''Tomus Prior'' and ''Tomus Alter,'' the first Breviarum Romanum I bought in 2008. I paid an obscene amount of money for it. I still do not own a pre-Pius X Breviary, though I do own a small 19th century Diurnal.
Someone I met for the first time on St Catherine's Day, a man of a great myriad of talents and (I hope) a newfound friend of mine, asked for a brief history of how I came to my beliefs, as it were. It's hard to say, really, for I don't really know myself. I cannot, for example, say: ''in 2008, I believed this,'' for as I have said heretofore, I have seldom kept a diary. I did try, I think in 2007, but the entries were disturbing when read back to myself, so I threw it out as so much nonsense, begotten of a fierce and uncontrollable temper, and not worth reading. Probably one reason I started blogging was to make an accessible record of my thoughts.
Anyway, as I do every January, I have been having somewhat of a ''deep clean'' (without much cleaning, mind you - I am rather proud of my fine collection of dust), which has given opportunity to dig out old memorabilia, old photographs, some old books, etc. I found some old Ballet programs from the Royal Opera House from 1955, given to me by my grandmother some years ago, and my grandfather's old rosary beads; not really worth much but for their sentimental value. Also some Lourdes water, which I emptied into the toilet.
The February 2006 ''Mass Supplement'' from the Latin Mass Society magazine. It was all on one page then! Notice that, under Southwark, Blackfen is nowhere to be seen.
My copy of the 2003 Alcuin Reid revision of The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described. I never use it.
And the traditional Latin Mass community gather round the bucket on the table, facing the people, to bless the tealights and renew their baptismal promises. Monstrous!
I completed my GCSE examinations in the Summer of 2004 and in the autumn of that year I went to Sixth Form College. By this time I had stopped attending Sunday Mass, for liturgical reasons; there was not a single Roman Catholic church within ten miles of my house that put on good enough liturgy for my (confessedly, immature) taste. In those days giving countenance to schism by attending an Anglican, or even an Orthodox church, was out of the question. But in late September or early October I went to my first Mass according to the liturgical books of 1962. By this time I had spent many days in my college library reading about various forms of Traditionalism, from the Latin Mass Society, the Society of St Pius X, the Society of St Pius V, that Vietnamese bishop with the unpronounceable name (Ngô Đình Thục - I always said ''took''), even to other forms of Sedevacantism. I remember this website from those days, as well as Fisheaters, and a few others. I had decided that I was at variance with Rome, as a traditionalist, indeed because of my traditionalism, but that I would not go into schism. I still believed the claptrap about Papal Infallibility, and even the apparitions at Lourdes and Fatima. And so, in the autumn of 2004, I went to the London Oratory for low Mass at 9 o'clock. The celebrant was Uwe Michael Lang, whose book Turning Towards the Lord I still have upstairs. I was most unimpressed, a sentiment about that abridged form of liturgy which survives today, and I never went back. Later I went to a said Latin Novus Ordo Mass on a weekday at Westminster Cathedral, and was put off forever. The celebrant came out on his own and spoke to us from the chair in Latin, and his small congregation answered back in timid voices, and I thought it was hardly liturgical at all.
It was in the Summer of 2005 that I first went to the Sung Mass at 6:30pm at Corpus Christi church at Covent Garden. In those days, still at Sixth Form, I was going to sung Vespers in the Lady Chapel at Westminster Cathedral every week, usually three times a week. I knew it was awful, but I enjoyed the music. Occasionally I went on Sundays, but not often. Remember that I had given up going to Mass on Sundays, for liturgical reasons. I had been to Vespers at the Cathedral that Monday evening, and walked the distance, the length of Victoria Street, past the Houses of Parliament and Whitehall, up the Strand and past Southampton Street to the old dingy church, and sat down in the dark and waited. A tramp, who was asleep in one of the pews by the font, got up and urinated in a corner. I stared in disbelief. Gordon Dimon walked in a little while later, and together he and Bill Tomlinson set everything up. Gordon was Master of Ceremonies, Bill was thurifer (as he was always) and coincidentally Uwe Michael Lang was celebrant. There was no sermon. I don't remember anybody else, though Andrew Bosi and John Simmons were both there. I think he and I more or less started going about the same time, though he was more involved before me.
My 1862 priest's travelling Missal. I bought this in 2009. The first curiosity I noticed upon buying it was that the Sacred Heart, made a greater double feast in 1856, was still in the Sanctorale, which (to me) indicated the ''hesitancy'' of Rome about it. It was always on the Friday after the Octave day of Corpus Christi, though. It was raised to a Double of the First Class in 1889, but had the shortest-lived Octave in the history of the Roman Rite - adorned by Pius XI in 1928; stripped by Pius XII twenty-eight years later. Arbitrary misuse of mere power, I daresay.
My first copy of Mass of Ages. I wonder how St Bede's is doing without Andrew Southwell?
My first LMS Ordo.
It was towards the end of 2005 that I discovered the New Liturgical Movement blog. I thought it was wonderful, especially the access to the articles, the photos of various churches and vestments, etc. I bought my first Mass of Ages magazine in February 2006, which included its Mass supplement. It seems that at this time I also contacted the Society of St Pius X, complaining that they didn't have a local ''Mass centre.'' They replied and expressed regret but they couldn't facilitate my desire for pecuniary reasons - they didn't say this but I don't suppose there are many Lefebvrists locally anyway. That email has been lost, I'm afraid. I also contacted the LMS office about something, and received a note (again, now lost) and the same Mass supplement and a small leaflet about the malefits; sorry, the benefits of membership. Having lots of money at my disposal at this time, I was constantly at St Paul's bookshop, the CTS shop, Southwell Books, a family-run bookshop based in Oxford (now shut down, though the General Manager of the LMS, a position for which I myself applied(!), used to be its proprietor); buying books of apologetics, liturgy, scriptural commentaries, etc. Most have since been given away, for they became an embarrassment, though some I have kept. Martin Mosebach's book The Heresy of Formlessness, which I bought in 2006, was a great read. He is a 62ist, though only out of ignorance, and I wonder if I read his book again whether I would think it so wonderful to-day? I recently gave my copy to my friend Andrew.
Currently the best Ordo out there, though I don't use it myself.
The first of the Immaculate Conception photocopies I made. Notice the title of the Mass is In Conceptione, rather than In Conceptione Immaculata, and that someone had scribbled in pencil above the Introit ''not the right Mass.'' I never understood why ''Sedulius'' was placed in brackets. I always thought Sedulius was a Roman poet.
Maybe I wasn't supposed to reproduce this, but there was a lot of upset in Blackfen when Tim Finigan introduced the ''traditional Latin Mass.'' A survey was done, and the bishop came to mediate at a special meeting one Sunday afternoon. I took the minutes of that meeting, though I am not going to upload those. I found the whole experience extremely traumatising, actually; the lack of charity on both sides.
One of the three Immaculate Conception photocopies I made. I think this was from a late 19th century Missal - it was the tome in best condition.
A page from my priest's travelling Missal. Oh look, May 1st has nothing to do with Communism! You will look in vain to the Prayer Book kalendar for San Giuseppe Comunista as well!
Still, I kept my head up, and my mouth shut, hoping for a change of days. 2009 was the first year in which I went to Mass every Sunday without fail, and I said pre-Pius XII Vespers regularly enough (I had purchased the Nova & Vetera Breviarum Romanum in 2008, but seldom used it). On Assumption Day 2009 I expressed regret that Signum Magnum had struck at Blackfen, but was still of a mind that attendance was better than schism with the Christian community, even if at heart one didn't agree with it all. Of course I had taken up blogging by then, and in the Summer of that year I met the blogger Rubricarius for the first time. I had been in correspondence with him for some months and was anxious to meet him, as I found the St Lawrence Press and the Ordo highly useful. We met at Maiden Lane and I gave him one of my first editions of The Silmarillion in exchange for a free Ordo. In October we met again as he came to Blackfen to deliver a rather good presentation on the reform of the Roman Breviary in 1911, which I found highly informative. I bought my copy of Battifol at this time, as well as a few other books on liturgy, such as The Origins of the Modern Roman Liturgy, and books by Gregory Dix and Robert Taft. At Heythrop I began to read The Letters of George Tyrrell, whom, contrary to the opinions of the Ultramontanes, I found to be a very eloquent and well-educated man.
One of the photocopies. I never saw this Introit before. The other propers were identical to Gaudens gaudebo, just not this Introit. Hmmm...
This is me on Holy Saturday 2012, about to burn Joseph the Worker.