Rorate Caeli

Secretary-General Stalin Wants to Control the Narrative in the Synod
- We bring the Samizdat back to the Soviet bloc: Poland

Sorry.... did we say "Stalin"?... Oops! We meant Baldisseri! Honest mistake. If you follow our Twitter account @RorateCaeli (and if you do not, you should!), you may have noticed that we have severely criticized the humiliating fashion in which the mainstream media accepts and tolerates the information blackout imposed by the Holy See Press Office during this Synod. They would never tolerate this kind of control from any government, not even any dictatorship, yet the Holy See (rather, Cardinal Baldisseri, the Synod Secretary-General) imposes it during the Synod, and all obey it like cattle.

And if some bishops "disobey" Secretary-General Stalin... sorry again, Baldisseri, then he sends his commissioners to warn them:

Ah, that is very threatening! The bishops can publish their own texts, but they can't (they just can't, that's it) the texts of others! Or what?

Well, it must have worked, because the President of the Polish Episcopal Conference, Archbishop Gadecki, had made available on Wednesday a summary of the interventions of many Synodal Fathers (on the first day, in French). After the new threat, it disappeared (here). Thankfully, we saved the content, a precious piece of Catholic history.

Another piece of the Samizdat, now back to the Soviet bloc, thanks to a new Secretary-General, who must be obeyed!

Interventions de trois minutes des Peres Synodaux – Deuxième Assemblée générale (10/05/2015)

7 Październik 2015

Interventions de trois minutes des Peres Synodaux – Deuxième Assemblée générale (10/05/2015)

■ Mgr Victor Manuel Fernàndez (archevêque ; Argentine), recteur de l’Université catholique argentine, nommé membre du comité de rédaction de la Relation finale du Synode. – S. Thomas d’Aquin enseigne que l’amour se développe. Nous attendons le soutien des époux dans le développement de l’amour. La doctrine de la miséricorde doit être suivie par la charité pastorale.

Synod, Day 5 - All Reports of the Language Groups (Full texts)

First, the Reports of the Four English-speaking groups (Anglicus A, B, C and D), then the other groups in their original languages (the three Gallicus/French, the three Italicus/Italian, the two Hibericus/Spanish, the single Germanicus), as released a few minutes ago.

All emphases added below (in each of the languages) were added by Rorate Caeli.


Relatio – Circulus Anglicus “A”

Moderator: Card. PELL George

Relator: S.E. Mons. KURTZ Joseph Edward

In Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, we find the source of hope for the family in thecontemporary world. Thus confidence in Him is to be the first and last word of the synod. It is with eyes fixed on Jesus that we begin.

The message of the synod must announce the Good News of Jesus Christ clearly and attractively. Thus we recommend the words of Pope Francis who vividly engaged families at the Saturday Vigil for the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia with the invitation: "So great was (God's) love, that He began to walk with humanity, with His people, until the right moment came, and He made the highest expression of love - His own Son. And where did He send his son - to a palace? To a city? No.He sent him to a family. God sent him amid a family. And He could do this, because it was a family that had a truly open heart!"

We discussed a proper methodology, which needs to make reference to Sacred Scripture and Tradition throughout this document as we read the signs of our times in light of the Gospel.

A great concern relates to the overly bleak description of the contemporary scene. More attention needs to be given to theological reflection on the faithful, loving married couple and family, who, so often heroically, live an authentic witness to the grace of the family. Expanding the words to explain the "Good News regarding the family", we sought to speak less of "crisis" and more of "lights and shadows."

Melkite Patriarch corrects Panamanian Cardinal: 'Jesus corrects Moses'

Moses and Elijah adore their Transfigured Lord
Pietro Perugino, circa 1500

Among the stalwart Polish bishops who have publicly stood firm against the current drive to get the Church to accept divorce, adultery, fornication, abortion, sodomy, and gender ideology, Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki stands out. 

Synod, Day 4: Cardinal Erdo, who??? Let's talk about sex!

Erdo: "I tried ! "
An English translation of the very conservative opening address by Cardinal Peter Erdo, Relator General of the Synod of Bishops, delivered on October 5, Day 1 of the Synod, has been made available in the past few hours, by the National Catholic Register and the Catholic News Agency. 

We appreciate their effort, but it seems that our editorial decision not to waste our scarce resources on this was not wrong: already on the fourth day, the second of the meeting of the "circuli minores" (the small groups of bishops according to general language groups), and in the following press conference, what do we get from Italian Synod Father Cardinal Menichelli? That no one is listening to Cardinal Erdo's words, they are all going directly to the highly problematic and profoundly liberal Instrumentum Laboris, the document that undermines all Catholic doctrine on family and marriage, from Trent to Humanae Vitae (despite poor Erdo's best efforts to spin it to a more conservative direction).

Synod '15: Three days weeks of Darkness

A traditional mission priest and friend of Rorate has sent us the audio of a powerful sermon. While recorded before the beginning of the Synod of Sex, it would behoove all Catholics to listen to it, reflect on it during these three weeks and be motivated to pray the Rosary. 

A description of the sermon reads:

"Before the Day of the Lord, the devil will have his hour. Heaven pleads with us below to pray the Holy Rosary during that dark hour. Each bead of the Holy Rosary is like a star that, along with the Morning Star, Our Lady, lights up the darkest night. The Holy Rosary is a scourge that beats back our enemies, filled with small stones that knock down any Goliath. But the Holy Rosary is not just essential equipment for dark times, but also a sure means of ushering in a certain age of peace. Each bead is like a seed that is planted which will bring forth, one day, beautiful roses and pure lilies. An example of the Holy Rosary getting us through dark times and bringing in a time of restoration is seen in the story of Our Lady of Pompeii and Blessed Bartolo Longo."

Another Blockbuster Article from Neil McCaffrey in 1977 -- Just Substitute "Francis" for "Paul VI"

With all the commentary on the current Synod (as well as the always-effervescent discussions of the SSPX), we can sometimes forget how deep are the roots of our present crisis. We've been here before; we are seeing the working-out of that which was long in place. 

This article was originally written in 1977, prior to the suspension of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. The author of this piece was neither a member of the SSPX nor a partisan. But he did know the Church inside-out, and knew something of Catholic history and politics. If the reader subtitutes "Francis" for "Paul VI," he will see the eerie parallels on every level.

Rorate Caeli thanks Roger McCaffrey of Roman Catholic Books for allowing us to publish this daring and perceptive essay, which will also appear in the next print issue of The Traditionalist, due out in November. (Any inquiries regarding the magazine may be directed to

Archbishop Lefebvre, Pope Paul VI, and Catholic Tradition

by Neil McCaffrey

Pope Receives a Very Curious Message in His Own Paper: the Mario Palmaro Riddle

"Mario Palmaro (1968-2014): A great example, for All"
Nothing could make more sense: Mario Palmaro, the great late Traditional Catholic writer, who died so young in 2014, was an example for all. But why this one-page homage to Mario Palmaro, an apparent ad, in page 4 of today's (October 8) edition of L'Osservatore Romano, in the middle of the Synod? Is it the anniversary of the birthday or date of death of the late writer? No, that is not the case at all: Palmaro was born on June 5, 1968, and died on March 9, 2014. Is any of his books being republished with fanfare at this moment? Not really. Even the biography highlighted in the apparent ad was released months ago, in March 2015.

Fontgombault Sermon - Feast of the Rosary: "Surround the Synod with the Beads of the Rosary" "We can't give up the Gospel truth on the family"


Sermon of the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau
Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault
(Fontgombault, October 7, 2015)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
My dearly beloved Sons,

The Feast of the Most Holy Rosary assumes a special importance this year. Last Sunday, in Rome, the XIVth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops was opened; it is dedicated to the family, on the theme “The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World”.

Mary invites us to surround this Assembly with the beads of our daily rosaries, so that God’s will on the family should be sought by all, discerned, and offered with mercy to today’s world. The world expects from the Church the Good News of the Gospel. Should we give up the whole truth on the family that Popes Paul VI and John Paul II taught in such a crystal clear way, then we would lose enthusiasm for mission, we would have to resign ourselves to be defeated by the spirit of the world, which claims to conquer, yet has nothing new to offer.

Synod, Day 2 - It's becoming Vatican III

Auguste Coder, after a David drawing
Le Serment du Jeu de paume [The Tennis Court Oath on June 20, 1789]

Whatever one might say of the sacrilegious "Kasper proposal" (the very embodiment of what Saint Thomas Aquinas warns us not to do in the Lauda Sion - not throwing the Blessed Sacrament away...), at least it has a very tenuous link to some structure one might identify as a "couple".

The Tennis Court Oath was made by the Progressive Bishops in Rome a few months ago, and the Revolution is in full swing, in the Jacobin phase -- they will not let go of their chance to strike deep, fast, strongly, and in all directions, and nothing is a coincidence.

Some of the "faith and family" issues debated on this second day of debates?

The "ordination" of women to the Diaconate...

Polygamy - a matter to be better decided locally. ("There must be an end to exclusionary language and a strong emphasis on embracing reality as it is," said the Vatican English-language spokesman - which is the absolute opposite of the entire Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ.)

After the high hopes of the Erdo report yesterday, it has gone downhill fast -- into freak-show territory.

SHOCKING IMAGE FINALLY APPEARS: When the Pope met the "transexual" woman and her "fiancée"

We were the first to break the news in English at the time: the Pope granted a hidden audience to a same-sex couple (that is, two homosexual women) constituted of a transexual woman (who, after much transformation and hormones, uses the alias "Diego", and who complained of not being welcomed in her parish) and her "fiancée"...

A lady, the Pope, and the other lady (alias "Diego")
The meeting took place on January 24th, and coincidentally (!!!) it is being released just in time for the "Family" Synod by Spanish daily El Mundo.

Reminder: Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society

This is our monthly reminder to please enroll Souls of the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society. And, please remember our new policy change, that the names of Souls you enroll will no longer be made public. We added two new priests to the Society last month and now stand at 64 priests saying weekly or monthly traditional Latin Masses for the souls.

Squaring the circle: the Synod's most likely outcome, barring a miracle.

The Motu Proprio Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus whereby you reformed the procedures for the canonical process on the sacramental validity of marriages gives a valuable indication of the spirit in which we approach this phase of work. Without questioning the sacramental tradition of our Church or her doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage, you invite us to share our pastoral experiences and to better implement the paths of mercy by which the Lord invites those who so wish and who are able to enter a process of conversion with a view to (receiving) pardon.
-  Card. André Vingt-Trois, Address to Pope Francis at the opening of the 2015 Synod of Bishops, October 5, 2015

It appears the Holy Father would be glad if the synod could somehow find a way to square the circle by authorizing communion for the divorced and remarried without violating Church teaching. 
- Russel Shaw, The Struggle for the Synod. (Oct. 1, 2015)


Our friends over at One Peter Five have recently published an article (What We May Expect From the Synod: A Brief Synopsis by Jeffrey Bond) that we particularly recommend to our readers. In this article, Jeffrey Bond summarizes the three possible outcomes of this month's Synod of Bishops:

(1) The Synod will simply reaffirm Catholic doctrine on the family; or 
(2) The Synod will explicitly change Catholic doctrine on the family; or 
(3) The Synod will reaffirm Catholic doctrine but change pastoral practice in such a way as to weaken and undermine doctrine.

Places Still Available at the Dignitatis Humanae Colloquium in Norcia

There are still places available at the Dignitatis Humanae Colloquium in Norcia, from 30th October to 1st November. As we reported earlier, some of the most distinguished scholars in the Traditionalist movement (including Roberto de Mattei, Thomas Pink, John Lamont, and John Rao) will be debating the meaning of the most controversial of Vatican II's documents, in the presence of Cardinal Burke. Accommodation from the 29th October is with the Benedictine sisters of Norcia. Book now so as not to miss this unique occasion!

Archbishop Gänswein’s Thinly Veiled Critique of the German Bishops

In a speech given at the opening of the academic year of the theological seminary of the Austrian Cistercian Abbey, Stift Heiligenkreuz (Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule Benedikt XVI. Heiligenkreuz), H.E. Archbishop Georg Gänswein offered what amounted to a thinly veiled attack on the German episcopate’s current campaign to conform the Church to the world. The speech, which has been made available on youtube (embedded above), was concerned with the reception in Germany of Pope Benedict XVI’s Address to German Catholics in the Freiburg Concert House, on the necessity of purifying the Church from worldliness. Archbishop Gänswein bewailed the fact that many in Germany had tried to play down the implications of that speech for German ecclesial life (“the pope never mentioned the Church tax”). He didn’t say exactly who the people playing down the implications were, but it became clear that he was speaking about the German episcopate. The climax of Archbishop Gänswein’s speech (beginning at the 15:17 mark) seemed to imply as much (Rorate translation):

Synod, first day: "Unacceptable" - the danger of the Great Division has arrived

A follow-up on the procedural rigging created by Cardinal Baldisseri and Archbishop Forte (and the other Bergoglian strongmen) for the 2015 Synod.

The Synod has officially opened today (right now, in fact, with its opening mass), and Xavier Rynne II explains in the Catholic Herald why the manipulation of this year's Synod is even worse than last year's - in fact, it is not a "synod" at all, barely a chat at tea time.

More than one Synod father has described both the procedures and the final-report commission as “unacceptable.” ...

On the Solemnity of Our Lady of the Rosary, First Sunday in October: "The Mass, Prayer, the Rosary — nothing else can avail"

Persecution, he said, was coming. There had been a riot or two already. But persecution was not to be feared. It would no doubt cause apostasies, as it had always done, but these were deplorable only on account of the individual apostates. On the other hand, it would reassure the faithful; and purge out the half-hearted.

Once, in the early ages, Satan's attack had been made on the bodily side, with whips and fire and beasts; in the sixteenth century it had been on the intellectual side; in the twentieth century on the springs of moral and spiritual life. Now it seemed as if the assault was on all three planes at once.

For the record: High-ranking Vatican official "in a gay relationship"
Adopting the language of Sodom, official fired for media conference, NOT for sins against God & nature

While we helped break and advance this story in the English-speaking world yesterday on Twitter, thanks to a wonderful Polish cleric whom we thank, we are not going to expound heavily on this matter today of a Vatican prelate who outed himself as a practicing homosexual, as attention is what this man wants, and we're just not going to give much of it to him. 

So we bring to those of you who don't follow us on Twitter this news, for the record. And, also for the record, the fact that the Vatican is now, for the first time ever, using words such as "in a gay relationship" on an official website to describe a sexually active homosexual priest.

On the eve of the Synod - critiques of the Instrumentum Laboris are piling up

We have already posted a comprehensive article on the growing number of critiques against the Instrumentum Laboris that will guide this month's Synod of Bishops on the family.

Impossible to excuse or explain away: How the heterodoxy of the Instrumentum Laboris for the Synod of 2015 has been exposed. 

In addition to our own extended critique published on June 25 and critiques from Raymond Cardinal Burke, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Roberto de MatteiLifeSite News and Voice of the Family, our report also includes First Things' open letter to the Pope against the threat posed to Humanae Vitae by the Instrumentum Laboris' 137th paragraph. This letter was signed by a veritable "who's who" of prelates, theologians and philosophers (61 in all) who have defended moral orthodoxy in the Church. 

To these we may now add the following critiques:

"Christ's New Homeland - Africa" - Rorate book review - Cardinal Sarah and other African Prelates demolish Pre-Synod Documents - in this book, it is Bishop Barthélemy Adoukonou (Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture) who particularly subjects the Instrumentum Laboris to an intense critique. 

Back to normal!!!

Ah, that's more like him!

CNN Exclusive: Pope held private meeting with same-sex couple in U.S.

The Vatican's statement throwing Kim Davis under the bus earlier today also said that "the only real audience granted by the Pope at the Nunciature was with one of his former students and his family." Now we know that this "family" was... precisely this "same sex couple" and some of their relatives (apparently - the lady portrayed by the media as the mother is just a friend...). Intentionally or unintentionally, this is the first time that an official Vatican mouthpiece has called a "gay couple" as a family -- or at least as part of the same family. Let that sink in...

Henceforth any Catholic who does not wish to give or abet scandal by warmly welcoming a "married" homosexual "couple" to their home or to a gathering can be easily attacked for being "more Catholic than the Pope".

We must admit we were too hasty: it was not the Marxist crucifix, but this, with the beaming Pope, the literal barrenness of it all, and the nuclear division it announces for the Church in the decades ahead, this is what is the defining image of this Pontificate.

BOMBSHELL - SECRET PARALLEL SYNOD: Papal Post-Synod Document ALREADY being drafted by Jesuit group to allow communion for divorced and other aberrations

Summary: Italian journalist Marco Tosatti reveals that A SECRET PARALLEL SYNOD has been established in Rome, a cabal composed almost exclusively by Jesuits, with the occasional Argentinian presence (easy to guess who), to draft the necessary post-synodal documents to implement whatever the Pope wants to implement. And they will implement it, no matter what, as the secret committee to draft the Annulment reforms has shown; what everyone supposed was true in fact is true: the Synodal process is a sham.


The always admirably well informed Marco Tosatti, who has refused to become a stealth spokesman for the pontificate and has kept his journalistic integrity -- and, for this reason, has become, along with Sandro Magister, the best Italian religious correspondent in the current pontificate -- reports today on the most recent machinations for 2015 "Synod on the Family", which opens in a few days.

Book Review (and exclusive interview with Father Joseph Fessio): The Rigging of a Synod, by Edward Pentin

The Rigging of a Vatican Synod? by Edward Pentin

a guest book-review for Rorate Caeli,
 by Maike Hickson

In addition to the recent publication of the two pre-Synod books written by prelates of the Catholic Church, namely the Eleven Cardinals Book and the African Prelates Book, a book written by a reliably faithful layman is also of great importance in the wider preparation for the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the Family. Edward Pentin, the well-respected Vatican Correspondent, has published with Ignatius Press a new book, interrogatively entitled The Rigging of a Vatican Synod? And the author's question mark in the main title was intentional and emphatic so that the reader may more freely draw his own cumulative conclusions. The subtitle of the book is An Investigation into Alleged Manipulation at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family. In the book, he presents the results of his research in Rome and elsewhere concerning the many weighty proofs that the last Synod on the Family was intentionally manipulated in order to promote a more liberalizing message concerning marriage and the family.

In preparation for this book review, I thought to ask Father Joseph Fessio, S.J., the founder and editor of Ignatius Press, a few questions about the book to which Father Fessio has kindly responded. I will present that brief interview here first, before discussing the book itself.

Q: What was the reason why you accepted to publish Pentin's book on the manipulations at the last Synod?

Half a Millennium of Total Depravity: Roman Forum Symposium on Luther

Next year’s Summer Symposium of the Roman Forum Gardone Riviera (June 27th-July 8th) will be devoted to critiquing Martin Luther and his devastating effects on Christian civilization— one year before the inevitable “celebrations” of 2017. We are pleased to offer the following reflection by the Roman Forum’s director, Dr. John C. Rao.

Half a Millennium of Total Depravity (1517-2017):
 A Critique of Luther’s Impact on the Eve of His “Catholic” Apotheosis

24th Annual Roman Forum Summer Symposium
Gardone Riviera, June 27th-July 8th, 2016

         Our civilization is so sick that even the best efforts to prop up its few tottering remnants manifest the pathetic illness that has step by step brought the entire structure crumbling down. The disease in question is a willful, prideful, irrational, and ignorant obsession with “freedom”. But this is a malady that gained its initial effective entry into Christendom in union with the concept of the natural world as the realm of “total depravity”.

2016 Calendars are here!
- The 2016 FSSP Calendar and Ordo: buy them now!

October is here, which means it's time to start buying your calendars for next year.

The first to reach our virtual office is the excellent one produced by that work of God, the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP). They are also making available at the same time that most invaluable work, the Ordo for the upcoming year, without which all those who work with the liturgy get irretrievably lost!

Additional details, with what was modified this year, with many pictures and all links (or telephones) for purchase below:

The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter is happy to announce that our 2016 Liturgical Calendar is now available! The theme for 2016 is “The Life of Our Lord,” and each month features a beautiful work of art depicting a scene from the life of Christ. The calendar is introduced by a moving letter from the Fraternity’s new North American District Superior, Fr. Gerard Saguto.

Homosexuality on the threshold of the Synod: Two Conferences in Rome.

by Sandro Magister
[from his Italian-only blog] Settimo Cielo

Homosexuality is per se outside of the topics of discussion at the Synod convened to discuss matters of the family.  But in fact it was present in a powerful way in the debates themselves.  According to the media hype, the dominant leanings in the Catholic world are for a radical change in the doctrine and practice of the Church, with the full acceptance of the practice of homosexuality and with the blessing of unions between persons of the same sex.

But there are also others who want to take a new path with respect to the pastoral ministry to homosexuals that is firmly based on Catholic doctrine.  Both these approaches will be represented in Rome in these feverish days before the Synod.

The first approach will have its moment in the sun on Saturday, October 3 at the international conference with the title “Ways of Love:  Snapshots of Catholic Encounters with LGBT Persons and their Families”.  The program in Italian, English and Spanish can be found at  LGBT is an acronym for Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual.  At this meeting in Rome, they explain, they will initiate “a global network of LGBTQI Catholics”, extending the acronym to include “queer” and intersexuals.  Their stated objective is “a Catholic Church in which the whole people of God—LGBT and heterosexual persons—can live, pray and offer their service together in harmony”. Speakers at the conference include Mary McAleese, the former president of Ireland, José Raúl Vera Lopez, Bishop of Saltillo in Mexico, himself a Dominican, the Jesuits Pedro Labrin from Chile and Pino Piva from Italy, the American Sister Jeannine Gramick and the Italian Sister Anna Maria Vitagliani, Martin Pendergast from England, Rungrote Tangsurakit, from Thailand, and also “a priest who works in Africa whose anonymity was requested by his superior”.

“Relax and get with the times”: Christianity Lite

With the confidence born of divine faith and true ecclesiastical authority, Pope Leo XIII was able, in 1899, to diagnose one of the characteristic errors of modern times and the only proper response a Catholic can make to it:

The underlying principle of these new opinions [he is speaking of Americanism] is that, in order the more easily to attract those who differ from her, the Church should shape her teachings more in accord with the spirit of the age and relax some of her ancient severity and make some concessions to new opinions. Many think that these concessions should be made not only in regard to ways of living, but even in regard to doctrines which belong to the deposit of the faith. They contend that it would be opportune, in order to gain those who differ from us, to omit certain points of her teaching which are of lesser importance, and to tone down the meaning which the Church has always attached to them. It does not need many words, beloved son, to prove the falsity of these ideas if the nature and origin of the doctrine which the Church proposes are recalled to mind. … Let it be far from anyone’s mind to suppress for any reason any doctrine that has been handed down. Such a policy would tend rather to separate Catholics from the Church than to bring in those who differ. (Testem Benevolentiae)

Can papal writing get clearer than this? That which belongs to the doctrine of faith and morals handed down by the Church is immutable, unassailable, always relevant, always required; it is from God as its author, for God as its final end, within man’s power by the help of God’s grace—and by it every man will be judged, for God is no respecter of persons.

Bishop Fellay's Anxious Petition to Holy Father before the Synod
- Annulment Reforms "will open the door to 'Catholic divorce'."

Most Holy Father,

It is with great anxiety that we observe all around us a persistent degradation of marriage and the family, the origin and foundation of all human society. This decay is rapidly accelerating, particularly because of the legalization of the most immoral and depraved sorts of behavior. Today the law of God, even the simply natural law, is being publicly trampled underfoot; the gravest sins are multiplying in a troubling way and cry out to Heaven for vengeance.

Most Holy Father,

We cannot conceal from you the fact that the first part of the Synod dedicated to “Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization” greatly alarmed us. From ecclesiastical dignitaries we heard and read statements so contrary to the clear and constant doctrine of the Church concerning the sanctity of marriage, that our souls were deeply disturbed. These men claimed to have your support, and their claims met with no public denial. What worries us even more is that certain of your words give the impression that it might be possible for doctrine to evolve in response to new needs of the Christian people. Our disquiet comes from the fact that in his encyclical Pascendi, Saint Pius X condemned an alteration of dogma that would make it conform to so-called requirements of the present time. Both Pius X and you, Most Holy Father, received the fullness of the authority to teach, sanctify, and govern in obedience to Christ, Who is the head and pastor of the flock at all times and in all places, and whose faithful vicar the Pope must be on this earth. That which has been subject to a solemn condemnation cannot, over time, become an approved pastoral practice.

God, the author of nature, established the stable union of a man and a woman for the purpose of perpetuating the human species. Old Testament revelation teaches us, in the most obvious way, that indissoluble marriage between one man and one woman was established directly by God, and that its essential characteristics were not left by Him to the free choice of men, such that marriage remains under a very special divine protection: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.” (Exodus 20:17)

Please, pray with us, along with many Catholics around the world, this Novena to Saint Michael the Archangel for Holy Mother the Church

[This post will remain on top of the blog until the end of September 29, 2015]

Rorate Editorial: The Pope in the United States - Ambiguous on what should be clear, clear only on his political priorities

Pope Francis' visit has shown us once more that he can be clear and unambiguous on his priorities, and vocal and forthright in saying what he wants to say. He did not hesitate to make direct statements on immigration, on the environment, on the abolition of the death penalty and in praise of religious liberty (that is, religious liberty as understood by the Western secular consensus rather than the defense of the Church's right to proclaim the truth in any society). There was no question left about the importance he placed on these issues. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about the importance he accords to the defense of the unborn and of true marriage.

We affirm -- and we are not alone in doing so -- that the entire papal visit to the US and the UN was a series of missed opportunities and a monumental failure to affirm Church teaching precisely where it is under greatest threat from public opinion and secular power. These will come back to haunt the very same Catholics who have tried so hard to justify all of the Pope's omissions in the past week. 

"But he spoke against abortion! He spoke about the right to life! He spoke about the need to defend marriage and the family!" Of course he did. Equally clear is that he treated these issues as having marginal importance. No one can in all honesty point to his brief and often vague reminders on abortion and declare that the defense of the unborn was one of his primary interests during his visit. Even less can it be said that he gave a clear and ringing defense of true marriage as only between a man and a woman. During his main address on the topic of the family -- the address at the "Prayer Vigil for the Festival of Families" in Philadelphia -- the Pope focused on the material needs of families rather than the defense of the very essence and identity of the family. At least the Pope had mentioned the word "abortion" in the course of his visit, but on the defense of true marriage he was never as forthright.

A Vatican II Moment in Philadelphia: Widespread Concelebration is the Celebration of Man

"Concelebration, whereby the unity of the priesthood is appropriately manifested, has remained in use to this day in the Church both in the east and in the west. For this reason it has seemed good to the Council to extend permission for concelebration..."
Sacrosanctum Concilium, 57

Yep, great idea! Click!
[Image: CNS]

"Christ's New Homeland - Africa" - Book review
- Cardinal Sarah and other African Prelates demolish Pre-Synod Documents

Cardinal Sarah and Bishop Adoukonou
Strongly Criticize the Preparatory Synod Documents

a guest book review by 
Dr Maike Hickson

In addition to the earlier “Eleven Cardinals Book” (Eleven Cardinals Speak On Marriage and the Family), Ignatius Press published this month a book written by eleven African Prelates – Cardinals and Bishops – dealing also with the topics Marriage and the Family, in preparation for the upcoming October Synod of Bishops on the Family in Rome: Christ's New Homeland – Africa (Ignatius, 2015, transl, by Michael J. Miller)

This review deals specifially with the first part of the book, which include two specific essays in which two prestigious African prelates, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, and Bishop Barthélemy Adoukonou, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, have analyzed and sharply criticized the essential preparatory Vatican documents for the upcoming Synod – both the Lineamenta (questionnaire which contains the Final Report – Relatio synodi – of last year's Synod) and the Instrumentum laboris (working document). Even though I recommend reading and savoring the entire book, I shall here in the following exposition only concentrate on these important, first two contributions in the book.

First of all, Cardinal Sarah discusses the problems contained in the 2014 Synod's own Final Report (Relatio synodi) as it was sent out in December 2014 to the whole Catholic Church in the form of the Lineamenta, together with an additional set of questions inviting further world-wide commentaries. Sarah says that, in this Final Report, there is “some confusion and even some serious errors that need to be pointed out, because, coming from an official Roman body, they could very well be troubling and confusing for those whose consciences are weak.” I propose now to present a few specific points from Cardinal Sarah's fuller critique.

Tosatti: The election of Jorge Bergoglio by the Martini-led "Mafia"

Pedophile-enabler and protector Danneels was Bergoglio's Godfather
Marco Tosatti
[Senior Religion Correspondent for Italian Daily] La Stampa
September 24, 2015

The election of Jorge Bergoglio was the fruit of secret meetings that cardinals and bishops, organized by Carlo Maria Martini, held for years at St. Gall in Switzerland.  This is what is claimed by Jürgen Mettepenningen and Karim Schelkens, the authors of a just published biography of the Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, who refer to the group of cardinals and bishops as the “Mafia-club”.

Danneels, according to the authors, had worked for years in preparation for the election of Pope Francis, which happened in 2013.  He himself, however, in a video recorded during the presentation of the book admits that he had taken part in a secret club of cardinals that were in opposition to Joseph Ratzinger.  While laughing he calls it “a Mafia club whose name was St. Gall”. 

The group wanted a drastic reform of the Church, much more modern and up to date, with Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis at the head.  And this is just as things turned out.  In addition to Danneels and Martini, among the others who made up the group according to the book were the Dutch bishop Adriaan Van Luyn, the German cardinals Walter Kasper and Karl Lehman, the Italian cardinal AchilleSilvestrini and the English cardinal Basil Hume. [Rorate note: from the earliest days of the group, later replaced after his death.]

The Belgian newspaper “Le Vif” wrote:  “On March 13, 2013, an old acquaintance was at the side of the new Pope [at the St. Peter's Basilica loggia], Francis: Godfried Danneels.  Officially he stood there in his role as the dean of the cardinal-priests, but actually he had operated for years in secret as the king-maker.”

On the Pope's Visit to America, First Days.
- The Hierarchy May Go Silent, but the Lay Stones Will Cry Out

Some of the Pharisees in the multitude said to him, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples." He answered, "I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out." (St. Luke 19)

EXCLUSIVE: CARD. MÜLLER'S pre-Synod presentation of Card. Sarah's book in Germany - Liturgy, Grace, Marriage, and the New Danger of Schism

Since the date of Cardinal Gerhard Müller's presentation of the German translation of Cardinal Robert Sarah's book "God or Nothing" in Regensburg, much has been said of his dire warnings that the Catholic Church may be on the verge of schism, once again originating from a confusion originated in Germany, today as in 1517.

In his September 1, 2015, lecture, Müller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in the presence of Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, had much more to say - a strong lesson on how true, actual poverty (as exemplified by the life and strong and orthodox beliefs of Cardinal Sarah) is translated into "full apostolic candor and zeal", not in a false doctrine that bends to the whim of the current preference of the post-modern European. That will not do.

We leave you with our exclusive translation of the main excerpts of the original German text provided by the Vatican website:

God or Nothing
Thoughts Concerning the Book by Cardinal Robert Sarah
by Cardinal Gerhard Müller

First of all, I would like to thank Cardinal Robert Sarah for his witness to the Faith, which he presents with his book Dieu ou rien. Entretien sur la foi, which has been published just this year. At the same time, I congratulate the German-speaking world that is able now to get to know in their own language the richness of thought of a great theologian and spiritual man.

In ten circles of questions, the Cardinal reflects theologically and spiritually upon the situation of the Catholic Church in the world of today and offers not only a diagnosis, but also a therapy for the postmodern man who has no orientation any more: that is to say, the Faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Redeemer of the whole world. […]
In the liturgy, the Faith expresses itself as an immediate response to the Triune God Who reveals Himself to each person in His Incarnate Word, in His Son Jesus Christ, and Who means Himself to be seen as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. […] It is not about an external staging of rites and symbols in which man plays with himself, turns around himself, honors and adores himself – but still without crossing over into the true transcendence of God. In the liturgy, there happens the elevation of man through Grace. Because it is the opposite of an egotistical trip full of self-pity; the liturgy means to elevate one's heart to God, Whom alone deserves adoration and glorification; it is not like in a Pagan cult and myth where man flatters the gods in a servile manner, or revolts against them in a Promethean way, but it is, rather, as in Christ, where God and man encounter each other. That is how Christians worship God. “The Glory of God lives in man (who lives in Grace), but man lives in the vision of God.” That is how Saint Irenaeus of Lyon put it in the 2nd century (Adv. Haer. IV, 20, 7: Gloria enim Dei vivens homo, vita autem hominis visio Dei). The Triune God is adored, glorified, and loved, He Who Himself Assumed our flesh and Who in Jesus Christ in His truly human nature, in His human history, in His sacrificial death for us on the Cross and in His real Resurrection from the dead overcame death and the separation from God. This is the same Jesus Christ Who as the Exalted Lord meets us historically, bodily, and communally, in the Church and in Her Sacraments realistically from person to person. […]

In the age of the creeping or noisy de-Christianization of the Global Society, the true understanding of the liturgy and of its dignified celebration becomes a crucial question of survival for Christianity in the world of today and tomorrow. In order to be able to fulfill this task, one needs more than a professional knowledge of the art of the liturgy in the stricter sense. The intellectual horizon of a Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship has to have permeated intellectually the philosophical, fundamentally theological, the dogmatic and cultural, as well as political preconditions and conditions of being a Christian in modern and postmodern times. Only a deep and thorough diagnosis of the spiritual and cultural structure of the globalized world can also lead to the development of a therapy which overcomes the Nihilism – as the common denominator of all expectations and yearnings of a world without God – and thus can make the Faith in God as the reason and purpose for man to shine anew. The liturgical incapacity of the modern man – of which Romano Guardini already spoke in 1948 at the Katholikentag in Mainz – and the “crisis of the sacramental idea” in a conscience which is reduced only to the aspect of immanence (as observed by Joseph Ratzinger), both have their roots in the monistic system of a naturalism which denies the transcendental dependency of man – both in spirit and in freedom – upon the Mystery of God. Consequently, this naturalism limits man one-dimensionally and intra-worldly and it is not capable of seeing man as a listener of the word that points to a supernatural Revelation of God in the world, in history and in the spirit of man. […]

Man is oriented toward the absolute. Only where God is above and in man, there is truth in freedom and justice in love. Where man tries to take power over the absolute, he turns himself into an idol who, with the help of the clench for a totalitarian dominance, brings man sternly into line and thus enslaves him by means of a political exercise of power which makes use of the media. […]

Rorate review: Saints for All Occasions

A while back, we brought you a wonderful new product, an app filled with the top novenas. Now, from our friends at, we want to bring to your attention a beautiful new product that we know some readers have been looking for: a set of Catholic note cards to send friends and family for special occasions along with the patron saint of the cause. 

October 7th: Event in NYC for the Monks of Norcia

We would like to remind our readers in the New York area that the Lumen Christi Association, about which we have posted previously, is hosting an event in support of the monks of Norcia on October 7th at the New York Athletic Club. In addition to a presentation by the Fr. Cassian Folsom, prior of the the Benedictine monastery in Norcia, there will be a speech by Ross Douthat, Catholic convert and New York Times columnist, on Religion and the Fate of the West: Being Catholic in a Secular Age.

Religious Liberty in the United States

In his speech on the South Lawn of the White House, Pope Francis spoke of members of the American Congress as being “called” to “fidelity to [the] founding principles [of the United States],” and praised the American tradition of religious liberty:

With countless other people of good will, [American Catholics] are likewise concerned that efforts to build a just and wisely ordered society respect their deepest concerns and their right to religious liberty. That freedom remains one of America’s most precious possessions. And, as my brothers, the United States Bishops, have reminded us, all are called to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend that freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it.

Chastity is Impossible: The Kernel of the Kasperite Position

Regarding the debate over marriage and divorce, serial polygamy, and admission to communion, Cardinal Kasper does not dismiss the need for the sacrament of Penance prior to reception of the Eucharist when one is conscious of grave sin. Nevertheless, he does not seem to affirm the necessity of a firm purpose of amendment for Penance, since in the case at hand such a purpose would demand the renunciation of the use of marriage—the repudiation of an adulterous union. Or, if he does admit the necessity of amendment, then he must not affirm the objective gravity of divorce itself (a mere fiction of civil law, no more real, in the spiritual order, than a pink elephant) and especially of attempted “re-marriage” or of sexual relations with someone other than one’s legitimate spouse. Kasper’s error seems to be simultaneously an error about the indissolubility of marriage, the preconditions of absolution, and the sanctity of the Holy Eucharist.

"The Pope has denied that he's a leftist!" Or has he?
How the Catholic mainstream media spins just as much as the secular media. - PLUS:What the Pope REALLY said about Cuba

[Read also our post on Francis' meeting with Fidel Castro: Has the Church surrendered to Fidel Castro?]

Tonight, various news agencies and websites representing what some would call the "Catholic mainstream media" are going wild with reports that the Pope has just denied that he is a leftist. 

Now, let's have a look at what he really said during his in-flight press conference from Cuba to the United States. The full transcript (in translation, naturally) of the in-flight press conference can be read on the Catholic News Agency's website. (Full transcript of Pope's in-flight interview from Cuba to US.) 

First, regarding his denial of being a leftist, here's what Pope Francis actually said:

A cardinal friend of mine told me that a very concerned woman, very Catholic, went to him. A bit rigid, but Catholic. And she asked him if it was true that in the Bible, they spoke of an antichrist, and she explained it to him. And also in the Apocalypse, no? And, then, if it was true that an anti-pope, who is the antichrist, the anti-Pope. But why is she asking me this question, this cardinal asked me? “Because I’m sure that Pope Francis is the anti-pope,” she said. And why does she ask this, why does she have this idea? “It’s because he doesn’t wear red shoes.” The reason for thinking if one is communist or isn’t communist. I’m sure that I haven't said anything more than what’s written in the social doctrine of the Church. On another flight, a colleague asked me if I had reached out a hand to the popular movements and asked me, “But is the Church going to follow you?” I told him, “I’m the one following the Church.” And in this it seems that I’m not wrong. I believe that I never said a thing that wasn’t the social doctrine of the Church. Things can be explained, possibly an explanation gave an impression of being a little “to the left”, but it would be an error of explanation. No, my doctrine on this, in Laudato si', on economic imperialism, all of this, is the social doctrine of the Church. And it if necessary, I’ll recite the creed. I am available to do that, eh.

Look! There! Aha! The Pope denies being a leftist! In fact what the Pope does here is to refer to an unspecified explanation of the things he has said that "give an impression" of being left-leaning ("a little to the left") and then says that it is an erroneous explanation. The fact is we do not know exactly what he is describing here as the "erroneous" explanation of his thinking, or even what he means here by being "to the left", which can mean vastly different things on either side of the equator. If anything, this looks like a non-denial denial. This, like so many other things coming from this Pope, is cloaked in so many verbal vagaries that it is hard to have a precise idea of what he actually has in mind.  More to the point is what he says about Cuba in the rest of the interview, Cuba being an unmistakably Communist regime. 

The U.S. churches Francis will visit

Pope Francis is currently in the United States, for the first time in his life.

During his visit in America, he will step inside five churches (not including chapels): the Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and Saint Patrick's church, all in Washington, D.C.; the Cathedral of Saint Patrick in New York City; and the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia.

Remarkably, four of the five churches still have altar rails, which of course will not be used during any of the liturgies with this pope.  All of the churches were built before the Second Vatican Council, and three of them have seen traditional Latin Masses offered at their main altars since the motu proprio Ecclesia Dei in 1988.

Having visited each of these churches, we thought it may be of interest to present a brief summary, from a traditional viewpoint, of the sacred spaces the Holy Father will encounter.

1) The Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle started out as a parish church when Washington, D.C. was part of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. It is most known for the Requiem Low Mass offered by Richard Cardinal Cushing, archbishop of Boston, for President John F. Kennedy's funeral in 1963.

Today, in the Dupont Circle neighborhood, it is considered one of the most liberal parishes in the region, with a notable portion of its congregation opposed to Church teachings and natural law (to put it kindly). Although the cathedral offers a Sunday morning novus ordo partially in Latin (except when something more important bumps it) attempts to offer traditional Latin Masses have been denied.  The cardinal-archbishop lives at another parish, not at the cathedral.

Repost: Ember in September

The equinox has just arrived, bringing with it the beautiful days of Autumn (and Spring in the Southern Hemisphere). The Roman Church once again reminds us of the cycle of the seasons in these Ember Days in September.

We re-post, for those who are not aware of it, this article first posted by us in 2008. May you all have fruitful days.

By Michael P. Foley

Rorate book review: "Letters to an Altar Boy"

Once in a while Rorate reviews books, calendars and other items for our readers we believe will be beneficial to them or their families, helping them grow in the Faith. We receive no compensation for this -- ever. We do it only as an act of charity, the same reason for which we take the time to run this blog. We have never received payment for these reviews nor have we ever ran advertisements or accepted the numerous and generous offers of donations or stipends.

Today's quick review is on the book "Letters to an Altar Boy" -- and it's a quick review because the book, while very compelling, is a quick read to boys (yes, boys, there are no stories on girl altar boys in this book!)

As Saint John Berchmans -- the patron saint of altar boys -- will attest, besides the priest, there is no one more important in the church during Mass than the altar boys. And that's exactly what your boys will come to understand after reading this book or, better yet, after you read the book to them

Written by Father David E. Rosage in 1952, the book does a wonderful job explaining to boys why what they're doing in the service of God is so critical. The language is masculine, which boys respond to. It's also touching at times, when a father and a mother both write notes to their sons, explaining why they are so proud of them every time they see them assisting at the altar. And it's informative and gets very granular with what the boys should and shouldn't do when serving pertaining to demeanor and decorum. 

Letters to an Altar Boy is a rare book we would say is a must-read for all altar boys and those thinking of becoming one.  

Catholic Divorce - Canonical critiques of annulment reform are piling up: Will the Vatican, the bishops, and the Francis "Amen corner" listen?

See also our previous pieces:

Can zealous Bishops and Cardinals question the Annulment Reform and ask for its abrogation? 

For the record: Cardinal Burke's latest address on the Synod and "Annulment" Reform. Rorate reminder: 2015 Synod poised to assault Humanae Vitae too.

Head of Vatican Commission Admits in Official Paper: Surge in Number of "Annulments" Intended

The Excommunication of Robert II "the Pious" - painting by Jean-Paul Laurens. 

Something is definitely in the air: Prominent canonists initially lauding the marriage nullity reforms, then backtracking, then public coming out strongly against these, and very real talk of discontent among a significant number of canon lawyers and prelates. And we're not talking about traditionalists here! The Pope's arbitrary and highly problematic reforms of the process for declaring marriage nullity, worked out with no widespread consultations and in relative secrecy and published on September 8 through the motu proprio Mitis Iudex, is fast turning into an unprecedented crisis of authority for his rule. The crisis of authority is real and no amount of denial and snubbing by the Catholic media establishment and by "respectable" Catholic bloggers can hide it.

In the first days after the promulgation of Mitis Iudex the critical assessments of it by canon lawyer Kurt Martens and the professor of systematic theology Chad Pecknold, both professors at Catholic University of America, reached a wide audience through Washington Post's report on the reform (Pope Francis announces biggest changes to annulment process in centuries). To our knowledge it was Martens who first publicly referred to the reforms as the "Catholic version of no-fault divorce". Please keep this in mind next time you see a bishop or professional apologist blaming a secularist conspiracy for allegedly fabricating the idea that the Pope has just instituted "Catholic divorce". But we digress...

Despite the Washington Post article, the initial at-length analyses of the reforms in the "conservative" Catholic press tended to be either neutral or positive about it. Aside from Jimmy Akin's neutral "things to know and share" take on the motu proprio, three essays initially lauding or downplaying the seriousness the reforms and written by canon lawyers made the rounds in social media: