Walney thoughts on the Merton Conference

Fr. Paul Harrison at Thoughts from Walney Island has a few interesting impressions from the recent TLM conference in Oxford.


Thoughts on the LMS conference at Merton College.

Yesterday I returned from the Latin Mass Society conference at Merton College, Oxford. It was an excellent week, in very good company. I have to say it has given me plenty to think about in the weeks ahead!

I had signed up for the absloute beginners course for the Traditional Latin Mass. My tutor was Fr Gee from the Archdiocese of Southwork ( with some help from Fr Hermanuetic himself!!). They were very helpful in getting me started with a couple of dry runs. I also attended a crash course in Latin – which was rather good.

A number of things struck me during the week.

It seems to me that a real effort is being made by our Holy Father to re-discover reverence in our celebration of the Mass. This is more than just genuflecting correctly, it is about being in the presence of the All powerful and living God and His Son Jesus Christ. It how we must worship with everything we have. This was emphasised by the Masses I attended. On Thursday we had High Mass. It may surprise some that this was the first time I had been to High Mass. On Friday we had Pontifical High Mass – this was splendid and ( in my opinion) spectacular. One thing that really struck me was the sign of peace. This began after the fraction of the Host. Then the main celebrant exhanged peace the deacon and then this was passed to the priests. It was all so dignified. I had a real sense that the peace of Christ was being passed on.

I was also struck by the silence especially at the Canon of the Mass – I may return to that on another occasion.

I had also had a great sense that "the genie is out of the bottle" What I mean is things will not be the same again. Its not just that the Traditional Latin Mass is allowed, its the fact that Pope Benedict has ushered in a new approach to the Liturgy that is more in keeping with what the Vatican Council wanted. Something has stated than cannot be stopped[As His Hermeneuticalness recently said to me in an interview to be issued in a PODCAzT: "It’s unstoppable".]

Finally, I bought a biretta – so the conference had a real effect on me – a photo of this momentous event will appear soon! 


Father receives highest WDTPRS kudos for the observations and the purchase of the biretta!


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Quote: “What I mean is things will not be the same again.”

    When our pastor returned from the workshop in Denten Nebraska offered by the FSSP, he said in his homily

    “I want to tell you, and this is without any humor or exaggeration whatsoever; after being there five days I got a glimpse of what Moses probably felt like when he had to veil his face after being in the Divine Presence of God. In the Old Testament you can read about Moses having to veil his face. My life will never be the same. I am absolutely serious. What a tremendous blessing last week was.”

  2. Christopher Milton says:

    Wonderful news!!

    As an aside: who all is permitted to wear the biretta? Are deacons?

  3. AnnaTrad says:

    As a lay person once I became familiar with this Mass I also began to love this Mass more and more. I look forward every day to been able to attend this Mass, it is the center of my day. So for me after 20 years there is no going back to the NO. I know I will get criticized for this but there really in no comparison. I am not FSSPX, but belong to a parish sanctioned by our Bishop. I hope more will come to know and love this Mass that the Pope has brought the spot light on especially Priests.

  4. JML says:


    Over on New Liturgical Movement they have photos of the Pontifical High Mass. The first one shows one of the celebrants with a white biretta, and I think another with a red “pom pom” on the top.

    What is the significance of biretta colors?


  5. Tecumseh says:

    Great news, now all Father has do do is migrate from Walney Island and head North to Carlisle we have been crying out for the traditional Mass since the Motu Proprio, we haven’t had one yet. What we did have today was a Mass that as far as I could tell every single sentence seemed to be improvised. “Take this bread which has been hallowed” ??.

  6. fr paul harrison says:

    I am very flattered that you have given me an honourable mention in your blog.

    I am offering the Traditional Latin Mass next on August 24th at St Mary’s Barrow in Furness. I am busily learning the texts for the Mass!

    fr paul harrison

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