Rorate Caeli

A broad liturgical program for
the Hermeneutic of Continuity?
Luc Perrin

Luc Perrin, professor of Church History at the Faculté de Théologie Catholique of the University of Strasbourg 2-Marc Bloch, presents a selection, with comments, of the main aspects of the recent interview of the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW), Archbishop A. M. Ranjith, published by the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN).


Ranjith’s interview on the apostolic exhortation Sacramentum caritatis:
a broad program to make the December 22, 2005 papal hermeneutics of continuity a reality?

« It truly is a correction of course and should be welcomed, appreciated, studied and put into practice. » (Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don)

The Sri-Lankan number 2 of the Roman Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments already surprised Catholics last year with two interventions that were blunt. The official Roman language had previously banned serious examination of the so-called «Renewal», especially in the liturgical field. We have in this capital interview a sort of resurrection of a voice many bishops dreaded during 25 years – a voice which some faithful and priests have found, on the other hand, encouraging and conforting: the voice of Cardinal Ratzinger.

Is Archbishop Ranjith the spokesman of pope Benedict XVI? I am not suggesting it: who can tell?... But he is here certainly reflecting the pre-2005 public Ratzingerian way of thinking.

From the very beginning, with his evaluation of the «liturgical renewal initiated by Vatican Council II», Archbishop Ranjith used the 1984 Ratzingerian approach (the famous interview with V. Messori, published in English as The Ratzinger Report). The post-Vatican II Church is «a mixed bag of results»:

Among the positive changes, I see the use of vernacular languages in the liturgy, which helped to lead the faithful to better understand the word of God, the rubrics of the liturgy itself, and a more responsive and shared participation in the celebration of the sacred mysteries.

Adaptations to local cultural practices have also been tried, though not always with good results. The use of the vernacular has at times helped in generating a theological vocabulary in the local idiom that eventually could be helpful to evangelization and the presentation of the message of the gospel to those of non-Christian religious traditions, which constitute the overwhelming majority of the people of Asia.

Some negative aspects have been the quasi total abandonment of the Latin language, tradition and chant; a far too facile interpretation of what could be absorbed from local cultures into the liturgy; a sense of misunderstanding of the true nature, content and meaning of the Roman rite and its norms and rubrics, which led to an attitude of free experimentation; a certain anti-Roman "feeling," and an uncritical acceptance of all kinds of "novelties" resulting from a secularizing and humanistic theological and liturgical mindset overtaking the West.

The spreading of these novelties is clearly linked to «some foreign missionaries who brought them from their own mother countries or by locals who had been to those countries on visits or for studies and had let themselves be uncritically absorbed into a kind of "free spirit" that some circles had created around the Council».

In other words, the corrupted well were Western European and North American Catholic institutions for theological and priestly training: when the Archbishop speaks of Asia, he has always a thought for us in the secularized West. What is said here for Asia could also be applied to Africa —and parts of Latin America— in the past 30 years. One major reorientation of John Paul II was to restore Catholic teaching in the so-called Catholic universities and seminaries (Ex Corde Ecclesiae, 1990); the development of an Asian school of theologies, mostly deviant, shows among other examples that there is work to be done to achieve this goal.

Thus, Archbishop Ranjith is at odds with the standard evaluation of this «Renewal», as the second proposition of 2005 Synod repeated it, coined by the neo-liturgists' ideology:

«Proposition 2

The Liturgical Reform of Vatican II

The Synodal Assembly recalled with gratitude the beneficial influence that the liturgical reform carried out since the Second Vatican Council has had for the life of the Church. It has highlighted the beauty of the Eucharistic action that shines in the liturgical rite. Abuses were verified in the past; they are not even lacking today, although they have diminished greatly. However, such incidents cannot darken the goodness and validity of the reform, which still has riches that are not totally explored; rather, they call for greater care in regard to the "ars celebrandi," which favors "actuosa participatio."»

Moreover he links from the beginning the notion of inculturation with the Liturgical Question, and very wisely so. We are here far from some «abuses», which have in no way «diminished», or from a mere «ars celebrandi» problem. We are at the core of the mission, so we are at the core of what the Church is and has to do in this world. Liturgy is a mirror for a comprehensive vision of the Church that has to be corrected: «it truly is a correction of course».

Departing from «a kind of empiricist horizontalism» to go back to the real Vatican II Council would be the key and Ranjith looks at the exhortation as a crowning achievement of the Wojtylian struggle:

One could, in a certain sense, state that documents such as Ecclesia de Eucharistia ("The Church [draws her life] from the Eucharist," encyclical "On the Eucharist in its Relationship to the Church," Pope John Paul II, April 17, 2003), Liturgiam Authenticam ("Authentic Liturgy", instruction "On the Use of Vernacular Languages in the Publication of the Books of the Roman Liturgy," Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, May 7, 2001), and Redemptionis Sacramentum ("Sacrament of Redemption," instruction "On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist," Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, April 23, 2004) already started the needed adjustments reflective of the indications of the Council.

Sacramentum Caritatis crowns it all with a truly profound, mystical and yet so very easily understandable catechesis on the Eucharist ... .

The Archbishop gives some examples from the Asian experience which are valid everywhere: these examples are give some concreteness to the general concept of the hermeneutics of continuity.

Among those mentioned:

  • « As I mentioned, Asia is deeply mystical and conscious of the value of the Sacred in human life, moving a human being to look for the deeper mysteries of religion and spirituality. The tendency to banalise the celebration of the Eucharist through a somewhat horizontal orientation, often visible in modern times. is not consonant with that search. Hence, the general orientation of the document is good for Asia. » [and, we can say, good for the whole Church.]

  • Here is an idea of this general orientation : «In mind and heart, however, we follow secular ways and values. If we are truly Asian, we should focus more attention on the mysticism of Jesus, His message of salvation, the great value of prayer, contemplation, detachment, simplicity of life, devoutness and reflection and the value of silence, and forms of liturgical celebration that focus great attention on the sacred and the transcendent. We Asians cannot be secularists who do not see anything beyond the visible and the tangible».

  • Ranjith often praises the positive, necessary, role of Tradition: «People in Asia are a worshipping people, with worship forms that are centuries old and not inventions of any single individual.» ; «a treasure handed down to the Church by its bi-millennial tradition».

  • Rubrics are praised, which is the opposite of what neo-liturgical theory teaches: «Adherence to rubrics in the other religious traditions in Asia is strict. Besides, their rubrics are profoundly reflective of the special role of the sacred. Thus, the seriousness recommended by the Supreme Pontiff is very much in consonance with Asian ways of worship».

  • Stricter guidelines, «parameters», to inculturation: «Yet, already Sacrosanctum Concilium indicated clear parameters within which the adaptations of the liturgy to local cultural patterns are to be carried out. (...) Sacramentum Caritatis follows the same line, that adaptations of liturgy to local cultural traditions be handled according to the stipulations of the various directives of the Church and in keeping with a proper sense of balance "between the criteria and directives already issued and new adaptations" [no. 54], and these too "always in accord with the apostolic see" [ibid. 54]. In short, inculturation through adaptations, yes, but always within clear parameters that ensure nobility and orthodoxy ». We are very often far from such parameters: «A closer spirit of cooperation with the Holy See in this matter would be needed. There is too much drifting in the matter and even an attitude of "who cares?" that leaves everything to free interpretation and the creativity of single persons». This «who cares?» attitude is certainly not restricted to Asia, alas!

  • On a very practical level, the Archbishop notes the relevance of Liturgical gestures, vestments, and utensils: «By inconsistency I mean practices we introduce as adaptations but per se are incompatible with our culture, like just a bow instead of genuflection or prostration before the holy Eucharist, or communion in the hand received standing, which is far below levels of consideration given to the sacred in Asia. In some countries, instead of introducing liturgical vestments or utensils reflective of local values, their use has been reduced to a minimum, or even abandoned. I was at times shocked to see priests and even bishops celebrating or concelebrating without the proper liturgical attire. This is not inculturation but de-culturation, if such a word exists ».

  • More extensively, Ranjith points to the ordinary use of religious garb in non-Christian Asian religions: «Take, for example, the large scale abandonment of the cassock or religious garb by many priests and religious in Asia, even missionaries. They hardly understood that in Asian culture, persons dedicated to God or religion are always visible in his or her own garb, like the Buddhist monk or the Hindu sannyasi (holy man). This shows we do not understand what inculturation truly means ». Even outside Asia, the religious garb is making religion visible and perfectly understood as such.

  • Ranjith provides an apologia for a strict reading of Vatican II constitution on Liturgy, for example regarding the use of Latin: «The point is that the vernacular is not the normal language of the liturgy for Sacrosanctum Concilium but Latin, with permission being granted for the vernacular to be used in specific areas such as the readings, some prayers and chants and parts that pertain to the people. What is remarkable is that it advocates the use of Latin even in "those parts of the ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them" [SC 54]».

  • Then he goes as far as this, once again thinking upon the Asian reference where Latin, like everywhere else, was banned from the Liturgical life: «This is rather unfortunate. I am not sure if there is a marked yearning for a return of Latin in the liturgy in Asia. I hope it would be so. Some Catholics who are aware of the beauty of Latin do express such a desire. They have seen or come to experience liturgies celebrated in Latin in Rome or elsewhere and are fascinated by it. Others are fascinated by the old Latin rite, the Pius V Mass now being celebrated in some places of Asia. But the larger portion of Asian Catholics is still unaware of the value of Latin in the holy Mass. I wonder what they would say if some form of Latin is reintroduced. They might like it and, knowing the spirit of devotion that Asian Catholics carry within themselves, it would certainly help deepen their faith even further. Our people know that not all divine realities are within the reach of human understanding and that there should be room for some sense of spiritual mystery in worship. Besides, it would be good for the Church in Asia not to remain cut off from new trends emerging universally, one of which is a fresh appreciation of the church's bi-millennial Latin heritage. This is not to say we ought to abandon the vernacular and embrace Latin in toto. A sound and sober use of Latin as well as the vernacular, on the lines of Sacrosanctum Concilium, would be a gain for all. Besides, in Asia some other religions have preserved an official "liturgical" language, like Sanskrit for Hinduism and Pali for Buddhism. These are not spoken languages but are used only in worship. Are they not teaching us a lesson that a "liturgical language" which is not in common use can better express an inner mysticism of the "sacred" in worship?».

  • Then we find a fervent defense of the demand on training future priests in Latin and singing Gregorian chant. To the question «Will Asia's seminaries welcome it?», Ranjith responds and the whole text is worth to be read by North and South Americans, Europeans, and Africans just as well: «There is no question of a welcoming. I think it is a need, and rather than falling into a well of isolationist narrow mindedness or a purely empiricist approach to faith that, by the way, is not Asian and does not leave room for an understanding of that which is transcendent, our priests and seminarians should be encouraged to open out to the wider reality of their faith, which is Catholic and universal, its bi-millennial roots and development and its mystical and sacred dimensions. And since Latin has been at the very root of much of the developments in theology, liturgy, and ecclesial discipline all along, seminarians and priests should be encouraged to learn and use it.

    «This would help the church in Asia not only to grasp better the content of the depositum fidei (deposit of faith) and its development, but also discover a theological language of its own, capable of presenting the faith to the peoples of Asia convincingly [cfr. Ecclesia in Asia 20]. Learning Latin is in no way a going backward but, on the contrary, going forward. Only thus could a truly profound process of inculturation take place. Any so-called theology not rooted in the fonts of sacred scriptures and the tradition of the Church, prayed on one's knees and illumined by the light of a holy life is but empty noise-making and would lead only to disorder and confusion.

    «The same is true of liturgy. Latin is the ordinary liturgical language of the church. In the origin and development of the Roman rite, it had a major role to play. Thus, a sufficient knowledge of this language would facilitate a better understanding and appreciation of the beauty of what is celebrated. As the holy father stated, "the beauty of the liturgy is part of this mystery; it is a sublime expression of God's glory and, in a certain sense, a glimpse of heaven on earth" [Sacr. Carit. 35].

    «Celebrating in Latin thus would help build a sense of awe and respect as well as a profound spiritual link with what the Lord himself inspired the Church to assume as its form of worship. This openness to Latin would also help the students appreciate better the role of Gregorian chant in the church. The holy father wishes that it "be suitably esteemed and employed" as it is the "chant proper to the Roman liturgy" [Sacr. Carit. 42]. Learning the simplicity and beauty of this great body of chant would also help musically talented priests and seminarians in Asia to be inspired by it and be able to compose dignified and prayerful chant forms that can harmonize better with the local culture. It would be presumptuous to assume that using Gregorian chant would harm inculturation of the liturgy. It could actually be beneficial.»

But the gentle Archbishop kept a final "bouquet of lights", as in a display of fireworks: we have in this interview a sort of reference book for the so-called «reform of the reform», which Joseph Ratzinger wanted to launch in 2001. Archbishop Ranjith Patabendige Don also confirms his own evaluation, exposed in the Summer of 2006.

This final note is the quotation, by Ranjith, of a genuine prophecy by cardinal Antonelli, who belonged to the Bugnini Consilium of 1964-1969 [it seems the publication of the thesis from which Antonelli’s words were taken, Il Card. Ferdinando Antonelli e gli sviluppi della riforma liturgica dal 1948 al 1970 (Studia Anselmiana, Roma, 1998), authored by Nicola Gianpietro, was not welcome by the then secretary of CDW, a Bugnini disciple].

We are here closer to J. Ratzinger's The Spirit of The Liturgy (2000) than the self-praise of the original second proposition of the 2005 Synod.

«The post-conciliar reform of the Liturgy, though laudable in some aspects, had not been all that faithful to the spirit of the council.

As Cardinal Ferdinando Antonelli, a member of the commission that worked on the reform then, attested: "I am not happy about the spirit. There is a spirit of criticism and impatience towards the Holy See which would not augur well. And then, everything is a study on the rationality of the liturgy and no concern for true piety. I am afraid that one day one would say of all this reform what was said about the reform of the hymns at the time of Urban VIII: accepit liturgia recessit pietas (as liturgy progresses, piety goes backward); and here accepit liturgia recessit devotio (as liturgy progresses, devotion goes backward). I hope I am wrong" [from the diaries of Cardinal Antonelli, April 30, 1965].

We have seen a lot of banalization and obscuring of the mystical and sacred aspects of the liturgy in many areas of the church in the name of a so-called "Konzilsgeist" (council spirit).

In the last 20 years or so, the Church has sought to set the course of liturgical reform straight and in line with the indications of Sacrosanctum Concilium. Documents such as Liturgiam Authenticam, Varietates legitimae, Redemptionis Sacramentum and Ecclesia de Eucharistia are part of that attempt, and Sacramentum Caritatis, which is a collegial document in that it collects the propositions of the bishops' Synod on the Holy Eucharist, is the culminating moment, I would say, of that course of "setting things right." It truly is a correction of course and should be welcomed, appreciated, studied and put into practice.

The cultural heritage of Asia is deeply religious and conscious of the value of the sacred and mystical in human life. So the church in Asia should welcome this document and its orientations, which are directed very much towards a restoration of the profound values of spirituality and faith into liturgy most wholeheartedly and take necessary steps to implement its indications as zealously and as faithfully as possible.

This is my wish for the Church in Asia, the continent of mysticism».

It is undoubtedly the wish of many for the whole Church. The main interrogation remains, just as for all previous documents: will it be «welcomed, appreciated, studied and put into practice»? Have we got an episcopate able to welcome, appreciate, study, and put into practice this crucial «correction of course»?

The fact that this interview is given in a somewhat discreet mode, the other fact that this broad and wise interpretation is, for the moment, expressed only by the secretary of CDW, and pretty much ignored by the episcopal college – both considerations show there is much work to be done, either in Rome to provide proper workers to the Lord's vineyard or in our various communities to promote the need for a «correction of course».

The repeatedly postponed «motu proprio» freeing the Traditional Roman Rite, which is not mentioned in Sacramentum caritatis, is also a proof that not everyone has understood, as the Archbishop did, the dynamics of «new trends emerging universally, one of which is a fresh appreciation of the Church's bi-millennial Latin heritage ».

The Church has not the power to reform her own Constitution

Subiecti igitur estote omni humanæ creaturæ propter Deum: sive regi quasi præcellenti: sive ducibus tamquam ab eo missis ad vindictam malefactorum, laudem vero bonorum: quia sic est voluntas Dei, ut benefacientes obmutescere faciatis imprudentium hominum ignorantiam: quasi liberi, et non quasi velamen habentes malitiæ libertatem, sed sicut servi Dei. Omnes honorate: fraternitatem diligite: Deum timete: regem honorificate. (From the Epistle for the Third Sunday after Easter, I Peter, ii, 13-17: Be ye subject therefore to every human creature for God's sake: whether it be to the king as excelling, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of the good: for so is the will of God, that by doing well you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: as free, and not as making liberty a cloak for malice, but as the servants of God. Honor all men: love the brotherhood: fear God: honor the king.)

...if every political form is good by itself and may be applied to the government of nations, the fact still remains that political power is not found in all nations under the same form; each has its own. This form springs from a combination of historical or national, though always human, circumstances which, in a nation, give rise to its traditional and even fundamental laws, and by these is determined the particular form of government, the basis of transmission of supreme power.

It were useless to recall that all individuals are bound to accept these governments and not to attempt their overthrow or a change in their form. Hence it is that the Church, the guardian of the truest and highest idea of political sovereignty, since she has derived it from God, has always condemned men who rebelled against legitimate authority and disapproved their doctrines. And that too at the very time when the custodians of power used it against her, thereby depriving themselves of the strongest support given their authority and of efficacious means of obtaining from the people obedience to their laws. And apropos of this subject, We cannot lay too great stress upon the precepts given to the first Christians by the Prince of the apostles in the midst of persecutions: "Honor all men: love the brotherhood: fear God: honor the king"; and those of St. Paul: "I desire, therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men: For kings and for all who are in high station, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all piety and chastity. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our Savior."

However, here it must be carefully observed that whatever be the form of civil power in a nation, it cannot be considered so definitive as to have the right to remain immutable, even though such were the intention of those who, in the beginning, determined it. Only the Church of Jesus Christ has been able to preserve, and surely will preserve unto the consummation of time, her form of government. Founded by Him who was, who is, and who will be forever, she has received from Him, since her very origin, all that she requires for the pursuing of her divine mission across the changeable ocean of human affairs. And, far from wishing to transform her essential constitution, she has not the power even to relinquish the conditions of true liberty and sovereign independence with which Providence has endowed her in the general interest of souls.

The hermeneutic of discontinuity risks ending in a split between the pre-conciliar Church and the post-conciliar Church. It asserts that the texts of the [Second Vatican] Council as such do not yet express the true spirit of the Council. It claims that they are the result of compromises in which, to reach unanimity, it was found necessary to keep and reconfirm many old things that are now pointless. However, the true spirit of the Council is not to be found in these compromises but instead in the impulses toward the new that are contained in the texts.

The nature of a Council as such is therefore basically misunderstood. In this way, it is considered as a sort of constituent that eliminates an old constitution and creates a new one. However, the Constituent Assembly needs a mandator and then confirmation by the mandator, in other words, the people the constitution must serve. The Fathers had no such mandate and no one had ever given them one; nor could anyone have given them one because the essential constitution of the Church comes from the Lord and was given to us so that we might attain eternal life and, starting from this perspective, be able to illuminate life in time and time itself.

We told you so...

As predicted here a few days ago, the preposterous attacks against the Mass have started, BBC Europe leads the charge:
Pope Benedict's plans to revive the Latin Mass, which includes prayers for the conversion of Jews, is causing concern among Catholic and Jewish groups about relations between their faiths.

For the record

Ultra-"progressive" Vaticanist Marco Politi in today's issue of La Repubblica reports on the motu proprio on the liberalization of the Traditional Mass, but he does not mention any specific date; nor does he add any particularly new information on the matter:

The Papal decree on the Mass of Pius V in Latin, which will be broadly authorised even with some significant changes regarding the Missal of 1570, is also predicted for soon.
These "changes" to the Missal of 1570 mentioned by Politi are exactly those already known by Catholics familiar with the Editio Typica of 1962.

Source: La Repubblica; transcript at Papa Ratzinger.

Tip: Father Zuhlsdorf.


Exactly one year ago, we asked for prayers against the advance of the culture of death in Latin America:

The abortion lobby, led by the United Nations, the European Union, and by American and European Foundations, is fighting with all of its diabolical strength to institute abortion on demand in Latin America, the second Land of Mary, Tierra de María.

Every single day, from Colombia to Argentina, from Nicaragua to Brazil, from Peru to Mexico, more efforts of the diabolical forces are revealed. ...

If it is possible, add a prayer to your daily schedule so that the culture of death and of hatred of the unborn shall not prevail in Latin America.

The legislature of the Federal District of Mexico (Mexico City), where a majority of current legislators is composed of heirs to the anti-Catholic Mexican "Revolution", has just passed a bill allowing the killing of babies with impunity up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. Tepeyac, as Fatima before it, has become a land of death.

Human sacrifice is once again acceptable in Tenochtitlan.



Sancte Michaël Archangele,
defende nos in prælio.
Contra nequitiam
et insidias diaboli
esto præsidium.
Imperet illi Deus,
supplices deprecamur.
Tuque, princeps militiæ caelestis,
Satanam aliosque
spiritus malignos,
qui ad perditionem animarum
pervagantur in mundo,
divina virtute in
infernum detrude.

Amerio is back!

ROMA, April 23, 2007 – In “La Civiltà Cattolica,” the magazine of the Rome Jesuits printed with the prior scrutiny and authorization of the Vatican secretariat of state, a review has been published that signals the end of a taboo.

The taboo is the one that has obliterated from public discussion, for decades, the thought of the most authoritative and erudite representative of criticism of the twentieth century Church in the name of the great Tradition: the Swiss philologist and philosopher Romano Amerio (in the photo), who died in Lugano in 1997, at the age of 92.

[From the review:]

...Of course, it is not possible to share the negative judgment extended to the Council in its entirety and to all the positive things it produced. ...
Read whole article at Chiesa.
ora pro nobis!

Tiny comment

It is not worthwhile to write a lengthy post on the study by the International Theological Commission, which: (1) did not (and could not...) "abolish" limbo; (2) is not a Papal document neither a Magisterial document of any kind; (3) is not binding for anyone, but purely a theological exercise.

Well-informed Catholics cannot fall into the traps set by ill-informed or malicious secular journalists! We said what we had to say on the matter last year:

The Magisterial definitions, which no Pope may ever alter, and which the merely consultative ITC can never even touch, will remain unaltered, in 2006 as in 2008, in 2008 as in 1794...

Greatly recommended article: Could Limbo Be 'Abolished'?, by Father Brian Harrison.

After months of hesitation...

...even John Allen confirms the inevitable release of the motu proprio on the liberalization of the Traditional Roman Mass.

Yes, this is the same John Allen who said that there was no "consensus" among "Vatican officials" on any such document -- as if the Pope would ever draft such a document based on a consensus which would never take place. Let us remember what we wrote exactly one year ago:

His many meetings regarding the same issues are not to find consensus, which he does not need to enact any measure, but to guide the Vatican machinery to whatever he has planned to do, particularly in the cases where there is no consensus at all: the need for meetings is greatly reduced when the issue involved is the object of majoritarian consensus among the members of an organization, and that is true in any organization of any size.


So much for a "blogosphere" fever... It is obvious that, whatever he wishes to do, Pope Benedict wishes to do so in a smooth way. But one cannot simply say he wants "consensus", and dismiss all that is related to the issue because a "Vatican Official" said "there is no consensus". The Pope already got his consensus: an almost unanimous consensus from representatives of all bishops of the world meeting in the Synod of Bishops that "the Traditionalist question" was irrelevant to them; and they were clearly AGAINST any concession. This "consensus" did not prevent the developments of the subsequent months.

And we presented our own view of Mr Allen:

Allen is a fine fellow, but he is more a newsmaker than a news gatherer, in the best "tradition" of contemporary American Church reporters, such as Robert Blair Kaiser. He and his sources wish to influence events or to alter the way future decisions are perceived and interpreted, and that is how his words should be read.
We should add now: they wish "to influence events or to alter the way future decisions are perceived and interpreted" in a dishonest way. And Allen does that even today, as he "reports", while having to admit the inevitable release of the motu proprio, that "most bishops, pastors and liturgical experts whom I've polled believe that with or without the motu proprio, the normal liturgical experience for the overwhelming majority of Catholics will continue to be the post-Vatican II Mass in the vernacular language."

Were these the same "officials" whom he interviewed last year? The ones who said a consensus was in any way necessary for the Pope to act?... The motu proprio will be a huge deal and it will have a major impact -- particularly, in a first moment, in France and, possibly even more, in the United States, with its large mass of "disenfranchised" orthodox and liturgically-minded Catholics. Naturally, "progressive" bishops will try to ditch it, and "progressive" spin doctors will try to undermine its enormous significance, as they are already trying to do.

One last point: John Allen's piece gives us a glimpse into the double-pronged strategy that the enemies of the Mass will probably employ to undermine the motu proprio: (a) downplay the importance and reach of the document; (b) try to link the Mass with anti-Semitism.

Pro-death group in Ecclesiastical building in São Paulo
Situation unchanged despite Pope's visit

Last October, we published a post on the scandalous situation of the Brazilian headquarters of the pro-death organization "Catholics for a Free Choice", which is housed in a Catholic-owned building owned by the Carmelite Fathers in the city of São Paulo -- the city which Pope Benedict will visit for three days in just a few weeks. Here is our October post:


We do not remember ever seeing this reported in English, so we thank the reader who pointed it to us. From the website of ACI (the Spanish and Portuguese version of the Catholic News Agency):

Sao Paulo, July 21 2006 (ACI) - The polemical feminist abortionist organization self-identified as "Catholics for a Free Choice" (CFFC) has rented an ample space in an ecclesiastical building owned by the Carmelite province of Saint Elias [Province of Rio de Janeiro of the Carmelite Fathers, O.Carm.], fostering suspicion and discomfort among the faithful.

The Carmelites rented the entire sixth floor of the building to the group which identifies itself as Catholic, yet promotes open campaigns against the Catholic faith and hierarchy.

The CFFC are now neighbors to the South Regional [Branch] of the Brazilian Episcopal Conference (CNBB), which is based on the fifth floor, and of the headquarters of the Brazilian Religious Conference, based on the seventh [floor].

The false Catholics have recently announced the course "Deconstruction of the taboos of the Historically-built Catholic Thought", which openly attacks the teachings of the Church and which will be ministered in the Carmelite space.

The CFFC affirm that the course "will include questions which put in question Catholic thought regarding virginity, the use of contraceptive methods, maternity as fate, homosexuality, and abortion.["]

Curiously, university professors, leaders of feminist movements, homosexuals, and also pastoral agents of the Catholic Church were invited.

Well, we thought this piece of news was pretty incredible, so we contacted a dear reader from Sao Paulo (who gave us this report of animist ceremonies in the Cathedral of Cardinal Hummes, Archbishop of São Paulo, in the past) and he confirmed it.

In fact, it is pretty simple to check the facts. First, if one visits the webpage of Catholics for a Free Choice, the links to its International Partners include one to its Brazilian branch, with its postal address. In case they erase it, that is the postal address recorded in the CFFC website:

Rua Sebastião Soares de Faria, 57
60 Andar
01317-010 São Paulo SP
"6TH floor", exactly as the report mentions.

Then, if one googles the names "Sul", "Regional", and "CNBB" (which stand for "South", "Regional", and "Brazilian Episcopal Conference", as used in the original report), one finds the website for this regional episcopal conference, whose address is:

"Rua Prof. Sebastião S. de Faria, 57 5º andar
São Paulo / SP CEP: 01317-010"
Same address, "5th floor".


Despite the Papal visit, which we thought would awaken the sense of shame among the Catholic hierarchy in São Paulo and throughout Brazil, the situation has remained the same, as our São Paulo correspondents have confirmed. We beg all our readers to send their protest (in any language) regarding this outrageous situation to one or several of the following e-mail addresses:

His Eminence, the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Franc Cardinal Rodé, C.M. :

His Excellency, the Archbishop Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Archbishop Gianfranco Agostino Gardin, O.F.M. Conv. :

Prior General of the General Curia of the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Father Carlo Cicconetti:

Vice-Prior of the General Curia of the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Father Kevin Alban:

Archbishop Odilo Pedro Scherer, new Archbishop of São Paulo and General Secretary of the Brazilian Episcopal Conference (CNBB):

Spokesman of the Archdiocese of São Paulo:

Spokeswoman of the Papal Visit to São Paulo:

Deo gratias!

When, after even Portugal allowed the killing of babies in their mothers' wombs, the abortionist wave seemed unstoppable around the world, the Supreme Court of the United States surprisingly handed down a tiny and convoluted, but nonetheless historic, victory for life.

Dear American readers, the fight is on for a truly pro-life Supreme Court to be chosen (by the people) by way of the Presidential elections of 2008, a Court in which the concurring words of Justice Thomas ["I write separately to reiterate my view that the Court's abortion jurisprudence, including Casey and Roe v. Wade, 410 U. S. 113 (1973), has no basis in the Constitution."] may one day be the opinion of a solid majority.

Fidei Donum - 50 years of the gift of Faith
Duc in altum!

It is hard to measure the practical influence of most papal documents. Some, maybe even most, of these documents aim not to have any influence in the daily activities of the Church Militant, but to confirm its members in the Apostolic Faith whose main guarantor is Peter himself -- and many of them, particularly after the Second Vatican Council, have been completely ignored.

But if there is a modern pontifical text whose tangible effects are with us up to the present, it is Fidei Donum, signed on April 21, 1957, the great encyclical of the late pontificate of Pope Pius XII, of most venerable memory. While Catholicism struggles not only in rich nations, but increasingly in Latin America (where the percentage of Catholics declines seemingly inexorably, which is the great theme of the Fifth General Conference of the CELAM), it has continued to flourish in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The post-colonial age was dawning in Africa in the late 1950s, and the future of Catholicism in the independent African nations seemed uncertain. Could a populist "nationalist" backlash ("the dangerous narrowness of excessive love of country", as Pius XII calls it) threaten the Church in the continent? How could the difficult missions be kept with less money, with very few native-born priests and religious men and women, with the eyes and the resources of the former European powers turned toward themselves in a new post-colonial arrangement to which the former colonies would not be invited?

Pius XII realised that the great progress of Catholicism in Africa (and also elsewhere, but particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa: "Considering the healthy progress made by the Church in Africa during recent decades, Christians have every right to rejoice and feel justly proud.") was under threat ("We deem it fitting at the present moment to direct your serious attention to Africa"): what measures could be taken so that the main task of the Church, the salvation of souls, would not be hurt by the new geopolitical situation? As Pope Pius warned:

Now that those who hate God are zealously bringing their insidious attacks to bear upon this great continent, other serious difficulties have arisen to hinder the spread of the Gospel in certain districts of Africa. Of course, you know the religious tenets of those people who, although they are quick to profess that they worship God, nevertheless are easily attracting and enticing the minds of many into another path which is not that of Jesus Christ, the Savior of all nations. Our heart, which is that of the common Father of all, is open to every man of good will; but We, who are the representative on earth of Him, Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, cannot contemplate such a situation without great sorrow.

The main experts on African missions -- including the Archbishop of Dakar, Marcel Lefebvre, C.S.Sp. -- were called to help the Pontiff draft his practical proposals and exhortations to the Church Universal so that Catholic missions in Africa could move forward.

The main proposal was the creation of the "Fidei Donum missionaries":

Another form of assistance, which is more burdensome, has been undertaken by some bishops who, despite the difficulties attendant upon so doing, have permitted this or that priest of the diocese to go and spend some time in working for the bishops of Africa. This procedure has the exceptional result of allowing the wise and well-planned establishment of specialized forms of the priestly ministry, such as taking charge of teaching the secular and sacred sciences for which the local clergy have not been trained. We are happy to encourage these timely and fruitful undertakings. If this course of action is taken with due preparation, very important advantages will accrue to the Catholic Church in present-day Africa, which has its full measure of both difficulties and hopes.

Despite the upheaval which shook the Church after the Second Vatican Council, the number of souls which have been led to the one true Faith by the work of Fidei Donum priests and religious, in Africa and elsewhere, is incalculable. With Pius XII, let us ask for the intercession of "Saint Francis Xavier and Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, the protection of all holy Martyrs, and the powerful maternal help of the Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, Queen of the Apostles" for the propagation of the faith and for the work of so many Fidei Donum priestly and lay missionaries around the world:"it is Our pleasure to repeat to the Church the victorious words of her Divine Founder: 'Duc in altum' [Put out into the deep]".


Pray for Catholic missionaries in Africa, especially for those of communities attached to the Traditional Roman Rite.

You can also help the missions of Traditional Catholic communities in Africa by visiting their websites (for the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter-FSSP, for instance, check here). // URGENT PRAYER REQUEST: "Please pray for Abbé Thibault Tantin, deacon of the Institute of Christ the King working in the Mission of Mayumba, Gabon (French Africa). He was in a very serious car accident with his father on April 15, 2007. He is in a coma and his condition is very critical; his father's less critical. Your urgent prayers for Abbé Tantin, and his father,are deeply appreciated. God reward you." (Tip: reader)

For the record

The Holy Father presided over an unannounced meeting with the heads of dicasteries of the Roman Curia this morning.


1. Do not be unreasonably concerned with the actual date of the document on the "liberalization" of the Traditional rites of the Latin Church. It will come out.


2. It is open season on Portuguese babies, as the "conservative" president of the Portuguese Republic signs into law the Socialist-inspired abortion bill. Even if there were no moral questions involved in the wholesale slaughter of future generations of Portuguese children, also with the use of public funds, it is once again impossible not to notice the curious way Europe has chosen to deal with its impending demographic collapse...

May Our Lady of the Rosary, our own patron saints -- the Italian-born Franciscan Protomartyrs, buried in Coimbra, Portugal --, as well as Saint Anthony of Padua, who was inspired by their great example, intercede to Almighty God for that once deeply Catholic nation.

Unfortunately, from a demographic point of view, one must note that Europe seems to be following a path that could lead to its departure from history. ... One could almost think that the European continent is in fact losing faith in its own future. ... The process of European unification itself is evidently not shared by all, due to the prevailing impression that various "chapters" in the European project have been "written" without taking into account the aspirations of its citizens.


A community built without respect for the true dignity of the human being, disregarding the fact that every person is created in the image of God ends up doing no good to anyone. For this reason it seems ever more important that Europe be on guard against the pragmatic attitude, widespread today, which systematically justifies compromise on essential human values, as if it were the inevitable acceptance of a lesser evil. This kind of pragmatism, even when presented as balanced and realistic, is in reality neither, since it denies the dimension of values and ideals inherent in human nature.


[And a message to our European readers:]

Dear friends, I know how difficult it is for Christians to defend this truth of the human person. Nevertheless do not give in to fatigue or discouragement! You know that it is your duty, with God's help, to contribute to the consolidation of a new Europe which will be realistic but not cynical, rich in ideals and free from naïve illusions, inspired by the perennial and life-giving truth of the Gospel.


Recess for a few days; urgent news may be posted at any time.

"Behold, ye despisers"

Surgens Paulus, et manu silentium indicens, ait: "Viri fratres, filii generis Abraham, et qui in vobis timent Deum, vobis verbum salutis huius missum est. ... nos vobis annuntiamus eam, quæ ad patres nostros repromissio facta est: quoniam hanc Deus adimplevit filiis nostris, resuscitans Iesum Christum Dominum nostrum." [from the Lesson for Tuesday in the Octave of Easter, Acts of the Apostles xiii, 16, 26, 32-33: Paul standing up, and with his hand bespeaking silence, said, "Men, brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you fear God, to you the word of this salvation is sent. ... And we declare unto you that the promise which was made to our fathers, the same God hath fulfilled to our children, raising up Our Lord Jesus Christ."]


The first great sermon preached by Saint Paul and recorded in the Bible was the one he addressed to the audience of the synagogue at Antioch of Pisidia [Acts of the Apostles xiii, 16-41], the center of which was the message of resurrection — which is why it was made the lesson for Easter Tuesday, according to the immemorial paschal tradition of the Church of Rome. Saint John Chrysostom used the Pauline lesson to severely warn the "People of the Resurrection": what is the use of purporting to believe in the Resurrection of the Lord if the baptised act as the "despisers" [Acts of the Apostles xiii, 41]?

"He has raised up Jesus again" [v. 33]... Yes, upon this the rest follows of course. Why did he not allege some text by which they would be persuaded that forgiveness of sins [v. 38: ...through him forgiveness of sins is preached to you...] is by Him? Because the great point with them was to show, in the first place, that He was risen: this being acknowledged, the rest was unquestionable. ... And, besides, he wished to bring them to a longing desire of this great thing. Well, then, His death was not dereliction, but fulfilling of Prophecy — for the rest, he puts them in mind of historical facts, since they through ignorance would suffer evils without number. And this he hints in the conclusion, saying, "Behold, ye despisers," and so forth... [v. 41]

And observe how, this being harsh, he cuts it short. Let not that, he says, come upon you, which was spoken for the others ... . Wonder not that it seems incredible: this very thing was foretold from the first [i.e. that it would not be believed]. "Behold, ye despisers," refers to those who disbelieve in the Resurrection. ...

This too might with reason be said to us: "Behold, ye despisers." For the Church indeed is in a very sad situation, although you think her affairs to be in peace. For the mischief of it is, that while we labor under so many evils, we do not even know that we have any.

"What do you say? We are in possession of our Churches, our Church property, and all the rest, the services are held, the congregation comes to Church every day!" True, but one is not to judge the state of a Church from these things! From what then? Whether there be piety, whether we return home with profit each day, whether reaping some fruit, be it much or little, whether we do it not merely of routine and for the formal acquittance of a duty.

Who has become a better man by attending [daily] liturgies for a whole month? That is the point: otherwise, the very thing which seems to bespeak a flourishing condition does in fact bespeak an ill condition, when all this is done, and nothing comes of it. ... indeed, as things are, it turns out even for the worse!

What fruit do you get from your services? Surely if you were getting any profit from them, you ought to have been long leading the life of true wisdom, with so many prophets ... discoursing to you, so many Apostles, and Evangelists, all setting forth the doctrines of salvation, and placing before you with much exactness that which can set the character aright. The soldier by going to his drill, becomes more perfect in his tactics; the wrestler by frequenting the gymnastic ground becomes more skilful in wrestling; the physician by attending on his teacher becomes more accurate, and knows more, and learns more: and you — what have you gained?

I speak not to those who have been members of the Church for only a year, but to those who from their earliest age have been attending [Church]. Do you think that to be religious is to be constant in Church-going? This is nothing, unless we reap some fruit for ourselves: if [from the gathering together in Church] we do not gather something for ourselves, it would be better to remain at home. For our forefathers built the Churches for us, not just to bring us together from our private houses and show us one to another: this could have been done also in a marketplace, and in baths, and in public parades! — but to bring together learners and teachers, and make the one better by means of the other.

With us it has all become mere customary routine, and formal discharge of a duty: a thing we are used to, that is all. Easter [Πάσχα] comes, and then great is the stir, great is the hubbub, and crowding — I had rather not call them human beings, for their behavior is not commonly human. Easter goes, the tumult abates, but then the quiet which succeeds is again fruitless of good. "Vigils, and holy singing": and what is got by these? No, it is all the worse. Many do so merely out of vanity!

Think how sick at heart it must make me, to see it all like [water] poured into a bottle with holes in it! But you will assuredly say to me: "We know the Scriptures!" And what of that? If you exemplify the Scriptures by your works, that is the gain, that is the profit. The Church is a dyer's vat: if, time after time, perpetually, you go hence without receiving any dye, what is the use of coming here continually? Why, the mischief is all the greater!

... Or, rather, why do I weary myself in vain, and talk uselessly, if you are to remain in the same state, if the Church services work no good in you? "No," you will say, "we pray!" And what of that? "Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven" [Matthew vii, 21].
Saint John Chrysostom
Homily 29 on the Acts of the Apostles


Osanna, Sanctus Deus Sabaoth,
superillustrans claritate tua
felices ignes horum malacoth!

L'anima d'ogne bruto e delle piante
di complession potenziata tira
lo raggio e il moto delle luci sante;

ma vostra vita sanza mezzo spira
la Somma Beninanza, e la innamora
di sé sì che poi sempre la disira.

E quinci puoi argomentare ancora
vostra resurrezion, se tu ripensi
come l'umana carne fessi allora

che li primi parenti intrambo fensi.

Commedia, Paradiso (c. VII)
Hosanna holy God of Sabaoth,/ abundantly illumining with thy brightness/ the blessed fires of these kingdoms ... The soul of every brute and of each plant,/ The ray and motion of the sacred lights,/ Draw from complexion with meet power endued./ But this our life the Eternal Good inspires/ Immediate, and enamours of itself;/ So that our wishes rest forever here./ And hence thou mayst by inference conclude/ Our resurrection certain, if thy mind/ Consider how the human flesh was framed,/ When both our parents at the first were made. (Transl. H.F.Cary) - ...Our regular Paschal feature...

For the Record - Le Monde: Benedict, the "reactionary"

From an editorial, entitled "The Church in retreat", published today by the French leftist national daily Le Monde, the newspaper of the French political mainstream:

...Benedict XVI praises the most conservative trends in his Church and resumes the Roman "intransigentism" of the 19th Century. It is hard to understand that in Poland an ultra-Catholic radio may support, with complete impunity, policies as extremist as those of the Kaczynsky brothers. Or that in Spain the Spanish episcopate attacks a Socialist government which it considers one of the most anticlerical in History. Or that in Italy, after losing its combat in the 1970s against divorce and IVG ["voluntary interruption of pregnancy", i.e. abortion], the Church stakes all [its power] against "civil unions".

A papal decree will liberalize, in May, the ancient rite of the Church (Mass in Latin, with the back turned to the people). It is a measure dreaded by a majority of French Catholics, led by the episcopate, attached to the legacy of the council of the 1960s. If, in his recent "apostolic exhortation", Benedict XVI proclaims his fidelity to Vatican II, his liturgical legalism delights the militants of ancient tradition. These struggles are largely misunderstood by those, believers or not, for whom the vocation of Christianity expresses itself more through aid to marginalized populations than through this disciplinary legalism [lit.: pointillisme], more on help to those who suffer than on this reactionary temptation.

Update: Bertone confirms Motu Proprio

UPDATE: Full text of the interview (Le Figaro Magazine, "Bertone: 'Foi et raison ne s'opposent pas'"), one of the three articles of the special cover story "Les quatre vérités du Vatican".


[Le Figaro Magazine:] 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.
Blog recess during Holy Week continues; urgent news may be posted at any time.

Palm Sunday with Lacordaire:
Jesus Christ, "the immortal King of souls"

Gloria, laus et honor tibi sit, Rex Christe Redemptor: Cui puerile decus prompsit Hosanna pium. (from the Anthem for the Procession of Palms, on Palm Sunday: Glory, praise and honor to Thee, O Christ, King Redeemer: to whom children poured their glad and sweet hosanna's song.)

Jesus Christ claimed the soul; He claimed that it should be free to know Him, to love Him, to adore Him, to pray to Him, to unite with Him. He did not admit that any other than Himself had right over the soul, and above all the right of hindering the soul from communicating with Him.

Yet there is much more than this: Jesus Christ claimed the public union of souls in His service; He knew nothing of secrecy; He demanded a clear and social worship. The liberty of the soul implied the right to found material and spiritual churches, to assemble, to pray together, to hear in common the Word of God, that substantial food of the soul which is its daily bread, and of which it can be deprived only by an act of sacrilegious homicide. The liberty of the soul implied the right of practising together all the ceremonies of public worship, of receiving the sacrament of eternal life, of living together by the Gospel and Jesus Christ.

None upon earth possessed any longer the government of sacred things, but the anointed of the Lord initiated the chosen souls into a larger faith and love, tested by the successors of the apostles, sanctified by ordination. All the rest, princes and peoples, were excluded from the administration of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, that divine centre of the kingdom of souls, and which it was not meet to deliver to dogs, according to the forcible expression of the most gentle Gospel.

But as the soul is the basis of man, by creating the liberty of the soul, Jesus Christ, at the same time, created the liberty of man. The Gospel, as the regulator of the rights and duties of all, rose to the power of a universal charter, which became the measure of all legitimate authority, and which, in hallowing it, preserved it from the excesses into which human power had everywhere fallen. On this account, the kingdom of souls was absolutely the very opposite of the Roman Empire, and it was impossible to imagine a more complete antagonism. The Roman Empire was universal servitude; the kingdom of souls, universal liberty. Between them it was a question of being or not being. The struggle was inevitable; it was to be a deadly struggle.

Now, what force did the kingdom of souls dispose of against that empire covered with legions? None. The Forum? It was no more. The Senate? It was no more. The people? They were no more. Eloquence? It was no more. Thought? It was no more. Was it at least permitted to the first Christians whom the Gospel had raised up in the world to gather one against a hundred thousand for the combat? No, that was not permitted to them.

What then was their strength? The same that Jesus Christ had before them. They had to confess His name and then to die, die today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, to die one after another, that is to say, to vanquish servitude by the peaceful exercise of the liberty of the soul; to vanquish force, not by force, but by virtue.

It had been said to them: If for three centuries you can boldly say, "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, was dead, and is risen again"; if for three centuries you can say this openly, and die daily after haying declared it, in three centuries you shall be masters, that is to say, free.

And this was done.

And this was done despite the fury of the Roman Empire ... . I will say no more of the martyrs; they conquered, as the whole world knows. And this kingdom of souls, founded by their blood; this kingdom of souls, which was to destroy idolatry, and which has destroyed it, which was to overthrow the Roman Empire, and which has overthrown it in all that was false and unjust in it; where did this kingdom of souls set up its capital? In Rome!

The seat of virtue was placed in the seat of power; the seat of liberty in the seat of bondage; in the seat of shameful idols, the seat of the cross of Jesus Christ; in the seat whence the orders of Nero were issued to the world, the seat of the disarmed and aged pastor, who, in the name of Jesus Christ, whose vicar he is, spreads throughout the world purity, peace, and blessing.

O, triumph of faith and love! O, spectacle which enraptures man above himself by showing him what he can do for good with the help of God! My own eyes have seen that land, the liberator of souls, that soil formed of the ashes and blood of martyrs; and why should I not recall that which will confirm my words by reinvigorating my life?

One day, then, my heart all trembling with emotion, I entered by the Flaminian Gate that famous city which had conquered the world by her arms, and governed it by her laws. I hurried to the Capitol; but the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus no longer crowned its heroic summit. I went down to the Forum; the orator's tribune was broken down, and the voice of herdsmen had succeeded to the voices of Cicero and Hortensius. I mounted the steep paths of the Palatine Hill; the Caesars were gone, and they had not even left a praetorian at the entrance to ask the name of the inquisitive stranger.

Whilst I was pondering those mighty ruins, through the azure of the Italian sky, I perceived in the distance a temple whose dome appeared to cover all the present grandeur of that city upon whose dust I trod. I advanced towards it, and there, upon a vast and magnificent space, I found Europe assembled in the persons of her ambassadors, her poets, her artists, her pilgrims, a throng, diverse in origin, but united, it seemed, in common and earnest expectation. I also waited, when in the distance before me an old man advanced, borne in a chair above the crowd, bareheaded and holding in his two hands, under the form of mysterious bread, that Man of Judaea aforetime crucified. Every head bent before him, tears flowed in silent adoration, and upon no visage did I see the protestation of doubt, or the shadow of a feeling which was not, at least, respectful. Whilst I also adored my Master and my King, the immortal King of souls, sharing in the triumph, without seeking to express it even to myself, the obelisk of granite standing in our midst sang for us all, silent and enraptured, the hymn of God victorious: CHRISTUS VINCIT, CHRISTUS REGNAT, CHRISTUS IMPERAT, CHRISTUS AB OMNI MALO PLEBEM SUAM LIBERAT! [sic]

And, lest an enemy should have been found in that multitude, it answered itself by another celebrated hymn, which warned us to fly from the lion of Judah if we would not adore him in his victory. After many years, which have already whitened my brow, I repeat to you... those songs of joy; happy are you if ... drawing nearer, you repeat with us all, children of Christ and members of His kingdom: CHRISTUS VINCIT, CHRISTUS REGNAT, CHRISTUS IMPERAT, CHRISTUS AB OMNI MALO PLEBEM SUAM LIBERAT!
Henri-Dominique Lacordaire
Conférences de Notre-Dame de Paris (1846)
Blog recess during Holy Week; urgent news may be posted at any time.