Monday, 29 November 2021

Mass celebrated for Vladimir Ashkenazy in London

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As well as presenting the distinguished conductor and pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy with the De Saventhem Medal, the Federation had a Mass celebrated for the good estate of his family through the Latin Mass Society, on the feast of St Cecelia, the Patron Saint of music. (More about this here.)

It was a Missa Canata, celebrated by Fr Gabriel Diaz Patri, and accompanied by polyphony sung by the Southwell Consort led by Dominic Bevan.

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Responding to Cardinal Cupich

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Mass last Saturday in St Joseph's Bedford: LMS Pilgrimage
in honour of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Cross posted from Joseph Shaw's LMS Chairman blog.

Cardinal Cupich has published a defence of Traditionis Custodes in the Jesuit magazine America. (An earlier article, on Pray Tell, finds a response from Matthew Hazell on Rorate Caeli here.) In this article he argues... well it is actually quite unclear what he is arguing. 

Is he suggesting the TC was a response to the failure of the SSPX to submit to the Holy See after Summorum Pontificum? In which case why are their privileges to give absolution and witness marriages in the old Rite not the target of the Holy See's restrictions, instead of the corresponding rights now denied to priests in good standing in the diocese of Rome?

Is he suggesting, instead, that the problem has been that people have been "promoting" the "antecedent liturgies"? But isn't that exactly what Pope Benedict XVI called for when saying that "it behooves us to ...to give them their proper place"?

Or is he arguing something quite different: that the very existence of an alternative form of the liturgy is a wound in the unity of the Church? In which case his complaint is less against the SSPX, or the Faithful who attend the Usus Antiquior under the bishops, but with Pope Benedict himself.

I have published a response in Catholic World Report. (America declined to let me respond.)

Cardinal Cupich begins the story with Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, in “the early 1970s”. It is worth noting that by the time the SSPX became headline news, with its canonical suppression in 1975 and unauthorised ordinations in 1976, lay groups had been campaigning for the ancient Mass for more than a decade, and had achieved a symbolic, if limited, concession in Pope Paul VI’s Indult for England and Wales which was signed in November 1971, exactly fifty years ago. It was, similarly, the desire of the Faithful, not of SSPX clergy, which was recognised by Pope John Paul II’s world-wide indult of 1984, which does not mention the SSPX, and these Faithful who are again noted as a motivation for Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum.

This is worth emphasizing because, although they share an attachment to the former Missal, the International Una Voce Federation (founded in 1965) and its member associations around the world, and the SSPX, are clearly distinct phenomena, and have suffered quite different fates in recent years. In 2016 Pope Francis gave priests of the SSPX special faculties to hear confessions, and in 2017 he made provision for them to officiate at marriage services. They still enjoy these privileges today. Priests serving the faithful within the structures of the Church, on the other hand, have just been forbidden to do either thing using the older books used by the SSPX in the very diocese of Rome. If Traditionis Custodes is motivated by disappointed hopes for “healing and unity” with the SSPX, it seems to have sadly mistaken its target.

Read it all there.

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Monday, 15 November 2021

Photos of the Summorum Pontificum Pilgrimage

Edward Pentin has kindly allowed us to use his photos. Here is a small selection; the full set is here.

Monday, 8 November 2021

De Saventhem Medal awarded to Vladimir Ashkenazy, petitioner for the Traditional Mass

Vladimir Ashkenazy; photo by Keith Saunders
To mark the 50th anniversary of the granting of the 'English Indult', the FIUV made contact with the sole living representative of the signatories of the petition to which the Indult was a response: the Russian-born pianist and conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy, one of 57 mostly British figures from the social and cultural elite, many of them non-Catholic.

We are delighted to announce that he has accepted the Federation's award of its rarely-bestowed De Saventhem Medal, for his contribution to the cause of the Traditional Latin Mass.

Among the signatories was the crime-writer Agatha Christie, whose books have sold more copies than any other author, setting aside Shakespeare and the Bible.

Mr Ashkenazy, now 84 and living in retirement in Switzerland, was one of the younger signatories back in 1971, since the focus was on people at the pinnacles of their careers. One signatory, the distinguished classicist Sir Maurice Bowra, President of the British Academy, died a few days before the petition was published in the Times in July 1971, at the age of 73.

The signatories included many of the most senior Catholics in the country, such as the Duke of Norfolk and a prominent judge, Lord Russel of Killowen; Catholic and non-Catholic cultural figures such as Kenneth Clark, the Director of the National Gallery, Cecil Day-Lewis, the Poet Laureate, and Graham Greene; and academics who were household names, such as the historian Sir Harold Acton and the philosopher Dame Iris Murdoch.

Vladimir Ashkenazy is a worthy representative of this distinguished group. He experienced Soviet Communism, but was able to make his life in the West, in England, Iceland (his wife's homeland), Greece, Germany, and Switzerland. Like many of men and women of artistic sensitivity, he saw the significance of the ancient Catholic liturgy, and understood the threat to it as a threat, as the petition text expressed it, to world culture.

In accepting the award, he wrote:
'Dr Erich de Saventhem: Pro merito magno'

My personal view of the matter is, that it is of great spiritual value and importance that the more ancient Latin Catholic Liturgy, with its associated cultural and musical traditions, be preserved for all those who are concerned with strengthening, or at least maintaining, our connection with the Divine; the ancient liturgies, be they Catholic or Orthodox (I am baptized in the Russian Orthodox Church) are, by default, bound to represent a much purer spiritual relationship with Christ in particular, and with the world in general, than do, to quote Dr. Erich Vermehren De Saventhem: " the flat, prosaic, philistine or delirious liturgies which will soon overgrow and finally smother even the recently revised rites..."

Being a musician, I am fully in agreement with the idea that the ancient/traditional Roman Catholic Mass will have inspired a plethora of invaluable artistic achievements over the ages: mystical works, poetry, philosophical treatises, musical works of genius, magnificent edifices, wonderful paintings, incredible sculptures, and even the construction of marvellous musical instruments like the organ and the piano!

There is a discussion of the significance of the petition and of the involvement of Agatha Christie on the Catholic National Register, and of cultural figures including Vladimir Ashkenazy on the 1P5  blog respectively.

More about the 1971 petition, its organiser Alfred Marnau, and other petitions for the same cause, can be seen here.



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Saturday, 6 November 2021

Letter between Cardinal Nichols and the Prefect of the CDW

Letters between the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, England, Vincent Nichols, and the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Archbishop Arthur Roche, have been made public, first on Gloria TV and then on the 1P5 blog.

FIUV President Joseph Shaw comments on them on 1P5:

They have been offered to OnePeterFive and since they are now going to be seen by everyone I can comment on them publicly. Some of the contents are a little technical and obscure, but none of it should surprise us, the basic message is positive, and it also gives us a chance to respond to arguments currently being developed to limit what we can do.

Read it all there.

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Wednesday, 3 November 2021

The FIUV welcomes the Latin Mass Society of Slovakia


The FIUV has formally welcomed LMS Slovakia (Spolok latinskej Omše) as a member. 

They were founded in August 2021, and admitted to the Federation in September.

I had the honour of meeting Mr. Peter Čambál, the President, their Chaplain, Fr Ľubomír Urbančok, and other members of their group in Rome during the Summorum Pontificum Pilgrimage.

Quite a few priests in Slovakia have learnt how to celebrated the Vetus Ordo and the association has already organised a retreat for families and a training event for altar servers. 

By a happy coincidence the association has been founded on the 50th anniversary of the English Indult, a response by Pope Paul VI to an initiative by a native of Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, Alfred Marnau. If you want to read a Slovakian translation of the story of the 'Agatha Christie Indult' you will find it on their website here.

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