Monday 10th July

Photo: The gardens at Great Dixter on a warm July afternoon

Recently I celebrated my birthday and I feel incredibly thankful to God for my Faith and the years he has given me.

‘Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.’

Tomorrow the Ordinariate clergy attend a meeting at St Patrick’s, Soho Square. I may go to London after work and meet with clergy for lunch and a church tour- with such sweltering heat it would be nice to visit the London Oratory and imagine one is in the heart of Rome.

Diocesan John on Amoris Laetitia

I have for many years supported the words of Jesus Christ in the Gospel about Divorce and Remarriage being in the eyes of God a form of adultery.    I have watched young people rush into marriage with little idea of the responsibilities of being faithful to one person would mean.   Our whole society is almost designed for the break up of relationships and moving on to another partners. It is the fruits a secular society which gives people what they want rather than what is right.   Despite the teachings of Christ and His Church there were people in the Church who wanted to follow this secularist agenda.   Suddenly we had the rise of annulments which lento the scandalous idea that if  your partner left you the Church would automatically give you an annulment to set your life up with some one else..  The culture of annulments brought misery and unhappiness to thousands of children suddenly deprived of a father ora mother.   But nobody seemed to notice the unhappiness. or want to relate it to the break up of families.

Despite my faithfulness to Christ I found that in my own family one son was abandoned by his spouse.   He was very much affected by this secular outlook and sought someone else.    He and his partner, who were living together, wanted to marry but they could not do so in a Catholic Church.   May I also point out that the girls parents were as faithful to Christ as myself and my wife.    My son phoned to say that he was going to marry in a Registry Office and would he be able to get a blessing from the Church afterwards.   I know there are priests who do so but how can you bless a relationship  that is  against the definite teachings of Christ and the Church.    I told him that he must not  ask any priest to compromise the Church in this way.

The next question I had to ask myself was the difficult one.   Could I in he light of my faith approve of the Registry Wedding and even attend the Registry wedding.    The two were trying to make something positive out of their relationship and put in place a level of commitment.    Should I make a stand, hold up my hands in horror, and leave them to get on with it.   Telling him that I would not speak to him again, as sadly some do.    But what good would come of this?  I am called to love my son, and Jesus would not have approved of my abandonment.    If there was as AmorisLaetitia said to be a period of accompaniment until such times as circumstances changed and they could receive the Sacraments then I had to be there keeping them in touch with God.

So I attended the Registry Office Wedding with my wife and we were the only guests.    If we had refused to go it would have been for them a very unhappy occasion.   Last thing the evening my boys partner asked I could give a Fathers blessing.    This is a custom in many countries so I obliged and asked that God would be merciful to them in their relationship.

So I approached the whole situation in a spirit of love and I did not allow the Church to be compromised in her teachings.   Perhaps today thee are people who stained with secularism expect the Church oblige them.  This is to mock Christ Himself.      Many parents find themselves in hesitation ofchilden living with a partner or divorced children taking up other relationships.    However they tackle it one thing they must alway do is keep loving and praying and keeping door open for there children when they need support.    May God bless our chioldren and our childrens’ children.


Destroying the “Spirit” of Vatican II with the sword of St Michael


Newly ordained priests in the US Diocese of Madison. Note the use of maniples (Merear, Domine, portare manipulum fletus et doloris; ut cum exsultatione recipiam mercedem laboris) and beautiful Roman Vestments.

17_07_05_maiden_lane_01 (1).png


Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane, London.

The parish wishes to purchase a canopy to go over the High Altar, pictured below:


From the United States…

I have been meaning to write this for a little while but the holiday gives me a time to reflect on several observations over the past weeks and several years. This in light of priestly ordinations of late as well as the realization that this coming Friday July 7th is the tenth anniversary of the release of Summorum Pontificum.

As you know I live close to a major metropolitan diocese where times have been challenging and tradition has been suppressed and those attached to it oppressed for many decades. However, times and conditions are changing, and for the better.

While the number of vocations, a perennial measure of the health of the Church, are not quite what we’d call booming, there is a healthy pipeline of seminarians coming in and working through their studies, and the quality of the men finishing seminary preparation is not only impressive but remarkable in many ways.

Having attended 1st Holy Masses of the newly ordained regularly for the past decade, there are some noticeable changes occurring. The newly ordained are taking more serious the rubrics for liturgical dress; I’ve seen them saying the vesting prayers in recent years and using the amice and cincture more and more. Seminarians too come well prepared in pressed, crisp cassock and surplice and in large numbers to support their elder brothers.

Ordinands are also choosing more traditional, sometimes gothic, sometimes Roman vestments. What would have been unthinkable eight to ten years ago, and in some places five years ago when the more traditional priests were pushing the limits and being berated, is being done widely now, without expectation of prior negative consequences.

Once in the parish, many new priests are greeting their new parishioners in the same cassock and surplice they have become accustomed to wearing during seminary years, which, while bringing comments and surprise is mostly welcomed. I have seen a number of new associates who are distributing Holy Communion at masses they are not celebrating and none of them come in simple alb and stole, not one. Ten years ago, this would have been unheard of, now it is commonplace.

Another noticeable trait that has been introduced slowly, which includes at altars in the seminaries, is the central facing cross and candle set. Some of the newly ordained, and a few who have recently become pastors, even after only 5-7 years spent as pastoral associates, have made this change to their parishes main altar of sacrifice. In effect, the boundaries of a more traditional practice are being pressed wherever possible.

I have also been impressed by the newly ordained and their attachment to the ancient rite. It is crystal clear that they both know and have come to learn about it, and several I have spoken too have learned to love it and make it part of their priestly sense of self. I had a young priest friend send me a message last week, for instance, that he had offered his private TLM for me and my family, for which I was so very thankful. Some newly ordained offered their first and second Holy Masses in the Extraordinary Form – where and how this happens still unfortunately is done guardedly. I was present at one this year, and if I didn’t know the young priest had just been ordained, I would have thought he’d been saying the mass for some years.

One of the heartening and beautifully fraternal aspects of these early masses, both in the OF and EF, is the presence of other recently ordained who come to support their brother, especially in the EF where they come and attend in choir or server as deacon and sub-deacon.

Perhaps most significant, there are a number of other moves that the newly ordained are making which betray a deep spiritual affection for their office and the souls of their charges. These young priests are taking very seriously their role as shepherd of souls. Most of the newly ordained do not preach at their own first masses where I am, however, they uniformly do later take a moment to thank those who helped them on their path; and time after time, I have been increasingly hearing messages imploring folks to go to confession, attend weekly mass, pray the rosary and attend Eucharistic devotions especially Adoration and Holy Hours. Many have also provided the great spiritual gift to those in attendance of procuring the necessary permissions from the Apostolic Penitentiary to allow for a Plenary Indulgence, under the normal conditions, for attending their own first Holy Mass.

All of the early masses I have attended include an opportunity afterwards to receive a first blessing from the priests, and half or better I have heard give the blessing in Latin. In talking about this with a some priests who have been ordained for a few years, they all say that the guys in seminary know where the resources are, how to get them, and learn what they are required to know. I was surprised to know that of the priests ordained coming out of a major seminary, a full 60% or better are expected to be saying the older form of the mass, predominantly in private for now, and in expectation for the days when it is even more accepted.

In summary, I am seeing very good progress over the past 10 years. I am filled with much hope in these times and expectations of great holiness from our new priests.



Agony Priest: Answering personal questions…


My Latin is not great will an ordinary form mass I celebrate in Latin be valid?

Sure, Father, it would be valid.

Language is a tricky thing.  There are almost always gaps in our comprehension of texts, even in our own, native language.  Moreover, with Holy Mass we are dealing with mysteries, which by definition are hard.

One of ways that narrow-minded bishops hostile to tradition attempted to block the implementation of Summorum Pontificum – issued 10 years ago tomorrow! – was to try to impose a Latin language test on priests or they wouldn’t be permitted to use the 1962 Missale Romanum.  Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio said that priests have to be idoneus which means “suitable” for celebration of Mass.  Tradition-hostile bishops took that to mean “expert in Latin” or such-like.  Of course those bishops, who probably couldn’t have passed the test themselves, didn’t impose tests on priests who said Mass in Spanish.

As an aside, let’s start testing to see if priests really understand what they are saying in the Novus Ordo.  Let’s see if they really know the few clear rubrics there are, according to the 2000 GIRM.  Let’s quiz priests about the content of the prayers and the underlying concepts.  Let’s see if every priest from overseas really understands the English or can if he pronounce it clearly before he is allowed to say Mass in public.  Let’s ask these bishops if they insist with the rectors of seminaries that their seminarians are properly trained in Latin according to can. 249.

Additionally, as it was clarified, idoneus or “suitable” doesn’t require expertise.  Rather, it establishes a minimum rather than a maximum requirement.  The late Card. Egan, a canonist who was not particularly friendly to tradition, clarified that idoneus meant that he had faculties, wasn’t impeded for some reason, and was able to pronounce the words properly.  As far as the Latin language is concerned, idoneus doesn’t mean that you have to be able to compose odes in the style of Horace.

In short, Father, yes, you can celebrate the Novus Ordo, Ordinary Form Mass in Latin and celebrate validly, even if your Latin isn’t very good.

Your patron saint in working on the Latin will be St. John Vianney, whose Latin was so bad that he almost wasn’t ordained.

Keep working on it!  There are good resources available.  Do not give up.  This is the language of your Rite.

Fr Z


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