Peter Hitchens On Loss of Our Liberty – A Lonely, Sane Voice in the Madness … But Is He Wrong?

Peter Hitchens On Loss of Our Liberty – A Lonely, Sane Voice in the Madness … But Is He Wrong?


Peter is considered a rebel by his peers in the media.  He is certainly a voice crying in the wilderness.   

Is his voice one with which you find yourself agreeing?  Or are you with the majority who believe (according to the polls and anecdotal evidence) that the Government measures are necessary – and a good thing? 

And what about his comments regarding social pressure e.g.  to wear face masks or be prohibited from entering shops? Will you continue to obey the State or will you join Peter and rebel? 

What about his predictions of a financially painful future, where we will all – rich and not so well off – be poorer, in order to pay for these measures? 

His remarks about those who were threatening to take the Government to court over Brexit but are not saying a word about the Government crackdown on our civil liberties now, resonated with me – what about you?  As did his rebuke to the churchmen who disappeared off the scene faster than the cowardly apostles in that first Holy Week. 

Peter admits that everything he says about this situation may be wrong – what do  you think: IS he wrong? 

Comments (75)

  • John Rayner

    Peter Hitchens has long been a voice of sanity. He is one of those who dabbled with Communism and then came to his senses. It is a great pity that he did not quite sort out his brother Christopher before his untimely demise.

    April 19, 2020 at 12:32 am
    • Fidelis

      John Rayner,

      I didn’t know that Peter Hitchens had dabbled with Communism – that’s very surprising. I’m very glad that he came to his senses.

      About his brother – the least said, the soonest mended. He died in the most terrible state, as far as we can tell.

      April 19, 2020 at 2:45 pm
    • mary

      I am a great admirer of Peter Hitchens. He came out over past years with unorthodox views and got much abuse for it; then a decade later was proved right. As a Brexit campaigner 10 years ago, I once got to speak to him on the phone and found him very informative approachable and helpful.
      Here is a powerful recent article which doesn’t get read much since it is in a magazine most haven’t heard of, not in his usual mailonsunday article.

      October 10, 2020 at 4:47 pm
      • mary

        PS the photo at top of article made me feel sick to the stomach and I couldn’t sleep for several nights.

        October 10, 2020 at 4:50 pm
  • editor


    A reminder that there are links to live-stream Masses in the UK and USA in the introduction to the Holy Week thread – link here for ease of reference

    April 19, 2020 at 8:58 am
  • editor

    When I returned to normal viewing after Mass from St Michael’s school, I noticed this short conversation with some very insightful comments about the attack on our religious liberty, which I’m confident will be of interest in the context of this discussion:

    April 19, 2020 at 10:24 am
    • Athanasius


      I have noted that the clergy are not saying too much about the suppression of our religious liberty, all having just caved in to the official narrative. The SSPX priest celebrating Mass in Florida today wasn’t holding back though, he took a bit of a swipe at the suppression in places despite the fact that America is nowhere near as totalitarian and atheistic as this country. It would have been comforting to have had at least one clerical dissenting voice in the face of locked churches during this crisis, but it seems that laymen have been more forthright about that than the ordained. Very sad!

      One thing that puzzled me about the Florida Mass today was that it was sung. I always understood that Low Sunday, in contrast to Easter Sunday, was supposed to be a low Mass. I’ll need to research that one.

      April 19, 2020 at 4:09 pm
      • editor


        I participated in the Mass from St Michael’s School today and it was a sung Mass as well. I do miss the peace and simplicity of the low Mass,but I’ve had to resign myself. For now. As one elderly man said to me yesterday during our permitted walk, when we dared to break cover and briefly discuss the lockdown (he, like moi, is among the minority of objectors) – “Ye cannae fight the wuuurrld, hen…” 😀 I had to agree!

        God will send us help, soon enough. So, hang in there!

        April 19, 2020 at 4:41 pm
      • Athanasius


        I suppose you’re right, but the sung Mass would be far more attractive to the faithful if those long, drawn out monastic ooh’s and aah’s in the Collect and Gradual could be shortened using the simple tone, especially where the choir is not, how shall I put it, the most proficient.

        Oh well, at least that elderly man you spoke with was able to impart some age-acquired wisdom, even if he did extend his uu’s a little! I also miss the peace and simplicity of the low Mass.

        April 19, 2020 at 5:42 pm
      • Presbyter Catholica


        Very interesting comments about today’s Liturgy. May I be of assistance?

        1. Today is in formally known as “Low Sunday”. The origins of this term are unknown and subject to mere speculation. There is no requirement to have a Low Mass on this Sunday.

        2. The choir do not sing the “Collect” – I think you mean the “Introit”. However, you are correct in saying that should the choir be somewhat limited, they should sing from the Fr Rossini propers, as opposed to the Gregorian propers which are substantially more difficult.

        Regarding the terminology of a Sung Mass – a “Missa Cantata is a Sung Mass without additional ministers and a “High Mass” generally denotes a Mass with Deacon and Subdeacon. However, in the US any Sung Mass is sometimes called a “High Mass”, whilst a Sung Mass with additional ministers is sometimes called a “Solemn High Mass”.

        April 19, 2020 at 6:44 pm
      • Athanasius

        Presbyter Catholica

        Many thanks for your kind repsonse, and the correction. I meant to write Introit but wrote Collect, a common problem associated with sleep deprivation. It’s a long story but this furlough business is driving me to insomnia!

        I know that the Missa Cantata is not the same as High Mass, the latter requiring deacon and subdeacon, I didn’t know about the Fr. Rossini propers, so thank you for that nugget.

        I think a lot of people are clearly confused about the distinction between a High Mass, a Missa Cantata and a sung Mass without incense.

        For me, the only form of sung Mass that is solidly rooted in Tradition is the Solemn High Mass. There are issues with the others, not least that the priest sits while the choir leads the Gloria, Creed, etc., which, for me, effectively replaces the priest with the laity in the leading of the prayers of the Mass. Can you see what I mean by this?

        Maybe it’s a debate for another time, though, one that might also touch on the teaching of many Traditonal Popes on the absolute necessity of well trained choirs and perfect singing to protect the integrity of the Holy Sacrifice.

        Many thanks again for your input.

        April 19, 2020 at 9:58 pm
      • Presbyter Catholica

        Dear Athanasius,

        I am a proponent of Sung Masses, but I think the quiet simplicity of the Low Mass has a beauty of its own.

        April 20, 2020 at 12:07 pm
      • RCAVictor

        Presbyter Catholica,

        I’m an organist in a traditional parish which uses mostly the Rossini Propers, due to an inexperienced (I’m being as kind as I can) choir. I don’t like them at all, since the text and music are on opposite ends of the page, the syllabification is frequently poor, and the chord progressions are also sometimes poorly chosen.

        Thanks be to God we now have a cantor who is able to sing at least the full Introits and Communions, so I only have to struggle through the Graduals and Offertories.

        Which brings me to another subject: my experience with tradition in these parts of the US of A leads me to conclude that skilled musicians and good music-making are rare in traditional parishes. In fact, the best music programs around here are in the C of E churches.

        Have you found that to be true where you are?

        April 19, 2020 at 11:54 pm
      • Presbyter Catholica

        Dear RCA Victor ,

        Yes, I have indeed found that to be true. Regarding the Fr Rossini propers, I also agree with you. They require a bit of adaptation. I also recommend changing the accompaniment and lowering the tone.

        April 20, 2020 at 12:06 pm
      • RCAVictor


        I think we’ve discussed that before regarding sung Masses, but I still don’t know what to call them (High or Low or something else, or just “sung”). This morning our live-streamed Mass was a sung Mass, 1 cantor, 2 servers, 6 candles lit instead of 2, no incense, sung Ordinary, Credo and Propers, no St. Michael Prayer after Mass.

        Did we ever decide what to call this, if not “sung Mass”? I can’t remember.

        April 19, 2020 at 6:17 pm
      • Athanasius

        RCA Victor

        My research on the emergence of these sung low Masses, with or without incense, suggests they should simply be called liturgical innovations, or maybe ‘hybrid’ Masses. The only one that seems to be deeply rooted in Tradition is the Solemn High Mass with deacon and subdeacon, though I’m open to correction on that.

        April 19, 2020 at 10:04 pm
      • Presbyter Catholica

        Dear Athanasius,

        The Solemn High Mass is rooted in Tradition. The Missa Cantata became popular in the early 19th century.

        However, it may interest you to know that the Low Mass didn’t really exist until the late Middle Ages. Even then, they were only really offered in monasteries, or religious houses with a large number of priests. It was never intended to be the main Sunday Mass in parishes.

        There is, may I add, a school of thought that says the extended use of Low Mass in parishes was a Modernist innovation that paved the way for the Mass of Paul VI.

        April 20, 2020 at 7:43 am
      • Presbyter Catholica

        Dear editor,

        Thank you for that very thoughtful comment. I would begin by saying that I originally stated there was a school of thought that suggests the Low Mass was a precursor to the Mass of Paul VI. I don’t necessarily believe that and I would agree with your observation that the Dialogue Mass was indeed a prelude to the New Missal of 1969.

        There is, however, a school of thought that the Low Mass made it easier for the dialogue Mass, which in turn made it easier for the New Missal. This is based on a comparison with the Byzantine Rite, which has never been altered. There’s no such thing as a “Low” Byzantine Divine Liturgy. It’s always sung. It’s inconceivable that the Byzantine Liturgy will ever be reformed due to the need for singing.

        It is a bit of a leap to suggest that your wonderful parish priest was actually Modernist. I would say that the Low Mass had become the norm for parish celebrations and this made it easier to introduce the changes of the 1950s and 1960s.

        It’s also important to note that the Missa Cantata appeared in liturgical documents around about the 1800s, but this doesn’t mean it was created then. My apologies if I didn’t make that clear.

        I think what is beyond any reasonable doubt is that, based on Tradition, Sung Mass should be the norm. This has been allowed to slide since the Middle Ages. It’s become a sort of new normal.

        It’s difficult for the schola these days because Sung Masses, in generalis, are few and far between. I would hazard a guess that if every Sunday Mass was sung and scholas used the Fr Rossini propers, the standard would improve quite quickly.

        April 20, 2020 at 12:01 pm
      • Athanasius

        Presbyter Catholica

        You will know that the Traditions of Holy Mother Church have developed and expanded organically throughout the centuries as regards both doctrine and liturgy, growing so to speak like a child into an adult, or, to use a better analogy, like the mustard seed into the great tree.

        The Low Mass then, even if it was only expanded for general use in the Middle Ages, is part of that Traditional development. There was nothing novel in the Low Mass that placed the integrity of the Sacrifice at risk, unlike the dangerous and Protestant-leaning New Mass of 1969 which has almost universally destroyed the faith in just 60 years.

        What interests me most about this is that those who argue for a return of the sung Mass, which they say was the norm until the Middle Ages, appear to fall into that error described by Pius XII in Mediator Dei as Antiquarianism.

        It is precisely this hankering to return to more ancient customs that caused the Modernists to introduce Communion in the hand, table instead of altar, removal of black from liturgical vestments, etc. In other words, they cut down the great tree to go back to the mustard seed.

        While those who push for a return to the pre-Middle Ages custom of monastic singing as the universal norm for Mass may not be risking the integrity of the Sacrifice, indeed I believe they genuinely want to enhance it, they nevertheless fall into exactly the same error of Antiquarianism as the Modernists by insinuating that the Church went liturgically wrong somewhere down the line, a deviation that can only be corrected by a return to more ancient forms.

        As the Church developed and spread throughout the world it was simply neither possible nor practical to have Solemn sung Masses in every parish, given the number of Masses in each parish on Sundays, not to mention weekdays.

        Before Vatican II, in the more major towns and cities, people were queing outside the chapels waiting for the Mass to end so that they could get inside for the next Mass, that’s how healthy the Church was before the Council, but I digress. Suffice it to say sung Masses were not abolished, they were merely relegated to the last Mass of the day when more time was available to celebrate them correct. In general, though, there was always a Solemn High Mass whenever a bishop visited the parish.

        The idea that we can suddenly all switch back in little congregations to the Church’s monastic past, and at a time when the Church is collapsing all over the world, faith and zeal having largely dissipated in our apostate times, is ludicrous from my point of view.

        I know the pre-Vatican II Popes, certainly for the best part of a century, greatly desired to see the Gregorian chant restored to some extent to parishes, though I think today they would be more keen just to save the Mass in its Low form from the onslaught of the Modernist vernacular replacement. Still, they had this desire which they believed would enhance the faith of the people.

        What is largely ignored by those who latch on to this Papal teaching today, is the unilateral insistence of these Popes that any such restoration of Gregorian chant must be of the highest quality if the integrity of the Holy Sacrifice is to be maintained and the hearts of the people lifted to divine things. Hence, they were absolutely clear in their teaching about musical training and properly formed choirs, admonishing priests that should there be the remotest possibility of a badly sung Mass then it must not be sung.

        I have personally heard some horrendously bad sung Masses in my time, an experience that has utterly set me against Gregorian singing unless supervised and sung by trained musicians, such as the beautiful quartet I heard in the Jesu et Maria chapel in Rome, a truly sublime example that vindicated the wisdom of the afrementioned Popes.

        All that aside, though, it is not in our culture now to hear our Masses sung with the kind of regularity we’re hearing, which raises another serious question about suppressing Catholic culture in order to satisfy personal taste, as is the case in some places.

        The bottom line is that any true restoration of sung Masses is going to have to wait until health returns to the Church. We need a holy and wise Church hierarchy to guide such a restoration if it is to benefit both the Mass and the faithful. Amateur attempts at this without guidance and correction from on high will, as my many bad experiences over the years testify, do immense harm.

        April 20, 2020 at 1:34 pm
      • Presbyter Catholica

        Dear Athanasius,

        I was taught that antiquarianism is to make significant changes/innovations to the Liturgy and furniture of a church in order to hanker after a supposed practice of the EARLY church. I’ve never read anywhere that it is a restoration of what was, and remains to this day, a legitimate liturgical practice. Both forms of Mass, Sung and Low, are legitimate so this cannot be antiquarian.

        Catholic culture doesn’t work either. Catholic culture is more concerned with pious customs. This is more to do with Catholic practice, rather than culture. It is inconceivable for Low Mass to be cited as Catholic culture.

        As I said previously, it’s not difficult to sing the Mass per se. It’s become difficult because we have had so few Sung Masses for decades. Neither are professional musicians required. A competent organist and enthusiastic singers who are given the opportunity to sing Mass regularly, weekly even, using appropriate material, are more than capable of singing the Mass well.

        April 20, 2020 at 1:48 pm
      • Athanasius

        Presbyter Catholics

        I know you have other duties to attend to so please don’t think you have to answer this immediately. There’s plenty of time for the discussion to continue later.

        In the meantime, here are my thoughts in response to what you have written above.

        Your definition of Antiquarianism is generally correct, except that sometimes the customs hankered after by modernist innovators are not “supposed” but, in fact, were present in early Christianity.

        For example, Communion in the hand was a custom in the Church up to the 5th century, if memory serves, but was outlawed by the Church as the numbers of priests grew along with the realisation that this practice had, in some places, led to indifference and even sacrilege. Hence, it was forbidden and the more reverent practice of receiving on the tongue was introduced.

        Now the earlier practice of Catholics, before abuses set in, was entirely different from that introduced by the Modernists after Vatican II, they having latched on to the Protestant Reformation model of Communion in the hand rather than the early Catholic method which was wholly different, the innovators intentions being to undermine belief in the Real Presence.

        So Antiquarianism it seems to me is more dangerous when there is a genuine earlier source in Tradition for the practices being re-introduced.

        That’s what I was getting at with regard to what I would call a fanaticism with restoring the sung Mass from the Middle Ages.

        It’s not that the sung Mass is in itself a danger to the integrity of the Holy Sacrifice or the faith of the people, in fact the contrary is true whenever this form of Mass is celebrated as the Popes intended it should be.

        Rather, it is the determination on the part of some clergy to enforce sung Masses while ignoring the very clear and authoritative instructions of many Popes on the requirements and preparation necessary to protect the integrity of the Sacrifice and exault the hearts of the faithful.

        If you read the various instructions of these pre-Vatican II Popes, as I have, they are most explicit in their insistence on proper musical formation and preparation, which is repeated over and over again. What you will not find in any of their writings is any indication that near enough is good enough, quite the contrary.

        As I stated earlier, I have personal long experience of both kinds of sung Masses; those adequately prepared and sung as per Papal instruction, and those hashed through by priests who are are far more negligent in their duty to ensure the integrity of the Sacrifice while satisfying their personal inclination for Gregorian chant.

        Yes, this latter scandal happens, often, and it does immense spiritual damage to the faithful who have to listen to it, equal, I would say, to the Novus Ordo. There is nothing worse in this world than a sung Mass sung badly.

        This brings me your claim that sung Masses are more difficult because they haven’t been sung for decades.

        I see your reasoning but I disagree with it. Traditional Catholic chapels have had almost five decades to get this right, yet so many, by indifference more than anything else, are still getting it badly wrong.

        That having been said, prior to Vatican II sung Masses for most Catholics were a rarity, the norm being Low Mass for obvious practical reasons in busy parishes. Hence, any deprivation in resources for singing Mass as it should be sung goes back a lot further than just a few decades. What many Traditional priests are trying to impose on Catholics today with their idea of a sung Mass norm is absolutely at odds with what most experienced in parish life prior to the Council, and in fact for hundreds of years before that. It’s a new phenomenon not driven by the hierarchy of the Church, as such seroius liturgical revolutions must, but by priests who have little or no training in parochial life.

        This brings me to Catholic culture, or, as you referred to it, Catholic custom.

        Whatever we call it, the Church has always been very respectful of, and sensitive to, national and regional customs, provided such customs are not at odds with the faith. The sung Mass zealots of today, on the contrary, simply sweep these aside in their eagerness to restore the Church to the monastic rituals of the Middle Ages, a task for which they are neither qualified nor mandated by God.

        Hence, we have elderly people coming to Traditional Mass chapels looking essentially for what they had before the Council and finding instead something from the Middle Ages, badly performed, that they have difficulty coming to terms with.

        I have heard it so many times, people complaining about bad singing or saying they don’t recognise this as remotely like their former parish lives. It’s not the sung Mass, as I say, but the way it’s imposed too often on th efaithful and badly done.

        Many priests need to take a good look at themselves before God and ask if their fixation with sung Masses at this time in history is more to do with personal inclination than any genuine desire to glorify the Mass and sanctify the faithful. I mean, how some priests can sit through some of the sung Masses I’ve sat through, cringing in my pew, and yet not be moved to stop or improve them going forward, I think answers the question difinitively.

        Enough said, this comment has run on to much already. Let’s hope we see a return to mostly Low Masses in our chapels interpsersed with an occasional beautifully prepared and sung Solemn High Mass, just as it was for hundreds of years in our parishes before Vatican II. It sufficed then to sanctify many saints and martyrs, it will suffice again.

        April 20, 2020 at 4:14 pm
      • Lily


        I read somewhere that although Communion in the hand was allowed in the early centuries, it was never actually given on the hand to everyone, it was only allowed in times of persecution or to hermits living in the desert, that sort of thing. It was never allowed to everyone.

        April 20, 2020 at 6:39 pm
      • Athanasius


        Sorry for the delay in answering, I missed your comment from earlier.

        Communion in the hand was very common in the early Church, for about the first 4 centuries.

        As far as I recall it was available to all Catholics, though the method of preparation and reception was vastly different to the abuse our bishops have introduced into the Church from Protestant tradition.

        The hands had to be washed both before and after reception. The right hand alone was used to receive Holy Communion, never the left hand and never using fingers. The communicant inclined the head and received directly from the plam of the hand. In the case of women, a white cloth was placed over the right hand prior to the priest placing the sacred host in it. I have no idea of the significance of the white cloth for women but I’m perfectly sure it does not originate in misogyny!

        As the persecutions ended allowing for the expansion of the Church and the ordination of many more priests, especially after the conversion of Constantine, reports of abuses of the blessed Sacrament became more common.

        The Church, understanding the the sacredness of the Blessed Sacrament, determined therefore that a safer and more reverent practice should be adopted, that of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue while kneeling. It took a while for the new norm to become fully established (old habits die hard!), but by the 5th century it was pretty much universal with severe penalties in place for those clinging on to the old method, now forbidden.

        I would direct you to Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s excellent book on this subject. He is an expert in Patristics and so his work is very well documented, not to mention irrefutable. I think its entitled “Dominus Est, It is the Lord”. A fantastic and timely bulwark against the Modernist abusers of the Blessed Sacrament.

        April 21, 2020 at 12:06 am
      • Athanasius

        Presbyter Catholica

        If the Low Mass was being celebrated in the Middle Ages then I think it safe to say it’s not an innovation of the Modernists. That “school of thought” you speak of is probably the French school of thought. The French are noisier, and dare I say more innovative, than the rest of us when it comes to the liturgy, seconded only by the Germans.

        Actually, to be precise, the first low Mass took place in the Upper Room on Holy Thursday and again on the first Calvary on Good Friday, so it precedes all the singing stuff.

        April 20, 2020 at 12:26 pm
      • Presbyter Catholica

        Dear Athanasius,

        You will not find anything in my comments that says the Low Mass is a Modernist innovation. I can categorically state that I’ve never written that and I don’t believe that.

        However, the widespread use of the Low Mass, when it’s designed to be mainly for priests offering private Masses, made it easier for Modernist innovation. There’s an important difference.

        As for the Last Supper being a Low Mass, that’s a similar argument used by the Modernists to justify a lot of things. It’s actually the heresy of antiquarianism that was condemned by Pope Pius XII.

        April 20, 2020 at 12:38 pm
      • Athanasius

        Presbyter Catholica

        I don’t think it is possible to distinguish between saying that the Low Mass was a Modernist innovation in its time and saying that the Low Mass somehow facilitated the Modernist leap to the New Mass. Both statements lead to the same conclusion, which is that the Low Mass of the Middle Ages led to the Modernist New Mass.

        The imprtant difference you speak of actually makes no difference if the final outcome is what we see today in every parish. I stand open to correction if you think my reasoning is false, but that’s how I read your statement.

        As for the Last Supper and Calvary, the point I was making is that the Low Mass can be shown to have its origin in Tradition all the way back to Our Lord’s own time on earth.

        The dangerous error of Antiquarianism consists in the so-called restoration of real or supposed customs from the early Church that detract from the faith and norms developed organically over many centuries up to our time. Such things, as I cited before, as Communion in the hand, table instead of altar, etc. The Low Mass, which has been in consistent use Traditionally, even the universal norm for so many centuries, hardly falls into that category, yet it can be said to go back as far as the Upper room and Calvary, pre-existing the sung Mass in antiquity. I’m sure you see what I’m getting at.

        April 20, 2020 at 1:58 pm
      • Presbyter Catholica

        Dear Athanasius ,

        It depends how you define Traditionally. The Low Mass was very rare for over 1000 years! For the Christian millennium, most Catholics attended Sung Masses.

        I now have some duties to attend to and may not be able to respond until the morning. God bless you.

        April 20, 2020 at 2:06 pm
      • Athanasius

        Presbyter Catholica

        I define Traditional as any established norm that is the product of organic development in the Church and which can be shown to have sanctified countless saints and martyrs by its use.

        I won’t say more than this given your schedule. God bless you too.

        April 20, 2020 at 2:20 pm
      • editor

        RCA Victor,

        I just have to post this – as soon as I saw it, I thought of you…×683.jpg

        April 20, 2020 at 12:14 am
      • RCAVictor


        Brilliant! And when I go to the grocery store, I always take this with me:

        April 20, 2020 at 12:53 am
  • Josephine

    Thank goodness for Peter Hitchens, he is definitely a lone voice in this madness. No, I don’t think his reading of the situation is wrong, I think he’s totally right.

    I was also interested in the Jim Jordan clip – he is right to point out the contradiction between the release of prisoners from jail while keeping the rest of us prisoners in our homes, and, for goodness sake, the criminalising of people for going to Church! I can’t believe that there is still no bishop or priest speaking out in the UK.

    The police in the UK are sometimes very heavy handed, as this report shows. There is a clip of the confrontation between the policeman and the young man, but I need to warn CT bloggers that the F word is used (by the police officer!) at one point.

    In a way I’m sorry for the police who are just following orders from on high, and this one seems to be under stress, so I’m not posting this to condemn the officer, but it is just another example of how these government measures are definitely OTT.

    April 19, 2020 at 11:21 am
  • Patrick Langan

    Peter Hitchens opinion on this current Covod crisis and the general crisis of our society is clear and to me an obvious take on the reality we find ourselves in today. The role of our church in this lemming like conformity is frightening and truly worrying. Is it time to initiate an underground church? Was Benedict XVI correct in his vision of a small church of the catacombs?

    April 19, 2020 at 12:02 pm
    • Elizabeth

      Very interesting and engaging interview.. I find myself in agreement with a lot of what he says particularly his warning about the likelihood of huge economic problems to come which must be almost inevitable. But also I am increasingly angry that we are being denied access to our churches. There seems to be little recognition of the importance in our spiritual lives of visits to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament especially in times of national anxiety. My beloved priest uncle died during Holy Week at the Catholic care home where he had lived for many years. Right in the middle of this home is a beautiful chapel where he used to say Mass each morning until he became too frail. We were shocked to learn that his funeral and requiem could not be held there and that the sisters who run the home are not allowed to go in the chapel! Or even just stand by an open door while the requiem was said. Lunacy. We are told he will have a big memorial Mass later at the cathedral.
      But why is it that we can go into supermarkets and off licences but cannot sit quietly in an empty church? Why are the priests not making a huge fuss about this? Is this just obedience to the bishop or is it symptomatic of a lessening in faith in the Real Presence that allows them to be compliant in what I feel is outrageous? A priest friend told me there is real fear that the churches will struggle to attract congregations in the future since people will have lost the habit of going to Sunday Mass. well should we be surprised if the message seems to be that Mass is easily managed without?

      April 19, 2020 at 12:49 pm
      • Fidelis


        I’m completely of the same mind as you about the abandonment of our shepherds. It beggars belief.

        At the beginning, I thought, well, it’s only for three weeks so I thought the clergy were just not wanting to create a fuss for the sake of three Sundays (without counting weekday Masses). But as soon as it became clear that we are in this for the long haul, they should have said they would be resuming church openings with the necessary social distancing in place. At the very least, as you say, they could say they were opening the churches for private visits.

        That’s very sad about your priest uncle, may he rest in peace. It’s also proof that things are going too far; if there’s a chapel in the Home, there was no excuse not to allow a requiem Mass. How very sad, and especially for a priest. I’m remembering his soul in my prayers, RIP.

        My condolences to you, as well.

        April 19, 2020 at 2:50 pm
      • Lily


        That’s is exactly what I was thinking at the start of this lockdown – it’s only for a few weeks. Now it’s indefinite. I’m shocked that no priest or bishop in the UK has spoken out to say the churches will open now that there has been an extension.

        I have to say, I am very impressed with Peter Hitchens – he is definitely a lone voice and a sane one in this madness. I haven’t seen him on any news programme – it’s obvious that nobody is being allowed to say a word against what is going on. I haven’t been buying papers, but I wonder if they are any better. Probably not, because everybody seems to be toeing the line – except Peter Hitchens. More power to his elbow.

        April 20, 2020 at 6:47 pm
      • Athanasius


        I think Peter Hitchins touched on this issue about closing churches, suggesting that a good many people will look back on it as an abandonment by their shepherds when they were most needed. He has a very good point, bearing in mind that our bishops were closing chapels even before the government mandated it. Faithless men, all of them. They have shown their true colours, men of the world not of God, hiding under the tables for fear of catching the virus. In Italy at least there have been some brave priests who have looked after their faithful, some of them sacrificing their lives to do so. What a contrast with the UK!

        If you ask me, though, our anti-God secular state has deliberately used the crisis to shut the churches. There’s no other explanation since most are of a size that reasonable precaution would have sufficed. This is the sinister side to the crisis which I’m certain must have pleased Beijing enormously!

        April 19, 2020 at 4:03 pm
    • Athanasius

      Patrick Langan

      The problem with the underground church scenario is that there does not appear to be a single priest in the UK prepared to organise it, they’ve all just submitted to government orders.

      Actually, they didn’t have to do drastic things like form an underground church, all they had to do was use their initiative to come up with ways of having Mass where social distancing, etc., were observed. But no, it was complete and unilateral submission to a government suppression of religious freedom without so much as a whisper of objection. Shows how easily an atheistic government can take everything away in a country where the priests are so compliant, unlike the martyrs.

      It is right that we all obey the law, but when the law becomes a dictator against religion, clearly discriminating against it as non essential, then we really do need to make our voices heard.

      April 19, 2020 at 4:28 pm
  • Athanasius

    Peter Hitchins is a very intelligent and erudite man, as honest and forthright as they come in his opinions, one I greatly respect. He is of course absolutely right in his observations, though I suspect a little overly pessimistic about the economic impact this totalitarian shutdown will have on us. If the government moves now to reverse its calamitous decision to shut the country down then I feel we could recover fairly quickly. The worst thing that can happen to any nation in a crisis like this is to let science “experts” influence policy the way these UCL experts have with their prophecies of doom that 500,000 in the UK would die unless the government took away all freedoms and shut down the entire economy. That Boris Johnson and his Cabinet fell for that apocalyptic scenario is testimony that they are not really fit to lead. We needed a strong Prime Minister to order prudential measures and we got one who fell for the mass hysteria and has consequently placed our established freedoms and economy at grave risk of collapse. Wrong leader at the wrong time!

    April 19, 2020 at 4:18 pm
    • RCAVictor


      Just to try to get to the [scary] bottom line, I think these panic-promoters all belong to, or are at least under the sway of, the cabal of Moloch-worshipers and pedophiles that are accelerating their stated goal for the reduction of the world’s population to 500 million. That’s what’s behind the ceaseless promotion of homosexuality, abortion, contraception and universal vaccination: reduce the earth’s population.

      (I wonder how many of them are listed on Jeffrey Epstein’s flight logs?)

      No doubt that sounds more than weird to the average man in the pew, but sifting through public domain information will confirm it, no matter how bizarre it may seem at first. It will also help to remind people that Lucifer is not only the essence of pride, but also the essence of malice toward the human race, the holiest members of which have taken his place, and the places of his fellow demons, in Heaven.

      I can’t quite grasp how crashing the global economy will abet this goal, though, unless it creates mass desperation for government intervention and “cure” for what is actually a form of flu – and far from the deadliest form, no less. And/or, yet another opportunity to scoop up assets at bargain-basement prices.

      Gullible Masses: “Save us, O Government!”
      Government: “Just roll up your sleeve and take this vaccine! Everything will be peachy, and you can go back to work! Oh, and don’t forget to wear your mask!”

      April 19, 2020 at 5:57 pm
  • RCAVictor

    Just to note the supreme irony in today’s (Low Sunday) Gospel:

    “At that time, when it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together for fear of the Jews, Jesus came, and stood in the midst and said to them: Peace be to you.”

    And here we are with the doors of all the churches shut, not gathered in church but gathered in our homes, for fear of THE VIRUS.

    But Our Lord still comes, still through locked doors, through spiritual communion, with the same message…

    April 19, 2020 at 4:35 pm
    • Athanasius

      RCA Victor

      A very profound observation indeed!

      April 19, 2020 at 5:14 pm
  • Theresa Rose


    I agree with you about Peter Hitchins, he is right in his observations.

    This article from Lifesitenews says that the Bishop of Las Cruces, New Mexico has lifted the ban on Public Masses, “stating that priests are depriving the faithful of nourishment of the Eucharist”

    April 19, 2020 at 5:27 pm
    • RCAVictor

      Theresa Rose,

      How about that Bishop’s name: Baldacchino! The canopy over the altar! This prelate is protecting Our Lord in the Eucharist, and protecting the Faith!

      April 19, 2020 at 6:22 pm
  • Patrick Healy

    Athanasius (this stupid “sell” checker calls you Uthanisia),

    Do you know your problem? You are overflowing with the milk of human kindness – certainly in regards to your analysis of our PM Boris Corbyn or as Mr Hichins called him Al Jonson (presumably minus the boot polish). In the long list of useless Prime Ministers Boris is right up there in the Eurovision top ten.

    All joking apart he (Hichins) does get to the kernel of the problem.
    It has been demonstrated time and time again that the Sheeple are willing to be led to the slaughter.
    The biggest triumph of satan, is his ability to convince our hedonistic society that he does not exist.
    Some weeks ago when I saw a bloke called Ferguson from some pyrotechnic in London give the government a computer model of the projections for deaths from the Wuhan Flu (or Flu Manchu as I call it,) were based on similar unprovable figures similar to those telling our Pope the world would fry in 10 or 20 years unless we ceased producing plant food, I said to myself – hang on a cotton pickin minit –
    I was moved to write the following ditty.
    Now I must warn RCAVictor, to not get too excited, but these models are computer models I refer to.


    Can we respect the modellers
    Who can’t forecast the recent past,
    Are they deluded toddlers
    Without knowledge to forecast;
    Or are they more malevolent
    Out to destroy the world we know,
    With Marxists now more prevalent
    Who trade their souls for quid pro quo.

    We have seen the global warmists
    Whose every forecast has been wrong,
    Based on computer modelling
    The Club of Rome and Maurice Strong;
    Not any forecast has been right
    It was never based on science,
    Just follow where the money goes
    Corrupt government alliance.

    Now here’s another modeller
    Whose advice is to shut us down,
    We’re going to die from Wuhan flu
    In every city and each town;
    But who are those WHO will prosper
    When we recover from this doom,
    Will it be the West who will revest
    Or see an Oriental boom.

    April 19, 2020 at 5:43 pm
    • RCAVictor April 19, 2020 at 6:04 pm
    • Athanasius

      Patrick Healy

      I suspect your “sell” checker is the New World Order version with in-built cultural Marxist psychology tool!

      Don’t get me started on the Science “experts”, the prophets of doom in their white coats whose UCL receives financial backing from vaccination freak Bill Gates. It’s easy to see why they produce the models they do, it means more funding for them while their apocalyptic predictions means economic meltdown for the rest of us. And this government led by “Al Johnson”. I really thought there were some seriously sound people running the country until I learned that the science “experts” have taken control of policy. Maybe Boris should do the decent thing and hand the keys to Number 10 over to UCL. Nigel Farage reckons he had just about done that with Beijing anyway when he included Huawei in the 5G network.

      Anyway, here’s my own little rhyme:

      In Beijing style they’ve locked us in like animals in pens, no freedom now to live our lives beyond the garden fence.

      The “experts” say it must be done, their models have foretold, unless they shut the country down great horrors will unfold.

      Half a million dead perhaps, it could be even more, but should that number fall far short well, hey, whose keeping score!

      The people are all terrified, the narrative has worked, they nod approval to their fate and liberty’s usurped.

      Churchmen more than others should have stood their ground, they’ve God to serve and souls to save yet no one made a sound.

      At Easter when the mitred ones could show how faith can conquer, instead were preaching to a screen from deep inside their bunker.

      With chapels locked and nation closed I cannot state it finer, this virus and this lockdown bear the hallmark “made in China”.

      April 20, 2020 at 12:26 am
  • Liam Jenkinson

    From Liam Jenkinson,
    Please see “John Magufuli” on Wikipedia. The president said about not closing Churches; “That’s where there is true healing. Corona is the devil and it cannot survive in the body of Christ”.

    April 19, 2020 at 9:45 pm
  • Helen

    “But why is it that we can go into supermarkets and off licences but cannot sit quietly in an empty church? Why are the priests not making a huge fuss about this? Is this just obedience to the bishop or is it symptomatic of a lessening in faith in the Real Presence that allows them to be compliant in what I feel is outrageous? A priest friend told me there is real fear that the churches will struggle to attract congregations in the future since people will have lost the habit of going to Sunday Mass. well should we be surprised if the message seems to be that Mass is easily managed without?”

    Elizabeth, how true. They are yellow bellied cowards and not worthy of our respect. I will have absolutely no truck with them for ever more. And my numerous brood either. I’ll never contribute another penny to their coffers. I actually despise them. How, how could they desert their flocks like this? They hide in their rectories and babble on about live streamed Masses!! Ha ha, it insane! Can one imagine priests of yore behaving like that? Of course not. Testosterone challenged too, most of them!

    April 19, 2020 at 10:19 pm
  • crofterlady

    Peter Hitchens, now there’s a clever man. I heard he was a committed atheist, and a journalist based in China, when he saw the light and became a Catholic?? We are being led up the garden path by this virus hoax. Oh, there is a flu out there but man, is it being milked by the globalists with an agenda! Mass disobedience is what is required. But the British are such a compliant race! I well remember someone saying that if one stands at a butcher’s door, a queue would form behind!! Personally, our family is going about business as usual and let the police try to prove that we are breaking the rules! I hope this blog is safe!!

    April 19, 2020 at 10:30 pm
    • editor


      Peter Hitchens is not a Catholic – he’s an Anglican. I think he even mentions that in the video.

      As for breaking the rules – I was heartened to learn, only a day or so ago, of some readers in a little corner of Scotland (I won’t narrow it down further) who have been gathering together to pray the rosary outside their local closed Catholic church. Thus, if an officer of the law should question them, they can point to the church and explain that they are unable to get in to pray and so they are praying outside (for an end to the Coronavirus crisis), while observing the social distancing rule.

      Clever? . .I shouldn’t have said that because, really, how do you answer a rhetorical question? 😀

      April 20, 2020 at 12:12 am
    • RCAVictor


      We are being led up the garden path by this virus hoax. Oh, there is a flu out there but man, is it being milked by the globalists with an agenda!

      I think you’ve said it all in a nutshell. Now put your mask back on and get in line for the vaccine which may kill you…

      April 20, 2020 at 3:30 pm
  • editor

    Here’s an interesting report in The Independent – describing the kind of society we may be once this nightmare is over… At which time, a new nightmare will begin.

    April 20, 2020 at 12:28 am
  • Athanasius

    Typical! The government panics, listens to hysterical advice from science “experts” and closes the nation down, thereby killing the economy. In the meantime, the police go around behaving like the strong arm of a Communist totalitarian state against the people and then they sit biting their nails while contemplating what disorder might arise as a result of their unlawful shutdown tactics. You couldn’t make it up!

    April 20, 2020 at 1:04 am
    • editor


      And it gets worse – dear old Boris doesn’t want to end the lockdown any time soon.

      TRULY, you couldn’t make it up!

      April 20, 2020 at 10:04 am
      • Athanasius


        The more this develops the more I think the country made one massive mistake when it voted that man into office as Prime Minister. I always thought he was a clever guy who knows how to play the fool, but now I’m beginning to think he actually is unfit to lead the country. Either that or he’s into something much bigger and more sinister than any of us could have imagined.

        Ultimately this lockdown will bring his government down, whether as a result of the economic collapse that follows it or because people will suddenly realise the unlawful nature of this arrogant suppression of freedom and civil liberties, especially when that 500,000 dead figure doesn’t materialise and jobs start to vaporise.

        Either way, I see the Conservatives out of government much sooner than I would ever have imagined, not that there’s any real alternative to them in terms of morality or even just basic common sense. It’s a daft country now, run by idiots.

        April 20, 2020 at 2:12 pm
  • Patrick Healy

    Dear esteemed Editor,

    I need some advice.
    Yesterday being a gorgeous sunny (if breezy) day here in the East of Scotland, I ventured into my bathing suit and sat in the garden for 2 hours sunbathing. Now as you being a Doctor know the benefits of Vitamin D in fighting viruses (more than one) I perhaps over indulged.
    It also could have been that I put far too much tonic water (quinine) in my gin. Both of which my favourite President recommends to ward off this Dr Flu Manchu ( you know the man flu we get)
    In any case I need you, or perhaps Rcavictor (radiator) or maybe Athanasius (euthanasia)to tell me which caused me to have a very disturbed nights sleep?
    Should I cut down on the tonic?

    April 20, 2020 at 2:03 pm
    • RCAVictor


      You must belong to a polar bear club, sunning yourself in mid-April in Scotland! During my brief visit in May 2008, it never got above the 50s (F), so I spent my time shivering under a canopy in Editor’s back yard, waiting for her to answer my question about the population of Glasgow…

      As for your sleepless night, I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but I have noticed that I don’t sleep well either after too much time turning brown…

      April 20, 2020 at 3:37 pm
    • Athanasius

      Patrick Healy

      Cut down the tonic and up the gin, that should do the trick!

      Seriously, sleep disturbance can be down to a variety of things so it’s really difficult to say exactly why you had a bad night. Suffice it to say we all occasionally suffer from sleep disturbance, it’s only when it becomes regular that we should look for possible causes. It might just be that the vitamin D you soaked up during the day somehow reinvigorated your system causing you not to be as sleepy as normal.

      See what happens tonight, it may just have been a one off.

      April 20, 2020 at 4:22 pm
  • Presbyter Catholica

    Dear Athanasius,

    The reply facility seemed to disappear. Permit me to make a quick comment here. I think your beautiful last post is a good place for us to pause and marvel at our unity. Of course the Low Mass sanctifies us! I reflect on that daily. There’s a real beauty in simplicity there. A real privilege!

    April 20, 2020 at 3:12 pm
    • Athanasius

      Presbyter Catholica

      Absolutely agreed!

      April 20, 2020 at 4:15 pm
  • Liam Jenkinson

    From Liam Jenkinson,
    Please see:

    If they do blush in Heaven Fr Capparndo, Fr Willey Doyle and Dr Damien of the lepers will be blushing with shame at these hireling Priest’s on earth. St John Fisher will also consider their actions as a betrayal of their ordination vows. History repeats itself since after world war 2 and his martyrdom Franz Jagerstatters Bishop said of him “His martyrdom was something to be admired but not imitated”. The saints wife was shunned by fellow villages and for many years did not receive a war pension from the German government. About our own war dead and chaplains we state “We will remember them”. However whilst this crisis continues and in perpetuity we will remember them will apply to the Church from the Pope down to the majority of Priests in a way they don’t expect. We will remember them and especially the vulnerable sick and dying for their betrayal of us all in our hour of need.

    Love and prayers
    Liam Jenkinson

    April 20, 2020 at 3:42 pm
    • Lily

      Liam Jenkinson,

      I SO agree with you! For years to come, if God spares me, I will remember what these priests and bishops did, locking us out of our churches and not giving a fig about our spiritual wellbeing, even at the point of death. It’s so incredible. Thank you for saying what you did – you put it much more clearly than I ever could.

      April 20, 2020 at 6:29 pm
      • Elizabeth

        I agree too. It is noticeable that there seems to be no mention of the Sacrament of Confession. Are they suggesting that it is done over the phone or by email?!! It is shocking. And the Eucharist is an optional extra in their missive. What about the importance of Viaticum then? I find it all absolutely astounding that this is the advice from the hierarchy of this country. Where is their sense of faith and sacrifice? I could actually weep over this…

        April 20, 2020 at 8:23 pm
  • Presbyter Catholica


    It is worth noting that in the majority of Traditional chapels, certainly where I have been, there is constant change and priests have often been moved around. The faithful haven’t always had a regular priest and this has had a negative impact on the Liturgy. A flying Low Mass has become the norm.

    I would hazard a guess that most people on this blog don’t remember back further than the 1950s. Not all was perfect in the 50s and we shouldn’t be aiming to replicate 1950s parishes. Successive popes had been doing what they could to restore Gregorian chant.

    Pope St Pius X wrote:

    “ Special efforts are to be made to restore the use of the Gregorian Chant by the people, so that the faithful may again take a more active part in the ecclesiastical offices, as was the case in ancient times.”

    The saintly pontiff goes on to say:

    “ Let care be taken to restore, at least in the principal churches, the ancient Scholae Cantorum, as has been done with excellent fruit in a great many places. It is not difficult for a zealous clergy to institute such Scholae even in smaller churches and country parishes, in these last the pastors will find a very easy means of gathering around them both children and adults, to their own profit and the edification of the people.”

    Pope Pius XI agreed:

    “ We wish here to recommend, to those whom it may concern, the formation of choirs. These in the course of time came to replace the ancient scholae and were established in the basilicas and greater churches especially for the singing of polyphonic music. Sacred polyphony, We may here remark, is rightly held second only to Gregorian Chant. We are desirous, therefore, that such choirs, as they flourished from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century, should now also be created anew and prosper especially in churches where the scale on which the Liturgy is carried out demands a greater number and a more careful selection of singers.

    In order that the faithful may more actively participate in divine worship, let them be made once more to sing the Gregorian Chant, so far as it belongs to them to take part in it. It is most important that when the faithful assist at the sacred ceremonies, or when pious sodalities take part with the clergy in a procession, they should not be merely detached and silent spectators, but, filled with a deep sense of the beauty of the Liturgy, they should sing alternately with the clergy or the choir, as it is prescribed. If this is done, then it will no longer happen that the people either make no answer at all to the public prayers — whether in the language of the Liturgy or in the vernacular — or at best utter the responses in a low and subdued manner.“

    Pope Pius XII wrote:

    “ In the performance of the sacred liturgical rites this same Gregorian chant should be most widely used.”

    So, it would seem that we should be doing all we can to foster singing at our Masses. This should be our aim. No pope has ever said that we should be aiming for “more Low Masses with the occasional Solemn High Mass”.

    April 20, 2020 at 8:09 pm
    • Athanasius

      Presbyter Catholica

      I think the greater majority of Catholics would be perfectly content to return to the Church of the 1950s. Of course things weren’t all perfect, I don’t think there has been a period in history when they were, but it was pretty sound for most and Catholic life was fairly strong.

      I’ve heard the argument before about not wanting to return to the Church of the 50s and, sorry to say, it came from the lips of Bishop Williamson, which hardly lends credibility to the statement. It is worrying, though, that quite a sizeable number of Traditional priests think the same way, as if they’re not called just to restore the Church to it’s pre-Vatican II holiness, but rather to go much further back to the Middle Ages. It’s a mindset that worries me greatly because of the dangers inherent in subordinate clergy making such stupendous decisions on behalf of the Church.

      The Papal quotes you’ve included are very well known to me, but many thanks for posting them here for others to read.

      I note, however, that you missed out a very important quote from St. Pius X’s Motu Proprio Tra Le Sollecitudini of November 22, 1903, which is especially relevant to the SSPX.

      Here it is: “…On the same principle it follows that singers in church have a real liturgical office, and that therefore women, being incapable of exercising such office, cannot be admitted to form part of the choir. Whenever, then, it is desired to employ the acute voices of sopranos and contraltos, these parts must be taken by boys, according to the most ancient usage of the Church.” (Para. 13).

      Now I know that Pius XII made exceptions to this general rule, rare exceptions binding the local ordinary in conscience in the matter. Sadly, like all exceptions in the Church these days, they get abused so that the exception becomes the norm. In this case mixed choirs that don’t even meet Pius XII’s basic request that they be separated, men from women, in Church for modesty’ sake.

      At any rate, the easy dismissal of St. Pius X’s clearer Traditional teaching is only one example of the danger that arises when priests attempt to remodel the Church after their own inclinations rather than restoring it to where it was before that fateful Council.

      I think you’re right that Popes wanted a restoration of Gregorian but they understood that a love for it had to be inculcated in the hearts of the faithful by beautiful singing. That certainly hasn’t happened in my long experience. Quite the contrary, what I have heard has turned me against any permanent move to restore Gregorian chant as the norm of parish life. The damage that can be done to the Mass and to souls by bad choirs is just to great a risk.

      April 20, 2020 at 9:02 pm
      • Presbyter Catholica

        Dear Athanasius,

        I think that’s a very good point about singers being well prepared. I would not wish, or allow, a choir to sing at Mass unless they were competent. That’s a very important point which has been well made by your good self.

        However, we have to start somewhere. We are rebuilding from scratch. Pope Pius XII did allow women to sing where there was a lack of competent male singers. In my experience, this is the case in most traditional parishes. I certainly have no problem with women singing in the choir, provided the choir do not sit in the sanctuary, or wear choir dress.

        I have greatly enjoyed our discussion. It has been most refreshing. You are an intelligent young man who clearly loves the church. However, I am conscious that there hasn’t been much discussion of Mr Hitchens so I do not wish to distract from that any longer.

        April 20, 2020 at 10:19 pm
      • Athanasius

        Presbyter Catholica

        I have likewise enjoyed our exchange, your charity and humility in debate has been an example to us all.

        I think it fair to state that we agree on most, if not all, points, the women in choir being a particular problem for me, and not for misogynist reasons. I think it also fair to state that we really all love the Church but that we live in confusing times in which the loss of direction from Rome is no small matter.

        Still, it has been a pleasure exchanging opinions with you. God bless.

        April 20, 2020 at 11:23 pm
      • Athanasius


        I feel fairly confident that anyone who paid a compliment to your “below average intelligence” might have to arrange some hasty life insurance!

        Think of it in terms of the most worthy always being least appreciated. I love the cartoon, just my sense of humour.

        April 21, 2020 at 2:22 am
      • editor


        You’re a quick thinker, no doubt about it 😀

        I thought this “life insurance” joke might also appeal to your sense of humour…

        April 21, 2020 at 10:22 am
      • Athanasius


        If I were married I would probably go for something a little less drastic like a gag, unless she was a big dominant woman, perhaps a former model for scatter cushions, in which case it would be lots of chocolates and flowers!

        April 21, 2020 at 11:34 am
  • Athanasius

    Presbyter Catholica

    In the matter of returning the Church not to the pre-Council 1950s but rather to the much earlier time of the Middle Ages, there is another aspect to this which I think highlights the danger further.

    I have observed particularly in the UK a worrying tendency in some Traditional Catholics to decorate chapels with dark wooden altars and rood screens, colourless Stations of the Cross, the least attractive pre-Tudor Mother and Child images, etc., almost like they’ve watched one of those appalling Hollywood movies like “The naming of the Rose” and imagine that this was how Chapels looked in the Middle Ages before “sentimentality” and “superficiality” replaced faith.

    I put the words above in inverted comas not because any Catholic has actually spoken them but because it’s the impression I have come away with when trying to encourage more beautiful decor in our chapels, as befits the House of God.

    When we look at the chapels in Rome and other Latin countries, even chapels in Scotland before Vatican II, sadly now demolished, though pictures and memories remain, it’s easy to see that a decline in love for God has greatly diminished.

    I once recall, for example, reading in the life of St. John Vianney that despite his own rule of living in abject poverty, he spared no expense when it came to decorating the Chapel. It’s a classic reminder of how the love of the saints for God manifested itself in this desire to glorify His Church with the very best money could buy. Professor William Marra once described it as puting flesh on spiritual realities, outward signs of inward grace.

    It’s an inherent human trait to give the best to those we love, the more so when the object is God and the love is divine. But in addition to this beautiful chapels also express the joy of our holy Catholic religion to others, a joy that is not so apparent in dull chapels. Hence the marble altars, altar rails and floors, the frescos, the beautiful statues, magnificently coloured Stations, etc., that we see in all those chapels around the world from a time before faith (and love) began to wane.

    It seems to me that even within Traditional circles this exuberant love and zeal for the House of God has suffered greatly. We are much better off today than many of the peoples of the past, yet they put us to shame with the magnificent beauty they achieved in God’s House with scant resources.

    April 20, 2020 at 11:14 pm
  • Prognosticum

    A most interesting thread: rooted in Peter Hitchens (the only conceivable excuse for a Catholic to access The Mail website once per week) and branching out into liturgical history. As for a return to the 1950s, there is a part of me which, the older I get, longs for a peace in the Church which there probably was back then, but, I fear, only ostensibly. We are being terribly naive, in my humble opinion, if we think that the origins of what was unleashed in the Church, and indeed in society, in the 1960s was coterminous with that decade.

    That said, I will make just three points. First, YouTube is a fantastic resource. I really only discovered this during the run up to and in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum. It is possible to find extended interviews with significant personalities in which the interviewee is allowed to make his point at length and the viewer actually learns something. This is so different from the ‘gotcha’ paradigm beloved of most of the MMM which I find irritating in the extreme and, ultimately, pointless. (How I miss Brian Walden’s presentation of Weekend World in the Sundays of my youth. Now that was quality political journalism to savour!)

    Second, I have always been struck with how ‘musical’ Eastern Rite Catholics are compared to their Latin counterparts. All right, it is rare to find a Catholic parish church in Germany or Austria which does not have a quality organ, and everyone seems to join in the singing, but it does have a slightly Protestant feel about it. But I have always been highly impressed by the singing of the Schola (if that is the correct term) during Eastern Rite liturgies, as beautiful as it is unobtrusive as it is exquisitely liturgical. I am no historian of the liturgy and even less a musician, but I looking to the East, I can easily believe that the sung liturgy was once far more prevalent in the West that we can imagine today. However, I agree wholeheartedly with Athanasius that if there is singing in the liturgy it should be done competently or not at all.

    Third, Low Mass has a beauty all of its own and confers a peace which is priceless.

    April 21, 2020 at 4:03 am
  • Political Tourist

    I notice most of these guys are self isolating.

    April 24, 2020 at 11:14 pm
    • editor

      Political Tourist,

      Er… “these guys” – like the rest of us – don’t have any choice. We’re under house arrest, in case you hadn’t noticed.

      April 24, 2020 at 11:25 pm
  • editor

    I think this is hilarious – emailed to us by a reader to offer a little light relief… Very welcome! Enjoy!

    April 25, 2020 at 1:04 pm

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