The purpose of this blog is to provide an open forum for discussion of the aims of the society; news from the wider Church and details of Masses and events of interest in the diocese. The Latin Mass Society in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough expresses its full filial devotion and loyalty to Holy Mother Church, Pope Francis and Bishop Drainey.


12 Noon. Every Sunday Missa Cantata
York Oratory (
Church of St Wilfrid)
Duncombe Place, York. YO1 7EF

8:15am Monday-Friday
9:15am Saturday

Feast Days (as advertised) usually at 6pm.

Church of St Andrew, Fabian Road, Teesville. TS6 9BA

3pm Sunday.

Church of Our Lady of Lourdes and St Peter Chanel
119 Cottingham Road, Hull. HU5 2DH
7.30pm Every Thursday. Low Mass.


4pm. Every Sunday
York Oratory (
Church of St Wilfrid)
Duncombe Place, York. YO1 7EF

Compline and Vespers (as advertised)
(see link to the Rudgate Singers Calendar below)
St Mary's Church, Bishophill Junior. YO1 6EN

30 September 2013

2011 Census Results for Scotland

The following statistics caught my eye.  They are extracted from the 2011 census, and concern religious affiliation in Scotland.  Comparison with the 2001 census has been added.

                                     2001             2011   Difference    Percent

Ch of Scotland    2,146,000      1,718,000     -428,000     -19.9%

R Catholic              804,000         841,000      +37,000      +4.6%

Other Christian      347,000         291,000       -56,000     -16.1%

Total Christian    3,297,000      2,850,000     -447,000     -13.6%

Other Religions       77,000         136,000       +59,000    +76.6%

No Religion
or not stated        1,688,000      2,309,000     +621,000    +36.7%

Total Population 5,062,000      5,295,000     +233,000    +4.6%

Expressed as a percentage of the population as a whole, we have the following figures:

                                       2001                  2011                Change

Church of Scotland         42%                  32%                  -10%

R Catholic                       16%                  16%          No change

Other Christian                 7%                     5%                  -2%

All Christians                  65%                  54%                 -11%

Other Religions               1.5%                 2.6%               +1.1%

No Religion
or not stated                     34%                  44%                +10%

The proportion of the Scottish population that describe themselves as being Catholic has remained the same over the ten year period.  That is about 16%.  This is an increase of 37,000 individuals which proportionately exactly reflects the increase in the overall population.

By contrast, the proportion of the Scottish population that describe themselves as belonging to the Church od Scotland has declined by 10 percentage points, from 42% to 32%.  In absolute terms, this is a reduction of 428,000 individuals, or about 20% of their membership.  The decline in other Protestant denominations has been a little less marked at about 16%.

The figures look quite serious for the Church of Scotland, and marginally less so for other Protestant denominations in Scotland.  Whilst Catholics should find nothing in the figures to get too excited about, they can at least be satisfied that they have held their place in Scottish society.

The other religions (Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists etc) have collectively shown a spectacular increase in terms of percentage, although they still only represent 2.6% of the total population, a relatively small proportion.

The biggest gainers are the nothingarians, or those who claim no religious affiliation. They now represent about 44% of the population - up from 33% ten years ago.  This is an increase of 621,000 individuals.

20 September 2013

What Pope Francis actually Said

Listening to the 10pm news on Radio 4 last night, I heard a report from Robert Pygott, the BBC's Religious Affairs Correspondent, that suggested that Pope Francis had given an interview in which he had indicated that the Church's teaching on a range of subjects, including abortion, contraception, gay marriage and women priests, was up for discussion, and likely to be changed.  By the morning, the report had been withdrawn, and replaced by something much less sensational.

It seems to be yet another case of the BBC misunderstanding or misrepresenting the news in a way calculated to embarrass the Catholic Church.

So What did the Pope actually say in the interview.  In the absence of reliable translations, it may be best not to comment at the moment.  However, Rorate Caeli has the following extract in translation:

"I think the decision of Pope Benedict to allow wider use of the Tridentine Mass was prudent, and motivated by a desire to help people who have this sensitivity."  He goes on to say, "What is worrying, though, is the risk of ideologisation of the vetus ordo, its exploitation."

How do we interpret this?  The phrase, "people who have this sensitivity" would seem to suggest that Pope Francis thinks that the usus antiquior is really only there for the benefit of a reactionary minority.  This would seem more in line with the concept of an indult rather than the parallel ranking of the two forms of the Roman Rite.  The use of the words idealogisation and exploitation would suggest to me that Pope Francis does not much like the idea campaigning for wider availability of the usus antiquior.

Having noted that the words of Pope Francis are less than enthusiastic about the Latin Mass, something that most people suspected anyway, there does not seem to be anything in the interview which indicate restrictions might be placed on it.

16 September 2013

More Statistics

This blog is viewed in many countries.  The following list gives the top ten countries, measured by page views, during the past week.

United States              120
United Kingdom         103
Poland                         29
Russia                         25
Germany                     21
China                          19
Ukraine                        8
Venezuela                    5
Indonesia                     4
Ireland                         4

Since the blog was established,  there have been 37,878 page views, broken down by country as follows:

United Kingdom         17024
United States                7643
Germany                       2323
Russia                           1780
France                            729
Australia                         384
Canada                          317
Netherlands                    306
China                             296
Indonesia                       261

Other                           6815

I cannot give a breakdown of those listed as "other", but there have been recent visits from Turkey, Japan and Sweden, besides Venezuela Poland and Ukraine mentioned above.  I estimate that "other" must represent at least 40 countries. Certainly our readership covers all continents, and includes a surprising number from communist or former communist countries.

News of the Proposed York Oratory

The newsletter of the Oxford Oratory includes an item about the foundation of an Oratory at St Wilfred's Church in York.  It states that Fr Richard Duffield will be moving to York on Monday 28th October.  He will be accompanied by Fr Nicholas Edmunds-Smith, who will be staying in York for a month.  Thereafter, other priests of the Oxford Oratory will be visiting York from time to time, until such time as a second priest is able to take up permanent residence.

I understand that Bishop Drainey has decided that the regular Sunday Latin Masses will transfer from English Martyrs' Church to St Wilfred's soon afterwards, but we do not yet have a date for this move.  It seems sensible to wait for Fr Duffield to arrive in York before discussing the arrangements, as I am sure that he will want to assess how matters lie in the parish before making any new arrangements.  The time at which the Sunday Mass will take place will be a matter for Fr Duffield to decide, but anyone who has views on the timing of the Mass can leave a comment.

14 September 2013

Six Years since Summorum Pontificum

Today is the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, and marks the sixth anniversary of the coming into effect of Summorum Pontificum.  It is perhaps a good time to review what has been achieved over this period.

In September 2007, when SP came into effect, there was just one Latin Mass each month in the Diocese of Middlesbrough.  This took place at the church of St Clare of Assisi on the first Friday, and was celebrated by Mgr Heslin. 

Today, we have two regular Sunday Masses, one taking place at the English Marytrs Church in York and the other at the Sacred Heart Church in Redcar.  We also have an annual pilgrimage in honour of St Margaret Clitherow.

Mgr Heslin, a retired priest of the Birmingham Archdiocese, says the one in Redcar, and the one in York is shared by three priests.  These are Fr Stephen Maughan , Fr James Callaghan OSB and Fr David Smith.  Of all these priests, only Fr Maughan is a priest of the Diocese of Middlesbrough.  Fr Callaghan belongs to the Benedictine community of Ampleforth and Fr Smith is an army chaplain, currently based in Harrogate but incardinated in the Diocese of East Anglia.

So far as Mass provision is concerned, I think that we can say that progress in the Middlesbrough Diocese has been good, especially as we started with very little.  For a relatively small diocese,  Having two regular Masses each Sunday compares well with the national average,  In the 22 dioceses of England and Wales, there are currently about 50 Latin Masses each Sunday, compared with about 25 in 2007.

Where we have not done so well is in the number of priests, particularly diocesan priests, willing and able to celebrate Mass in the usus antiquior.  One of Bishop Drainey's first actions, after being appointed as Bishop of Middlesbrough in 2008, was to ask Fr Maughan to learn the older form of the Mass.  So there is some progress to report on this front.  However, in most dioceses, there would be six or more diocesan priests regularly saying the older Mass.  We desperately need more priests that we can call on, especially as we are expecting Fr Smith to be posted elsewhere within the next couple of years. 

The size of the congregations at Latin Masses is also not all that great in the Middlesbrough Diocese.  In the case of the York Sunday Mass, this may have something to do with the time of day, 4pm not being particularlyly convenient for most people.

12 September 2013

Church Buildings

One blog that I look at fairly frequently is that of Fr Ed Tomlinson, a priest of the Ordinariate based at Pembury in Kent.  He has just written about how much we spend on our churches and how this compares with how much we spend on our homes.  Go over to to read it.

05 September 2013

Entering New Territory

On Tuesday evening, I attended a Solemn Mass for the feast of St Pius X at the church of St Mary in Louth.  Louth is an interesting old market town in the heart of rural Lincolnshire.  It is the sort of place that few people visit because it is so much off the beaten track; but it is well worth a visit, and next time I go, I will find time to explore the place.

Unlike the C of E parish church, which is medieval and huge with a very high spire, the church of St Mary dates from the late nineteenth century and is a relatively modest building.  Nevertheless, I found it very attractive, and it has a modern parish centre next to it.

The Mass was celebrated by Fr Dominic O'Connor from Brigg, also in Lincolnshire, with a permanent deacon from a neighbouring parish as deacon, and Fr John Cahill, who travelled from Leicester, as sub-deacon.  A schola, sang plainchant propers and the congregation was encouraged to join in for the ordinary parts.

I estimate that there were about 40 in the congregation and everything went well.  Refreshments were provided afterwards in the parish centre.

The interesting thing for me was that this particular church would seem a very unlikely place for a solemn Mass.  Not only is it a very small rural parish, but it has a reputation as being modernist and hostile to the traditional Mass. 

However, there is evidently a small group within the parish which does appreciate Latin and the usus antiquior.  They have managed to reintroduce sung plainchant kyrie, Gloria and agnus dei into the regular parish Mass on one Sunday each month.  Now they have gone further and arranged for a solemn Mass, and this is something that they wish to repeat from time to time.

What has happened in Louth seems to me to be a perfect example of the way that Pope Benedict expected summorum pontificum to work.  It is up to any small group to request the usus antiquior and it is the duty of the parish priest to do what he can to provide it.  In this case he felt unable to celebrate it himself, but was happy to allow clergy in from outside who were willing to help.  The group then went on to make the arrangements. 

Let us hope that more groups emerge like the one in Louth.

02 September 2013

Mass in Louth

There is to be a Solemn Mass at the Church of St Mary in Louth, Lincolnshire tomorrow, 3rd September.  It is at 7pm, and is to mark the feast of St Pius X.

Louth is a rather remote spot, seemingly miles from anywhere else of significance. Perhaps this is one reason for making a special effort to attend the Mass.

Louth also has a special interest for me as it is the place where the Pilgrimage of Grace all started.  Maybe I will write more about this at a later date.