30 June 2012

I am not a dog...

...and do not wish to be treated as one.

So I voted NO to being put down by my doctor. I would urge you to do the same.

27 June 2012

A fabulous cause

Tom Hagger, of Seaford Schola fame and seen here preparing to thrill us with Heretics All! on the recent Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Consolation, is doing something pretty extraordinary.

He's walking to Rome...from Seaford. That's 2,000 miles. 2,000 miles to walk from the beginning of July, to All Saints' Day. And it's in aid of the Multiple Sclerosis Society. As Tom says: "The more dosh, the better!"

Here's the LINK to his fundraising page, and I'm putting it on the sidebar as well, so there's no excuse not to pray for the success of this amazing walk, or to donate!

Good luck Tom, lots of prayers, and I'm sure you'll have some amazing stories to tell in November!

26 June 2012

Mass on Friday...

at St Pancras, Lewes, is at 8.00pm.

19 June 2012

In which I rant. Plus update.

I don't 'do' politics...

...but sometimes the sheer idiocy of the people in power beggars belief.

I'm talking about the latest harebrained idea floated by our PM on child care.

His 'big idea' is that schools open til 8.00pm , so parents have a chance to work even longer hours without the bother of having to think about their children.

This is wrong on so many levels it's hard to know exactly where to start.

Does he not see a link at all between the strain and erosion of family life, and the extension of working hours and necessity for two incomes in order to keep a roof over their heads? Does he really not think that parents are the first and best educators of their children? Well, obviously not the last one, because parents might not share the establishment right-on views. And as we all know, if you aren't liberal, you have no real right to be listened to.

Flip it round, Mr Cameron, think about what's best, first, for families who might actually like their kids, want to be with them, and shockingly, bring them up themselves. Incarcerating, in fact, ghettoising, children in institutions for up to twelve hours a day is just wrong.


Now we have Mrs Blair wading in with her critique of the stay-at-home mum as she perceives it. I can't comment for fear of having to head straight for the nearest confessional...Nuff said.

15 June 2012


Father Z Heads Line-up of Speakers at LMS One-Day Conference

When we throw a pebble into a pond, it sends out ripples in all directions. When we celebrate Mass it is just the same – whether celebrated well or badly, it will affect the whole Church for either good or ill. This was the stark view that Fr John Zuhlsdorf, better known as the blogger ‘Fr Z’, shared with his audience at the Latin Mass Society’s One-Day Conference in London on Saturday, 9 June.

This was the first ever conference that the LMS had organised and it was greeted with widespread and enthusiastic praise from the conference floor. As headline speaker, Fr Z delivered a punchy and inspirational talk centred on his own slogan 'Save the Liturgy; Save the World'.

Other speakers included Dr John Rao of St John’s University, New York, who touched on the topics of faith and history raised in his latest book 'Black Legends and the Light of the World’.

Stuart McCullogh's talk about the work of the Good Counsel Network, who provide counselling for women who are facing crisis pregnancies, held the audience spellbound. Of those women who come to the Network, around 95 per cent are intending to go ahead with an abortion when they first meet, but, as a result of the Network’s efforts, around 70 per cent change their minds and keep their babies. Stuart emphasised that the Network places traditional Catholic devotions at the heart of their work – especially Eucharistic Adoration, the Rosary and the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

Priest-blogger Fr Tim Finigan spoke about his experience of introducing the Traditional Mass into his parish, looking back at the problems he'd faced and also the improvements to parish life that it had brought about.

The final speaker was Rev John Hunwicke of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. By turns erudite and witty, he brought much learning and humour to the conference hall as he looked at the Anglican patrimony that he anticipated the Ordinariate would bring to the Catholic Church. For many attending the conference, Rev Hunwicke was the 'discovery' of the day. Many had not heard of him before and were won over by his knowledge of his subject and by his schoolmasterly charm.

The day ended with a very successful panel discussion in which the speakers gathered together to answer questions submitted by the audience.

Photo: Father John Zuhlsdorf addresses the LMS Conference

Photo credit: LMS

For further information, please contact Mike Lord, General Manager, on (T) 020 7404 7284; (F) 020 7831 5585; (E mail) michael@lms.org.uk

More photos can be found here:

13 June 2012


...Nail-biting stuff today; will it be a Yes or a No?

Pipped at the post!

I haven't posted about this for a while, and wrote the draft post for this very subject only last week, ready for next week (well, I like to have something up me sleeve for slow weeks!). But as LMS Chairman Joe Shaw posted this today, I think now's as good a time as any!

So, here's a heavily tweaked version of 'what I wrote', removing the repeated Biblical bits, so this kind of covers what you have to overcome to be able to wear anything on your head at Mass, even a beanie.

After all, mantillas must be the only (modest) bits of fabric I know that can get people positively frothing at the mouth, and not in a good way.

Head covering can be considered old fashioned, irrelevant, counter-cultural (therefore horribly backward looking) and are worn, some say, by the more intellectually challenged kind of females, or just by the bloshie to be deliberately provocative.

So, old fashioned : Yes and no. It's always been traditional for women to wear some kind of head covering when they are in Church, and was until 'you-know-when'. Superficially, what's wrong with a bit of 'old fashioned' - although I prefer to think of the custom as 'timeless'. There's also the Biblical basis for it, see Joe's blog.

Irrelevant : Yes and no. Yes in terms of it not affecting the price of beans, but it does say something about how special Mass is, and indeed, how very special being a woman is.

Counter-cultural and backward looking : Given the state of the world at the moment? Bring it on! I have no problem being counter-cultural. It's even invigorating at times, if you regard the prickly stares at the OF in the right way. And there's nothing wrong with remembering where you come from, traditionally speaking, or otherwise.

Provocative : This is a tricky one, because wearing anything on your head at Mass can be tantamount to making a huge political statement. There isn't much wiggle room here. Do I wear a mantilla to be provocative? Absolutely not, but there are some who might interpret it that way, and who might interpret it as a criticism of them.  This is a pity, because being different really isn't the easy option. It's something you feel you simply have to do. I wear one for the OF (yes, funny looks all over the place, but if you go often enough eventually they just think you're eccentric, or foreign, and ignore you) and the EF (where blessedly no-one bats an eye).

And the future? I'm not expecting women up and down the country to have simultaneous epiphanies regarding veils at Mass, and suddenly come out over night causing a world wide lace shortage. But it might be nice to encourage just thinking about the reasons for the custom of wearing something on the head at Mass. I think, for me, it's absolutely necessary to wear something special whenever I'm in Church and in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. It's something I do for Him. And women are special, to pinch a popular phrase, we're worth it!

So ladies, if you feel you'd like to scarf/veil/mantilla/hat, whatever you want to call it, have a try, and don't be put off by being the only one, even at the Ordinary Form.You never know, you might start a trend...

11 June 2012

Interesting Times

There was an awful lot to digest after the LMS conference on Saturday, yet all of it, essentially, could be summed up by Fr Z's famous phrase : 'Save the Liturgy, Save the World' (I've always loved that particular catch phrase, especially as I'm a fan of Heroes, at least was for the first couple of series until it got particularly daft).

The speakers were all incredibly interesting, but I'd like to draw your attention mostly to the second talk we had, from Stuart McCullough of the Good Counsel Network (- please see their blog, Maria Stops Abortion, which is on the sidebar on the right). His talk illustrated in the clearest way possible the immensity of the power of prayer, especially Adoration, when confronted by one of the greatest evils of our time. I know prayer is powerful, but to have the evidence of it presented to us was, quite simply, amazing. So, what can you do? Well, pray! Say a rosary a month, join the prayer list and receive text messages whenever prayer is urgently needed, wherever you are. This I think is a particularly good idea, a text, you say an Our Father and a Hail Mary, how immediate is that? And, uhh, donate (thought I'd leave that bit til last!).

It was really encouraging to be among so many like-minded people, and of course, no Catholic gathering would be complete without a very welcome and equally illuminating trip to the pub afterwards.

As a rule, I'm not a tremendous fan of conferences. This one made me change my mind. It was great, and a privilege to be there.

The day re-emphasised something I learned when I first found (was led to?) the Latin Mass :

That there is nothing like it on earth.

10 June 2012

Conferences? Boring? Ha!

I had a great day yesterday at the first LMS one day conference, so much so, I'll tell you all about it tomorrow when I have more time.

04 June 2012

About Saturday

We had a lovely day on Saturday on Pilgrimage in honour of Our Lady to the shrine of Our Lady of Consolation, West Grinstead. Fr Hurley celebrated a Missa Cantata at noon, accompanied by the quite simply wonderful Seaford Schola, led by Tom Hagger, some of whom (along with the man himself) are pictured rehearsing, below.

The weather was just right for the picnic, and groups of us went to see the Secret Chapel, where we were told the history of the Shrine and Blessed Francis Bell, before we met up at the Rosary Walk.

Benediction followed, which was absolutely beautiful. The musicians were marvellous, the singing was fantastic.

But did the afternoon end there, gentle readers? Oh dear me, no! To conclude, we had more tea, followed by more Catholic culture in the form of some resounding declamations of selected Cautionary Tales at the graveside of Hilaire Belloc, read by some of the people you can see pictured below:

We heard Matilda,  and Jim,

and Algernon!

And what just had to be the highlight, Mr Hagger, declaiming Heretics All!

It was a wonderful day. Many, many thanks to Fr Hurley for the Mass, and Rosary, and Benediction, to the serving team (you know who you are!), and very special thanks to Tom and the Seaford Schola, whose music made the day. Thank you all very much.

I think we all had a really good day!

01 June 2012

Pilgrimage Tomorrow!

This is your final reminder that the Pilgrimage to Our Lady Of Consolation, West Grinstead, is


Missa Cantata at Noon, followed by picnic, Rosary, and Benediction. Day ends about 4 o'clock.