Tuesday, 15 July 2008


On Saturday morning, I celebrated a Sung Mass for the brothers in the Ordinary Form, but in Latin and ad orientem. It was all very well done, but a little strange in that though there were four singers for the chant, and five altar servers, there was only one person in the congregation, the wife of one of the brothers. It is reputed that Mgr Talbot once said loftily to Newman ‘Who are the laity?’, only to receive the reply ‘well, the Church would look very foolish without them’.

There was a better turn out on Saturday evening for a Musical Oratory. This, the forerunner of the Oratorio (which takes its name from this exercise) took place in St John’s, the same church that we had celebrated Mass in that morning. All the usual Oratory prayers took place, with hymns and splendid music; Mozart, Vaughan Williams, Bach, Heredia, Vivaldi and Buxtehude, played on the organ and by a string quartet and choir got together for the occasion, with also readings from the life of St Philip, and an account from the 1950s of the pilgrimage to the seven churches of Rome. Strange that at that time thousands of young people continued to do this walk every year, every since the time of St Philip, and it was to be brought to an abrupt halt so soon after. No doubt it was considered ‘triumphalistic’.

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