Rorate Caeli

Breaking news: Bertone confirms motu proprio

In an interview for the cover story (pages 56-60) of Le Figaro Magazine (weekly magazine of the French national daily Le Figaro), published today (Update-April 2: available on the newspaper's website); excerpt:

Is a Decree widening the possibility of celebrating the Latin Mass according to the rite from before Vatican II (the so-called Mass of Saint Pius V) still expected?

[Secretary of State] Cardinal Bertone: The merit of the conciliar liturgical reform is intact. But both [for reasons of] not losing the great liturgical heritage left by Saint Pius V and for granting the wish of those faithful who desire to attend Masses according to this rite, within the framework of the Missal published in 1962 by Pope John XXIII, with its own calendar, there is no valid reason not to grant to priests in the entire world the right to celebrate according to this form. The authorization of the Supreme Pontiff would evidently preserve the validity of the rite of Paul VI. The publication of the motu proprio which specifies this authorisation will take place, but it will be the pope himself who will explain his motivations and the framework of his decision. The Sovereign Pontiff will personally explain his vision for the use of the ancient Missal to the Christian people, and particularly to the Bishops.
Update: Excerpts also at Eucharistie Miséricordieuse

For the Record: Sévillia says Bertone confirms motu proprio

Pope Benedict's Secretary of State, Cardinal Bertone, was interviewed by French journalist Jean Sévillia for the cover story of this week's Le Figaro Magazine (the weekly magazine of the French national daily Le Figaro).

The interview has not yet been made available on the web, but Sévillia has confirmed in an interview to Radio Courtoisie (Source: Una Voce France) that, in his interview, Cardinal Bertone said that "the recently-published Apostolic Exhortation is not a substitute for and is not additional to the Motu Proprio on the liturgy expected from the Pope".

The text has been confirmed by the Cardinal, but not any date of publication. Naturally, we will wait for the article in Le Figaro Magazine to provide the exact words of Cardinal Bertone -- who, by the way, is finally moving (around Easter) to his apartment in the Apostolic Palace, only recently vacated by Cardinal Sodano, according to L'Indipendente.

For the Record:
American Episcopal Conference (USCCB) news agency:
motu proprio "expected soon"

Article by John Thavis, Rome correspondent of the Catholic News Service, the news agency of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Sometime soon, Pope Benedict XVI is expected to broaden permission to use the Tridentine Mass, a long-standing request of traditionalists who favor the rite used before the Second Vatican Council.

The move is aimed at ending a liturgical dispute which has simmered for more than 20 years. In the process, it could clarify how the pope intends to implement what he once described as a "liturgical reconciliation" in the modern church.

The pope will enunciate the new policy in a document to be released after more than a year of debate and discussion at the Vatican. The Roman Curia had mixed views on expanding the use of the Tridentine rite, and so did the world's cardinals and bishops -- all of which has lent a certain drama to the outcome.

From the outside, allowing the old Mass has been seen primarily as a concession to the followers of the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who was excommunicated in 1988 for his intransigence on liturgical and other reforms of Vatican II.

But some Vatican officials believe that aspect has been overblown. More than making peace with Archbishop Lefebvre's followers, they said, the pope is trying to make peace with the church's own tradition.


...knowledgeable Vatican sources say the pope's new document will no doubt aim to lessen pastoral tension between the Tridentine rite and the new Mass, rather than hand out a victory to traditionalists.

Under Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Ratzinger conducted the unsuccessful negotiations with Archbishop Lefebvre in 1988, before the archbishop broke off talks and ordained new bishops in defiance of the pope.


The role of the bishop in approving and overseeing use of the Tridentine rite has been a crucial issue in the recent debate. Last fall, when rumors were swirling that a bishop's permission would no longer be needed, the bishops of France issued a statement saying that the return of the pre-Vatican II Mass should be regulated and not left to "personal tastes and choices."

The French bishops also said traditionalist groups that use the Tridentine rite should be expected to give "an unequivocal gesture of assent to the teachings of the church's authentic magisterium," its teaching authority.

For these reasons, many will be looking at Pope Benedict's document not only for a liturgical verdict, but also for a sign of his reconciling skills.

Read entire article here.

Tip: Reader Jordan Potter

Passiontide with Lacordaire:
Jesus Christ, pursued by undying hatred,
sovereign Lord of hearts and minds

Unus autem ex ipsis, Caiphas nomine, cum esset pontifex anni illius, dixit eis: "Vos nescitis quidquam, nec cogitatis quia expedit vobis ut unus moriatur homo pro populo, et non tota gens pereat." Hoc autem a semetipso non dixit: sed cum esset pontifex anni illius, prophetavit, quod Iesus moriturus erat pro gente, et non tantum pro gente, sed ut filios Dei, qui erant dispersi, congregaret in unum. (Gospel for Friday in Passion Week, John xi, 49-52: One of them, named Caiphas, being the high priest that year, said to them: "You know nothing. Neither do you consider that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not." And this he spoke not of himself: but being the high priest of that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation. And not only for the nation, but to gather together in one the children of God, that were dispersed.)

With the first shadows of age the sentiment of parenthood descends into our heart, and takes possession of the void left there by its former affections. It is not a state of decadence: beware of thinking so! After the regard of God upon the world, nothing is more beautiful than the regard of the old for the young, so pure that it is, so tender, so disinterested, and it marks in our life the very point of perfection and of the highest likeness to God.

The body declines with age, the mind perhaps also, but not the soul whereby we love. Fatherhood is as superior to [common] love as love itself is superior to affection. Fatherhood is the crown of life. It would be full and stainless love, if from the child to the parent there were the same equal return as from friend to friend, from the wife to the husband. But it is not so. When we were children we were loved more than we loved, and, having grown old, we also love more than we are loved. We must not complain of it. Your children take the very road upon which you have passed before them, the road of affection, the road of love, eager courses which do not permit them to reward that grey-haired passion which we call parenthood. It is the honor of man to find again in his children the ingratitude which he showed to his parents, and thus to end, like God, in a disinterested sentiment.

Yet, it is nevertheless true that, although pursuing love all our lives, we never obtain it save in an imperfect manner, a way which wounds our hearts. And even had we obtained it during life, what would remain of it to us after death? I know that fond prayers may follow us beyond this world, that our names may still be pronounced in pious remembrance; but soon heaven and earth will have advanced another step; then comes oblivion, silence dwells upon us, the ethereal breeze of love passes over our tomb no more. It is gone, it is gone for ever; and such is the history of man towards love.

I am wrong...: there is a Man whose tomb is guarded by love, there is a Man whose sepulchre is not only glorious, as a prophet declared, but whose sepulchre is loved. There is a Man who, after eighteen centuries, has not grown cold; who daily lives again in the thoughts of an innumerable multitude of men; who is visited in His cradle by shepherds and by kings, who vie with each other in bringing Him gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. There is a Man whose steps are tirelessly retrodden by a large portion of mankind, and who, although no longer present, is followed by that throng in all the scenes of His bygone pilgrimage, upon the knees of His mother, by the borders of the lakes, to the tops of the mountains, in the byways of the valleys, under the shade of the olive-trees, in the still solitude of the deserts.

There is a Man, dead and buried, whose sleep and whose awakening have always eager watchers, whose every word still vibrates and produces more than love, produces virtues fructifying in love. There is a Man, who, eighteen centuries ago, was nailed to a gibbet, and whom millions of adorers daily detach from this throne of His suffering, and, kneeling before Him, prostrating themselves as low as they can without shame, there, upon the earth, kiss His bleeding feet with unspeakable ardour.

There is a Man, who was scourged, killed, crucified, whom an Ineffable Passion raises from death and infamy, and exalts to the glory of love unfailing which finds in Him peace, honor, joy, and even ecstasy.

There is a Man, pursued in His sufferings and in His tomb by undying hatred, and who, demanding apostles and martyrs for all posterity, finds apostles and martyrs in all generations.

There is a Man, thus, and one only, who has founded His love upon earth, and that Man is thyself, O Jesus! - who hast been pleased to baptize me, to anoint me, to consecrate me in Thy love, and whose name alone now opens my very heart, and draws from it those accents which overpower me and raise me above myself.

But, among great men, who are loved? Among warriors? Is it Alexander? Caesar? Charlemagne? Among sages? Aristotle? Plato? Who is loved among great men? Who? Name me even one; name me a single man who has died and left love upon his tomb. Mohammed is venerated by Muslims; he is not loved. No feeling of love has ever touched the heart of a Muslim repeating his maxim: "God is God, and Mohammed is His prophet." One Man alone has gathered from all ages a love which never fails; Jesus Christ is the sovereign Lord of hearts as He is of minds.

Henri-Dominique Lacordaire
Conférences de Notre-Dame de Paris (1846)

For the record

March 25, 2007 Conference "on the State of the Church and Relations Between Rome and the SSPX": by Father Alain-Marc Nely, Second Assistant to the Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (SSPX/FSSPX).

"Tradition is not traditionalism"

As it is seen, Irenaeus does not limit himself to the definition of the concept of Tradition. His tradition, the uninterrupted Tradition, is not traditionalism, because this Tradition is always internally vivified by the Holy Spirit, who makes it live again, who makes it interpreted and included in the vitality of the Church.
Benedict XVI
General Audience, March 28, 2007

For the Record

According to Die Welt, even a cover letter to the world's bishops, which would be sent out with the eventual motu proprio, "is ready".

Tip: Le Forum Catholique.


P.S (2350 GMT) Last paragraph:

It has been decided. This is not a systems reboot, as is due with a defunct computer. Benedict XVI returns to the Catholic Church her own standard with this liturgy, a standard which from now on can be compared to the 1969 Novus Ordo decisively. The decision has opened the way to a finger-wrestling full of surprises. After all finger wrestling is a Bavarian speciality.
A translation of the entire article has been posted by Chris Gillibrand.


Oh, well... yes, the eventual motu proprio may well be "imminent" (who knows?), but, as far as we can tell, this latest rumor wave began with this "report/analysis" by the French Sedevacantist website Virgo Maria, which first mentioned the words an influent French cleric of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (SSPX/FSSPX) had supposedly spoken at a recent conference.

No mention of the conference or of its contents is available at the website of the District of France of the SSPX/FSSPX. It has not been reported by any trustworthy medium. It reached the English-speaking blogs by a translation of a post in an Italian weblog.

"Gay Masses" in the Archdiocese of Westminster: dens of lions

Exactly as predicted, of course - except by some disingenuous minds:

- Dissenting leaflets are handed out with the hymn books, making clear that the 'Soho Masses Pastoral Council' regards this as 'their' Mass;

- Sermon from Fr Shaun Middleton (4th March) endorses the dissenting theologian, ex-priest James Allison;

- Promotion of Gay Pride march;

- Bookstall in the church full of dissenting literature;

- No reference to the groups which help homosexuals live in accordance with Church teaching.
The homilist at the first "authorized Gay Mass" said, "This is an encounter which cannot be contained or kept within the booths of tradition". You've got that right, Father!


Report: Catholic Action UK (with links);
tip: Catholic Church Conservation;
"dens of lions": cf. Lesson for Tuesday in Passion Week (Daniel xiv, 27-42).

Ave, Sancti Spiritus sacrarium!

If we examine closely [the] divine principle of life and power given by Christ, insofar as it constitutes the very source of every gift and created grace, we easily perceive that it is nothing else than the Holy spirit, the Paraclete, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, and who is called in a special way, the "Spirit of Christ" or the "Spirit of the Son." For it was by this Breath of grace and truth that the Son of God anointed His soul in the immaculate womb of the Blessed Virgin...

...the only-begotten Son of God embraced us in His infinite knowledge and undying love even before the world began. And that He might give a visible and exceedingly beautiful expression to this love, He assumed our nature in hypostatic union: hence - as Maximus of Turin with a certain unaffected simplicity remarks - "in Christ our own flesh loves us."

But the knowledge and love of our Divine Redeemer, of which we were the object from the first moment of His Incarnation, exceed all that the human intellect can hope to grasp. For hardly was He conceived in the womb of the Mother of God, when He began to enjoy the Beatific Vision, and in that vision all the members of His Mystical Body were continually and unceasingly present to Him, and He embraced them with His redeeming love. O marvelous condescension of divine love for us! O inestimable dispensation of boundless charity! In the crib, on the Cross, in the unending glory of the Father, Christ has all the members of the Church present before Him and united to Him in a much clearer and more loving manner than that of a mother who clasps her child to her breast, or than that with which a man knows and loves himself.

...may the Virgin Mother of God hear [our] prayers ... and obtain for all a true love of the Church - she whose sinless soul was filled with the divine spirit of Jesus Christ above all other created souls, who "in the name of the whole human race" gave her consent "for a spiritual marriage between the Son of God and human nature."
Pius XII
Mystici Corporis Christi
(cf. also: Notification on the Works of Fr Jon Sobrino, SJ)

There is a hell

Dear friends, concrete advices for our lives come from the Word of God which we have heard [note: in the Traditional Roman Rite, Gospel for Saturday in the Third Week of Lent, John viii, 1-11]. Jesus does not undertake a theoretical discussion with his interlocutors: it does not matter to him to win an argument on the interpretation of Mosaic Law; his goal is to save a soul and to reveal that salvation is found in God's love. For this he came to earth, for this he will die on the cross, and [for this] the Father will resurrect him on the third day. Jesus came to say that he wishes all [to be] in Heaven and that hell, which is barely spoken of in our age, exists and is eternal for all those who close their hearts to his love. Also in this episode we thus understand that our true enemy is attachment to sin, which may lead us to the ruin of our existence. Jesus dismisses the adulterous woman with this advice: "Go, and, from now on, sin no more". He grants her pardon so that "from now on" she shall sin no more. In an analogous episode, that of the repentant sinner which we find in the Gospel of Luke (vii, 36-50), He welcomes and sends forth in peace a woman who repented. Here, in turn, the adulterous woman is pardoned in an unconditional way. In both cases - for the repentant sinner and for the adulterous woman - the message is the same. In one case, it is underlined that there is no pardon without repentance; here, it is made clear that only divine pardon and [divine] love received with an open and sincere heart grant the strength to resist evil and to "sin no more".
Benedict XVI
March 25, 2007

Agnoscite Creatorem


"Abraham pater vester exsultavit ut videret diem meum: vidit, et gavisus est." Dixerunt ergo Iudæi ad eum: "Quinquaginta annos nondum habes, et Abraham vidisti?" Dixit eis Iesus: "Amen, amen dico vobis, antequam Abraham fieret, ego sum."
(From the Gospel for Passion Sunday, John viii, 56-58: "Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see my day: he saw it, and was glad." The Jews therefore said to him: "Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them: "Amen, amen I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am.")

...Abraham's Creator bears a great testimony to Abraham. "Abraham rejoiced," He says, "to see my day." He did not fear, but "rejoiced to see it." For in him there was the love that casts out fear. He says not, rejoiced because he saw; but "rejoiced that he might see." [Non ait: Exsultavit, quia vidit; sed, exsultavit ut videret.] Believing, at all events, he rejoiced in hope to see with the understanding. "And he saw." And what more could the Lord Jesus Christ say, or what more ought He to have said? "And he saw," He says, "and was glad." Who can unfold this joy...? If those rejoiced whose bodily eyes were opened by the Lord, what joy was his who saw with the eyes of his soul the light ineffable, the abiding Word, the brilliance that dazzles the minds of the pious, the unfailing Wisdom, God abiding with the Father, and at some time come in the flesh and yet not to withdraw from the bosom of the Father?

All this did Abraham see. For in saying "my day," it may be uncertain of what He spoke; whether the day of the Lord in time, when He should come the flesh, or that day of the Lord which knows not a dawn, and knows no decline. But for my part I doubt not that father Abraham knew it all. And where shall I find it out? Ought the testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ to satisfy us? Let us suppose that we cannot find it out, for perhaps it is difficult to say in what sense it is clear that Abraham "rejoiced to see the day" of Christ, "and saw it, and was glad."


"Before Abraham was made, I am." Weigh the words, and get a knowledge of the mystery. "Before Abraham was made." Understand, that "was made" refers to human formation; but "am" to the Divine essence. "He was made," because Abraham was a creature. He did not say, Before Abraham was, I was; but, "Before Abraham was made," who was not made save by me, "I am." Nor did He say this, Before Abraham was made I was made; for "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth;" Genesis 1:1 and "in the beginning was the Word." "Before Abraham was made, I am."

Recognize the Creator—distinguish the creature. [Agnoscite Creatorem, discernite creaturam.] He who spoke was made the seed of Abraham; and that Abraham might be made, He Himself was before Abraham.


Saint Augustine
In Evangelium Ioannis - Tractatus XLIII

Europe on a road "out of History"

From a demographic viewpoint, it must unfortunately be ascertained that Europe seems headed on a road which could leave it out of History [
portarla al congedo dalla storia: literally, "lead it to take its leave from History"].

If, on the occasion of the 50th [anniversary] of the Treaties of Rome, the governments of the [European] Union wish to "get close" to their citizens, how could [the former] exclude an essential element of the European identity as Christianity, with which a vast majority of [the latter] identify themselves? Is it not a reason for surprise that contemporary Europe, with an ambition of becoming a community of values, seems always and increasingly to contest that there are universal and absolute values? Does not this singular form of "apostasy" from itself, even more than from God, induce it perhaps to doubt its own identity? The conviction that the "balance of goods" is the only way for moral discernment and that common good is a synonym for compromise is thus widened. In reality, if compromise may constitute a legitimate balance of diverse particular interests, it turns into common evil every time it includes agreements [which are] hurtful to human nature.

A community which builds itself up with no respect for the authentic dignity of the human being, forgetting that every person is created in the image of God, ends up not doing good to anyone.

Benedict XVI
Audience to the participants
of the Congress of the Commission of Episcopates of the European Community

For the Record

From the extremely-ultra-"Progressive" French magazine Golias:

The editorial of March 23

The Motu Proprio on the Latin Mass soon available


Our informations concerning the imminent publication of the motu proprio which would allow for a much wider use of the pre-Conciliar rite make us believe that it could take place before Easter.The document will be published before the end of Lent: [or, rather,] in any event, Pope Benedict would be determined [to have it published].
This "motu proprio" should have appeared at the end of January. The opposition of a certain number of prelates was what prompted Benedict XVI to be patient. Among the opponents to this "motu proprio", Cardinals Karl Lehmann, Jean-Pierre Ricard (forced by his brothers of the French episcopate, being himself [personally] quite favorable to it), Jean-Marie Lustiger, Godfreed Danneels, Giovanni Battista Re should be particularly mentioned... The opposition to this project does not follow the usual criteria of conservatism. The archbishop of Paris, André Vingt-Trois, is very hostile to the project itself, though he is counted among the conservatives. Other prelates, such as Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, are, on the contrary, favorable to it.

The Pope received in separate audiences yesterday evening:

His Eminence Card. Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments;

His Eminence Card. Darío Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei".

"Let none despair, but let none presume in himself"

Ait Iesus: "Tollite lapidem." Dicit ei Martha, soror eius, qui mortuus fuerat: "Domine, iam fœtet, quatriduanus est enim." Dicit ei Iesus: "Nonne dixi tibi quoniam si credideris videbis gloriam Dei?" (From the Gospel for Friday in the Fourth Week of Lent, John xi, 39-40: Jesus saith, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith to Him, "Lord, by this time he stinketh; for he is now of four days." Jesus saith to her, "Did not I say to thee that if thou believe, thou shalt see the glory of God?")
If... the Lord, in the greatness of His grace and mercy, raises our souls to life, that we may not die for ever, we may well understand that those three dead persons whom He raised in the body have some figurative significance of that resurrection of the soul which is effected by faith: [1] He raised up the ruler of the synagogue's daughter, while still lying in the house; [2] He raised up the widow's young son, while being carried outside the gates of the city; [3] and He raised up Lazarus, after four days in the grave. Let each one give heed to his own soul: in sinning he dies: sin is the death of the soul.

Yet sometimes sin is committed only in thought. You have felt delight in what is evil, you have assented to its commission, you have sinned; that assent has slain you: but the death is internal, because the evil thought had not yet ripened into action. The Lord intimated that He would raise such a soul to life, in raising that girl, who had not yet been carried forth to the burial, but was lying dead in the house, as if sin still lay concealed.

If you have not only harbored a feeling of delight in evil, but hast also done the evil thing, you have, so to speak, carried the dead outside the gate: you are already outside and being carried to the tomb. Yet such an one also the Lord raised to life. and restored to his widowed mother. If you have sinned, repent, and the Lord will raise you up, and restore you to your mother Church.

The third example of death is Lazarus. A grievous kind of death it is, and is distinguished as a habit of wickedness. For it is one thing to fall into sin, another to form the habit of sinning. He who falls into sin, and straightway submits to correction, will be speedily restored to life; for he is not yet entangled in the habit, he is not yet laid in the tomb. But he who has become habituated to sin, is buried, and has it properly said of him, "he stinketh;" for his character, like some horrible smell, begins to be of the worst repute. Such are all who are habituated to crime, abandoned in morals. You say to such an one, "do not do so!". But when will you be listened to by one on whom the earth is thus heaped, who is breeding corruption, and pressed down by the weight of habit?

And yet the power of Christ was not unequal to the task of restoring such one to life. We know, we have seen, we see every day men changing the very worst of habits, and adopting a better manner of life than that of those who blamed them. You detested such a man: look at the sister of Lazarus herself (if, indeed, it was she who anointed the Lord's feet with ointment, and wiped with her hair what she had washed with her tears), who had a better resurrection than her brother; she was delivered from the mighty burden of a sinful character. For she was a notorious sinner; and had it said of her,"Her many sins are forgiven her, for she has loved much."

We see many such, we know many: let none despair, but let none presume in himself. Both the one and the other are sinful. Let your unwillingness to despair take such a turn as to lead you to make choice of Him in whom alone you may well presume.
Saint Augustine
In Evangelium Ioannis - Tractatus XLIX

FSSP - Una Voce announcement

UVA Launches Priest Training Workshops

Joint Effort with FSSP to Train Priests to Celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass

PRESS RELEASEFor Immediate Distribution - March 11, 2007 Publicity flyer (PDF)

Una Voce America is pleased to announce a collaborative program with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) designed to provide training for any priest interested in learning how to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass.
"This program may be the most important effort we've undertaken," said UVA director Jason King recently. "We're grateful to the Fraternity for its generous support of this project."

Training will take place in June 2007 at Our Lady of Guadalupe seminary in Denton, Nebraska, which is located in the diocese of Lincoln. The workshop will last for one week and will be repeated three times (the first, second and fourth weeks of June). Each session will begin on a Monday at noon and end Friday at noon of that week. A priest need only attend one of the three sessions, as the same material will be covered in each one.
The FSSP will be responsible for curriculum and instruction, while UVA will assume primary responsibility for funding and promoting the program.
Over a year in the making
UVA's board of directors began actively discussing the concept of priest training in early 2006, King said. Preparations accelerated last fall amid speculation that Pope Benedict XVI was planning to grant greater freedom for celebration of the Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal.
"We felt this presented a historic opportunity for the nation's largest lay organization supporting the traditional Latin Mass -- Una Voce America -- to collaborate with a clerical religious institute whose priests actually use the 1962 Missal -- the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter," King stated.
He explained that most if not all American seminarians study only the modern liturgy that became normative following the Second Vatican Council. This has left a gap in knowledge of preconciliar liturgy that the priest training program will begin to address.
According to King, both Una Voce and the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter view the faithful's devotion to the Latin liturgical tradition as a "unique charism in support of the new evangelization championed by Pope John Paul II -- a charism that is ever ancient, yet ever new."
Week-long intensive training at Nebraska seminary
The Rev. Calvin Goodwin, FSSP, will be the Fraternity's contact point for interested clergy. He explained that the seminary has prepared a detailed curriculum (with books and an instructional DVD/CD) and has designated priests and deacons to teach and assist.
According to Fr. Goodwin, the workshops will cover not only the rubrics but also the liturgical principles underlying the rubrics.
"Priests will learn not only how far to raise their hands and how to pronounce the Latin, for example, but how the various gestures and prayers fit into the liturgical prayer of the Church, and reflect the Faith itself," Fr. Goodwin said.
"No prior experience with the traditional Mass is needed, and the course is open to all priests regardless of their level of Latin proficiency," he emphasized. "In fact, our instructors are eager to work even with those priests who have no previous Latin training at all."
Fr. Goodwin added that the curriculum, although very intensive, was designed specifically to accommodate today's busy clergy.
"It's often difficult for priests to learn these things from a video or book in their spare time -- they're pulled in a thousand different directions in their parishes," Fr. Goodwin explained. "Here at the seminary, without distractions, they will be able to ask questions and get the answers and encouragement they need," he added.
UVA to make financial aid available
Cost for the program will depend on the number of participants, but is estimated at $300 per priest. This sum will cover all course materials, which the priest may keep, as well as room and board for the week of the priest's stay. Una Voce America has offered to help any priest who needs financial assistance.
"Una Voce America is committed to raising sufficient funds to enable every interested priest to receive instruction on the proper celebration of the traditional Latin Mass," King said.
Una Voce America and the Priestly Fraternity expect to offer the PTP sessions on a periodic basis in the future. They also will establish a waiting list for priests who are unable to attend one of the June 2007 sessions or who cannot be accommodated by the limited space available in the initial sessions.
UVA is calling on its chapters, affiliates, and individual members to support this effort with prayers and financial contributions. Those who wish to support this program financially can send donations to Una Voce-Syracuse, PO Box 993, Oswego NY 13126. Checks should be designated for "priest training."
Program will support Vatican initiative
Although the priest training program was inspired in part by numerous reports that Pope Benedict XVI intends to free the traditional Latin Mass from the restrictions that now prevent its widespread celebration, UVA doesn't want to "presume too much on his decision," commented R. Michael Dunnigan, chairman of the organization.
Nonetheless, he added, "The Holy Father has been a courageous and eloquent defender of the traditional Mass, and if his will is to grant wider access to it, then we certainly want to do our part to promote the conditions that will help to achieve this goal."
Some bishops and other critics have opposed freedom for the traditional Mass, expressing concern that priests lacking adequate training may celebrate the Mass improperly. Dunnigan believes that these fears are misplaced.
"In addition to being sacramental ministers, priests are skilled professionals who take pride in their work," he said. "As a result, very few would be inclined to celebrate this Mass in public before they are fully prepared to do so."
In any event, Dunnigan pointed out that the priest training program sponsored by UVA and the FSSP is a cause that both proponents and critics of the traditional Mass can support.
"To the extent that the critics argue in favor of proper training, the traditionalist community fully supports this goal," Dunnigan said. "In fact, the very mission of the priest training program is to ensure that every priest who wishes to celebrate this Mass will receive the instruction that he needs to do so properly and reverently."
To receive more information or to make a reservation, interested priests should contact Fr. Goodwin at (402) 797-7700 or email: or write to: Attn: Mass Workshops, O.L.G. Seminary, P.O. Box 147, Denton, NE. 68339.
Priests in need of aid may inquire in confidence to UVA, c/o Mr. Jason King, PO Box 1146, Bellevue, WA 98009-1146.

The Encyclicals of March 1937: Divini Redemptoris - II
"....Communism is intrinsically perverse..."

Given at Rome, at St. Peter's, on the feast of St. Joseph, patron of the universal Church, on the 19th of March, 1937...
Thus is dated the most relevant encyclical signed and issued by Pope Pius XI in 1937. As it was previously seen here, Divini Redemptoris was not an exercise in rhetorical craftsmanship, but a real response to a real problem: the severe persecution of Catholics by Communists.

Yet, it was so much more than a protest. Pope Pius had already made clear several years earlier that "no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist" (Quadragesimo Anno). He was now ready to explain to the Universal Church and to the whole of mankind why Communism must be fought, how Communists infiltrate Holy Mother Church, and how much all should be prepared to detain and reverse its advance.

Pius warns the Church and the world of the danger of Communist deceitfulness and infiltration:
[Communism] has therefore changed its tactics, and strives to entice the multitudes by trickery of various forms, hiding its real designs behind ideas that in themselves are good and attractive. Thus, aware of the universal desire for peace, the leaders of Communism pretend to be the most zealous promoters and propagandists in the movement for world amity. Yet at the same time they stir up a class-warfare which causes rivers of blood to flow, and, realizing that their system offers no internal guarantee of peace, they have recourse to unlimited armaments. Under various names which do not suggest Communism, they establish organizations and periodicals with the sole purpose of carrying their ideas into quarters otherwise inaccessible. They try perfidiously to worm their way even into professedly Catholic and religious organizations. Again, without receding an inch from their subversive principles, they invite Catholics to collaborate with them in the realm of so-called humanitarianism and charity; and at times even make proposals that are in perfect harmony with the Christian spirit and the doctrine of the Church. Elsewhere they carry their hypocrisy so far as to encourage the belief that Communism, in countries where faith and culture are more strongly entrenched, will assume another and much milder form. It will not interfere with the practice of religion. It will respect liberty of conscience. There are some even who refer to certain changes recently introduced into soviet legislation as a proof that Communism is about to abandon its program of war against God. See to it, Venerable Brethren, that the Faithful do not allow themselves to be deceived!
Pope Pius explains that Catholics cannot accept Communist deception, because Communism has only one nature: it is intrinsically wrong, perverse, evil (pravus):
Since Communism is intrinsically perverse, no one whose aim is to save Christian civilization and culture from destruction 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.
The Holy Father exposes Communism for what it is: an inherently distorting ideology whose nature is crushing to the human soul:
Communism... strips man of his liberty, robs human personality of all its dignity, and removes all the moral restraints that check the eruptions of blind impulse. There is no recognition of any right of the individual in his relations to the collectivity; no natural right is accorded to human personality, which is a mere cog-wheel in the Communist system. In man's relations with other individuals, besides, Communists hold the principle of absolute equality, rejecting all hierarchy and divinely-constituted authority, including the authority of parents. What men call authority and subordination is derived from the community as its first and only font. Nor is the individual granted any property rights over material goods or the means of production, for inasmuch as these are the source of further wealth, their possession would give one man power over another. Precisely on this score, all forms of private property must be eradicated, for they are at the origin of all economic enslavement.
Communism is not a danger of the past. It is impossible not to see in our own age the heavy influence of Communist ideology, that "new gospel which ... Communism offers the world as the glad tidings of deliverance and salvation", in the perversion of modern Civilization, in the destruction of family life, and of the dignity of women:
Refusing to human life any sacred or spiritual character, such a doctrine logically makes of marriage and the family a purely artificial and civil institution, the outcome of a specific economic system. There exists no matrimonial bond of a juridico-moral nature that is not subject to the whim of the individual or of the collectivity. Naturally, therefore, the notion of an indissoluble marriage-tie is scouted. Communism is particularly characterized by the rejection of any link that binds woman to the family and the home, and her emancipation is proclaimed as a basic principle. She is withdrawn from the family and the care of her children, to be thrust instead into public life and collective production under the same conditions as man. The care of home and children then devolves upon the collectivity. Finally, the right of education is denied to parents, for it is conceived as the exclusive prerogative of the community, in whose name and by whose mandate alone parents may exercise this right. ... Communists claim to inaugurate a new era and a new civilization which is the result of blind evolutionary forces culminating in a humanity without God.
May Saint Joseph, under whose patronage Pius XI placed "the vast campaign of the Church against world Communism", protect us from the dangers of Communism, as great today in its most insidious forms as ever. "While the promises of the false prophets of this earth melt away in blood and tears, the great apocalyptic prophecy of the Redeemer shines forth in heavenly splendor: 'Ecce nova facio omnia'."

*(Communismus cum intrinsecus sit pravus, eidem nulla in re est adiutrix opera ab eo commodanda, cui sit propositum ab excidio christianum civilemque cultum. Thanks to Iosephus for his help on the exact wording and meaning of this most important passage of 20th-Century Papal writing.)

In Solemnitate Sancti Ioseph,
«Protector Sanctæ Ecclesiæ»,
Eum deprecemur pro Beatissimo Papa Nostro Benedicto XVI,
olim Cardinalis Iosephus Ratzinger

Ad te beate Ioseph,
in tribulatione nostra confugimus, atque, implorato Sponsæ tuæ sanctissimæ auxilio, patrocinium quoque tuum fidenter exposcimus. Per eam, quæsumus, quæ te cum immaculata Virgine Dei Genitrice coniunxit, caritatem, perque paternum, quo Puerum Iesum amplexus es, amorem, supplices deprecamur, ut ad hereditatem, quam Iesus Christus acquisivit Sanguine suo, benignus respicias, ac necessitatibus nostris tua virtute et ope succurras.

Tuere, o Custos providentissime divinæ Familiæ, Iesu Christi sobolem electam; prohibe a nobis, amantissime Pater, omnem errorum ac corruptelarum luem; propitius nobis, sospitator noster fortissime, in hoc cum potestate tenebrarum certamine e cælo adesto; et sicut olim Puerum Iesum e summo eripuisti vitæ discrimine, ita nunc Ecclesiam sanctam Dei ab hostilibus insidiis atque ab omni adversitate defende: nosque singulos perpetuo tege patrocinio, ut ad tui exemplar et ope tua suffulti, sancte vivere, pie emori, sempiternamque in cælis beatitudinem assequi possimus.
A Leone XIII scripta

For the Record: Accattoli

Vaticanist Luigi Accattoli joins the fray in today's Corriere della Sera:

Sezione: religione cattolica - Pagina: 013
(18 marzo, 2007) Corriere della Sera


Return of the Latin Mass. The Pontiff's text is ready.

CITTÀ DEL VATICANO — The "motu proprio" which will liberalize the use of the old Missal, that is, the "Latin Mass" from before the Council, could be published by Easter: the time "draws nigh", it is said in the Vatican, but there is still not a date. Some predict it for March 25, others for April 5, Holy Thursday, which does not seem to be an appropriate day for a legal text, destined as it is to great celebrations.

The use of the old Mass must today be authorized by the bishop, who evaluates its convenience, [but] after the reform it will not be denied when at least thirty faithful demand it. The use of the old Missal had been forbidden by Paul VI at the time of the promulgation of the new [one], in 1969, but this [gesture] has been constantly asked by the Traditionalist Catholic wing, in particular by the "Fraternity of Saint Pius X", founded by the French bishop Marcel Lefebvre. After the excommunication of Lefebvre and of the bishops ordained by him in 1988, John Paul II promulgated an "indult" which authorizes the old Mass by a request to the local bishop and at his discretion.

Benedict XVI now wishes to widen the access to the old rite, in view of the recovery of the Lefebvrists to "full communion" and for [his] personal conviction on the possibility that several rites may live together, mutually favoring pluralism and attachment to tradition.

Accattoli Luigi

Tip: Gilbert (Cattolici Romani).

For the Record - Tosatti: "Ratzinger's Motu Proprio is ready,
despite the contrary opinion of the French Church"

Published today in La Stampa (Subscribers only)


It is the go-ahead of the Pope; the Latin Mass returns

A hard blow to the opposition to the Lefebvrians [arrives] with Easter


CITTÀ DEL VATICANO - Benedict XVI "frees" the Tridentine Mass, the so-called "Latin" Mass loved - though not exclusively - by the followers of monsignor Lefebvre and, for this [reason], opposed by the "Progressives" of the Church. The "motu proprio" of the Pope, which should be published between the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25) and Easter, is ready.

The text is fully armored [blindatissimo]; and, according to indiscretions by excellent sources, should overrule the current situation. Currently, the Bishops have the power, also thanks to an extenuating bureaucracy, to make the celebration of the old Mass extremely difficult. With the motu proprio, their role should change: not arbiters anymore, but supervisors [controllori]. And, as a matter of fact, a sly Curial fox remarks, Bishop, "episkopos", means in Greek exactly that: supervisor. That means that the faithful who wish the Latin Mass (a minimal of thirty) have the right to demand its celebration, in any church whatsoever, except for a few general conditions of opportunity.

The "liberalization" will have a remarkable effect on relations with the Lefebvrists. It deprives them of one of their most powerful weapons, that is, the denunciation of the liturgical "betrayal" effected after the Second Vatican Council, and - according to many - against the will of the Conciliar Fathers; it forces them to dialogue with Rome, making clear the danger of "emptying" the movement at its base. If I am a Traditionalist faithful, why should I follow schismatic bishops and priests now that the Mass of Saint Pius V is "free", celebrated by priests in communion with the Pope?

At the end of February, at a farewell dinner before his permanent return to Chile, the 81-year-old Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez, member of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", charged with relations with the Lefebvrists, told his porporati [Cardinalatial] friends that the publication of the "motu proprio" was imminent. A matter of weeks, other sources of the Sacred Palaces make clear.

[This] although the very feisty opposition party is always on guard. When, last Fall, the "motu proprio" began to take a concrete shape, some prelates met at a dinner in an abbey on the Aventine [Hill, Rome]: among others, an abbot and an extremely important character of the Papal entourage, notoriously inimical to the Tridentine Mass. It was discussed [at the meeting] how it was necessary to "help" the Pope, making him understand that the liberalization was a mistake; Bishop Le Gall, of Toulouse, was a point of reference in this work. And, in fact, Le Gall made very harsh declarations and, in a rapid succession, Cardinal Lustiger, his successor in Paris Vingt-Trois, and the Cardinal of Bordeaux, Ricard, arrived in Rome ("the invasion of the Gauls" [dei Galli], some remark in the Vatican) to campaign against the "motu proprio".

The detractors [of the opposition] hold that the French Church, which has seen the percentage of people who attend Sunday Mass drop from 14% to 4.5% in the 1978-2006 period, fears as a most dangerous poison the "clearance" of the lovers of the Traditional Mass. [This] also because, according to provisional data, in the current academical year, 120 young men have entered the seminaries in the 91 French dioceses; while four or five "Traditionalist" seminaries count some forty admissions.

The "invasion of the Gauls" truly froze the situation for a while, as the prelates of the Aventine, good connoisseurs of the character of Benedict XVI, prudent and almost shy, hoped [would happen], faced with an open and decided opposition. But now, Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, president of the "Ecclesia Dei" commission, has confided to a friend, "the Pope is very decided".


Tip: reader; Transcript: Papa Ratzinger Blog.

Castrillón speaks: in the Pope's hands

Interview of the President of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" with Simone Ortolani -- published on the web by Nihil Obstat:

Eminence, indiscretions regarding the publication of a Motu Proprio which would liberalize the Latin Mass of Saint Pius V have spread widely for several months...

"The Holy Father has this situation under his eyes of universal Shepherd of the Church. Naturally, [the matter] being in his hands, we do not advance any particular note regarding it, out of holy respect. The personal interest of the Holy Father regarding the liturgy is, nonetheless, known to all, [as well as] his profound knowledge of the same, his veneration for tradition and, at the same time, his clear position to put into practice all that the Holy Spirit gave the Church in the Second Vatican Council. These are the parameters through which the historical difficulties regarding [this matter] are examined."

Cardinals Alfons Maria Stickler and Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez, former Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, have declared that the Mass of Saint Pius V has never been abolished. What do you think of it?

"Cardinals Stickler and Medina are right, and their opinions are followed by the opinions of liturgy experts, other cardinals and bishops. We have ourselves studied the problem and we deem that the ancient Mass has never been forbidden. On the other hand, it is very important, to have a clear mind, to grasp the light which comes from the Successor of Peter. According to the thinking of the Holy Father, clearly expressed, there are two forms of the Roman Rite: the ordinary form, which is the Mass of Paul VI, and the extraordinary form, which is the Mass of Saint Pius V."

Many young people willingly attend the Latin Mass, in the institutes and dioceses in which (rarely, at the current stage) it is allowed. Why?

"I must be honest. The Novus Ordo Missae was a novelty in the Seventies, the Mass of Saint Pius V has returned [as] a novelty in the Two Thousands. Young people like new things: but this would not be a deep analysis.

"Rather, I have been able to personally attest that the young feel touched by the sense of sacredness and mystery which, in their view, is more perceptible in the ancient Mass.

"Besides this consideration, in general lines, the existence of not a few abuses in liturgical celebrations should not be forgotten. They are contrary to the holiness which should be proper to the great eucharistic mystery, which is the unbloody form of the Sacrifice of Calvary. These elements draw the attention -- I am sure of this -- of priests and laymen. Evidently, I will not place in mutual opposition the august sanctity of the eucharistic mystery celebrated in the two ritual forms of which we have spoken."

Will the historical figure of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, founder of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X [SSPX / FSSPX], excommunicated by Pope John Paul II for the ordination of four bishops without a pontifical mandate in 1988, be "rehabilitated" by the Church?

"Retracing the complete life story of Archbishop Lefebvre, we are certain of the great esteem and appreciation of the Church for him. He was considered worthy of being an Archbishop, Apostolic Delegate, Superior-General of his religious congregation; by speaking to people who knew him during the exercise of his ministry, the fecundity of his life is discovered.

"Yet, with the same clarity, according to the most genuine tradition of the Church, it cannot be accepted that a bishop may consecrate another bishop without a pontifical mandate, or that the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Councils, and in particular for their importance, in ecumenical Councils, be disputed.

"Archbishop Lefebvre - it is important to stress this - signed the documents of the Second Vatican Council, even though he was critical towards them, either regarding the texts, or regarding their interpretation."

Is the Fraternity of Saint Pius X [SSPX / FSSPX], the movement of Archbishop Lefebvre, a schism?

"The Fraternity of Saint Pius X is not a consolidated schism per se [di per sé], but its history has included schismatic actions, with the ordination of bishops not legitimately elected and not perfectly united to the Successor of Peter and Vicar of Christ. Moreover, there is always the danger of a schism, either by the exercise, even if partial, of the authority founded in jurisdiction, or by the overtly critical attitudes of exponents of the Fraternity towards personalities of the Church, in which I view a wound to charity.

"I greatly fear the words of Saint Jerome, according to whom schism leads to heresy, and heresy to schism. I know that there are in the Fraternity people [who are] filled with good will. The Superior General, His Excellency Bishop Bernard Fellay, has in the past years persevered in dialogue. I hope that the open arms of Pope Benedict XVI will be understood as a kairos, an opportune moment, and, pacifying the consciences of the faithful and of the lay people, a full effective and affective unity of the Fraternity with the Church and the Vicar of Christ will be reached."


As reported here on March 9 (and then on March 11), the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released today a:



1. After a preliminary examination of the books Jesucristo liberador. Lectura histórico-teológica de Jesús de Nazaret (Jesus the Liberator) and La fe en Jesucristo. Ensayo desde las víctimas (Christ the Liberator) by Father Jon Sobrino, SJ, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, because of certain imprecisions and errors found in them, decided to proceed to a more thorough study of these works in October 2001. Given the wide distribution of these writings and their use in seminaries and other centers of study, particularly in Latin America, it was decided to employ the "urgent examination" as regulated by articles 23-27 of Agendi Ratio in Doctrinarum Examine.

As a result of this examination, in July 2004 a list of erroneous or dangerous propositions found in the abovementioned books was sent to the Author through the Reverend Father Peter Hans Kolvenbach, SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus.

In March of 2005, Father Jon Sobrino sent a Response to the text of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to the Congregation. This Response was studied in the Ordinary Session of the Congregation on 23 November 2005. It was determined that, although the author had modified his thought somewhat on several points, the Response did not prove satisfactory since, in substance, the errors already cited in the list of erroneous propositions still remained in this text. Although the preoccupation of the Author for the plight of the poor is admirable, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has the obligation to indicate that the aforementioned works of Father Sobrino contain notable discrepancies with the faith of the Church.

For this reason, it was decided to publish this Notification, in order to offer the faithful a secure criterion, founded upon the doctrine of the Church, by which to judge the affirmations contained in these books or in other publications of the Author. One must note that on some occasions the erroneous propositions are situated within the context of other expressions which would seem to contradict them3, but this is not sufficient to justify these propositions. The Congregation does not intend to judge the subjective intentions of the Author, but rather has the duty to call to attention to certain propositions which are not in conformity with the doctrine of the Church. These propositions regard: 1) the methodological presuppositions on which the Author bases his theological reflection, 2) the Divinity of Jesus Christ, 3) the Incarnation of the Son of God, 4) the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God, 5) the Self-consciousness of Jesus, and 6) the salvific value of his Death.

Read full text here. (Español; Italiano; Português)

Read Explanatory Note here. (Español; Italiano; Português)

Entre santa y santo, pared de cal y canto

There are many good commentaries on Sacramentum Caritatis available on the web -- including in most blogs to which we link.

(1) One of our favorite texts is the commentary (first part) provided by Father L. Demets, FSSP (in French).

(2) If you wish to understand the "progressive" mind, this hilarious article (the author actually means it) published in the online Italian "Leftwing daily" Aprile states that the apostolic exhortation is "a true Counter-reformist manifesto, something similar to the encyclical 'Quanta Cura', of 1864"; "it is the end of the Second Vatican Council" (in Italian).

(3) What about the title of this post? It is an old Spanish proverb which came to mind in a second reading of Sacramentum Caritatis, 29.

Keep praying

Please, keep praying for little Anita Vazquez and her parents Claudio and Soledad Vazquez. Anita is doing worse, and the family asks that we pray even harder so that the parents find fortitude and consolation in this moment of great suffering.

Note (March 13): Anita Vazquez passed away on Sunday. Please, pray for her family. Rest in peace, little angel!

First impression

The only previous post in this weblog to discuss the content of the exhortation published today was this one, a translation of an article published by Panorama in December. It stated that the exhortation had been signed (wrong information), but it mentioned three important decisions, all of which are confirmed by the official text:

(1)The Panorama article stated that "the recourse to the ordination of married priests of proven virtue ('viri probati') to face the lack of vocations is excluded." Let us remember that this was the most widely discussed issue in the Synod, which resurfaced last year -- and the Pope was quite clear on it:

In continuity with the great ecclesial tradition, with the Second Vatican Council and with my predecessors in the papacy, I reaffirm the beauty and the importance of a priestly life lived in celibacy as a sign expressing total and exclusive devotion to Christ, to the Church and to the Kingdom of God, and I therefore confirm that it remains obligatory in the Latin tradition. (Sacramentum Caritatis, 24)

(2) The Panorama article stated that "the admission of remarried divorced persons to Communion is forbidden, but it is recommended that the Christian community welcome and value their presence", which is exactly what is written in the official text. Let us also remember the intense pressure which several episcopates have imposed on the Holy See regarding this matter, which leads us to understand that this clear doctrinal link between the Most Holy Sacrament and the indissolubility of marriage is quite welcome:

The Synod of Bishops confirmed the Church's practice, based on Sacred Scripture (cf. Mk 10:2- 12), of not admitting the divorced and remarried to the sacraments, since their state and their condition of life objectively contradict the loving union of Christ and the Church signified and made present in the Eucharist. Yet the divorced and remarried continue to belong to the Church, which accompanies them with special concern and encourages them to live as fully as possible the Christian life through regular participation at Mass, albeit without receiving communion ...

...where the nullity of the marriage bond is not declared and objective circumstances make it impossible to cease cohabitation, the Church encourages these members of the faithful to commit themselves to living their relationship in fidelity to the demands of God's law, as friends, as brother and sister; in this way they will be able to return to the table of the Eucharist, taking care to observe the Church's established and approved practice in this regard. (Sacramentum Caritatis, 29)
(3) Finally, the Panorama article mentioned that, "the study of the liturgy in Latin and of Gregorian Chant in seminaries is recommended". And that has been the case:

Speaking more generally, I ask that future priests, from their time in the seminary, receive the preparation needed to understand and to celebrate Mass in Latin, and also to use Latin texts and execute Gregorian chant ... (Sacramentum Caritatis, 62)
Therefore, considering what was first reported here, as well as the Final List of Propositions of the Synod, it would be unwise to express any disappointment. Particularly regarding the issue of priestly celibacy in the Latin Church, the exhortation ends the discussion for the foreseeable future; and regarding Communion to divorced and "remarried" persons, the exhortation establishes a solid doctrinal framework which cannot be easily undone.

There are certainly some untenable assertions, particularly regarding what could be described as the rewriting of the Liturgical History of the West - we hope to discuss them soon (and a few highlights, such as note 6); the document is, however, in its general composition, what could have been expected.

Sacramentum Caritatis

At 1100 GMT (1200 Rome; 0700 EDT), you will find the English version of the following document:


Official text in Latin.

The Encyclicals of March 1937: Mit brennender Sorge - I

Pius XI reaped the fruits of the principled stance of his predecessors for the liberty of the Church in many different countries.

In 1924, difficult negotiations, as well as post-Great War circumstances, induced the French Republic to accept the need to adapt the disgraceful legislation on the Associations Cultuelles to the needs and structure of the Catholic Church (Maximam Gravissimamque -- see our past article on the issue), a position which was only possible due to the holy "intransigence" of Pope Saint Pius X in defense of the rights of the Church.

A few years later, the holy "intransigence" of Pope Blessed Pius IX and his successors on the "Roman Question" also yielded good fruits in the form of the Lateran Pacts of 1929 (which did not have any kind of ideological meaning for the Vatican -- as the encyclical Non abbiamo bisogno would make clear in 1931).

The wild political winds which agitated Germany since the end of the Great War forced the Holy See to try to negotiate repeatedly with the Republic a legal agreement in accordance with the Weimar Constitution. Concordats were signed with Bavaria, Prussia, and Baden, but a national concordat was still rejected by the government in the early 1930s. The rise of Hitler and the dictatorial powers which the Reichstag afforded him with the Enabling Act of 1933 elevated the concern of the Holy See for the Catholic faithful, Catholic schools, and Catholic property in Germany to an alarming level.

An extremely weakened Franz von Papen was sent to Rome to negotiate the terms of a National Concordat (Reichskonkordat) with the new Secretary of State, Cardinal Pacelli (who had signed the first German concordat with the Free State of Bavaria as nuncio in Munich in 1924). The Concordat was signed in Rome on July 20, 1933 (in the picture, future Cardinals Pizzardo, Ottaviani, and Montini-Pope Paul VI stand next to Cardinal Pacelli-Pope Pius XII).

Pius XI himself describes his feelings about the Concordat at the time of negotiations in the first paragraphs of Mit brennender Sorge:

When, in 1933, We consented ... to open negotiations for a concordat, which the Reich Government proposed on the basis of a scheme of several years' standing; and when, to your unanimous satisfaction, We concluded the negotiations by a solemn treaty, We were prompted by the desire, as it behooved Us, to secure for Germany the freedom of the Church's beneficent mission and the salvation of the souls in her care, as well as by the sincere wish to render the German people a service essential for its peaceful development and prosperity. Hence, despite many and grave misgivings, We then decided not to withhold Our consent for We wished to spare the Faithful of Germany, as far as it was humanly possible, the trials and difficulties they would have had to face, given the circumstances, had the negotiations fallen through. It was by acts that We wished to make it plain, Christ's interests being Our sole object, that the pacific and maternal hand of the Church would be extended to anyone who did not actually refuse it.
The National-Socialist government confirmed in the post-Concordat period all papal misgivings, and worse:

...anyone must acknowledge, not without surprise and reprobation, how the other contracting party emasculated the terms of the treaty, distorted their meaning, and eventually considered its more or less official violation as a normal policy. The moderation We showed in spite of all this was not inspired by motives of worldly interest, still less by unwarranted weakness, but merely by Our anxiety not to draw out the wheat with the cockle; not to pronounce open judgment...
Despite all the pain which the persecution of Catholics caused to the heart of the Pontiff, the disobedience of the terms of the Concordat by the Reich's government was not his main concern (" the purpose of this letter"). Rather, the encyclical, signed on March 14, 1933 (the first letter of "the month of three encyclicals", though released only on Palm Sunday, 1937, after Divini Redemptoris) contained severe warnings against the "aggressive paganism" which the Nazi regime imposed throughout Germany:

Take care, Venerable Brethren, that above all, faith in God, the first and irreplaceable foundation of all religion, be preserved in Germany pure and unstained. The believer in God is not he who utters the name in his speech, but he for whom this sacred word stands for a true and worthy concept of the Divinity.
And here the Pope established clear doctrinal guidelines on what is true belief in God and what defines true faith in God:

[1.] Whoever identifies, by pantheistic confusion, God and the universe, by either lowering God to the dimensions of the world, or raising the world to the dimensions of God, is not a believer in God.

[2.] Whoever follows that so-called pre-Christian Germanic conception of substituting a dark and impersonal destiny for the personal God, denies thereby the Wisdom and Providence of God who "Reacheth from end to end mightily, and ordereth all things sweetly" (Wisdom viii. 1). Neither is he a believer in God.

[3.] 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.
Christian Rome could not be clearer about who the new barbarians were (in the picture, Albert Speer's "Cathedral of Light" in the Nuremberg Rallies of 1937).

Archbishop: Sobrino punished by CDF

Fernando Sáenz Lacalle, the archbishop of San Salvador (El Salvador), where Spanish "Liberation theologian" Jon Sobrino, SJ, resides, confirmed today that the Vatican has sanctioned him. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has notified Sobrino of the prohibition from teaching in any Catholic center "while he does not revise his conclusions; the divinity of Jesus Christ is a fundamental part of our faith, that [He] truly is the Son of God made Man".

Saénz, also a Spaniard, confirmed the information in a press conference held after Sunday Mass in the Metropolitan Cathedral, adding that "his writings have been studied for a long time [in the Vatican] and that warnings were issued years ago".

"What the Holy See states," said Sáenz, "is that the conclusions of the theological studies on Christ which Father Sobrino has published are not in agreement with the doctrine of the Church and that he will not be able to teach theology in any Catholic center [of studies] while he does not revise [such] conclusions."

"I pray to the Lord for Father Sobrino, so that he will be docile to the teachings of the Church and revise his conclusions," said the Archbishop, who added, at the behest of a journalist, that the heterodox conclusions of Sobrino are precisely those according to which Jesus Christ was "conscious of His humanity, but not of His divinity", an opinion which "is not Catholic."

Source: EFE news agency; tip: Periodista Digital.

For the Record

1. Father Laguérie on the nature and date of the document:

I do not know anything in particular on the famous "Motu Proprio", which should, for that matter, be [released] in the form of a decree. The two Cardinals who last spoke to me about it did not absolutely know its date, even though their personal conviction was that it would certainly see the light of day.

The best [thing] to say is that nobody knows anything [about this] and that the Pope decides by himself at the moment, which corresponds quite well to his way of doing [things].
2. From an article by Brian Mershon released by The Remnant:

Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro, Rome-based consultant to Una Voce America, confirmed that his Vatican sources have said the long awaited and much-rumored motu proprio easing restrictions on the Traditional Roman rite of Mass should be issued by Easter.

“I have information from a serious high level source that it is likely the motu proprio will be published before Easter,” Msgr. Barreiro said.


Msgr. Barreiro also said that the expected timing of the Traditional Latin Mass document’s promulgation is consistent with an opinion he heard from several other sources several months ago. He emphasized it would be important to carefully study Sacramentum Caritatis to determine if it holds any keys to understanding the expected motu proprio.