The Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma enjoys fruits of the 2007 Motu Proprio

The Guild meeting on Saturday stands out as key highlight of 2012. My fellow Catholic bloggers and I got together in Blackfen, the parish made universally illustrious by Fr Tim’s blog. The day started with low Mass, followed by Adoration.

Fr Sam Medley was unable to get to Blackfen and give a talk, so the night before the Guild meeting, our founder Dylan Parry invited me to prepare a talk.
I wore a long, lace skirt for the talk, not because I wanted to prove some liturgical point about more lace, more grace. But because of the advantage of wearing a skirt: no one saw my knees knocking.
The theme for my talk was the follow-on effects of that which we write on our blogs. So, I spoke about the controversy in ‘real-life’ that my self-description of ‘I strive to go to the Tridentine Mass every day’ has caused. How people have got in touch with me asking me to take this fact off my blog. How people have told me that it offends priests who offer the Ordinary Form. How when I requested a place at the Vatican Blogmeet, I was contacted by several concerned people who said, ‘you’ll never get into the Vatican if you are open about going to the Latin Mass’.

I explained that sometimes, blogging can be harder than professional journalism. If a newspaper accepts something for publication, there is a sense that you have the newspaper editors behind you. But bloggers can be victims of ‘cyber-bullying’ because they are perceived to be acting on their own. I also pointed out that blogging can be a solo endeavour, whereas journalism is about working with editors who give you ‘revisions’ and you must draft and re-draft an article until it is acceptable for print.
I don't consider myself a good public speaker and a number of times during the talk, I had mental blocks, and so I separated my points by making a few ironic observations about bloggers such as the fact that some Catholic blogs can become scuppered by scrupulosity. When commentators and bloggers nit-pick each other relentlessly. So I made a suggestion that we have SSA meetings, Scrupulosity Anonymous Meetings where we meet in a damp shed, drink watery lemonade and have glow-in-the-dark rosaries.

During the question time, Karen Horn asked me which were my most popular posts, and I said that one on Padre Pio’s favourite painting of Our Lady. And one on St Anthony finding me lipstick! Fr Tim voiced a concern that one of his most read posts is one where he wrote about the grave wrong of a sex ed programme for children which aimed to teach them ‘sex games’. He said that he was in two minds about leaving this post on his blog because on one hand people need to know why this ‘education’ is wrong. Yet, he conceded that perverts might be looking up ‘children sex games’ and finding his blog. Dr Josephine Treloar pointed out that if the perverts find Fr Tim’s religious blog, ‘it wastes their time’ and time that some perverts would spend looking up sex games for children is spent reading Fr Tim’s religious blog.

We left the hall and had a scrumptious lunch of stew followed by cream and strawberry sponge cake. I had a pint of Guinness and we toasted the success of the Guild.

The best part of the day was meeting other like-minded bloggers who were very passionate about using their blogs to give the gift of faith to others. For the first time ever, I met Mulier Fortis, Linen on the Hedgerow, Bones, A Tiny Son of Mary and On The Side of the Angels. 

The day ended with the recitation of the Rosary in the chapel. Fr Tim reminded us that a plenary indulgence is attached to publically praying the Rosary.

Afterwards it struck me that the Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma and the successful guild meeting that we had just had, is very much a fruit of the 2007 Motu Proprio.
On Saturday morning, all us bloggers assisted in a low Mass, and there was no talk about whether this was ‘disobedient’. The Guild is open to all Catholics who use the new media, not just bloggers, but most of us present on Saturday attend both ‘the old Rite’ and the new. I gave a talk on the fact that some people have said to me that ‘it’s dangerous’ for me to write that I go to the Latin Mass, and that some have said that it will damage my ‘employment opportunities’. But the assertion that the Old Mass is divisive and that people who attend it are Catholic misfits – is becoming more irrelevant. We have had nearly five years to appreciate that Pope Benedict clarified that the Tridentine Mass ‘was never abrogated’, or ‘banned’ as at least two generations of Catholics thought.

Not to sound like a 27 year old octogenarian, but I remember the pre July 2007 days when Catholics who attended ‘the Old Rite’ and Catholics who attended ‘the New Mass’ were quite segregated. One side would call the other ‘liberal’ and ‘lacking in reverence’ and the other side would call the other ‘disobedient’ and ‘anti-Pope’. Now that the ‘old Rite’ is celebrated freely, such ‘sides’ are disappearing and there is more unity among Catholics.


  1. Hi Mary, FWIW, you didn't seem at all nervous giving the talk. Everyone knew it was last minute and were glad to hear of your experiences. I also got to meet a few people for the first time too, whose blogs I've read for ages, OTSOTA and 'Bones.' Sorry I didn't get much of a chance to give you a personal hello. My late husband often frequented the Oratory when he could. Work, until he took ill, prevented him from going during the week much, but he often attended several Masses on a Sunday. The Oratory Mass (usually an early one, especially in summer -- and the LAtin one) and he could be frequently found up at Blackfriars in Oxford and he also loved St. Dominicks in London. I expect you'd have known my husband by sight, if not name -- I noticed Oratory goers seem loath to introduce each other - but his picture is on this post.

  2. Hiya Karen,

    Yes, looking at the pictures on your blog, I think that I might have seen your late husband at the Oratory a few times. I'm so very sorry that you lost him so early. May God give you consolation.

    All the very best,


  3. I think he noticed you too. I remember remarking to him re: the seeming competition for dowdiness amongst not a few of the Latin Mass goers I'd become acquainted with in my TLM San Diego Latin Mass parish - I asked him if the English TLM was also so afflicted, and he said, 'some, but by no means all--there's one young lady in the Latin Mass community at the Oratory who is always very stylish and elegant.' I think he must have meant you! I had asked him 'what does she do?' And he said, 'I don't know, people at the oratory generally don't speak to each other,' Which I found an astonishing statement at the time - but I later found out was true. The most irritating thing, I think about the Oratory. I think people can go to mass there for 25 years running and never introduce themselves. It never really felt like a 'parish' to me. Though I think, for instance Fr. Fordham is a good confessor - and it's the one place I could go for Latin Mass. In San Diego, I went much more often, daily if I could. I well remember the last two times at the Oratory in the late spring. One Sunday mass he insisted he could handle walking up and waiting in line for Communion. Unfortunately, he was proved wrong - I was next to him and suddenly sensed he was going to fall. I grabbed him trying to hold him up. Also unfortunately, the lady right next to the chair between him and the chair had to be told, 'could you please move before my husband falls on you' which she didn't manage to do quite in time with the result of him landing on the hard floor. Eventually 'they' were able to sit him up and an ambulance team came out to check him out. It was determined it was tumor related. The next week he figured he could handle the 8 a.m. Mass - which he did, but it was a chore for him -- and we didn't do it again. After that we really weren't able to go to the Oratory or St. Dominicks to which we also went.

  4. Wow Karen, your beloved Q was so dedicated to the Latin Mass. You must miss him terribly. I will include your intentions today in my Rosary.

  5. Our Lady of the Rosary pray for us!



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