Confessions of an ex-traddie (as if…)

Confessions of an ex-traddie (as if…)

The very telling article below is the work of Damian Thompson (pictured), associate editor of The Spectator and editorial director of the Catholic Herald, who is widely regarded as a “traditionalist” Catholic journalist.  We, at Catholic Truth, have always considered him to be about as traditional as a mobile phone, so we smiled on reading the “conversion” story below, remembering his enthusiasm for the then Archbishop Nichols to be given the red hat as a reward for organising the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to England. Very “traditional”, yes? At one time, prior to Vatican II, we didn’t use labels to describe different types of Catholic.  One was either a Catholic or a Protestant.  Indeed, in the north of Ireland they tell the story of the Hindu who was stopped in the street by a young boy who asked whether he was a Catholic or a Protestant. When the man replied “I’m a Hindu”, the lad looked puzzled and responded: “Well, are you a Catholic Hindu or a Protestant Hindu?”  So, consider, in this conversation, what it is that makes someone a “traditional” Catholic as opposed to any other of the more recent brands.  But first, read the story of the “ex-traddie” who never really was…    

I used to be too snooty to appreciate an 'ordinary' Mass. Now lay ministers, altar girls, even an exuberant sign of peace – they don't bother me in the least
I used to be too snooty to appreciate an ‘ordinary’ Mass. Now lay ministers, altar girls, even an exuberant sign of peace -they don’t bother me in the least


At the Easter Vigil, I found myself with my right hand resting on the right shoulder of a young friend, David Oldroyd-Bolt, who was being received into the Catholic Church. On his left shoulder rested the hand of my former Daily Telegraph colleague Dr Tim Stanley, a historian who is also television critic of this magazine.

We were David’s co-sponsors. The priest anointing him was Fr Julian Large, who in a previous incarnation was also a Telegraph journalist; in those days he was still an Anglo-Catholic – or “dyed-in-the-wool Protestant”, as I used to tease him.

David had been an Anglo-Catholic, too, and I’m afraid I subjected him to the same ribbing. That may have been why he did me the honour of asking me to co-sponsor him: at least that way he could prove to me that he’d done the right thing.

What a way to enter into full communion with the Holy See! I don’t just mean the comedy of being surrounded by former and current Telegraph hacks: the service itself was magnificent.

Not since the heyday of the Borgias have such finely wrought gold vestments been displayed to the faithful, worn by clergy with hair parted with rulers and trimmed with the utmost severity by Geo F Trumper of Jermyn Street. Plus vintage specs of a design that even Pius XII might have thought outmoded.

You’ll have worked out that the church was the London Oratory, where they don’t exactly rush the Triduum: I was there for two and a half hours. Services at the Oratory have a grandeur all of their own – choreographed to a standard that you won’t find in Rome or, indeed, Old Rite ceremonies staged by the Latin Mass Society. (Not to be mean, but I’ve never seen so much flapping and semaphoring as I did at the last LMS Requiem I attended.)

Also, counter-intuitively, there’s a refreshing absence of High Church campery at the Oratory. This is a function of the seriousness of its theology: it preaches the Magisterium with a purity that contrasts starkly with the waffle emanating from certain members of the College of Cardinals. You’re never far from the Four Last Things in an Oratorian sermon.

I’d forgotten what an enormous church it is. I ordered my Uber from the front row and by the time I reached the door it was waiting outside. But before I scuttled off I said to David: “Next Sunday, go to an ordinary parish. Then you’ll really get a sense of what you’ve joined.”

This wasn’t meant as an insult. I’ve always liked the title of a book of essays for would-be converts edited by Joanna Bogle: Come on in… it’s awful! When that was published, 22 years ago, the average liturgy was awful and my goodness I banged on about it. But even then, before the “Benedictisation” of worship that is beginning to rub off everywhere, there was a warmth about the celebration of Mass and the welcome afterwards that was and is distinctively Catholic. (That I was too snooty to appreciate it was my loss.)

In the past few years I’ve been reintegrated into the ordinary Catholic Church. The process began when a musician friend started taking me to the low-key Sunday evening Mass at Farm Street. But things really picked up when I began regular attendance at the church opposite my flat, St Mary of the Angels, Notting Hill. My parish priest is the lovely Mgr Keith Barltrop, who has banished the last remnants of BCM (Bad Catholic Music); on Friday the shivers ran up my spine when, as I queued for the Adoration of the Cross, the organ struck up a familiar ground bass and I heard the Crucifixus of Bach’s B Minor Mass, exquisitely performed by a small choir that must have had professional singers in it. I fought back tears, which is how it should be on Good Friday.

Thanks to Fr Keith, there are proper candles in the sanctuary and a “Benedict Cross” on the altar. The servers are nicely drilled. But lots of them are girls and at every Mass there are lay ministers of Holy Communion. The sign of peace can be quite exuberant.

And it doesn’t bother me in the least. These are signs of the comforting “ordinariness” of worship that takes me back to my Catholic childhood. Indeed, the longer I attend, the more I realise that the cradle bits of my Catholicism never went away, though they’re not necessarily very edifying.

For example, my hearts leaps – just as it did in 1975 – when I hear the priest say the words, “the fount of all holiness” because it means he’s gone for the Second Eucharistic Prayer and it’s the shortest. Worse, I groan when the priest settles down for his moment of private prayer after Communion. The 13-year-old in me still thinks: come on, Father, we’re so tantalisingly near the end.

Also, to quote the great Ed West in a tweet, “Hearing the words ‘The Mass is Ended, go in peace’ = instant dopamine squirt”.

I’m not going to try to justify these sentiments to David, my new fellow Catholic; you can’t expect a convert to understand. But they don’t really matter, either, because short Masses can be very uplifting. Parish priests, please note.

Damian Thompson is associate editor of The Spectator and editorial director of the Catholic Herald

This article first appeared in the April 1 2016 issue of The Catholic Herald

Comments (86)

  • Summa

    Speechless! Where do I start? Ordering a taxi from the pews? The meanness against the TLM? The open gall of looking forward to a quick finish to the Mass?
    Traditional? As traditional as Pope Francis.

    April 5, 2016 at 4:58 am
    • editor


      Yes, it’s really sad – but notice, he (as ever) equates being “traditionalist” with liturgy only. That’s a classic mistake – attending/supporting, however it’s presented, the traditional Mass is but one (albeit central component) in the Faith. As the Church Fathers taught, to be Catholic we must adhere to the whole Faith as it has been handed down from the Apostles, not from the latest in-flight opinions of any current pope or Vatican spokesman.

      Yet, even Damian’s supposed “love” for the TLM is found to have been a sham.

      April 5, 2016 at 9:31 am
  • Fr Arthur

    Damian, like The Pope is still able to remember what it was like to be a child. How refreshing!

    However, his journalism and his views are generally to be found wanting. I, too, noted the irreverent, and undignified, matter of ordering a Uber from his seat. I am so sorry God was rude enough to ask for some attention in His House.

    April 5, 2016 at 7:03 am
    • editor

      Fr Arthur,

      I can remember what it was like to be a child! So what! As St Paul teaches, time to put away the things of childhood!

      As for your second paragraph – at LAST we agree on something! Alleluia!

      April 5, 2016 at 9:30 am
      • Fr Arthur


        We actually agree on many, many, things. However, for some reason you can’t grasp that fact.

        April 5, 2016 at 9:35 am
      • Petrus

        Spoken like a humble clergyman !

        April 5, 2016 at 9:52 am
      • Summa

        My thoughts too.

        April 5, 2016 at 9:55 am
    • Athanasius

      Fr. Arthur

      “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But, when I became a man, I put away the things of a child.” (1 Corinthians 13).

      April 5, 2016 at 10:22 pm
  • Petrus

    What I think is most evident here is Damian’s shallowness. He likes the Music, the vestments, the haircuts and the specs! For Damian, Catholicism is nothing more than an affectation.

    April 5, 2016 at 9:05 am
    • editor


      Agreed – the shallowness is what stands out and is very sad.

      April 5, 2016 at 9:31 am
      • Fr Arthur

        Now what was it about The Luminous Mysteries of The Rosary endangering souls?

        April 5, 2016 at 9:59 am
      • Elizabeth

        What has that got to do with anything on this topic. I rather think you are just playing with this blog Father.

        April 5, 2016 at 11:40 am
      • Fr Arthur

        Not at all. Editor agreed Mr T like the non essentials, and, yet, elsewhere has said hearing people pray The Luminous Mysteries outside a hospital would endanger the souls of her nephews. Exactly how would The Prayers of The Rosary, with reference to incidents recorded in Holy Scripture, endanger souls. Whatever The Mystery the prayers – which are surely the important thing – are the same.

        April 5, 2016 at 11:43 am
      • Fr Arthur


        Can I add, for the sake of clarity, that the introduction of The Luminous was probably laudably well intentioned, but misguided. However, in terms of importance they rank with the shallowness of ” the Music, the vestments, the haircuts and the specs!”

        April 5, 2016 at 11:47 am
      • Petrus

        Precisely because it is another example of innovation. Our Lady gave the 15 mysteries to St Dominic. At Fatima she asked for meditation on the 15 mysteries. Clearly modern churchmen think they know better than Our Lady!

        April 5, 2016 at 12:15 pm
      • Fr Arthur

        I think The Rosary predates Fatima, and that, no matter how worthy many rightly revere Fatima, every word is in the realm of a private revelation. Therefore, whilst Saint Pope John Paul may have been over zealous you cannot cite a private revelation of 1917 to counter him.

        April 5, 2016 at 12:21 pm
      • Petrus

        Well if you had read my post properly you will have noticed that i said Our Lady gave the Rosary to St Dominic so its prety obvious that it pre-dates Fatima! Do try to keep up!

        That old chestnut of ‘private revelation’! Didn’t the popes say that Fatima imposed an “obligation” on the Church?

        April 5, 2016 at 1:32 pm
      • Fr Arthur

        I have kept up. Having mentioned St Dominic you then went on to say “At Fatima she asked for meditation on the 15 mysteries. Clearly modern churchmen think they know better than Our Lady!”. However, The BVM was being factual in the private revelation in 1917, but she clearly did not say don’t add any more mysteries. She, however, did, it seems, add prayers and may promises about The Rosary. I think she would have been clearer on the question of mysteries if it was essential.

        However, it is precisely because of the antiquity of the practice, and its widespread use, that I think The Saint Pope was wrong.

        April 5, 2016 at 1:40 pm
      • Fr Arthur

        Generally when a Pope visits a country they generally visit the national Marian Shrine. During the visit they normally speak of the modern relevance of the message/shrine. That is an a lot of messages and a lot of Shrines.

        However, Saint Pope John Paul had a particular devotion to Fatima because he attributed his recovery from the assassination attempt partly to her intercession. However, that is in the sense the attack took place on that feastday. No doubt you will tell me I am wrong, but there is only one B.V.M. known by various titles, and we don’t know which, if any titles, she prefers and I assume she works 24/7, 365 days a year for her children.

        April 5, 2016 at 1:45 pm
      • Athanasius

        Fr. Arthur

        Oh, I’m sure Our Lady prefers the titles that refer to the infallible dogmas concerning her – Immaculate Conception, Divine Motherhood, Perpetual Virginity and Assumption.

        So, Mary Immaculate, Divine Mother, Mary ever Virgin and Queen Assumed into heaven would probably be her favourites. We will very soon be adding Mediatrix of all Graces, Co-Redemptrix and Advocate when the Fifth Marian Dogma is finally proclaimed.

        But I’m sure Our Lady loves all the titles that make up her Litany.

        April 5, 2016 at 3:40 pm
      • RCA Victor

        “That is a lot of messages and a lot of Shrines.” And a lot of evading the point as well, as usual.

        Fatima is known as a “public, prophetic revelation.” You may read articles about it by John Salza and/or John Vennari if you Google “is Fatima a private revelation?” Vennari’s article is a PDF entitled “Fatima is not just a ‘Private Revelation.’

        However, even the Blue Army agrees – the very same Blue Army listed by Christopher Ferrara as one of the “false friends of Fatima”:

        April 5, 2016 at 9:58 pm
      • Fr Arthur

        May I refer you to The Vatican Document published in June 2000 published on the direct instructions of The Pope, now Saint John Paul. (Even Bishop Fellay recognises “The Authorities” Are in Rome.) The document is based on Tradition and Holy Scripture. I quote:

        “…..there is a need for some basic clarification of the way in which, according to Church teaching, phenomena such as Fatima are to be understood within the life of faith. The teaching of the Church distinguishes between “public Revelation” and “private revelations”. The two realities differ not only in degree but also in essence. The term “public Revelation” refers to the revealing action of God directed to humanity as a whole and which finds its literary expression in the two parts of the Bible: the Old and New Testaments. It is called “Revelation” because in it God gradually made himself known to men, to the point of becoming man himself, in order to draw to himself the whole world and unite it with himself through his Incarnate Son, Jesus Christ. ….
        Because the single Revelation of God addressed to all peoples comes to completion with Christ and the witness borne to him in the books of the New Testament, the Church is tied to this unique event of sacred history and to the word of the Bible, which guarantees and interprets it. …..
        In this context, it now becomes possible to understand rightly the concept of “private revelation”, which refers to all the visions and revelations which have taken place since the completion of the New Testament. This is the category to which we must assign the message of Fatima. “

        The Congregation for The Doctrine of The Faith, published under the authority of Pope (Saint) John Paul, by Cardinal Ratzinger 26th June 2000


        Leave a Reply

        April 6, 2016 at 6:01 am
      • Athanasius

        Fr. Arthur

        How convenient that John Paul II wrote these words in 2000, the very year that the essential part of the Third Secret of Fatima, the text beginning with the words “In Portugal…etc., was supressed. Odd that!

        April 6, 2016 at 2:04 pm
      • Fr Arthur


        On this blog you have made more, in your view, solemn/infallible pronouncements than all those who have occupied The See of Rome, and you promote a book on humility?

        April 7, 2016 at 5:46 am
      • Athanasius

        Fr. Arthur

        If you had been following the teachings of the Popes on Fatima you wouldn’t write it of so quickly as just a private revelation. A public miracle witnessed by 70,000 people, the first miracle since Apostolic times to be foretold before it happened, marks Fatima out as very different from all other private revelations. It is remiss of you to dismiss so carelessly so important a divine message for these times.

        April 5, 2016 at 3:31 pm
      • editor

        Fr Arthur,

        Would you please quote my EXACT words about the Luminous Mysteries and my nephews, with the link to the relevant thread.

        Thank you.

        April 5, 2016 at 10:37 pm
      • Fr Arthur

        The difficulty in finding and quoting your words, after the event, is that you can access and change them. Just saying!

        April 6, 2016 at 6:03 am
      • Summa

        Fr Arthur says… The Pope, now Saint John Paul.

        I dispute that as Modernist propaganda.

        April 6, 2016 at 2:11 pm
      • Fr Arthur

        A solemn declaration by The Church that a person is a Saint is hardly propaganda, and you devalue The Communion of Saints by saying so. Shame on you.

        April 6, 2016 at 4:57 pm
      • editor

        Fr Arthur,

        This is not the place to discuss the fast track canonisation but the simple fact that they have been fast tracked without due process and no Devil’s Advocate means that they will, without a shadow of a doubt, be re-examined when this crisis is over.

        In order to keep this thread on topic, however, I thought it might interest you to read something of Damian Thompson’s writings on the canonisation of Pope John Paul II

        So, as you can see for yourself, even in 2009, when he was posing as a “traddie”, he was no such thing.

        April 6, 2016 at 5:04 pm
      • Fr Arthur

        We no longer have a Devils Advocate and so the absence of one is irrelevant.

        Dear Editor I would entrust my life to you. I might be tempted to take it if anything depended on Mr T, and his views!

        April 6, 2016 at 5:15 pm
      • Summa

        The Church has always been very careful to treat with utmost caution, these processes. Unfortunately it seems that we have been reduced to Imperial Rome like Imperator deification in the modern Church.

        April 7, 2016 at 12:27 am
      • Fr Arthur


        On this blog you have made more, in your view, solemn/infallible pronouncements than all those who have occupied The See of Rome, and you promote a book on humility?

        April 7, 2016 at 6:45 am
      • Summa

        I have made no a formal or authoritative announcement or declaration on this blog, ever. Can you point it out?

        April 7, 2016 at 8:22 am
      • Summa

        Fr Arthur
        Your post at April 7, 2016 at 5:46 am
        was in reply to Athanasius. You seem a bit muddled. And yes you definitely need to read a book on humility.

        April 7, 2016 at 6:34 am
      • Fr Arthur

        “Then, we were standing in a group listening to diocesan Catholics praying the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary, so the “traditional” Catholic boys were confused as they’d never heard of these new mysteries and their mother would have thought twice about letting me take them had she been aware that after keeping them out of the school system to home-school in order to raise them in the traditional Faith, her work was about to be undermined by a pro-life event.”

        Praying the rosary undermines the “Traditional” Faith!

        April 6, 2016 at 6:14 am
      • Petrus

        The Mysteries of Light are not part of the Rosary.

        April 6, 2016 at 9:14 am
      • Fr Arthur


        Anything to do with The Rosary, as to what is a mystery, etc is not an article of faith. IT is well within the gift of a Pope to change the Mysteries.

        What was shared with St Dominic was a Private Revelation.

        However, whether it was sensible to change The Mysteries is a question worth asking, and I would give the answer no.

        April 6, 2016 at 5:18 pm
      • editor

        It’s irrelevant to talk about the Rosary not being an article of the Faith. What difference does that make? When Bugnini first suggested adding to the Rosary, Paul VI refused, telling him that the faithful would think the Faith had changed if they tampered with the Rosary.

        As for your dismissal of the traditional Rosary as a “private revelation” – I just shudder to think of such cavalier attitude to Our Lady’s gift (and therefore God’s gift) of the Rosary as a powerful weapon for our times.

        April 6, 2016 at 5:29 pm
      • Fr Arthur

        The fact is The Rosary is not an article of faith, and therefore can be changed in some way. However, shall we agree but for different reasons it was a mistake to do so, and not because “would think the Faith had changed if they tampered with the Rosary”. However I doubt Paul Vl said that.

        Editor: Paul VI said much more than that – read this Christian Order articlefrom which I’ve quoted below in reply to your argument that the Rosary may be changed at papal will.

        April 6, 2016 at 5:32 pm
      • editor

        Fr Arthur,

        Read the following extract from Christian Order and then tell us that you think the Rosary is subject to change:

        “As already noted, in Marialis Cultus (MV) none other than Paul VI strongly affirmed the teaching of St. Pius V on the traditional form of the Rosary. It is supremely ironic that even as Pope Paul went along with Bugnini’s plan to ruin the Roman Rite, suppressing the form of Mass canonized by St. Pius V in his Bull Quo Primum, Paul nonetheless felt obliged to reject Bugnini’s advice and follow the teaching of Pius V when it came to Rosary. Clearly writing with a view toward Bugnini’s aborted attempt to wreck the Rosary, Pope Paul declared:
        We, too, from the first general audience of our pontificate on July 13, 1963, have shown our great esteem for the pious practice of the Rosary. Since that time we have underlined its value on many different occasions, some ordinary, some grave…. We renewed this appeal in our Apostolic Exhortation Recurrens mensis October (October 7, 1969), in which we also commemorated the fourth centenary of the Apostolic Letter Consueverunt Romani pontifices of our predecessor Saint Pius V, who in that documentexplained and in a certain sense established the traditional form of the Rosary.
        Having rooted himself in the teaching of Pius V, Pope Paul introduced that teaching with the following explanation:
        It has also been more easily seen how the orderly and gradual unfolding of the Rosary reflects the very way in which the Word of God, mercifully entering into human affairs, brought about the Redemption. The Rosary considers in harmonious succession the principal salvific events accomplished in Christ, from His virginal conception and the mysteries of His childhood to the culminating moments of the Passover—the blessed passion and the glorious resurrection—and to the effects of this on the infant Church on the day of Pentecost, and on the Virgin Mary when at the end of her earthly life she was assumed body and soul into her heavenly home. It has also been observed that the division of the mysteries of the Rosary into three parts not only adheres strictly to the chronological order of the facts but above all reflects the plan of the original proclamation of the Faith and sets forth once more the mystery of Christ in the very way in which it is seen by Saint Paul in the celebrated “hymn” of the Letter to the Philippians—kenosis, death and exaltation (cf. 2:6-11).
        Pope Paul then presented as authoritative and binding the teaching of St. Pius V on the elements of the Rosary:
        The Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, according to the tradition accepted by our predecessor St. Pius V and authoritatively taught by him, consists of various elements disposed in an organic fashion:
        a) Contemplation in communion with Mary, of a series of mysteries of salvation, wisely distributed into three cycles. These mysteries express the joy of the messianic times, the salvific suffering of Christ and the glory of the Risen Lord which fills the Church….
        b) The Lord’s Prayer, or Our Father…
        c) The litany-like succession of the Hail Mary, which is made up of the angel’s greeting to the Virgin (cf. Lk. 1:28), and of Elizabeth’s greeting (cf. Lk. 1:42), followed by the ecclesial supplication, Holy Mary. The continued series of Hail Mary’s is the special characteristic of the Rosary, and their number, in the full and typical number of one hundred and fifty, presents a certain analogy with the Psalter and is an element that goes back to the very origin of the exercise of piety. But this number, divided, according to a well-tried custom, into decades attached to the individual mysteries, is distributed in the three cycles already mentioned, thus giving rise to the Rosary of fifty Hail Mary’s as we know it. This latter has entered into use as the normal measure of the pious exercise and as such has been adopted by popular piety and approved by papal authority, which also enriched it with numerous indulgences.
        d) The doxology Glory be to the Father which, in conformity with an orientation common to Christian piety, concludes the prayer with the glorifying of God who is one and three, from whom, through whom and in whom all things have their being (cf. Rom. 11:36).
        These are the elements of the Rosary. Each has its own particular character which, wisely understood and appreciated, should be reflected in the recitation in order that the Rosary may express all its richness and variety….
        Thus, Paul VI, in union with all his predecessors (including Leo XIII, cf. Iucunda Semper Expectatione) and in conformity with the definitive teaching of Saint Pius V, affirmed that the elements of the Rosary, “disposed in organic fashion” over centuries of development, consist of
        • three cycles of mysteries, corresponding to mystery of Christ as taught by St. Paul;
        • 150 Hail Mary’s prayed in three groups of fifty, corresponding to the Psalter, which is as old as Catholic piety itself;
        • the Our Father and the Gloria.

        Hence even Paul VI made it clear that the Rosary is not some changeable arrangement of prayers that can be altered whenever it seems a good idea, but a triune pattern of prayer, “disposed in an organic fashion,” that constitutes an ancient foundation stone of popular Catholic piety, long approved by the Magisterium.” Source

        April 6, 2016 at 5:43 pm
      • Fr Arthur

        Nowhere does Paul Vl say new mysteries cannot be added. The Editor of Catholic Order is saying Buggini(?) had suggested changing The Rosary but nowhere does Paul Vl say that. Further in 1570, when The Mass was changed yet again, Pope said it couldn’t be, and yet very early successors of his changed it. The Mass is of a far different order, in essence and degree, to The Rosary , and yet the first changes to The Missal were in 1604?

        April 6, 2016 at 5:51 pm
      • Athanasius

        Fr. Arthur

        You must admit that it takes some kind of personal pride for any Pope to cinsider himself worthy to improve on a devotion that came straight from the hands of the Mother of God herself. There have been many great saint/popes in history who would not have dared consider such an impudence.

        April 6, 2016 at 6:49 pm
      • Margaret Mary

        Fr Arthur,

        I have just read through the Christian Order extract and it would be very strange if Pope Paul VI had no problem with changing the Rosary because he explains in details why it is constructed the way it is. He shows how its construction if “traditional”.

        I think we can take it for granted that Paul VI would not approve of changing the Rosary, especially as he would not approve of Bugnini’s schema for a new Rosary.

        April 6, 2016 at 8:14 pm
      • Fr Arthur

        Let me get this right: Pope Paul Vl wouldn’t change The Rosary because the construction was “traditional”, and yet he felt able to authorise a New Missal for the most ancient of all Christian Rites The Mass?

        Further, whether you pray any of the mysteries you always pray in decades, and any five mysteries make fifty. Is the significance The 150 Psalms? If it is why does The Church incorporate Canticles in The Divine Office. If they are so central to our prayer why are they not in the symbolic prayer of The Rosary? Or are the Canticles not worthy of The Bible, and of equal to The Psalms.

        The Church says Revelation ended with Jesus and The New Testament. Is there any evidence of The Rosary being prayed or in the New Testament Period, or in fact in every “revelation” about The Rosary a “private revelation? The Church would say yes!

        In The Christian Order Article does The Pope mention that he has resisted a change, or does he not just share a meditation on what existed?

        How can The B.V.M., in a private revelation. add prayers to The Rosary in 1917 if she is happy with what Pope Pius V said why did she change her mind in 1917?

        If we are to change Church Practice on the basis of Private Revelations why are some opposed to Divine Mercy Sunday?

        I believe The Pope was well motivated but wrong to change this ancient structure. The change has less significance thatnthe changes made to The Missal in 1570, which the author said cannot be changed ever again, but were duly changed by a successor in 1604.

        Just where do we draw the line on what can be changed and when, and on what basis?

        April 6, 2016 at 8:29 pm
      • Margaret Mary

        Fr Arthur,

        The fact that the Church added the Feast of the Holy Rosary (October 7th) to the liturgical calendar shows how important it is.

        I’m not going to discuss it further with you as I find it obnoxious that a priest could so readily dismiss the Rosary as you do, although as usual you pay lip service to not approving the change yourself. You say you think it would have been better if the Pope hadn’t made the change but then go off on one to ridicule the idea that it was constructed in a particular way, to coincide with the 150 psalms (the canticles are irrelevant) of the Divine Office.

        I will not acknowledge the new mysteries. I remember reading something in Catholic Truth that resonated about this, when an article contained the information that now there were courses on the new mysteries given by priests who had no time for the rosary before. I see them as all part of the diabolical attack on the Church these past years since Vatican II.

        April 6, 2016 at 8:44 pm
      • Fr Arthur

        The Feast of The Holy Rosary was added to mark a victory in Battle!

        Editor: the victory was won by recourse to the Rosary! Are you for real?

        To recap some history for you: (Editor: yeah, right, like none of us knew about Lepanto before you came along. Gerragrip. Bloggers if there are any errors below, let me know because I ain’t wasting time reading this copy and paste job, possibly from some site promoting Medjugorje and the Gluminous Mysteries. )

        Our Lady of Victory[edit]

        Pius V instituted “Our Lady of Victory” as an annual feast to commemorate the victory, which he attributed to the Blessed Virgin Mary.[

        Dedications to Our Lady of Victory preceded this papal declaration. In particular, Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester built the first shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Victory in thanks for the Catholic victory over the Albigensians at the Battle of Muret on September 12, 1213.

        Our Lady of the Holy Rosary

        In 1573, Pope Gregory XIII changed the title of the “Feast of Our Lady of Victory” to “Feast of the Holy Rosary”.Pope Clement XI extended the feast to the whole of the Latin Rite, inserting it into the General Roman Calendar in 1716, and assigning it to the first Sunday in October. Pope St. Pius X changed the date to October 7 in 1913, as part of his effort to restore celebration of the liturgy of the Sundays. In 1960 Pope John XXIII changed the title to “Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary”.

        April 6, 2016 at 8:52 pm
      • Fr Arthur

        Mary Mary

        Both in The by The Editor and in Maria Cultus there is reference to the 150 (Psalms) of The Psalter, and only recently someone on this blog decried the fact that in the Divine Office of today The 150 Psalms are not prayed in that way. So please do read what you claim to have read.

        Editor: can’t make any sense of this at all. I have no memory of ever writing about the Divine Office. If you are too lazy or incompetent or whatever, to quote verbatim and provide a link (I’ve provided a lesson on the GD thread) then keep your confused ramblings to yourself. With all due respect, of course…

        April 6, 2016 at 9:03 pm
      • editor

        Fr Arthur,

        Still, you refuse to humbly apologise for your false claim that I had said the Luminous Mysteries are a “danger to Faith”. How un-edifying.

        Then you suggest that I had gone in and amended the post for the purpose of defending myself. Incredible. It would never enter my head to go into my comments and change them in such a scenario as this – or ever. If I want to change my comments, I do so right at the time of submission. I have asked WordPress for the same facility for all bloggers but I’m told that is not possible – may be in the future. You really do have a very poor opinion of me, despite your private assurances to the contrary. I have enough sense anyway to have discounted your private assurances; I assess your character on your activity on this blog, nothing else. And this latest remark is clear evidence of your real opinion of – and contempt for – me. And, I mean, I really do care…

        I asked you to quote the exact words and give the link (which you haven’t done) because although I remembered writing something about the Luminous Mysteries in connection with my nephews, I could not remember the thread but I knew this: that I had used the word “confused” not “danger to their souls”. I knew that for a fact. I knew that for a number of reasons, not least that I made the point to the pro-lifers at the event that these young boys had been taught the traditional Faith and rosary, had never heard of these “mysteries” and they would find it confusing – hallmark of Modernism. I remember saying that to the other pro-lifers at the time. So I knew that you were not telling the truth. And now, rather than admit that I did not say the Luminous Mysteries were “a danger to Faith” you try to pretend that I have said the Rosary undermines the Faith! You are a master of twisting words and distorting words – it seems you would not think twice about blatantly lying if it suits your purpose. Of that I am absolutely certain.

        I still can’t recall the thread, however, in which I reported the visits to 40 Days for Life – I checked the thread of that name and there are only 8 comments there, so it’s not that thread, and you have not obliged by posting the link as requested. I wonder why you would find the quote, copy and paste it here, without providing the full context via the thread link, you who bang on about the importance of “context” day in and day out.

        Since I do not have the time to go searching for past comments on a regular basis, and simply cannot risk being discredited in this way, given the lie you perpetrated about me on the John Ogilvie thread, re EMHC, now corrected by me, I’m afraid I have to make this your final warning. I don’t have the time to keep searching out previous comments to demonstrate that I am telling the truth at any given time – nobody else, even the worst of our trolls has actually, as far as I can recall, tried to make me out to be a liar by deliberately misquoting what I’ve said. They tended to stick to pushing Modernism with some ad hominen attacks thown in, but I cannot recall anything like this previously – although I’m open to correction by bloggers with better memories.

        In due course, fairly soon, I will simply block you, not because we cannot take debating with someone who is clearly Modernist; indeed, in conversations with several bloggers recently, we all agreed that it had its good side, having you here as you personify our work against the evil of Modernism and that is worth more than a million articles. However, when I have to spend an inordinate amount of time demonstrating to readers who may pop by infrequently and see only your allegations against me, that I have not said this or that, that I DID NOT amend an initial mistake etc. when I most definitely did, that’s the line drawn in the sand.

        No more warnings. 8th April is the deadline. If you find that your posts are disappearing, don’t email to ask if there’s a problem. The problem is your determined disruption of the discussions and your even more determined mission to discredit bloggers here, myself included.

        April 6, 2016 at 10:17 am
      • Gerontius

        Your patient endurance with this tiresome pest is commendable, but I for one, will rejoice when you finally remove this nuiscence from the blog permanently.

        April 6, 2016 at 12:18 pm
      • Summa

        I concur. The pride shown exposes an incorrigible nature.

        April 6, 2016 at 12:29 pm
      • Christina

        I do so agree, Gerontius Editor has the patience of a saint! I wish she’d tell me what she’s on – and I KNOW it’s not the cream cakes! Having just spent time far up a thread asking this troll to furnish me with quotations of mine that actually say what he mendaciously claims me to have said, I am truly weary of his non-stop quarreling just for the sake of it.

        April 6, 2016 at 12:54 pm
      • Gerontius

        Christina, you have my sincere sympathy as you already know. Darkness descends on the blog (in my opinion) whenever he posts. Since division and discord come from only one source, I protect myself by ignoring him. Wish I had Editor’s patience but unfortunately I dont. If he causes you pain, I am certain you already know what to do.

        Hang in ther Good buddy! Our Lady IS looking after you.

        April 6, 2016 at 1:54 pm
      • Athanasius

        Gerontius, Christina, et al.

        There are many people of good will reading this blog who don’t comment. It is for their sake that people like Fr. Arthur are tolerated.

        The fact is that the longer and more often he posts comments, the more others will see the indifference that Modernism leads to in the clergy once it infects the mind and soul.

        You will have noted the many comments I have posted in response to him, quoting Church teaching and highlighting scandals, yet he replies to very few because he cannot answer.

        Well, this may be bad for him but it’s good for Tradition since it demonstrates the utter shallowness of the new post-conciliar Catholic religion. Patience, then!

        April 6, 2016 at 2:16 pm
      • Gerontius


        “You will have noted the many comments I have posted in response to him, quoting Church teaching and highlighting scandals, yet he replies to very few because he cannot answer. ”

        Yes Athanasius, I have noted with interest your exchanges with him, but I came to the conclusion some time ago that it would take a special grace for him to both recognise and accept the truth of your responses to him. All of us are praying for him of course, and despite the frustration he causes, I’m sure we all have compassion for Fr. Arthur.

        Your point about the truth that may come to non-blogging readers because of this episode is well taken.

        However, Ad hominem responses to Editor and Christina are entirely unacceptable and give rise to justifiable indignation.

        April 6, 2016 at 4:11 pm
      • Margaret Mary


        I see that Fr Arthur has not replied to this comment from you but has posted on the General Discussion thread, twisting words again about the Luminous Mysteries and 1997 Instruction. He is not a good loser – LOL!

        He also nitpicks, about saying “former” bishop in an email to you, not his current bishop.

        It looks to me like an attempt to distract from the fact that you have demonstrated that you were being truthful while he was not, which is absolutely shocking.

        I know you are reluctant to block people but I think you’ve made the right decision to disallow his comments after 8th April. It is not edifying to watch a priest twisting words as he does and not having even the basic humility to admit when he’s wrong. He prefers to play with words to keep his pride intact.

        April 6, 2016 at 8:31 pm
      • Fr Arthur

        Margaret Mary

        The distinction between talking about a Bishop no longer with us, and a living one is significant.

        At no point have I lied. I could not recall any amendment to The Editor on what she said about The 1997 Document, and I would argue her amendment is still to argue for her interpretation of the document. She speaks of a full Church not being a reason to use EMHC. However,

        The Missal says that Holy Communion under both kinds is a more perfect sign: “Holy Communion has a fuller form as a sign when it is distributed under both kinds. For in this form the sign of the Eucharistic banquet is more clearly evident and clear expression is given to the divine will by which the new and eternal Covenant is ratified in the Blood of the Lord, as also the relationship between the Eucharistic banquet and the eschatological banquet in the Father’s Kingdom. Sacred pastors should take care to ensure that the faithful who participate in the rite or are present at it are as fully aware as possible of the Catholic teaching on the form of Holy Communion as set forth by the Ecumenical Council of Trent. At the same time, the faithful should be encouraged to seek to participate more eagerly in this sacred rite, by which the sign of the Eucharistic banquet is made more fully evident. ”

        Therefore, the number of people in a Church might not justify it, but the nature of the celebration, and the need for more Ministers to distribute Holy Communion under both species would.

        The 1997 doesn’t remove the need to make a pastoral judgement, but it does highlight some boundaries.

        You don’t restrict a practice you actually want to ban. You would ban it.

        April 6, 2016 at 8:48 pm
      • editor

        Margaret Mary,

        I suspect Fr Arthur is talking about this extract from a recent email of his to me:

        “Btw. It is entirely ironic that the Liturgical excesses of my former Bishop would, I presume. if I had watched it, make The Balloon Mass look like Archbishop Lefebrve had been the MC!

        Even more ironically The Bishop of which* I speak is a darling of The “Trad’s” for some bizarre reason.” END OF EXTRACT.

        * Editor: should be “of WHOM I speak…”

        Anyway, that’s typical of his nit-picking, which you have rightly noted, but let it go.

        Yes, he is definitely seeking to turn the tables and distract from the fact that he has blatantly lied.

        Roll on Friday!

        April 6, 2016 at 8:55 pm
      • Christina

        I have to post here MM, as the responses to Editor have reached the limit. You have hit the nail on the head in your assessment of Fr. Arthur, but I think Editor issued a final warning, not a decision to block him after 8th.

        Re the recent discussion, Athanasius and Gerontius are right about the opportunity his disruptive presence gives for the best of our bloggers to present the fullness of Catholic truth to readers of the blog. I fully appreciate his value in this. But Gerontius also mentioned the ad hominem attacks which he makes, usually against women, which are really nasty. Editor also accused him of showing contempt for her, and that is exactly my ‘take’ on his general attitude towards those bloggers he attempts to discredit with his twisting and distortions of what they have said. His words ooze contempt. Gerontius’s ‘darkness descends’ exactly describes the Fr. Arthur experience for me.

        April 6, 2016 at 9:59 pm
      • Athanasius

        Fr. Arthur,

        No. Praying the humanist mysteries undermines the Traditional faith.

        April 6, 2016 at 2:05 pm
  • Gerontius


    ” So, consider, in this conversation, what it is that makes someone So, consider, in this conversation, what it is that makes someone a “traditional” Catholic as opposed to any other of the more recent brands. as opposed to any other of the more recent brands.”

    Well now, where to start?
    A “traditional” Catholic would have the most profound respect for the Blessed Sacrament instead of the SHOCKING INDIFFERENCE to which Our Lord is subjected. Talking in front of the Blessed Sacrament is one thing, UNCONSECRATED HANDS TOUCHING HIS SACRED PERSON IS MUCH, MUCH MORE SERIOUS!

    At Fatima, St Michael taught the children that beautiful reparatory Prayer where he puts indifference to the Blessed Sacrament at the same gravity as sacrilege and outrage.

    Next we have “Modernists”, “Liberals”, “Progressives”, “Traditionalists”, not forgetting “Fundamentalists” and even “Neo Pelagians”

    Didn’t Our Lord state that a house divided against itself cannot stand?

    It’s long past time for ecumenism and the other tenets of Freemasonry which has invaded Holy Mother Church to be consigned to the rubbish bin where they belong!

    April 5, 2016 at 1:27 pm
  • Gerontius


    “At one time, prior to Vatican II, we didn’t use labels to describe different types of Catholic.”

    Indeed! And now we have “Liberals”, “Conservatives”, “Progressives”, “Traditionalists”, “Fundamentalists” and of course” not forgetting “Neopelagians”

    Didn’t Our Lord state that a house divided against itself cannot stand? it’s long past time for this tripe, along with “Religious Freedom”, “Collegiality” and especially “ECUMENISM” and any other tenet of masonic doctrine was consigned to the garbage pit where they belong!

    “Traditionalists” having added nothing to, taken anything from, or changed anything contained in the doctrine and traditions handed down to us, are members of the ONE, HOLY CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLIC CHURCH.
    They also believe that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
    (2 Timothy 3:16-17) Note: ALL SCRIPTURE including the necessary sermons on HELL, the DECALOG, SIN, the CREED ETC.

    Afraid things are going to get much worse before they get better.

    April 5, 2016 at 7:46 pm
    • Fr Arthur

      Thank You for confirming I am a Traditionalist. I can tick all your boxes!

      April 5, 2016 at 7:55 pm
      • catholicmanoftheyear

        Fr Arthur,
        I love you. You’re the best comedy act we’ve had on here for years. Keep it up. We all need a laugh every now and then.

        April 5, 2016 at 8:34 pm
      • Summa

        Fr Arthur
        I would like to recommend a book to you. It’s called Humility of the Heart by Fr. Cajetan Mary da Bergamo.
        I think you should take some time to read this.

        April 5, 2016 at 9:01 pm
      • Fr Arthur

        Maybe when you have read it you can donate it too a Library.

        April 6, 2016 at 6:02 am
      • Summa

        Oh, I have read it, as I suffer from pride, it helped me a lot, and perhaps it might help you too.
        I”ve never known a priest to have so much time on their hands like you have to engage on a forum such as this. Well the traditional priests I know of don’t have this luxury anyway. Perhaps the novus ordo conciliar priests have though: i’m unsure of this.
        Again I recommend the book to you. But I suspect, you are not interested and are what we would call a ‘troll’.

        April 6, 2016 at 6:28 am
      • Fr Arthur

        I will resist commenting on the lifestyle of other priests, and what time they may have on their hands

        April 6, 2016 at 6:33 am
      • Summa

        Why? You comment extensively on everything else.

        April 6, 2016 at 1:26 pm
      • Fr Arthur

        I comment on the thread topic, and reply to comments. I don’t engage in calumny and character assassination or attack the College of Bishops, or Sacred Priesthood.

        April 6, 2016 at 4:59 pm
      • Athanasius


        It’s only a “sacred priesthood” when liberal clerics can’t answer serious questions about their adoption of non-Traditional, often condemned, innovations. If modern priests truly believed the priesthood to be sacred then they would dress like priests, act like priests (non worldly) and do everything possible to preserve the faithful from every dangerous practice, like Communion in the hand. So much for the post conciliar “sacred priesthood”. It is indeed sacred, but that’s not how many clergy today treat it. They’re mostly of a “Socialist priesthood” now.

        April 7, 2016 at 11:59 pm
      • editor


        Apparently, Fr Arthur is not in a parish but is seconded to an organisation, which is why he is more free to blog. He did ask me to let bloggers know this early on in his time here; he seems to consider it demeaning to stoop to imparting such information himself to bloggers, which is a pity.

        Anyway, Father Arthur aside, I don’t like it when bloggers comment on the time others spend contributing to the blog. I firmly believe the truth in the old adage, that if you want something done, ask a busy person.

        Some time ago, I got fed up with the same remark being directed at my unworthy self, so I took the time to type my schedule for that one day alone, in which I’d posted quite a few comments, had kept a number of appointments in town, lunched out with a friend, you name it. I timed it as closely as I could to real time and at the end, started talking to myself along the lines “you need a long holiday, girl”.

        So, if someone is efficient, can type reasonably quickly and is generous enough to devote a fair bit of time to the blog, I don’t think it’s anybody’s business to draw unkind conclusions from it. Athanasius,. for example, has a high powered job and travels the length and breadth of Scotland almost every day of the week, plus he has various domestic and other duties of care, yet he can produce lengthy and frequent comments that would put many a retired person to shame.

        End of sermon. We will now stand and sing Faith of our Fathers…

        April 6, 2016 at 5:00 pm
      • Christina

        Well he certanly puts this retired person to shame. And as for typing speed, I can achieve 2 wpm, provided that neither has more than 3 letters.😨

        April 6, 2016 at 10:06 pm
    • Athanasius


      You are absolutely spot on. It is high time this Modernist rubbish was kicked firmly into touch and the faith of our fathers restored in all its Traditional beauty.

      April 5, 2016 at 8:42 pm
  • Clotide

    Pope Benedict XVI declared in 2010, ‘He deceives himself who thinks that the prophetic mission of Fatima is concluded’.
    St. Padre Pio said,
    ‘When enough of the lay Catholic faithful do what the Mother of God asked at Fatima, then God will give the graces for the Pope and the bishops to make the Consecration of Russia to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart.’

    Nearly a hundred years have passed since the messages were given to the children of Fatima and we face the consequences of failing to heed the Virgin’s request:
    “if not, she (Russia)will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated.”

    Our Lady said to Sr. Lucia,
    “Make it known to My ministers that given that they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My request, they will follow him into misfortune. It will never be too late to
    have recourse to Jesus and Mary.

    The errors are spreading with fury with all these pernicious laws regarding SS marriage and now the news about the Satanism and even a statue of the satanic god Baal to be erected in Trafalgar square.
    The Pope needs to act fast as time is running out…

    April 5, 2016 at 7:49 pm
  • RCA Victor

    Getting back to the topic at hand….if this glib, sarcastic, shallow-minded columnist is a traditionalist, then God help the Church in the UK. To excuse and rationalize his reversion to the “Ordinary Form” by referring to the “warmth” of its celebration and the “welcome afterwards” is really to prove the point that Damian Thompson is utterly clueless about what matters at Mass, and why we are there. Which, of course, makes him the perfect apologist for the Conciliar Church in the UK.

    April 5, 2016 at 10:04 pm
  • Athanasius

    Believe it or not, I have just read the actual article introducing this thread. It is clear that Damian Thompson is only really interested in superficial Catholicism, there’s no depth there whatsoever. It’s all about how he feels, not about the integrity of the faith. He hasn’t moved forward, he’s gone backward.

    April 5, 2016 at 10:27 pm
  • Michelangelo

    I noticed this. He’s gone!

    April 6, 2016 at 5:14 pm
  • gabriel syme

    I did laugh at this bit:

    “Hearing the words ‘The Mass is Ended, go in peace’ = instant dopamine squirt”.

    How very true! The singularly best thing about the NO is leaving at the end!
    (Like a visit to the Dentist or something).

    I can relate to that immensely from my youth haha!

    I used to walk out on cloud-nine every week, thinking “Thank Heavens that’s over! What was he blabbering on about again? And that guitarist just gets worse” whilst looking forward to the sports pages and cooked breakfast to come.

    April 6, 2016 at 11:16 pm
    • Vianney

      There is web site that broadcasts live Masses from churches across Ireland and one thing I noticed was the number of churches were people clap at the end of Mass. I often wondered what the congregation were playing at but I now realise it’s relief that the whole thing is over.

      April 7, 2016 at 10:41 am
      • editor



        April 7, 2016 at 4:54 pm
  • RCA Victor

    This is a reply to Fr. Arthur’s post quoting excerpts from a Vatican document of 2000 from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Please supply a name and a link to the document you quote, Father.

    And this from the “Blue Army” article I linked, to which you replied:

    …I conclude that Fatima is not “just” a private revelation. It is a public, prophetic revelation given to the world by the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. It is not to be confused with the “Revelation” we refer to as contained in the “Deposit of the Faith,” which ended with the death of the last Apostle. But public, prophetic revelation ought not to be despised or lightly discarded. The Virgin Mary’s prophecies were confirmed by a public miracle, approved by the Church and authenticated by every Pope since 1917. In addition, predictions made at Fatima have come to pass.

    So, while belief in the Message of Fatima may not strictly be required of Catholics as an article of faith, one would be very foolish to disregard such an obviously authentic message from Heaven

    April 7, 2016 at 5:26 pm
  • Spiritus


    “the humanist mysteries” LOL!

    April 7, 2016 at 10:56 pm
  • Spiritus

    Fr Arthur says:
    April 6, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    “The Missal says that Holy Communion under both kinds is a more perfect sign: “Holy Communion has a fuller form as a sign when it is distributed under both kinds.”

    Statement cannot go uncorrected.

    This sentiment goes against the Faith and the accepted doctrine that Our Lord is FULLY present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in even the the smallest and most minute particle of the Sacred Host and also is FULLY present in the smallest drop of the precious blood. Hence the reason that the Sacred Linens used on the chalice after THE PRIEST’S communion are thoroughly rinsed and left in the Sacrarium where any trace of the Precious Blood will enter directly into the earth.

    To re-iterate; Our Lord is FULLY present in the Sacred Host alone, and FULLY present in the Precious Blood alone. Communion under both species is a recent innovation and an imitation of Protestant practice.

    April 7, 2016 at 11:10 pm
  • Spiritus

    Hopefully the link below will open up an article from “The Latin Mass” magazine explaining the actions of the Traditional Mass to those first time attendees who may not be familiar with it. Note the paragraph on communion under both species. I think it’s the third or fourth paragraph.

    April 7, 2016 at 11:33 pm
  • Spiritus

    It’s actually in the seventh paragraph!

    April 7, 2016 at 11:34 pm

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: