Friday, 1 February 2013

These ten years...

This post is illustrated with various photographs I took today of old ''traditionalist memorabilia'' from times past.

''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.
Historia...Let me see. There has always been a consistent yearning for Truth, manifest in Tradition, in my life. Even when I was a Roman Catholic, of the Traditionalist variety, that yearning for Truth was there from the start, and was that which haply caused my departure, first from Traditionalism, and then from the Latin Communion itself. This is my reply to people who claim that I have apostatised. Nobody in their right mind would give up Truth for falsehood. All I have done is given up falsehood for nothing, as yet. I am in communion with no bishop. I certainly say no office, for ecclesial reasons, and went to my first Eucharistic liturgy for many months on Wednesday, if only to shew solidarity with the many people who acknowledge the sanctity of St Charles the Martyr. How did I get here, then?

My copy of the 2003 Alcuin Reid revision of The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described. I never use it.
Well, I first began my investigation into why? when? and what if? when I was at school; this was roughly more than ten years ago; I was about twelve, I think. I was very little when I approached my parish priest and asked ''what is the Sign of the Cross in Latin, father?'' And the good man (sadly, now departed this life) wrote it on a piece of paper for me. My mother and various other people had always said that in their youth, ''Mass was all in Latin.'' Well, being the assiduous church-goer that I was, and always ready for an argument, I was desirous to know why Mass wasn't in Latin these days, but a rather banal, easy-going version of modern English. One of the great ironies of my life was that my first experience of Latin liturgy was a service of Benediction I attended at an Anglo-Catholic church in the Summer of 2003 when I was doing work experience at St Paul's Cathedral! I can't remember the name of the church but perhaps London-based readers will know? It's within walking distance of St Paul's. I enjoyed my time at St Paul's, brief though it was, and I thought then that the standard of liturgy there was rather good, especially the music. It's very difficult to try and piece together life's experiences in this way. I must have known something even of Canon Law at secondary school, for I had an altercation with my RE teacher about whether priests were still required to know Latin. I said that they were, canonically; she was adamant that they were not. As I have always said - I was not educated at school and neither, it seems, are most Roman Catholic priests. I never liked him but at least men like Cardinal Wiseman were well-educated! By 2004 I had already gained some rudimentary knowledge of the Second Vatican Council and ''pre-Conciliar'' (I haven't used that term for years!) doctrine, liturgy and mentality. I always thought, from old photos and Latin recordings online, that it was so much more impressive than what we now had, and so I expect by this time the ''seed of traditionalism'' had been planted. I was 16 years old.

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!
Please know that I come from a family of lapsed Roman Catholics. I was in no way influenced by my mother or father in any of my religious choices. In fact, if anything, my mother has always sought to thwart all my religious (and political) opinions as contrary to her own! I think I was still 16 or 17 when I argued with her about Mass versus populum, that it was contrary to the Tradition of the Church. My uncle, her older brother, was present and said that his experience, as a boy, was that the priest always had his back to the congregation, and that he could well have been doing a crossword puzzle for all they knew. But my will was set.

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.
I continued to go to to Covent Garden sporadically (as my studies allowed), and I thought in my heart that my attendance there made up for my absence from church on Sundays. Eventually I was approached by a reader of this blog who sang in the choir. He asked if I could sing; I said ''not confidently,'' and we had a brief discussion. It was that evening that I met Dr Jeffrey Monk, whom I left with regret. He invited me to tea, but I declined, so we stood talking at the corner of Maiden Lane until about 9:30pm. Later I realised that he fancied me, so I continued to meet him after Mass on those Mondays and he regaled me with stories of his life, Art history, music, his time as an Anglican, etc. He claimed to have known my grandmother, though she says that she doesn't remember him. Occasionally we were joined by his friend Paddy, a very quiet man. We were joined one evening by a woman, who said to me ''the holy father isn't the successor of Peter, he is Peter.'' I smiled and nodded, though thought she was mad. I went for tea with Jeffrey every week until one evening when I decided against going, and ceased my attendance at Covent Garden for about six months. It was in 2005 that I bought my copy of The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described, the 2003 Reid edition. This was before I first went to Covent Garden as I remember going over in my mind some of the diagrams at various points of the Mass. Later I stopped going to the Cathedral for Vespers.

 My first copy of Mass of Ages. I wonder how St Bede's is doing without Andrew Southwell?
I first printed the forms to join the Latin Mass Society at some point around this time. I did this twice, though having a tendency to put things off indefinitely, I never sent them off. In hindsight I am glad I was never a member. These days you can join online, though I would seriously dissuade anyone from doing this. I went to World Youth day in Cologne in the Summer of 2005 with my college chaplaincy. It was an experience, and at the time not as irksome as Hyde Park 2010, but when I came home I said to myself ''never again.'' I kept that promise. While there I stayed up far into the night, the last night if I remember rightly, at the hotel bar with a young man called John-Paul (named after the late pope). He was homosexual, and was adamant that I was too, but I would have none of it. I went to bed feeling both exhausted and disappointed in myself for my lack of honesty with him. At the time I thought how ironic it was that so many young people very much like him were in Germany to see the old pope, the new pope as he was at the time, but who led lifestyles so at variance with church teaching. Good luck to them I say these days!

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.
I completed my A Levels in the Summer of 2006 and was accepted to read Divinity at Heythrop College. I actually received a telephone call from Professor Richard Price as I was not a Seminarian, and was only 18 years old, but we had a fairly decent chin wag about Church history and other things. I mentioned the fact that I had recently read both the Encyclical letters of the Eastern Patriarchs to popes Pius IX and Leo XIII, which he found amusing. I started in September of the year. Professor Robert Murray, SJ, was present on my first day, though it seemed that it was his last as he was way past retirement age, but it was pleasant to have a brief chat with him about Tolkien. I had very little in common with my classmates, who were all seminarians and Religious (and much older), and so I kept to myself in the first days, doing my work, sitting for long periods in the Library (the most wonderful place on earth at the time!). I went to the first College Mass of Michaelmass term for the first time, not expecting too much, to shew some solidarity. A student of Biblical Studies who was present later remarked that she had descried my copy of Klaus Gamber. I approached the Principal, then Dr John McDade, SJ, with my copy of Kocik's The Reform of the Reform, which he disparaged as nonsense. I was taken aback at the time but these days I would probably joke with him about some of Kocik's ideas!

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.
Nothing much happened in 2007. I stopped going to Heythrop at this time, due to a myriad of psychological problems, and I became depressed. I was referred to an Early Intervention Team by my GP and was put on anti-psychotic medication, being erroneously diagnosed with the early stages of a psychotic phenomenon induced by stress. Eventually I was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at the Maudsley Hospital but my religious activities didn't entirely cease at this time. I was still going to Covent Garden every week, though by this time I had become aware of some of the differences between the liturgical books of 1962 and that which went before - due to much time spent in the Theology Library. I was spending money recklessly, mostly on clothes, dining out and trips to the Royal Opera House. I believe I went to a CIEL conference on Liturgy at the London Oratory in 2007. This was my first ever high Mass, I believe, and certainly my first service of Benediction (afterwards in St Wilfrid's Chapel) since I left St Paul's Cathedral. Alcuin Reid delivered a rather unimpressive paper on ''beauty in the liturgy.'' I welcomed Summorum Pontificum in 2007, seeing the liturgical books of 1962 as a go-between year; still recognisably the ''Old Rite.'' I never used the term Extraordinary Form, and made my belief that I wanted the Old Rite to replace the New Rite everywhere and forever known to just about everyone.

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.
And then I started to go back to Sunday Mass, this time in a church new to ''traditionalism'' - the church of Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen. Fortunately, this church was within a 20 minute walk of my house, and I discovered that Jonathan Hague, the MC there, also went to Covent Garden. He invited me to serve, which I was glad to do - I hadn't served liturgy since I was a boy. I knew the ceremonies of Mass well enough, having been going to the ''Old Rite'' for some years by then (I also had my copy of Fortescue-O'Connell-Reid, remember, and I think by this time I had purchased my '48 edition, which I gave to Tim Finigan, the parish priest), and took to sacristy work, preparation of liturgy and other things like a duck to water.

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.
Eventually, however, I discovered that what they were doing was not traditional at all, in fact even more sinister than the liturgy provided at Covent Garden, which could at least claim warrant of having been there for years - even before I was born. I had returned to Heythrop, of course, and, amidst my studies and translations from Virgil, Catullus and St Bede, began an earnest study of old liturgical books, old manuals, Durandus, Martinucci, the original Fortescue, even the Book of Common Prayer. One of my discoveries, during an investigation into the history of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, was of the Mass Gaudens Gaudebo and Salve Sancta parens in old missals. Foolishly I never annotated them, as I made photocopies of the ''evidence,'' though they were mostly early to mid 19th century tomes, one of them a Jesuit Missal, another a Dominican Missal, though they all of them revealed a world of liturgy hitherto unknown to me. I still have those photocopies. Curiously, on one of them somebody had written in pencil ''not the right Mass.'' My thoughts at the time were along the lines of: ''wait a minute; these people are claiming to be part of an ongoing epic of Tradition, and they are keepers of the flame; so why are they doing that, when all this is perfectly fine here?'' Of course I still didn't know that much about the history of 20th century liturgical reform. I had only a routine knowledge that Pius XII had done something to the psalter in 1945 and that there was a revolution in the rites of Holy Week ten years later, but I still more or less trusted the lore of Michael Davies who blamed everything on Annibale Bugnini. My opinion of Davies went right down hill after a conversation with Professor Price.

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...
My opinion of low Mass, already expressed to Rubricarius over pints of ale in the Summer of 2009, found expression in the Summer of 2010 when I refused to give countenance to the principle Sunday Mass being a low Mass at Blackfen. Instead, I went to the church of St Magnus the Martyr at London Bridge for the first time. Already they had aroused my wrath that Summer by supplanting Sts Philip and James with Joseph the Worker on 1st May, and now this? I had complained about it last year, and the parish priest had come out with a lot of hypocritical nonsense about ''obedience.'' I couldn't understand the cognitive dissonance of at once claiming the mantle of obedience and submission to Romish ordinance, and then going ahead with the pre-1962 stuff. When I went back in September I was told by one of the servers that I had been the ''talk of this parish.'' Still, I kept my opinions to myself in public, but went ahead with the new blog Liturgiae Causa, which had been started on Pentecost precisely because I felt that I could not keep silent about the hypocrisy of the Traddies. By the autumn it was clear that I was in a state of de facto schism with Rome. In March of 2011 I went to serve at Blackfen for the first Saturday of the month Sung Mass but was forcibly ejected from the sacristy by the parish priest in front of three other people, who no doubt rejoiced to see me injured so (no I do not have a martyr complex), and I have been back twice since then.

This is me on Holy Saturday 2012, about to burn Joseph the Worker.
And I think you all know the rest. Here I am now. In the Spring of 2011 I publically announced my renunciation of Roman Catholic doctrine, burning Summorum Pontificum in token of this, and two years later I have come to a more nuanced understanding of ecclesiology, sanctity, ecumenism and most important of all, liturgy. I hope you'll forgive the length of this post, but it grew with the telling, and 10 years or so of personal intellectual and religious development is hardly a short story, even if told in brief such as here.


  1. Great post, Patrick. :)

    I see you mention the New Liturgical Movement. They post some interesting things every now and then, but have you considered the Orthodox Arts Journal?

  2. Thank you, Tom. I have actually left out a few things, my first encounters with Orthodoxy (when I was at Heythrop), and reading Evelyn Waugh, for example. I went many times to Ennismore Gardens when I was at Heythrop, and used to (in the first days) attend the low Mass at St Joseph's altar at the London Oratory before lessons. Though that ceased after 2007.

    I haven't heard of Orthodox Arts Journal. I shall look into that.

  3. An interesting journey. May I just point out that we met in Maiden Lane itself - as in the street - and not inside Maiden Lane - as in the church. I recalling refusing absolutely to set foot in that aliturgical place.

  4. Thanks for sharing this.

  5. Rubricarius, you're absolutely right. On the opposite side of the street, if I remember, and you were carrying a small bag.

    I also failed to mention that the talk you gave at Blackfen was done under the auspices of the Society of St Catherine of Siena, and Dr Laurence Hemming (whom I first met in 2008) was present.

    I stopped going to Covent Garden after mid April of 2010. They organised a high Mass to celebrate the pope's birthday and that was too much for me, especially considering we don't even celebrate the birthdays of most saints. The sermon, preached by Tim Finigan, was nauseating.

  6. My friend, I've had the same problems as yourself, very very similar stories. Sang vespers, did the studies, visited all the churches, did all the research, enjoyed all the church fathers homilies in matins.

    I found no other option than to join the Russian Orthodox Western (Latin) rite vicariate and enter formally into their communion with Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow and All Rus.

    I am in in a mission with the amount of people I can count on my fingers. It is slow going, but it has hope, it gives me hope.

    I would have liked a way to remain comfortable and peaceful within traditionalism of the roman pontiff's church. Alas likeyourself, too many contradictions.

    I find myself one of the lone Orthodox who has no disagreement with any dogma the Latins ever made. (Mind you I may have to officially assent to infallibility being wrong? yet my heart tells me otherwise.) I basically think that the Orthodox Churches have the fullness of truth but expressed within their own particular byzantine theological cultures. There is indeed some prejudice and mistrust of a sarum/latin rite mass celebrated by Orthodox priests but what else can we do to preserve our catholicity and patrimony?

    I wish you the best and I hope that you may find a more formal church communion to be part of. Anything is better than being a lone man in the world. There is strength in numbers!! There is no way we can avoid it. But for the most part, you and Rubricarius are amongst my heroes.

    - Christopher William McAvoy
    Emmitsburg, MD

  7. I enjoy all your stories and have made the same studies and life changing journeys through traditional catholicism. My perception is that, frankly, traditional catholicism is significantly more vibrant and less contradictory in the USA than in most of Europe. (less low masses in the USA!!) Yet it still is a minority position and has not yet been able to triumph over its enemies, every year it grows stronger, yet at the same time, for myself it was too little, too late.

    Having had similar experiences to yourself I can only say that
    for me my only option was to be received into the Orthodox Church of Russia, in terms of church communion and I do not regret it.

    For some it does not make sense, but as a medievalist and one attached primarily to medieval catholicism and the seven great ecumenical councils I am therefore not as bothered by temporary schisms (church history is full of them.) It was a natural decision over many years of careful prayerful discernment.

    I only had to witness the cremation against my wishes of my own grandmother put in an urn at a super-duper liberal catholic church (in good standing with Rome) to confirm my feelings that it was for the time being a rather hopeless battle to expect authentic tradition to be consistently maintained in such a Church "in crisis". The novus ordo columbariums are often based directly on designs of roman pagan models intended for pagan funerals. There was no life in that church, only the true death than humanism and man worshipping himself brings. (Mind you I dont deny everything was "valid" whatever that means!)

    Through this decision I now have the freedom to have the fullness of my latin rite patrimony, with the exception of post-11th cenutury saints on the calendar (this is the only caveat and complaint). But it is the only way I am able to attend the Sarum use office and mass in english or latin and know that all is legitimate and in good standing with my Patriarch. We use the same lectionary as Fr. Anthony Chadwick.

    I wish you and Rubricarius to be blessed by God and guarded by your angels.

    If by some miracle Rome returns to it's senses and eliminates the novus ordo, I will be the first to rejoice. What a long slow process that is proving to be! Yet God's ways our beyond our own knowledge and it will inevitably occur. Christ the Kind will triumph and as at his baptism, crush the head of the dragon!

  8. Chris, thank you for taking the time to write your comment; it is much appreciated.

    I'm afraid I'm not in the habit of blaming the Novus Ordo on everything; the problem goes much deeper than that. The Council of Trent placed the burden of liturgical reform in the hands of the Papacy, thereby removing Sacred Liturgy from the pastoral care of the bishops and, in terms of liturgy, there is your problem. It is a legacy of the Tridentine reform that Liturgy is at the mercy and whim of the reigning pope. If a pope wishes to impose the liturgy of the Papal court on the whole of Europe, what's to stop him? If the pope wishes to overturn the ancient Psalter arrangement, who is going to say otherwise? If the pope can alter the rites of Holy Week beyond recognition, will anyone dare question it? The Novus Ordo has almost nothing to do with the questions I ask here. You have only the Lefebvrists, who cannot see the wood for the trees, to blame for that; that and their obsession with the liturgical books of 1962, which ultimately found the force of liturgical law in Summorum Pontificum which was a botched attempt to incorporate those awful people into the mainstream Roman communion. It failed, and I suppose for that much we can be thankful, but it left a rather hideous scar on the scope for liturgical renewal for Rome itself.

    But the ship has sailed. There is no hope left in Rome; it is a completely bastardized system.

  9. Chris,

    I am flattered by your generous comments. All I have tried to do was a) point out that if the Roman liturgy had ever been celebrated as it was supposed to have been celebrated and not as some private devotion then the liturgical health of the Roman Church would have been a lot healthier than it was and is; and b) that the problems with the reform of the Roman liturgy did not begin with the Second Vatican Council and indeed their cause has little to do with that Council at all and more to do with the intrinsic instability of legal positivism and over centralisation.

    Rather like our esteemed blog host I do, sadly, suspect the last boat has sailed.