Tuesday, 9 October 2007

The Red Mass

On Monday 1 October, the Cardinal celebrated the annual Red Mass for the opening of the new Legal term - the name comes from the red vestments worn by the celebrant at this votive Mass of the Holy Spirit, asking his blessing upon the coming year's proceedings. To this Mass come catholic members of the legal profession.

The Red Mass has been celebrated at Westminster Cathedral for over a hundred years, but in fact revives a long-standing medieval practice that ceased at the Reformation. A service of prayer at Westminster Abbey, along similar lines, was substituted in the sixteenth century, and continues to this day.

It is fascinating to see the High Court Judges in their robes, which were ecclesiastical in origin - and it is certainly a most splendid sight!

Following Mass, the Cardinal hosted a reception in the Throne Room of Archbishop's House. Above, he speaks to Toby Riley-Smith, who has organised this year's Mass.

Patrick Curran, on the left, is a parishioner and choir school Governor; it is a particular joy that he was recently made a High Court Judge.

Mr Justice Butterfield is the President of the Thomas More society for catholic lawyers.


Andrew said...

What's the difference between those wearing read robes and the judges wearing purple?

Liadnan said...

Red are High Court judges.

Anonymous said...

Is this the Butterfield of the book on case law fame?

Rather funny though, he does look like "Jeremy" in that law series on the BBC with John Thaw. I wonder if that was purposeful.

Anonymous said...

I attended the Red Mass at Westminster Cathedral in 2007 as a newly called Barrister.

I felt very privileged to be amongst such prominent and able members of the Bar.

I hope to be able to attend again this year.
Bridget C. O'Donovan