Rorate Caeli

The Faith of the Demons

In response to a question regarding the post "True Faith" (Friday, November 28):

St. Thomas gives one of his main expositions on the virtue and act of faith in the initial questions of the Second Part of the Second Part of the Summa Theologiae.

As regards the faith of the demons mentioned by the Epistle of St. James, we can say the following: the faith of viatores (those still on the way to the beatific vision, or at least their particular judgment if they are not among the elect) is an infused supernatural habit of the intellect inclining it to believe what God reveals on the authority of God revealing, but under the influence of the will moved by at least actual grace. If one is in the state of sanctifying grace and infused charity, then faith is said to be “formed,” and one’s good works done out of love for God known by faith are fruitful, living and meritorious of heaven. If one has lost charity through mortal sin, then the virtue of faith which remains is called “unformed,” but the act of faith which the virtue makes easier is still voluntary. The assent of faith is voluntary because the motives of credibility (miracles, prophecies etc.) give reason a very high degree of “probable certitude” (the phrase is from Thomas) that God has revealed Himself, not an absolute certitude as in mathematics and the first principles of reason where the intellect cannot not assent to seen truth.

Thus there are two major differences between the faith of the demons and the faith of Christians. First, due to their higher intellectual nature, the demons have an exhaustive knowledge of the properties of all nature, so that when they witness true miracles they know that no natural cause brings them about. They therefore know that God alone worked the miracle, and they know that God would not work a miracle unless in association with a true prophet speaking in His name, inspired by Him. Thus their intellects are forced to know that God vouches for the truth of revelation, in the way that our intellect is forced to know that two and two are four (for example). So their faith in God revealing and in what he reveals—being perfect metaphysicians they know God can neither deceive nor be deceived—is a “forced faith,” as St. Thomas puts it, not a voluntary faith. Secondly, the faith of the demons can never be living faith formed by charity, since they voluntarily determined themselves against God, in other words damned themselves. St. Thomas’s theology of how and when angelic and human wills definitively turn themselves toward or away from God is another topic.

Notes from the Iberian Peninsula

1. Our friends at "Missa Tridentina em Portugal" publish pictures of the "Seminar on Traditional Liturgy", held by the Fraternidad de Cristo Sacerdote y Santa María Reina, in collaboration with the Institute of the Good Shepherd (*Updated), for priests of Spain, Portugal, and other European nations, in the city of Pontevedra, Spain.

2. Reader Hugo Abreu informs us that the Traditional Latin Mass in Fátima (earlier post) is still a "private" (though open to the public). The chapel is too small to receive laity, they will ask the Bishop a larger Church. On the other hand, there is now, at last, a Diocesan Latin Mass open to the public in Portugal (although in the Ordinary Form), which is on a major Church of Lisbon, the Basílica dos Mártires (Our Lady of the Martyrs), which is very central, right in front of most famous cafe in the country, "A Brasileira".

¡Viva Cristo Rey!

SSPX Consecrates a New Church in Mexico

DICI reports that on Saturday November 8, 2008, His Excellency Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X, consecrated the new church of Leon in the land of the Cristeros. Leon, an industrial city in the heart of Mexico with just over one million inhabitants, is the 6th largest city in the country and the largest city in the state of Guanajuato. The new church is dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary. Its construction started in 2002-2003 and was funded entirely by the district of Mexico without any help from abroad.

A new friend of the Traditional Mass in the French hierarchy

Today, November 28, Friday, the Vatican Information Service announced this:


VATICAN CITY, 28 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

Fr. Jean-Pierre Batut of the clergy of the archdiocese of Paris, France, pastor of "Saint-Eugene et Sainte-Cecile", as auxiliary of Lyon (area 5,087, population 1,745,000, Catholics 1,207,000, priests 523, permanent deacons 59, religious 2,201), France . The bishop-elect was born in Paris in 1954 and ordained a priest in 1984.

Saint-Eugene et Sainte Cecile parish in Paris happens to offer both the Novus Ordo and the Gregorian Rite on Sunday and from Tuesday to Friday. On Mondays there is a Traditional Mass while on Saturdays there is a Novus Ordo Mass in Latin.

“True Faith”

Bonetus (contributor)

In his most recent catechesis on St. Paul, the Holy Father said: “[F]aith, if it is true and real, becomes love, charity—is expressed in charity. Faith without this fruit, without charity, would not be true faith. It would be a dead faith”. (, Nov. 26).

But there is a sense in which it cannot be said that “faith . . . without charity would not be true faith,” for the Church anathematizes anyone who would say that “when grace has been lost through sin, faith too is always lost at the same time, or that the faith which remains is not true faith even though it is not living, or that he who has faith without charity is not a Christian” (Council of Trent, Decree on Justification, canon 28, emphasis added).

This does not mean that Pope Benedict has taught heresy. From the full context of the talk it is clear that when he says “true faith” he is referring to what St. Thomas and theology call fides formata. Fides formata is the virtue of supernatural faith when through infused charity an act of faith truly can merit the end for which it was divinely bestowed, namely the attainment of the First Truth in the beatific vision. When, because of lack of charity, faith once infused as the first fruit of now lost sanctifying grace cannot “do” what God meant it to do, then it fails to be fully ordered to its ultimate end, and in that restricted sense it can be considered as not being “true faith”.

Still, we must not forget that faith is a virtue and act of the intellect whose proper object is God the First Truth, even when sanctifying grace and charity have been lost through mortal sin (provided the sin is not against faith). The sinner in the Church still has an infused supernatural gift in his intellect, a basis for salutary repentance before the true God truly known. In them, Mother Church sees Christian souls who still have “true faith”.

Suggestions for Christmas gifts

A reader made this comment in a recent comment box, and we believe it may be a good subject for our excellent commentators:

In view of Christmas's approach are there vibrant traditional and orthodox monasteries whose products we could buy. I know of the Mystic Monk Coffee from the Wyoming Carmelites. Any others?

Requiem Mass at Westminster Cathedral

A report and pictures from our friends at The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales:

24 November 2008

Latin Mass Society Celebrates Its Annual Requiem Mass in Westminster Cathedral

Father Antony Conlon, National Chaplain of the Latin Mass Society, celebrated a High Mass of Requiem in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 22 November for the repose of the souls of all deceased members and supporters of the LMS. Father Tim Finigan was Deacon and the Sub-deacon was Fr Patrick Hayward. Gordon Dimon of the LMS was MC.

A congregation of about 600 heard the men of the Cathedral Choir sing traditional plainchant.

For the first time in many years, the Mass was followed by the traditional ceremonies of Absolutions at the Catafalque. Many in the congregation said afterwards how pleased they were that this ceremony had been reinstated.

Before Mass, a wreath was laid by Julian Chadwick, Chairman of the LMS, and other LMS Committee members on the grave of Cardinal Heenan in the cathedral nave in thanksgiving for the Cardinal’s efforts to preserve the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Father Antony Conlon read prayers for the occasion.

John Medlin, General Manager of the LMS, said afterwards: “The LMS is grateful to Canon Christopher Tuckwell, the Cathedral Administrator, for his friendly help in organising our ceremonies. We feel that the Extraordinary Form now has a settled part to play in the life of Westminster Cathedral and we shall be putting some ideas regarding improved provision to Canon Tuckwell soon.”

Note: The Extraordinary Form has now returned to several of our cathedrals throughout England and Wales and the LMS is actively seeking to introduce further Masses.

Australian Ordinations: Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter

Last Saturday, 22nd November, the Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn, the Most Rev'd Mark Colleridge celebrated Pontifical Solemn Mass in his Cathedral and ordained to the Sacred Priesthood two deacons of the Fraternity of Saint Peter, the Rev'd Messrs Marco Rehak and Dominic Popplewell. Both deacons had been residents of Canberra, Australia's capital.

This wonderful occasion, attended by several hundred of the faithful was enhanced by splendid singing of the chant and polyphony of Durufle, as well as by the Archbishop's excellent command of the ceremonial and sacred chant.

We are pleased to include some photographic highlights here, captured by the indefatigable photographer of Australian Catholic Tradition, Tom Kwok of Sydney. Further photos can be seen here.

Synod Retrospective: Proposition 12 on Inspiration and truth in the Bible

Looking back to last month's Synod of Bishops on the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church, it was right that alarm and concern was raised by the controversial Proposition 17, that for the first time in the Church's history the ministry of lector be granted to women. But the Synod offered another proposal that is of especial interest:

Proposition 12: Inspiration and truth in the Bible

The synod proposes that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith clarify the concepts of “inspiration” and “truth” in the Bible, along with their reciprocal relationship, in order to better understand the teaching of Dei Verbum 11. In particular, it’s necessary to emphasize the specific character of Catholic Biblical hermeneutics in this area.

Unlike Proposition 17, which is not in any way desirable and nor needed for the life and health of the Church (quite the contrary), Proposition 12 is both desirable and necessary, on account of the confusion and erroneous interpretations of the teaching of Dei Verbum 11 that have become widespread in the Church in the past four decades. This confusion and error can even be found in Section 15(c) of the Synod's working document, which obviously was the occasion for Proposition 12. Section 15(c) had asserted, in apparent conflict with perennial Catholic teaching, that "inerrancy applies only to 'that truth which God wanted to put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation,'" (emphasis added) -- as if there was anything else in the Bible but truth for the sake of our salvation. It is encouraging that the Synod of Bishops has avoided the danger to Catholic doctrine occasioned by Section 15(c), instead calling on the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to clarify the question.

If the Holy Father acts on Proposition 12, it must be hoped that the CDF will renew Leo XIII's and Pius XII's clear and unequivocal rejection of the error of "limited inerrancy" in Providentissimus Deus and Divino afflante Spiritu. As Father Brian Harrison has explained in his study, "The Truth and Salvific Purpose of Sacred Scripture According to Dei Verbum, Article 11," the phrasing of DV11 was the result of attempts of advocates of "limited inerrancy" to eliminate the Catholic doctrine of the total inerrancy Holy Scripture from this dogmatic constitution. Although their attempts were not successful, the resulting text of DV11 is capable of being misinterpreted as support for "limited inerrancy," despite the Theological Commission's clarifying explanation and the footnotes that cite the very passages of PD and DaS that condemn "limited inerrancy." Ignoring the teaching of the Popes and disregarding the ruling interpretive framework of DV11's footnotes, many Catholic exegetes have made a false distinction between "that truth which God wanted to put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation" and other matters in the Bible that, it is alleged, may or may not be erroneous. As a result, disbelief in the divine inspiration and total inerrancy of Holy Scripture is rampant in the Church today, a calamitous situation that the Holy See must address sooner rather than later.

Proposition 12 rightly states that "it’s necessary to emphasize the specific character of Catholic Biblical hermeneutics in this area." Had the specific character of Catholic hermeneutics not been obscured, the papal magisterium of Leo XIII, Benedict XV, and Pius XII regarding biblical interpretaton would not have been distorted or forgotten by so many. God willing we will soon enough receive some very necessary guidance and clarification in this matter.

Conservative Trappist Abbey becomes exclusively "Old Rite"

A translation by Chris Gillibrand, at Catholic Church Conservation.

Cathcon translation of Zurück zum Glauben der Väter-Back to the Faith of the Father

In the Trappist Monastery of Mariawald in the Eifel an unexpected event has taken place which is unique in the world. On the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lady in the Temple - 21st November - the German Trappist abbey of Mariawald gained from Rome the permission to return to the Old Rite and their original religious discipline.

According to observers, this is a unique event in church history.

The Trappist were founded as a reform order of the Cistercians. Their day was marked by lengthy prayers, hard work and strict fasting and silence. In the wake of the Second Vatican, the religious discipline almost totally broke down.

The Abbey of Mariawald is located near the town of Heimbach in the Eifel in the district of Cologne. It is located in the Diocese of Aachen.

The monastery was founded in April 1795 for the first time and refounded in 1861 by the Alsatian Trappist Abbey of Ölenberg.

The monastery was also closed during the Kulturkampf and in the time of National Socialism.

Between the years 1962 and 1964, the monks adapted the monastery church to the then current liturgical fashions.

Today fourteen monks live in the Abbey under the direction of Abbot Joseph Vollberg. The hours of prayer for the monks begin at 4:00 am.

The Abbey of Mariawald is today funded by operating a restaurant, a bookshop, a liqueur factory and a monastery shop. The monastery has a guesthouse attached.

Abbot Joseph Vollberg (45) was raised in Wetzlar. He is the ninth abbot of Mariawald.

After military service and management studies in Giessen, he joined Mariawald on 1 December 1986. He studied theology in the Cistercian Abbey of the Holy Cross in Vienna.

On 26 January 1992, he was solemnly professed. In August 2003, the monk was appointed superior ad ad nutum and obtained thereby the rights of an abbot.

Then on 17 December 2005, Dom Josef received diaconal orders and on 29 June 2006 was ordained a priest by the Bishop of Aachen, Heinrich Mussinghoff.

In November 2006 the Convent Chapter chose Vollberg as the Abbot for life of the Abbey of Mariawald.

His solemn Abbatial consecration was on 26 January 2007 in the abbey church of the monastery.

Rome upholds the excommunication of the "Pidhirtsi Fathers"

The Apostolic Signatura has refused to review the excommunication of the four Ukrainian priests who had been consecrated as bishops -- without being proposed as bishops by the Synod of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) and without the requisite papal blessing -- last March. According to the Religious Information Service of Ukraine, the Apostolic Signatura's response to the four bishops stated that “…Having seen your instances to the Holy Father and the Major Archiepiscopal Tribunal enclosed with your letter, this Apostolic Signatura does not see any reason for it to intervene in this matter.”

The four priests -- Basilian hieromonks Elijah A. Dohnal, Methodius R. Shpirzhyk, Markian V. Hitiuk, and the priest Robert Oberhauser -- had been consecrated as bishops shortly before March 23 of this year. They are popularly called the "Pidhirtsi Fathers". As reported on this blog, the consecration of the four had been denounced on March 23 by Lubomyr Cardinal Husar of the UGCC. Given the conflicting reports at the time and the anonymity of the alleged consecrator, Cardinal Husar had simply declared that the four were excommunicated if indeed they had been consecrated bishops.

Interestingly, the head of the UGCC cited the absence of the Pope's blessing as one of the reasons for excommunicating of the four. Lubomyr Cardinal Husar was himself consecrated a bishop without a papal blessing by the late Josef Cardinal Slipyj, the then-Major Archbishop of the UGCC, in 1977. Rome recognized him only in 1996.

In June and again in August, two canonical trials were held for the Pidhirtsi Fathers. The first one, before the Collective Tribunal of the Eparchies of Sokal and Zhovkva Eparchies, sentenced the four to excommunication. This sentence was then upheld in the second trial, which was held before the Tribunal of the Supreme Archbishop of the UGCC, Lubomyr Husar. It was from this sentence that the Pidhirtsi Fathers had appealed to the Apostolic Signatura in Rome.

In addition to the trials, there have been severe controversies between the followers of the four bishops and the UGCC hierarchy, with attempts by the former to take over the administrative buildings of an UGCC eparchy. (See also this article.)

Supporters of the four bishops contend that they had been consecrated as part of a long-running movement in the UGCC against the alleged modernism, hyper-ecumenism, de-Latinizing and pro-Orthodox leanings of the current UGCC Hierarchy. With Rome upholding the excommunications, this now becomes the second split from the UGCC in just one year over the question of the UGCC's de-Latinization and alleged "modernism". The first had been that of Fr. Basil Kovpak and the Society of St. Josaphat (associated with the SSPX) that culminated in the excommunication of Fr. Kovpak late in November last year. (It should be noted, though, that the Pidhirtsi Fathers are not associated with either the SSJK or the SSPX)

Italian rumors

As first reported here in July, Andrea Tornielli confirmed yesterday the post-November (early December) nomination of Cardinal Cañizares Llovera, of Toledo, as the new Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

The current Prefect, Cardinal Arinze, confirmed today the Pope's acceptance of the new ¨alternatives¨ to ¨Ite, missa est¨ and is pondering, after having consulted the bishops around the world, a change in the position of the ¨sign of peace¨ in the Mass of Paul VI (farewell interview to L´Osservatore Romano).

The future position of Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith is unknown at the moment, though, as also reported here last April, his return to his native Sri Lanka is quite probable.

SSPX Builds a New Church in the Heart of Rouen

The solemn consecration of the Church of Saint-François-de-Sales by His Excellency, Mgr. Tissier de Mallerais will take place on Saturday November 22, 2008 at 9:30 am in Rouen.

“The construction of a brand new church in the central district of Rouen is an extraordinary event in this ominous period in the life of the Catholic Church in France where all around us there are churches closing and steeples falling to the wrecking ball.”... La Porte Latine
(Petit merci à Ennemond)

Maria, Virgo perpetua, templum Domini: ora pro nobis

Benedicta es cælorum Regina
Et mundi totius Domina,
Et ægris medicina;
Tu præclara Maris Stella vocaris,
Quæ Solem Iustitiæ paris,
A quo illuminaris.

Te Deus Pater,
Ut Dei Mater
Fieres, et ipse frater
Cuius eras filia,
Sanctam servavit,
Et mittens sic salutavit:
"Ave, plena gratia."

Per illud Ave prolatum
Et tuum responsum datum
Est ex te Verbum incarnatum
Quo salvantur omnia.

Nunc Mater, exora natum,
Ut nostrum tollat reatum
Et regnum det nobis paratum
In cælesti patria.

(Recess for a few days. Important news may be posted at any time.)

"Illustrious for his learning and sanctity . . ."

Today the Church celebrates the birth into eternal life of St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, whose life on earth extended from about A.D. 213 to A.D. 275:

Neocæsaréæ, in Ponto, natális sancti Gregórii, Epíscopi et Confessóris, doctrína et sanctitáte illústris, qui propter signa atque mirácula, quæ cum multa Ecclesiárum glória perpetrávit, Thaumatúrgus est appellátus.

"At Neocaesarea in Pontus, the birthday of St. Gregory, bishop and confessor, illustrious for his learning and sanctity. The signs and miracles which he wrought to the great glory of the Church gained for him the surname Wonderworker."

In addition to the many miracles God worked through him, St. Gregory also was renowned for his sublime explication of the Church's Trinitarian faith. Taking a leading role in the local council of Antioch (A.D. 269) that condemned the heresies and moral lapses of Paul of Samosata, St. Gregory issued a creed or confession of faith. According to a very early tradition handed down by those who knew him, the Saint had received that creed during a vision or apparition of the Apostle St. John and the Blessed Virgin Mary. St. John is said to have dictated the creed aloud while Our Lady prayed silently. Unless one interprets the 12th chapter of the St. John's Apocalypse as a Marian apparition, St. Gregory's would be the earliest known Marian apparition. The Wonderworker's confession anticipates both the Nicene Creed and the 'Athanasian' Creed:

There is one God, the Father of the living Word, who is the substantive wisdom and eternal power and image of God: the perfect begetter of the perfect begotten: the Father of the only-begotten Son.

There is one Lord, one of one, God of God, the image and likeness of the Godhead, the mighty Word, the wisdom which comprehends the constitution of all things, and the power which produces all creation; the true Son of the true Father, Invisible of Invisible, Incorruptible of Incorruptible, and Immortal of Immortal, and Everlasting of Everlasting.

And there is one Holy Spirit, having His existence from God, and being manifested by the Son, namely, to men, the perfect likeness of the perfect Son, Life, the cause of the living, the sacred fount, sanctity, the leader of sanctification: in whom is revealed God the Father, who is over all things and in all things, and God the Son, who is through all things: a perfect Trinity, not divided nor differing in glory and eternity and sovereignty.

Neither, indeed, is there anything created or subservient in the Trinity, nor introduced, as though not there before but coming in afterwards; nor, indeed, has the Son ever been without the Father, nor the Spirit without the Son, but the Trinity is ever the same, unvarying and unchangeable.

In the Viennese tradition

The Youth-Mass "tradition" continues in Vienna (Nov. 16, 2008). Is this what His Holiness meant by "deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear"? (Letter to the Bishops regarding Summorum Pontificum).

For the Record: "Progressive" paper mentions possible Vatican-SSPX development

The French "Progressive Catholic" weekly Golias reports the following:
"According to our sources, Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos and Mgr Perl, in charge of the Vatican 'Ecclesia Dei' Commission, responsible for the dialogue with the Integrists [sic], would have drafted, along with an Italian prelate, Mgr Mario Marini [adjoint secretary of the Commission] a text of reconciliation in this direction [of pacification]."
The document, according to Golias, "would not mean a full and complete recognition of the Fraternity", but it would "recognize the good faith and the ecclesial sense of the Integrists, while a full agreement is not reached".

Tip: Le Forum Catholique

You Report: Traditional Masses around the World - XIV

A friend informs us that the Traditional Latin Mass is now being celebrated regularly in the Diocese of Leiria-Fatima, in Portugal. The weekly celebration takes place in the Chapel of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, in Fatima.

More pictures here.

Orthodox Bishop comments on the recent change of the 1962 Prayer for the Jews

Russian Orthodox theologian and bishop Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Vienna's lecture on "Theological Education in the 21st Century" is concerned, among other things, with the relationship between lex orandi and lex credendi. The entire lecture is worth reading; an excerpt can also be found on Interfax. However, our interest lies in his brief but unambiguous assessment of the recent changing of the 1962 Missal's Good Friday Prayer for the Jews.

This is being posted on Rorate not in order to reopen the wars on the change of the 1962 prayer for the Jews, but to cast greater light on the very real theological issues involved in that change.

From Hilarion of Vienna's lecture:

"Another divorce which needs to be mentioned is that between theology and liturgy. For an Orthodox theologian, liturgical texts are not simply the works of outstanding theologians and poets, but also the fruits of the prayerful experience of those who have attained sanctity and theosis. The theological authority of liturgical texts is, in my opinion, higher than that of the works of the Fathers of the Church, for not everything in the works of the latter is of equal theological value and not everything has been accepted by the fullness of the Church. Liturgical texts, on the contrary, have been accepted by the whole Church as a 'rule of faith' (kanon pisteos), for they have been read and sung everywhere in Orthodox churches over many centuries..."

"...The lex credendi grows out of the lex orandi, and dogmas are considered divinely revealed because they are born in the life of prayer and revealed to the Church through its divine services. Thus, if there are divergences in the understanding of a dogma between a certain theological authority and liturgical texts, I would be inclined to give preference to the latter. And if a textbook of dogmatic theology contains views different from those found in liturgical texts, it is the textbook, not the liturgical texts, that need correction."

"Even more inadmissible, from my point of view, is the correction of liturgical texts in line with contemporary norms. Relatively recently the Roman Catholic Church decided to remove the so-called 'antisemitic' texts from the service of Holy Friday. Several members of the Orthodox Church have begun to propagate the idea of revising Orthodox services in order to bring them closer to contemporary standards of political correctness. For example, the late Archpriest Serge Hackel from England, an active participant in the Jewish-Christian dialogue, proposed the removal of all texts from the Holy Week services that speak of the guilt of the Jews in the death of Christ (cf. his article 'How Western Theology after Auschwitz Corresponds to the Consciousness and Services of the Russian Orthodox Church,' in Theology after Auschwitz and its Relation to Theology after the Gulag: Consequences and Conclusions, Saint-Petersburg, 1999, in Russian). He also maintains that only a 'superficial and selective' reading of the New Testament brings the reader to the conclusion that the Jews crucified Christ. In reality, he argues, it was Pontius Pilate and the Roman administration who are chiefly responsible for Jesus' condemnation and crucifixion."

"This is just one of innumerable examples of how a distortion of the lex credendi inevitably leads to 'corrections' in the lex orandi, and vice versa. This is not only a question of revising liturgical tradition, but also a re-examination of Christian history and doctrine. The main theme of all four Gospels is the conflict between Christ and the Jews, who in the end demanded the death penalty for Jesus. There was no conflict between Christ and the Roman administration, the latter being involved only because the Jews did not have the right to carry out a death penalty. It seems that all of this is so obvious that it does not need any explanation. This is exactly how the ancient Church understood the Gospel story, and this is the understanding that is reflected in liturgical texts. However, contemporary rules of 'political correctness' demand another interpretation in order to bring not only the Church's services, but also the Christian faith itself in line with modern trends."

Fr. Frank Pavone, other pro-life leaders receive post-election death threats

From LifeSiteNews.Com

Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life Receives Post-Election Death Threat

Commentary by Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life

WASHINGTON, November 11, 2008 ( - I received the following message on my blog ( ) the day after the elections:


I am predicting that there will be more anti-abortion terror because of this election. I AM ALSO PREDICTING THAT THIS TIME IT WILL BE ANSWERED IN KIND BY PRO-CHOICE COUNTERTERRORISTS, who will mount similar terrorist attacks against well-known right-to-lifers. FATHER FRANK will be a natural target for pro-choice counterterrorists.

I therefore advise you, Fr Frank, if you read that there has been another abortion-clinic shooting or bombing, get out of town immediately. Take a vacation abroad. Go visit the Vatican. If there is another act of anti-abortion terror, your life will not be safe in the USA.

Good luck.

Some other pro-life leaders received a similar message, and it has been reported to law enforcement.

Pro-abortion extremists call the pro-life movement "violent." Yet it's the most peaceful movement of social reform in our nation's history. In fact, the most confrontational aspect of our movement, Operation Rescue, brought about over 70,000 arrests from 1987 to 1994, yet not a single one of them was for violent activity.

We also know that any time a movement is as big as ours, there will be a handful of people - disconnected from the movement - who embrace violence as a tactic. The same was true of the civil rights movement and the abolitionist movement.

But of no movement is it more true than the pro-abortion movement. It's just that the public doesn't know of their fanatical violence. It starts in the womb, of course - the very action they promote as a "right" is in fact violence. "Typically, the skull is brought out in fragments rather than as a unified piece," abortionist Martin Haskell testified in court in 1999 regarding the legal "D and E" abortion procedure.

And their violence extends beyond the womb. Just visit to see that our movement has been able to document 8519 acts of violence (and counting) by the other side. Pro-abortion fanatics have attacked pro-life demonstrators, have kidnapped women to force them to abort, have murdered born babies, and much more.

So for the visitor to my blog to send that message just reinforces the truth about the "abortion-rights" fanatics. Violence is their way of life.

But why blame Obama? Of course, he is the most pro-abortion person elected to the Presidency. Perhaps they're thinking back to President Clinton, whose attempts to stop peaceful intervention coincided with the killing of some abortionists. Or perhaps they're thinking of President Kennedy's assertion, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

But we already have a peaceful revolution - and not only is it possible, it's growing! As long as I have anything to say about it, there won't be any "anti-abortion terror." Instead, there will be peaceful vigil, 24-hours a day, around abortion centers. That both stops abortions and stops the killing of abortionists.

Place your all in Him who lacks nothing

You must guard your understanding from daydreams and thoughts of earthly things. You must completely free the inclination of your will from worldly cares and cling with all your being to the supreme true good with fervent love. You must keep your memory always lifted up and firmly anchored in that same true supreme good and only uncreated reality. In just this way your whole mind gathered up with all its powers and faculties in God, may become one spirit with him, in whom the supreme perfection of life is known to consist. This is the true union of spirit and love by which a man is made compliant to all the impulses of the supreme and eternal will, so that he becomes by grace what God is by nature.

At the same time it should be noted that in the very moment in which one is able, by God’s help, to overcome one’s own will, that is to cast away from oneself inordinate love or strong feeling, in other words so as to dare simply to trust God completely in all one’s needs, by this very fact one becomes so pleasing to God that his grace is imparted to one, and through that very grace one experiences that true love and devotion which drives out all uncertainty and fear and has full confidence in God. What is more, there can be no greater happiness than to place one’s all in him who lacks nothing.

So why do you still remain in yourself, where you cannot stay? Cast yourself, all of yourself, with confidence into God and he will sustain you, heal you and make you safe. If you dwell on these things faithfully within, they will do more to confer a happy life on you than all riches, pleasures and honors, and above all the wisdom and knowledge of this present deceitful world and its life, even if you were to excel in them all that ever lived.
Saint Albert the Great
De Adhaerendo Deo

The “Dark Ecumenism”

Episcopal Bishop moves to undermine Catholic teaching in the dark of night

The Southern Voice has reported that Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly “gay” bishop in the Episcopal Church and world Anglican Communion admitted to leading a clandestine retreat a few years ago for “gay” Roman Catholic priests at their invitation. The retreat which was held at an undisclosed location was attended by about 75 Catholic clergy from around the U.S. who participated without notifying their bishops or provincial leaders according to Robinson. Apparently Robinson used the occasion to torpedo the Church hierarchy. He was quoted as saying, “I had said to them, ‘It’s too dangerous for you to come out as gay to your superiors, but I believe that if you work for the ordination of women in your church, you will go a long way toward opening the door for the acceptance of gay priests.”

As the world Anglican Communion continues to collapse under the weight of the folly of relativism, let us pray for those of our priests who may be in danger of being lured from the Truth of Christ’s One Holy Church.

* Traditional Mass Can be Celebrated on Traditional Feast Days, Says Rome

Important news from our friends at The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales:
10 November 2008
Transferred Holydays of Obligation: an Important Clarification From the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei
In April 2008, the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales sought a ruling from the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei aimed at harmonising the celebration of certain Holy Days of Obligation in the Extraordinary and Ordinary Forms of the Roman Rite. The bishops had, in the case of the Epiphany, the Ascension and Corpus Christi, transferred these to specific Sundays and in the case of all other Holy Days of Obligation that are kept in England and Wales, with the exception of Christmas, transferred them also to specific Sundays, whenever they fall on a Saturday or a Monday. They wished to ensure that these Holy Days were also kept on Sundays by those attached to the Extraordinary Form.
Consequently, the Bishops’ Conference submitted a dubium to Rome but declined to release the full text or of Ecclesia Dei’s reply. The LMS therefore submitted its own dubium to Rome in July and a reply, dated 20 October, has now been received.
The reply from the Ecclesia Dei Commission confirms that the Mass and Office of Holy Days can continue to be said on the days prescribed in the calendar for the Extraordinary Form and that the right to use this calendar is intrinsic to the right to use the Extraordinary Form.
The LMS’s letter requested confirmation that:
I. the legitimate use of the liturgical books in use in 1962 decreed by the Sovereign Pontiff in Summorum Pontificum includes the right to the use of the calendar intrinsic to those liturgical books.
II. That, whilst in accordance with Canon 1246 the Episcopal Conference with the approbation of the Holy See legitimately transfers Holydays of Obligation or suppresses the obligation of Holydays, it is legitimate to celebrate the Mass and Office of those feasts on the days prescribed in the calendar of the liturgical books in use in 1962 with the clear understanding that, in accordance with the legitimate decision of the Episcopal Conference, there is no obligation to attend Mass on those days.
III. That, in accordance with nn. 356-361 of the Rubricae generales Missalis romani of 1962, it is appropriate to celebrate the external solemnity of Holy Days on the Sunday to which they have been transferred by the Episcopal Conference as has been customary in many other countries hitherto.
Ecclesia Dei’s reply stated:
“1. The legitimate use of the liturgical books in use in 1962 includes the right to the use of the calendar intrinsic to those liturgical books.
2. While in accordance with Canon 1246 §2 of the Code of Canon Law the Episcopal Conference can legitimately transfer Holydays of obligation with the approbation of the Holy See, it is also legitimate to celebrate the Mass and Office of those feasts on the days prescribed in the calendar of the liturgical books in use in 1962 with the clear understanding that, in accordance with the legitimate decision of the Episcopal Conference, there is no obligation to attend Mass on those days.
3. Thus, in accordance with nn. 356-361 of the Rubricae Generales Missalis Romani of 1962, it is appropriate to celebrate the external solemnity of Holy Days on the Sunday to which they have been transferred by the Episcopal Conference, as has been customary in many other countries hitherto.”
Ecclesia Dei’s reply is signed by its Vice-President, Mgr Camille Perl.
As a consequence of the Ecclesia Dei ruling, the Latin Mass Society will continue to organise Masses on the days prescribed in the 1962 calendar for Holy Days but will also, where appropriate, organise feast day Masses as External Solemnities on the Sundays prescribed by the English and Welsh bishops so that obedience and communion are maintained whilst respecting the sensibilities of those who wish to celebrate the feasts on the traditional days.
Mr Julian Chadwick, Chairman of the LMS, said: ‘This ruling is very important. It confirms that the calendar for the Extraordinary Form is integral to the rite and cannot be suppressed or altered by bishops’ conferences. It also confirms the right of those attached to the Extraordinary Form to continue to celebrate the traditional feast days. Of course, when we organise Masses on the Sundays prescribed by the bishops to celebrate transferred Holy Days we will organise external solemnities of the Holy Days to fulfill the bishops’ requirement that feast days in both Forms of the Roman Rite be celebrated in common’.

Letter to the President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei from the Chairman of the Latin Mass Society
HE Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos,
President, Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei,
Palazzo del Sant’ Uffizio 11,
00120 Vatican City State.
3 July 2008
Your Eminence,

Holydays of Obligation

The recent announcement by the Bishops of England and Wales that your dicastery has clarified to them “that in the Roman Rite, whichever Form of the liturgy is being celebrated, the Holydays of Obligation are held in common” has given rise to a good deal of confusion and some disquiet amongst our membership.
Whilst we most certainly wish to maintain and to manifest hierarchical communion with our bishops and through them our unity of faith with our brothers and sisters in the faith, there are a number of pastoral reasons - not the least the hope of reconciliation with those not in a regular relationship with the Church - that suggest that this question not be interpreted with a rigour that confuses or scandalises our weaker brethren.
It also seems that the statement of the Bishops of England and Wales does not sufficiently take into account the liturgical laws intrinsic to the liturgical books in use in 1962. Therefore, for the good of souls and the preservation of charity, on behalf of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales, I request your authoritative clarification on the following points:
I. That the legitimate use of the liturgical books in use in 1962 decreed by the Sovereign Pontiff in Summorum Pontificum includes the right to the use of the calendar intrinsic to those liturgical books.
II. That, whilst in accordance with Canon 1246 the Episcopal Conference with the approbation of the Holy See legitimately transfers Holydays of Obligation or suppresses the obligation of Holydays, it is legitimate to celebrate the Mass and Office of those feasts on the days prescribed in the calendar of the liturgical books in use in 1962 with the clear understanding that, in accordance with the legitimate decision of the Episcopal Conference, there is no obligation to attend Mass on those days.
III. That, in accordance with nn. 356-361 of the Rubricae generales Missalis romani of 1962, it is appropriate to celebrate the external solemnity of Holy Days on the Sunday to which they have been transferred by the Episcopal Conference as has been customary in many other countries hitherto.

As the task of compiling the Ordo for 2009 is upon us, I would be most grateful for Your Eminence’s clarification of these questions as soon as is possible.
Your servant in Christ,
Julian Chadwick
Latin Mass Society
Letter from the Vice-President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei to the Chairman of the Latin Mass Society
N. 107/97
Rome, 20 October 2008
Dear Mr. Chadwick,
I wish to acknowledge receipt of your letter of 3 July 2008 in which you raise certain questions pertaining to Holydays of obligation.
In the first instance I wish to point out that the question of the liturgical calendar to be followed for the use of the liturgical books of the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite is one that will continue to be studied by this Pontifical Commission. Hence present responses should be understood without prejudice to any subsequent clarifications which may be eventually made by this Pontifical Commission.
With regard to your queries we may state that:
1. The legitimate use of the liturgical books in use in 1962 includes the right to the use of the calendar intrinsic to those liturgical books.
2. While in accordance with Canon 1246 §2 of the Code of Canon Law the Episcopal Conference can legitimately transfer Holydays of obligation with the approbation of the Holy See, it is also legitimate to celebrate the Mass and Office of those feasts on the days prescribed in the calendar of the liturgical books in use in 1962 with the clear understanding that, in accordance with the legitimate decision of the Episcopal Conference, there is no obligation to attend Mass on those days.
3. Thus, in accordance with nn. 356-361 of the Rubricae Generales Missalis Romani of 1962, it is appropriate to celebrate the external solemnity of Holy Days on the Sunday to which they have been transferred by the Episcopal Conference, as has been customary in many other countries hitherto.
With prayerful best wishes I remain,
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Rev. Msgr Camille Perl

Vice President

Editorial note: Pro-death from day one

The reversal of the "Mexico City Policy" will be among the first measures of the future President of the United States. This was fully expected, of course, and it will mean that American taxpayers' money will be used to fund abortions worldwide, as well as to promote abortion throughout the world, particularly in Catholic nations in Latin America.

It is true that the power of the President of the United States is actually more limited than it seems. Yet, while judicial appointments are complex decisions and involve individuals who are ultimately beyond the control of any politician, the reversal of the Mexico City Policy is a clear example of an act of raw presidential power.

Public funding will be restored. Taxpayers' revenue will be spent. Babies will be killed around the world with the help of funding provided by all American taxpayers. Elections do have consequences.

"Quia adulteratæ sunt,
et sanguis in manibus earum,
et cum idolis suis fornicatæ sunt:
insuper et filios suos quos genuerunt mihi,
obtulerunt eis ad devorandum.
" (Ezechiel xxiii, 37)

The inspiration of Pope Pius XII

All recognize in Pius XII an intelligence out of the ordinary, a memory of iron, a singular aptitude for foreign languages, and a notable sensibility. It has been said that he was an accomplished diplomat, an eminent jurist, a great theologian. This is all true, but it does not explain it all. There was also within him a continuous effort and a firm will to give himself to God, selflessly and with no concern for his own poor health.

The true motivation for his behavior was this: all originated out of love for his Lord Jesus Christ, an out of love for the Church and for mankind. He was in fact, above all, the priest in constant and intimate union with God, the priest who found the strength for his incalculable labor in long periods of prayer before the Most Holy Sacrament, in silent conversation with his Creator and Redeemer. Whence his Magisterium, as well as all his other activities, derive their source and impulse.
Benedict XVI
November 8, 2008

For the Record: the influence of the "Extraordinary Form"

This excerpt of Archbishop Burke's interview to Inside the Vatican has been posted elsewhere, but we post it here for our ongoing record on the influence of the Extraordinary Form on the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, an influence which Burke believes will take place in an actual reform of the Sacred Liturgy:

[Inside the Vatican:] You were also very supportive of groups in St Louis, wishing to make use of Summorum Pontificum. With the looser restrictions in the celebration of the Old Mass, is the movement for tradition likely to grow, and what effect is this likely to have on the liturgical reform?

[Burke:] Pope Benedict XVI has made clear his reasons for the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum, among which is the enrichment of the Ordinary Form of the Latin Rite through the celebration of the Extraordinary Form. Such enrichment will be natural, since the Ordinary Form developed organically from what is now the Extraordinary Form. The more that the faithful come to appreciate the Extraordinary Form, the more they will also come to understand the profound reality of every celebration of the Holy Mass, whether in the Extraordinary or Ordinary Form. If I understand the Holy Father correctly, with time, a further reform of the Sacred Liturgy may take place, which more fully draws upon the richness of the Extraordinary Form. The legislation given in Summorum Pontificum, I am convinced, will foster greatly the liturgical reform which was the goal of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council.

Decree for the removal of excommunications on the Pope's desk?

From Spanish blog La Cigüeña de la Torre:

On the Holy Father's bureau stands a prepared decree which will lift that of excommunion, of 1988, which applied to the consecrating [Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer] and consecrated bishops [Bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Alfonso de Galarreta, and Richard Williamson]. I mean removing the decree, and not absolving of the excommunication.

The thesis of the subjective element, extenuating or mitigating of fault, and, therefore, of the penalty, according to Canons 1323, 4 and 7, and 1324, 1, 8, and 3, has prevailed.

The information sounds highly credible, it matches recent events (including the Rosary Crusade), and Spanish conservative Catholic lawyer Francisco José Fernández de la Cigoña usually only posts on future events (such as the nomination of Bishops) when he is truly certain of the matter. Nonetheless, even if the information is accurate, there is no way of knowing when the Holy Father will sign the document, or when it will be made public.

The referenced canons of the Code of Canon Law (CIC) are the following:

Can. 1323 The following are not subject to a penalty when they have violated a law or precept:
4/ a person who acted coerced by grave fear, even if only relatively grave, or due to necessity or grave inconvenience unless the act is intrinsically evil or tends to the harm of souls;
7/ a person who without negligence thought that one of the circumstances mentioned in nn. 4 or 5 was present.

Can. 1324 §1. The perpetrator of a violation is not exempt from a penalty, but the penalty established by law or precept must be tempered or a penance employed in its place if the delict was committed:
8/ by a person who thought in culpable error that one of the circumstances mentioned in can. 1323, nn. 4 or 5 was present;
§3. In the circumstances mentioned in §1, the accused is not bound by a latae sententiae penalty.

Thanks to a dear contributor.

Blessed are those who die in the Lord

Nolite mirari, hoc, quia venit hora, in qua omnes, qui in monumentis sunt, audient vocem Filii Dei: et procedent, qui bona fecerunt, in resurrectionem vitæ; qui vero mala egerunt, in resurrectionem judicii. (From the Gospel for the first Mass for the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, transferred to the following Monday in 2008: John v, 28-29: "Wonder not at this, for the hour cometh wherein all that are in the grave shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that have done good things shall come forth unto the resurrection of life, but they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment.")

In the ... book of Ecclesiasticus we read that God hears the prayer of the poor man, especially at the time when this man has to die, and that He punishes hearts that are without pity. "The Lord is judge, and there is not with Him respect of person; the Lord will not accept any person against a poor man; He will hear the prayer of him that is wronged . . . [and of] the widow.... The prayer of him that humbleth himself shall pierce the clouds, and he will not depart till the most High beholds."

This doctrine is verified particularly at the hour of death. God will be with him in that last hour. These high thoughts occur repeatedly in the Old Testament, and still more in the New, which sees clearly in the death of the just man the prelude of eternal life.

It was this writer's privilege to see the death of a just man, a poo
r man, Giuseppe d'Estengo, who lived with his family in the eighth story of a house near the Campo Santo in Rome.

He was gangrened in his four limbs, suffered much from the cold, especially when his nerves began to writhe before death. Nevertheless, he never complained. He offered all his sufferings to the Lord for the salvation of his soul, for his own people, for the conversion of sinners. Then he was struck by rapid consumption, and had to be carried to the other extremity of Rome, to the hospital of the Littorio, where three weeks later he died, in a perfect state of abandonment to God in the middle of the night.

At the precise instant when he died, his elderly father, a very good Christian, who was at the other extremity of the city, heard the voice of his son saying: "Father, I am going to heaven." And his excellent mother dreamed that her son mounted up to heaven with healed hands and feet, just as he will be in fact after the resurrection of the dead.

I count it one of the great graces of my life that I knew this poor man, who was pointed out to me by a Vincentian helper who said: "You will be happy to know him." She spoke truly. He was a friend of God. His death confirmed this. Blessed are they who die in the Lord. He was one of those "who taste death" as the prelude of eternal life.
Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange
L’éternelle vie et la profondeur de l’âme