is it! Pistoia!! Spirit of Pistoia!!!

As far as concerns the views of those in the Old Rite Groups I serve: I cannot yet honestly say that I have checked up on all the views of every single member. 

As I willingly take on for you this not inconsiderable burden, would you like me also to check that all of those who approach me for Holy Communion in the Novus Ordo have studied, understood, and internalised the Eucharistic teaching of the Council of Trent? And, concerning Novus Ordo married people, do I need to survey the degree of their adherence to the teaching of Humanae vitae? Should I do this by using a pro forma? Will you be circulating a draft? What percentages of compliance in these matters would you regard as the minimum for allowing such a Novus Ordo Group to continue to exist? 

Can you give me any other hints on how to get Novus Ordo Groups closed down? I could do with some new ideas.

Having dealt with your questions, I would like respectfully to ask you, in the interests of symmetry in our collaborative ministry, to put my mind at rest too. Just as a pastoral formality ... a proformality!!

(1) Do you accept all twenty of the Church's Ecumenical Councils as valid? (There's no trick here ... honest injun ... I'm not going to expect you to make all the Jews in your diocese wear a Star of David just because some silly old Ecumenical Council ordered it!!! We know each other better than that! Simply cross your fingers behind your back and sign up! Just as everybody else does!)

(2) Do you accept ex animo the (pro!) formal Magisterial decision of Pope Benedict XVI that the Missal of S Pius V was never canonically suppressed, and, by the nature of things, never can be?

Come to think of it, it really would be terribly, terribly jolly if you were to impose these latter two questions on any of your clergy who, silly fellows, might send you a pro forma asking for faculties to celebrate the New Pauline Mass? Then we would all be happy, knowing that we were all in the same boat, and equally valued/unvalued; suspected/unsuspected; threatened/unthreatened; loathed/unloathed; marked down for elimination/unmarked.

Yours entirely pro forma,


PP, Parish of SS Promiscuus and Miscellaneus,

Slope Boulevard,



30 July 2021

The Clifton Creed

 On 11 November 1841, the still-Anglican S John Henry Newman wrote:

" ... the dioceses in England are connected together by so close an intercommunion that what is done by authority in one, immediately affects the rest ..."

A similar consideration, surely, applies to the Catholic Church in England. Accordingly, I can see no impropriety in offering comments about events in the Diocese of Clifton.

In particular, events at the Church of S Nicolas of Tolentino (video link provided at Lifesite). And events, it is claimed, guaranteed "by the express wish of" the diocesan Bishop.

In a liturgy streamed on the Internet, a novel form of Creed was used (after the homily). Creeds are such significant things that not even the authority of the Diocesan Bishop has normally been considered adequate for the introduction of new versions. Indeed, some Christians have doubted whether the Successor of S Peter himself had adequate authority to allow a Filioque. But let's lean over backwards ...

The Clifton Creed affirms that "everything ... created is very good". In itself, I regard this as commendable. It draws out implications latent in the 'Nicene' statement that God is the Creator of all things, visible and invisible.

Why is the Clifton affirmation especially commendable?

(1) because it condemns the old, Dualist, Gnostic, Marcionite errors whereby there is an Evil Creator who is responsible for the evil material world. It is always good to condemn heresies, new and old! And

(2) because it combats a particular error which has become widespread since the Epidemic.

I have repeatedly read and heard Covid referred to as "this evil virus". As part of God's creation, it cannot be evil; it can only be, as Clifton so rightly affirms, "very good". Politicians talk of  'defeating the virus'; but, surely, it is odd  to wish to eradicate things that are "very good." Since the Anglicans still maintain a quaint old claim to be "the Church of England", you might have thought Mr Welby would have gone public with explanations about why Covid is, for all Christians, so "very good". Or Cardinal Vin, who has such a velvety manner with journalists. I would not like to suggest that Bishop Declan should assume this additional burden. Obviously, the pp Fr Thingummy is the man, articulate and thoughtful, to spearhead the CBCEW/Churches Together "Three Cheers for Coronavirus" campaign. Perhaps we could pencil all this in for the year after next?

The Clifton Creed also sees God as affirming that " ... everyone, ... and everyone  created is very good". (an oddish dittography here??) And "God has created each one of us without exception, in the Divine Image and likeness." 

This also is very, very, very, very true. Hitler was created in the Divine Image and likeness. And the Moors Murderers. and every murderer, rapist, and paedophile. And you and I. And torturers and burglars and embezzlers "without exception", and warmongers and ...

But we also need to remember Sin, both Original and Actual. A human created in the Divine image may be flawed. Many people might, if pressed hard enough, eventually concede that Hitler was flawed. And some might go so far as to suspect that, in people with a pathological need to torture children to death, something has got in there and marred the Divine image. While maintaining the existence of the Divine image in everyone "without exception", surely we need to remember the obligation upon each of us without exception to seek out, repent for, and attempt (with the help of Divine Grace) to root out the corruptions within us, without exception

But if "without exception" were to mean that God has by universal Immaculate Conception made each human in such an unfallen perfection that everyone without exception is to be affirmed as they are, or as they say they are, we would have a rather dangerous error here. When (sic Clifton) "We rejoice with gratitude in ... the diverse identities of all human persons", we surely cannot bring all human sexual orientations and activities without exception under the innocent-sounding umbrella of all diverse human identities. Or not, anyway, as we read the IICSA reports on Abuse within the Catholic and Anglican Churches. Or, if we do want to emphasise the Divine Image and likeness in all paedophiles without exception, perhaps it would be tactful to wait a few months until IICSA is forgotten, before we do so.

As an unrepentant Traddy, I would assert that recidivist paedophiles are 'objectively disordered'. But, nevertheless, they are, indeed, without exception, created by God, and in His Divine Image and likeness, which remains for ever however overladen by Sin. And such a person is called to Christ and welcomed to His Church, and is summoned to repentance, and is offered grace, and promised mercy no matter how many times she lapses, and promised eternal glory if she dies repentant. 

But if talk about "diverse identities of all human persons without exception" is really a neat, cheerful, if rather sly way of slipping into the discussion, unobserved, particular currently fashionable prescriptions or assumptions about sexual acts arising from 'same-sex orientations', then the Devil is at work here.  

Even in the Diocese of Clifton!

29 July 2021

Who actually wants the New Rite?


 The church of S Nicolas of Tolentino in the Diocese of Clifton hit the news with its LBGT mass a few weeks ago. Watching the video, I had a resurgence of a feeling I have expressed before. Who actually wants the "Ordinary Form" of the Roman Rite?

In things big and small, the Tolentino Liturgy exemplified the disturbing fact that ... nobody wants it. The celebrant wore no chasuble, but a curiously drab stole with a tassle at the back. He didn't ever genuflect. OK; perhaps he is too old and weak to genuflect. Perhaps his church is too impoverished to afford a chasuble. But he also inserted a Creed on a weekday; a Creed, moreover, bearing no resemblance to any Creed the Church has ever authorised. The celebrant apparently performed the Fraction during the Institution Narrative, as if that Narrative were some sort of enactment of the Last Supper. 

And I didn't actually watch the entire rite; I just flicked quickly through. But I saw enough to make clear that ... endless 'creativity' was the order of the day.

Earlier in the story of our Ordinariate, a distinguished lecturer told us that 'disobedience' was a part of the 'Anglican Patrimony' we needn't bring with us. The point (with its implied rebuke) was a fair one. But it fitted ill with the experiences which many formerly Anglican clergy were having at just that point.

As the newly 'resprayed' Anglican clergy spread out into Catholic parish life in the 'mainstream' Catholic Church, there was genuine amazement at the degree of liturgical disorder and rank disobedience which so widely prevailed among 'mainstream' clergy. Particularly, the incessant rewording of 'authorised' texts. So one continually got (even on Sundays) the pseudo-Hippolytan Eucharistic Prayer ... bad enough in itself ...  in a form 'made more relevant' by Father. Clericalism galore! And there was the dreadful and heterodox music ... about which the bishops of the US have recently written a very telling and intelligent Letter.

There are indeed some churches where these condemnations of the Novus Ordo would be unfair; but they are largely churches where the clergy would prefer to be saying the Old Mass but for 'pastoral' reasons are unable to do so; they therefore say the new rite with greater or lesser amounts of the spirit and spirituality of the old.

As far as the Calendar is concerned, I wrote recently about a Scottish bishop for whom what is really exciting seems to be a succession of secular celebrations which, if they are not syncretistic, at least gesture more towards a didactic syncretism than towards the Truth that is in Christ alone.

Any re-appraisal of the liturgical situation in the Latin Church should begin with an honest acceptance that nobody ... almost absolutely nobody ... whether Traddy or Trendy ... actually wants the Novus Ordo ... either its Order or its Calendar.

On both sides, it is disliked, or regarded as of little relevance, and, very widely, largely set aside. 


To what extent is the same true of the current Roman Pontiff?

Bobby Mickens recently wrote: " ... it's not clear what Francis actually does want. And not just on his birthday, but on many things. ... Oh, he's written and said a lot. An awful lot. But that doesn't mean he always reveals what he's really thinking. And, at times, he says things that are hard to square with things he has said and done at oher times. In a word, Jorge Mario Bergoglio is somewhat of an enigma. He rails against clericalism, yet he can also be as clerical as anyone."

Traditionis custodes in Bristol.

 Bishop Declan is, I am sure, a Traditionis custos. He must be, because he is Bishop of Clifton; and because he will have read these words in Traditionis custodes:

"I am saddened by abuses in the celebration of the liturgy on all sides. In common with Benedict XVI, I deplore the fact that 'in many places the prescriptions of the new Missal are not observed in celebration, but indeed come to be interpreted as an authorisation for or even a requirement of creativity, which leads to almost unbearable distortions' ... the eccentricities that can easily degenerate into abuses ..."

His lordship reacted to TC within hours in as far as it applied to the Traditionalist Benedictines at Glastonbury. It would be jolly ... very jolly ... to hear how he is dealing with the church of S Nicolas of Tolentino ... with regard to which, I am representing a couple of earlier posts, today and tomorrow.

It's a tremendously exciting place ... they even have a Creed of their own!! Which ... rather counter-culturally ... affirms the goodness of the Covidvirus!!!

28 July 2021

Now the SPIRIT of Traditionis custodes is upon us!!

Like Vatican II, TC has now (after only twelve days!!) sprouted its own ghastly SPIRIT, which can even be directly contrary to the wording of TC, but still has to be as ruthlessly enforced.

According to Fr Zed, an American cardinal called Gregory has forbidden an Authentic Form Mass in an American church which ... is NOT a "parish church".

Simply a tyranny, isn't it, all this. You have to guess what Hitler or Stalin or that North Korean chappy really want, then you have to enforce it. If you know what's good for you.

This is what tyrants and their lackeys always really expect. They don't really take seriously even their own wretched enactments. They just want you to grovel.

Saint John Henry Newman and the Olympic games: ariston men hudor!

So what would be a really Patrimonial way of partaking ... spiritually, of course ... in the Olympic Games? 

I was once accorded the tremendous privilege of looking at Saint John Henry Newman's personal books at the Birmingham Oratory, in 'the Cardinal's' study (with adjacent chapel). Tiny discoveries can be as personally satisfactory as large ones, and here is such a one that I made. 

We all know that on Monday December 3, 1832, Newman left Oxford for the foreign travels which led him to Sicily, serious illness, and the writing of Lead kindly light. The Sunday before, he preached a University Sermon which has been regarded as the start of the Catholic Revival in the Church of England. It concludes with a swipe at the Zeitgeist. This the same Newman as the one who, so many years later, responded to the Biglietto.

But what was he doing on the preceding Saturday? He was shopping ... for books. Devout tomes? Deary me, No. He bought a pocket copy of Thucydides; and one of Pindar! And we know he took them with him, because, in the back, there are lists jotted down of petty expenditures in Sicilian currency.

Isn't it a lovely mental picture; the slender, donnish, Oxonian, very English figure, plodding round the bumps near Syracuse and tracing (Thucydides in hand) the footprints of the ill-fated Athenian Expedition during the Peloponnesian War; then sitting in a hostelry and reading Pindar's mannered encomia (composed for the sumposion?) upon the equestrian victories of Sicilian rulers in the Olympic Games

I think I detected a wine-smudge on one page: so much for those first three words of the First Olympian! I wonder how Sicilian wine compared with contents of the cellars at Oriel.

Newman once said that he could never be a Saint because he loved literature too much. But the Church has over-ruled this apprehension.

After all, Mods dons might in some cases get to heaven!

27 July 2021

Vacatio Legis

Like most of those who have read Traditionis custodes, I was vastly intrigued by the bit right at the end.

Legal enactments of any and every sort, secular and religious, tell you when the new law will come into effect. Summorum Pontificum, for example, came into effect a couple of months after it was published. But TC was to come into effect as soon as it had been published in Osservatore Romano (a journal which, by a curious coincidence, went ... that day ... behind a paywall). 

So TC was shared with the world's media on a Friday; Osservatore Romano is published daily except on Mondays.

Why such unprecedented rapidity? Was PF afraid he might die?

How ill is/was he? The days have, I think, passed when Vatican bulletins about a pope's health used mendaciously to deny that he had the malady which all the world knew he did have. But ... do they tell all the truth? Assuming that every word they contain is true, can we be sure there isn't something which the medical report fails to mention? Or is he planning abdication? But there seem to be plans for him to visit Glasgow in the autumn to dance around on the stage at the eco-thing (and Slovakia, and Hungary).

Is the reason for the lack in TC of a vacatio legis (period before a law takes effect) a pure example of Bergoglian rage? He hates* us and 'our' Mass so much that he could wait no longer? The main victims of the lack of a period for implementation are the bishops, who are charged with making arrangements. Is PF saying: "If you've got a big practical problem with this, it's your own fault, for harbouring all those rigid fellows in your diocese"? That would fit in with an earlier press report that PF was planning to give power to the bishops "but not to the conservative bishops".

I incline to the 'rage' hypothesis. But I think PF may have shot himself in the foot here*. Failing to provide a vacatio legis is so unreasonable in a legislator that bishops far beyond the numbers of those who are bergogliocritical have noticed it. And the result has been that many bishops have made 'holding' statements while promising a fuller resolution when that have had time to think and to consult. In other words, they have awarded themselves de facto the vacatio legis which PF had decided to refuse them.

It may not always be wise for a legislator to force his subjects to take the law into their own hands. 

The world, and its bishops, have also been given a clear signal that this pontificate is entering its final phase, whether it will be death or abdication that terminates it. This can also be unwise.

Once it is obvious that a boss is soon to be gone, he suffers a most serious loss of auctoritas. In academic life one is very aware of this: I would be surprised if the same were not true of merchant banks, businesses, military units ... As soon it becomes clear that the Principal, C/O, or whatever, will, in the quite foreseeable future, be no longer able to reward those who have been 'on-message', or to disadvantage those who have been 'off-message', his/her position is gravely weakened*. I recall being at a heads-of-departments meeting where such a slippage first became apparent. The Principal ... a silly man but not a stupid one ... suddenly became aware of what was happening: I vividly remember his face during those moments.

It is obvious that one has very little reason to increase ones credit-holding in the treasury of favours done to the boss, when the boss will himself soon be unable to repay any of them. I think some of the responses to TC from American archbishops are marked by a realisation of such realpolitik. So, when any society is coming close to the foreseen end of one 'reign', there will be an inevitable period of instability within the group's internal dynamics; perhaps, even, regroupings. And the fears aroused by PF's vindictive malice (every line of TC is dripping with bile, is it not?) will, correspondingly, diminish. 

Already, Vincent Nichols has issued a sensible and pastoral take on TC ("In my judgement, these concerns do not reflect the overall liturgical life of this diocese") and has 'dispensed from' the prohibition against the Old Mass being celebrated in parish churches.

Finally, two further rather different End of Pontificate thoughts, each of which has appeared on this blog before:

(1) Given the capacities of modern medicine, more popes are likely to live longer than their natural span. Sooner or later, there will be a pope with senile dementia. Should not provision be made in Canon Law for this inevitability?

(2) Some years ago, Fr Aidan Nichols, our prime Anglophone theologian, argued (in a lecture the full text of which appears still to be banned from publication) that canonical provision should be made for canonical procedings in the case of popes giving heretical teaching.

*You may feel that I am indebted here to a fine and important piece by a Dutch bishop, translated and printed by Peter Kwasniewski in yesterday's Rorate. But I drafted this last week; I like to leave things for a day or two ... frankly ... so that I can tone-them-down-a-bit before publication!

The Dutch bishop also reminds us of Holy Tradition. This is going, I think, to be the way ahead. PF has weakened the Petrine Office; he has chopped off the branch he was sitting on; in future, people will always wonder whether a future pope will just plain contradict what this one is saying ... because Bergoglio has made an industry of doing just this. Perhaps Byzantines, including Orthodox, may be able to help us. But Conciliarism, lock, stock, and barrel, has its own problems, and is not 'the' answer. 

I wrote, too, about all this on July 16.

26 July 2021


The post-conciliar revisers, in their first draft of hymns for the new Office Book, proposed the following 16th(?) century hymn, present in the Benedictine Breviary, which goes to the tune of Ave maris Stella. 

 I think it didn't make it through to the cut in the Liturgia Horarum because they decided they needed a more 'Joachim' hymn to counterbalance all those 'Anna' hymns which the Tradition offers. 

Gaude, mater Anna, 

gaude mater sancta, 

cum sis Dei facta 

genetrix avia. 

Plaude tali natae 

virgini Mariae; 

eius genitore 

Ioachim congaude.

In hac nostra terra 

primo benedicta, 

quae fuit in Eva 

quondam maledicta. 

Ergo sume laudes 

quas damus ovantes; 

nos ab omni sorde 

tua prece terge. 

Sit laus Deo Patri, 

summo Christo decus, 

Spiritui Sancto 

honor, tribus unus.

25 July 2021

Sancta Anna ora pro nobis

I have always had a soft spot for S Anne, not least because she is the Patron of my wife's college at Oxford (we sent two of our children there) ... and, indeed, contributes one of her own names. Some years ago, I found it touching to seek out some of the remnants in Brittany of their devotion to their Patron ... Anna Potentissima, for example, and all that, written in large letters around the walls of the Church at Pontrieux. I pointed it out to Junior Granddaughter, whose name is Anna.

Dom Gueranger, in his marvellous collection of materials, gives us a Responsory in her honour (Anna sanctissima Britonum spes et tutela: quam in prosperis adiutricem, in adversis auxiliatricem habemus ...). reminding us of how the people of that land once suffered because they were hesitant to accept the Evil which is embodied in the godless prayer Vive la Republique. 

Gueranger reminds us that S Anne was also the splendor Provinciae. But I will leave you with this Breton hymn.

Lucis beatae gaudiis
Gestit parens Ecclesia,
Annamque Iudaeae decus
Matrem Mariae concinit.

Regum piorum sanguini
Iungens Sacerdotes avos,
Illustris Anna splendidis
Vincit genus virtutibus.

Coelo favente nexuit
Vincli iugalis foedera,
Alvoque sancta condidt
Sidus perenne virginum.

O mira coeli gratia!
Annae parentis in sinu
Concepta virgo conterit
Saevi draconis verticem.

Tanto salutis pignore
Iam sperat humanum genus:
Orbi redempto praevia
Pacem columba nuntiat.

Sit laus Patri, sit Filio,
Tibique Sancte Spiritus.
Annam pie colentibus
Confer perennem gratiam. Amen.

24 July 2021

S Pius V and Traditionis Custodes

Dear Father

Thank you for your email about whether you are bound in conscience to adhere to Traditionis Custodes

The answer is No; certainly Not; and Of Course Not.

We need to look at the document of 1570 Quo primum tempore, which S Pius V put right at the front of his own edition of the Missale Romanum.


Sometimes traddy people quote stuff towards the end where S Pius V appears to condemn anybody who makes any changes in his 1570 Missal. But he cannot have meant to forbid a gentle evolutionary process ... an additional Festival here, an occasional new Preface there ... because every pontiff since his time has made such changes ... if they have lived long enough. It's what happens in traditional lived Liturgy.


What S Pius V ordered does, however, bear strongly on the issues in play today. But we need to be quite clear what S Pius actually said. Please bear with me.

Both Bergoglians and some Traddies are currently writing as if S Pius V in 1570  "permitted" rites with more than 200 years behind them to continue.

He did not.

He ORDERED such old rites to be continued. Nequaquam auferimus were his words ... auferimus means "we take away", nequaquam means "not at all". 

What he did allow was his own new 1570 Edition to be brought into use if a bishop and his entire Chapter agreed. 

Just imagine this scene in 1570:

New Trendy bishop ... wants to bring in the 1570 Missal ... Chapter, load of cringing cowards, say "Yes Bishop Of course Bishop Anything you say Bishop What shall we lick next Bishop". But, over there sitting in the corner, sociably passing wind, is old Canon Lostitzio. He's pretty gaga ... senile, almost ... and drunk most of the day from breakfast onwards. Not even his wife can keep him off the bottle. But he won't agree to the 1570 Missal. Last time the bishop very coaxingly spoke to him about "Our Diocesan Mission Strategy", he just blew some snuff right up the episcopal nostrils and said some unusual words in an obscure Ligurian dialect.

So, in that diocese, there was no Capituli universi consensus. Therefore, in that diocese, there can be no 1570 Missal ... Bishop Trendino and the rest of them will have to stick with their old rite. 

Oh D*mn!

That's what S Pius V mandated.   

Even if Canon Lostitzio dies tonight, Bishop Trendino still isn't obliged to bring in the new Missal. What S Pius V says is "permittimus". That means "we permit". 'Permitto' is nice old-fashioned Latin verb that popes quite often used, once upon a time. It's still in some of the more old-fashioned dictionaries.




When Papa Ratzinger issued Summorum pontificum, he explained to his brother bishops that "What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful."

Observe that Benedict XVI did not say "It should not be forbidden"; he said "it cannot be ... "

From 1570 until 1970, Quo primum stood at the beginning of every Missal of the Roman Rite. 

Pope Bendict XVI, in his own words, in our time, has reiterated its assertion of the essential, theological, primacy of Tradition.

"Cannot be"

Is anything else needed to make clear that this is the settled doctrine of the Catholic Church?


Are you obliged to obey PF if he attempts to prevent you from using the Traditional Form of the Roman Rite? Most certainly not. He is only the Pope; he has no right to overrule Holy Tradition. A pope cannot "do anything". (I think I've remembered that from somebody else's words ... I must try to identify the quotation ...)

He has no more right than I do. 

He has no more right than your Aunt Mavis does. 

He has no more right to order you to set aside Holy Tradition than do Aunt Mavis's little twins Nicolas and Nicola (who, so you tell me, have just started at their kindergarten and are learning to lithp thothe thublime wordth Amo Amath Amat Amamuth Amatith Amant). 

Even if all six of us order you to dump Tradition ... Me; Mavis; Nicola; Nicolas; Nicola's teddy-bear Wilfrid; and  PF ... and if we all order you simultaneously ... while waggling, each of us, a great big nasty club with a nail in it ... we are all acting ultra our vires. 

I expect you will have noticed Cardinal Burke's words on this subject.

Father: May God bless you in His and your most holy priesthood. Remember always that it does not belong to the pope. Mei in sacrificiis tuis sis memor.

Yours in Domino



23 July 2021

Der Fuehrerbefehl

 Many of you will be too young to remember the infamous events of 1962. They led to famine and public disorder; to mobs of crazed people jostling in the streets as they struggled in the queues to register for their unemployment benefit and for hand-outs of public foodstuffs. Gaunt and famished, in country after country the hungry men, driven to despair, protested in the only way they knew. The barricades ... the street massacres ...

The cruel decree Veterum Sapientia had ordered the sacking of thousands of men, and some women, from Catholic seminaries throughout the world. Papa Roncalli, "Good Pope John XXIII" as he had ironically been called, in full consciousness of His authority, Decreed and Commanded eight important rules. Rule 5 ordered that the major sacred sciences should be taught in Latin, that the professors of these sciences in universities or seminaries be required to speak Latin and to make use of textbooks written in Latin. "Those whose ignorance of Latin makes it difficult for them to obey these instructions shall be gradually replaced by professors who are suited for this task. Any difficulties which may be advanced by students or professors must be overcome ..."

Hence the world-wide sackings. The Pope had spoken. Petrus locutus est.

Fiat Latinitas, ruat caelum.

S John XXIII ended with the impressive words "In virtue of our Apostolic Authority, We will and command that all the decisions, decrees, proclamations and recommendations of this Our Constitution remain firmly established and ratified, "anything to the contrary notwithstanding, even things worthy of special note". Gosh!! Nobody would disregard something as definite as that, would they?

What a persecution was then unleashed! Spies and informers abounded; Gestapo-like bands of thugs went around seminaries collecting evidence and listing names. Unspeakable cruelties were perpetrated upon these hungry, workless, men; upon their unfed women and their emaciated catamites. Since the elimination by burning of the Cathars, nothing like it had been seen in the Catholic Church.

In Argentina, no bishop was more rigorous than Bishop Bergoglio in enforcing the decrees of S John XXIII. If ever he heard of a seminary professor giving a single lecture in Spanish rather than Latin, he was instantly on the phone demanding that the man be sacked. He had the reputation of being the strictest bishop in Latin America in implementing Veterum Sapientia.

Of course, the relentless pressure of the Bishops and of the Seminary Management Boards proved ... as they  must ... successful. Vernacular teaching totally disappeared from our seminaries; and as the succeeding Popes enforced the same rules, even the memory of Vernacular Seminary Teaching has disappeared. The world feels, somehow, so much cleaner, so much safer.

And how right all this has been. Veterum Sapientia was an Apostolic Constitution, signed, for greater emphasis, on the High Altar of S Peter's. Catholic clergy and Laity know their duty of submission to the authority of the Roman Pontiff. When we hear the Pope's voice, it is S Peter that we hear. This knowledge calls us to unquestioning obedience. "Do all your seminary teaching in Latin", he cries. Our response is "Certainly, Holy Father. Pronto!!".

Our privilege today, in 2021, is that we are being given a very similar opportunity for total and unthinking obedience, Jesuit style. Pope Francis possesses precisely and exactly the same authority as S John XXIII. When he decrees the extermination of the Old Mass, that decree comes to us with precisely and exactly the same force as the requirement of S John XXIII that all Priestly Formation in seminaries should be done entirely in Latin ... er ... except that possibly a motu proprio may not have ...um ... quite the authority of an Apostolic Constitution ... er ... . I wouldn't know about that sort of thing; I'm only a 'convert'.

Just suppose that 1962 decree had been ignored! Just suppose that the Rectors and the Episcopal Boards running seminaries had taken not the slightest bit of notice of those Decrees of S John XXIII!

It just doesn't bear thinking about, does it?

22 July 2021

The Pugin Pontificate


I have long been uneasy about the arbitrary provision in Summorum Pontificum that the normative form of the Authentic Version of the Roman Rite should be that of 1962. I suppose Benedict XVI was being kind to Archbishop Lefebvre, who, after some variations, settled, in the mid-seventies, for 1962.

But now! ... marvellous!! ... PF, with his generously reiterated abrogations, has liberated us from all the Ratzinger provisions!!!

We are now in a happy period of freedom. Broad Sunlit Uplands territory! Bound no longer to '1962', we are at liberty to use ... for example ... the 1939 rite as provided in the St Lawrence Press Ordo.

Or any other ...

Readers will remember the provisions of S Pius V in Quo primum. This is often misquoted ... indeed, it was by PF ... as if S Pius permitted the continuation of rites with more than 200 years' prescription.

He did nothing of the sort.

He ordered, he mandated the continued use of such rites; unless the Bishop and the unanimous Chapter of a diocese should agree to adopt instead his own edition of the Roman Rite.

The fall-back position bequeathed by Quo primum was and is: that those old rites stay firmly in place.

I think it is fairly safe to, despite the difficulties of asserting and proving historical negatives, state that in no English diocese, in the years after 1559, did the Bishop, with his unanimous, rejoicing, Chapter, agree to abrogate the old rites of Sarum, York, Hereford, Lincoln, Bangor ... or do I mean Bognor ...

Ergo ...

I think Sarum is the rite with which (in our new-found loyalty to PF) we should begin our restorations. Within the last year, an admirable and learned priest has edited and published an Altar Edition of the Sarum Missal [the "unique expression" of the Sarum Rite]. And Mr Urquhart has done a fine and painstaking O'Connell to go with it (Ceremonies of the Sarum Missal). I expect the poor fellow will be nagged to edit an annual Ordo recitandi Officii Divini Sacrique peragendi secundum usum insignis et praeclarae Ecclesiae Sarisburiensis so as to help us through the nombre and hardnes of the rules called the pie.

Sarum is, as our Mr Johnson would cry, Oven Ready and Awaiting Lift Off.

Whereabouts to begin?

In Puginopolis, clearly (Ramsgate, as hoi polloi call it). Just think how it will rejoice the heart of dear Augustus Welby. There is evidence that Dr Wiseman celebrated 'according to the rite of Sarum' there.

Historians will undoubtedly come to call this the Pugin Pontificate.

Then, perhaps, the ruins of Glastonbury ... in honour of the Blessed Abbot Richard Whiting, and his martyred Companions; on Tower Hill, honouring the Cardinal Bishop of Rochester ... 

What glorious events those Pontifical High Masses will be! We must pray for fine weather!

Viva il Papa!

(Readers who were puzzled by the concept of the Split Infinitive will find a careful and, I hope, helpful example in the post above.)

21 July 2021


(1) There doesn't seem to be a Latin text of Traditionis custodes. That, in this pontificate, is not particularly remarkable.

There is an English version headed "Official Translation". But the Italian and Spanish have no corresponding heading (and no other language is apparently deemed worthy of a version at all ... bow down, ye Frogs, grovel, ye Krauts ...).

In the Italian version, the pontiff uses the first person singular. Until, that is, he comes to the end ... when he refers to the "year of our pontificate".

Does this mean that PF has an Apostolic Wife tucked away in an attic?

(2) I agree with Mrs Sims, huius Universitatis Artium Magistra, that "to boldly go" is a quite exquisite phrase. As far as English English is concerned, it is as deeply embedded in our shared culture of mirth as the Curate's Egg. 

But if the splitting of the infinitive were to become common (ne dicam prescriptive), would not this bright flower become powerless and faded, its hot-house perfume but an exotic memory for aged pedants?

That is the anxiety which drives slumber away and keeps me awake and fretful during the dark watches of the night.

Mass last Saturday

As I finished saying Mass last Saturday, the morning after Traditionis custodes, the thought struck me: That is the Mass, those were the words, for which our Anglo-Catholic Fathers were persecuted ... in some cases, imprisoned ... An Argentinian pope may be very different from an English former Public School head master, Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury, but how like they both are in their hatred of the Old Mass, and of those who celebrate it.

But then a different and less unworthy thought took over: Those Anglo-Catholic clergy, at worst, spent but a few weeks in prison ... I should be thinking rather of the English Seminary Martyrs ... the rack, the rope, the knife ... the heads on the spikes over the City Gates, the carrion birds, the smell on the wind ...

Then, familiar words of Gregory Dix ... I've quoted them before: "This very morning I did this with a set of texts which has not changed by more than a few syllables since Augustine used those very words at Canterbury on the third Sunday of Easter in the summer after he landed."

Then ... all those Masses during all those Persecutions in all those blood-stained Enlightenments. So many holy priests ... so many gaolers bribed to smuggle in the necessities for a last Mass ... Te igitur for the last time ... blinking, as they took you out into the sunlight ...

There swept over me an enormous sense of privilege; a sense (this is not sarcasm) of gratitude to our Holy Father for reminding me of the wonder of those words which I say every morning. Words so ancient, yet, every morning, so radiant, so new. Words that remake ones inmost being.

Things rarely seem as precious as they do when there are attempts to rob you of them.

God be praised, now and for ever, in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

20 July 2021


 "You have to realise that he is aiming at reform that is irreversible. If one day he should intuit that he's running out of time and doesn't have enough time to do what the Spirit is asking of him, you can be sure that he will speed up."

Thus spoke a close collaborator of PF, soon after the start of this pontificate. 

Have we now reached the point of which Archbishop Fernandez spoke?

What else is likely to hit us in the Speeded Up Period?

19 July 2021

Newman Gabbled the Mass

In Newman's (insufficiently read but brilliant) novel Loss and Gain, a young Ritualist clergyman called Bateman is trying to reclaim for the Church of England a fellow Oxonian, Willis, who has become a Roman Catholic. "Do tell me, just tell me, how you can justify the Mass as it is performed abroad; how can it be called a 'reasonable service', when all parties conspire to gabble it over, as if it mattered not a jot who attended to it, or even understood it?"

Willis explains that Catholicism and Protestantism are essentially two different religions. "The idea of worship is different ... for, in truth, the religions are different. Don't deceive yourself, my dear Bateman: it is not that ours is your religion carried a little further - a little too far, as you would say. No, they differ in kind, not in degree: ours is one religion and yours is another".

This is an important perception today, when much misunderstanding is caused both in ecumenical dialogue and in the subject called 'Comparative Religion' by those who fail too realise that religions can have radically different structures; their fundamental grammar may be wholly different, not just their superficial features. As so often, Newman is a thinker and an analyst very much for our time. But let us follow Willis's explanation:

"To me nothing is so consoling, so piercing, so thrilling, so overcoming, as the Mass, said as it is among us. I could attend Masses for ever, and not be tired. It is not a mere form of words - it is a great action, the greatest action that can be on earth. It is, not the invocation merely, but, if I dare use the word, the evocation of the Eternal. He becomes present upon the altar in flesh and blood, before whom angels bow and devils tremble. This is that awful event which is the end, and is the interpretarion, of every part of the solemnity. Words are necessary, but as means, not as ends; they are not mere addresses to the throne of grace, they are instruments of what is far higher, of consecration, of sacrifice. They hurry on as if impatient to fulfil their mission".

In other words, for classical Protestantism, the Eucharist is an acted word; it is a sermon dramatised; it is intended to instruct the witnesses and draw their heart to that saving faith which justifies. But for the Catholic, it is an opus operatum; an action which by the powerful and indefectible promise of Christ is objectively (not merely subjectively and in the heart of the believer) effective. So the celebrant is not in the business of moving or instucting or edifying or converting the viewer - if such may be the the by-products, even useful ones, of the action, they are not its intrinsic purpose. The priest's intrinsic purpose is to confect and offer the Body and Blood of the Redeemer in sacrifice for the sins of men. Failure to realise this is at the heart of what is wrong with so much modern and 'relevant' liturgy. And failure to realise this is to fall into the structured error which we call the Enlightenment.

"[The words of the Mass] hurry on as if impatient to fulfil their mission. Quickly they go, the whole is quick; for they are awful words of sacrifice, they are a work too great to delay upon; as when it was said at the beginning, 'What thou doest, do quickly'. Quickly they pass, for the Lord Jesus goes with them, as he passed along the lake in the days of his flesh, quickly calling first one and then another; quickly they pass ... " but I invite the reader to get and read the book.

In terms of rhetoric and apologetic, it might seem that Newman has cleverly (no wonder Protestant England considered him dangerously sinister in his cleverness!) justified 'gabbling' the Mass. But his purpose is deeply theological. I would put it like this (I am borrowing the illustration from Eric Anglican Patrimony Mascall's section in Corpus Christi where he explains the logic of 'Private Masses'). If a Protestant went into a Catholic church and saw half a dozen side-altars, and at each of them a priest murmuring a 'private' Mass, his reaction would be likely to be 'Why are all those Ministers taking separate services, each of them with no more than one person to watch? What good does it do? Actors don't put on Hamlet to empty theatres just for the sake of it. It's pointless'. But the priest knows that offering the One Sacrfice for the sins of all the world is the most worthwhile thing a man can do, whether his congregation is thousands ... or no-one. It is not a performance to impress.

Naturally, Doing This each day takes hold of a man and changes him. To quote Newman again, "You, who day by day offer up the Immaculate Lamb of God, you who hold in your hands the Incarnate Word under the visible tokens which He has ordained, you who again and again drain the chalice of the Great Victim; who is to make you fear? what is to startle you? what to seduce you? who is to stop you, whether you are to suffer or to do, whether to lay the foundations of the Church in tears, or to put the crown upon the work in jubilation?"

Wise Words from Willis

"To me nothing is so consoling, so piercing, so thrilling, so overcoming, as the Mass, said as it is among us. I could attend Masses for ever, and not be tired." Words of "Willis" ... a character - a sympathetic character - in Newman's semi-autobiographical novel Loss and Gain. My judgement is that Newman used this persona to speak with a personal passion that might have seemed excessive if he had spoken in propria persona. (There is often something very English about the Ordinariate's beloved Patron.)

Newman, of course, was writing about what, until last week, we sometimes called the Extraordinary Form.

Many of you will not have heard of Richard Holloway, Anglican former Bishop of Edinburgh, and later a "Christian agnostic". He was once Vicar of S Mary Mag's Church in Oxford; "Western Rite", as we used to say ... The surroundings were baroque; the altar cluttered with reliquaries; everything of the best. Holloway, post-lapsation, continued to say Mass, despite being an agnostic, and wrote "The Eucharist ... is the way you express your identity and membership of that body. I happen to believe that it is a beautiful art form as well."

Professor Dawkins once expressed his puzzlement that Dr Antony Kenny, a lapsed RC priest who was a fine Master of Balliol, seemed unable to get religion out of his system despite the years that have rolled by since he left the Catholic priesthood. And Terry Eagleton, Catholic Marxist of the 1960s ("the Eucharist is a paradigm of a socialist society"), whose precise credal identity some now find elusive, wrote an angry book attacking the playground bullies of the current atheistic intellectual establishment.

What people find hard to get out of their system, whatever their intellectual doubts, is the haunting, absorbing, unforgettable magic of the Ancient, Authentic Form of the Mass.  

We understand this, don't we?

18 July 2021

But are Cuckoos' Eggs Roman?

Here is a piece I published on 12/5/2014. I have not changed it in any way, except that it is no longer the first of a series. I think I would only wish now to add Eric Mascall's words: "The great prayer of thanksging offers by consecrating and consecrates by offering." 

My main reason for republishing it is that the error I refute in the RED SECTION at the end still raises its ugly head. (BTW, the red section was in red in the original publication! It is important!)

ROMAN MISSAL, it says on the spine of that splendidly and expensively produced Altar Book which everybody bought three or four years ago; so much more attractive than the old plastic Altar Books with SACRAMENTARY blocked upon them. The change was part of the Hermeneutic of Reform in Continuity, just as the earlier description had been a conscious assertion of rupture. Our Liturgy, we are now taught, is to be seen as in continuity with what preceded it, just as the Edition of S Pius V was in continuity with the printed missals of the late fifteenth century. This motive is highly laudable ... its heart is in the right place ... but I wonder whether its assertion is quite true.

As Aidan Nichols neatly explained, "anaphoras ... are central to the definition of any Eucharistic style". And that is why the title ROMAN MISSAL is only a quarter-truth. The First Eucharistic Prayer, the Roman Canon, is indeed Roman. Its theology is the old theology of Consecration which preceded the changes driven in the East by the realisation that the Holy Spirit is fully God. In the Roman Canon, the Spirit only makes an appearance in the Doxology. Its doctrine is very simple: Divine acceptance is Consecration. In the Quam oblationem, we ask the Father to accept the offering; to bless it by writing it on the Official List of Eucharists (remember Christine Mohrmann's demonstration of the legalism of Roman religious thought both Christian and pre-Christian) and ratifying it (benedictam adscriptam ratam rationabilem acceptabilem). The next word is ut; the linkage is precise and intended. God is asked to accept the offering in order that it may become the Lord's Body and Blood. Then follows Qui pridie .... This qui has a sense of forasmuch as (remember all those collects beginning Deus qui ..., in which the qui clause gives the factual basis upon the logic of which we base our request which follows in the second half of the collect). The Qui pridie  gives the grounds upon which we centre our confidence that the Father will do what is asked. Accept this offering so that it becomes the Lord's body; and His statements at His Last Supper form the 'legal' basis for our confident request.

The Eastern theology is quite different. The Father is asked to send down his Spirit upon the elements and to make them the Body and blood, He, by His Holy Spirit, making the change. No longer is the theology one in which the Divine Acceptance itself constitutes the transformation; instead, the (newly discovered) Holy Spirit is deemed, is asked, to come down ab extra and to transform bread and wine*. (I have no problems with Byzantines keeping the pattern they have had for 1400 or so years, and I would sign any petition against any proposal to latinise their rites; for the same reason that I am disappointed by Byzantines who accept 'Western Rite Orthodox' only if they add an Oriental Epiclesis to the Roman Canon, thereby transsubstantiating it into gobbledegook.)

You know what I'm going to say next. The three Cuckoos' Eggs which follow the Roman Canon in the ROMAN MISSAL do not pray for Acceptance so that Bread becomes Body; instead, they call for the action of the Holy Spirit so that Bread may become Body. Our distinguished Anglican liturgist G G Willis wrote that "the rite has certainly become hybrid"; he surprised Roman liturgists in the post-conciliar period (they thought that Anglicans would be over-the-moon because of their innovations) by taking every opportunity to explain to them how questionable it was to "incorporate into the Western liturgy features which are not native to it, but confessedly derived from Oriental sources".

IMPORTANT FOOTNOTE: Traditional Catholics sometimes make the unfortunate mistake of thinking that the sort of enquiry which I am conducting means or implies that such-and-such a sort of Mass is "invalid". This is very seriously wrong, as I have explained three times before. However celebrated, the Novus Ordo Mass contains ALL the requirements for a valid Mass. You DO receive the Body of the Incarnate Word. AND: there is no such thing as "more valid" and "less valid". A sacrament is valid or invalid, period. There is nothing in between. You may find the Novus Mass very greatly less helpful to you than the Vetus Mass. So might I. But both forms are equally valid. GOD, the significant actor, does exactly the same in each.
*The following amuses me: In the full fervour of exaggerated pneumatology which gripped the East in and after the fourth century, S Cyril of Jerusalem actually taught that, in exactly the same way as the invoked Spirit transsubstantiated bread and wine into the Lord's Body and Blood, so the invoked Spirit transsubstantiated oil into the charisma of the Holy Spirit. This passage was incorporated into the Liturgia Horarum by the post-conciliar revisers ... but with the Eucharistic analogy excised from the text. They chickened!!! 

"Sinful Pride and Rebellion"

Some American bishop of whom I know nothing, called Strickland, has written

"The rainbow has been co-opted as a sign of sinful pride and rebellion instead of a sign of hope. Let us pray for the world and the Church to reject the man made idols of our time & to once again bow humbly before almighty God. St Joseph pray for us".

Does a split infinitive enhance or diminish such a call? 

Are his vexillographical views sound?


17 July 2021

Matthew Hazell busts some nasty novel numerical myths

A fine piece by MH on NLM, exploding with Facts some unfortunate assertions by His Excellency Archbishop Arthur Roche, successor of Cardinal Sarah as Prefect at the CDW.

Roche had claimed that the NO Missal "retains ... ninety percent of the texts of that [1570] Missal". Hazell shows that this is, mathematically, quite untrue. Hazell is an exact and impressive researcher. To preserve his reputation, Roche (or whatever minion handed him this 'information') needs to discover some methodology wherewith to upset Hazell's conclusions.

But, readers may wonder, is it wise for us to engage with Roche, a man who now has an influential position in the Bergoglian power-structure? Perhaps not. But since Roche himself uses blunt language to attack those whom he has in his sights ("Opinions to the contrary are false"), it seems to me that he has chosen to engage in a battle in which he is not well-placed to complain about bluntness. And is Parrhesia still part of the policy of this pontificate?

I will point out three dodgy bits in what Roche wrote. 

(1) There are two quite different ways of comparing the old and the new Missals and deploying the impressive statistic "90%". (a)  "90% of the prayers in the New Missal were in the Old." And (b) "90% of the prayers in the Old Missal survived into the New." (a) is what might most reassure a traddy mindset, because it would imply that not much of what we loved has been taken from us. However, (b) has a much better chance of approaching truth  than (a) does. And (b) is indeed what Roche has actually claimed. But this claim may not give the worshipper much comfort if the "90%" of such surviving texts survive almost invisibly in some corner of the New Missal where they will be virtually unseen, swamped by a great tsunami of new stuff.

(2) The positioning of prayers is ... surely even Roche would have to admit ... of some significance. Let us look at the ancient Roman "Sunday collects" of the great Christian seasons, Advent, Lent, Easter. 

Not a single one of these survived as Sunday Collects for those seasons in the NO. Some of the Sunday Easter collects survived as Sunday collects in the Tempus per annum, but were evidently not deemed to be adequately 'paschal' to be heard in church during Eastertide. Other seasonal Sunday collects, notably in Advent, sometimes survived as collects on weekdays. But, with regard to Sundays in the Great Seasons, not a single one of the old collects was deemed fit for use. (So much for the organic evolution, changes only being made where truly necessary, which Sacrosanctum Concilium enjoined.)

(3) I wonder if it has occurred to Roche that the provision of so many alternative Eucharistic Prayers, all of them without exception non-Roman in that they import a byzantinising Epiclesis of the Holy Spirit, hitherto unknown in the Roman Rite, represents a significant and disastrous rupture between the two "forms" of the Roman Rite.

I cannot help wondering whether Roche's article may be part of the new onslaught upon the Old Mass, called for by the imperatives of the current Bergoglian War Objectives. Might it be that Roche is attempting to set up a new military strongpoint in this new liturgical conflict, with this narrative: "The traddies are illiterates who attack the New Missal for being new, which is untrue because its contents are 90% the same as in the Old Missal. So why the fuss."? 

Were Roche to have in mind a more eirenic agenda, perhaps he might take steps to enforce the guidlines given in the IGMR about when each Eucharistic Prayer is to be used. If he eliminated the use of the Pseudo-Hippolytan prayer on Sundays and feasts; if he secured the use of the Roman Canon at least on those days which IGMR commends ... we would have an initiative that looked just a little more like an offer of brotherly engagement and rather less like a heavy (and inaccurate) hand.

Does Traditionis Custodes possess Auctoritas?

Apologies to those who carefully read each day everything I write. I wrote this piece some time ago, and republished it only a few days ago, in the knowledge of PF's imminent declaration of war upon Holy Tradition.

I wonder how far PF's power to obstruct his Predecessor's legislation extends. And exactly where he would cross the boundary into the ultra vires.

A defence of a pope's capacity to do what PF claims to have done would find its strongest support in Legalism; in canonical enactments about papal authority. But, curiously, the rigidities of Legalism have sometimes elicited critical observations from the Holy Father's mouth!!

However, to advocate a chaotic free-for-all is not the answer. I think it is important for us better to understand the concept of AUCTORITAS. Which does not always have same parameters as Canonical Lawfulness.

So what is this auctoritas?

A liturgical form can have full canonical status; and when it does, it is clear that a cleric is (for example) fulfilling his obligation to the Divine Office by using it. 

But the Latin term auctoritas has a more subtle sense than mere canonical liceity. It might suggest the personal influence which a player in Roman politics had, quite distinct from any imperium which he might enjoy as a result of a magistracy which he held. Or a sense of authoritativeness or impressiveness, of personal prestige or repute; we all know the sort of person who, perhaps in a committee or gathering, is listened to the moment he opens his mouth and whose interventions invite a respect out of all proportion to his merely legal status. (It is a characteristic of the Good Woman in Proverbs 31 that her husband is great among the elders at the gate; when such people are moved to utterance, other people put their hands to their mouths!) In our modern secular politics, the policies which were embodied in the manifesto of a government which has won power by a sweeping majority have auctoritas greater than the ideas dreamed up last night by a premier who is holding onto power by his fingertips ... although the constitutional power may be formally the same in each case.


Auctoritas as opposed to mere canonical liceity has always had a place in Liturgy. When manualists such as the admirable O'Connell wrote about a custom which is even contra legem enjoying, by virtue of its longevity, not merely liceity but even prescription above the letter of the rubric, it is in a way auctoritas that they are talking about. 

But I contend that the radical changes that followed Vatican II raise the question of auctoritas in new, difficult, and acute forms. One reason for this is the most striking novelty involved in post-Conciliar liturgical texts: multiple choices facing a celebrant or a worshipping community as they prepare to celebrate a rite. 

Previously, what every celebrant had said daily at every altar of the Roman Rite throughout the world for centuries obviously had enormous auctoritas. A novel formula which has just been put on some menu from which choices are to be made, manifestly has very much less. Whereas, before the Council, something that auctoritas urged one to do was broadly in line with what was canonically licit, after the Conciliar 'reforms' auctoritas and liceity, lawfulness, might find themselves standing further and further apart from each other.


I strongly agree with Joseph Ratzinger's strongly expressed view that there is something highly questionable about the idea that a Roman Pontiff can "do anything especially if backed by a mandate of an ecumenical council". I would contend that what is wrong with that idea is, among other things, its forgetfulness of liturgical auctoritas. And my inclination is to believe that, in many and important respects, the 'reforms' went beyond the conciliar mandate of Sacrosanctum Concilium (praeter concilium) and, even more problematically, in some cases directly contradicted it (contra concilium). In my view, changes praeter Concilium have less auctoritas than those which do rest on a conciliar mandate. 

Vatican II was an Ecumenical Council (albeit, a pastoral Council), just as much as all the other Ecumenical Councils. What it mandated, possessed auctoritas. What it did not mandate, but what subsequent committees put in place, has much less claim on our consciences. And where a clear instruction of the Council was categorically contradicted by committeee-men only two or three years later, I think we have duties of discernment.

So changes contra Concilium raise, as Benedict XVI perceived, extremely acute difficulties with regard to their auctoritas.

The Catholic Church, more than many ecclesial bodies, has a deeply ingrained sense of Law. This makes it easy for Roman Catholics to underestimate the force of auctoritas. But Benedict XVI was appealing directly to auctoritas when he wrote "What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful"

In so teaching, in so using the word "cannot", he was not speaking in terms of canonical or legislative details; he was arguing theologically and ecclesiologically.

And Benedict was right.

And ... as PF forces us to face new Liturgy Wars ... this has practical implications.

16 July 2021

Traditionis Custodes

From a private letter to me from Prebendary Michael Moreton (7 November 2001);

"I regard the Roman canon as part of the complex of traditions which characterised the life of the Church as it emerged from the centuries of persecution: a shared rule of faith in the creeds, a shared rule of what constituted Scripture, a shared rule of holy order, and a shared rule of prayer. I do not believe that any part of the Church in later centuries has any authority to alter these canons."

From Cardinal Ratzinger:

"Rites ... are forms of the apostolic Tradition and of its unfolding in the great places of the Tradition. ... After the Second Vatican Council, the impression arose that the pope really could do anything in liturgical matters ... the First Vatican Council had in no way defined the pope as an absolute monarch. On the contrary, it presented him as the guarantor of obedience to the revealed Word ... The authority of the pope is not unlimited; it is at the service of Sacred Tradition."

So much, then for Bergoglianist autocracy. In passing on, we can applaud the insight and determination of the Moscow Patriarchate in resisting papist ambitions in the See of Constantinople.

But if the hyperuebersuperultrapapalism of Bergoglianity will not serve God's People, what will? Conciliarism? You just have to be joking. After the fiasco of Vatican II (yes; genuine, valid, canonical Ecumenical Councils can be disasters for the Church, as both S John Henry Newman and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger had no trouble discerning)? And, on the other side of the fence, how about the megafiasco of the 'Great and Holy Council' a few years ago in Crete? 'Nuff Said!


Holy Tradition, which, of course, has Holy Scripture as one of its ruling structures.

Holy Tradition, the foremost manifestation of which, day by day, is in the Liturgy.

Holy Tradition is our truest Mistress.

Holy Tradition is the ultimate and over-ruling auctoritas in the life of the Household of God. 

No auctoritas can subsist in enactments which manifestly subvert Holy Tradition.

15 July 2021

Money and Concelebration (5).

Benedict XIV (1740-1758) concludes his argument that concelebrants are, each of them, true celebrants (pariter concelebrant) by dealing with the question of concelebrants accepting Mass-stipends. This is the acid test. You are stealing from the laity if you accept a Mass-stipend but do not say the Mass for the intention of the donor. So the question is: if a hundred priests concelebrate, can a hundred priests accept, each of them, a Mass-stipend for that same Eucharistic celebration? Now ... traddies among you had better hold on tightly to something fixed to the ground, because you are not likely to enjoy what follows ... the answer given by the Sovereign Pontiff is an unambiguous Yes. In other words, each concelebrant has precisely the same sacramental standing as a priest saying his own private Mass. Watch his lips: Each : one : is : saying : Mass.

It is not surprising that, for the next two centuries, manualists concurred with this weighty papal judgement. Benedict XIV, Prospero Lambertini, had an immense reputation, based equally upon his own erudition and his papal status. In the last expiring months of the Old Rite (which had at that point received only two or three trifling modifications), on March 7 1965, a Rite of Concelebration was promulgated for use with the old rite. In accordance with the actual words of the Council, the document was less than whole-hearted in its endorsement of daily Concelebration when all the concelebrants are presbyters, but the rite was intended to be used universally at Ordinations, Consecrations, Abbatial Blessings, in Councils, Synods, and Episcopal meetings, and at both Masses on Maundy Thursday.

As far as Maundy Thursday Concelebration is concerned, this is something which had not lost its last foothold in the Latin Church until our own time. The Rite of Lyons, which survived until the Council, provided that on that one day six presbyters had the right to sit with the Archbishop and concelebrate (honor sedendi et offerendi). This was but the last survival of a widespread practice of such concelebration in French cathedrals during the Counter-Reformation period.

So those 1965 provisions seem to me a thoroughly 'organic' liturgical development. They seem to me to draw, not as revolutionary liturgical subversives so often and so cheerfully do, upon dubious, improbable, and unedifying reconstructions of "what the Early Church did", but upon a broad consideration of the Latin Church's whole liturgical tradition; upon the Magisterium, and especially (when the meaning of the Roman Rite is concerned) that of Roman Pontiffs; and upon the consensus of reliable manualists.They seem to me to rest on the consistent and reiterated teaching of Popes and Doctors over the last millennium. They are not some load of rubbish dreamed up by archbishop Bugnini's generation.

And (paragraph 10) they concur with the judgement on Mass-stipends of Benedict XIV and those who followed him: Singuli concelebrantes stipendium legitime percipere possunt ad normam iuris.

The mature and settled inheritance, the auctoritas, of the Latin Church prescribes that, normally, each presbyter should celebrate ('presidentially') daily, and do so privately if he is not obliged to serve a pastoral need. This needs to be upheld and, where necessary, restored.

But the notion which one sometimes meets among traditionalists who have not informed themselves of the facts, that any form of concelebration is a treacherous sell-out to the 'Spirit of Vatican II', contradicts the traditions of the Latin Churches and the Magisterium of Popes Innocent III  and Benedict XIV and the considered judgement of S Thomas Aquinas ... and a lot of Counter-Reformation manualists.


Concelebration is an ancient and venerable usage of the Western Church. But the culture of concelebration as we now have it is not. 'Traditional' concelebration is an expression of the unity of a presbyterium with its Bishop and, mediately, of each presbyter with each of his brethren who is also a member of the presbyterium of that bishop. It is particularly associated with Sacraments and sacramental rites; and it is not confined to the Eucharist. Presbyters join with their bishop in ordaining by the laying-on of hands in the ordination of a new member of the presbyterium: thereby being able with their bishop to do something which they could not validly do on their own. 

Likewise, they concelebrate the Consecration of the Chrism; before the Council, indeed, representative presbyters, fully vested, joined the Pontiff in the insufflation. Dom Gregory Dix wrote in 1936: "Though the bishop alone recites the prayers over the oils, these priests are real 'concelebrants' with him ...This 'concelebration' is one of several points in which the consecration of the Chrism has retained elements of the most primitive Christian liturgical practice which the consecration of the Eucharist has now lost". 

Sadly, the newer rites have reduced the Traditional Concelebration of the Consecration of the Chrism to the mere gesture of the Presbyterium extending its hands during part of the ancient prayer. But this is something ... and better than nothing.

My view is that presbyters among us should look forward each year to concelebrating the Chrism Mass, and the consecration of the Chrism itself, with their bishops in Holy Week, and to doing so with joy, rather than tut-tutting in corners with precious like-minded chums about how this sort of thing really is something that we elite cognoscenti now know better about. (Not that I am convinced about this renewing-vows rigmarole ...) 

And after all, Maundy Thursday is a day when we are not allowed to say private Masses.

But I certainly agree that very many of the concelebrations that take place nowadays, particularly where there is no bishop presiding qua president of a presbyterium, are indecorous and unnecessary. Traditionalists, in my view, should not be making (unsustainable) attacks on proper concelebrations, but developing a healthy new praxis. At the heart of it there should be the assumption that each priest should say Mass daily, either with his people or 'privately'. There should be a restoration of the experience of seeing a whole lot of priests in choir, not because they're too lazy to have said Mass on their own and can't be bothered to concelebrate, or think concelebration is a 'status-conscious' thing, but because each of them has carefully and devoutly said his own Mass previously.

These are not the views - and this is not the praxis - which have been mine throughout my ministry. I believe that at this time of retracing interrupted continuities it is right for us all to reconsider questions which, perhaps, we once considered closed. And to do so on sound grounds - not just on the principle that pendula swing. I hope I am still learning and still rediscovering.

14 July 2021

Benedict XIV on Concelebration (4)

Innocent III (Pope 1198-1216) made his views on concelebration clear enough; so did S Thomas (see earlier posts). But the former, it could be argued (Durandus did), was writing as a private theologian; and as for the latter, despite his eminence, Cajetan disagreed with him.

Benedict XIV (Pope 1740-1758), undoubtedly one of the half-dozen most erudite men ever to grace the Cathedra Petri, left nothing to chance. As well as in his monumental work de Sacrosancto Missae Sacrificio (Liber III caput xvi), he made his teaching about Concelebration very clear in two magisterial documents, the encyclicals Demandatam (12 December 1743; paragraphs 9-10) and Allatae (26 July 1755; paragraph 38).

The basis of the Sovereign Pontiff's teaching is his conviction that the Eastern and Western churches are at one in this matter so that the practice of the Byzantine East can throw definitive light on the significance of our Latin practice: "It was once a rite common to the Western and Eastern Church equally, that presbyters should offer the Sacrifice of the Mass together with the bishop [copious references follow] ... at the present moment the Rite of Concelebration has grown obsolete in the Western Church, except in the Ordination of Priests which the bishop performs, and in the Consecration of Bishops, which is carried out by a bishop with two other bishops assisting".

He points out that the obsolescence of Concelebration in other circumstances in the West is comparatively recent (temporibus haud ita ab aetate nostra remotis), and that previously the 'disciplina Ecclesiae Occidentalis' demanded (postulabat) that on major solemnities, when a bishop was celebrating, presbyters should celebrate together with (una cum) the bishop - and the words of Innocent III are one of a number of exempla that he draws in to support the assertion. Not that he believes Concelebration is necessarily confined to Concelebration cum episcopo. He had to deal with a request from Byzantines who desired to celebrate the Eucharist daily but who lacked enough altars to do so (Byzantine custom insists that every Eucharist be celebrated on a 'fasting' altar). He categorically refuses them permission to celebrate twice on the same altar and advises them instead to concelebrate "with a bishop or with another priest".

He insists that concelebrants should vest as celebrants and utter the words of Consecration "just as if they were saying Mass on their own [perinde ac si sacrosanctum sacrificium singulatim conficerent]". Benedict explicitly condemns the wriggle-argument that such priests are merely saying the Words of Consecration "materialiter et recitative", insisting that they utter them "significative". They are true celebrants, albeit secondary ones [etsi secundarii, tamen vere celebrantes].

It is a laudable desire to shape ones liturgical praxis by the authentic customs of the Roman Liturgy. But this does not require that a priest should decline to concelebrate the Maundy Thursday Masses with his Bishop and Presbyterium.

More later.

New Light on Dix (3) ... and Cervantes

There is a gracious and inspiring tradition to the effect that every North American can remember exactly where s/he was, when J F 'gynaikomanes' Kennedy was assassinated. 

I suspect that the generation immediately before my own could often tell you when and where they first became aware of Dom Gregory Dix's The Shape of the Liturgy. Prebendary Michael Moreton first saw the chunky dark-green volume in the SPCK bookshop in ... I think he said ... Calcutta. 

You see, life was never to be quite the same again. There had been distinguished liturgists before ... there had been anguished 'liturgical' debates in the C of E during the years culminating in 1927/8 ... But Shape was a revolution. And it still gets reprinted! Despite Professor Paul Bradshaw!

This is why the copy of Shape, and the enclosed letter, which has become known to Mr Christopher Zealley of St Philip's Books, is important. Here we see Dix in the very act of reacting and responding to the first responses to his magnum opus. And responding with such characteristic glee!

Liturgy, after Dix and his Shape, was no longer to be a matter of examining minute differences between the uses of Sarum and York (Dean Inge, not entirely unfairly, likened this sort of liturgical study to Stamp Collecting!). No longer were we to be interested in the Deposited Books of 1927-1928; Dix made clear that they were rubbish; like most of his fellow Anglo-Papalists, he had never wanted that sort of  'revision' and he had no intention of giving up his beloved, daily, Tridentine Rite in order to use such flawed and dubious rites.

Shape seemed to offer a new way ahead. But, culturally, I think it did something even more important. It made Liturgy fun!

Dix had the market in Fun wide open before him. The Anglo-Catholic clergy, whose culture was clubbish and structured to a large extent around shared humour, had (since Knox poped) been rather in need of somebody to provide more of that commodity. Came the hour, came the man! The Anglican episcopate, like many managerial classes, never terribly resented dissent or complaints. Lofty disdain was their oven-ready (Borisicaliter loquor) way of dealing with whinging among the Inferior Clergy. What those bishops, poor sweet things, simply could not handle was ... being laughed at!

Dix led the laughter.

Every time PF delivers yet another angry tirade against Rigid People like me, I recall Dix's observation that even the best and most energetic of bishops [read 'popes'] will one day have rest from his labours and that the lance of his successor often delivers the diocese [read 'Church'] from the menace of some quite different windmill. 

Dix is the Patrimony!! Viva! Viva!


13 July 2021

Father Zed ...

 ... can't be moving to a Sabine Farm, can he?

Vandalism in S Peter's, and S Thomas on Concelebration (3)

Some readers may feel that the Church's worship is particularly under threat ... so why am I "defending" concelebration at this particular moment?

I can see the point. "Reliable sources" are convinced that the brutalisation of the Large Church near the Santa Marta is likely to come from PF himself, the Opicus Maximus. That would bring the ban into line with the habitual praxis of this man: failing to take overt responsibility for his own actions. 

As an Englishman and a member of an Anglophone Ordinariate, I also strongly object to to the Italo-imperialism of this action. With the ongoing onslaught upon the liturgical and doctrinal amd Magisterial use of Latin, our proper common language, we are effectively being told by PF and his crowd of gruesome bullies that, if you aren't an Italophone, you're a second-class Catholic. "Better a Second Class Catholic than a Bergoglian Syncretist" might be an appropriate reaction. Should we have "CATTOLICO DI SECUNDA CLASSE" added to our Celebrets?

I recently suggested a S Nicolas-de-Chardonnet response to the Ban ... and now Cardinal Mueller has wisely and helpfully pointed out that the Ban is, quite simply, unlawful; and so nobody is obliged to obey it. I am alive to the dangers of weaponising Liturgy ... but, in times of crisis ... why doesn't somebody just do this? What has happenned to the "Pachamama Out" Action Squad?

And yet ... I am convinced that we must think within the Great Tradition. So I do intend to continue with my series on Concelebration within the Authentic Tradition of the Latin Church. Because, while it has no place in anonymous notices tacked onto Sacristy doors by furtive figures in the middle of the night, concelebration does have an honoured place in the Traditions of the Latin Church.


S Thomas Aquinas, as his custom was, covers pretty well most of the problems of late C20 Christianity, and does so in a neat formulaic way. First, he crisply formulates an erroneous opinion; then disposes of it with Respondeo.

So first he states a propositio sometimes advanced in neo-traditionalist circles: That many priests cannot consecrate one and the same Host. He disposes of this - he was a good Catholic - by pointing to what the Church does. "According to the custom of a number of Churches the newly ordained concelebrate". The problem of rogue concelebrants Jumping The Gun he disposes of in exactly the same way as Pope Innocent III (see previous post) had done: "And it is not true that by this the consecration over the same Host is doubled; since, as Innocent III says, the intention of all must be referred (ferri) to the same instant of Consecration".

Having disposed of that little technical difficulty, he justifies the practice in itself: "Since a priest does not consecrate except in the persona of Christ, and the many are one in Christ, therefore it does not matter whether this Sacrament is consecrated through one or through many".

There is no doubt that the practice of Concelebration has become unseemly since the Council. Those of us who are hermeneutic-of-continuity traditionalists will do well to rethink the way we use Concelebration. But the fashion in some circles of ridiculing all use of Concelebration, and of even denying that what the newly ordained do with their Bishop really is true Concelebration, is ill-informed and gives 'traditionalism' a bad name. We must avoid the temptation (as we defend our Holy Faith against the latest aggressions of Bergoglianism) to propose our own narrow circumscriptions of 'Tradition'.

The the lady has many things new and old in her treasury!

Innocent III was a Pope, and a learned one, and as Bishop of Rome was entitled authoritatively to interpret the practice of his own Church. And S Thomas Aquinas was no mean Doctor. Not that the story ends with them.

Next in this series: Benedict XIV ... probably the most learned pope ever.

A rotting and stinking cadaver, or a blessed Springtime? Your choice ...

July 13 is when Saint John Henry Newman preached, in 1852, his Sermon on The Second Spring: I think it the most devastating and moving exercise in rhetoric that I know, in any language I know. It is not surprising that the Bishops and Clergy gathered for the first Synod of the shiny-new Province of Westminster, were moved to tears. Perhaps this is a day to reread it, to renew the tears.

Soon after the start of this twenty first century, the Church of England freely decided to affirm and to consecrate anew the enforced schism of the sixteenth century, by charting once more, despite all the dishonest, flashy 'ecumenical' promise of the ARCIC years, a course of deliberate divergence from the Catholic Church and from the Truth which is in Christ. During these unhappy years, I have found myself haunted by one passage in particular, in which JHN talks about what happened to the Church of England at the Reformation. 

In our third millennium, a church-crawler easily discovers previously 'Catholic' Anglican churches now occupied by women 'priests', or put into 'groups' under liberal management, lonely, empty places, their tabernacles now become the homes of spiders, "Messy Church" on offer every third Sunday. A heritage which had been rebuilt in the Church of England over the decades since 1833, a culture of gradually, laboriously, restored Truth, orthodox teaching and increasingly orthodox liturgical praxis, has once again, in Newman's chiselled, merciless words, been 'disposed of and shovelled away'.

His words of 1852 have assumed for me a renewed pathos:

"The vivifying principle of truth, the shadow of St Peter, the grace of the Redeemer, left it. That old Church in its day became a corpse (a marvellous, an awful change!); and then it did but corrupt the air which once it beautified. So all seemed to be lost; and there was a struggle for a time, and then its priests were cast out or martyred. There were sacrileges innumerable. Its temples were profaned or destroyed; its revenues seized by covetous nobles, or squandered upon the ministers of a new faith ... It took a long time to do this thoroughly; much time, much thought, much labour, much expense; but at last it was done ... the fair form of Truth, moral and material, hacked piecemeal, and every limb and organ carried off, and burned in the fire, or cast into the deep! But at last the work was done. Truth was disposed of, and shovelled away, and there was a calm, a silence, a sort of peace ... "

12 July 2021

Pope Innocent III on Concelebration (2)

When we aren't Covid-depressed, we presbyters are faced at this time in the year with the question of whether to concelebrate the Chrism Mass; perhaps, also, the Easter Vigil. 

I intend, over the next few days, to investigate what the Catholic Church, and particularly the Latin Church, has historically taught about Concelebration. One of my reasons for doing this is a feeling I get ... that there are some, keen Traditionalists, whose concept of Tradition is "What people did in 1950". 

I violently resent the prohibitions now in place in one of PF's basilicas in Rome. I deplore the disappearance of the normative discipline of the daily Mass for each and every priest in the Latin Church. I think a lot of concelebrations are just plain silly, as well as highly indecorous.

But Concelebration does exist in the Great Tradition within the Latin Church ... and I think it is worth disentangling this Tradition from the malpractices of Bergoglianity.


For a number of years, before I came to believe that Concelebration should only be done rarely and under the presidency of one's bishop, I concelebrated each morning with my brother priests (except on those mornings when I said a Latin Mass in a different Chapel with those students and colleagues who liked that sort of thing). I was disconcerted by a concelebrating colleague who had a habit of edging his voice ahead of mine even when I was Principal Celebrant. Why should he, I fretted, snatch the Mass from me by consecrating ahead of me and leaving me without the substances of bread and wine to consecrate myself? So I developed a habit of getting a good head of breath earlier in the Institution Narrative so that I could keep in sync with him. 

I needn't have bothered. A Pope sorted this problem out for me 800 years ago. I wish I'd known!

Innocent III (1198-1216) takes it for granted that "from time to time many priests concelebrate" and adds "the Cardinal Presbyters of Rome have been accustomed to stand around the the Pontiff and to consecrate together with him" - a pretty blunt and authoritative indication from the Bishop of Rome as to the meaning of the Rites of his own Church. What concerns him is this very question of what happens if they don't keep their voices together at the words of Consecration. "Is the one who first pronounces the words the only one who confects the Sacrament?" His answer to this is that "Whether the priests utter them before or after, their intention must be referred to the instant at which the Bishop says them, with whom principally they are concelebrating, and then all consecrate and confect at the same time".

Some modern 'traditionalists' believe that all Concelebration is wrong.  Innocent III thought and taught differently. Look him up if you don't believe he really "counts" as a "reliable" pope.

I wonder if S Thomas Aquinas agrees with him? I'll answer that question next.


Tomorrow is the Year's Mind, as we say in the Patrimony, of our late Sovereign Liege Lord, Henry IX, King of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, Cardinal Bishop of Frascati and later Dean of the College of Cardinals. He took part in several conclaves, most notably the conclave in Venice which followed the death in prison of Pius VI during the darkest period of the Enlightenment.

I seem to remember that, after his election, the next pope, Pius VII, wore a papier mache tiara, to which some Venetian noblewomen had attached precious stones. Now that would be a real sign of a really humble pope, to be crowned with such a tiara.

I wonder if readers can suggest ways of celebrating the reign of Henry IX, our most endearing sovereign. I suppose the obvious thing would be to consume a bottle of Frascati.

I believe my late friend, Fr Michael Melrose, pp of S Giles' Reading, once told me that His Majestic Eminence died of an excess of Melons. It is an enormous shame that Father Melrose didn't live long enough to join the Ordinariate; the items in his capacious and idiosyncratic memory were just the sort of riches that make our Patrimonial community so exuberant and vibrant.

So ... a Canteloupe with crudo, and a toast to His Most Eminent Majesty, drunk in Frascati?

11 July 2021

Concelebration 1

Apparently, some errors about Concelebration that I dealt with years ago still survive. So here are some of my old pieces. My reason for repeating them is that I fear ...  I terribly fear ... that some Bergoglianite, anti-Tradition, prelates, are going to make Concelebration a kind of Test Question. And that, by using this trick, doing so, they will be able to drive out good priests with splendid missions. I am not concerned to defend the entire modern culture of Concelebration, or to defend such prelates. I am concerned simply to establish, by citing the Magisterium of the Catholic Church before Vatican II, that Concelebration is licit in the Latin Church, and is not contrary to the Rule of the Faith to which we are all subject. 

Conscience does not peremptorily demand that we should refuse ever to concelebrate.

If, sadly, we are to have to face new liturgical battles in the days ahead, we do not, in my vew, have to fight them with our hands tied behind our backs. 

We are not in conscience bound to hand the enemy this advantage.

There will be quite a number of these old posts! But I hope, at least on most days, to publish my usual daily offering!

Having written a rave review of Laurence Hemming's Worship as a Revelation, and repeatedly urged everybody to read it, I think I am entitled to pick up a particular observation and to explain why, in Magisterial terms, it is mistaken, misguided, and misleading. 

And I want to refute his apparent blanket disapproval of Concelebration. 

Having summarised the way, in the old Pontifical, that newly ordained priests, in their Mass of Ordination, said the Eucharistic Prayer with the ordaining bishop, he observes 'This has nothing to do with concelebration - it is a formal demonstration of the way in which each priest's future recitation of the most sacred prayer of the Mass is intrinsically linked to, and in concert with, what the bishop himself does, as the one to whom he is hierarchically tied, and so this action is a formal demonstration of how the priest acquires, and exercises, his right to say this prayer and effect the miracle of transubstantiation'.

I have no problems with any of this except with the opening clause. If Hemming is suggesting that concelebration is a modern fad which misinterprets the ritual he describes, then he is wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. The acid test is 'May a priest accept a mass-stipend for what he does at his Ordination Mass? If so, then it is a Mass of which he is a celebrant. And the answer given before there is any suggestion of modern liturgical faddery is: yes he may. The most learned pope before our present Holy Father, Benedict XIV, took this view. So did weighty and reliable authorities such as Gasparri and Cappello. And, in future posts, I shall be taking this back to Innocent III.

When the post-Conciliar Ritus concelebrandi formally made this into law, it was simply repeating what was already the universal judgement of popes, theologians and manual-writers; what was part of the Ordinary teaching of the Western Church.

This is by no means all that I want to say about this subject, but I do feel the need to establish the authenticity of the notion of concelebration within the practice and teaching of historic Western Chistendom.