Rorate Caeli

Politics - Papal Reminders
Affirming the Gospel of Life - I

Prenatal diagnosis, which presents no moral objections if carried out in order to identify the medical treatment which may be needed by the child in the womb, all too often becomes an opportunity for proposing and procuring an abortion. This is eugenic abortion, justified in public opinion on the basis of a mentality-mistakenly held to be consistent with the demands of "therapeutic interventions"-which accepts life only under certain conditions and rejects it when it is affected by any limitation, handicap or illness.

Following this same logic, the point has been reached where the most basic care, even nourishment, is denied to babies born with serious handicaps or illnesses. The contemporary scene, moreover, is becoming even more alarming by reason of the proposals, advanced here and there, to justify even infanticide, following the same arguments used to justify the right to abortion. In this way, we revert to a state of barbarism which one hoped had been left behind forever.
Humanity today offers us a truly alarming spectacle, if we consider not only how extensively attacks on life are spreading but also their unheard-of numerical proportion, and the fact that they receive widespread and powerful support from a broad consensus on the part of society, from widespread legal approval and the involvement of certain sectors of health-care personnel.

As I emphatically stated at Denver, on the occasion of the Eighth World Youth Day, "with time the threats against life have not grown weaker. They are taking on vast proportions. They are not only threats coming from the outside, from the forces of nature or the 'Cains' who kill the 'Abels'; no, they are scientifically and systematically programmed threats. The twentieth century will have been an era of massive attacks on life, an endless series of wars and a continual taking of innocent human life. False prophets and false teachers have had the greatest success".

Aside from intentions, which can be varied and perhaps can seem convincing at times, especially if presented in the name of solidarity, we are in fact faced by an objective "conspiracy against life", involving even international Institutions, engaged in encouraging and carrying out actual campaigns to make contraception, sterilization and abortion widely available. Nor can it be denied that the mass media are often implicated in this conspiracy, by lending credit to that culture which presents recourse to contraception, sterilization, abortion and even euthanasia as a mark of progress and a victory of freedom, while depicting as enemies of freedom and progress those positions which are unreservedly pro-life.
John Paul II
Evangelium Vitae

The absolutely unjustifiable "termination of pregnancy" which costs the lives, as it always has, of numerous innocent children, remains a painful concern for the Holy See and for the entire Church. Perhaps the current debate of political leaders on the interruption of pregnancy in its late stages will strengthen the awareness that the diagnosis of disability in the unborn child cannot be a reason for abortion, because life with such a disability is also desired and appreciated by God, and here on earth no one can ever be sure that he or she will live without physical or spiritual limitations.
Benedict XVI
Address to the new Ambassador of Germany
September 28, 2006

Recess for a few days

Evaluating the Meaning of a Movement

Abbé de Cacqueray FSSPX speaks about Summorum Pontificum

Over the past year, conflicting judgments have been issued concerning the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum promulgated in July 2007. In hindsight it is possible to have a clearer picture.

It seems to me that the fundamental point to properly interpret it is to recognize it as the inauguration of a movement on the liturgy and, hence, the Church itself (Lex orandi, lex credendi). Only by evaluating the meaning and scope of this movement can one express a fair and justified judgment.

A movement must have a point of departure. What was the situation of the liturgy in June 2007? The overwhelming, almost total domination of the so-called Mass of Pope Paul VI, and the almost complete elimination of the traditional Mass which was regarded as totally obsolete if not outright prohibited.

Responding to this situation were two very small groups. On the one hand, the "traditionalists" who consistently said that the traditional Mass was not and could not be prohibited and who never accepted the Mass of Paul VI and were severely persecuted by ecclesiastical authorities. On the other hand the "Ecclesia Dei" faction which, by the grace of a few exceptional laws, was permitted under restrictive conditions to celebrate the traditional Mass on the premise of spiritual preference.

The first article of the Motu Proprio is clearly unacceptable: the traditional Mass and the Mass of Paul VI are "two usages of the one Roman rite." But this is only a starting point.

However from this (catastrophic) state of things, the Motu Proprio goes on to pave the way much more widely for the celebration of the traditional Mass than anything that had been done up until then.

“[T]he Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by Bl. John XXIII is to be […] given due honour for its venerable and ancient usage”; “It is, therefore, permissible to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated”; “[E]ach Catholic priest of the Latin rite, whether secular or regular, may use the Roman Missal published by Bl. Pope John XXIII in 1962”; “For such celebrations […], the priest has no need for permission from the Apostolic See or from his Ordinary” etc.

Further (from the pope's letter): "I would like to draw attention to the fact that this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted.”

The Motu Proprio opens a door to the traditional liturgy for anyone, and they are many, who have been unlawfully deprived of it for the past forty years.

This of course, does not concern those who have always known that the traditional Mass can not be prohibited, and therefore have attended it with a clear conscience. For this minority, the "traditionalists", to employ the Motu Proprio would be a step backwards: it would admit that the Mass of Paul VI carries "the same dignity" as that of the traditional Mass which they have always denied.

However, those who have known only the Mass of Paul VI and, given the propaganda, have been convinced up until now that the traditional Mass was prohibited or bad; are now afforded access to this Mass through the Motu Proprio and may begin to discover its riches.

This is the essential meaning of the movement launched by the Motu Proprio: A possibility for all baptized who have been deprived of it for decades, to see for the first time the traditional liturgy of the Church and get re-accustomed to it - a gradual but humanly necessary beginning, at least in terms of the liturgical crisis.

The French bishops (in particular) who do everything to block, restrict, and distort the Motu Proprio, were not mistaken.

Therefore let us not ourselves be mistaken.

Abbé Régis de Cacqueray †, Supérieur du District de France

La Porte Latine

The Conversion of Brother Roger of Taize?

In connection with the recent posting on Brother Roger's ecclesiastical affiliation, someone has reminded me of an article that appeared in the Remnant in 2006.

The article was written by Yves Chiron and translated by Michael Matt and reports that Brother Roger was, in fact, formally received into the Catholic Church (via a profession of the Catholic faith) as early as 1972. According to Chiron, Brother Roger and his close collaborator Max Thurian were received at the same time. Max Thurian was later ordained a Catholic priest and made a member of the International Theological Commission. Unlike Max Thurian's conversion -- which became public knowledge when his ordination to the priesthood was announced -- Roger Schutz's alleged conversion was wrapped in secrecy until his death.

While Roger Schutz did claim that he never ruptured communion with anyone, he apparently stopped functioning as a Calvinist pastor and no longer presided over Protestant services.
If this is true, less serious but still weighty questions arise: why did Cardinal Kasper refuse to define Brother Roger's conversion as that: a conversion? And why was this conversion wrapped in secrecy? Surely a true convert to Catholicism should not be ashamed to confess his faith? One can only imagine the great numbers of converts who would have been led to the faith by Brother Roger's example, had it not been hidden.

Chiron recounts:

Beginning in 1969, the Taizé Community welcomed Catholic “brothers” then, in 1971, an accord was made to institute a “representative” from the Taizé Community near the Holy Sea. The “representative” had as his mission “to negotiate questions between Taizé and the Catholic Church in harmony with the thinking of the Holy Father; to promote more collaboration in the ecumenical activities between Taizé and the Catholic Church; and to encourage the establishment of an organic relationship between them.”

This accord, made public at the time (L’Osservatore Romano, 9-10 August 1971), prepared the way for passage into the Catholic Church of the two founders of Taizé, Roger Schutz et Max Thurian. This “passage”, this conversion, took place in 1972, in the chapel of the Bishop of Autun, the diocese where Taizé is located. There was a profession of the Catholic Faith then Communion was given by Mgr. Le Bourgeois. No written certificate remains, it seems, of that event, but Brother Roger has given oral testimony of it and of his adherence to the Catholic Faith to the successor of Mgr. Le Bourgeois, Mgr Séguy.
Later on, Catholic practices like Eucharistic adoration and the Sacrament of Confession were established in the Taizé Community. Roger Schutz, having become Catholic, evidently no longer celebrated the Protestant service at Taizé or anywhere else and, since he did not become a priest, he received holy Communion only from a Catholic priest. “For that which concerns the ministry of the Pope, he declared and wrote that the unity of Christians centers on the pastor of the Church of Christ, who is the Bishop of Rome.”
Roger Schutz liked to say: “I have found my proper Christian identity in reconciling in myself the faith of my past with the mystery of the Catholic Faith, without rupturing communion with anyone.” (from an allocution of Pope John Paul in 1980 at the time of his Meeting with European Youth in Rome). The expression, repeated again in his last book (God Can Only Love), could be judged to be very unsatisfactory because it says nothing of the retractions necessary for a conversion. But Roger Schutz was not a theologian.

It is true that this secrecy of his conversion has not the limpidity and the solemnity of an abjuration. But who dares to doubt his sincerity? Cardinal Ratzinger, in giving him Communion in April 2005, certainly acted with full knowledge of the facts. And it is bad form to accuse him still today of “having given communion to a Protestant.”

A reminder for our friends and readers in Ireland

Saint Conleth’s Catholic Heritage Association invites you to honour the Holy Year of St. Paul by attending Holy Mass in the Traditional Latin Rite (Missal of Blessed John XXIII) on Saturday, 30th August, 2008, at 11 a.m., in St. Paul’s Church, Emo, Co. Laois, Ireland, followed by a tour of Emo Court House and Gardens.
For the past 15 years, St. Conleth’s Catholic Heritage Association has been working prayerfully for the provision of the Traditional Latin Liturgy in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin.
Please confirm your attendance to:
For further details consult:
God bless you!
Saint Conleth’s Catholic Heritage Association
Apparently, the Plenary Indulgence for the Holy Year of Saint Paul has been granted, under the usual conditions, by the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, to all the faithful who attend this Mass.

"I have faith in the Maoists..."

(One hopes that the optimism of the Nepalese Catholics will not be in vain, but since when have militant and armed Communists been our friends? CAP.)

KATHMANDU (UCAN) -- Christians are welcoming Nepal's former communist rebel leader as the country's new prime minister and expressing hope that the new government will introduce "positive changes."

Prachanda, chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal, took the oath of office on Aug. 17 in Kathmandu after he was elected to the constituent assembly that also serves as parliament.
Prachanda, meaning "fierce one," is the nom de guerre for Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who led a decade-long insurgency that claimed more than 11,000 lives, before entering into a peace process with the government in April 2006.

Bishop Anthony Sharma, apostolic vicar of Nepal, told UCA News on Aug. 19 he hopes the new government will bring about "positive changes ... the country had not been faring well in the hands of earlier governments and corrupt officials. Our good wishes and prayers are with the new prime minister so that he may meet the challenges ahead."

The Jesuit bishop also pointed out that "Prachanda took his oath of office in the name of the people, not in the name of God as is customary. For me, this means he will treat all people, irrespective of religion, alike."

As to whether the government of communists, known locally as Maoists, might adversely affect the local Catholic Church, Bishop Sharma said, "We have good relations with all Maoist leaders, so we don't have to worry about it."

Father Lawrence Maniyar, the Jesuit superior in Nepal, shares that positive view about the new prime minister. He told UCA News on Aug. 20: "We hope the new government under the leadership of Prachanda can change feudal Nepal. We also expect the Maoists to keep their promise of building a secular Nepal."

Nepal was governed directly by a king or officials he appointed until 1990. That year, pro-democracy protests forced the sovereign to allow multiparty democracy and reduce the monarchy's role to a constitutional level.

Freedom for religious minorities in this former Hindu kingdom also began only after 1990, but Maoists kept fighting to do away with the monarchy altogether.

The monarchy again came under intense pressure when pro-democracy rallies defied curfews and even shoot-on-sight warnings, forcing King Gyanendra Shah in April 2006 to reconvene the parliament he had dismissed in May 2002.

Parliament then stripped him of most power and empowered itself to appoint the army chief, deploy military forces and remove "royal" from all official documents. The king earlier consolidated power in himself, contending this was needed to end the Maoist conflict. However, once parliament and the government were reinstated, the Maoists signed a peace accord with the government.

In April, the Maoists emerged as the largest party in the constituent-assembly election. The constitution it is to draft will, among other things, formalize parliament's 2006 decision to change Nepal from a Hindu nation to a secular state. Since April, the assembly has abolished the centuries-old monarchy and installed Ram Baran Yadav as the republic's first president.

Bishop Sharma remarked, "Though we Christians are a minority and might not be (directly) involved in decision-making, the constituent assembly may seek the feedback of Christians as it writes the country's constitution."

Kalai Bahadur Rokaya, general secretary of the National Council of Churches of Nepal, an umbrella body of Protestant Churches, told UCA News on Aug. 20: "Prachanda's election is good not only for the Christian community but all sections of society since the Maoists have led a class struggle and committed themselves to fighting injustice, discrimination, suppression and oppression."

Rokaya acknowledged that the Maoists advocated secularism from the very start of their armed struggle, "but I wish and hope the new Maoist-led government does more for religious freedom."
Ganesh Parajuli, a member of Nepal Catholic Samaj (society), the legal entity that represents the local Catholic Church, told UCA News on Aug 19: "I have faith in the Maoists. Christians will be a free and secure lot under the Maoists." He drew this conclusion, he said, because both Christians and Maoists "have been considered the champions of equality and justice."


...infundens oleum et vinum...

But a certain Samaritan being on his journey, came near him, and seeing him, was moved with compassion, and going up to him, bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine; and setting him upon his own beast, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. (cf. Gospel for the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost)

...every loyal son of that Church, like the good Samaritan, pours oil and wine into the wounds of the sons of Adam, to free the guilty from sin, to strengthen the weak and feeble, to mould the lives of the virtuous nearer to the ideal of holiness. Even granting that some minister of Christ may at times fail in his duty, does it therefore follow that the power was rendered helpless and void of efficacy? Let us listen to the words of the Bishop of Hippo:

"I assert [he writes] and we all assert, that the ministers of so great a Judge should be just men. Let the ministers be just, if they will. If, however, they who sit on the chair of Moses refuse to be just I find my warrant of security in my Master, of whom His Spirit said: "He it is who baptizes." [In Johannis Evang., tract. 5, n. 15]

Would that the words of Augustine had been accepted formerly and were accepted today by all those who, like the Donatists, allege the fall of a priest as a reason for rending the seamless garment of Christ and for unhappily abandoning the way of salvation!

We see how our Saint, for all his exalted genius, humbly submitted his judgment to the authority of the Church teaching. He knew that, as long as he did so, he would not swerve a finger's breadth from Catholic doctrine. More than that, in pondering the sentence: "If you believe not, you will not understand," [Isaias vii, 9] he learned with certainty that a heaven-born light —denied to the proud— serves as a beacon to the minds of those who cling closely to the Faith and meditate the word of God in a mood of prayerful humility.

He knew, besides, that it was the duty of priests —whose lips should keep knowledge [Mal. ii, 7]— since they are bound to explain and defend aright the truths of Revelation and expound their meaning to the Faithful, to penetrate the truths of Faith to the depths —so far as is allowed by Divine permission.
Pius XI
Ad Salutem
Recess for a few days;
relevant news may be posted at any time.

Life news notes: United States; Mexico

1. Barack Obama Endorsement

Planned ParenthoodThe Planned Parenthood Action Fund is very excited to officially endorse Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) for president of the United States. The board of the national Planned Parenthood Action Fund voted unanimously last month to recommend endorsing Sen. Obama, a decision ratified by Planned Parenthood's local action organizations, which represent the interests of all 99 Planned Parenthood affiliates.

"The Planned Parenthood Action Fund is proud to endorse Barack Obama for president of the United States," said Action Fund President Cecile Richards. "He is a passionate advocate for women's rights and has a long and consistent record of standing up for women's health care. As president, he will improve access to quality health care for women, support and protect a woman's right to choose, support comprehensive sex education to keep our young people healthy and safe, and invest in prevention programs, including family planning services and breast cancer screenings."

Sen. Obama received a 100 percent rating from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. This stands in stark contrast to the radically anti-choice Sen. John McCain's zero percent rating.

Sen. Obama has sponsored or co-sponsored legislation that focuses on commonsense prevention measures to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and expand access to birth control, including the

  • Prevention Through Affordable Access Act
  • Prevention First Act
  • Communities of Color Teen Pregnancy Prevention Act
  • Responsible Education About Life (REAL) Act

Sen. Obama supports medically accurate comprehensive sex education and voted in favor of legislation to fund medically accurate sex education.

Sen. Obama supports the Freedom of Choice Act, which would codify and protect a woman's right to choose.

Sen. Obama is a champion of family planning access for women worldwide and voted to repeal the destructive global gag rule, which bars any U.S. aid for international family planning organizations that perform or promote access to abortion services.


2.Majority on Mexican Supreme Court Endorse Constitutionality of Abortion Law

A majority of justices serving on the Supreme Court of Mexico have now stated their support for the constitutionality of Mexico City's abortion legislation, which depenalizes abortion on demand up to the 12th week of gestation.

At publication time, seven of the eleven justices had indicated that they would vote in favor of the law. Only four such votes were necessary to sustain it.

Members of the socialist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) in the nation's Chamber of Deputies celebrated the anticipated verdict and predicted that abortion would be legalized in Mexico's 31 states.

The justices rejected arguments by the nation's Justice Department (PGR) and Human Rights Commission (CNDH), who argued that the law violated human rights and exceeded Mexico City's jurisdiction, as well as a 610-page brief formulated by Justice Sergio Salvador Aguirre Anguiano, which argued that the law violated the nation's constitution and international human rights agreements.

Pro-life forces reportedly intend to follow the judgment by pushing for a referendum in the capital city, where opinion polls show that a strong majority is opposed to abortion.

(Source: LifeSiteNews)

Politics - Papal Reminders
The dangers of political Messiahs and of Socialist promises - II

We speak of that sect of men who, under various and almost barbarous names, are called socialists, communists, or nihilists, and who, spread over all the world, and bound together by the closest ties in a wicked confederacy, no longer seek the shelter of secret meetings, but, openly and boldly marching forth in the light of day, strive to bring to a head what they have long been planning - the overthrow of all civil society whatsoever.

Surely these are they who, as the sacred Scriptures testify, "Defile the flesh, despise dominion, and blaspheme majesty." They leave nothing untouched or whole which by both human and divine laws has been wisely decreed for the health and beauty of life. ... They debase the natural union of man and woman, which is held sacred even among barbarous peoples; and its bond, by which the family is chiefly held together, they weaken, or even deliver up to lust. Lured, in fine, by the greed of present goods, which is "the root of all evils, which some coveting have erred from the faith," they assail the right of property sanctioned by natural law; and by a scheme of horrible wickedness, while they seem desirous of caring for the needs and satisfying the desires of all men, they strive to seize and hold in common whatever has been acquired either by title of lawful inheritance, or by labor of brain and hands, or by thrift in one's mode of life. ...

Quod Apostolici Muneris

[L]et no one think that all the socialist groups or factions that are not communist have, without exception, recovered their senses to this extent either in fact or in name. For the most part they do not reject the class struggle or the abolition of ownership, but only in some degree modify them. Now if these false principles are modified and to some extent erased from the program, the question arises, or rather is raised without warrant by some, whether the principles of Christian truth cannot perhaps be also modified to some degree and be tempered so as to meet Socialism half-way and, as it were, by a middle course, come to agreement with it. There are some allured by the foolish hope that socialists in this way will be drawn to us. A vain hope! Those who want to be apostles among socialists ought to profess Christian truth whole and entire, openly and sincerely, and not connive at error in any way. If they truly wish to be heralds of the Gospel, let them above all strive to show to socialists that socialist claims, so far as they are just, are far more strongly supported by the principles of Christian faith and much more effectively promoted through the power of Christian charity.

But what if Socialism has really been so tempered and modified as to the class struggle and private ownership that there is in it no longer anything to be censured on these points? Has it thereby renounced its contradictory nature to the Christian religion? This is the question that holds many minds in suspense. And numerous are the Catholics who, although they clearly understand that Christian principles can never be abandoned or diminished seem to turn their eyes to the Holy See and earnestly beseech Us to decide whether this form of Socialism has so far recovered from false doctrines that it can be accepted without the sacrifice of any Christian principle and in a certain sense be baptized. That We, in keeping with Our fatherly solicitude, may answer their petitions, We make this pronouncement: Whether considered as a doctrine, or an historical fact, or a movement, Socialism, if it remains truly Socialism, even after it has yielded to truth and justice on the points which we have mentioned, cannot be reconciled with the teachings of the Catholic Church because its concept of society itself is utterly foreign to Christian truth.

Pius XI
Quadragesimo Anno

That which seems to Us not only the greatest evil but the root of all evil is this: often the lie is substituted for the truth, and is then used as an instrument of dispute. ... The Press also too often vulgarly reviles religious feeling, while it does not hesitate to spread the most shameful obscenities, agitating and with incalculable harm leading into vice tender childhood and betrayed youth.
By means of false promises a people is deceived and provoked to hatred, rivalry and rebellion, especially when the hereditary faith, the only relief in this earthly exile, is successfully torn from its heart.
Pius XII
Anni Sacri
[T]he conflict between traditional civilizations and the new elements of industrial civilization break down structures which do not adapt themselves to new conditions. Their framework, sometimes rigid, was the indispensable prop to personal and family life; older people remain attached to it, the young escape from it, as from a useless barrier, to turn eagerly to new forms of life in society. The conflict of the generations is made more serious by a tragic dilemma: whether to retain ancestral institutions and convictions and renounce progress, or to admit techniques and civilizations from outside and reject along with the traditions of the past all their human richness. In effect, the moral, spiritual and religious supports of the past too often give way without securing in return any guarantee of a place in the new world .

In this confusion the temptation becomes stronger to risk being swept away towards types of messianism which give promises but create illusions. The resulting dangers are patent: violent popular reactions, agitation towards insurrection, and a drifting towards totalitarian ideologies. Such are the data of the problem. Its seriousness is evident to all.
We know, however, that a revolutionary uprising -- save where there is manifest, long-standing tyranny which would do great damage to fundamental personal rights and dangerous harm to the common good of the country -- produces new injustices, throws more elements out of balance and brings on new disasters. A real evil should not be fought against at the cost of greater misery.
Paul VI
Populorum Progressio
[T]he root of modern totalitarianism is to be found in the denial of the transcendent dignity of the human person who, as the visible image of the invisible God, is therefore by his very nature the subject of rights which no one may violate — no individual, group, class, nation or State. Not even the majority of a social body may violate these rights, by going against the minority, by isolating, oppressing, or exploiting it, or by attempting to annihilate it.

The culture and praxis of totalitarianism also involve a rejection of the Church. The State or the party which claims to be able to lead history towards perfect goodness, and which sets itself above all values, cannot tolerate the affirmation of an objective criterion of good and evil beyond the will of those in power, since such a criterion, in given circumstances, could be used to judge their actions. This explains why totalitarianism attempts to destroy the Church, or at least to reduce her to submission, making her an instrument of its own ideological apparatus.
John Paul II
Centesimus Annus
[Marx] forgot that freedom always remains also freedom for evil. He thought that once the economy had been put right, everything would automatically be put right. His real error is materialism: man, in fact, is not merely the product of economic conditions, and it is not possible to redeem him purely from the outside by creating a favorable economic environment.
Since man always remains free and since his freedom is always fragile, the kingdom of good will never be definitively established in this world. Anyone who promises the better world that is guaranteed to last for ever is making a false promise; he is overlooking human freedom.

...[W]hile we must always be committed to the improvement of the world, tomorrow's better world cannot be the proper and sufficient content of our hope.
Let us say once again: we need the greater and lesser hopes that keep us going day by day. But these are not enough without the great hope, which must surpass everything else. This great hope can only be God, who encompasses the whole of reality and who can bestow upon us what we, by ourselves, cannot attain.
Benedict XVI
Spe Salvi

Both Catholic and Calvinist?

Sandro Magister's newest column features the L'Osservatore Romano's interview with Cardinal Kasper regarding the standing of the late Brother Roger of Taize (+2005) in relation to the Catholic Church. It provocatively begins with the words:
Was the Founder of Taizé Protestant, or Catholic? A Cardinal Solves the Riddle.

Fr. Roger Schutz was both. He adhered to the Church of Rome while remaining a Calvinist pastor. Wojtyla and Ratzinger gave him communion. Cardinal Kasper explains how, and why.
Brother Roger was a man known for his charity, prayer and zeal for Christian unity. Nevertheless, his daily reception of Holy Communion in the Catholic Mass in Taize -- and his reception several times of Holy Communion from the hands of Pope John Paul II and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger -- coupled with his refusal to openly leave the Reformed tradition and formally convert to Catholicism, left not a few Catholics (and Protestants as well) puzzled and even scandalized. While it had been official policy since the 1960's to permit certain non-Catholic Christians to receive Holy Communion under grave or exceptional circumstances, the spectacle of a figure of such stature being allowed by the highest authorities of the Church to publicly and frequently receive communion as a matter of course, as a normal thing, without any formal or public adherence to the Catholic Church was still unprecedented (to say the least).
Since his death, rumors of a "secret conversion" to Catholicism have continued to circulate.
In the interview, in a passage of exquisite novelty, Cardinal Kasper firmly denies that Brother Roger ever formally converted to Catholicism (emphasis mine):
In a talk he gave in the presence of Pope John Paul II in Saint Peter’s Basilica during the young adult European meeting in Rome in 1980, the prior of Taizé described his own personal journey and his Christian identity with these words: “I have found my own Christian identity by reconciling within myself the faith of my origins with the Mystery of the Catholic faith, without breaking fellowship with anyone.” In fact, Brother Roger never wanted to break “with anyone,” for reasons which were essentially linked to his own desire for unity and to the ecumenical vocation of the Taizé Community. For that reason, he preferred not to use certain expressions like “conversion” or “formal” membership to describe his communion with the Catholic Church. In his conscience, he had entered into the mystery of the Catholic faith like someone who grows into it, without having to “abandon” or “break” with what he had received and lived beforehand. The meaning of some theological or canonical terms could be discussed endlessly. Out of respect for the faith-journey of Brother Roger, however, it would be preferable not to apply to him categories which he himself considered inappropriate for his experience and which, moreover, the Catholic Church never wanted to impose upon him. Here too, the words of Brother Roger himself should suffice for us.
As Sandro Magister explains earlier in the article:
But how does Kasper solve the riddle? He denies that Fr. Schutz "formally" adhered to the Catholic Church. And much less did he abandon the Protestantism into which he was born. He affirms, instead, that he gradually "enriched" his faith with the pillars of the Catholic faith, particularly the role of Mary in salvation history, the real
presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and the "the ministry of unity exercised by the bishop of Rome." In response to this, the Catholic Church allowed him to receive Eucharistic communion.
According to Kasper, it is as if there had been an unwritten agreement between Schutz and the Church of Rome, "crossing certain confessional" and canonical limits.
The pastoral and theological effects of this admission are only about to unravel. One thinks of how some Anglo-Catholics and High Church Lutherans will view this and ask: "if Brother Roger could, why not us?"
To read the full article, please click on the link:

Recess Notes: No response from Rome yet, apparently

1. In his sermon for the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin (and special day of national dedication in France), the Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), Bishop Bernard Fellay, did not add any new information on the ongoing negotiations between the Fraternity and the Holy See. The last publicly known act was Fellay's response to Cardinal Castrillón's five points.

2. The Holy Father remains at Castel Gandolfo until late September, except for the Apostolic Visit to Paris and Lourdes (September 12-15).

Traditional Latin Mass Update in the Philippines

This is the most current list that I have been able to compile of diocese-affiliated Traditional Latin Masses in the Philippines.
In addition to some reported Masses in remote locations that I have not been able to verify, there are private weekday and Sunday Low Masses not open to the public (or open only to select individuals) in various locations throughout the Philippines, especially in Metro Manila and its surrounding provinces and in Mindanao. In some cases, priests have asked that their Masses not to be revealed or publicized for fear of misunderstandings and reprisals. Those who really need to know about private Masses in their areas may contact me at caloyraj AT yahoo DOT com.

I expect to update this whole list by end of September.

Asterisks mark those Masses that started in the aftermath of Summorum Pontificum.

LUZON (Northern Philippines)

Diocese of Cubao (Metropolitan Manila area)

1. Parish of the Lord of Divine Mercy (PLDM).
Madasalin cor. Maamo St., Sikatuna Village, Quezon City (northern Metro Manila)
Mass on Sundays (Missa Cantata): 1.30 p.m.
*Daily Private Mass from Monday - Saturday (Low Mass): normally at 8:00 a.m.
Fr. Michell Joe Zerrudo offers the Mass on Sundays and most weekdays, Msgr. Moises Andrade and other diocesan clergy on some weekdays

(The TLM in PLDM is the successor of the indult-era Sunday TLM in the Most Holy Redeemer Parish, Diocese of Cubao.)

2. *There is a private TLM (open to the lay faithful) every last Wednesday of the month in a privately-owned grotto near Amoranto Stadium in Quezon City, in the Diocese of Cubao. If one wishes to attend, please contact Carlos Palad at caloyraj AT yahoo DOT com for more details.

Diocese of Paranaque (Metropolitan Manila area)

3. *St. Jerome Emiliani and St. Susanna Parish
Alabang Town Center near Zapote Road
Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa City (southern-most part of Metro Manila)
Mass on Sundays (Missa Cantata): 9.30 a.m
Fr. Grato Germanetto, CRS (Somascans)

Note: The Sunday and daily TLM that was inaugurated recently in St. Augustine Parish in Paranaque City, has been stopped.

Diocese of Malolos

4. *National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima
Fatima Ave., Pag-Asa Subdivision 1, Marulas,
Valenzuela City (northern-most part of Metro Manila)
Mass on Sundays (normally a Missa Cantata): 8.00 p.m.
Msgr. Moises Andrade

Archdiocese of Manila (Metropolitan Manila area)

5. Marian Library and Information Center
1170 R. Hidalgo Street
Quiapo, City of Manila
Tel. Nos: 632+704-9712
Low Mass on First Fridays (and occasionally on First Saturdays): in the early afternoon
Msgr. Melencio De Vera
(Call ahead to verify schedule)

NOTE: This chapel is very small and well hidden from public view and is accessible only through a private passage-way. First-time visitors are advised to call the Center to verify the Mass schedule and to ask for directions. This chapel is almost in the shadow of the San Sebastian Church, a towering 19th century Gothic steel church in the heart of old Manila.

This Mass began to be publicized in the aftermath of Summorum Pontificum, but in fact, private Low Masses have been offered here on and off since the 1990's, making the chapel one of the oldest continuously-used TLM locations in the Philippines.

6. *The Sunday TLM that was inaugurated only last July at the Mary Help of Christians Chapel of Saint John Bosco Parish in Makati City (Metro Manila) under the Archdiocese of Manila has moved its location (but still within Makati) and has been indefinitely suspended.

Diocese of San Pablo, Laguna

7. *San Isidro Labrador Parish Church
Binan, Laguna Province (south of Metro Manila)
Private Mass (open to the public) on Saturdays (Low Mass): early afternoon (normally 1:00 or 2:00 PM)
Subject to change without prior notice
Fr. John Paul M. Villanueva

Diocese of Sorsogon

8. *Aemilianum College, Inc. (ACI)
Sorsogon City, Sorsogon Province (Bicol Region)
Holy Mass on Sundays (Low Mass, sometimes Missa Cantata): 9:00 AM
Fr. Abraham Arganiosa, CRS (Somascan)

Note: The Sunday TLM in St. Michael Parish in Bacoor in the Diocese of Imus, established under the Ecclesia Dei indult in 2004, has long ceased to be offered. Those who attended it now go to the TLM's in Cubao and Paranaque.

VISAYAS (The islands comprising the central part of the Philippines)

Archdiocese of Jaro

9. Chapel of St. Joseph Regional Seminary (cancelled)
Iloilo City, Iloilo
Missa Cantata on Sundays, First Friday and First Saturday: 4:00 PM
Msgr. Sozonte Cataluna

The indult-era TLM's in the Cathedral of Jaro and in a few other chapels have been cancelled.

[Update: I've just been informed that Msgr. Cataluna has gone on leave and that the Mass in Jaro has thus been suspended for lack of a priest to offer the TLM. Despite the support and encouragement of Archbishop Angel Lagdameo of Jaro, no priest has yet stepped forward to learn the TLM and be Msgr. Cataluna's substitute.

The Jaro community -- once the largest Traditionalist community in the Philippines -- dates back to the 1990's, and had been comprised of people who preferred to remain under the diocese despite the strong presence of the SSPX in Jaro.]

Archdiocese of Cebu

10. *Archdiocesan Shrine of Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno
(Monastery of the Society of the Angel of Peace)
Cansojong, Talisay City
Holy Mass on Sundays: 3:00 PM

11. *Monastery of the Order of Discalced Augustinians
Monastery Chapel
Tabor Hill Talamban 6000, Cebu City
Holy Mass on Sundays (Missa Cantata): 10:30 AM
Rev. Fr. Luigi Kerschbamer, OAD, the OAD community's superior.

Diocese of Tagbilaran

12. Assumption of Our Lady Parish
Dauis, 6339 Bohol
Telephone Number: (038) 502-2008
Private Low Mass everyday (open to the public, but Mass schedule varies)
Fr. Joseph Skelton

Fr. Joseph Skelton had permission to offer the TLM in private even before Summorum Pontificum

13. *Fr. Skelton also offers a monthly TLM in Cortes, Bohol. Details forthcoming.

Diocese of Bacolod

14. Victorias Provincial Hospital
Provincial Hospital Chapel

Victorias City,
Sunday Mass (Missa Cantata): 9:00 AM
Diocese of Bacolod (suffragan of Archdiocese of Cebu)

(Other TLM's in the Diocese of Bacolod that were established in the indult years have ceased to be offered)

MINDANAO (Southern Philippines)

Archdiocese of Davao

15. *Divine Word Formation Center - Davao
(Seminary of the SVD Fathers, SVD Southern Province-Philippines)
8000 Davao City P.O. Box 81218
Holy Mass on Sundays: 3:00 P.M.
Fr. Redempto Maniwang SVD

Eructavit cor meum verbum bonum

Qui audit me non confundetur, et qui operantur in me non peccabunt. Qui elucidant me vitam æternam habebunt. (from the Lesson for the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Ecclesiasticus xxiv, 30-31: "He that hearkeneth to me, shall not be confounded: and they that work by me, shall not sin. They that explain me shall have life everlasting.")

Mary is the Virgin most faithful who by her fidelity to God makes good the losses caused by Eve's unfaithfulness. She obtains fidelity to God and final perseverance for those who commit themselves to her. ... It was to Mary that the saints who attained salvation most firmly anchored themselves as did others who wanted to ensure their perseverance in holiness.

Blessed, indeed, are those Christians who bind themselves faithfully and completely to her as to a secure anchor! The violent storms of the world will not make them founder or carry away their heavenly riches. Blessed are those who enter into her as into another Noah's ark! The flood waters of sin which engulf so many will not harm them because, as the Church makes Mary say in the words of divine Wisdom, "Those who work by me" -for their salvation - "shall not sin." Blessed are the unfaithful children of unhappy Eve who commit themselves to Mary, the ever-faithful Virgin and Mother who never wavers in her fidelity and never goes back on her trust. She always loves those who love her, not only with deep affection, but with a love that is active and generous. By an abundant outpouring of grace she keeps them from relaxing their effort in the practice of virtue or falling by the wayside through loss of divine grace.

Moved by pure love, this good Mother always accepts whatever is given her in trust, and, once she accepts something, she binds herself in justice by a contract of trusteeship to keep it safe. Is not someone to whom I entrust the sum of a thousand francs obliged to keep it safe for me so that if it were lost through his negligence he would be responsible for it in strict justice? But nothing we entrust to the faithful Virgin will ever be lost through her negligence. Heaven and earth would pass away sooner than Mary would neglect or betray those who trusted in her.


Do not leave your gold and silver in your own safes which have already been broken into and rifled many times by the evil one. They are too small, too flimsy and too old to contain such great and priceless possessions. Do not put pure and clear water from the spring into vessels fouled and infected by sin. ... Chosen souls, although you may already understand me, I shall express myself still more clearly. Do not commit the gold of your charity, the silver of your purity to a threadbare sack or a battered old chest, or the waters of heavenly grace or the wines of your merits and virtues to a tainted and fetid cask, such as you are. Otherwise you will be robbed by thieving devils who are on the look-out day and night waiting for a favourable opportunity to plunder. If you do so all those pure gifts from God will be spoiled by the unwholesome presence of self-love, inordinate self-reliance, and self-will.

Pour into the bosom and heart of Mary all your precious possessions, all your graces and virtues. She is a spiritual vessel, a vessel of honor, a singular vessel of devotion. Ever since God personally hid himself with all his perfections in this vessel, it has become completely spiritual, and the spiritual abode of all spiritual souls. It has become honorable and has been the throne of honor for the greatest saints in heaven. It has become outstanding in devotion and the home of those renowned for gentleness, grace and virtue. Moreover, it has become as rich as a house of gold, as strong as a tower of David and as pure as a tower of ivory.

Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort
True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin

Liturgical News from Bangladesh

(This just goes to show that the fight for decent liturgy is being fought everywhere, and not just in the West. For those who might be scandalized at the lack of any references to using Latin, etc. please remember that, liturgically and theologically speaking, the Church in Asia is still in the grip of ideas from the 1970's and 1980's. The Asian Churches are just beginning to grapple with the problem of the loss of the sacred in the liturgy. Hopefully, the next several years will see a greater awareness in Asian Catholicism of the Church's traditional liturgical patrimony. CAP.)

BANGLADESH Church Tries To Protect Traditional Hymns, End Loud Singing

DHAKA (UCAN) -- Bangladeshi Catholic hymns are "out of control," sometimes sung too loudly or performed by pop-style bands, so much so that some claim the deep spirituality the music is meant to inspire gets lost.
The Episcopal Commission for Liturgy and Prayer (ECLP) has responded to the problem by trying to bring order to the chaos and restore a level of uniformity and a proper atmosphere for Bangla-language hymns. It did so in a six-day training program for liturgical music experts and performers that was conducted July 13-18 at the Holy Spirit Major Seminary in Dhaka.

The program assembled 71 liturgical singers in charge of leading choirs, and parish liturgy committee representatives from the country's five dioceses and one archdiocese to learn the correct musical notes to be played and sung in the hymns, as well as how loudly they should be sung.

Dora D'Rozario, an ECLP member, explained to UCA News, "This training program was initiated because, in terms of the tunes, nowadays the liturgical hymns are out of control, and they need to be controlled."

According to D'Rozario, the problem is lack of proper tone for the spiritual occasion. It is not just a matter of "belting out the lyrics," she stressed, but the need to restore depth and beauty in the liturgy and Holy Eucharist.

Father Francis Gomes Sima, a former ECLP member, pointed out to UCA News that the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) opened the door to composing and singing hymns in the vernacular rather than Latin. As a result, he said, hymns were composed in the Bangla language amongst Bengali Catholics in Bangladesh and India, but choirs have drifted away from the correct practice.

Over the decades, Father Sima further noted, there have been developments such as using the harmonium to accompany hymns, and the recent seminar included instruction on the correct musical notes to be sung for those hymns.

Different music suits different times, he said, and for religious occasions, two types of music, traditional and band, or pop-style, songs are available, "but band songs destroy the beauty, depth and spirituality of liturgy."

The priest did concede, however, that band music could be used on certain occasions, "but not in liturgical celebrations."

Auxiliary Bishop Thetonious Gomez of Dhaka agrees there is "need to control the use of musical instruments in the liturgical celebration." The Holy Cross bishop, who chairs the Episcopal Commission for Christian Education, told UCA News, "There will be no more loud tunes, but union and harmony in tunes is a must to express the depth of spirituality."

Father Ashes Dio, another ECLP member, told UCA News, "The liturgical hymns must express that the Eucharist is the mystery and the center of our life."

To rectify the incongruence identified by ECLP members, the participants were taught the correct musical notation and volume for the singing of hymns. But Father Patrick Gomes, ECLP's secretary, told UCA News that choir leaders also need help to choose the right sequence of hymns and to select hymns suitable for a particular theme. New hymns are not being composed, he added, but ECLP is now thinking of doing something to change that.

The training program was useful, said several participants, including Prianka Mollah, a choir leader and college student. She told UCA News it was good to get help for the traditional hymns, and she hopes to implement what she learned when she returns to her parish.

ECLP member D'Rozario expects all participants to practice properly and arrange musical training in the dioceses when they go back home. "Only then will the devotion grow and eyes will open to feel in their hearts the meaning of the liturgy," she said. "This process will help them be closer to God."


"Whom God first chose to hear His Word . . . ."

It was announced Aug. 5 that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has approved an important change to The U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults. A seriously ambiguous, misleading and doctrinally deficient statement on the status of the Sinaitic Covenant, that is, the Torah or Law of Moses, will be removed, and --- if the Holy See grants its recognitio --- will be replaced with a statement that quotes St. Paul’s epistle to the Romans.

The sentence to be changed currently reads:

“Thus the covenant that God made with the Jewish people through Moses remains eternally valid for them.”

In its place will be this sentence:

“To the Jewish people, whom God first chose to hear his word, 'belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ' (Rom 9:4-5; cf. CCC, No. 839).”

The current language is objectionable for many reasons, not least because it suggests --- and seems to have been intended to suggest --- that the Law of Moses remains in force and obligatory for the Jewish people, that Jews are ordinarily saved through the observance of Mosaic law and therefore need not confess that Jesus is Lord and Christ. That heretical opinion has been spreading throughout the Church, and was even promoted in “Reflections on Covenant and Mission” (12 Aug. 2002), a document of the USCCB’s Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs. On the contrary, the New Testament, the Church Fathers, and the ordinary and extraordinary Magisterium clearly, consistently, irreformably and infallibly teach that the Sinaitic Covenant was never salvific and has not been binding on anyone ever since it was fulfilled by Christ. As St. Paul teaches, “You are made void of Christ, you who are justified in the law: you are fallen from grace” (Gal. 5:4). To claim that anyone, even just the Jews, can be saved through the Law is to deny the holy Catholic faith.

In a letter informing the U.S. bishops of the outcome of their vote to edit the adult catechism, Msgr. David Malloy, USCCB general secretary, correctly explains:

“Catholics understand that all previous covenants that God made with the Jewish people have been fulfilled in Jesus Christ through the new covenant established through his sacrificial death on the cross. The prior version of the text might be understood to imply that one of the former covenants imparts salvation without the mediation of Christ, whom Christians believe to be the universal savior of all people.”

Of course it is possible to parse the current language of the adult catechism in such a way that it does not contradict, or almost doesn’t contradict, the Catholic faith. Nevertheless a catechism should plainly and clearly and accurately state the faith. The average adult should not have to (nor is he qualified to) squint and strain to understand a statement in the correct way. The predictable effect of the extremely ambiguous current language will be gravely hurtful to souls: pernicious misteaching, a failure to hand on what the Church believes about the Sinaitic Covenant.

The proposed new language is far superior, because it avoids the suggestion that the Law of Moses is salvific for the Jews. It could still be clearer about the status of the Law and of the Jewish people, but it is better to have a divinely-inspired passage from Holy Scripture that can be misinterpreted than to have a misleading statement that can, with effort, be interpreted in a way that doesn’t contradict divine revelation.

Let us continue to pray for those Jews who have not yet received the gift of faith in Christ. May the blood of the Savior now descend upon them a laver of redemption and of life, that they may enjoy the never-revoked promises that God made to Abraham and to his seed. And let us pray for the conversion, or short of that, the silencing, of those who attempt to subvert what the Church believes.

Olympic Update

If now it should happen, as I pray it may not happen nor at any time fall out, that there be a war against churches, and a persecution, imagine how great will be the ridicule, how sore the reproaches. And very naturally; for when no one exercises himself in the wrestling school, how shall he be distinguished in the contests?

What champion, not being used to the trainer, will be able, when summoned by the Olympic contests, to show forth anything great and noble against his antagonist? Ought we not every day to wrestle and fight and run? See ye not them that are called Pentathli, when they have no antagonists, how they fill a sack with much sand, and hanging it up try their full strength thereupon? And they that are still younger, practice the fight against their enemies upon the persons of their companions.

These do thou also emulate, and practice the wrestlings of self denial. For indeed there are many that provoke to anger, and incite to lust, and kindle a great flame. Stand therefore against thy passions, bear nobly the pangs of the spirit, that thou mayest endure also those of the body.
Saint John Chrysostom
Homily XXXIII on the Gospel according to Saint Matthew

"There is a gradation of enthusiasm"

The "conservative Anglican" news website VirtueOnline published last Friday an interview with the leader of the Traditional Anglican Communion, John Hepworth, currently in negotiations with the Holy See.


VOL: Contacts in the Roman Catholic Church have suggested that the statements issued by you in acceptance of Roman Catholic dogma are weak on the primacy and infallibility of the Pope. How would you respond?

HEPWORTH: In the paragraph, "we accept the ministry of the Bishop of Rome" and the quote from Vatican II and from John Paul II's encyclical to the separated churches is sufficient indication that we are accepting contemporary statements of Catholic Doctrine and he explicitly made that statement ex cathedra.

Secondly we signed the catechism of the Catholic Church which includes contemporary Catholic teaching on the papacy and we state in the letter we signed that we accepted this as the most perfect statement of Catholic faith in the world at the present time and that it is the faith we "aspire to hold and teach."

VOL: It has been reported that at the gathering of all TAC bishops in England last October at which the TAC formally petitioned Rome for union, that all the bishops signed a copy of the Roman Catholic Catechism on the altar as an expression of their complete acceptance of Roman Catholic dogma and doctrine. Others have reported that this was not the case, that they signed the petition to Rome but not the Catechism. Did the bishops all sign the Catechism, and is there complete acceptance by the TAC of Roman Catholic dogma and doctrine?

HEPWORTH: First. We not only signed the catechism, we also signed the compendium which is the Q & A section of the catechism on the altar and a video of the signing was made for the Holy See and we state in the letter that it is the faith we aspire to hold and teach. We all signed it on that altar in the middle of a mass for Christian unity.


VOL: Several Roman Catholic sources have indicated that the TAC will not be able to achieve the status of a Uniate church, but that some form of Personal Prelature might be a possibility, provided that the prelate assigned jurisdiction over the Prelature is one chosen by Rome from among existing Roman Catholic bishops. Would the TAC find this acceptable? –and if so, do you have an idea of which existing Roman Catholic bishops you would most like to see holding the Prelature?

HEPWORTH: First we have carefully avoided using the word uniate because it specifically refers to a process in the Eastern Church which is not a parallel in the situation in the West. Secondly, in our meetings with the Holy See we have been asked not to narrow the discussion by alluding only to those possibilities in contemporary canon law. Thirdly, it is only proper that we await the reply of the Holy See and our bishops give it careful consideration. We have the opportunity as we have promised to discuss the Holy See's response to our general synods of our national churches around the world.

VOL: You are aware of the pontifical Pastoral Provision that governs acceptance of formerly Episcopal clergy and faithful in the American Roman Catholic Church in a form that allows them to continue familiar Anglican liturgical practices and build "Anglican Use" parishes. These parishes must operate under the jurisdiction of the local Roman Catholic diocese within whose boundaries they are located. Several Roman Catholic sources have suggested that the way in which Rome may respond to the TAC's petition will be to extend the Pastoral Provision globally. If this were done, the TAC would not come into communion with Rome as a body, but as individual parishes being absorbed into the existing Roman Catholic Structure. Would the TAC find this acceptable? Why or why not?

HEPWORTH: I have strongly indicated that this would be unlikely to work whether we accept it or not. Because very few Catholic bishops have, up until now, been prepared to implement such a scheme and it has no presence outside of the U.S. and therefore it doesn't cover the TAC.

VOL: Are all of the lay people as enthusiastic as you are about going to Rome?

HEPWORTH: There is a gradation of enthusiasm across the whole TAC and that extends across our clergy and people. There are places where there is restless enthusiasm and impatience for the process to be at an end, and in other places some fear and hesitation as to what it might mean. A significant part of my work as primate is the apostolic care of those who are fearful.
Tip: Le Forum Catholique

Catafalque of the Queen of Heaven

Here are two of the pictures of the Catafalque of the Blessed Virgin Mary that the F.SS.R had set up during their Triduum in honor of the Assumption. This is also known as the "Tomb of the Virgin" in some of the few churches and chapels that continue the tradition. One custom associated with it is for children to go in procession to the empty tomb, where they leave their posies in honor of the Virgin.

For more photographs of this magnificent custom in honor of Our Lady, please go to the Papa Stronsay blog, and don't forget to leave a comment thanking the Fathers for their work for Tradition.

Update from Tokyo

From Tomoh Takai of Japan comes the following news (with slight editing):

18th Solemn Pontifical Mass in Gregorian Chant
Mass in Commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of Our Lady's Appearance
in Lourdes
Principal Celebrant : Peter Cardinal Shirayanagi, Archbishop Emeritus ofTokyo
Archbishop Alberto Bottari de Castello,Apostolic Nuncio to Japan
Archbishop Joseph Pittau, S.J. Former President of Sophia University
Saturday October 11, 2008, 3:00PM
Saint Mary Cathedral,Tokyo
Sponsored by:
Catholic Action Fellowship Association
The Mass will be according to the 1970 Missal

Ukrainian Orthodox Parish turns Greek Catholic

From the Ukrainian Catholic news service RISU (Religious Information Service of Ukraine) comes this excellent news, with a hint that other Ukrainian Orthodox parishes may eventually join the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) mentioned here is the smaller of the two independent Orthodox Churches in Ukraine, the larger one being the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP). Neither Church is recognized by the rest of the Orthodox Churches, which recognize only the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP). However, both independent Ukrainian Orthodox Churches have millions of followers. The UAOC, in particular, is concentrated in the same western Ukrainian provinces where the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church predominates.

Autocephalous Orthodox Parish in Lviv Region Unites with Greek Catholics
Lviv— On 10 August 2008, Fr. Mykhailo Romaniuk, priest of the village of Podusiv, officially made a confession of faith and priestly promises for faithfulness to the Pope of Rome, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), and the UGCC Eparchy of Stryi, in western Ukraine’s Lviv Region. Fr. Romaniuk and his faithful, previously of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC), thus joined the UGCC.

The process for the uniting of the two religious communities in Podusiv, Peremyshliany District, was started in 2004 by UGCC Bishop Yulian Gbur.
After making his promises, Fr. Romaniuk joined in concelebrating Liturgy with Bishop Gbur.
The interdenominational reconciliation occurred after a long process of discussions and meetings on the eparchial, regional, and district levels. The Stryi Eparchy initiated discussion of the theme of overcoming interdenominational problems in the Peremyshliany District. On 4 June representatives of the eparchy, the district civil authorities and the priests from Podusiv discussed questions of joint services involving Greek Catholics and Orthodox of the UAOC. On 9 August 2008 at a joint meeting of the two religious communities the need for religious unity in the village was absolutely confirmed. By liquidating the religious community of the UAOC and registering the single community of the UGCC the historical unity which existed until 1946 was renewed.
According to Fr. Pavlo Khud, head of the Press Service of the Stryi Eparchy of the UGCC, the faithful are satisfied with this resolution of the matter, inasmuch as interdenominational disputes in the village ended almost 20 years ago. Their example has started a process of initiatives for uniting which for a long time have been ripening in other parishes of the Stryi Eparchy.

Assumpta est Maria ad æthereum thalamum

"The Lord is with thee." With thee, certainly, as the sun is with the dawn going before it, and preceding its rise, and beginning the day by its light. Truly, indeed, Mary, the dawn of the world, prepared in a most singular manner by the Eternal Sun, being thus marvelously irradiated, prepares herself the rising of this Sun, has wonderfully inaugurated for the world the day of grace of such a Sun, as Saint Bernard says: "Like the dawn exceedingly resplendent hast thou come into the world, O Mary, when thou didst foreshow the splendor of the true Sun by such a wonderful radiance of sanctity that truly the day of salvation, the day of propitiation, the day which the Lord hath made, was worthy to be begun by thy bright light."

...note that Mary is, as it were, a happy dawn because of her place in glory; and according to this Job well says of the dawn: "Didst thou ... show the dawning of the day its place ?" (Job xxxviii, 12.) Now, certainly our dawn, Mary, elevated high in Heaven, holds the place nearest to the Eternal Sun.

We may consider that the throne of Mary in Heaven has a threefold greatness. The first is that she received Our Lord spiritually; the second, that she received Him corporeally; the third, that she received Him eternally. Behold the threefold place of Mary.

I say that the first place in which Mary received Our Lord, spiritually, is her mind, tranquil and peaceful, according to the Psalmist: "His place is in peace, and His dwelling in Zion," which, interpreted, means a mirror or contemplation. Whoever wishes to contemplate God, or to behold Him with the eyes of the mind, must make Him a place in peace in his mind; for without peace of mind no one can arrive at the knowledge of contemplation. Therefore the Apostle saith: "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see God" (Hebrews xii, 14.) Oh, who shall relate, or who can even imagine, in what contemplations daily that Sion, that holy mind of Mary, was employed, while she fervently revolved in her mind all those mysteries known to herself above all mortals? Of this, Saint Jerome well says: "If there are in you any bowels of piety or mercy, consider with what love was crucified, with what desire this virgin burned, while she revolved in her soul all that she had heard and seen, all that she had known; with what emotions she was moved, being filled with the Holy Ghost, with the thrilling knowledge of heavenly secrets."

The place in which Mary conceived, corporeally, was her holy womb, to which may be applied the word of Genesis: "The river which came forth from the paradise of pleasure (Jesus Christ from the Virgin's womb) was to water the garden" (Genesis ii, 10.) The special paradise is Mary; the universal paradise is the Church. Happy is the watering of both these gardens by the mystic river from the womb of Mary, Jesus Christ, who has said: "I will water my garden of plants" (Ecclesiasticus xxiv, 42.)

Well, therefore, doth Saint Jerome say, commenting on these words: "I saw her coming up beautiful from the banks of the water." Well is it said, "above the rivers of water," because the Lord had nourished her on the waters of refreshment, and brought her up on them; from whom many rivers emerge, water all the land of delights, and flow over the garden of pleasure." Again, the place wherein Mary received the Lord when she was about to dwell forever in Heaven is the place of glory, of which the Lord said to Job: "Hast thou shown the dawn its place?" (xxxviii, 12), as if he said, "Not thou, but I." -- it does not belong to thee to show Mary, the dawn, her place in Heaven, but to Me. Well doth He say, her place, as it were, appropriating it to her, and discriminating it from all the other places of the Saints.

Hence we read: "The priests brought in the ark of the covenant into its place" (3 Kings viii, 6). This place is most certainly above all the choirs of angels. Finally, this place is the most worthy in Heaven, as Saint Bernard testifies saying: "Neither was there in the world a more worthy place than the bridal chamber of the virginal womb, in which Mary received the Son of God, nor in the heavens one more worthy than the royal throne to which the Son of Mary raised her."

Mary is compared to the dawn; first, because she put an end to the night of guilt, in her most full holiness; secondly, because of the advance of the light of grace in her most bright conversation; thirdly, because of the bringing forth of the Sun of justice in her wonderful generation of her Son; fourthly, because of her taking possession of her place in glory in her most glorious Assumption.
Conrad of Saxony
Speculum Beatæ Mariæ Virginis

With even greater reason after the Assumption and her entrance into glory, Mary is the distributor of all graces. As a beatified mother knows in heaven the spiritual needs of her children whom she left on earth, Mary knows the spiritual needs of all men. Since she is an excellent mother, she prays for them and, since she is all powerful over the heart of her Son, she obtains for them all the graces that they receive, all which those receive who do not persist in evil. She is, it has been said, like an aqueduct of graces and, in the mystical body, like the virginal neck uniting the head to its members.
Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange
Les trois âges de la vie intérieure

Notes and events

1. Father Robert Pasley, Rector of the Mater Ecclesiae Personal Parish in Berlin, New Jersey, announces the following event:

The eighth annual Solemn Assumption Mass, hosted by Mater Ecclesiae parish, Berlin, NJ, will be celebrated at 7:00PM on Friday, August 15 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Broadway and Market Streets, Camden, NJ. Dr. Timothy McDonnell, Director of Music at Ave Maria University, Naples Florida, will conduct the polyphonic music for the Mass and Mr. Nicholas Beck, the Music Director of Mater Ecclesiae, will lead the Gregorian Propers of the Mass.

The musical selections are as follows: The Ordinary of the Mass is the Messa della Cappella (1641), by Claudio Monteverdi. Other selections: Canzon XII a 8, Giovanni Gabrielli; Sonata Sopra “Sancta Maria”, C. Monteverdi; Venite Populi and Sonata #12 in C major, K 263, W.A. Mozart; Pulchra est amica mea, Palestrina-Bassano; Ave Maria, Harold Boatrite; Hymns – Repeat My Soul, Walter Greatorex and Sing We of the Blessed Mother, Timothy McDonnell. The preacher of the Mass is Father John Zuhlsdorf, a renowned commentator and the author of the Blog, “What does the Prayer Really Say.” We are also honored to have in attendance, a long time friend of Mater Ecclesiae and pastor of St. Athanasius Parish, Phila., the Bishop Elect of the Diocese of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, Reverend Monsignor Herbert Bevard.
2. On the new directives of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments regarding the ineffable Name of God: another problem which the Traditional Roman Rite never had...

Summer recess notes: You report

Edgar Fernández, of Una Voce México, reports on the pilgrimage of the Traditional Latin Mass community of Guadalajara to the shrine of the Mexican martyr Saint Toribio Romo, in Jalostotitlán, Jalisco:

[A] pilgrimage [was undertaken] this past Thursday August 7th to visit the shrine of Santo Toribio Romo who is one of the martyrs that died during the terrible persecution during the Cristiada war, he died very young (28 years old) as a parish priest during one of the fiercest catholic persecutions the world has seen in modern times. After visiting the shrine in the town of Santa Ana and celebrating the TLM in the chapel the pilgrims, led by Father Jonathan Romanoski went on to pay their respects and pray for the success of the new FSSP apostolate in Guadalajara to our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos which is the 2nd largest Marian shrine in our country. [Pictures]
Congratulations to the Traditional Latin Mass community in the Mexican state of Jalisco and to Father Romanoski! Please, keep sending us your reports during the summer (or winter, for our readers in the Southern Hemisphere).

The "Ratzinger Formula"

“Rome must not require more from the East with respect to the doctrine of primacy than what had been formulated and was lived in the first millennium . . . Rome need not ask for more. Reunion could take place in this context if, on the one hand, the East would cease to oppose as heretical the developments that took place in the West in the second millennium and would accept the Catholic Church as legitimate and orthodox in the form she had acquired in the course of that development, while, on the other hand, the West would recognize the Church of the East as orthodox and legitimate in the form she has always had.” Joseph Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology, San Francisco, Ignatius, 1987, p. 199.

The preceding is quoted in Tracey Rowland, Ratzinger’s Faith: The Theology of Pope Benedict XVI, Oxford UP, 2008, p.100. She makes no acknowledgment of how problematic its first line is for the unity of the Church’s faith, nor does she mention the use which has been made of this quote by ecumenists who wish Rome to declare full communion with the Orthodox without the Orthodox having to accept the dogmas defined since 1054 by Florence, Trent, Vatican I and certain Popes. Cardinal Kasper has referred to it as the “Ratzinger Formula”. Similar to the full passage quoted above, many ecumenists and some Orthodox seem to envisage something like the mutual attitude which eventually came to prevail between Jesuits and Dominicans, in full communion obviously, once Rome prohibited them from calling each others' doctrines on grace heretical. Just as Thomists came to see Molinism as untrue but not contradictory to revelation, so Orthodox will supposedly be in full communion with Rome once they come to see papal primacy as merely someone else's theology rather than heresy, all the while declining to accept it as true. The reason this is not a solution is the fact that unlike the competing theories of grace in the seventeenth century, papal primacy has been defined as a dogma of faith . . .

One can read lengthy articles by ecumenists who make grateful use of the “Ratzinger Formula” while also quoting a plethora of agreed statements, documents and declarations which have emanated from Rome or dialogue commissions in the last 45 years of ecumenism. And yet only rarely if ever do they cite a 1997 official letter of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, co-signed by none other than Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, which in effect retracts what he had earlier said.

The context of this de facto self-correction was the declaration signed by a large majority of Catholic Melkite bishops at a conference in Lebanon in 1995. The assembled prelates agreed that they believe what Eastern Orthodoxy teaches and that they are in communion with the Bishop of Rome, as the first among the bishops, within the limits recognized by the holy Fathers of the East in the first millennium and before the separation. We will only mention in passing here that various holy Fathers of the East expressed the primacy of Peter and his successors, although in an inchoate way. But to the knowledge of this blogger there are no texts which claim and specify “limits” in the way schismatic Eastern Orthodox do. The Roman letter to the Melkite Patriarch in the wake of the Melkite declaration puts it this way: “It cannot be ignored that the doctrine regarding the Primacy of the Roman Pontiff has seen an evolution in the course of time, within the framework of explication of the faith of the Church.” (emphasis added) And then the letter signed by Ratzinger corrects the “Ratzinger Formula”: “it [the doctrine on the Roman Pontiff] must be accepted, therefore, in its entirety which incorporates the origins down to the present day.” (See 30 Days, vol. 11, 1997, p. 15. Full text and background are available at

This may be a major instance of what still Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in his April 2005 preface to Joseph Ratzinger. Life in the Church and Living Theology (by Maximilian-Heinrich Heim, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 2007): “[I]t was an absorbing reading experience for me to see the paths and detours of my own thinking, in its continuity and in its alterations (emphasis added). . .” May God give Pope Benedict XVI many years of guarding the deposit.