Rorate Caeli

For the record: news from Mexico

The following translation of a note published in the Mexican daily Milenio a couple of weeks ago is posted here only for the record (we like to publish all such news reports, if only to check how rumors get started).

Benedict XVI decrees the return of Latin Masses.

The Pope has decided to sign and publish the text with an illustrative note written by liturgical experts and theologians


Pope Benedict XVI took the decision of publishing the motu proprio decree on the liberalization of the Tridentine Mass, the ceremony in Latin according to the Missal of Saint Pius V, that is, the pre-Conciliar Mass, which was celebrated up to 1962, with the priest turned towards the east, popularly defined as with the back [of the priest] turned to the people.

The Pope decided to sign and publish the text along with an illustrative note written by liturgical experts and theologians. The news comes from Rome and was confirmed yesterday in the Sacred Halls.

In fact, the definitive text of the Motu Proprio was handed to the Pope in late January by the Ecclesia Dei Commision, the Vatican organ charged with examining dealings with the Lefebvrists. Not all clerics are pleased with the measure, particularly the French Episcopal Conference.

The Tridentine Mass will not be obligatory, but the priests who wish to celebrate according to the old rite will now be able to do it, without asking permission to the diocesan bishop, as before. The decision of the Pope seems guided by common sense, because it ensures sobriety and spirituality.

Tip: reader and Angelqueen Forum.

More: The Divine Law of Penance

[1] Erat autem species gloriæ Domini, quasi ignis ardens super verticem montis, in conspectu filorum Israël. Ingressusque Moyses medium nebulæ, ascendit in montem: et fuit ibi quadraginta diebus, et quadraginta noctibus. (From the Lesson for Ember Wednesday in Lent, Exodus xxiv, 17-18: "And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like a burning fire upon the top of the mount, in the eyes of the children of Israel. And Moses, entering into the midst of the cloud, went up into the mountain : and he was there forty days and forty nights.")

[2] Venit Elias in Bersabee Iuda, et dimisit ibi puerum suum ... Qui cum surrexisset, comedit, et bibit, et ambulavit in fortitudine cibi illius quadraginta diebus et quadraginta noctibus, usque ad montem Dei Horeb. (From the Lesson for Ember Wednesday in Lent, III Kings xix, 3, 8: "Elias came to Bersabee of Juda, and left his servant there. ... And he arose, and ate, and drank, and walked in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights, unto the mount of God, Horeb.")

[3] Viri Ninivitæ surgent in iudicio cum generatione ista, et condemnabunt eam: quia pœnitentiam egerunt in prædicatione Ionæ. Et ecce plus quam Ionas hic. (From the Gospel for Ember Wednesday in Lent, Matthew xii, 41: "The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it; because they did penance at the preaching of Jonas. And behold a greater than Jonas here.")

VINCENT: ...When I was in Saxony these matters [of bodily penance] were but in a mammering. Luther was not then wedded yet, nor religious men out of their habits, but those that would be of the sect were suffered freely to preach what they would unto the people. And forsooth I heard a religious man there myself -- one that had been reputed and taken for very good, and who, as far as the folk perceived, was of his own living somewhat austere and sharp. But his preaching was wonderful! Methinketh I hear him yet, his voice so loud and shrill, his learning less than mean. But whereas his matter was much part against fasting and all affliction for any penance, which he called men's inventions, he ever cried out upon them to keep well the laws of Christ, let go their childish penance, and purpose then to mend and seek nothing to salvation but the death of Christ. "For he is our justice, and he is our Saviour and our whole satisfaction for all our deadly sins. He did full penance for us all upon his painful cross, he washed us there all clean with the water of his sweet side, and brought us out of the devil's danger with his dear precious blood. Leave therefore, leave, I beseech you, these inventions of men, your foolish Lenten fasts and your childish penance! ... . Leave your own fasting, therefore, and lean to Christ alone, good Christian people, for Christ's dear bitter passion!" Now, so loud and shrill he cried "Christ" in their ears, and so thick he came forth with Christ's bitter passion, and that so bitterly spoken with the sweat dropping down his cheeks, that I marvelled not that I saw the poor women weep. For he made my own hair stand up upon my head.

ANTHONY: Cousin, God amend that man, whatsoever he be, and God keep all good folk from such manner of preachers! One such preacher much more abuseth the name of Christ and of his bitter passion than do five hundred gamblers who in their idle business swear and foreswear themselves by his holy bitter passion at dice.

They carry the minds of the people from perceiving their craft by the continual naming of the name of Christ, and crying his passion so shrill into their ears that they forget that the Church hath ever taught them that all our penance without Christ's passion would not be worth a pea. And they make the people think that we wish to be saved by our own deeds, without Christ's death; whereas we confess that his passion alone meriteth incomparably more for us than all our own deeds do, but that it is his pleasure that we shall also take pain ourselves with him. And therefore he biddeth all who will be his disciples to take their crosses on their backs as he did, and with their crosses follow him.

And where they say that fasting serveth but for temperance to tame the flesh and keep it from wantonness, I would in good faith have thought that Moses had not been so wild that for the taming of his flesh he should have need to fast whole forty days together. No, not Elias either. Nor yet our Saviour himself, who began the Lenten forty-days fast -- and the apostles followed, and all Christendom hath kept it -- that these folk call now so foolish.

King Achab was not disposed to be wanton in his flesh, when he fasted and went clothed in sackcloth and all besprent with ashes. No more was the king in Nineveh and all the city, but they wailed and did painful penance for their sin to procure God to pity them and withdraw his indignation. Anna, who in her widowhood abode so many years with fasting and praying in the temple till the birth of Christ, was not, I suppose, in her old age so sore disposed to the wantonness of the flesh that she fasted for all that. Nor St. Paul, who fasted so much, fasted not all for that, neither.

The scripture is full of places that prove fasting to be not the invention of man but the institution of God, and to have many more profits than one. And that the fasting of one man may do good unto another, our Saviour showeth himself where he saith that some kind of devils cannot be cast out of one man by another "without prayer and fasting." And therefore I marvel that they take this way against fasting and other bodily penance.

And yet much more I marvel that they mislike the sorrow and heaviness and displeasure of mind that a man should take in thinking of his sin. The prophet saith, "Tear your hearts and not your clothes." And the prophet David saith, "A contrite heart and humbled"--that is to say, a heart broken, torn, and laid low under foot with tribulation of heaviness for his sins -- "shalt thou not, good Lord, despise." He saith also of his own contrition, "I have laboured in my wailing; I shall every night wash my bed with my tears, my couch will I water."

... The scripture is full of those places, by which it plainly appeareth that God looketh of duty, not only that we should amend and be better in the time to come, but also that we should be sorry and weep and bewail our sins committed before. And all the old holy doctors be full and whole of that opinion, that men must have for their sins contrition and sorrow in heart.

Saint Thomas More
A Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation (1534)

Placid week

As the Pope enters his Lenten retreat week with the Curia (beginning this Sunday), expect few news items from Rome until next Saturday.

Lent with Lacordaire:
"Upon what throne do they adore Him? Upon a cross!"

Iterum assumpsit eum diabolus in montem excelsum valde: et ostendit et omnia regna mundi, et gloriam eorum, et dixit ei: Hæc omnia tibi dabo, si cadens adoraveris me. Tunc dicit ei Iesus: Vade Satana: Scriptum est enim: Dominum Deum tuum adorabis, et illi soli servies. Tunc reliquit eum diabolus: et ecce Angeli accesserunt, et ministrabant ei. (From the Gospel for the First Sunday in Lent, Matthew iv, 8-11: "Again the devil took Him up into a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, and said to Him: All these will I give Thee, if falling down Thou wilt adore me. Then Jesus saith to him: Begone Satan! for it is written: The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and Him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil left him; and behold angels came and ministered to him.")

Jesus Christ, being God, would not be satisfied with steadfast faith and immortal love; He must exact adoration. Adoration is the annihilation of one's self before a superior being; and this sentiment ... is not a stranger to us. It lies, like all the others, in the very depth of our nature, and plays a more important part there than you are perhaps aware of.

Let us not disguise this truth from ourselves; all of us, more or less, desire to be adored. It is this innate thirst for adoration which has produced every tyranny. You sometimes wonder why a prince would weave together numberless intrigues in order to free himself from human and divine laws; why he would add violence to cunning, shed streams of blood and march onward to the debasement of mankind; you ask yourselves why he does this. Ah!... for the very natural object of being adored, of seeing every thought subject to his own, every will in conformity to his will, every right, every duty emanating from him, and even the bodies of men bent like slaves before his mortal body. Such is the depth of our heart, as was Satan's.

But by a counterweight due to that frightful disease of pride, we can only desire adoration for ourselves by abhorring the adoration of others. Thence springs the execration that follows despotism. Mankind, debased by a power despising all law, concentrating its secret indignation within itself, awaits the inevitable day of the despot's weakness, and, when that day comes, it turns upon and tramples [on] the vile creature who had disdained it even demanding incense from it.

..."There is but one step from the Capitol to the Tarpeian rock." I shall say with as much truth, although in a less grand expression: There is but one step from the altar to the common sewer. Whosoever has been adored will sooner or later be hurled by the hand of the people from the lofty summit of usurped divine majesty to the execration of eternal opprobrium. Such is how we find history, [which is] that power charged with the promulgation of the judgments of God upon the pride of man.
In spite of history, however, Jesus Christ is adored. A man, mortal and dead, He has obtained adoration which still endures, and of which the world offers no other example. What emperor has held His temples and His statues? What has become of all that population of gods created by adulation? Their dust even no longer exists, and the surviving remembrance of them serves but to excite our wonder at the extravagance of men and the justice of God.

Jesus Christ alone remains standing upon His altars, not in a corner of the world, but over the whole earth... . The greatest monuments of art shelter His sacred images; the most magnificent ceremonies assemble the people under the influence of His name; poetry, music, painting, sculpture exhaust their resources to proclaim His glory and to offer Him incense worthy of the adoration which ages have consecrated to Him.

And yet, upon what throne do they adore Him? Upon a cross! Upon a cross?

They adore Him under the mean appearances of bread and wine!

Here, thought becomes altogether confounded. It would seem that this man has taken delight in abusing His strange power, and in insulting mankind by prostrating them in wonder before the most vain shadows. Having by His crucifixion descended lower than death, He made even of ignominy the throne of His divinity; and, not satisfied with this triumph, He willed that we should acknowledge His supreme essence and His eternal life by an adoration which is a startling contradiction to our senses! Can such event of such daring be in any way understood?

It is true that many have endeavored to overthrow His altars; but their powerlessness has but served to confirm His glory. At each outrage, He has seemed to grow greater; genius has protected Him against genius, science against science, empire against empire. Whatever arms have been lifted up against Him He has made His own; and, when apparently vanquished, the world has still beheld Him, calm, serene, Master, adored!

Thus has He founded the kingdom of souls: by a faith which costs us the sacrifice of our own judgment; by a love which exceeds all love; by an adoration which we have given Him alone.
Henri-Dominique Lacordaire
Conférences de Notre-Dame de Paris (1846)

The post-synodal exhortation: "shortly"

From the meeting of the Holy Father with the Parish Priests and Clergy of the Diocese of Rome (February 22):

During the Synod on the Eucharist, the bishops spoke considerably of their experiences, on how new life retuns to the communities with this [Eucharistic] adoration, even nocturnal, and of how new vocations are thus created. I can say that I will shortly [fra poco] sign the post-synodal Exhortation on the Eucharist, which will then be at the disposal of the Church. It is a document which is appropriate for meditation. It will aid on liturgical celebration, on personal reflection, on the preparation of homilies, and on the celebration of the Eucharist. And it will also help to guide, enlighten, and revitalize popular piety.
It was also officially announced today that the canonization of Blessed Antonio Galvão de França will take place on May 11, 2007 -- therefore, during the Holy Father's voyage to São Paulo, Brazil. The other ceremonies are scheduled for June 3, 2007 (in Rome).

Lent with Lacordaire: Our vocation

Pleasure is not the foundation of society, but virtue. Enjoyment is not our vocation here below, but labor and grief. God has created us expressly to produce by us a thing which He could not produce alone: that is, greatess in vileness, strength in infirmity, purity in flesh and blood, love in selfishness, good in evil, virtue in a heart which possessed each moment the liberty of being a convinced sinner. This is our vocation, our fate.

Jesus Christ conquered the world only because He knew [this fate]; and because, from His Cross, slave and God, he supremely fulfilled it. Salvation (as well as all glory and all joy) is found in following him.

This is why -- thanks be to God! -- pleasure and enjoyment shall never [be the foundation] of a society here below. Misfortune must be stronger, so that virtue may exist; there must be poor, so that alms shall be given; wounds, so that they may be bound up; tears, so that they may be accepted; disorders, so that men may aspire to order; ruins, so that pride may be humbled; ... bloodshed, so that there may be saints.

Henri-Dominique Lacordaire
Conférences à Notre-Dame de Paris (1845)

For the Record - An abbot explains why
"the Tridentine Mass is the missing link"

A solid interview with Dom Christopher Zielinski, OSB Oliv., Abbot of the Olivetan Abbey of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Pecos, New Mexico (Tip: Reader).

Will the Pope restore the Tridentine Mass?

Abbot: The Tridentine Mass, the Mass of St. Pius V cannot be considered abolished by the so-called new mass of Paul VI. We must never forget that the Second Vatican Council was not a break from the past, but a renewal in continuity. That is why the question regarding the liturgy must be one of seeking the true sense of the Council and implementing it. Therefore, the question that needs to be asked is whether or not the Indult of Pope John Paul II and the creation of the Pontifical Commission of Ecclesia Dei, that gave permission to the Bishops to allow for the celebration of the Tridentine Mass, was implemented in the spirit of justice and compassion.

Well, was the Indult of John Paul II implemented in the spirit of justice and compassion?

Abbot: Unfortunately, some Bishops have not always granted the Indult. When this did happen, the conditions were often very difficult and almost impossible for its practical implementation. Therefore, if there is to be a motu proprio regarding a universal indult for the Old Mass, it means that the present one is not meeting the pastoral needs of the traditionalist world.

But is the traditionalist world so important that the Holy Father should risk his pontificate by giving them a motu proprio?

Abbot: Jesus Christ, when talking about the Good Shepherd and the lost sheep, spoke about leaving the ninety-nine in order to seek out the one. We are talking about one percent. But we are also talking about the very vocation of the Good Shepherd. It is interesting to note that some Bishops speak about the Traditionalists as a “drop in the ocean.” As a matter of fact, the traditionalist world constitute a little over one percent of the Catholic Population. How Christ-like indeed it would be to offer a gesture of pastoral love in the form of a motu proprio!

Would a motu proprio be for the intention of bringing the Lefebvrians back to Rome?

Abbot: The motu proprio would be a response of justice and compassion not only to the traditionalist world, but also to the Church as a whole. We must never think that a motu proprio would be written only for the Lefebvrians. As Archbishop A. M. Ranjith, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship stated very clearly, “The Tridentine Mass is a treasure for the entire People of God and not the private property of the Society of St. Pius X.” But I am most certain that those in the Society are praying and waiting with great hope for a motu proprio regarding a universal indult for the Old Mass.

What is your relationship with the Lefebvrian world?

Abbot: I met Bishop Bernard Fellay, the Superior of the Society of St. Pius X, more than five years ago. During that time, I have come to know many other priests, and also monks and religious who are connected with the Society. I was invited to speak at the recent Congress of “Si, Si. No, No” in Paris. And there, I spoke about my experience of the Tridentine Mass as a recovery of the sacrificial nature of the Mass. The Traditional Rite has a very important role to play in the Church. It can enhance reverence and the sense of mystery and awe before God’s action.
I am honored by their friendship and also their trust. I have been able to listen and enter deeply into not only their preoccupations and fears, but also their immense love for the Church and for the Holy Father. Their words, articles and letters can seem to some to be very strong, and therefore, cause much distress; however, what they say about the liturgy and theology is not to be overlooked or dismissed. Until there is full unity and full mutual charity, one cannot be scandalized if there is some “verbal intemperance.”

But some Bishops affirm that the Lefebvrians should recognize the legitimacy of the Pope.

Abbot: Unfortunately, even at high levels in the Church, there is not always full knowledge of the Society. The Society has always recognized the legitimate successor of St. Peter. There are traditionalist groups that do not recognize the last popes after Pius XII. These are called “empty throne” people. Visiting some of the Societies’ houses, I was amazed to see the photo of Benedict XVI and also to know that they pray daily for him and the Church.

Do you think that a possible motu proprio would help the Lefebvrians return to Rome?

Abbot: I believe that a motu proprio would be a first step towards full communion. However, the simple restoration of the Old Mass is not only what the Society is looking for. They are asking very serious theological and liturgical questions that we must address. Otherwise, we reduce the whole question of Monsignor Fellay and the members of the Society to a question of choreography and not to substantial questions of faith. The motu proprio, therefore, is a beginning. But also, it is the possible beginning of a reform and renewal of the sacramental character of the liturgy; and therefore, the beginning of a liturgical movement that wants for the People of God a new awakening of the faith.

Some Bishops, priests and theologians say that a motu proprio allowing broader use of the Tridentine Rite would “plunge us back into the liturgical life of another age.” What is your thought about this?

Abbot: Liturgical time is a sacred and holy time. I guess we could call it “timeless.” And the reason is that the Mass has to do with eternity and not with days, weeks, months or years.

Is there need of a new liturgical reform?

Abbot: I believe that the Dogmatic Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium was a response to a widely held conviction that the liturgy needed a reform. The Council Fathers were seeking to bring out the community aspects of the mass, as well as make it more effective in teaching the truths of the Catholic Faith. Unfortunately, the theological necessity for a continuity in the underlying doctrine and structure of the celebration of the Mass in its preconciliar and post conciliar forms had undergone a rupture or break with Tradition. That is what we are dealing with today. The Second Vatican Council clearly called for some modest reforms in the liturgy, but it intended them to be organic and clearly in continuity with the past. The Old Rite becomes a living treasure of the Church and also should provide a standard of worship, of mystery, and of catechesis toward which the celebrations of the Novus Ordo must move. In other words, the Tridentine Mass is the missing link. And unless it be re-discovered in all its faithful truth and beauty, the Novus Ordo will not respond to the organic growth and change that has characterized the liturgy from its beginning. This is what should be prompting many of us to the founding of a new liturgical movement which will be able to give back to the liturgy its sacramental and supernatural character, and awaken in us a faithful understanding of the Catholic Liturgy.

For the Record - Ranjith: regarding "timing and nature of the Motu Proprio, nothing yet is known"

From an "Inside the Vatican" interview with the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Archbishop Albert Ranjith, which we transcribe below (courtesy of the copyright holders):

ANTHONY VALLE: Your Excellency, you have been generous in giving several interviews to the international press regarding liturgy since becoming the secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship. Some of your statements have been misinterpreted and aroused controversy rather than providing the intended clarity. Would you care to clarify anything?

ARCHBISHOP MALCOM RANJITH: What I wished to insist on in those interviews was that the post-conciliar reform of the liturgy has not been able to achieve the expected goals of spiritual and missionary renewal in the Church so that today we could be truly happy about it.

Undoubtedly there have been positive results too; but the negative effects seem to have been greater, causing much disorientation in our ranks.

The churches have become empty, liturgical free-wheeling has become the order of the day, and the true meaning and significance of that which is celebrated has been obscured.

One has to, then, begin wondering if the reform process had in fact been handled correctly. Thus, we need to take a good look at what had happened, pray and reflect about its causes and with the help of the Lord move on to make the necessary corrections.

VALLE: It seems as if Pope Benedict XVI will release a motu proprio to liberalize the use of the traditional or Tridentine Mass. Some hope that the Pope’s motu proprio will institute a juridical structure enabling priests to celebrate the traditional Mass without being unjustly harassed and persistently thwarted by, ironically, not people of other faiths or secular authorities, but by their own pastors and bishops. Is this hope for a new juridical apparatus realistic? Is such an apparatus necessary?

RANJITH: Well, there is this rising call for a restoration of the Tridentine Mass. And even certain leading figures of the elite have made public appeals for this Mass in some newspapers recently.

The Holy Father will, I am sure, take note of this and decide what is best for the Church.

You speak of the possible realization of new juridical structures for the implementation of such decisions. I do not think that this would be so much of a problem. Rather what is more important in all of this is a pastoral attitude.

Will the bishops and priests reject requests for the Tridentine Mass and so create a need for juridical structures to ensure the enforcement of a decision of the Pope? Should it go that way?

I sincerely do not hope so.

The appropriate question the shepherds have to ask themselves is: How can I as a bishop or priest bring even one person closer to Christ and to His Church?

It is not so much a matter of the Tridentine Mass or of the Novus Ordo. It is just a question of pastoral responsibility and sensitivity.

Thus, if the Tridentine Mass is the way to achieve an even better level of spiritual enrichment for the faithful, then the shepherds should allow it.

The important concern is not so much the "what" as much as the "how." The Church should always seek to help our faithful to come closer to the Lord, to feel challenged by His message and to respond to His call generously. And if that can be achieved through the celebration of the Novus Ordo Mass or the Pius V Mass, well, then space should be provided for whatever is best instead of getting down to unnecessary and divisive theological hair-splitting. Such things need to be decided through the heart and not so much through the head.

After all, Pope John Paul II did make a personal appeal in Ecclesia Dei Adflicta of 1988 to the bishops, calling upon them to be generous in this matter with those who wish to celebrate or participate in the Tridentine Mass. Besides, we should remember that the Tridentine Mass is not something that belongs to the followers of Archbishop Lefebvre only. It is part of our own heritage as members of the Catholic Church.

The Second Vatican Council, as Pope Benedict so clearly stated in his speech to the members of the Curia in December 2005, did not envisage a totally new beginning, but one of continuity with a renewed sense of enthusiasm and a new outlook that better responds to the missionary needs of the time.

Besides, we also have the serious question of the diminishing number of faithful in some of the churches in the Western world. We have to ask ourselves what happened in these churches and then take corrective steps as may be necessary. I do not think that this situation is attributable to secularization only. A deep crisis of faith coupled with a drive for meaningless liturgical experimentation and novelty have had their own impact in this matter. There is much formalism and insipidity visible at times.

Thus, we need to recover a true sense of the sacred and mystical in worship.

And if the faithful feel that the Tridentine Mass offers them that sense of the sacred and mystical more than anything else, then we should have the courage to accept their request.

With regard to the timing and nature of the motu proprio, nothing yet is known. It is the Holy Father who will decide.

And when he does, we should in all obedience accept what he indicates to us and with a genuine love for the Church strive to help him. Any counter attitude would only harm the spiritual mission of the Church and thwart the Lord’s own will.

VALLE: Like many Catholics today, my wife and I have found that we leave the celebration of the Novus Ordo Mass on Sunday exasperated and perplexed rather than spiritually invigorated. Why?

RANJITH: In the celebration of the Novus Ordo we have to be very serious about what we do on the altar. I cannot be a priest who dreams in his sleep about what I will do at the Mass the following day, walk up to the altar and start celebrating with all kinds of novel self-created rubrics and actions.

The Holy Eucharist belongs to the Church. Hence, it has a meaning of its own which cannot be left to the idiosyncrasies of the single celebrant.

Every element in the liturgy of the Church has its own long history of development and significance. It is certainly not a matter of private "traditions" and so cannot be the object of manipulation by all and sundry.

In fact, Sacrosanctum Concilium does state that other than the Apostolic See and the bishops, where this is allowed to the latter by the former, "absolutely no other person, not even a priest, may add or remove or change anything on his own authority" (SC 22). Even then, we note much free-wheeling in liturgical matters in some areas of the Church today, basically due to an incorrect understanding of liturgical theology.

For example, the mystery of the Holy Eucharist has often been misunderstood or partially understood, leaving thus the door open to all kinds of liturgical abuses.

In the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, some place too much accent on the presidential role of the priest. But we know that the priest is really not the main agent of what happens on the altar.

It is Jesus Himself.

Besides, every liturgical celebration has also a heavenly dimension "which is celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem towards which we journey as pilgrims" (SC 8).

Others explain the Eucharist in a way that places the accent on its banquet/meal dimension, linking it to "communion." This too is an important consideration, but we should remember that it is not so much a communion created by those taking part in the Eucharist as much as by the Lord Himself.

Through the Eucharist, the Lord assumes us unto Himself and in Him we are placed in communion with all the others who unite themselves to Him. It is thus not so much a sociological experience as much as a mystical one. Hence even as "communion" the Eucharist is a heavenly experience.

What is more important is the sacrificial dimension of the Eucharist. Each time we celebrate the Eucharist we relive the sacrifice of Calvary, celebrating it as the moment of our salvation.

And this very fact also constitutes the unique dignity and font of identity of the priest. He has been instituted by Christ to celebrate the wonderful mystery of turning this corruptible piece of bread into the very glorified Body of Christ and this little bit of wine into the Blood of Christ, enacting the sacrifice of Calvary for the salvation of the world. And this has to be lived, understood and believed by the priest each time he celebrates the Eucharist.

Indeed, Sacrosanctum Concilium placed accent on the sacrificial and salvific effectivity of the Mass. The priest thus becomes another Christ, so to say. What a great vocation! And so, if we celebrate the Eucharist devoutly, then the faithful will reap immense spiritual benefit and return again and again in search of that heavenly nourishment.

VALLE: Some have contended that the solution to the liturgical crisis -- and at bottom the crisis of faith -- afflicting the Catholic Church today would be to implement the exclusive use of the Tridentine Mass, while others maintain that all we really need is a "reform of the reform," in other words, a reform of the Novus Ordo. What do you think?

RANJITH: An "either-or" attitude would unnecessarily polarize the Church, whereas charity and pastoral concern should be the motivating factors.

If the Holy Father so desires, both could co-exist.

That would not mean that we would have to give up the Novus Ordo. But in the interaction of the two Roman traditions, it is possible that the one may influence the other eventually.

We can’t say everything is completed and finished, that nothing new could happen. In fact, Vatican II never advocated immediate change in the liturgy. Rather it preferred change to "grow organically from forms already existing" (SC 23). As Cardinal Antonelli, a much revered member of the Concilium that undertook the revision of the liturgy after the Council, noted in his diaries, some of the liturgical changes after the Council had been introduced without much reflection, haphazardly, and made later to become accepted practice.

For example, Communion in the hand had not been something that was first properly studied and reflected upon before its acceptance by the Holy See. It had been haphazardly introduced in some countries of Northern Europe and later become accepted practice, eventually spreading into many other places. Now that is a situation that should have been avoided. The Second Vatican Council never advocated such an approach to liturgical reform.

VALLE: Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi ("The law of praying (is) the law of believing, (is) the law of living"). Is it true that how we worship and pray influences what we believe, and that what we believe influences how we live? In other words, liturgy ultimately influences our moral life, does it not?

RANJITH: Yes. How can we convince the faithful to make sacrifices in their ethical and moral options, unless they are first touched and inspired by the grace of God profoundly? And such happens especially in worship when the human soul is made to experience the salvific grace of God most intimately. In worship, faith becomes interiorized and brims over with inspiration and strength, enabling one to take the moral options that are in consonance with that faith. In the liturgy, we should experience the closeness of God to our heart so intensely that we in turn begin to believe fervently and are compelled to act justly.

VALLE: What are some contemporary liturgical trends or problems that need correction?

RANJITH: One of these, as I see, is the trend to go for ecumenical liturgies in replacement of the Sunday Mass in some countries, during which Catholic lay leaders and Protestant ministers celebrate together and the latter are invited to preach the homily. Sunday Liturgies of the Word with the distribution of Holy Communion, which form is allowed in cases where a priest cannot be present, if turned into ecumenical events can give the faithful the wrong signal. They may get used to the idea of the Sunday without the Eucharist.

The Eucharist, as you know, makes the Church (Ed E. 21) and this is central to us Catholics. If it is so easily replaced by Liturgies of the Word, or worse still by so-called ecumenical prayer services, the very identity of the Catholic Church would be in question. Unfortunately, we hear also of cases whereby the Eucharist itself is being celebrated under various guises along with the Protestant pastors. This is totally unacceptable and constitutes a graviora delicta ("more grave offense") (RM 172).

Ecumenism is not something left to the ad hoc choice of individual priests. True ecumenism, such as the one espoused by Vatican II, comes from the heart of the Church. For example, the path to true ecumenism begins with serious reflection on the part of those who are deemed competent to engage in that type of reflection, such as the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and the Holy Father himself. Not everyone has the competence to know in what way this delicate search for unity is to be perceived. It needs much reflection and prayer. Hence, liturgical novelty in the name of ecumenism should not be tried out individually.

A second disturbing trend is the gradual replacement of the Mass celebrated by a priest with a paraliturgical service conducted by a lay person. This of course can legitimately happen when no priest is available and facilities for the fulfillment of Sunday obligation are scarce. However, this is an exception, not the rule. What is dangerous is to marginalize the priest even when he is available and some lay pastoral leader team arrogates to itself tasks that are reserved for the priests. I mean by this the trend to get the lay leader to preach the homily instead of the priest, even when he is present, or to distribute Holy Communion, leaving the priest to sit idle at the altar.

We have to stress here that, as the Second Vatican Council affirmed, the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial priesthood "differ from one another in essence and not only in degree" (LG 10). And so it is gravely abusive to relegate to the laity the sacred obligations reserved to the priest.

What is unfortunate is the increasing tendency worldwide to laicize the priest and to clericalize the laity. This too is contra mentem ("against the mind" or "against the intention") of the Council.

There is also an increasing trend to shift the Sunday Mass to Saturdays almost as a "normal" practice. Rather than Sunday being the true day of the Lord, and so a day of spiritual and physical rest, there is a move to reduce its importance, making it become a day of worldly distractions. In Dies Domini, Pope John Paul II warned against this disturbing trend.

A final point I wish to make here concerns some practices introduced in mission territories, for example, in Asia, in the name of change, which are counter to its cultural heritage.

In some Asian countries we see a trend to introduce Communion in the hand which is received standing. This is not at all consonant with Asian culture. The Buddhists worship prostrate on the floor with their forehead touching the ground. Moslems take off their shoes and wash their feet before entering the mosque for worship. The Hindus enter the temple bare-chested as a sign of submission. When people approach the king of Thailand or the emperor of Japan, they do so on their knees as a sign of respect. But in many Asian countries the Church has introduced practices like just a simple bow to the Blessed Sacrament instead of kneeling, standing while receiving Holy Communion, and receiving Communion on the hand. And we know that these cannot be considered practices congruent with Asian culture.

Besides, the laity whose role today is being enhanced in the Church are not even consulted when such decisions are made.

All these situations do not augur well for the Church and we need to correct these trends, if the Eucharist we celebrate is to become, as St. Ignatius of Antioch affirmed, "medicine of immortality and antidote against death" (Eph. 20).

Anthony Valle is a theologian and writer who lives in Rome.

There are other interesting liturgical affirmations by the archbishop, but some events remain incomprehensible: for instance, his view on communion in the hand and past actions ("perlibenter concedimus") undersigned by Ranjith himself.

He came to save, but he also came to suffer

He came to save, but he also came to suffer. How were both possible? Mere man had no power to save. One who was solely God could not suffer. What happened then? He who was God became man. By what he was, he saved; by what he became, he suffered. ... he both wore the crown of thorns and undid the sentence of the thorns.

For the same one was in the "Father's bosom" and in the Virgin's womb, in his mother's arms and on the "wings of the wind", adored by angels and "dining with tax collectors". The seraphims would not look at him [cf. Is. vi, 2], and Pilate interrogated him. A "servant struck him" and creation trembled. While nailed on the cross, he did not depart from his throne. While shut in the tomb, he was "stretching out the heavens like a curtain". While numbered with the dead, he was plundering Hell.

Below, he was accused as a "deceiver", above he was glorified as the Holy One. What a mystery: beholding his miracles, I extol his divinity; seeing his sufferings, I cannot deny his humanity. As man, Emmanuel opened the gates of human nature; as God, he left the bars of virginity unbroken. ... His entering in was altogether without passion, and his coming out was altogether beyond understanding -- as the Prophet Ezechiel said, "the Lord brought me back to the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary, which looked towards the east: and it was shut. And the Lord said to me: This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall pass through it: because the Lord the God of Israel hath entered in by it, and it shall be shut".

There you have a clear testimony to the Blessed Mary Mother of God. Let all contradiction now cease, and let us be enlightened by the teaching of the Scriptures, so that we may reach the kingdom of heaven in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

Saint Proclus of Constantinople
[First] Homily on the Holy Virgin Mother of God (430)

The Holy Season of Lent is at hand.

Ruini's successor: Bagnasco

Marco Tosatti in La Stampa and the publishers of Il Foglio affirm that the successor of Cardinal Ruini at the helm of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) will be (probably for Tosatti, certainly for Il Foglio) the new Archbishop of Genoa, Angelo Bagnasco, former Archbishop of the Italian Military Ordinariate and a "Bertonian". Il Foglio states that the change will probably be made public on March 7.

Thank you

We thank our dear readers for the award.

Our schedule for Lent will be the following: no posts on Wednesdays and Fridays in Lent, including Passiontide; no posts from Palm Sunday to Holy Saturday.

Urgent news, as always, may be posted at any time.

A Vatican II Moment
brought to you by the Archdiocese of Westminster

Christ, becoming obedient even unto death and because of this exalted by the Father, entered into the glory of His kingdom. To Him all things are made subject until He subjects Himself and all created things to the Father that God may be all in all. Now Christ has communicated this royal power to His disciples that they might be constituted in royal freedom and that by true penance and a holy life they might conquer the reign of sin in themselves.
Lumen Gentium, 36

Or, as The Sunday Telegraph reports, they may celebrate "the reign of sin in themselves" through the Most Holy Sacrament -- why not? The Sunday Telegraph adds that these "Gays' Masses", now fully authorised by His Eminence Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, supposedly with the authorisation of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, are under the responsibility of a "Catholic" group called "Soho Masses Pastoral Council". Since today is the third Sunday in February, we assume their public "bidding prayers" for Civil Unions will be used in their group's new Mass, which we publish here just in case they are deleted in the future:

These bidding prayers are among those used at Masses on the 3rd Sunday of each month


Let us pray to our loving God who, in Christ, did not disdain to be born of humankind, but gloriously raised our flesh to be an instrument of grace. May our sisters and brothers … NN … who have registered their partnership(s) in the past month be graced by your presence, that they may be strengthened through faith, and by the love of the Holy Spirit. Supported by your martyrs and saints, Sergius and Bacchus, Felicity and Perpetua, renowned for their one for another, may they abide in the same love all the days of their life.

God, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.


Let us pray to God who creates us all in the same image and likeness, as Christ our beloved Redeemer, for our sisters and brothers who have registered their partnership(s) in the past month: … NN … Through the intercession of your martyrs and saints, Sergius and Bacchus, Felicity and Perpetua, renowned for their love, one for another, along with (other saints’ names could be added …) grant them love without enmity and without stumbling, all the days of their life. God, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.


Let us pray to our loving God who wills that no person should be alone, but rejoice in love, and has destined people one for another. We pray for … NN … who have registered their partnership(s) during this past month. May their love be like strong trees bearing good fruit; their homes as places of openness and hospitality, especially to anyone in need; their lives like a course over which refreshing waters stream, where fatigue is eased and well-being celebrated. Let their work be creative, their silence speak powerfully, and their words spread goodness, until they come to rest in the sleep of peace.


May the faithfulness of God confirm you in friendship; the love of Jesus, our companion on the way, accompany you on life’s journey; the fire of the Spirit enliven your faith and commitment now and all the days to come.

4) - Before the blessing & Dismissal at the end of Mass:

We celebrate the friendship and mutual commitment of … NN … who have registered their partnership(s) in this past month. May they be sources of healing for themselves and the wider community, prophets of a vision of reconciled relationships, pointing to a new heaven and a new earth. Let us now recommit ourselves to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with our God.


We commit ourselves to celebrate and value the bonds of friendship as gifts of God; to hold a concern not for ourselves only, but for those most in need, the powerless and voiceless; to welcome our diversity as sisters and brothers, each gifted with unique dignity in a rainbow creation; to witness to a new humanity, the reign of God’s justice and love, through the integrity of our words and deeds, now and for all days to come.

No wonder the majority of the British political Establishment completely ignored the ridiculous position of the British Catholic hierarchy on adoption by homosexual "couples". If same-sex "partnerships" are celebrated in Catholic "Eucharistic celebrations", why should Catholic adoption agencies be exempted from any law which recognizes them? Are same-sex "partnerships" right or wrong after all?

Congratulations to the "Soho Masses Pastoral Council": as we all know, it is the Traditional Latin Mass which causes disunity among the Catholic faithful.

The new accomplishment of the Lord

Ecce ascendimus Ierosolymam, et consummabuntur omnia quæ scripta sunt per prophetas de Filio hominis. (From the Gospel for Quinquagesima Sunday, 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)

A very appropriate text as the readings of the Season of Septuagesima end, in a year in which the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter falls on the Thursday after Ash Wednesday. We shall return to the words of Lacordaire and other great orators and apologists throughout the Holy Season of Lent.

Aparecida Notes: the Protestant Sects

Benedict XVI, in his speech to his nuncios in Latin America:

Some environments, we know it, ascertain a contrast between the wealth and depth of the pre-Columbian cultures and the Christian faith, presented as a foreign imposition or an alienation for the peoples of Latin America. In truth, the encounter of these cultures and the faith in Christ was an answer internally expected by such cultures. This encounter thus must not be disowned, but should be deepened, and it has created the true identity of the peoples of Latin America. In fact, the Catholic Church is the institution which enjoys greater approval by the Latin-American populations. ... Such a consolidated presence must today take into consideration, among others, the proselitism of the sects and the growing influence of the Post-modern hedonist secularism. We must seriously reflect on the causes for the attractiveness of the sects to find the right answers.

The causes can be easily identified... Medellín (1968), for instance, the Latin American "incarnation" of "the Spirit of the Council", is one of the most relevant steps in the forsaking, by the Catholic hierarchs of Latin America, of their duty of evangelisation.

Heresy is innovation

From the origin of Christianity, all heresies have had the same character, and, long before the age of Arius, Tertullian had said, "Heretics vary in their rules; namely, in their confessions of faith. Every one of them thinks he has a right to change and model what he has received according to his own fancy, as the author of the sect composed it according to his own fancy. Heresy never changes its proper nature in never ceasing to innovate...". ...

This nature of heresy has always been observed by Catholics and two holy authors of the eighth century wrote that "heresy, however old, is always in itself a novelty; to better retain their title of novelty, [heresy] innovates daily and daily changes its doctrine."

But, while heresies always vary, never agreeing among themselves and continuously introducing new rules..., Tertullian says that "in the Church, the rule of Faith is unalterable, and never to be reformed". It is so because the Church, which professes to speak and teach nothing but what she has received, does not vary; heresy, on the contrary, which began by innovating, innovates daily, and does not change its nature. ...

Two aspects cause this disorder of heresies: one drawn from the nature of the human mind, which, having once tasted the temptation of novelty, does not cease to seek with disordered appetite this deceitful allurement; the other originating from the difference which exists between the works of God and those of man.

The Catholic Truth proceeds from God and has its perfection at once; heresy, the frail offspring of the human mind, can be formed only by disordered patches. When ... we venture to remove "the ancient landmarks established by our Fathers" and to reform the doctrine once received among the faithful, we set events in motion without the slightest insight into the consequences of our attempt.

Jacques Bénigne Bossuet
Histoire des variations des églises protestantes

Complete replacement... the helm of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

On the very day Cardinal Martini became a non-voting Cardinal, a bishop who served under him as Auxiliary of Milan and who was consecrated by him became the head of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. Bishop (now Archbishop) Francesco Coccopalmerio replaced Cardinal Herranz in the position of President. Bishop (now Archbishop) Bruno Bertagna, became the Vice-President of the Council.

Father Juan Ignacio Arrieta Ochoa de Chinchetru, of the Holy Cross Prelature (Opus Dei), was named by the Holy Father for the position of Secretary of the Council.

All pontifical legislative texts, including those recent proposals of a very sensitive nature, are screened by the Council.

Are there degrees of unity?

How can there be degrees in the unity of faith? Either these other religions maintain their faith to be true and will maintain that it alone is true, or they admit the possibility of some other faith, and in that case are not certain of their own, and have not faith.

Whenever a religious system approaches the principle of unity, that is, when it excludes from its bosom all opinions contrary to those which it professes, it is because it is sensible of the absurdity of calling one proposition true, and yet receiving another totally opposed to it.

Every time a religious system departs from the principle of unity, it is because, not being able to find conclusive arguments to establish the certainty of its faith, it grants to others the same tolerance it requires for itself; it dares not exclude others, because they might on the same principle exclude it.

That the Catholic Church is not subject to these fluctuations, but posseses unity of faith in the highest degree, is a proof of the perpetual certainty of faith to be found in her, and of that immutability which is put forth by Catholics as a character of the truth of the faith they profess.
Alessandro Manzoni
Osservazioni sulla Morale Cattolica

Thank you

We would like to thank all those dear readers who have named this weblog for eight categories (Best Apologetic Blog, Best Designed Catholic Blog, Best Group Blog, Best Insider News Catholic Blog, Best New Catholic Blog, Best Overall Catholic Blog, Best Written Catholic Blog, Smartest Catholic Blog) in the Catholic Blog Awards 2007.

Voting is open till Friday, February 16, 1200 CST (1800 GMT).

The Holy See chooses...

"Global entrepeneurs, such as a Bill Gates or a Warren Buffet, establish social foundations. ... As Christians, we note, not without satisfaction, that in social life the Biblical commandment of love for neighbor seems to be universally accepted."

Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, President of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", in the presentation of the 2007 Papal Message for Lent (February 13, 2007).


Before any comment, let us remember some past news:

Warren Buffett Gives until it Hurts: Hurts Women, Hurts the Developing World and Kills Preborn Children [Human Life International]

"Warren Buffett's philanthropy aims at killing pre-born children not curing childhood disease, eliminating the poor not poverty, destroying the developing world not aiding in development," states prominent Roman Catholic Priest.

(Front Royal, VA) The Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, President of Human Life International responds to Warren Buffett's announcement to donate billions of dollars to the pro-abortion Gates Foundation.

"Warren Buffett's money has gone to fund the deadly abortion causing drug RU- 486, the production and distribution of portable suction abortion devices in the developing world, organizations that push abortion on developing countries, and among many other radical organizations Buffett's foundation gave a grant to the Center for Reproductive Rights, an organization that fought bans on partial-birth abortion…

"Warren Buffett, who is not a Roman Catholic, has also donated money to the Anti-Catholic organization Catholics for a free Choice a group that seeks to undermine the Catholic Church's teachings on the sanctity of human life.

"Warren Buffett's philanthropy aims at killing pre-born children not curing childhood disease, eliminating the poor not poverty, and destroying the developing world not aiding development.

"The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have also given millions of dollars to organizations pushing abortion around the world. The merger of Gates and Buffett may spell doom for the families of the developing world.

"Warren Buffett will be known as the Dr. Mengele of philanthropy unless he repents and ceases using tax deductible donations to promote a culture of death and desolation…," concluded the Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer.

For other examples, visit the website of the Gates Foundation and search "Planned Parenthood".

The "Dr. Mengele of philanthropy"... What Catholic with any knowledge of the difficulties of the pro-life movement does not know that for years Gates, Buffet, and their ilk have been funding pro-abortion measures around the world, under the mystifying title of "reproductive health", including during the biased campaign for the Portuguese referendum?

Yet, during the press conference for the presentation of the 2007 Papal Message for Lent, the "charitable" donations of "global entrepeneurs, as for instance a Bill Gates or a Warren Buffet" were hailed as examples that "in social life the Biblical commandment of love for neighbor seems to be universally accepted".

Yes, the charity work of Messrs Gates and Buffet is well-known around the world; it finances, among other works, those involved in what John Paul II called a conspiracy against life:

"Aside from intentions, which can be varied and perhaps can seem convincing at times, especially if presented in the name of solidarity, we are in fact faced by an objective 'conspiracy against life', involving even international Institutions, engaged in encouraging and carrying out actual campaigns to make contraception, sterilization and abortion widely available." (Evangelium Vitae)
Yet, these financiers of death are hailed by the Holy See's high representative for Charitable Work (Cor Unum), Archbishop Cordes, as examples of love for neighbor! Death "presented in the name of solidarity"!

Mentioning Gates and Buffet as examples of the "universal acceptance" of "the commandment of love for neighbor" is a monumental betrayal of the Catholic pro-life movement and of millions of Catholics, and an insult to unknown number of unborn children killed with the help of their dirty "charitable donations". Period.

A Vatican II Moment
brought to you by the Archdiocese of New York

"Let the spiritual shepherds recognize and promote the dignity as well as the responsibility of the laity in the Church. Let them willingly employ their prudent advice. Let them confidently assign duties to them in the service of the Church, allowing them freedom and room for action. Further, let them encourage lay people so that they may undertake tasks on their own initiative. Attentively in Christ, let them consider with fatherly love the projects, suggestions and desires proposed by the laity. However, let the shepherds respectfully acknowledge that just freedom which belongs to everyone in this earthly city."

Here to stay?

Piero Marini was named Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations by Pope John Paul II on February 24, 1987, beginning his first term immediately thereafter. He has been reconfirmed for three other consecutive five-year terms, which means that he is about to be reconfirmed for a fifth term, or be named by the Holy Father for another position.

Last week, Marini acted as if he knew he would remain in charge, as he visited Brazil to define the different spaces which will be used for the Papal Masses which will take place in São Paulo during the Papal visit of next May. Marini established the place for the Altar and sacristies in the "Campo de Marte" airfield, and defined other liturgical details (see also the official website for the Papal visit).

Other pictures here.

The Portuguese choose Moloch

"...blood is in their hands, ... their children, whom they bore to me, they have offered to [the idols] to be devoured. ... And when they sacrificed their children to their idols, and went into my sanctuary the same day to profane it: they did these things even in the midst of my house." (Ezechiel, xxiii)

This materialism ... encourages scorn for human life, even for life which is destroyed before seeing the light of day (Pius XII, Le Pèlerinage de Lourdes)

The Masters of Europe have achieved their goal in Portugal: a majority for death, which will be taken by the Socialist majority in Parliament as an authorization for their pro-abortion projects, despite the low turnout (an under-50% turnout means any result is non-binding). If they follow the past trends of other European nations, abortion rates in Portugal will increase substantially in the first years after decriminalization, possibly leading to demographic collapse in a nation with already very worrisome birth rates.

Europe, created by the Church, chooses suicide. Following their European Masters, the Portuguese (actually a slight majority of the Portuguese voters who decided to vote) have chosen Moloch. As it always happens in Europe, when the Masters receive the expected results, no further popular consultation will ever be made. Abortion on demand will become a reality in the land of Fatima, and only three other nations will stand in the way of Death: Ireland, Poland, and Malta (in this order?...).

We, then, remember the words of Pope John Paul II (Evangelium Vitæ), quoted here a few days ago:

...the original and inalienable right to life is questioned or denied on the basis of a parliamentary vote or the will of one part of the people-even if it is the majority. This is the sinister result of a relativism which reigns unopposed: the "right" ceases to be such, because it is no longer firmly founded on the inviolable dignity of the person, but is made subject to the will of the stronger part.

In this way democracy, contradicting its own principles, effectively moves towards a form of totalitarianism. The State is no longer the "common home" where all can live together on the basis of principles of fundamental equality, but is transformed into a tyrant State, which arrogates to itself the right to dispose of the life of the weakest and most defenceless members, from the unborn child to the elderly, in the name of a public interest which is really nothing but the interest of one part. The appearance of the strictest respect for legality is maintained, at least when the laws permitting abortion and euthanasia are the result of a ballot in accordance with what are generally seen as the rules of democracy.

Really, what we have here is only the tragic caricature of legality ... .

Novena for Portugal

Quæ est ista quæ progreditur
quasi aurora consurgens,
pulchra ut luna, electa ut sol?

Tu gloria Ierusalem,
tu lætitia Israel,
tu honorificentia populi nostri!

Maria, dominare nostri,
tu et filius tuus.

Remembering a great Pope

Pius XI died on February 10, 1939; a few days ago (February 6), the 85th anniversary of Achille Ratti's accession to the Supreme Pontificate also took place. Thank you, King and Lord of the Universe, for having given your Holy Church such a remarkable Shepherd. reason, however grave, may be put forward by which anything intrinsically against nature may become conformable to nature and morally good. Since, therefore, the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children, those who in exercising it deliberately frustrate its natural power and purpose sin against nature and commit a deed which is shameful and intrinsically vicious.
Casti Connubii

...the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it. To the one true Church of Christ, we say, which is visible to all, and which is to remain, according to the will of its Author, exactly the same as He instituted it. ... in this one Church of Christ no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors.
Mortalium Animos

If Socialism, like all errors, contains some truth (which, moreover, the Supreme Pontiffs have never denied), it is based nevertheless on a theory of human society peculiar to itself and irreconcilable with true Christianity. Religious socialism, Christian socialism, are contradictory terms; no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true Socialist.

Quadragesimo Anno

...if we are to avoid the errors which are the source and fountain-head of all the miseries of our time, the teaching of Aquinas must be adhered to more religiously than ever. ...against the much vaunted liberty of the human reason and its independence in regard to God he asserts the rights of primary Truth and the authority over us of the Supreme Master. It is therefore clear why Modernists are so amply justified in fearing no Doctor of the Church so much as Thomas Aquinas. Accordingly, just as it was said to the Egyptians of old in time of famine: "Go to Joseph," so that they should receive a supply of corn from him to nourish their bodies, so We now say to all such as are desirous of the truth: "Go to Thomas," and ask him to give you from his ample store the food of substantial doctrine wherewith to nourish your souls unto eternal life.
Studiorum Ducem

Whoever exalts race, or the people, or the State, or a particular form of State, or the depositories of power, or any other fundamental value of the human community - however necessary and honorable be their function in worldly things - whoever raises these notions above their standard value and divinizes them to an idolatrous level, distorts and perverts an order of the world planned and created by God; he is far from the true faith in God and from the concept of life which that faith upholds.
Mit brennender Sorge

...the Church, being a society of men, cannot exist or develop if it does not enjoy liberty of action, and that its members have the right to find in civil society the possibility of living according to the dictates of their consciences. ... Thus a Catholic will take care not to pass over his right to vote when the good of the Church or of the country requires it

Nos es muy conocida

It would be a grave error, on the other hand, to say that Christ has no authority whatever in civil affairs, since, by virtue of the absolute empire over all creatures committed to him by the Father, all things are in his power. ... If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls ... .
Quas Primas

Communism is intrinsically wrong, and no one who would save Christian civilization may collaborate with it in any undertaking whatsoever. Those who permit themselves to be deceived into lending their aid towards the triumph of Communism in their own country, will be the first to fall victims of their error. And the greater the antiquity and grandeur of the Christian civilization in the regions where Communism successfully penetrates, so much more devastating will be the hatred displayed by the godless.

Divini Redemptoris

There exists an institution able to safeguard the sanctity of the law of nations. This institution is a part of every nation; at the same time it is above all nations. She enjoys, too, the highest authority, the fullness of the teaching power of the Apostles. Such an institution is the Church of Christ.

Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio

The Eucharistic Sacrifice in which the Immaculate Victim who taketh away the sins of the world is immolated, requires in a special way that the priest, by a holy and spotless life, should make himself as far as he can, less unworthy of God, to whom he daily offers that adorable Victim, the very Word of God incarnate for love of us. Agnoscite quod agitis, imitamini quod tractatis, "realize what you are doing, and imitate what you handle," says the Church through the Bishop to the deacons as they are about to be consecrated priests.
Ad Catholici Sacerdotii

What a spectacle for heaven and earth is not the Church in prayer! For centuries without interruption, from midnight to midnight, is repeated on earth the divine psalmody of the inspired canticles; there is no hour of the day that is not hallowed by its special liturgy; there is no stage of life that has not its part in the thanksgiving, praise, supplication and reparation in common use by the mystical body of Christ, which is the Church.
Caritate Christi

In the nation of the Diocese of Rome

From the Italian Prime Minister's Office, the bill for the new Civil Unions (acronym: DICO):

The Presidency of the Council of Ministers [the Prime Minister's Office] informs:

The Council of Ministers [the Cabinet] met today [Feb. 08] at 1730 at Chigi Palace, under the Presidency of the President of the Council, Romano Prodi.


The Council examined and approved, at the proposition of the Minister for Rights and Equal Opportunity, Barbara Pollastrini, and of the Minister for Family Policies, Rosy Bindi, a bill on the subject of rights and duties for stably living couples (DICO). The measure aims to protect the weaker parties of the couple, thus overcoming disparities and inequalities among citizens.

In obedience to articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution [of the Italian Republic, on human rights and equal rights], the bill clarifies and details the rights and duties of persons, including those of the same sex, who have given life to [dato vita: established] stable cohabitations, linked by bonds of affection, solidarity, or mutual assistance; therefore, the sole limitations refer to the existence of marital bonds, kinship (of a direct kind), kinship by marriage, adoptions, and similar [situations].


Some rights --such as assistance in case of disease..., possibility of decision making in matters of medical assistance or in case of death... -- are to be immediately enjoyed; other rights -- the possibility of legitimate inheritance... -- are instead linked to a minimal period [of relationship]... .

The communiqué also mentions that these civil unions do not violate Article 29 of the Italian Constitution (on marriage) and do not establish a "para-matrimonial" status. The bill now goes to Parliament.