Rorate Caeli

The Church and Asmodeus - Part 2

By Don Pietro Leone

A spiritu fornicationis
libera nos, Domine
(invocation from the Litany of the Saints)



From the beginning of Her history, the Church had taught and practiced the ascetic life. In fact this is one of the features which distinguished Her from the World, and which indeed corroborates the very authenticity of Her Faith[1]. For how could She live, and convert such multitudes to, a mortified and chaste life so at variance with Fallen Nature, if the Faith which She preached were untrue?

Until the XXth century, this spirit of asceticism had prevailed in the Church: until it began to be sapped by an opposing spirit: that of the World, namely of Fallen Nature. The latter spirit had, over the course of the centuries, grown in extent and power, and was now in the course of penetrating the minds and souls of the Churchmen themselves. Vacillating Faith, poor doctrinal formation, moral weakness, lack of courage, superficiality, and sentimentality[2] on the part of the Hierarchy certainly all played a role in their subsequent endeavours to accommodate this spirit to the Catholic Faith. The moment for its official entry into the Church was marked by the Second Vatican Council.

As far as sexuality is concerned, this spirit is manifest in a new emphasis on an undefined ‘love’ at the very heart of marital ethics.

This emphasis is first manifest in recent Magisterium in the Council document Gaudium et Spes (§ 48), and was later codified by Canon Law (CIC 1983) in terms of a reversal of the order of the ends of marriage. The teaching of the Magisterium on sexuality was later notably affected and developed by official dispositions on the reception of Holy Communion, and by ‘Theology of the Body’.

Consequently we shall now proceed to examine:

1) The new conception of love in Gaudium et Spes, and then in Canon Law;
2) The relation between mortal sin and the reception of Holy Communion;
3) Relevant elements of ‘Theology of the Body’.

Una Voce Austria -- Upcoming Book Launch, Lecture, and Panel Discussion with Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

An announcement for our readers in Austria and central Europe about an upcoming event sponsored by Una Voce Austria on Passion Sunday, April 2, 2017, for the launch of the German translation of Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis. The lectures will be in German, but the panel discussion in English.

Die heilige Liturgie, die traditionelle lateinische Messe und die Erneuerung in der Kirche

Buchpräsentation am Sonntag, den 2. April, um 14:00 im Pfarrsaal der Rektoratskirche St. Karl, Kreuzherrengasse 1/1. Stock, Wien IV.

The Church and Asmodeus - Part 1

Note: We will bring this great work to you over the coming days, in five parts. A special thank-you to contributor Francesca Romana, whose translations are second to none, for the extensive work involved with this series:
By Don Pietro Leone

                                                                              A spiritu fornicationis
                                                                                 libera nos, Domine 
                                                                (invocation from the Litany of the Saints)
A detail from the Ysenheimer Altar by Matthaeus Gruenewald represented an androgyne demon storming a church 

Sister Lucia of Fatima wrote to Cardinal Caffara that the final clash between the Devil and the Church would be in the area of the family and marriage. A dispassionate survey of recent Church history serves to assure us that the clash has already begun, that is to say with the entry into the Church of the Demon Asmodeus: the spirit of fornication.

The question that we wish to address in this essay is how Holy Mother Church, Who has for 2,000 years resisted, been able to overcome, and indeed been purged and exalted by, all the cruel and inhuman violence of her persecutors and all the abstruse subtleties of the heretics, is now succumbing to something as base and as primitive as the concupiscence of the flesh.

To attempt to answer this question, we shall briefly present:

    1)  The Church’s traditional attitude to sexuality, in contrast to that of the World;
   2) The attitude to sexuality of the modern Church (or rather of the modern Churchmen) from the time of the Second Vatican Council to the accession of Pope Francis; and finally
   3)  The attitude manifest in the encyclical Amoris Laetitia.


a)      The Nature of Sexuality

Now Available: Lectures and Disputed Questions on the Letter to the Hebrews (Proceedings of the 2016 Norcia Summer Theology Program)

Hot off the press:

Praelectiones et Quaestiones Disputatae -- On St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews. Proceedings of the 2016 AMCSS Summer Theology Program. Ed. John P. Joy. Strathcona, MN: Libri Albertini, 2017. Paperback, 140pp. $18.99 / £15.99

The Albertus Magnus Center for Scholastic Studies (AMCSS) is an organization dedicated to the promotion of sacred theology undertaken according to the mind and method of the great scholastics. The theme of the fifth annual summer theology program hosted by the AMCSS in Norcia, Italy, in cooperation with the Benedictine Monks of Norcia, was "The Transcendent Christ: On St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews." This volume collects the lectures delivered over the course of the program as well as the culminating scholastic disputation, which involved several disputed questions, conducted at a very high level -- but with some entertaining elements, too.

You Suggest: Silence & Song Retreat

The Australian Sacred Music Association has put together some footage of their recent Silence and Songs Retreat and recorded some of the liturgies at the retreat that took place during Epiphany this year.

Sales of the CD will go to support the new traditional Benedictine monastery in Tasmania, Notre Dame Priory. Notre Dame is a monastic foundation, under the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Hobart, the Most Reverend Julian Porteous. Dedicated to God by means of the vows of religion (poverty, chastity, obedience, stability, conversion of life), monks spend their time in prayer and labour.

Third Time's the Charm - Tosatti: "SSPX and Vatican just one step from final agreement" - The future Roman headquarters

1988: Society of Saint Pius X leader Abp. Lefebvre signs, the following day he changes his mind when John Paul II and Card. Ratzinger are not clear on the matter of bishops.

2012: Just as SSPX Superior-general is called to Rome to what he thinks is the final signing, Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, has one of the greatest about-faces of his Pontificate and, pressured by some Cardinals, asks for another doctrinal statement. The deal falls.

2017: All signs point to an imminent agreement between the ultra-liberal Pontiff from Argentina, Francis, and the ultra-conservative Traditionalist Society.

This Monday evening in Rome, religious correspondent Marco Tosatti (with Sandro Magister, the best reader of the current Pontificate) confirms that just one set of signatures separates the Society from full integration within the Church.

Not only that, he confirms news that Rorate had: Unlike the fake news spread out last month about the Church of Saint Mary on the Esquiline Hill (that belongs to the Vicariate of the City of Time and is not for sale), the building being negotiated for the Roman headquarters of the Society is this:

Event: ++Burke Solemn Pontifical Mass in Connecticut

Event: Traditional Latin Mass in for Annunciation in Florence, Mass.

While we normally don't bring you one-off announcements of traditional Latin Masses, a reader asked us to alert our readers to this, as it's the first diocesan Latin Mass they know of in the area for years. 

It will take place this Saturday, March 25, at 8:30a.m. in the Annunciation Chapel located at 85 Beacon Street in Florence, Mass. Click here for the parish website

For those new to the traditional Mass, a discussion will take place before the Mass, explaining the differences between the traditional and new rite. 

Book review: Nothing Superfluous

A reader graciously sent us a book -- a while ago -- that we know through reputation of both the book itself and the priestly author is well worth the read: "Nothing Superfluous: An Explanation of the Symbolism of the Rite of St. Gregory the Great." Due to personal commitments we have not been able to read the book. In order to not delay us bringing this book to you, our readers, we provide you a review by one of our contributors, Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, originally written for New Liturgical Movement. 

While you can buy this book online from the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (click here), you can also call Fr. Jackson's (FSSP) parish in Colorado, pay them and they will mail you a copy. This latter method will ensure the proceeds go towards Father's parish restoration fund (click here for parish contact details). 

Nothing Superfluous — A Masterful Spiritual Guide to the Traditional Mass

Nothing Superfluous: An Explanation of the Symbolism of the Rite of St. Gregory the Great [i.e., the traditional Latin Mass]. By the Rev. James W. Jackson, FSSP. Lincoln, NE: Redbrush, 2016. $17.95.

This is a book whose publication I have been eagerly awaiting, ever since I saw the manuscript a couple of years ago and, subsequently, the tantalizing excerpts that have appeared each month in the newsletter of the North American district of the Fraternity of St. Peter.

Mitigating our way to Perdition

A month out from Easter Sunday, there is still time to double down on our Lenten penance and sacrifices, making the most of this beneficial time. 

Below is a short, powerful sermon, which we hope will both help you understand what the Church has lost since her downward spiral began in the 20th Century, and yet motivate you to strive even harder to become great saints. 

Click here to listen to the sermon.

[Originally posted in 2015]

Exactly! First Things compares Novus Ordo to the Protestant Revolt

For those paying attention, First Things has had a lot to say lately, so much of it timely and important. In the following piece, that we find fitting to bring to our readers' attention, not only do they rightly compare the Novus Ordo to the Protestant Revolt, but credit the saving of the Roman Rite to Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. 



The times in which a new form is born are extremely rare in the history of mankind. Great forms are characterized by their ability to outlive the age in which they emerge and to pursue their path through all history’s hiatuses and upheavals. The Greek column with its Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian capitals is such a form, as is the Greek tragedy with its invention of dialogue that still lives on in the silliest soap opera. The Greeks regarded tradition itself as a precious object; it was tradition that created legitimacy. Among the Greeks, tradition stood under collective protection. The violation of tradition was called tyrannis—tyranny is the act of violence that damages a traditional form that has been handed down.One form that has effortlessly overleaped the constraints of the ages is the Holy Mass of the Roman Church, the parts of which grew organically over centuries and were finally united at the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century. It was then that the missal of the Roman pope, which since late antiquity had never succumbed to heretical attack, was prescribed for universal use by Catholic Christendom throughout the West. If one considers the course of human history, it is nothing short of remarkable that the Roman Rite has survived the most violent catastrophes unaltered.

Intervention against a disastrous Pope: When Emperor Otto the Great saved the Church

A guest post by James Bogle. I've put a comment on my own blog.
Later representation of the Emperor Otto I “the Great”.

To most Americans, heavily influenced by Hollywood film productions, anything calling itself an “Empire” is seen to be bad, and good governments are obliged to style themselves by names such as “the Federation”.

However, for Catholic Christians, “Empire” was never a dirty word but referred to the Christianised Roman Empire that was the political bedrock of Christendom, not only in Europe but throughout the whole world.

Its leading figure, the Holy Roman Emperor, was, like the Roman Pontiff, elected.

The Holy Roman Emperor was not a dictator, still less a despot, but a focus of loyalty and Christian symbolism, the first among the Christian sovereigns.

Few states were ruled directly by the Emperor and those that were so ruled regarded it as a high honour to be unmittelbar - “unmediated” - answering directly to the Emperor and not to some intermediate ruler.

The Emperor also had the right – and duty – to call, and to preside over, all Ecumenical General Councils of the Church. He, in fact, did so for the first 1100 years of Christian history.

Why we should go to Fatima in 2017

Roberto de Mattei
Corrispondenza Romana
March 8, 2017

Those who go on pilgrimage to Lourdes do so in order to immerse themselves in the supernatural atmosphere of the place. The Grotto in which Our Lady appeared to St. Bernadette in 1858 and the pools where the sick continue to be immersed in the miraculous water, are fringes of a blessed land in a now ungodly society. Those who go to Fatima, do so, on the other hand, to gain spiritual refreshment not from a place, but from a heavenly Message: the so-called “secret” Our Lady entrusted to the three little shepherds a hundred years ago, between May and October in 1917.  Lourdes chiefly heals bodies, Fatima offers spiritual direction to disorientated souls.

On May 13th 1917, at the Cova de Iria – an isolated place of rocks and olive trees, near the village of Fatima in Portugal “a lady dressed all in white, more brilliant then the sun, shedding rays of light, clear and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water, pierced by the burning rays of the sun"* appeared to three children who were watching over their sheep, Francesco, Jacinta and their little cousin Lucia dos Santos. This Lady revealed Herself as the Mother of God, who was entrusted with a message for mankind and who gave an appointment to the three shepherd-children for the 13th  of every subsequent month until October. The last apparition ended with  a great atmospheric miracle, named “the dance of the sun”, seen even from 40 kilometres away, by tens of thousands of people. 

Ember Wednesday in Lent: The Sign for an Evil and Adulterous Generation

We are in the Ember Days in Lent - the first one being this Wednesday, whose Gospel is dedicated to the signs demanded from the Lord by Scribes and Pharisees. The words of Christ on the sign of Jonah, the prophet, also bring to mind the distressing situation of so many of our Christian brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria, in particular those expelled from Mosul/Nineveh and surrounding areas, still under the brutal occupation (for how long, o Lord?) of the most hideous group of bandits imaginable. May the world recognize the sign of Jonah and believe in the Resurrected Lord - Maranatha!


Fr. Nicolas Caussin, S.I., confessor to kings, is well-known as the author of "La Cour Sainte" ("The Holy Court"). In his "Entretiens" ("Entertainments") for Lent, some of his sermons for the Season are presented in a devotional format: an examination of the traditional scriptural readings for the day in the Roman Rite followed by the aspirations of the soul thirsty for Christ. 

"He answered and said to them, 'An evil and adulterous generation demands a sign, and no sign shall be given it but the sign of Jonah the prophet. For even as Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Ninive will rise up in the judgment with this generation and will condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, a greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and will condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, a greater than Solomon is here.'" (From the Gospel for Ember Wednesday in Lent, St. Matthew, xii)

It is a very ill sign when we desire signs to make us believe in God. The signs which we demand to fortify our faith are often marks of our infidelity. There is not a more dangerous plague in the events of worldly affairs than to deal with the devils or to play with predictions. All these things fill men with more faults than knowledge. For divine oracles have more need to be reverenced than interpreted. He that will find God must seek him with simplicity and possess him with piety.

Phil Lawler: This disastrous papacy "needs an intervention"

From Phil Lawler's groundbreaking Op-Ed for Catholic Culture:

For over 20 years now, writing daily about the news from the Vatican, I have tried to be honest in my assessment of papal statements and gestures. I sometimes criticized St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, when I thought that their actions were imprudent. But never did it cross my mind that either of those Popes posed any danger to the integrity of the Catholic faith. Looking back much further across Church history, I realize that there have been bad Popes: men whose personal actions were motivated by greed and jealousy and lust for power and just plain lust. But has there ever before been a Roman Pontiff who showed such disdain for what the Church has always taught and believed and practiced—on such bedrock issues as the nature of marriage and of the Eucharist?

Pope Francis has sparked controversy from the day he was elected as St. Peter’s successor. But in the past several months the controversy has become so intense, confusion among the faithful so widespread, administration at the Vatican so arbitrary—and the Pope’s diatribes against his (real or imagined) foes so manic—that today the universal Church is rushing toward a crisis.

In a large family, how should a son behave when he realizes that his father’s pathological behavior threatens the welfare of the whole household? He should certainly continue to show respect for his father, but he cannot indefinitely deny the danger. Eventually, a dysfunctional family needs an intervention.[source]

Enroll in a special Novena of traditional Latin Masses today

While we try to keep our fundraising appeals here limited, we do have a special place in our hearts for the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles. Finding a more holy -- and traditional -- order of nuns would be a difficult task. And we feel obliged to help, even when they tell us we don't have to, as they did once again. This is one time we feel comfortable disobeying!

Their latest Novena of traditional Latin Masses will be offered March 19-27 in honor of the Pure Heart of St. Joseph for all families and persons, both living and deceased, enrolled in the Novena.

But you should act now -- the sisters need time to mail your enrollment card. If you enroll today or the next couple of days, they'll have plenty of time to send them. 

We personally contribute to these wonderful sisters often and ask you to do the same.

International Declaration on Sacred Music

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Instruction Musicam Sacram (promulgated March 5, 1967), a Declaration on Sacred Music Cantate Domino, signed by over 200 musicians, pastors, and scholars from around the world, is published today in six languages (English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and German). This declaration argues for the continued relevance and importance of traditional sacred music, critiques the numerous serious deviations from it that have plagued the Catholic Church for the past half-century, and makes practical suggestions for improving the situation.

Readers are encouraged to read the text (reproduced below in full) and to disseminate it far and wide as a rallying-point for Roman Catholics who love their great heritage, and for all men and women who value high culture and the fine arts as expressions of the spiritual nobility of the human person made in God's image.


A Statement on the Current Situation of Sacred Music

We, the undersigned — musicians, pastors, teachers, scholars, and lovers of sacred music — humbly offer this statement to the Catholic community around the world, expressing our great love for the Church’s treasury of sacred music and our deep concerns about its current plight.


Cantate Domino canticum novum, cantate Domino omnis terra (Psalm 96): this singing to God’s glory has resonated for the whole history of Christianity, from the very beginning to the present day. Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition alike bear witness to a great love for the beauty and power of music in the worship of Almighty God. The treasury of sacred music has always been cherished in the Catholic Church by her saints, theologians, popes, and laypeople.

Francis' falsified footnotes: He mangles the Church Fathers, too

By this stage of Francis' pontificate, faithful Catholics have become all too familiar with the Pope's tendency to misquote and wrest the words of the Holy Gospel and of previous Magisterial documents not only in his "off the cuff" allocutions, homilies, and interviews, but even in his formal, prepared documents. It only makes sense that, as we shall see below, the Pope shows the same disrespect for the Church Fathers.

To cite one of the most egregious manglings of the Church's previous Magisterium:  While all the faithful are rightly outraged or troubled by his apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia's infamous Footnote 351 granting permission for unrepentant adulterers to commit sacrilege at Mass, we cannot forget that the Pope in Amoris laetitia conveniently failed to quote St. John Paul's Familiaris consortio no. 84 which explicitly upholds Christ's commandment forbidding Communion for purportedly remarried adulterers, while Amoris laetitia's Footnote 329 rips the Second Vatican Council's Gaudium et spes no. 51 (concerning temporary abstinence from marital relations) completely out of context in order to argue that "doing it for the children" might mitigate the mortal sin of adultery. (We reported and commented on these things the lamentable day Amoris laetitia was issued.)

Rorate Caeli 'Saints' Special Offer

We love bringing our readers special discounts on items that they can't get anywhere else. And today, we have a great one, from Romanitas Press. In fact, you can't even get this on the Romanitas website -- only here, at Rorate

“…John, Stephen, Matthias, Barnabas, Ignatius, Alexander, Marcellinus, Peter, Felicitas, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia…”

We invoke these saintly names at every Mass during the Roman Canon -- as well as others throughout the Ordinary -- but who are they? And why is it important to pray for their intercession during the Holy Sacrifice?

Just in time for Lent is a wonderful little gem, The Saints Who Pray with Us in the Mass, that Romanitas Press has reprinted that explains these theological and spiritual points, while providing a brief sketch about each saint named.

                                               CLICK HERE FOR A QUICK PURCHASE

Written by Archbishop Amleto Cicognani (America’s longest-serving Apostolic Delegate) and published only once in 1958, this new reprint has been produced as an enlarged edition to include:

Announcing Una Voce Wyoming

Sometimes I hear people say that we've grown tired and a bit lazy after the exciting days of the 1990s and 2000s, when there were so many people in so many places laboring and fighting to establish the traditional Latin Mass. The more optimistic believe it is due to the remarkable success of Summorum Pontificum and the ever more widespread availability of the usus antiquior, which makes it less necessary to be vocal and active about introducing it. The more pessimistic believe it is due to weariness and discouragement: after having had doors slammed in their faces too many times, or unreturned phone calls, Catholics have given up. The more realistic would say the situation is more complicated, and that both sides are pointing to phenomena one can see and verify. This much seems true: the implementation of Summorum Pontificum is exceedingly inconsistent, variable, evolving. It makes all the difference in the world what diocese you live in and whether your local clergy are sympathetic or not. The motu proprio continues to make inroads wherever youth and orthodoxy combine.

Reminder: Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society

This is our monthly reminder to please enroll Souls of the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society. We now stand at 78 priests saying weekly or monthly traditional Latin Masses for the Souls. Special Lenten note to Priests: Fathers, looking to do something more this Lent? Want to grow in holiness and fill some of your free time by freeing souls to be with Our Lord? Then sign up for the Purgatorial Society! It's easy. See below for details. 

** Click here to download a "fillable" PDF Mass Card to give to the loved ones of the Souls you enroll. It's free for anyone to use. **

Priests: The Souls still need more of you saying Mass for them! Please email me to offer your services. There's nothing special involved -- all you need to do is offer a weekly or monthly TLM with the intention: "For the Souls enrolled in the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society." And we will always keep you completely anonymous unless you request otherwise. 

How to enroll souls: please email me at and submit as follows: "Name, State, Country." If you want to enroll entire families, simply write in the email: "The Jones family, Ohio, USA". Individual names are preferred. Be greedy -- send in as many as you wish and forward this posting to friends as well.

For the record: Local Bishop confirms Medjugorje is a hoax
'This really is not Our Lady from the Gospel'

The bishop of Mostar-Duvno, His Excellency Ratko Peric, has once again strongly stated the obvious -- the apparitions of Medjugorje are a hoax. In fact, he goes even further, saying they were a form of manipulation from the fake visionaries and priests who benefit from the duped throngs of Catholics who visit the site. His predecessaor, His Excellency Pavao Žanic, also condemned the financial boondoggle of Medjugorje as false.

According to Jutarnji Vijesti, and translated by Total Croatia News, Bishop Peric said: "Considering everything that this diocesan chancery has so far researched and studied, including the first seven days of alleged apparitions, we can say: there have been no apparitions of Our Lady in Medjugorje."

In describing the woman who the fake visionaries say appears, Bishop Peric says:  "She often does not speak first, she has a strange laugh, she disappears after certain questions and then returns; she obeys the 'visionaries' and priests to come down from the hill to the church, although reluctantly. She is not sure how much time she will be visible, allows some of the visionaries to stand on her veil which is on the ground, allows others to touch her clothes and body. This really is not Our Lady from the Gospel."

The pontificate summarized

Conservative and traditional-minded Catholics were heavily criticized for the anonymous posters spread around Rome a few weeks ago with not a single mistake: both content and image were rigorously correct, not an unjust criticism of the Pope.

Naturally, no one ever proved that any conservative Catholic was behind the posters.

Because the fact that this Pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, is a Socialist and a strong-armed politician is a common conclusion throughout Italy -- as was seen this weekend in the Carnival parades of Viareggio, coastal Tuscany.

Behold the Che GuePapa:

"Francis received in audience this morning...

... - H. E. Abp. Guido Pozzo, Titular Archbishop of Bagnoregio, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission 'Ecclesia Dei';..." (Bollettino)

Sin is Virtue

The freaking creeps running the Church today:

Why bother getting married, right? Then, why bother being Catholic at all?...

Fr. Spadaro, SJ, runs the once-great Civiltà Cattolica founded by none other than the magnificent Pio Nono (Bl. Pius IX). He is one of the two or three closest advisors of Pope Francis...

A tale of Mass murder and homicide

On February 18, 1916, a Catholic priest was executed by the state of New York at the Sing Sing prison -- the only priest in America to receive the death penalty for a crime. The New York Daily News today did a look back at the story from a century ago.

Father Hans Schmidt was convicted of murder, following an affair he had with a woman. Before he killed her, he also paid for their baby to be aborted.

What was especially interesting was this passage from today's article:

Shameful and Repulsive: 1970s-style Francis unsurprisingly soft on pedophiles

From the excellent AP reporter in Rome Nicole Winfield:

Pope quietly trims sanctions for sex abusers seeking mercy


VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has quietly reduced sanctions against a handful of pedophile priests, applying his vision of a merciful church even to its worst offenders in ways that survivors of abuse and the pope's own advisers question.

Ecce ascendimus Ierosolymam: Lent Is coming...

Ecce ascendimus Ierosolymam, et consummabuntur omnia quæ scripta sunt per prophetas de Filio hominis. (From the Gospel for the Sunday in Quinquagesima, Luke xviii, 31: Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be accomplished which were written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man.)

Christianity is as old as the world; for it consists, essentially, in the idea of a God -- Creator, Legislator, and Savior -- and in a life conformable to that idea. Now, God manifested himself to the human race from the beginning under the threefold relation of Creator, Legislator, and Savior, and from the beginning, from Adam to Noah, from Noah to Abraham, from Abraham to Moses, from Moses to Jesus Christ, there have been men who lived conformably with this idea of God.

Three times before Jesus Christ, God manifested himself to men in this threefold character: by Adam, the first father of the human race; by Noah, the second father of the human race; and by Moses, the lawgiver of a People whose influence and existence have mixed them up with all the destinies of mankind.

There exists, however, a fact not less remarkable, namely, that Christianity only started its reign in the world eighteen hundred years ago, with Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ appears to have been the first who brought light into the world. Before him, as Saint John said, "it shined in darkness". But what is the cause of this? How is it that Christianity, vanquished in the world before Jesus Christ, has been victorious in it since his coming? How is it that Christianity, before Jesus Christ, "did not hinder the nations from following their ways", and that Jesus Christ, on the contrary, was able to pronounce that sentence of eternal victory, "In mundo pressuram habebitits, sed confidite, ego vici mundum"?

What new thing is it then that Jesus Christ has accomplished? Is it the sacrifice on Calvary? The Lamb of God that takes aways the sins of the world "was slain from the beginning of the world". ... Is it the Gospel? The Gospel, after all, is but the Word of God, and that word, after many trials, did not change the world. Is it the sacraments? The sacraments are only the channels of grace, and the grace of God, although less abundant, without doubt had not ceased continually to flow to men before Jesus Christ. What new thing, then, did Jesus Christ accomplish? By what means did he secure the eternal duration of the victory obtained on Calvary?

Listen to his own words, he will say them to you: "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against her". This is the work which was to subjugate forever hell and the world, which would everyday renew the Sacrifice of the Savior, maintain and diffuse his doctrines, distribute his grace! ... this Church, "the pillar and ground of the truth"...[is] destined to the universal and perpetual instruction of the human race.

Henri-Dominique Lacordaire
Conférences à Notre-Dame de Paris (1835)

Lent is coming: Time to prepare
Audio mission on death, judgement, Heaven & Hell

Lent is coming next week. We're running out of time to prepare.

In the past, you could find a traditional Lenten Mission at many parishes. Now, unless you are near a traditional parish, they are nearly extinct -- or worthless.

Fortunately, we are not meant to live in the past, we are meant to live in the now. And, now, we have the Internet. And there is an abundance of good on the Internet, along with the bad.

As we do every year, we bring to your attention this wonderful, traditional, five-part Lenten Mission by the holy and learned Fr. Isaac Mary Relyea. While it is not short, it does go by very quickly, and is easy to follow and understand. It's clear, concise and bold.

As the season nears, you would do well to listen to this, to pray on it and to use it to prepare for a fruitful Lent -- and be ready for it to change you for the better.

Click on each of the five themes of the mission: Prelude to the Mission * On Death * On Judgment * On Hell * On Heaven

Please consider helping Fr. Isaac. If these sermons end up meaning as much to you as they do to us, please consider giving whatever you can to cover Father's expenses.

To donate, please send your contribution to the address below. You can reference Rorate when you write. No donation is considered too small.

Father Isaac Mary Relyea
369 County Road 546
Hanceville, Alabama 35077

Lent is coming: Time to prepare
Printable Lent worksheet

Lent is coming and it's now that we should be preparing.

Today, we once again post the worksheet below, which was made years ago for us to use by a wonderful traditional priest (click for larger view and printing). It's a good tool to make our plans, to refer to throughout Lent and to evaluate our progress when Lent ends.

Planning for Lent should be no different than planning for other things in life: Plan, prepare, execute and evaluate. Today we give you a tool to use. Tomorrow, we'll give you some inspiration. 

New book on the Church and the New Age

Buy it here:;

Roger Buck's Cor Jesu Sacratissimum: From Secularism and the New Age to Christendom Renewed is a substantial volume investigating the New Age, its roots and its implications, and the path to the restoration of Christendom.

I've written more about the New Age over on my blog here; a position paper on the New Age and the Traditional Mass is in preparation.

I was asked to provide a comment for the back cover, and I wrote:

'Roger Buck has done a great service to the Church by his careful and well-informed examination of the New Age, which is both truly charitable and unflinching, and his discussion of wider issues in the Church from the perspective of a former New Age initiate.

'Buck shows that the New Age is an attempt, however flawed, to escape the materialism of modernity, and that it is Catholicism in its traditional forms, with its mystery and ritual, its sacramantals, art, and pious practices, which can best reveal the immense reality of the suffering and love for all mankind of Christ's Sacred Heart, to those trapped in the false mysteries of the New Age.'

Francis: the gift that keeps on giving

"There are those who say 'I am very Catholic, I always go to Mass, I belong to this and that association'," the head of the 1.2 billion-member Roman Catholic Church said, according to a Vatican Radio transcript.

He said that some of these people should also say "'my life is not Christian, I don't pay my employees proper salaries, I exploit people, I do dirty business, I launder money, (I lead) a double life'."

"There are many Catholics who are like this and they cause scandal," he said. "How many times have we all heard people say 'if that person is a Catholic, it is better to be an atheist'." [Homily at Santa Marta, translated by Reuters]

No, no: it's always better to be a baptized person, cleansed by the Holy Ghost in baptism -- it always objectively allows the baptized soul to open itself up more easily than the non-baptized to the calls of the Holy Trinity to penance and conversion. That is the whole point of the yearly exercise of Lent to start next week: it is to recognize our many failures, and join the darkness of our souls to be washed away by the Supreme redeeming Action of God-Incarnate who died on the Cross.

Parce nobis, Domine! - You know why you inflicted Francis upon your Church: parce nobis!

En attendant Godot
Tagle to replace Müller as CDF Prefect?

Tagle singing at a concert, 2012. 

To the recent reports from other sources that Cardinal Müller has already offered his resignation from CDF, Rorate can now add, from its own very well-placed sources, that there is a plan at the highest levels to replace Müller as Prefect of CDF with no less than the Asian "Pope Francis", the man seen by many as Francis' dauphin, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle. 

Müller, appointed Prefect in July 2012, has been effectively marginalized in the past years over the Family Synods and most importantly over Amoris Laetitia. Questions about his future in the Roman Curia have been persistent through the years. It remains to be seen whether he will eventually be sent back to Germany to take the still-vacant see of Mainz (traditionally a red-hat see), or be tossed to a ceremonial position, or whether, like Stanisław Cardinal Ryłko last year, he will simply be retired long before turning 75.

Tagle's own theological oeuvre is very thin and his academic reputation rests mainly on the essays he wrote as part of the Bologna School's History of Vatican II. It is his slick promotion by the mainstream Catholic media, his reliably progressivist views (couched in "moderate" language) coupled with his stint at the International Theological Commission and the patronage he received from Joseph Ratzinger, first as CDF Prefect then as Pope, that have combined to give him an aura of learning far beyond what is supported by his real output. His election as President of both the Catholic Biblical Federation (in 2014) and Caritas International (in 2015) and his designation as one of three Delegate Presidents of the Extraordinary Synod of 2014 further guaranteed his prominence in the universal Church. 

Should this latest plan come to pass, Cardinal Tagle, who will turn 60 in June, will have an enviable "CV" for a conclave frontrunner: a long stint (more than 15 years and counting) as diocesan bishop then archbishop, followed by a stint as head of a Curial dicastery.

In the two previous Februaries Don Pio Pace wrote for Rorate long articles on the growing Tagle candidacy for the next conclave, articles worth reading now more than ever: 

"THE SUCCESSOR" - Rome in Pre-Conclave mood: What will come after the Bergoglio Papacy? (February 2015)

Exclusive Op-Ed: Pio Pace: "Conclave Preparations: Watch Out - Great Editorial Manoeuvres Signal Cardinal Tagle" (Feb. 2016)

Appeal: Help Keep the Roman Forum going

For most of our readers, you already know the critical work Dr. John Rao, and The Roman Forum, do every year on behalf of the Church and traditional Catholics everywhere. Last year, we helped raise over $10,000 to keep the Forum going. This year, for obvious reasons, it is more important than ever. Please read below, and please click here to donate whatever you can.

The Roman Forum
11 Carmine St., Apt. 2C
New York, New York 10014

Dear Friends,

          The Roman Forum is still in need of at least $25,000 in tax-deductible donations in support of its Twenty-Fifth Annual Summer Symposium. This program will be held from July 3rd through July 14th, 2017 (11 nights) on the topic: Setting Right a World Turned Upside Down---Transformation in Christ Versus a Sickness Unto Death.

          We need this sum to provide travel, room, and board for our international faculty and musical staff: fourteen participants at the moment, though still growing in number and potentially to include some further and rather significant clerical additions. No speaker receives remuneration for his participation. Funds are also used to aid the many priests, seminarians, college students, and others from across the globe---especially from Africa---who would be unable to attend without some help. I cannot tell you how significant this quarter of a century Symposium has become in creating a permanent, worldwide, fraternal union of clergy and laity, as well as providing an annual academic and activist strategy planning session on behalf of the Traditionalist Movement across the globe. Those wishing to attend Gardone, 2017 can contact us through the email address given above.

De Mattei: When public correction of a pope is urgent and necessary

Roberto de Mattei
Corrispondenza Romana
February 22, 2017

May a Pope be publicly corrected for his reprehensible behaviour? Or should the attitude of the faithful be that of unconditional obedience, until the point of justifying anything the Pope’s says and does, even if  openly scandalous? According to some, like the Vatican journalist Andrea Tornielli, it is possible to express “tète a tète” one’s dissent to the Pope, without, however, manifesting it publicly. This thesis nonetheless, contains an important admission. The Pope is not infallible, unless he speaks ex cathedra. Otherwise it would not be licit to dissent even privately and the path to follow would only be that of religious silence.  On the other hand, the Pope, who is not Christ, but only his representative on earth, can sin and make mistakes. Yet, is it true that he may only be corrected privately and never publicly?

The Wall Street Journal visits Clear Creek Abbey

The three-day American holiday weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal featured an article on the front page of its "Review" section looking at "a burgeoning movement among traditional Christians" to create "their own small communities".

It could have said "community", as the piece focused almost entirely on the work of the Benedictines at Clear Creek Abbey.  The article began:

Announcing the 2017 Summer Theology Program in Norcia -- Aquinas on the Sacraments

Agriturismo Casale - the base of our operations
The Albertus Magnus Center for Scholastic Studies is happy to announce that registration is now open for the July 2017 summer theology program in the town of Norcia. This will be our sixth summer program since 2011. We are especially excited to be studying the sacraments, with a close look at baptism and the Holy Eucharist, through the lens of Book IV of the Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard by St. Thomas Aquinas, which has some of the Angelic Doctor's most extensive and intriguing discussions of sacramental theology from his entire career. The program directors will be Fr. Thomas Crean, O.P., Christopher Owens, and Peter Kwasniewski. Fr. Cassian Folsom, O.S.B., the founding prior of Norcia, will join us for a lecture and conversation.

Conference on the Canonical Problem of the Deposition of Popes to be Held in Paris

For some reason, a certain provision of Gratian’s Decretals, an early collection of canon law, has been the subject of renewed interest in recent times. The relevant text runs: “No mortal shall presume to rebuke [the pope’s] faults, for he who is to judge all is to be judged by no one, unless he is found straying from the faith” (Dist. 40 c.6). The last condition “unless he is found straying from the faith” has sometimes been interpreted to mean that a pope who strayed into heresy could be deposed. At the end of March a scholarly conference on the canonical and theological problem of the deposition of heretical popes is to be held at the Center for Law and Religious Societies of the Legal Faculty Jean-Monnet of the University Paris-Sud, in the Parisian suburb of Sceaux. The conference will be considering a recently published book on the subject by legal scholar Laurent Fonbaustier: La déposition du pape hérétique : Une origine du constitutionnalisme ? [The Deposition of an Heretical Pope: An Origin of Constitutionalism?]. Fonbaustier traces the influence of Gratian’s decretal on political theories of limited government. 

Support the FSSP Saint Francis Xavier Mission Trip


Rorate has always been a proud supporter of these mission trips. Below, please see a short write-up, provided by a reader:

It is easy to get discouraged by all the maddening news that seems to come out about the Church on a daily basis. Especially for orthodox, conservative, traditional-minded Catholics it can be extremely frustrating when we get characterized as rigid, sick, or elitist. If you are not already aware of it, I want to draw your attention to an apostolate that both destroys these stereotypes and hopefully represents a real sign of hope for the future of the Church.

For five years now the Saint Francis Xavier Mission Trip of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter has been organizing missions for youth and families. On the one hand we could emphasize that these missions are rooted in the Traditional Latin Mass, but it may be better to simply say that these missions are grounded in the Catholic Faith, which has always had at its heart the Traditional Latin Mass. 


That's it. That's all we have to say.

On the other hand, we should never get tired of Saint Paul. He, like the good Jesuits of the 16th century (Xavier first of all, but so many others), suffered immensely, out of love for Christ and His Church and her true, everlasting, and unwavering Doctrine.

Is there a more beautiful epistle than this Sunday's in the Church year? Hardly any: the Autobiography of Saint Paul is a testament of love. If you heard it and read it thoughtlessly in Mass today, read it again. Thank you, Doctor Gentium!

Saint Paul's shipwreck in Malta

"You gladly put up with fools, because you are wise yourselves! For you suffer it if a man enslaves you, if a man devours you, if a man takes from you, if a man is arrogant, if a man slaps your face! I speak to my own shame, as though we had been weak. But wherein any man is bold - I am speaking foolishly - I also am bold. Are they Hebrews? So am I! Are they Israelites? So am I! Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I! Are they ministers of Christ? I - to speak as a fool - am more: in many more labors, in prisons more frequently, in lashes above measure, often exposed to death. From the Jews five times I received forty lashes less one. Thrice I was scourged, once I was stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I was adrift on the sea; in journeyings often, in perils from floods, in perils from robbers, in perils from my own nation, in perils from the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils from false brethren; in labor and hardships, in many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Besides those outer things, there is my daily pressing anxiety, the care of all the churches! Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I am not inflamed? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that concern my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, Who is blessed forevermore, knows that I do not lie. In Damascus the governor under King Aretas was guarding the city of the Damascenes in order to arrest me, but I was lowered in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped his hands. If I must boast - it is not indeed expedient to do so - but I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago - whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows - such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man - whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows that he was caught up into paradise and heard secret words that man may not repeat. Of such a man I will boast; but of myself I will glory in nothing save in my infirmities. For if I do wish to boast, I shall not be foolish; for I shall be speaking the truth. But I forbear, lest any man should reckon me beyond what he sees in me or hears from me. And lest the greatness of the revelations should puff me up, there was given me a thorn for the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to buffet me. Concerning this I thrice besought the Lord that it might leave me. And He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for strength is made perfect in weakness. Gladly therefore I will glory in my infirmities, that the strength of Christ may dwell in me." (2 Cor. 11:19-33; 12:1-9)

Guest Op-Ed - Waiting for the Bridegroom: The Nuptial Character of the Usus Antiquior

By Veronica A. Arntz

The parable of the ten virgins awaiting the bridegroom reveals a significant key for understanding our relationship with Christ: We are meant to be watchful, waiting for the hour of His coming with anticipation. Five virgins were wise, and five were foolish. Five had a sufficient amount of oil to meet the delayed bridegroom, while five did not. Some of us await the second coming of Christ with an awakened spirit, while others live our lives as if He does not exist. If we consider this parable within the context of sacred liturgy, we could say the following: The wise virgins are the ones who listen for the voice of the Lord within the texts; they are the ones who are prepared to meet the Bridegroom by listening to His words. In a particular way, the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite can foster what Dietrich von Hildebrand calls the “spirit of awakenedness,” which he considers to be the spirit necessary to “conform to the sursum corda.”

This parable about the wise and foolish virgins appropriately sets the tone for discussing the spirit of waiting in the Extraordinary Form, because this form of the Roman Rite possesses a manifestly nuptial character. The words of the rite reveal both the love of the Bridegroom for us, but also, the love that we ought to give Him through praise and thanksgiving. While much has been said to men about the Extraordinary Form being the natural place to cultivate a priestly or religious vocation, it seems that women can relate very well to this nuptial character of the Mass. In a special way, women can discover the means and the grace for anticipating the Bridegroom, like the five wise virgins, through the sacred texts and form of the usus antiquior