From Cardinal Sarah : "In order to avoid hearing God's music, we have chosen to use all the devices of this world. But heaven's instruments will not stop playing just because some people are deaf."                                                                                              Saint John-Paul II wrote: "The fact that one can die for the faith shows that other demands of the faith can also be met."                                                 Cardinal M├╝ller says, “For the real danger to today’s humanity is the greenhouse gases of sin and the global warming of unbelief and the decay of morality when no one knows and teaches the difference between good and evil.”                                                  St Catherine of Siena said, “We've had enough exhortations to be silent. Cry out with a thousand tongues - I see the world is rotten because of silence.”                                                  Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”                                                Brethren, Wake up!


Today is the feast of the Dedication of the Church of Saint Michael the Archangel, in some places celebrated as the feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, and indeed in others in our land as Saint Michael and All Angels.

Saint Michael wields his flaming sword to cut through the sin of lies and corruption in the Church. No-one can escape his avenging power, if he does not cut us off from our sins in this world, he will cut us off from eternal bliss in the next.  No-one can escape, not pope, bishop, priest, king, knight, monk, dame, nor any other man nor woman.

Today members of the Grand Priory are at All Saint Chapel at Wardour for a day of recollection, no doubt privately and publicly many prayers will be offered for Holy Mother Church in this age of trial. Remember She is always our Mother, given to us for all time by the Son; even mothers can appear to err, and it is, in such sad cases, the duty of their children to pray for them. In the case of the Church, of course, She only seems to err in the person of her human members, in her divine Nature She is free from error, but the tangle of sin may obscure this from view, as with our own souls. She needs our prayers. May this be a time of glorious renewal in the Church and conversion of those countless souls yet outside the Church who inwardly and unknowing long for Her maternal embrace.

Sin is like a garden, the flowers bloom most abundantly on the branches which have been most rigorously pruned. Pray to Saint Michael to prune violently the sin from our souls and from the Church, that we may be seen as we really are, as God's Creation.
Holy Michael, the Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, cast down into hell Satan and all the wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen. 
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.

Our Lady of Philermo, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
All Holy Saint, pray for us.

UPDATE! For those interested in the historical and liturigcal background of this feast, NLM has a very interesting arctle HERE.

Fr Rupert Allen has agreed to send the texts of his wonderful papers delivered yesterday on St Michael, Sin and the Church, which we shall publish here is due course. We are deeply indebted to him for his kindness and erudition, as to all those who worked so hard to make yesterday's Recollection a great success.


Today is the feast of Saint Wenceslaus Duke of Bohemia, who had so nobly served to liberate his people from poverty and bondage, and who was martyred in church in Prague by his brother, at their mother's urging. Pray for all those who strive to uphold the teaching of the Gospels in our world, and for those souls who resist them.

Since there is no connexion between this great saint and our Order, we offer two drawings of the conventual buildings of our Priory in Clerkenwell by his spiritual child, Wenceslaus Holler.

Saint Wenceslaus, pray for the Church.
St John the Baptist, pray for our Order.


The very sad new is announced of the departure of the Dominicans from their convent at San Marco in Florence, the home of the Fra' Angelicos, as every schoolboy knows. The news is reported HERE by the New York Times.

For many centuries the Dominicans, whose Order is a mere century younger than our own, have maintained two great houses in Florence, San Marco and Santa Maria Novella, the present great church of the latter begin in 1247, and at San Marco since 1436, when Pope Eugenius IV allowed the Dominicans of Fiesole to take over the church of St Mark. A year later Cosimo de Medici began the building of the new church, incorporating much of the structure of the old, designed by Michelozzo. The nave was later adapted by Vasari. Now, unless a solution can be found, the church is to pass to secular care.

Fra' Angelico was, of course, a Dominican, and the museum which is associated principally with his work has been here for centuries.  He was part of the Fiesole community who first came here, so many of these works were painted for this church. 

To quote  Father Sbaffoni, one of the four friars left, in the NYT: 'Mendicant orders — those like the Dominicans and the Franciscans that embrace lives of poverty — “have lost much of their original spirit, which is no longer possible to reactivate, the world has changed too drastically for that.” In Italy, “we are very few,” he said. “Increasingly fewer, and with fewer young people. There’s the famous point of no return, and for me these historic orders have reached it. There’s no going back.”'

This is an image of the Church of today, feeble and emasculated! If they were to restore the liturgy and reassert their traditional discipline and charism, as the Dominicans in England, at Blackfriars, at Haverstock Hill have done, put their habits back on, then they too would have vocations. How absurd, this cry we hear from so many high up in the Church today "The world has changed too drastically"! "No going back"! Madness.

Pray for them.

The world of course had not changed at all when St Dominic preached the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathars, or he too would have packed up and gone home.

In the meantime, we post some sketches of San Marco done by a knight of Malta long ago.

Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, pray for us.
Saint Dominic, pray for us.
Saint Mark, pray for us.


Feasts are coming thick and fast, this week. Tomorrow is the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham, the principal shrine of England, and one dear to the heart of the Order of Malta, being our second oldest regular annual pilgrimage accompanied by Malades – Our Lords the Sick. This day was previously the feast of Our Lady of Ransom, established in the 13th century (with the Order of Mercedarians) to free captives from the Turks, another apostolate close to the hearts of our own Order. This feast is, in England, effectively subsumed into the Walsingham devotion. Our Lady of Walsingham frees souls captured in sin and error, with our prayers.

In a spirit of oecumenism, we give below the Collect of the Mass as authorised by Pope Francis for use in the Ordinariate Missal, which is based upon that authorised for the Shrine of the Holy House of Loreto by Pope Innocent XII, and adapted for Anglican use by the great liturgist and anglo-papalist (Fr) Henry Fynes-Clinton, guardian and benefactor of the Anglican shrine.
O GOD, who, through the mystery of the Word made flesh, didst in thy mercy sanctify the house of the Blessed Virgin Mary: do thou grant that we may keep aloof from the tabernacle of sinners, and become worthy indwellers of thy house, through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, every one God, world without end. Amen.
The photograph above shows the Westminster diocesan shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham at Corpus Christi Maiden Lane. This is itself a loose copy of the altar of the Holy House of Loreto, and was designed by a member of our Order.

Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us.
Our Lady of Ransom, pray for us.
Our Lady of Philermo, pray for us.


The Virgin and Child, with Saints Elizabeth and Zachary,
and the Infant Baptist, by Andrea Mantegna, 1490
Tomorrow, Sunday 23rd September, is the feast of the parents of Saint John the Baptist. They will, of course, be ignored this years by the sacred liturgy, but hopefully not by us in our prayers!

The date of today's feast is interesting. Holy Mother Church has no knowledge of the date of the death, the heavenly birthday, of these two confessors, so today is in fact the day of the conception of Saint John, nine months to the day before his nativity on 23rd June. Pray today particularly for Christian Motherhood.

Mantegna's painting is wonderful also in showing Elizabeth and Zachary as so very elderly, compared to the youthful Mary. They both appear to have lost their teeth! Nothing is impossible to God. Pray for all parents who are struggling to have children.

O GOD, by whose grace Zachary and Elizabeth became the parents of the herald of your Son, grant us though their intercession the grace to love you above all things, and so inherit what you have promised. Through our Lord Jesus Christ you Son, who live and reign with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.
Our Lady of Philermo, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Blessed Zachary and Elizabeth, pray for us.


This is the last in the series of Dr Cullinan's four papers give to the Professed at Farnborough Abbey in August. Please see the notes preceding the first post on Wednesday. Today is the last of the autumn Ember Days. 

Our sincere thanks to Dr Cullinan for his wisdom and guidance. If you wish to write to thank him, he is at the Maryville Institute, HERE.

Our thanks too to Father Abbot, Dom Cuthbert Brogan OSB, for his kind welcome and hospitality to the Brethren.

Please pray for the Church and for the Order during this period of rampant Evil, of gross immodesty and of shameless lies, that, in the words of the Grand Master, Fra' Giacomo Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto, "the Church will come out of this storm purified as the shining bride of Christ our Lord." 

Our Lady of Philermo, pray for us!

We’ve reached the smallest room. Not in the house, in the Mass. The Dismissal. The end. The Way Out after the banquet. 
In the Old Rite it’s positively tiny. ‘Ite, missa est’, whatever that meant originally. ‘Out you go!’ might be as good a translation as anything. The blessing by a priest that follows only came in at Trent. And Last Gospels and Prayers for Russia are not really part of the Mass. 
In the New Rite the Concluding Rites, as they are called, are a bit longer. There may be ‘brief announcements’, in the hope that you’ll remember them better if they come at the end. Then a longer or shorter blessing. Then the words of dismissal. Added to by Pope Benedict XVI. You can now be invited to ‘go in peace’, or told to ‘glorify the Lord by your life’ or to ‘announce the gospel of the Lord’. 
So why are we here at all? Why are we bothering with this tiny rite? 
Small rooms aren’t always useless. They can be very important indeed. Holy Mass is very important indeed, but what happens in the rest of your day, or the rest of your week, is very important indeed too.
So I’m going to devote this last talk to the rest of your day, or the rest of your week, or the rest of your year after this retreat. 


This is the third of Dr Cullinan's talks. Today is Friday, so a day of abstinance, even if you have not been able to take up the bishops' invitation to fasting for these Ember Days!

And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need.
I think that’s the earliest description of a Mass. From the Apology of St Justin around AD 150. I hope it sounds familiar. 
Of course the mysteries were kept secret then. Only the baptized were allowed in. Rather like the Warrant Officers allowed into the anteroom for a glass of sherry, but not into the Officers’ Mess, the catechumens were kept out. Even St Gregory the Great is reluctant to speak to another bishop of the Mass of the Faithful. 
But it’s time for us to go into the Chamber now. 
The newly baptized would have been robed in white. To show their sinlessness and their priestly state. We should be reconciled by now, not only to God but to each other. 
When they put the Creed into the Roman Rite, at the end of the first millennium, it was put before the beginning of the Offertory, but I think it belongs in the chamber because it is a prayer only the faithful can make. 
In the Old Rite the priest sings Dominus vobiscum and Oremus, but no prayer follows it, as it usually does. This was where the Prayer of the Faithful used to be, until it was removed around AD 500. They’ve brought it back in the New Rite, not always very felicitously, and sometimes burdening us with a torrent of words, but it has a right to be there because it belongs to our common baptismal priesthood to intercede, and it makes us think of wider needs than those of our own selves or our own group. 
So it won’t do any harm this retreat to pray for others as well as ourselves. 


This is the second of Dr Cullinan's papers. Please see the notes at the top of the previous post.

We’ve left the cloakroom now. Smartened up, perhaps, and calmed down. Ready for the next room of our grand dinner. The anteroom. Where we meet our host and some of the other guests. 
The Liturgy of the Word. That’s what it’s called in the New Rite. When we listen to the scriptures. To readings from the scriptures. And chants from the psalms. 
Listening isn’t at all easy. I don’t mean casual listening but serious, attentive listening. The sort policemen, lawyers, and juries have to do. And counsellors. And members of parliament, sometimes. 
Have any of you sat on a jury? Or on a panel to decide someone’s future? I’ve never sat on a jury. And I wouldn’t want to. But once a year I have to sit on a panel listening to presentations by students for their final degree exam. Our validators from Paris actually call it a jury. Listening for 12 minutes and then 15 minutes for questions. Twice over for each student. With maybe ten students over two days. 
It’s very tiring work. A lot of attentive listening, when you don’t want to interrupt or show that you haven’t heard. 


As promised earlier, this is the first of four talks by Dr Michael Cullinan, of the Maryville Institute, given to the Professed Knights at Farnborough Abbey in August.  The remaining three talks will be published over the following three days, as a 'Retreat in the Workplace".

It is recommended that you read the paper each day before work, and then allow time to meditate upon it during the day, and perhaps reread it at bedtime.

Please try to observe the injunction of so many good bishops to keep these Ember Days (today, Friday and Saturday) as days of Fasting and Abstinence. That is to say, like Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. We modern Catholics do not do enough of it! This in reparation for the dreadful sinful acts of prelates reported in the news of the last few weeks, and for the cleansing of the Church. Only through prayer and fasting will the Church be purified.

(For more detailed information on the Ember Days, you could not do better than to read THIS informative, if somewhat lengthy article on Rorate Caeli.)

Pray for the Holy Father, that he may received the grace and strength to address this Evil. Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram ├Ždificabo Ecclesiam meam.

The talks are © Dr Michael Cullinan 2018.


Do you like grand dinners? I’m sure some of you do. Particularly after a few days on retreat, perhaps. I don’t so much mean dinners with friends, although they’re usually the best kind of dinner of all, but those large City or College affairs, where you pass through several different rooms in the course of the evening. 
You asked for four talks. Four is a difficult kind of number, in a way. Oh I know there are four gospels, but one talk on each didn’t strike me as quite the right fare for today and tomorrow. And you asked for something relevant to working in the world. 
So I thought back to a talk I’d given on the Mass, before I was even ordained. The New Rite of Mass, you see, has four defined parts. Entrance, Liturgy of the Word, Liturgy of the Eucharist, and Dismissal. Four rooms we pass through in the course of the liturgy. So I thought I’d base my talks on that. 
We don’t really hear enough about the Mass these days. They tried to insert a few Sundays for a series of sermons on the Mass every three years. But whether by Murphy’s Law or malice aforethought, the liturgists put them in August, when most of us are moving around. So, like many other liturgical good ideas, it didn’t really work. 
Some people would say that about most of the liturgical changes. So perhaps I have to apologize for being a bit modern in my choice of subject. Perhaps I should confess that I didn’t know as much about the Old Rite back then. But the structure of the Roman Rite hasn’t changed all that much. The rooms were always there, even though they have now been redecorated and refurnished in the style of the 1970s. The rooms are still there, and perhaps a bit easier to see now. 
You might also think that I should apologize for comparing the Mass to a meal, even to a grand dinner. Because that’s what I’m going to do. But it is the heavenly banquet, even though it may more fundamentally belong to the category of worship. 


The September Day of Recollection will take place on Saturday 29th September, Michaelmas Day, at the Chapel of All Saints, Wardour Castle (, Tisbury, Wiltshire, SP3 6RH, and will be led by Fr Rupert Allen of the Diocese of Clifton.  

For those who don’t know it, Wardour Chapel was built as part of Wardour Castle by the recusant Arundell family in the late 18th century, and is a masterpiece of the neo-classical style. Tisbury can be reached by car (via the A303) or by train from London Waterloo (the 08.20 train from London Waterloo, arriving at Tisbury at 10.06, can be met by arrangement.

A light lunch will be provided. A donation of £20 per head will be asked for on the day, to cover the costs of the clergy and of lunch.

If you would like to attend, please ensure to let Fra’ Richard Berkley-Matthews know via the Grand Priory office at mc(AT) (substituting @) as we will need to know numbers of lunch.

Please note that all members of the Order will wear choir habit at the Offices and at Mass.

Lauds (choir dress)
First Spiritual Conference, followed by Confessions and Rosary
12 noon
Mass, during which Fra’ Richard Berkley-Matthews will renew his Simple Vows (choir dress)
Second Spiritual Conference
Vespers, Exposition and Benediction (choir dress)


The Study Weekend for the Professed, held two weeks ago at Farnborough Abbey, was led by Dr Michael Cullinan.  He gave four talks based upon the structure of the Mass.

We shall publish the four talks here this week, one on each of the Ember Days, and the intervening Thursday, thus commencing this Wednesday, 19th September, and on the three days following.

We suggest that readers might use these talks as a 'Retreat in the Workplace', reading them early in the day, and then taking time during the day to meditate upon them. Perhaps one might re-read them before bed.

The photograph of the Brethren gives evidence of the obvious immediate spiritual benefits of this exercise!

In common with the suggestion of many faithful bishops around the world, it is proposed that these Ember days (not the Thursday!) be observed as days of serious fasting and abstinence in reparation for the "filth" which populates and corrupts our beloved Holy Mother Church. It is only by serious fasting that this evil will be rooted out.  In our beloved Order the charism of showing to the world the pure face of the Church, the unspotted Bride of Christ, is an obligation.

(For more detailed information on the Ember Days, you could not do better than to read THIS informative, if somewhat lengthy article on Rorate Caeli.)


Photo AFP Archives
It is 60 years this week since the historic meeting of Dr Konrad Adenauer and General de Gaulle, at the inception of the EEC, which had been set up at the Treaty of Rome the previous year, and which later, under very different hands, was to develop into the EU.

Dr Adenauer, a Grand Cross of Magistral Grace of our beloved Order, a man of exemplary piety, was the last truly Catholic statesmen of Europe, and man for whom religious principle and the Truths of the Faith trumped all consideration of career or political expediency. He had received the Grand Cross from Grand Master Chigi in person.

For a while Dr Adenauer was seen as the Father of Europe. He retired from politics in 1963. How different Europe and the world today might have been with such men!

Pray for the repose of his soul, and for Europe, that we may yet be given leaders who will serve the moral and spiritual needs of the people in their care, and ensure their dignity and prosperity.

On this Feast of the Holy Cross let us pray that the leaders of the world will each be prepared to take up the Cross prepared for them by our Saviour, that, in the words of our Blessed Patron, we may decrease, that He may increase.




It is not every week that Catholic blogs have good news to report, in the continuing onslaught of Evil, of which there are daily examples in every walk of life and in the Church, so it is a joy to be able to report that today the Home Secretary has announced in a written statement that there will be no introduction of buffer zones outside abortion clinics. It is not perfect, the power remains with local authorities to act unilaterally, but it is nevertheless an answer to prayer, to your prayers, those of you who have been following these matters here and elsewhere. Keep praying!

Please pray too for the Home Secretary, Savid Javid, he will be pilloried by the liberal Left. At a time when the Government is so timid and so keen to be seen to be with-it, he has been courageous. A government minister has stood up for that which is just, and must be justly lauded. Already by Labour it has been called a "disgusting failure to uphold women's rights."

Pray for Mothers who in their despair, often pushed into sin, and under relentless pressure from the corrupt world, turn to the dreadful aberration of abortion. Pray for the Mothers who resist and bring souls into the world. And pray for those good souls who keep their simple vigil of peace in the places of Evil. They are painted by the world as wicked manipulators, medieval monsters standing in arrogant judgment, yet they always look rather pathetic, never numerous, usually in the cold, clutching their simple rosaries as they mumble their petitions. Yet they are warriors of great courage, who every time they save a young soul achieve a victory equal to that of Sobieski's victory in Vienna which we celebrated yesterday! Our Lady's victory!
The other piece of good news this week, of course, extraordinary news by any measure, is the consecration of the new Abbess of Our Lady of Ephesus, Gower, Missouri. See here. The first consecrated Abbess in the history of the United States of America.  Now – in the modern Church!   In the Extraordinary Form! Again we have to thank the wonderful Bishop Morlino. The Abbey Church of Our Lady Queen of Apostles was was consecrated the day before according to the pre-1961 Pontifical. The most amazing this about this glorious news is that a handful of Sisters came together only 10 years ago. Since then, they have bought a site, built up their community, built the Romanesque church, built a monastery, and been erected as an abbey by the Holy See. That's how long it takes if you have Faith, that is how soon we could turn around all the troubles of the Church and of our Order. Ten short years. How much we men have to learn in matters of Faith from women!

Pray, then for women, both as Mothers and in the Consecrated Life, those are their only two vocations. Both are under attack now more than ever before.

And pray for men, particularly those who have answered a vocation as Knights, that they may have the courage to emulate the example of their sisters.



This years is, as many will know, the Anniversary of the Stigmata of Saint Pio of Petrelcina, "Padre Pio". Let us pray especially this month, at a time of revelation many dreadful wounds in the Church, that St Pio will strengthen the Church and Her bishops to lead their flocks faithfully, and to bring them to the clarity of revealed Truth in purity and faith.

The relics are visiting London, and may be venerated next Thursday evening, 20th September, at 6.30pm at a Sung Mass at the Church of Corpus Christi Maiden Lane, the newly-erected diocesan shrine of the Blessed Sacrament.

The preacher will be our dear friend Father Stephen Morrison, OPraem. from Chelmsford Priory.

Please ask any of your friends, all are welcome.  See notice below.


We are grateful to Father Nicholas Edmonds-Smith for his very timely Recollection on the religious life, and the correct religious response to the troubles engulfing the Church and the world, very apposite in these days of dreadful scandals against chastity, in which the Devil might seem to have gained the upper hand. Not so. The text was delivered on 25th August at Farnborough Abbey.
I would like to thank the brethren of the Grand Priory for the kind invitation to be  with you this morning. It is a great honour and privilege and I hope that something of what I have to say today might provide some food for thought, recollection and prayer for you. I must confess to knowing something about the great work of the Order of Maltathroughout the world, and of course, especially the work of the Companions in Oxford, but to knowing very little about the spirituality of the Order - so this day of recollection was also an opportunity for me to learn a little more. I must also confess to being a canonist and not a theologian, nor knowing much about spirituality, so apologies if I start to sound like I spend my time with my head in a book or reading case files or Vatican documents! 
This is not a happy time for priests and religious in the Church. The most recent reports of child abuse by clerics and consecrated persons, and the disturbing revelations of episcopal and institutional failure, are the cause of great pain to the whole Church. Just two days ago, some Daughters of Charity - in their seventies and eighties - were arrested in Scotland on charges of terrible historical abuse at a children’s home. Our hearts go out to all those whose lives have been ruined by so-called men and women of God. As our Holy Father put it, St Paul’s words to the Corinthians, “when one member suffers, we all suffer together,  must echo in our hearts as we reflect on this tragedy and how we, each of us and together, can help to bring about the renewed conversion, the turning back to the Lord, that God’s  People must undertake as an urgency.   
The reports will keep coming, as more and more horrible stories emerge of sexual and  physical abuse, and the abuse of power, in the Church. There have been calls for the  suppression of this congregation or that order. It is difficult to see what some religious  houses or even dioceses can possibly do to recover. One article I read even called for the end of all religious orders, saying that they are too much the problem ever to be part of  the Church’s future.   
And, for very different reasons, one also hears of calls within your own Order to sideline, and diminish the role of, the religious brethren, those Knights who are consecrated to God  and to his Church in the most solemn way.   
So today I thought it was worth reflecting on the consecrated life, reflecting on its vital,  essential place - its place in the heart of the church - and its place within the Order of Malta. In that reflection, one hopes to point out the fundamental and central role that  consecrated religious have in the great work of the renewal of the Church: essentially, why  we need religious today more than ever.