Rorate Caeli

St. Robert Bellarmine on One Wife and a Large Family

While reading St. Robert Bellarmine’s superb Commentary on the Book of Psalms, I came across a passage that struck me as worthwhile to share with readers. The Society of Jesus has produced two Doctors of the Church, and it would be wise for today’s Jesuits, at all levels, to drink in their healthful doctrine.

127:1 “Blessed are all they that fear the Lord: that walk in his ways.”

SSPX offers Missa Cantata in U.S. basilica shrine

The Society of Saint Pius X has offered traditional Latin Masses in some prominent places, including Saint Peter's Basilica and the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Add to that list the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

Father Patrick Rutledge of the SSPX's new church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, offered a Missa Cantata in the Lourdes chapel of the basilica shrine.  That chapel in the crypt of the basilica is the dedicated location for the TLM at the shrine.  A schola of three men provided Gregorian chant.

Our thanks to a reader for taking the following photos:

No more apologetics, then? Pope Francis' January 25 homily on ecumenism

January 25, as usual, saw the celebration of Second Vespers at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, with the Pope leading it, in order to mark the end of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (January 18-25). Francis' homily for this year's Second Vespers is mostly a reiteration of previous post-Conciliar papal messages on ecumenism (including the denunciation of "proselytism") but contains two new elements: an explicit call to reject not just "polemical" but also "apologetic" approaches, and a public and more formal dismissal of the theological debates over controverted issues in favor of an ecumenism primarily based upon cooperation and "encounter". (Bear in mind that the congregation in this particular Vespers included representatives from Orthodox and Protestant confessions.) It is worth noting that Francis describes the theological debates between different Christian groups as "subtle theoretical discussions" over "opinions", as if the Church-dividing doctrinal issues are mere matters of opinion.

Bishop Paprocki offers Pontifical High Mass in D.C.

After the March for Life on 22 January 2015 in Washington, D.C., a pontifical High Mass was offered by His Excellency Thomas John Paprocki, bishop of Springfield, Illinois, at Saint Mary Mother of God church.

The music, including Palestrina's Missa Brevis, Gregorian chant propers and several polyphonic motets, was provided by the schola cantorum of the Lyceum School in South Euclid, Ohio.

Organized and funded by the Paulus Institute, the Mass was the third annual one in honor of the late Miss Nellie Gray, foundress of the March for Life (and parishioner of Saint Mary's).  The vestments, brand new, were purchased for the Mass along with other sets that will be used for future pontifical Masses in the region.

Several hundred communicants packed the church, which was standing room only.  Many in the congregation were young adults visiting for the March, including Juventutem chapters from Michigan, Miami, Boston, Chicago and Washington, who hosted a reception across the street after the Mass, attended by the bishop, several priests and seminarians and dozens of young, traditional Catholics.

Courtesy of the Lyceum School, here are some photos from the pontifical High Mass:

Francis welcomes in private audience same-sex "couple": transexual "former woman" and "wife"

Spanish periodical Hoy reveals the private meeting in the Vatican of "Diego" Neria Lejárraga, a woman from Plasencia, Spain, and her "wife"["fiancée", see second Update.]


The Blessed Encounter between Francis and Diego

The Pope welcomed Saturday in the Vatican a Plasencia native who has felt outside the Church since he [sic] was submitted to a gender-reassignment surgery

You suggest: Learning from Luther the Right Way – What Not to Do!
Special discount for Rorate readers

The following was submitted to Rorate, and we worked out a 25% discount for our readers. Details at the end of the post:

We are now approaching the half-millennium of the Protestant Revolt.

Interview with Archbishop Gänswein by Christ und Welt :
Traditionalists not to blame for recent "antipope" talk.
More on communion for "remarried divorcees", the Synod, and the Franciscan reform

Late last week, the Dutch Catholic blog In Caelo et in Terra posted a translation of an interview with Archbishop Gänswein that was originally published on Christ & Welt. The Archbishop's responses range from the straightforward, to the indirect and very careful; coming through his words is a very clear desire to protect Benedict XVI from any danger.

Gänswein, Sept. 2013. Source

Speaking of Pope Francis' speech on the "15 diseases" of the Roman Curia, Gänswein notes that the Curia's "reactions ranged from surprise to shock and incomprehension." To the question about who the Pope's closest advisers are, the Prefect of the Papal Household simply responds: "This questions always and consistently goes around. I don’t know." And where is the Church headed under Francis? "If you listen attentively to the words of the Pope, you will hear a clear message in them. Nevertheless, the question continuously arises of where Francis wants to lead the Church, what is his goal?" 

Of particular interest to our blog is the following passage, dealing largely with the debate over communion for "remarried divorcees" and Gänswein's exoneration of traditionalists from the charge that they do not recognize Francis as the true, reigning Pope:

Rorate on the Road ... In San Antonio, Texas

Rorate was on the road again today -- this time at St. Pius X Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas.

Sermon for the Third Sunday after the Epiphany

From the 12th chapter of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans:

 “Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty,… never be conceited.  Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all.  If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all…Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

St. Paul wrote those words to the Christians in Rome as instructions on how to live as followers of Jesus Christ in a pagan world, pagan in the sense of not only the official Roman religion but also in the sense of the many different religious sects that were part of society at that time, and also recognizing the deep cynicism of those who professed belief in some form of religion but in reality believed in nothing except themselves.  These words are also addressed to us today in a real and important way, as what we know as Western culture drifts farther and father away from its Christian roots, as various sects defined by religious enthusiasm seem to flourish, as people turn to self-help gurus to solve their problems, as a militant secularism forces faith out of the public square and into the ghetto of privatization, as young people drift into either a vague religiosity with no roots or content, or to professed atheism.

By its very essence Christianity calls for public witness by those who profess faith in Jesus Christ and his Church.  As St Paul tells us, this witness must always be done with humility and in a way that tries to preserve peace, even with those who provoke or insult us.  “Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all.”  I love that phrase of St. Paul:  “take thought for what is noble in the sight of all.” What is noble.  It sounds almost quaint to use such words.

Bishop Huonder visits the FSSP Seminary in Wigratzbad

Bishop Huonder celebrating Mass

Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga: Pope wants to take "Church renovation" to "irreversible" point: Previous reforms were "insufficient, superficial", Church reform to be "deep and total".

On January 20, 2015, Cardinal Oscar Andres Maradiaga Rodriguez, the Coordinator of Pope Francis' Council of Cardinal Advisors gave a talk at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics of the Santa Clara University in Silicon Valley. His remarks were drawn from an essay he had written, The Church of Mercy with Pope Francis. The following passage from this essay reveal just how far-reaching the "Franciscan reform" is intended to be. (His talk, as delivered, can be found here: The Meaning of Mercy - Reflections by Cardinal Oscar Andres Maradiaga Rodriguez on a Central Theme of Pope Francis.)

We walk as Church towards a deep and global renovation. For this renovation to be sincerely Catholic, it must encompass all of the historical dimensions of the Church.

Specifically, there is no true ecclesial renovation without a transformation of the institutions; of the quality and focus of the activities; of the mystic and the spiritual. Usually, renovation begins with pastoral activities. For it is there where the inconsistencies of a certain “model” of the Church and reality are primarily experienced. The missionaries, the evangelists on the “margins” of the Church, are the first ones to notice the insufficiency of the “traditional” ways of action; the pastoral criticism begins with the experience of the mission in the “peripheries.” Changes and adjustments begin there.

FIUV Position Paper: The Extraordinary Form and China

Today I can publish a Position Paper from the Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce (FIUV) on the Extraordinary Form in China.

While other parts of the world have been holding our attention in recent weeks, it is salutary to remind ourselves of the heroism of China's many faithful Catholics, who have faced persecution of one form or another for so many decades. Despite this, the Church in China is growing steadily, and her needs should be considered carefully. 

This paper draws attention to a number of important factors in the Church's situation in China which indicate the importance of the ancient liturgy. First, the fact that it has actually survived, and continues to be celebrated widely in China: the Ordinary Form was not introduced into mainland China until the 1980s. Second, that the celebration of the liturgy in the vernacular in China is particularly difficult, since large populations speak languages, such as Cantonese, which do not have a written form into which the liturgy could be translated, and are therefore offered a 'vernacular' liturgy which can be entirely incomprehensible. Third, as the ancient liturgy represents the values of reverence, continuity, and self-restraint which are both characteristic of classical Chinese culture, and are desperately needed in China today, in the context of the country's rapid economic development and urbanisation.

The paper includes two prayers for the Church in China, the 'Church of Silence', composed by Pope Pius XII and St John XXIII, which I recommend to readers of this blog.

The next Position Paper will be on the Leonine Prayers.

I have added some extra commentary on the paper on my own blog here (where comments are possible).

This paper is available as a pdf here; all the papers can be downloaded from this page, hard copies of the book of all of them, up to and including this one, can be purchased from Lulu here.


Positio 23: The Extraordinary Form and China

The complex recent history of the Church in China has resulted in the survival of the Extraordinary Form, alongside the Ordinary Form, which was not introduced until the 1980s.[1] This raises the question of the relationship between the Extraordinary Form and Chinese culture; evangelisation; the attitude of the state; and the needs and resources of the Church in China today.

The ‘Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association’ (CPCA), part of the Religious Affairs Bureau of the State, was created in 1957, as an officially approved organisation for the Catholic Faithful, in contrast to the ‘underground’ Church. Today most bishops of the CPCA exercise a legitimate ministry,[2] and the Faithful of the underground Church may attend their services. However, it remains impossible to establish an Episcopal Conference recognised by the Holy See.[3]

Between them, the CPCA and the underground Church have, on a conservative estimate, about 15 million Faithful. Despite the many difficulties of the Church in China, the Church is growing rapidly, although less rapidly than some Protestant groups.

Kasperite Indoctrination for the Archdiocese of Chicago?
Cupich on the 2014 Synod: "the media reported what actually took place"

Yesterday, an extreme "progressive" American publication released what is partly a long interview, partly a cheering mutual-praising and self-serving powwow, with Archbishop Blase Cupich, without doubt Pope Francis' most important appointment (so far) to the United States' episcopate. After reading this, there is only one thing we can say to our friends in Chicago: we will keep you in our prayers.

Archbishop Cupich during the first Sunday Mass after his installation. 

Four of the most important passages in the interview ("BC" is "Cupich"). Emphases are Rorate's:

The Massacre: Another conservative bishop "resigned"... now in France

It's unstoppable - for the umpteenth time in this Pontificate, a bishop who is related to a conservative community, who is considered conservative, who has conservative positions, who is under the "protest" of a sizable portion of his liberal priests and/or removed OR (as in this case) submits his resignation (or "resignation").

This Thursday it was in France, where the Bishop of Quimper (a member of the conservative Communauté Saint-Martin, ordained in Genoa in 1987), Jean-Marie le Vert, resigned (or "resigned") and had his resignation (or "resignation") accepted by the Pope. He had been named bishop of Quimper by Benedict XVI in 2007, and had been under strong attack from his liberal priests ever since, even taking a leave (for personal reasons - caused by the intensely stressful situation, perhaps... - or for superior orders, who knows?) in 2014.

TERRIFYING - What the Official Daily of the Church in Italy is now teaching about the family: "Gender Theory" and "Large Families" are just two extremes of a virtuous middle...

Note: The following is an article published last week in the journal, Avvenire, a daily newspaper owned by the Italian Bishops Conference.  I thought it important to translate it, because it is indicative of what the “official” Church in Italy is thinking about the question of the relationship of doctrine to pastoral praxis, especially with respect to the Synod on the Family that will be held next October in Rome.

The reader will notice the references to the Church using images and words of Pope Francis such as the Church as a field hospital, and the reference to the “law of graduality”, attributing this “law” to Pope John Paul II.  There is also the use of the Pope’s widely reported “rabbit” statement with respect to large Catholic families to explain what responsible parenthood means.

There seems to be no question to the author and to Don Paolo Gentili, the director of the Italian Bishops’ Office for the family, that pastoral praxis on family issues is changing and will change.  But what is most striking is the use of Paul VI’s Encyclical Humanae Vitae as the springboard for discussing “la svolta pastorale”, the change in direction of pastoral praxis.  There is no doubt that what Paul VI says in that encyclical is supportive of and understands deeply the Catholic teaching on the family including sexual issues.  But that encyclical is famous (or infamous) not because of its teaching on the family and marriage:  it represents for the great majority of people an example of how a rigid attitude towards doctrine prevented the implementation of a more modern and “compassionate” pastoral praxis with respect to contraception.  It is also in its own way a symbol of that dissent from Catholic teaching that became if not normative then certainly widespread after the Second Vatican Council.

Surely one cannot draw any definite conclusions from this article.  But one can wonder about the “co-opting” of Humanae Vitae as a means of, for all practical effects, neutralizing its final meaning and import, pace what the writer says to the contrary. Is this, together with the firm assumption that pastoral praxis with respect to the family and sexuality is undergoing a change in direction, and using the “law of graduality” to describe, at least in part, how pastoral practice will change, and using “responsibility” to neutralize the “rabbit” statement—is this the beginning of the parade to drum up support for the Kasper way of looking at things when the Synod convenes in October?  We shall see.


Responsible Parenthood: Pastoral Praxis Evolving
Luciano Mola, Avvenire, January 20, 2015

Event: High Mass at Princeton University Chapel (February 3, 2015)

Event notice sent by a reader:

After leading an Ignatian retreat in Boston, Father Carlos Hamel FSJC will be coming to Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey and publicly offering a High Mass in the University Chapel at 9 PM on Tuesday February 3 for the Aquinas Institute. There will be a reception afterwards. This will be, to our knowledge, the first, non-Nuptial, Traditional Latin Mass in the University's Anglo-Catholic inspired chapel and has special significance as Princeton Alumnus Brother Gerhard FSJC will be serving Mass as well.

Clearer...once again

The Madonna of the Rabbit (1530)
Musée du Louvre
The meetings with families and young people, in Manila, were significant moments of the visit to the Philippines. Healthy families are essential to the life of society. It gives comfort and hope to see many families that welcome children as a true gift of God. They know that every child is a blessing. I've heard - some people say - that families with many children and the birth of so many children are among the causes of poverty. I think this is a rather simplistic opinion. I can say, all we can say, that the main cause of poverty is an economic system that has removed the person from its center, replacing him with the god of money, an economic system that excludes, always excludes: That excludes children, the elderly, the young, the jobless ... - and that creates the throw-away culture in which we live. We have grown used to seeing people being discarded. This is the main cause of poverty, not families. Evoking the figure of St Joseph, who protected the life of the "Santo Niño", so revered in that country, I mentioned that we need to protect families, which face various threats, so that they can witness the beauty of the family in God's plan. Families need to be defended from new ideological colonization, that seek to threaten their identity and mission.
General Audience - Rome
January 21, 2015

More on the Papal Masses in Manila:
President of Philippine Bishops' Conference defends the passing of hosts as accounts of hosts trampled into the mud emerge

GMA Network, one of the Philippines' top news networks, reports that Church officials including the President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference in the Philippines are defending the passing-around of hosts at the Papal Masses that took place in Manila, specifically in response to OnePeterFive's article on the event.

Filipino Catholic Church officials came in defense of this, saying the Masses, particularly at Luneta, were "extraordinary" circumstances.

In an interview with GMA News, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said: "Under normal circumstances, hindi dapat mangyari 'yon, pero extraordinary ang situation natin sa Luneta, six million people."

He added: "Sa ganu'ng pagkakataon, kailangan nating tulungan ang isa't isa na makatanggap ng communion."

(Translation of the Filipino passage: "Under normal circumstances, this should not have happened, but the situation in the Luneta was extraordinary, six million people." He added: "On this occasion, it was necessary ("kailangan") to help each other receive communion." Thanks to a Filipino reader! - RC) 

For his part, Fr. Francis Lucas, executive secretary of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Social Communication and Mass Media, echoed this, telling GMA News Online: "For pastoral reasons since people can't move during communion, mass passing of the host is okay."

Meanwhile, the blog The Pinoy Catholic has published an article ("Communion in the Hand is the culprit") confirming that hosts fell into the mud or got extremely wet (and dirty) during the Mass:

You suggest: Easter week pilgrimage to Holy Land

A couple of times in the past we have brought your attention to this Holy Land pilgrimage and several of our readers have gone on the trip. A reader sent us the following announcement on the next pilgrimage:

Here is a phenomenal opportunity in 2015 -- an Easter week pilgrimage to the Holy Land with the timeless "Mass of the Ages" each day. The dates are April 7-17.

Travel with Fr. Jared McCambridge, FSSP, to the most sacred ground this side of Heaven, where the greatest mysteries of our Faith unfolded! 

Click here for more information or call 1-800-334-5425.

Pope Francis: Catholics shouldn't breed "like rabbits"

(NOTE: Full text of the latest papal interview is now on Catholic News Agency.)

"Clearer"... - but only for a couple of days. Another day, yet another Papal interview.

From Reuters:

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (Reuters) - Catholics should not feel they have to breed "like rabbits" because of the Church's ban on contraception, Pope Francis said on Monday, suggesting approved natural family planning methods.

For the record: "Clearer in Manila" as Pope Francis defends Church teachings on human life and sexuality during Philippine visit

The most important passages in bold. All texts are as published on the Vatican website. The speech in the Mall of Asia arena, as actually delivered, was a mix of the English prepared text with off-the-cuff remarks in English and (mostly) in Spanish, while an on-the-spot translation was provided by Msgr. Mark Miles. The Vatican website however provides a fresh translation of the Spanish-language interpolations.


Here I would like to say a special word to the young priests, religious and seminarians among us. I ask you to share the joy and enthusiasm of your love for Christ and the Church with everyone, but especially with your peers. Be present to young people who may be confused and despondent, yet continue to see the Church as their friend on the journey and a source of hope. Be present to those who, living in the midst of a society burdened by poverty and corruption, are broken in spirit, tempted to give up, to leave school and to live on the streets. Proclaim the beauty and truth of the Christian message to a society which is tempted by confusing presentations of sexuality, marriage and the family. As you know, these realities are increasingly under attack from powerful forces which threaten to disfigure God’s plan for creation and betray the very values which have inspired and shaped all that is best in your culture.

- Homily at Manila Cathedral, January 16, 2015

The end result of communion in the hand:
Mass sacrilege as hosts passed around from hand to hand in Pope Francis' two Masses in Manila

The Pope's visit to the Philippines from January 15 to 19 saw him celebrate Mass three times for the public -- at Manila Cathedral on January 16, at Tacloban on January 17, and a final Mass at the "Rizal Park" of Manila on January 18. This last Mass, the Philippine government claims, was attended by 4 million people, concelebrated by 2,500 priests and 200-250 bishops. (Numerous online sources mention 6-7 million at the Mass, but if the Philippine Star, one of that country's top broadsheets is correct, the actual breakdown is 4 million who attended the Mass, another 360,000 at the perimeters of the venue, and 2 million along the route of Pope Francis' motorcade from the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila to Rizal Park.)

More conservative estimates put the number at 3 million at the Rizal Park itself, if not a bit less than that. Regardless of the numbers, it was without doubt an enormous display of Filipino Catholic faith, in all its richness -- and poverty.

Update on new SSPX seminary: "A Building that Speaks of God"

We have followed with great interest the building of a new seminary in rural Virginia for the Priestly Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) and were asked to update our readers on its progress. Whatever you may think of the Society's position in the Church, one cannot but marvel at this structure -- especially while most seminaries are struggling to stay open if not already closed.

Video below:

You suggest: ICR monthly novena

It is becoming an annual tradition for us to help the great Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest with their fundraising novena. The following was sent to us by the ICR:

Join us in this New Year of 2015 as we embark on a spiritual pilgrimage to Bethlehem, emulating the actions of Three Magi on the feast of the Epiphany.  Through the novena to the Infant King, let us celebrate and meditate upon the Holy birth of Our Savior, God’s giving of His Only Son, and how we can pay homage and adoration to our Earthly and Heavenly King. With this in mind, please join us at the Shrine of Christ the King and participate in the monthly novena from January 17th to January 25th. The Christ Child has promised us: “The more you honor Me, the more I will bless you!”

And entering into the house, they found the child with Mary his mother, and falling down they adored him; and opening their treasures, they offered him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”- Matthew2:11

The Three Wise Men and Shepherds brought gifts to the Child Jesus at His birth… What gift will you bring Him? This New Year, be sure to offer the Infant King your prayers and present Him with a candle or a flower as a visible symbol of your love, devotion and thanksgiving.

  • Submit your prayer offerings online and have your intentions remembered along with those of others throughout the world.
  • Offer thanks by presenting an Ex Voto message of Thanksgiving to the Infant King. Through this ancient tradition, read stories from people who have received God’s graces through the novena to the Infant King.
  • Read our monthly meditation which will provide you with spiritual insight to grow step by step in the virtues of the Christ Child. January’s meditation is on the Spiritual Poverty: Key to Heavenly Riches.

Cardinal Piacenza in Wigratzbad: Mercy, Primacy of Conscience and Primacy of Truth

From a teaching lecture given by Cardinal Piacenza, the Major Penitentiary, at a course on the Internal Forum in the Diocese of Ausburg for German speaking priests.

Iacopo Scaramuzzi
Vatican Insider (La Stampa)
January 15, 2015

“In Christianity, the placing of mercy and truth in opposition or at least contradistinction is always the result of a vision that is only partial”. This is what Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, the Major Penitentiary of the Tribunal of the Apostolic Penitentiary, says in a teaching lecture given at Wigratzbad, Diocese of Augsburg in Germany, on the occasion of a course on the Internal Forum for German speaking priests.

“At that place where Psalm 85 says (from which comes the title of my lecture): ‘Mercy and truth will meet each other’, we are dealing with a new reality, not made by human hands, something to be desired, something deeply awaited, but realized uniquely in accordance with the gift from God”, affirms the Cardinal, who is centering his reflections on the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

The Real Root of Extremism
- by Vittorio Messori

The Real Root of Extremism
Vittorio Messori
Corriere della Sera
January 14, 2015

I have always appreciated the sincerity of Rabbi Giuseppe Laras (renowned in Italian Judaism not only for his culture but also for his religious sensitivity) when he voices his opinions. So, in yesterday’s article in this newspaper, he doesn’t hesitate from the start in affirming that “we are at war, we are just at the beginning and yet we don’t want to admit it.”

As a realist, I would be inclined to agree with him. The third world war (called “cold” but always a war) ended, because of the enemy’s collapse and deserting of the field, but after that there was the new Pearl Harbor on a September 11th morn in New York City. Here, let’s say it with the clarity of Laras – [we have] the fourth world war. The hypocrisy of the dominant ideology today - political correctness – has been attempting exorcisms and in order to tranquilize us they have built an ideal of “moderate Islamism” encouragingly increasing it by repeating the mantra of “dialogue”. Nevertheless, those who know the Koran, those who know history and the society that has given it form over a thousand and a half years, know that those Muslims we call “extremists” (to use our Western categories) are not wrong in shouting (Kalashnikov in hand) that a “moderate” Muslim is a bad Muslim. Or, at least, he is a coward and that Allah will punish him. How many among those who are scandalized by this have read, without mental censures, the Koran entirely and maybe also the monumental collections of hadith - the sayings attributed to the Prophet?

"Theology of the Body" explained - a Traditional Catholic view

The following essay is part of Don Pietro Leone's book on marriage and family, The Family Under Attack (available on Amazon and on Amazon UK), and is exclusively published by Rorate Caeli by kind permission of thr author.

Fr. Pietro Leone also sends us the following message:

"I wish to congratulate the Editor of Rorate Caeli at the beginning of its tenth year for all his precious work in creating this most reliable and truly Catholic site. I wish also to thank him for publishing my writings over the last few years starting with my analysis of the New Rite of Mass and up to the extracts from my latest book 'The Family under Attack' of which the first appears today.

"I consider it important for Catholics of today to understand 'Theology of the Body' for what it is: to help them to know the Faith better, to practice it more fully, and so, with the help of Divine Grace, to reach the Promised Land of Heaven, where one day we may together sing the Eternal Mercies of God.

"I send my priestly blessing to all readers and promise to pray and to intercede for them before the Throne of the Highest, and that of The Most Holy Mother of God.

"I also ask them humbly to say a prayer for me."

Fr. Pietro Leone


‘Theology of the Body’ is the title that Pope John Paul II gave to a series of discourses delivered between September 1979 and November 1984. When we evaluate this doctrine in the light of Tradition, we see that in its principal positions it does not represent a development of Catholic teaching (in the sense of a clarification or deepening of that teaching), but rather a rupture with it, that is to say something novel. For this reason it cannot be described as Catholic doctrine, but rather as a series of personal meditations by the then Pope.

 As our source for this chapter we take the book ‘Theology of the Body for Beginners’ by Mr. Christopher West (Ascension Press, 2004), which affords a useful summary of this theory. This lecturer and writer has done much to popularize the said theory on the international level.

            The following critique (made in the briefest possible outline) will consist in the main of the application to this theory of the philosophical and theological principles established in the present book. This will involve a certain repetition of material already discussed, in the interests of providing a brief synthesis and analysis of the theory both in detail and as a whole.

             We proceed as follows: we evaluate this theory first as a personalist doctrine, then in its understanding of conjugal love in itself, and finally in its understanding of conjugal love in relation to God.

June 13, 2015: First Traditional Priestly Ordinations in Quebec in Decades

Right before the storm: Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal, Montreal - October 13, 1960

The Rev. Deacons Alexandre Marchand (from Gatineau) and Jacques Breton (from St-Hyancinthe) will be ordained to the most sacred priesthood on June 13, 2015 - the ordination will take place in the Diocese of Saint-Hyacinthe, and will be celebrated by the Abp. of Ottawa, the Most Rev. Terrence Prendergast.

These will be the first priestly ordinations according to the Traditional Roman Rite in Quebec since the alteration of the rites, in the late 1960s.

Congratulations to both, to the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, and to the formerly Catholic lands of Quebec!

(Tip: Notions Romaines)

The Pope speaks on freedom to blaspheme: "If a close friend insulted your mother, you might punch him, right?"

In his airplane interview in the flight taking him from Sri Lanka to the Philippines, Pope Francis commented on the limits of freedom of speech:

[Question] Yesterday morning, during mass, you spoke of religious liberty as a fundamental human right. With respect to the different religions, up to what point can we go in terms of freedom of speech, that also is a fundamental human right?

[Pope:] Thank you for this intelligent question! I believe that they are both fundamental human rights: religious freedom and freedom of speech. We are French, right? Well, then, let's go Paris, let's speak clearly. We cannot hide a truth today: each one has the right to practice his religion, without causing offense, freely, and we all wish to do this.

Secondly, we cannot offend, make war, kill, in the name of religion, that is, in the name of God.

That which is happening today surprises us, but let us always think of our history: how many wars of religion have we known! Think only of the Night of Saint Bartholomew [St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre]! How can we understand that. We also have had our sinners regarding this, but we cannot murder in the name of God, it's an aberration. To murder in the name of God is an aberration. I believe that is the main thing on religious liberty: we must practice it in liberty, without causing offense, but without imposing or murdering.

The year - One year

One year, the most meaningful of the cycles of nature. Man marks it with celebrations, birthdays, anniversaries - including the anniversaries of the birth (Christmas) and Resurrection (Easter) of the Lord that define the Liturgical Year itself. It is comforting for us today to begin anew the Sunday cycle following the intense time of Advent, Christmastide and Epiphanytide with the same Gospel as in every single year - as our forefathers, both in the West and in the East, always did: one yearly cycle of readings for Mass. A one-year cycle, dictated by nature, received through Tradition, reminding us each year of the great Truths of our Faith.

The first Sunday of the Season after Epiphany (before Septuagesima), which began yesterday, is next Sunday, the Second after Epiphany. It is, of course, the Sunday of the Wedding at Cana: it is fitting to begin the post-Epiphanytide Sundays with the first miracle of the Lord. There are great lessons and reminders in the day's Gospel, but the Roman Breviary reaches even more clearly with the voice of the Church, through Saint Augustine:

Book Review: "Submission" - a novel on Islam and the decomposition of Western Europe

Soumission [Submission] (publisher: Flammarion), the latest novel by Michel Houellebecq, reaches bookstores on January 7. For François Maillot, director of the La Procure [religious] bookstore in Paris, such a work prompts Christians to wake up.

François Maillot
[French Christian weekly] La Vie 
January 5, 2015

This book has not yet been released, and everyone already knows the plot. It is about France in 2022, which witnesses the confrontation, in the second round of the presidential elections, of the candidate of the National Front and the chairman of the Muslim party, Mohamed Ben Abbes. The narrator, François (I cannot but see in the choice of this name the designation of this character as the archetypal Frenchman...), a university professor who is a Huysman* expert, but who remained an atheist, witnesses this incredible electoral conclusion, while completely tied down in the problems of his personal life, limited to his university career and the angst of not being anymore capable of seducing women[...]. Faced with this political storm, a mysterious character of the secret services, Alain Tanneur, will give him the comprehension keys that will lead him to accept the idea of submitting himself to Muslim domination.

Christ Crucified: Scandal to the Muslims, Foolishness to the Secularists
- by Roberto de Mattei

Roberto de Mattei
Corrispondenza Romana
January 14, 2015

Marcher contre la Terreur, “March against Terror”, was the title which “Le Monde” the “Corriere della Sera” and the major Western newspapers used to present the grand, secularist demonstration of January 11th. Never has there been a slogan more hypocritical than this one, imposed by the mass-media as a reaction to the massacre in Paris on January 7th. What sense is there in speaking about Terror without adding the adjective “Islamic”? The attack on the editorial staff at “Charlie Hebdo” was carried out to the yell of “Allah akbar!”vindicating Mohamed, insulted by the caricatures and behind the terrorists’ kalashnikof there is a precise vision of the world: the Muslim one.

It is only now that Western secret services are beginning to take seriously the threats by Abdu Muhamad al Adnani published in a multi-lingual communiqué spread widely on September 21st 2014 by the on-line daily “The Long War Journal”. “We will conquer Rome, we will break its crucifixes, we will make slaves of the women, with the permission of Allah, the Exalted One”, the spokesman of “the Islamic State” declared to his followers and he didn’t simply replicate the extermination of the “infidels” wherever they may be, but also indicated the procedures: “Place explosives in their streets. Attack their bases, irrupt into their homes. Cut off their heads. So that they don’t feel safe anywhere! If you can’t find the explosive or the ammunitions single out the American infidels, the French infidels or any of their allies: smash their craniums with a rock, kill them with a knife, run them over with your cars, hurl them into mid-air, suffocate them or poison them.”

Purgatorial Society: Policy change

When we began the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society four years ago, we really had no idea what success would look like. Frankly, we started it out of frustration and sadness, after watching yet another loved one "canonized from the pulpit" while the priest -- who was begged not to beforehand -- told our family and friends to rejoice, because the deceased was in Heaven. No one was asked to actually pray for the repose of their soul.

Priest says TLM for Souls in Afghanistan.
If you want to see proof positive that the collapse of the liturgy led to the collapse of theology and faith you need look no further than your typical Novus Ordo funeral Mass. Purgatory went the way of Latin, communion on the tongue and altar rails.

When we first started the Society, so desperate for help, we even offered to pay priests for Masses and planned to go through family records just to enroll Souls. Who would have know that four short years later we would have over 50 priests saying weekly or monthly traditional Latin Masses (for free) for the Souls and roughly 100,000 Souls enrolled? God knew -- but we surely didn't.

Now to the change: Each month, our readers have been accustomed to seeing the long, long list of names published on this blog, along with a monthly call for more priests to volunteer and more names to be sent in. Each month, there's at least 1,000 names (usually many more) on that list, coming from hundreds of readers emailing. And, as our families grow, and work responsibilities increase, our personal time becomes ever more precious. And it's getting to the point that formatting these names and going through each email one by one has become too much for this group of volunteer bloggers to do and for our families to endure.

This became very evident during Christmas when our special call for names ended in thousands and thousands of names sent in -- a list that was just too daunting to even begin to tackle.
Priest says Dominican Rite Mass for Souls.

After consulting with the Purgatorial Society Priest Chaplain, and knowing the public listing of the names have nothing to do with them being enrolled or prayed for (they are enrolled as soon as you hit send on your email, even if they're caught in spam), we have decided to cease posting the long list of names every month.

Nothing else changes -- only the public listing of names.

We will continue reminding you monthly to send in your names. And, dear priestly readers, we will keep harping on you monthly as well to join the Society! The Souls need you. And there's 100,000 of them pleading with you for help. Don't let them down. We don't get paid for our work on Rorate -- but we will be greedy with your time and Masses!

Priest says TLM for Souls in Alaska.
How to enroll souls: please email me at and submit as follows: "Name, State, Country." Please follow this formatting strictly. 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.

Priests: We now have 50 priests in the Society -- why aren't you? Please email me to offer your services. There's nothing labor intensive involved: all you need to do is offer a weekly or monthly traditional Latin Mass with the intention: "For the Souls enrolled in the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society." This does not need to be a Requiem Mass -- only a traditional Latin Mass.

Armenian Catholic Cathedral of Aleppo bombed

THE DEATH OF CATHEDRALS - and the Rites for which they were built
- by Marcel Proust (full English translation)

Notre-Dame d'Amiens in the 19th century
It is not a common event for a blog to publish a full translation of a great text of a major literary figure over one hundred years after its original publication, being able to claim it as a new event. Yet, this is just such a case.

On August 16, 1904, Marcel Proust had a major article published in the French paper of record, Le Figaro, called "La mort des cathédrales" (The Death of Cathedrals). The debate was raging in French political circles as Atheists and Freemasons, against the largely majoritarian sentiment of the population, pushed through Parliament the unilateral abrogation of the Napoleonic Concordat and the complete secularization of the French Republic (what would become the 1905 "Law of Separation" - for the appropriate Catholic view on the issues involved and its aftermath, read Saint Pius X's encyclicals on the issue, Vehementer Nos,  Gravissimo officii,  Une fois encore - and Pius XI's 1924 encyclical Maximam gravissimamque settling the matter). An important part of the debate was what exactly would happen to the upkeep and life of the highest point of French art and civilization, the Cathedrals.

Proust, an Agnostic in practice, but who never denied or stopped admiring his own Catholic roots and upbringing, could not stand in silence. Cathedrals as mere monuments, without the Traditional Catholic rites for which they were built, did not make any sense. What he could not know, the poor man, whose passion for the traditions and rites of the Church is palpable in the article, is that the Church herself would destroy and wipe out from most Cathedrals the venerable rites for which they were created. But, slowly and surely, they will return. As in Chartres in last year's ordinations for a traditional Fraternity. As in the occasional traditional Mass (such as the simple Mass celebrated each Sunday in that first Gothic jewel, Noyon). They will return.

Our deepest thanks to Prof. John Pepino for the remarkable translation of a landmark article, made especially for Rorate.


Marcel Proust
Le Figaro
August 16, 1904

A Consequence Of the Briand Bill 
On the Separation of Church and State

Suppose for a moment that Catholicism had been dead for centuries, that the traditions of its worship had been lost. Only the unspeaking and forlorn cathedrals remain; they have become unintelligible yet remain admirable.  

Then suppose that one day scholars manage, on the basis of documentary evidence, to reconstitute the ceremonies that used to be celebrated in them, for which men had built them, which were their proper meaning and life, and without which they were now no more than a dead letter; and suppose that for one hour artists, beguiled by the dream of briefly giving back life to those great  and now silent vessels, wished to restore the mysterious drama that once took place there amid chants and scents—in a word, that they were undertaking to do what the Félibres have done for ancient tragedies in the theatre of Orange.[1]

Notre-Dame de Chartres
                Is there any government with the slightest concern for France’s artistic past that would not liberally subsidize so magnificent an undertaking? Do you not think that it would do what it did in the case of  Roman ruins for these cathedrals, which are probably the highest, and unquestionably the most original expression of French genius? After all, one may well prefer the literature of other peoples to ours, prefer their music to ours, their painting and sculpture to ours, but it is in France that Gothic architecture created its first and most perfect masterpieces.  All other countries have done is to imitate our religious architecture without ever matching it.

                And so, to return to my hypothesis, here come scholars who have been able to rediscover the cathedrals’ lost meaning. Sculptures and stained-glass windows recover their significance, a mysterious odor once again wafts in the temple, a sacred drama is performed, and the cathedral starts to sing once more.  When the government underwrites this resurrection, it is more in the right than when it underwrites the performances in the theaters of Orange, of the Opéra-Comique, and of the Opéra, for Catholic ceremonies have an historical, social, artistic, and musical interest whose beauty alone surpasses all that any artist has ever dreamed, and which Wagner alone was ever able to come close to, in Parsifal—and that by imitation.

Sermon for the Feast of the Holy Family

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  (Genesis 1:27)

It was in a time of what he perceived as a real crisis in European civilization towards the end of the 19th century that Pope Leo XIII instituted the Feast of the Holy Family, which feast was then extended to the universal Church by Benedict XV.  I like to think that Leo was spurred on to establish this feast and to write his Encyclical Quam Plurimes that made St. Joseph the patron of the Universal Church by the words of Blessed John Henry Newman in his Bigletto speech in Rome when Leo made him a cardinal.  For it was Newman who saw so very clearly the real consequences of a civilization permeated by a relativism that denied truth.  And it was St Pope John Paul II who on the 100th anniversary of Leo’s encyclical issued his own encyclical on the importance of St. Joseph and the Holy Family, Redemptoris Custos, the Guardian of the Redeemer.  That same Pope, reading the signs of the times and aware of a crisis within the understanding of the family, brought about in no small part by the sexual revolution of the 1960s, called a Synod on the Family and issued an Apostolic Exhortation, Familiaris Consortio, at the end of the Synod to explain and deepen the Church’s understanding of and commitment to the family.  And in this context we read: 

The family—based on marriage (between a man and a woman)—is the first and fundamental unit of society and is a sanctuary for the creation and nurturing of children. Together families form communities, communities a state and together all across the world each human is part of the human family. How these communities organize themselves politically, economically and socially is thus of the highest importance. Each institution must be judged by how much it enhances, or is a detriment to, the life and dignity of human persons.

Francis: You cannot follow Jesus Christ without the Church

From today's homily by the Bishop of Rome, Francis, during Mass in the Sistine Chapel for the Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord -- when, just like last year, Francis continued Benedict XVI's practice of celebrating this feast's Mass "ad apsidem":

Teach your children that you can not be a Christian outside the Church, you can not follow Jesus Christ without the Church, because the Church is a Mother, and makes us grow in love for Jesus Christ.

This echoes what Francis had said at much greater length during his homily for the Mass of January 1, Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God in the Novus Ordo calendar: 

A Letter from the Editor: The difficulty of making a papal pronouncement post in the Age of Francis

Dear Readers,

Will you allow me, in a very rare event, to share with you a moment of frustration?

The 125th Anniversary of Leo XIII's Sapientiae Christianae: The Duties of Christians as Citizens

Exactly 125 years ago, on January 10, 1890, Pope Leo XIII issued one of his greatest political encyclicals, Sapientiae Christianae—a document that, like nearly everything Leo XIII wrote, deserves to be much better known today than it is. As one can always expect with Pope Leo, the prose is crisp and vigorous, the doctrine lucid and coherent, the logic irresistible, the conclusions noble and demanding. It is the kind of encyclical that the Church in every age needs in order to find its way in a turbulent ocean of massive waves and contrary winds. The whole encyclical may be obtained from the Vatican website (see here), where all the encyclicals of Leo XIII are available—remarkably enough, considering that most of them contain doctrine to which later Magisterial pronouncements can be reconciled only with great difficulty.

Sacred Music as a Latin Mass magnet | January - May 2015: an Event Series in Vicenza, Italy, and an idea for the entire world

We receive the following from a reader in Vicenza (Veneto), Italy, where a group of Traditional-minded Catholics has had a fine idea for their small community: through a kind of Sacred Musical festival lasting several weeks and with the participation of organists, polyphonic choirs, a Schola Cantorum. Each Sunday, at Mass, the presence of musical beauty for the praise of God, with the intent of both delighting listeners and of bringing new people to Christ and His Church through His Mass:

IMPORTANT EVENT THIS SATURDAY - Pontifical Mass in San Nicola in Carcere, Rome, with Cardinal Burke

Cardinal Burke will be celebrating a Solemn Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form at the Basilica di San Nicola in Carcere tomorrow morning (Saturday, 10th January) at 11.00 am.

The Basilica is centrally located at: Via del Teatro di Marcello, 46, 00186 ROME

"Nous y sommes... Ce n'est qu'un début."
This is just the beginning

A terrorist attack and a massacre in a newspaper in Paris. The following day, to the south of the city, a related individual shoots down a female police officer. On the very next day, a hostage situation in the outskirts of the Paris airport to the north of the city. Then, hours later, another hostage situation in the Porte de Vincennes region of Paris, shutting down completely the beltway (périphérique) around the city.

Just yesterday we said that, "such events will become each time more common in the upcoming decades as frightening wars of religion of unknown violence unfold by installments throughout the cherished cities and fields of that Europe all Christians love so much." At this very moment, experts on French television and radio networks are openly using the word "guerre" (war) about the moment, and one declares openly: "Nous y sommes... Ce n'est qu'un début." (We've reached it...this is just the beginning.)