Sunday 30 September 2012

Cheltenham TLM in Honour of St Therese

I don't know if this blog has any regular visitors from Gloucestershire, but just in case, I have pasted the following announcement which has been published on the blog of the Latin Mass Society in Clifton Diocese.
If you live in Gloucestershire, and are free on the evening of Wednesday 3rd October, then come along to the church of St Gregory the Great in CHELTENHAM at 6pm. Low Mass in honour of St Therese of Lisieux will be offered.
All welcome. Please come and support this Mass, which is celebrated at the same time and place on the first Wednesday of every month.
The celebrant will be Fr Redman of Dursley, who is the chaplain of the Clifton branch of the Latin Mass Society.  He offered a beautiful and well-attended Mass at the beginning of September.

Friday 21 September 2012


I have been thinking a fair bit about businesses and public-sector bodies, their internal manoeuvres, their personnel moves and so on. 

In any big organisation, when attractive promotions or transfers are in the offing, the more ambitious ones think ahead and make their moves early.  Bringing your name to the attention of the corporate talent-spotter or some other influential senior person; giving a good impression; announcing or even just suggesting some initiative which is greeted with enthusiasm by the "punters" and the media: all of these things are likely to be noticed in the right quarters.

Are the ambitious people the best candidates? Perhaps, but only if their recent high-profile ideas are of a pattern with their long-term overall performance. It is as well to be clear-headed and not to be swept along by the latest news.

There will be other members of the organisation, whose quality is of a steady, consistent kind, without sudden flashes of publicity. They have a demonstrable track record of good management; of getting on with what they are supposed to be doing; and they do it well. They inspire; they train and develop and care for their people.  Most of all, they are focused on the core objectives of the organisation.  For a commercial business, these fundamental objectives would be to win customers, and to retain them. 

If, just for the sake of example, I were writing about the Church in this context, those steady, consistent ones would have demonstrated a constant purpose that is also the core purpose of the Church:  the aim of saving and sanctifying individual souls, and as many of them as possible; of leading them to heaven.

In making his judgments, the wise talent-spotter will assess each of them by their fruits, which do not grow in a day.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

I just wonder ...

Apropos of something or other, I recall seeing a television programme a year or so ago, in which Cherie Blair had a conversation with a priest-friend from her youth.  In those days she had spoken to him of her frustration with this or that aspect of the Church's teaching.  In reply, he had urged her to "stay in and try to change things". 

I just wonder if this has also been the motive, partly or entirely, of one or two converts to the Church in recent decades: to come in and try to change things.

Monday 17 September 2012

“Therefore We May Kill”

A very good post by Deacon Nick Donnelly of Lancaster, about Bishop Lang's withdrawal of the invitation to Professor Tina Beattie to give a talk at Clifton Cathedral in Bristol.

Deacon Nick reprinted a paragraph from an article by Professor Beattie which was published in The Tablet.  Here it is:
‘Given that in Christian theology the understanding of personhood is fundamentally relational because it bears the image of the Triune God, it is hard to see how an embryo can be deemed a person before even the mother enters into a rudimentary relationship with it. As many as one in four pregnancies may spontaneously abort during the first eight weeks of pregnancy, often without the woman knowing that she was pregnant. As some Catholic ethicists point out, the logical corollary of this position is that a woman should baptise every menstrual period – just in case.’
After calling into question the personhood of the embryonic child, the paragraph closes with what appears to be a serious flaw in moral reasoning, a flaw which has implications far beyond the subject of early abortion.

Leaving aside the relationship argument which Professor Beattie puts forward, and the statistics which are more a matter of supposition than of factual data, I draw from these words a simple inference:

“Some die naturally, therefore we may kill others.”

Sunday 2 September 2012

Traditional Latin Mass: When to stand, sit, kneel ...

This is a repeat of some of the guidance other bloggers have published from time to time.

If you haven't attended a Traditional Latin Mass before, or it's a long time since you have, you will notice how different the rubrics are regarding standing, sitting and kneeling.  Not long after the Novus Ordo Mass was introduced, I remember an exhausted parishioner exclaiming that the congregation were "up and down like yo-yos".  There's much less of this in the old Mass. 

In days gone by - and probably still in some areas - it was often noticed in Catholic churches that people would cling to the back of the church and only sit further forward if they had to.  As a newcomer to the TLM, or comparatively so, you may feel a little more comfortable if there are people sitting in front of you.  By and large, if you follow what they do, everything will be fine.  Except of course if they do different things; then it's a case of a surreptitious glance behind and a quick assessment of what the majority is doing.  Such fun!  But not important in the end, because we're all doing our best, and everyone understands.  We're all a bit unsure at times, or have been so.

You may find a pile of Traditional Mass books (such as the red ones published by the Latin Mass Society) when you enter the church.  These are a great help; but still, a bit of follow-my-leader is also a good idea.

I should just mention that Holy Communion is always given on the tongue, with the congregation kneeling at the altar rail or step.  But I'm sure you know that.

Update:  Canon Law does not require women to cover their heads, and this is the case with the Traditional Mass too.  In my experience some cover their heads, while some - just as devout - do not do so.  But speaking purely personally, I find there is something very special about it.  It really helps me.