TLM in Winchester Cathedral, UK! (PS: This is the Anglican Cathedral)

Just when the Catholic Cathedral in Cardiff hits the LMS from the blind side, over in Winchester, at the Anglican Cathedral, something very different is happening.

I got this e-mail from a kind reader:

It is reported that this is how the forthcoming Mass at Winchester Cathedral on Saturday 21st June
at 11 a.m. came about:
It seems that some Anglican members of the Choir at Winchester Cathedral are particularly interested in the liturgy and they wanted to have a Mass in thanksgiving for the Motu Proprio. One is an acquaintance of the people who organise Masses for the Latin Mass Society in Canterbury Cathedral.  [Did you get that?  Anglicans are thankful for Summo[]rum Pontificum and want to celebrate it.]

The Dean and Chapter were all in favour and agreed.  So the Cathedral Choir will be singing a Polyphonic Mass with Gregorian Chant. Bishop Hollis was consulted and apparently agreed to the plan as long as it was a one-off.  [Bp. Hollis of Portsmouth is definitely not known as a strong conservative, but my friends in the Portsmouth diocese tell me that even before Summorum Pontificum he never said no to celebrations of the older form of Mass. ] The Celebrant is the former Abbot of Belmont, the Rev Dr laurence Hemming from London will be Deacon and a priest from Marlborough will be Sub Deacon.

This is what I call true ecumenical dialogue!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Marc says:

    That is really strange yet this is the best kind of ecumenical diologue there is!

    My only question is doesnt the Altar have to be consecrated and have relics of saints in them so that Mass can be said?

    I wish our people would be half as excited as these Anglicans about the Moto Proprio!

  2. Cornellian says:

    Amen for some real ecumenical dialogue.

    I think there is a fairly reasonable risk of profanation of the sacrament. Anglicans will attend and it has been my (limited) personal experience that they don’t always care whether or not they are invited to receive the Eucharist.

    I have a feeling if Anglicans are hosting the event, they might be expecting to be able to receive. Reminding them that they cannot receive might dampen the fruit of such dialogue. How should the Church mitigate this?

  3. Patrick says:

    Is the altar at that cathedral pre reformation? I cant see what altar they would be using. One would reason, if the original altar was there, or atleast a pre reformation altar, it would be legitimate wouldnt it? I mean something doesnt become un consecrated simply because the people who “own” it fall out of favor with Rome. How beautiful a thing that the mass returns to it if indeed true!

  4. david andrew says:

    Now this is gravitational pull, let me tell you!

    As for the fear of profanation . . . it’s been my experience that often those who don’t fully understand the deeper meanings of the Eucharist are the ones who will pay it higher respect. . . in our local parishes the opposite seems more common: familiarity breeds contempt.

    Which is a greater “profanation”: a rogue Anglican receiving communion with great devotion, or the vast parade of gum-chewing suburbanites who talk through the eucharistic prayer on any given Sunday who “lawfully” receive simply because they’re “Catholic,” while demonstrating nonchalance and irreverence for Him whom they receive?

    Perhaps not an orthodox viewpoint, but there you have it.

  5. Matt Q says:

    This is good news but there are a couple of questions this raises.

    1. Is the Mass to be said an actual Tridentine Mass by a Catholic priest, or is it our Mass said by an Anglican for them?

    2. Since it was initiated by the choir, is it known whether they are actually expecting their participation to go beyond just the singing?


    Marc wrote:

    “I wish our people would be half as excited as these Anglicans about the Moto Proprio!”


    Marc, more of our people are just as excited about the Motu Proprio than the Anglicans, except that this sort of thing seems much more dramatic than our people come around to having the Tridentine Mass.

    I think it also follows that it isn’t the Faithful who are unexcited about Summorum Pontificum, but as we have seen in Cardiff and San Diego, it’s the bishops.

  6. Pius_X says:

    Fr Z.,

    It’s a bit of a underestimate to say that His Lordship Rt Rev Hollis is not a conservative, in fact he is probably one of the most liberal bishops in the country. The reason he allowed it is probably that it would have looked bad to ban it if the Anglicans said “yes”, the caveat he gave being important to see into what he really thinks.

    As for Anglicans and ‘Summorum Ponitificum’ I have had requests from Anglican vergers et al. to organise High Masses in two Cathedrals, yet you must realise that for many Anglicans its just ceremony they do not realise the underlying importance of what we do.

  7. Jack Regan says:

    I have family in Winchester and I know the Cathedral well. Fir the uninitiated, there has been a cathedral on the site since the 7th Century and the current Cathedral has the longest aisle (I think) in England. It is also the burial place of Jane Austen – in a very anonymous grave.

    It’s a beautiful Cathedral, which of course was stolen from us at the Reformation. Visitors now have to pay to enter. That always annoys me, paying to visit a Cathedral that was taken form us, but hey…

    I might even go to this.

    As for intercommunion, Anglicans in the UK are very well aware that they can’t receive from us so this won’t be an issue.

  8. berenike says:

    They may be aware, but they go anyway. It is definitely a problem. They really don’t get it. Here’s one exporting his casual attitude.

  9. Volpius says:

    I’m failing to see the good in this, if they want the Mass let them become Catholics or at least go to a Catholic Church why should the Mass go to them? The Mass is more than just a musical concert and we are wrong to encourage them to treat it so lightly.

  10. Serafino says:

    I doubt if any pre-“reformation” altars exist. One of the first things the “reformers” did was to destroy the Altars where the “blasphemous sacrifices of masses” were offered by “popish priests” and set up communion tables. Sounds like the 1960’s all over again!

  11. Michael says:

    This is the same Abbot who was supposed to celebrate Mass at Cardiff! I think LMS might be trying to make a point by choosing to celebrate Mass in an Anglican Cathedral after being rejected from the Catholic one: That the Protestants are more tolerant of Catholic tradition than your average Catholic bishop. Sad but true. I almost converted in my teen years for that reason.

    As for the altar, even if the original pre-reformation altar is intact, it has been desecrated by almost 500 years of misuse. A portable altar would have to be brought in if they wanted to do the traditional thing, but canonically, a consecrated altar isn’t necessary anymore and portable altars are no longer being made.

  12. Tim H says:

    As for the necessity of consecrated altars, I seem to remember photographs of masses being performed by chaplains in WWII on tables, the backs of trucks, in barns, etc., etc.
    These canons applied to the consecration of a permanent church structures not to emergency, extraordinary, or ad hoc celebrations of THSOTM.

  13. Kradcliffe says:

    The Catholic parish of Lochgilphead also offers a Sunday Mass at the Anglican church in Inveraray. Apparently, the Anglicans only meet every other week, while the Catholics fill most of the seats every Sunday. I don’t think there is any problem with offering the Mass on that altar, as it has been an ongoing weekly event for some time.

  14. Mark Jacobson says:

    How about this for yet another twist on the ecumenical dialogue:

    [If I am not mistaken, is obedience not an important point of reflection in the Exercises? Just asking… – Fr. Z]

  15. Pleased as Punch says:
  16. Simon Platt says:

    I find I have a few comments:

    I’m sure the Latin Mass Society isn’t making a point with this celebration. I think that both the Winchester and Cardiff masses have been planned for several weeks.

    I don’t know Winchester at all, but I too think it likely that the altar was destroyed in penal times. I think that was typical. Relics in particular were abhored by the protestants.

    I’m afraid there is an increased risk of profanation. Many anglicans do not respect church discipline on communion, including some with very high profiles and who should know better. Some believe themselves to be catholic.

  17. M. says:

    I think there is another aspect to this and that is that both Anglicans and traditional Catholics are aware of the very great historical significance. It is glorious to be able to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in such an extraordinary building which was built by Catholic faith precisely for this purpose. For instance the Association for Latin Liturgy has organised a Solemn Latin Mass in the Novus Ordo in Gloucester Cathedral on May 31st, at the invitation of the Anglican Bishop of Gloucester. There is no indication whatsoever that this is in anyway seen as an ecumenical event. Significantly the cathedral was built as a Benedictine Abbey, and became a cathedral only at the dissolution of the monastries and the Mass is being offered by the Benedictine Abbot of Downside Abbey. In this instance the choir is the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge, but if the Choir of Winchester Cathedral wish to sing for Mass at their cathedral, and they are among the best in the country, then excellent! (I believe there is some doubt as to whether the Westminster Cathedral Choir are willing to sing at Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos’s Mass in June!)There seems to be a far greater sensitivity to the richness of our Catholic liturgical tradition among some Anglican groups than among the majority of Catholics. (I recently saw the local Anglican vicar blessing a cross in the churchyard wearing a magnificient cope, our PP would have worn polyester with iron on transfers.)

    As regards intercommunion I see a far greater problem with liberal catholics who are unwilling to accept that there is any reason they can not invite their protestant friends to partake and should not partake of protestant communion services themselves. Most serious anglicans I know are painfully aware of why they cannot take our communion and will present themselves for a blessing instead.

    As an example of liberal Catholic weakmindedness, an elderly Catholic parishoner said to me recently that the reason Mass was changed into English, ( her words) was to make it as near as possible to the Anglican communion service so that we could eventually have shared services. She also told me that the reason the new translation, whenever it comes out, will have ” And with thy Spirit “, was because that is what the Anglicans have in their service.

    Of course there are those within the Anglican Church who regard themselves as Roman Catholic but, it seems to me, can not bear to cross to Rome in her current state.

  18. Patrick Rothwell says:

    I can only imagine what the Protestant Truth Society will think when they hear about this!


    A kind read sent this:

    To the tune of “Winchester Cathedral”


    (With Apologies to Geoff Stephens

    and the New Vaudeville Band, 1966)

    Winchester Cathedral
    You’re making me cheer
    Your oecumenical action
    is TLM-clear

    You could have done nothing
    But you didn’t dare
    You up and did something
    You showed us you care

    Now everyone knows that we think the Old Mass is swell
    We shouldn’t have to go to an Anglican church
    But just start ringing your bell

    Winchester Cathedral
    You’re making me proud
    You helped to ensure our
    Latin Mass was sung loud:

    Gloria   Patri, et  Filio,  et  Spiritui   Sancto.
    Sicut  erat   in  principio,
    et  nunc,  et  semper,
    et  in  saecula  saeculorum.  Amen.

  20. TJM says:

    This is wonderful news. There is an Episcopal Monastery in Three Rivers, Michigan, which to my knowledge, still uses the Latin liturgy in their
    Monastery. I hope the Dean of Cardiff is ashamed of himself after reading this. I never saw such a rank politicization of the liturgy as the indicident involving
    the Dean of Cardiff. Tom

  21. M. says:

    AS regards intercommunion I was recently taken aback to hear a priest, of relatively high rank, state at a funeral, something to the effect ” Now at this very special time in our service and as we mourn for XXXXX, I would like to invite all those present, Catholic or otherwise, who wish to do so, to come forward to the lord’s table”. At least two strict Anglicans I know who also attended the funeral were scandalized that he should have done so.

  22. Spiggle says:

    Winchester Cathedral has several pre-Reformation altars, including the High Altar (though not the nave one, which is moveable). The screen shown in the photo linked above is also medieval but heavily restored in Victorian times, and almost all of the statues in it date from that restoration.

    Re the Westminster Cathedral mass and the choir, I haven’t heard anything of the sort. There may be problems with availability. Of course the choir is professional and paid: as I understand it the forthcoming TLM isn’t in the ordinary schedule and would therefore be Extra. The Winchester point is rather different: they’re paid too, but then it appears to be they who are asking for the mass.

    It is perhaps worth noting that in England there’s a fairly close relationship between Anglican Cathedral Choirs and Catholic ones, and between organists and Masters of the Music etc. The organist and Master of the Music at Winchester is (or was, he may have moved on come to think of it) a Catholic who had previously been in charge at Westminster Cathedral. The chap who replaced him at Westminster Cathedral later went on to Anglican Westminster Abbey, himself then being replaced by the former number two at the Abbey: both of them were Catholics too. I know of several lay clerks in both Anglican and Catholic places who come from the wrong denomination for the place they serve.

  23. Serafino, might I suggest you read “The Stripping of the Altars” by Dr.Eamon Duffy? The common misconception is that all the churches of England were stripped and their altars pulled down. Duffy shows that this wasn’t the case, or at least not as we have been taught. It’s a fascinating read, though a bit tedious at times as Duffy tends to very thoroughly back up his thesis. The most interesting thing I learned is that Catholicism reigned for a very long time even though a few at the top tried to stamp it out. Duffy provides a scholarly alternative to the version of history many of us have heard.

  24. JML says:

    Are they celebrating a (High) Episcopal Mass using Catholic music? If so, we do that all the time here, celebrating Catholic Masses with Protestant music!! :)

    If I was over there, I’d attend, but because (I suppose) the consecration is not valid, I’d skip communion.

  25. Matt Q says:

    I’ve always liked the Winchester reredos and altar. It is very dramatic and grand. The plain stone is a little overwhelming but still nice. It would be a fitting altar for the Tridentine Mass. I hope they can pull it off. Still, who’s actually celebrating it, and who’s showing up?

    It would also be nice if our various parishes had movable Novus Ordo altars. Move that out when celebrating the Tridentine Mass. LOL Only thing with many of our parishes, move that altar and you have nothing but empty space. The way they’ve destroyed churches today is really the same as what Henry VIII’s henchmen did. To think this is happening BY our own Church ( not TO the Church ) I swear something upset our time-continuum and we were worm-holed into an alternate bizarre-dimensional universe.

  26. Rev. Dr. Laurence Hemming, who will be the Deacon, is a Roman Catholic. Dr. Hemming is a “deacon and an academic who has been involved in CIEL Oxford, is a founding member of the Society of St. Catherine of Siena, was involved in the Merton College training conference for priests interested in the usus antiquior, and more recently acted as deacon in the Solemn Mass offered in Westminster Cathedral” ( ). Bishop Hollis is the ordinary of the Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth. Were this Mass not offered by Roman Catholic Clergy his permission to offer Mass in a non-Catholic cathedral would not be needed. One may thus conclude that his is a true and valid Mass according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite offered by Catholic, not Anglican, clergy.

  27. Stephen Morgan says:

    It is a Catholic Mass, to be offered by a Catholic priest (allbeit one with the right to pontificate by virtue of his Abbatial dignity. All Masses in the Diocese of Portsmouth are with the permission of the Ordinary, Bishop Crispian Hollis. He has told the Parish Priests (that’s “Pastor” in Canonical terms) that following Summorum Pontificum, it is a matter for those Parish Priest to determine whether to agree to requests for Mass in the Extraordinary Form, to which they are urged by the same motu proprio to willingly accede or, if they are impeded, unable or unwilling that they must refer the matter to him. In this case, he is aware that the Mass is taking place and it is taking place with the permission of the Parish Priest.

    Reverend Deacon Stephen Morgan
    Secretary to the Trustees of the Portsmouth Diocese, regular reader and occasional contributor to the combox of this blog and very likely to be in choro for this Mass which will doubtless give joy to St Swithun and to the bones of the Saxon Kings of Wessex and England which lie in the Cathedral

  28. M. says:

    I stand corrected re the Westminster Mass. I’ve heard from a well placed source that there is a question of how many of the choir may be able to make it; I should not have jumped to the conclusion that they are unwilling. Though as they are considered by many to be one of, if not THE, finest cathedral choir in the world, it would be a shame if they did not sing for such a high profile Mass offered by a very high ranking cardinal, irrespective of whether it is EF or OF. The LMS publicity is generally vague when it comes to the music. They have on at least one occasion that I know of stated that the Cathedral Choir would sing and it was in fact something called the Cathedral ” Special” Choir which is not the same thing at all. Of course we come for the Sacrifice of the Mass but if you are expecting to hear the best choir in existance and as soon as the Kyrie starts you know by the first phrase that it is not them then it is a bit of a let down. I don’t for a moment think the LMS is being disingenious just a little disorganised.

    The most GLORIOUS choral recording I have ever heard, ( and I possess in excess of 300), is the Victoria Requiem sung by Westminster Cathedral Choir under David Hill, who was also Master of Music at Winchester and later St. John’s College Cambridge. By coincidence they had a Solemn High Mass at St John’s on Monday evening, also under the wing of the LMS.

    Just to clarify: I 100% support the work of the LMS and think the criticism here and elsewhere is unfounded and frankly ignorant. They worked so very very hard to keep the TLM alive in England and Wales and it is not right to criticise them now and say they are no longer needed or that what we need are as many Masses organised without their imput as possible. I am not involved with the society but those who I have met from its ranks have been friendly, open and definitely not cranks. Just look at the training they are offering priests in Oxford this Summer, ( and last). Again in an Anglican setting, ( Merton College). Until The bishops of England and Wales undertake such work they are very much needed. I regularly include them in my prayers and I strongly suggest everyone to do likewise. RANT OVER!

  29. Stephen: How I would love to be able to join you for that!

  30. Stephen: How I would love to be able to join you for that!

  31. Larry says:

    I’ve waited to comment on this. It seemed like maybe the post belonged to April 1st! This is simply wonderful, someone who can talk to EWTN–wouldn’t this be tremendous!!! Great to see Fr. Bailey’s knowledgeable comments here as well. Rev. Deacon Morgan do your best you are part of history here! God bless all those involved here.

  32. Vernon says:

    It is sad to see comments here doubting the validity of the Mass to be offered in Winchester Cathedral in June. There are a number of points which need to be clarified.

    Firstly, the Mass is not organised by the Latin Mass Society but by members of the Guild of St Gregory (which has similar objects of maintaining the TLM). The LMS assist with publicity to their members. The Guild have, for many years organised similar Masses in Canterbury Cathedral and other Anglican Cathedrals which were formerly Catholic. There have been no obvious cases of the Blessed Sacrament being received by non-Catholics.

    Most Priests own, or can easily borrow, a Consecrated Altar Stone which is placed on top of the front centre of the Altar and on which the Sacred Species is consecrated. Portable stones like this enable Mass to be said in places where there is not a consecrated Altar, or where the consecration is in doubt. This Mass will be sung at the High Altar of the Cathedral.

    The Mass will be a true and fully valid Traditional Latin Mass (in accordance with the books of 1962) celebrated by a Benedictine of Belmont Abbey supported by a Deacon and a nearby Parish Priest as the other Sacred Ministers. All the servers will be regular TLM servers from various Catholic parishes. The music will be totally in accordance with the norms for the TLM – primarily Missa Papae Marcelli by Palestrina.

    Vernon Quaintance
    Assistant Master of Ceremonies for the Mass.

    PS. It should be noted that a Missa Cantata is to take place in the crypt chapel of Canterbury Cathedral on 5th July at 12 noon

  33. Royce says:

    Interestingly, the altar in the picture referenced above is set up in Sarum fashion. It’s too bad they won’t be using the Sarum use — it would be most appropriate.

  34. Patrick says:

    I wish they still constructed altars like the one in the picture. They are ABSOLUTELY gorgeous, it really makes you feel like you are truly with the Saints.

  35. JamieWHall says:

    To answer the question about the alter, The three priests celebrating the mass will bring an alter stone along with them.

    As one of the gentlemen of Winchester Cathedral Choir and indeed the one who, along with a member of the latin mass society, has organised this mass to take place, I am delighted by the positive response to this mass. A consort of six, including myself, will sing a Palestrina mass setting along with motets by Palestrina and Victoria as well as the proper gregrian chant for the day.

    I am very much looking forward to this event and hope that it will trigger other such events.

  36. Oliver says:

    I wonder whether we will have to pay at the door for this piece of entertainment. A simulation of the old Mass (with doubtless some modern reforms)in an Anglican cathedral because Catholic ones are unavailable is rather a strange business. Is this the best the LMS can do after years of talking and grovelling? Is it not better to advertise this event as a Saturday morning concert with coffee and biscuits in the interval?

  37. Simon Platt says:

    Oliver, that’s not fair.

    Yes, it’s odd that this mass is to be celebrated in what is now a protestant church, but it is to be a valid celebration of mass, not a concert. And it was pointed out above that it is not organised by the LMS, although the LMS is helping with publicity.

  38. Lay Clerk says:

    I’m one of the singers will be singing polyphony as part of this Mass. I would point out that a misunderstanding has arisen that WInchester Cathedral Choir will be singing at this Mass. This is not true. There will be an independent schola for the chant, and a small group of Winchester choir men (of which I’m one) singing the polyphony, one voice per part. Everyone is looking forward to this.

  39. Fr. Philip Thomas says:

    I was the local parish priest who fulfilled the role of subdeaon at Winchester yesterday morning. Despite my inexperience and mistakes, it was a truly wonderful celebration by traditionally minded Catholics of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Our preacher was brief where necessary but also erudite and accurate where required in talking about Cardinal Pole, the last Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury. The music was beautiful and Mass well attended. If our Anglican neighbours are kind enough to allow more such celebrations, I hope that many British readers of this site will support by their prayers and presence.

  40. Sue Sims says:

    I was in the congregation, and it was a wonderful Mass. The music was superb, the congregation reverent, the preaching both scholarly and uplifting, and the Mass…was the holy Sacrifice.

    My only problem was that we were all in choir, rather than the nave: those who arrived early were in chairs nearer the front, but those of us who were more tardy were in the choir stalls, where the kneelers are slanted so that one has to balance with one’s rear end pushed against the seat. I’m too short to do that easily, and spent most of the kneeling periods on the bare boards… I reckon that the souls in Purgatory must have been grateful, anyway.

    The best thing, though, was the knowledge that the ancient rite had, for the first time since the Reformation (I think), returned to the cathedral which was built to house it. That gave an extraordinary frisson to the whole Mass.

    And Fr Thomas, from my lowly (in every sense) position, the sub-deacon filled his role superbly.

  41. Sue Sims says:

    PS: And Oliver, although the Cathedral charges tourists five pounds (about $9) to enter, those of us hearing Mass were allowed in without any payment.

  42. josephus muris saliensis says:

    Those suggesting that the Mass in an anglican church is a “concert” or show, are being both perverse and uncharitable. Remember, please, that these churches contain many relics of Saints from before the Reformation, and all these Masses involve devotions to such relics, often visits to the shrines after Mass, or other acts of pilgrimage. Remember too, that the endowments enjoyed by most anglican cathedrals were funds left for chantry Masses, which have remained unsaid for the last 400 years. Any Catholic priest offering Masses in these places (as well as for these intentions in his own church) is participating in a profound act of charity.

    You may rest assured that no profanation is ever, in my experience, allowed to be a risk. Altar stones are always taken, and the elements for the sacred species, as well as all vessels, are brought from Catholic churches, to avoid even the scandal of confusion. Where, as has occasionally occurred, the cathedral authorities (eg Christ Church Oxford in 2005) have refused to allow these provisions, or insisted upon intercommunion, then the Masses have been cancelled.

  43. Bob K. says:

    Actually Father the Cathedral was built by Catholics, and not Anglicans if we want to get technical. Anglicanism did not exist when this Cathedral was built.

  44. Bob K. says:

    Same for Cantebury, York Minster, Salisbury, Durham, etcc. These beautiful Gothic Cathedrals, were built by English Catholics for English Catholics. Not Anglicans. Anglicans only took control of them, when they decided to part from Roman Catholicism and rename themselves and establish a Protestant Church. I pray for the day when these so called “Anglican” Cathedrals return to there rightful home under the English Roman Catholic Church. Were they belong!!.

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