Thursday, 30 May 2013

Mass listings for June and early July

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus by Pompeo Batoni

Below are details of Latin Masses in June in 
the Diocese of Clifton

  • The first Saturday Mass at All Saints Chapel, Wardour will be celebrated this coming Saturday, 1st June, at 11am. There will be an opportunity for confession before Mass and (Deo Volente) Exposition and Benediction afterwards.
  • There will be a Requiem Mass for the Holy Souls at the Eyre Chapel, Perrymead, Bath, on Tuesday 4th June at 12.30pm.
  • Mass will be celebrated on Wednesday 5th June at St Gregory's, Cheltenham at 6pm.
  • There will also be Mass at 6.30pm at Holy Cross, Bedminster on Wednesday 5th June.
  • On Friday 7th June, the feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Mass will be celebrated at 8am at St Dominic's, Dursley and at 6pm at the Immaculate Conception, Devizes.
  • The regular Sunday Masses will continue as normal in June, but please note that there will be NO Latin Mass on Sunday 9th June at the Immaculate Conception in Devizes.

SS Peter and Paul by El Greco
  • For the feast of SS Peter and Paul, on Saturday 29th June, Masses will be celebrated as follows:
8am - St Dominic's, Dursely

8am - SS Joseph and Teresa, Wells

8.15am - Prinknash Abbey, Cranham, Glos

10am - Our Lady and St Kenelm, Stow-on-the-Wold

12pm - Our Lady and St Alphege, Bath

  • On Tuesday 2nd July there will be a Missa Cantata at St Mary's Church, Cricklade, Wilts, SN6 6AP for the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
  • Looking ahead a little, please note that there will be NO fourth Sunday Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes, Weston-super-Mare on Sunday 28th July, nor on Thursday 1st August.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Corpus Christi

The great feast of Corpus Christi is celebrated this Thursday. Here are the times and locations of Masses in the diocese:

8am - St Dominic's, Dursley

10am - Our Lady and St Kenelm, Stow-on-the-Wold

11am - Prinknash Abbey, Cranham

12 noon - Our Lady and St Alphege, Bath

7.30pm - Our Lady of Lourdes, Weston Super-Mare. This will be a Solemn High Mass.

One Weekend in April - part two

The LMS has issued a second short video, this time focussing on the Gregorian Chant weekend, which runs alongside the St Catherine's Trust family retreat. This takes place each year in Low Week.

The link is here:

The video gives a good idea of the course, which is open to beginners as well as to more advanced singers. Those participating in the course provided the music for the Masses celebrated during the retreat weekend.

The course is interesting and rewarding, and it is hoped that by training more singers in plainchant, the number of local scholas and parish choirs able to sing at Latin Masses around the country will increase.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Gregorian Chant course, please contact Mike Lord at the Latin Mass Society

11-13 Macklin Street
020 7404 7284

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Proof - if proof were needed

For the first time ever, thanks to the Latin Mass Society, we now have an accurate statistical picture of Catholic faith and life in this country both prior to, and following the Second Vatican Council.

Dr Joseph Shaw, Chairman of the LMS, working with the Rev Stephen Morgan and a team from the diocese of Portsmouth, has amassed the figures for Catholic Ordinations, Baptisms, Conversions and Marriages in England and Wales dating from the 1860s onwards.

The results (see below) point to a collapse in Catholic faith and life in this country during the late 1960s and the 1970s; a collapse which has not been reversed in the decades since. This is will not surprise anyone reading this blog. The importance of having statistics such as these is, in large part, to highlight the tragic decline in the Catholic Church in this country following Vatican II, a fact that cannot be denied or covered up with false optimism or propaganda.

This important research is covered on Rorate Caeli, the LMS Chairman's Blog, and in this week's Catholic Herald.

Newly released statistics show the decline of the Catholic Church in England and Wales in 1960s and 1970s.

Research by the Latin Mass Society has demonstrated the striking decline of a range of statistical indications of the health of the Catholic Church in England and Wales in the 1960s and 1970s.

To our knowledge this data has never been made available in collated form before: the number of ordinations year by year since 1860, the number of priests since 1890, and baptisms, marriages, and receptions, and estimates of the Catholic population, since 1913.

Among the findings are:

Marriages: The number of marriages collapsed by a third between 1968 and 1978 (from 47,417 to 31,534), and has continued a rapid decline since then, now standing at less than 10,000 a year, a quarter of the 1968 level in absolute terms, and even less in relation to the estimated Catholic population (from 12 per thousand in 1968) to 2½ per thousand in 2010).

Conversions fell off a cliff in the 1960s. From a peak of 15,794 in 1959, it fell to 5,117 in 1972; in relation the Catholic population, it fell by more than 70% between those two years. It has not recovered.

Baptisms halved between 1964 and 1977 (137,673 in 1964 to 68,351 in 1977), and are even lower today (oscillating around the 60,000 mark). This is not just the effect of the end of the ‘baby boom’: considered in relation to total live births for England and Wales (using data from the Office for National Statistics), the first half of the 20th century saw steady growth, with Catholic baptisms peaking at nearly 16% of all live births in 1963. This was followed by a decline of a third between the mid 1960s and the mid 1970s. A more gentle decline has continued to the present: today fewer than 10% of babies born alive in England and Wales are being baptised in the Catholic Church. 

Ordinations fell by more than 56% between 1965 and 1977 (from 233 to 101), and the decline has continued. Even on the more optimistic figures supplied by the National Office of Vocations (compared to the Catholic Directory) for the current year, showing an increase on recent years, numbers are at scarcely 30% of their 1964 level. (Counting only ordinations to the diocesan clergy, there were 134 in 1964; the NOV predicts 41 this year.)

Dr Joseph Shaw, the Chairman of the Latin Mass Society, who led the research, comments:
‘Anyone with an interest in the future of the Catholic Church in England and Wales will find these figures illuminating. They show unambiguously that something went seriously wrong in the Church in England and Wales in the 1960s and 1970s

Catholics ceased quite suddenly to see the value of getting married, having large families, and having their children baptised. Non-Catholics no longer perceived the Church as the ark of salvation, and ceased to seek admission. Young men no longer offered themselves for the priesthood in the same numbers as before.

‘It is not fanciful to connect this catastrophe to the wrenching changes which were taking place in the Church at that time, when the Second Vatican Council was being prepared, discussed, and, often erronesouly, applied. As Pope Benedict wrote in the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum (2007):

in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church.

‘The theological and liturgical fashions of that era were invariably justified by the hope of positive pastoral results, and these results manifestly failed to materialise.

‘The effect of dissent from the Church’s teaching is particularly manifest in relation to contraception, which has had a direct consequence on the Catholic birth rate, as reflected in the number of baptisms, compared to the national birth rate.
‘The Church in England and Wales today has fewer than half the ordinations each year than it had in the 1860s, but more than double the number of priests. A large proportion of those priests, however, will die or have to stop work over the next decade. In this respect we are still living on our capital, and this capital is about to run out.

‘The Extraordinary Form has not lost its power to attract young men to the priesthood, and the communities which have grown up around it today provide disproportionate numbers of vocations, marriages, and baptisms. Thirteen young men from England and Wales are currently studying for the priesthood in the different religious orders committed to the Extraordinary Form; three more should join them in September; these are numbers which many dioceses would envy.
‘We believe that the Extraordinary Form (the Traditional Mass) has an important role to play in resolving the crisis in the Church.’

Notes on the statistics.
Unless otherwise indicated, the statistics are taken from the Catholic Directory. Statistics for ordinations can be recovered only by manually counting the lists of men ordained each year; some of this work was done by the Rev. Stephen Morgan and a team at the Diocese of Portsmouth. The Latin Mass Society has filled in the gaps in Rev. Morgan’s figures and extended the range of dates covered in both directions. In addition, the LMS has added the total number of clergy, and the numbers given in the Directory’s ‘Recapitulation of Statistics’ since 1913, which include Baptisms, Marriages, Adult Conversions (renamed ‘Receptions’ in 1976), and estimates of the Catholic population.
We are very grateful to the Rev. Stephen Morgan for letting us use the fruits of his research, to the Fathers of the London Oratory for giving us access to their library, and to a number of Latin Mass Society volunteers for their time.

The full press release on the LMS website:

A downloadable spreadsheet showing all the figures with 13 graphs:

JPEGs of all the graphs on a Flickr set:

Free use of all the above, with attribution to the LMS.

For further information contact either: Mike Lord, General Manager, on 020 7404 7284 or

Friday, 17 May 2013

FSSP Year of Faith Retreat

The Priestly Fraternity of St Peter (FSSP) is holding a retreat for the Year of Faith, on 31st May to 2nd June. The title is 'You shall be my witnesses'. The retreat will explore how to bear more fruitful witness to our faith in our everyday lives. 

Traditional retreats in the UK are extremely rare, and for those without regular access to the sacraments offered in the Extraordinary Form, this is a wonderful opportunity to spend time with like-minded people and to attend Holy Mass on Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday. There will also be the chance of Confession or a private talk with Fr Armand de Malleray FSSP or Fr Matthew Goddard FSSP. 

There are still some places left, so book now! Details of prices and booking information can be found below.

Year of Faith retreat for all:

31 May-2 June 2013

'You shall be My witnesses' (Acts 1:8):
In the prayerful and relaxing setting of Douai Abbey, come and reflect with us on how to bear a more fruitful witness to Our Blessed Lord Jesus in our everyday lives.

Upper Woolhampton, Reading, West Berks. RG7 5TQ.
Starts Friday 5pm, ends Sunday 3pm.

Led by Fr Armand de Malleray FSSP, assisted by Fr Matthew Goddard FSSP.
(Picture: The Calling of Apostles, by Domenico Ghirlandaio)

Spiritual conferences and direction, Holy Masses, Eucharistic adoration.
Cost full board 2 days including VAT: £140 single room with ensuite bathroom, £110 shared room with ensuite bathroom or £90 without. 
Low income/Unwaged: contact us for significant discounts. 

Bookings/info: FSSP, 17 Eastern Avenue, Reading RG1 5RU, Berks.

Booking : please send us your £20 deposit (per person), made payable to FSSP ENGLAND. Remainder to be paid at the Abbey during the retreat.

Read online the latest edition of our quarterly magazine Dowry N°17 (Winter 2013).

Please pray for our 7 English seminarians and for 3 more applying for next autumn.

To contact us:
Priestly Fraternity of St Peter in England, 17 Eastern Avenue, Reading RG1 5RU, Berkshire, England
Telephone: 0118 966 5284;
Fr de Malleray:;
Fr Goddard:

Monday, 13 May 2013

One Weekend in April - a new video from the LMS

The LMS has produced a short, informative video about the annual St Catherine's Trust family retreat.

Here is the link:

Do have a look at the video, and if you have not been on the retreat before, book your place for 2014!

For more details, go to The St Catherine's Trust Website