Rorate Caeli

Galarreta new head of La Reja

Local sources in Argentina confirm that Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta, one of the four bishops of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X, will run the Seminary of Our Lady Co-Redemptrix in La Reja, Province of Buenos Aires -at least temporarily, as a "Visitator".

The news has also been posted in the website of the excellent Argentinian Catholic publication Panorama Católico Internacional. 

Note: The father of Panorama's editor (Marcelo González) died this Friday: may he rest in peace.

Ecce nunc tempus acceptabile!
Ecce nunc dies salutis!

It is most fitting that the Station for the first Sunday in the most solemn season of the year is at the Mater et Caput omnium Ecclesiarum, the Cathedral of the Holy Roman Church, the Basilica of the Most Holy Savior in the Lateran, better known by the secondary patronage under Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist. In the primitive days of the Roman Church, before four ferias were added by Saint Gregory the Great (or some other Pontiff in the following decades) to complete 40 days of fasting, the Station at the Lateran, the old palatial basilica on the ancient estate of the Lateran family handed to Saint Sylvester, signaled the beginning of Lent (from the Secret of the Mass: "sacrificium quadragesimalis initii", of the beginning of the Lenten sacrifice).

It is always refreshing for Catholics to see the Traditional Mass celebrated once again in this Mother and Head of all Churches. In early Eastertide, the Traditional Mass will be celebrated at least twice in the Lateran: on April 16 (Thursday), 10 AM, by Father Stefano Maria Manelli, Superior of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, celebrating the 800th anniversary of the Rule of Saint Francis (the Rule of 1209); and, on the anniversary of the City of Rome, April 21 (Tuesday), 10 AM, by His Eminence Cardinal Cañizares Llovera, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Source: AGI News Agency.

The Holy Father and my Superior, Bishop Bernard Fellay, have requested that I reconsider the remarks I made on Swedish television four months ago, because their consequences have been so heavy.

Observing these consequences I can truthfully say that I regret having made such remarks, and that if I had known beforehand the full harm and hurt to which they would give rise, especially to the Church, but also to survivors and relatives of victims of injustice under the Third Reich, I would not have made them.

On Swedish television I gave only the opinion (..."I believe"..."I believe"...) of a non-historian, an opinion formed 20 years ago on the basis of evidence then available and rarely expressed in public since. However, the events of recent weeks and the advice of senior members of the Society of St. Pius X have persuaded me of my responsibility for much distress caused. To all souls that took honest scandal from what I said before God I apologise.

As the Holy Father has said, every act of injust violence against one man hurts all mankind.

+Richard Williamson
London, 26 February 2009.


1. Many in the Vatican see the ongoing battle. Andrea Tornielli in today's Il Giornale:
[In the Vatican], where nonetheless the existence of obstacles and problems is not denied, there are those who are convinced that what is in play in these weeks is a "battle" of greater and deeper dimensions than it may appear from the outside, and that the recent epiosodes themselves [Williamson and Wagner] have strengthened and granted visibility to those who have never forgiven Benedict XVI for having become Pope.

Those same who had spent years portraying Joseph Ratzinger as the "Panzerkardinal", attributing to him a restraining role during the pontificate of John Paul II - a caricature out of History, considering that Ratzinger himself was the one who worked more with Pope Wojtyla, and the latter never accepted the request of retirement repeatedly put forward by the Cardinal - now place once again on him the same stereotyped clichés.

2. The leader of the Traditional Anglican Communion has clarified the rumors about the precise canonical structure which the Holy See may offer them (read previous post). From the official paper of the Communion, The Messenger (tip: Creative Minority Report):

In an interview with Archbishop Hepworth, His Grace agreed to clarify some aspects of these reports for the Messenger Journal as follows:

“It is possible for a church to come into union with the Bishop of Rome, in which case it is known usually as "a ritual church sui iuris - that is a church with its own rite and canonical regulation. There are some twenty-eight of these churches, and they appoint their own bishops by synodical processes, and seek confirmation of the election from the Bishop of Rome.

Much of the Concordat of the Traditional Anglican Communion was designed to mirror the processes of a ritual church, a point noted by some Vatican officials. We have not anticipated that our present application would lead to this sort of structure - most of these rites are descended from ancient churches that have never been part of the Roman or Western rite. Of modern origin, however, are the Personal Prelatures and Apostolic Administrations that are essentially vehicles for specific groups to coalesce around their own episcopate for a particular pastoral reason.

We have taken the advise of those with whom we have been meeting, and not sought any particular structure. We understand that no existing canonical structure might prove appropriate. Since the idea of a Personal Prelature is itself a modern creation, dating only to the late Pope, from a structural point of view the Holy See is open to new forms of community within the Church.

We have simply asked, in the words of our letter, to "seek a communal and ecclesial way of being Anglican Catholics in communion with the Holy See, at once treasuring the full expression of catholic faith and treasuring our tradition within which we have come to this moment."

We have not sought to design something for ourselves. We have asked for the guidance of the Holy See, given the reality of our position and the mind of our episcopate.

We remain in quiet prayer, while growing our Communion in key parts of the world. We agreed, rightly, to allow the Holy See the opportunity to respond to the difficult problems that our letter undoubtedly caused. When there is a reply, I am committed to presenting it to a full meeting of our College of Bishops, and to formal meetings of each of the general synods of our churches that voted to support this initiative."

TLM Update from India

We have received the following update on the TLM situation in India. The author of this piece has long involvement in the Traditionalist movement in India, but has requested not to be named for fear of reprisals from Church authorities. Out of respect for the author of the piece, I have not edited or deleted anything in his message.
Aside from the SSPX Masses, it seems that there are no regular Sunday TLM's in India under diocesan auspices, and only two monthly Masses.
The Catholic Church in India has Asia's largest Catholic hierarchy and, with nearly 17,000 seminarians, has more seminarians than any other country in the world (indeed, more than the entire North American continent). Unfortunately, the traditional Roman liturgy has been all but obliterated in this vast and growing Church. Given the future importance of the Church in Asia to the Catholic Church as a whole, this is a terrible deficiency that needs to be repaired urgently.
In the Archdiocese of Bombay the Indult Mass has been celebrated at Our Lady of Victory Church, Mahim, Bombay, on the first Sunday of the month since January 2001. Initially done by a very senior priest who was ordained in 1956, he had forgotten how to celebrate it and made quite a mess of it. For around a year the Mass was celebrated by pre-1969 priests but thereafter it has been celebrated mostly by a post-1969 priest. Attendance in the begining was 250 but it has reportedly dwindled to around 50. A seminarian who was attending it (and was also promoting the Holy Rosary with a small group in the Bombay Seminary) was victimised by the Archbishop (Cardinal Ivan Dias, now at the Curia), called a Lefebvrist, and his ordination was therefore delayed in 2002 by 3 years during which period he was to have been indoctrinated by a modernist Jesuit. He and 3 others, who had put in 9, 8, 7 and 6 years of study at the Bombay seminary, defected to the SSPX but were told by the SSPX in Australia that as their studies in Bombay was unsuitable for the Catholic priesthood they would have to study 6 years more (to the very same studies which used to be imparted in the Bombay Seminary befire Vatican II). Three of them quit Holy Cross Seminary, Australia, unceremously end 2005/ early 2006 and returned to India after having received assurances from the same archbishop that they would be well-received but they have not been ordained by the Archdiocese of Bombay as yet and have been under observation in three different churches; one of the three reportedly has quit altogether and has gone back to his mother. The fourth in Australia, youngest of the group, was ordained a SSPX priest there on December 27, 2008. Meanwhile Cardinal Dias was moved to Rome in June 2006 and the present Archbishop of Bombay from October 2006 is Cardinal Oswald Gracias.

Testimonies of 3 of the 4 Bombay seminarians who had defected to the SSPX, on the
modernistic teachings imparted by the Novus Ordo Bombay Seminary, were hosted on the SSPX Asia website in 2003/2004 and may be accessed at:

From January 2008 the Motu Proprio Mass, requested by a group of laypersons, is being offered in th Jesuit-run St. Peter's Church, Bandra, in the church loft by a pre-1969 priest, first a 82 year-old priest in the Clergy Home and thereafter by a Spanish Jesuit, also ordained before 1969. Attendance at the start was around 70.The Mass is only on the third Sunday of every month
In Bombay - Bassein the SSPX has 3 Mass locations.

In Goa there was a petition signed by more than 100 persons for the Indult Mass about 12 years ago but the Archbishop referred it to the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council and the Priests Council and both bodies vetoed it.

They have no respect for the dead.

Msgr. Moises Andrade loved the Traditional Latin Mass. Even the Philippines' most-watched evening news show, in reporting his passing, mentioned that he was an expert in the "Latin Mass" and opined that his death was a great loss for the Catholic Church in the Philippines. (The fact that his death was reported on national television was a testament to his stature.)
How fitting, then, that a Requiem Mass according to the 1962 Missal had been scheduled for the evening of February 23, in the National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, the parish that he had last served.
Except that, at the last moment, the clerics now in charge of the Shrine and the funeral of the Monsignor decreed otherwise. The TLM is no longer welcome in the very Shrine -- dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima! -- where the late Monsignor had given it refuge. It is not even welcome at his own funeral.
The enemies of the Traditional Latin Mass will not stop even at the grave.
To all priests who read this: of your charity, please remember Msgr. Moises Andrade in your prayers and Masses. And if you could, please offer a Requiem Mass for him according to the Gregorian Rite.

No surprise

The Holy Father, Benedict XVI, has accepted the resignation from pastoral oversight of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of New York (U.S.A.), presented by His Eminence Card. Edward M. EGAN, in conformity with canon 401 § 1 of the Code of Canon Law.

The Pope has named Metropolitan  Archbishop of New York (U.S.A.) H. E. Abp. Timothy M. DOLAN, up to now Archbishop of Milwaukee. [Holy See Press Office]

Rt. Rev. Msgr. Moises B. Andrade 1948 - 2009

Our esteemed Msgr. Moises B. Andrade reposed in the morning of Monday, February 23 (Manila time). As reported previously on this blog, he had a stroke last Thursday, and he never recovered consciousness.

Even as "Father Moi" lay in the intensive care unit, the Sunday TLM that he had faithfully offered in his parish -- the National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima -- was unceremoniously suspended by the priest who took over his duties, even though there was another priest willing to offer it. Pray that this state of affairs will be reversed.

With the passing of Msgr. Andrade, we have lost one of the strongest voices for the Traditional Mass in the Philippines, and perhaps we have lost another parish TLM. There are now only two places under diocesan auspices (down from four as of July last year) in Metropolitan Manila where the faithful can count on the TLM being offered every Sunday -- the Parish of the Lord of Divine Mercy in the Diocese of Cubao, and the Parish of St. Jerome Emiliani and St. Susanna in the Diocese of Paranaque. Of course, the SSPX has a church in Cubao, with two Masses every day.

Pope: "Vatican II: the Pope protects legitimate differences"
"Pray that storms do not shake the Church"

The Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter also falls on this Sunday, an important liturgical event which underscores the ministry of the Successor of the Prince of the Apostles. The Chair of Peter symbolizes the authority of the Bishop of Rome, called to accomplish a peculiar service for the whole People of God. Soon after the martyrdom of Saints Peter and Paul, the primatial role of the Church of Rome is in fact recognized in the entire Catholic community, a role already recognized in the Second Century by Saint Ignatius of Antioch (Ad Rom., Pref.: Funk, I, 252) and by Saint Irenaeus of Lyon (Ad Haer.III, 3,2-3). 

This singular and particular ministry of the Bishop of Rome was reaffirmed by the Second Vatican Council: "Within the Church particular Churches hold a rightful place; these Churches retain their own traditions, without in any way opposing the primacy of the Chair of Peter, which presides over the whole assembly of charity (cfr. S. Ign. Ant., Ad Rom., Pref.) and protects legitimate differences, while at the same time assuring that such differences do not hinder unity but rather contribute toward it." (Lumen gentium, 13).

Dear brothers and sisters, this feast grants me the opportunity to ask you to join me with your prayers, so that I may faithfully accomplish the high responsibility which Divine Providence entrusted me as Successor of the Apostle Peter.
[From the greeting to the German-speaking pilgrims:] Let us ask Saint Peter for his intercession so that the bewilderment and the storms do not shake the Church, that we remain faithful to a genuine Faith, keep unity, and live together in charity.
Benedict XVI
February 22, 2009

The Sunday in Quinquagesima
and the Chair of Saint Peter

Ecce ascendimus Ierosolymam, et consummabuntur omnia quæ scripta sunt per prophetas de Filio hominis. (From the Gospel for the Sunday in Quinquagesima, Luke xviii, 31: Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be accomplished which were written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man.)

Christianity is as old as the world; for it consists, essentially, in the idea of a God -- Creator, Legislator, and Savior -- and in a life conformable to that idea. Now, God manifested himself to the human race from the beginning under the threefold relation of Creator, Legislator, and Savior, and from the beginning, from Adam to Noah, from Noah to Abraham, from Abraham to Moses, from Moses to Jesus Christ, there have been men who lived conformably with this idea of God.

Three times before Jesus Christ, God manifested himself to men in this threefold character: by Adam, the first father of the human race; by Noah, the second father of the human race; and by Moses, the lawgiver of a People whose influence and existence have mixed them up with all the destinies of mankind.

There exists, however, a fact not less remarkable, namely, that Christianity only started its reign in the world eighteen hundred years ago, with Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ appears to have been the first who brought light into the world. Before him, as Saint John said, "it shined in darkness". But what is the cause of this? How is it that Christianity, vanquished in the world before Jesus Christ, has been victorious in it since his coming? How is it that Christianity, before Jesus Christ, "did not hinder the nations from following their ways", and that Jesus Christ, on the contrary, was able to pronounce that sentence of eternal victory, "In mundo pressuram habebitits, sed confidite, ego vici mundum"?

What new thing is it then that Jesus Christ has accomplished? Is it the sacrifice on Calvary? The Lamb of God that takes aways the sins of the world "was slain from the beginning of the world". ... Is it the Gospel? The Gospel, after all, is but the Word of God, and that word, after many trials, did not change the world. Is it the sacraments? The sacraments are only the channels of grace, and the grace of God, although less abundant, without doubt had not ceased continually to flow to men before Jesus Christ. What new thing, then, did Jesus Christ accomplish? By what means did he secure the eternal duration of the victory obtained on Calvary
Listen to his own words, he will say them to you: "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against her". This is the work which was to subjugate forever hell and the world, which would everyday renew the Sacrifice of the Savior, maintain and diffuse his doctrines, distribute his grace! ... this Church, "the pillar and ground of the truth"...[is] destined to the universal and perpetual instruction of the human race.

Henri-Dominique Lacordaire
Conférences à Notre-Dame de Paris (1835)

Request for Prayers

The Traditional Catholics of the Philippines request your prayers for Msgr. Moises B. Andrade, who had a stroke last February 19. He has been declared brain dead and is currently on a respirator. We are all hoping for a miracle, but God's will be done!
Msgr. Andrade is the sole Filipino liturgist who has publicly defended the Traditional Roman Rite. He was one of the very few priests who kept the Mass of Ages alive in the Philippines in the period prior to Summorum Pontificum, and prior to his stroke had been the celebrant of one of Metropolitan Manila's three Sunday TLM's. His loss comes at a time when the Traditional Roman Rite is under renewed attack in the Philippines.


Not infrequently, information outlets attribute to "the Vatican", meaning by this the Holy See, comments and points of view which cannot be automatically attributed to it. In fact, the Holy See, when intending to express itself authoritatively, uses particular means and related formats (communiqués, notes, declarations).

Any other pronouncement does not have the same worth.

Even lately, inopportune attributions have taken place. The Holy See, in its representative organs, expresses respect for the civil authorities, who in their legitimate autonomy have the right and the duty of providing for the common good.

Pope: enough with false controversies!

[O]nce again in the Epistle there is a reference to the somewhat gloomy situation of the community of the Galatians, when Paul says, "if you bite and devour one another; take heed you be not consumed one of another. ... Walk in the Spirit"[Galatians v, 15-16]. It seems to me that in this community - which was not on the path of communion with Christ, but of the exterior law of the "flesh" - even controversies naturally arise, and Paul says: "You become like beasts, one bites the other". He thus refers to the controversies which arise there where the faith degenerates into intellectualism, and humility is replaced with the arrogance of being better than the other.

We see well that also today similar things happen, where, instead of entering in communion with Christ, in the Body of Christ which is the Church, one wishes to be superior to the other, and with intellectual arrogance wants to make believe that he knows better. And thus arise the controversies which are destructive, [thus] arises a caricature of the Church, which should be one soul and one heart.
Benedict XVI
February 20, 2009

Argentina expels Bishop Williamson

The most respected Argentinian daily, La Nación, reports:
The Interior Minister [of the Argentine Republic], Florencio Randazzo, announced that the National Migrations Agency "warned Richard Nelson Williamson to abandon the country within a peremptory ten-day period, under pain of having his expulsion decreed".
The order and the respective threat of expulsion are based on a technicality: the Agency affirms that Williamson has "misinformed" the true reason for his presence in Argentina, since he declares to be "an administrative employee" of the Civil Association "La Tradición", when "in fact his true activity was that of priest and director of the Lefebvrist Seminary that the Fraternity of Saint Pius X has in the city of Moreno".

There is only one safe nation for Bishop Williamson now: the United States of America.

What is going on in Linz? (And in Rome?)

Austrian Catholic website (see also Catholic Church Conservation) reports that Father Gerhard Wagner, appointed by the Pope Auxiliary Bishop of the second largest diocese in Austria, "has not yet signed the letter asking for the nomination to be withdrawn". also publishes an article today in which Bishop Andreas Laun, Auxiliary of Salzburg, concludes that Father Wagner cannot be considered "unsuitable" to be a Bishop - and certainly not because of his declarations.

The silence from the Vatican is deafening. Compare this with the most famous recent resignation from an appointment, that of Archbishop Stanisław Wielgus before his installment as Metropolitan of Warsaw, a resignation reported by the Apostolic Nunciature in Poland and confirmed by the Holy See Press Office on the same day

Catechism for Legislators 101

The Pope teaches Madam Speaker:

Following the General Audience the Holy Father briefly greeted Mrs Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, together with her entourage.

His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church’s consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in cooperation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development.

Austrian Bishops in open revolt

And they complain about the "Lefebvrist" Bishops?! "Why seest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye; and seest not the beam that is in thy own eye?"

"4. There were problems of communication also in the recent appointment of an auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of Linz. The bishops are aware that Fr Wagner asked the Pope to withdraw the appointment. The theme of Episcopal appointments is therefore important because since the mid-eighties in Austria it has been associated with a number of problems. For many, the controversy over episcopal appointments led to a painful conflict, and they have triggered splits in the church,. It is precisely in this area that sensitivity is most appropriate. There is no question that the Pope is free to appoint bishops. The bishops do not want to go back in time where - as in 1918 - the Emperor alone chose the bishops. Even a 'popular choice' of the bishops would divide the church into parties and conflicts would be inevitable. We bishops are convinced that the procedure provided for in canon law for the selection and the examination of candidates has proved its worth, if this procedure is really followed. Therefore, before the Holy Father takes the final decision, reliable and thoroughly tested basic information must be provided on which he can rely. In Austria in the next few years a number of bishops are to be appointed. The faithful are legitimately concerned that the process of candidate search, examination of the proposals and the final decisions should be carefully undertaken and with pastoral sensitivity are possible. This can ensure that bishops are appointed who are not 'against' but 'for' a local church. We bishops will make every possible effort to support the forthcoming episcopal appointments in the sense of monitoring these procedures in close cooperation with the relevant Vatican offices."
"Trusting in God's help, we will overcome the crisis of recent weeks." [Adapted according to original text]

There was no true "crisis", but open revolt against the Pope, inflamed and supported by the shameless Bishops of Austria, first among them the Cardinal-Archbishop of Vienna. If the Pope does not intervene urgently in this case, if a PUBLIC response is not given - since the Bishops of Austria chose to make the matter public - the perception of the authority of the Pope in Europe is finished. The anti-Roman rebellion of the Austrian Bishops is intolerable.

Fellay speaks after the storm

Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X, was interviewed by Swiss newspaper Le Nouvelliste after the Requiem Mass celebrated Saturday in Écône (for the souls of the deceased Seminarians).

Monseigneur Bernard Fellay, at what date will you return to the Vatican? 

No date has been set. After the storm that has taken place, we all need to pull ourselves together. 

And the discussions which you accept to have from now on with Rome, are they for soon?

Still for that, no date... but, yes, they will begin. 

Will these discussions take long? Do you have a timetable? 

They could take very long if we consider what has just taken place. Not because of us, but because of the reactions in the entire Church, notably regarding our positions on the Second Vatican Council. The Council included many ambiguous words in its texts in order to attain a greater majority. We pay for this today.  

The texts are not clear, and there is a multitude of different interpretations which are accepted within the Church. If we do not desire the collapse of the Church, clarifications on this Council, which wished itself to be pastoral and not dogmatic, are urgent. John Paul II already said in 1982 that heresy had spread abundantly within the Church. We are thus glad that Rome speaks of necessary discussions with us to deal with foundational questions. 

But Benedict XVI already has a precise interpretation of Vatican II. 

In the audience which he granted me in 2005, he told me that the only possible interpretation of Vatican II was that which followed the criterion of the living Tradition. On December 22 of the same year, he clearly condemned the hermeneutic of rupture with the Church's past. But this is very vague and wide. It is necessary to expound on it. 

The pope has accomplished a great step towards you, but one has the impression that he finds himself somewhat alone, disregarded by a number of bishops who apparently do not want you in the Church. 

At a moment on which we speak of a return to full communion, the Pope is effectively, perhaps, asking himself who, between certain bishops and ourselves, is closer to him. 

By way of the motu proprio on the ancient Mass and of the removal of the excommunications which weighed on you, Benedict XVI made spectacular and unilateral gestures. But what will be your gesture? A

We have already responded by affirming our desire to follow, with a positive state of mind, the path of discussions indicated by the Holy Father. But we do not with to do so precipitously. When we march on a minefield, prudence and moderation are necessary.  

You have, nonetheless, the hope of reaching a doctrinal consensus with the Pope... 

That seems difficult. True, we have the impression that he is close to us on the liturgical question. On the other hnd, he believes very deeply in the innovations of Vatican II. 

It will be necessary to see what part of the divergences are due to different philosophies. A serious discussion demands a minimum of confidence. 

In order to establish a more serene climate, we precisely asked Rome for gestures, wherefore the removal of the decree of excommunications. We now hope that this work brings to the whole Church greater doctrinal clarity. There are, in effect, too many ambiguities in the Second Vatican Council. 

You are all the samer conscious that it will be asked of you to accept Vatican II. 

Which has just been strongly reaffirmed in the note of the Secretariat of State of February 4, 2009. But the Holy See cannot grant to the Council a greater authority that [the Council] did not wish to grant itself. 

Well, it has not wished to commit to infallibility, it remains on a much lowere degree if authority. It will never be a super-dogma and it should always be viewed according to the perspective of the cosntant Magisterium of the Church. Neither faith nor Chuch begin at Vatican II. 

And if you move towards Rome, do you fear a division at the interior of the Fraternity? 

Not much, but it is always possible. There could be such a risk if we sought from Rome a purely canonical agreement, and not a solution which concerns the foundation of the problem, which is the doctrinal and moral crisis within the Church. But that is not the case.  

And, finally, Mgr Williamson, to whom you asked for declarations, in a "reasonable" time, on the question of the Shoah?  

He is studying the matter, and he will fulfill his responsibilities. But it is necessary to give him time, because he wants to study the matter seriously to give a sincere and true response. 

Pope's appointee bullied into submission in Austria
Update: Pope accepts request

The best papal nominee for an episcopal position in Austria in decades, Father Gerhard Wagner, has asked the Pope to withdraw his nomination as auxiliary bishop of Linz.

[AP] The national broadcaster ORF said Sunday the Rev. Gerhard Maria Wagner made the decision because of the controversy surrounding Pope Benedict XVI's promotion of him in Linz, Austria's second largest city.

The promotion of the conservative pastor sparked an outcry among Catholics who warned it could prompt people to leave the church.

ORF quotes the 54-year-old Wagner as saying: "Regarding the fierce criticism, I am praying and after consulting the diocesan bishop I have decided to ask the Holy Father in Rome to take back my promotion as auxiliary bishop."

[Catholic Church Cobservation] Linz –This Sunday evening, in connection with the controversial appointment of the vicar of Windischgarsten in Upper Austria, Maria Gerhard Wagner, as the Auxilliary Bishop of Linz, there has been an unexpected twist. Wagner has made a step backwards and requested the Holy See that his nomination should be withdrawn

Wagner has asked the Diocesan Bishop Ludwig Schwarz to send to the media a short statement. It reads: "Given the fierce criticism, I have been in prayer, and after consultation with the diocesan bishop came to the conclusion to ask the Holy Father in Rome to withdraw my nomination as Bishop of Linz."

No comment

The statement was made available to the Communications Office of the Diocese of Linz on Sunday evening. When asked, its director Ferdinand Kaineder said that there would be no further comment from Bishop Schwarz. Similarly, for the time being no further comments are planned. He pointed to the special meeting of the Austrian Bishops' Conference set for Monday in Vienna.

The danger of this move to the public perception of the Pope's authority is incalculable. Let us keep praying for the Holy Father.

UPDATE: It seems that the Holy Father has granted Wagner's request.

Novena for the Pope
February 14 - 22

FSSP: Many of the faithful are aware of the opposition which the Holy Father has faced in his efforts to reconcile the Society of Pius X. The current pressure from the media and others seems to not only threaten Pope Benedict’s work with the SSPX. It also seems as though some would like to see it work as a means to undermine his very teaching and governing authority for his pontificate.

Given these oppositions which the Holy Father faces; given the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter's particular role in working as a bridge for those who have grown apart from the Church in the last forty years; finally, given that we hold St. Peter as our patron and have a particular attachment to his successor, the Fraterniy of St. Peter has asked all of its the members to offer increased prayers at this time for strength for Pope Benedict XVI.

A good number of priests and seminarians have contacted the General House to ask if the Fraternity could have particular prayers offered for this intention. All the members of the Fraternity are being asked to offer the following novena beginning on February 14 and concluding on the feast of the Chair of St. Peter. All the faithful in the Apostolates are encouraged to join in these prayers and that the Masses on that Sunday (Quinquagesima) would be offered for this intention as well.

Novena for the Pope:

Pater Noster, 3 Ave Maria, Gloria Patri


Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory be.

V. Orémus pro Pontífice nostro Benedícto. 
R. Dóminus consérvet eum, et vivíficet eum, et beátum fáciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in ánimam inimicórum eius.


V: Let us pray for our Pope Benedict.
R: May the Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies.

V. Tu es Petrus. 
R. Et super hanc petram ædificábo Ecclésiam meam.


V. Thou art Peter,
R. And upon this Rock, I will build My Church.

Omnípotens sempitérne Deus, miserére fámulo tuo Pontífici nostro Benedícto : et dírige eum secúndum tuam cleméntiam in viam salútis ætérnæ : ut, te donánte, tibi plácita cúpiat, et tota virtúte perfíciat. Per Christum Dóminum nostrum. R. Amen.


Let us Pray,
Almighty and everlasting God, have mercy upon your servant, Benedict, our Sovereign Pontiff, and guide him in your goodness on the way of eternal salvation; so that, with the prompting of your grace,  he may desire what pleases you and accomplish it with all his strength. Through Christ Our Lord. R. Amen.

Mater Ecclésiæ, ora pro nobis.
Sancte Petre, ora pro nobis.


V. Mother of the Church. R. Pray for us
V. St. Peter. R. Pray for us


Timotheus Dolan, Archiepiscopus Neo-Eboracensis

Several signs and sources indicate that Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of Milwaukee, was chosen by the Pope as the new Archbishop of New York.

Paolo Rodari, religious journalist for Italian daily Il Riformista, also mentions the matter today, adding the information that the options presented to the Pope had included, among others, the Archbishop of Atlanta, Wilton Gregory, and that of Newark, John Myers.


Dear readers,

I ask you to pray for the health of the wife of our contributor Mornac.

Thank you very much!

Remembrance is memoria futuri

[T]he Church draws its sustenance from the root of that good olive tree, the people of Israel, onto which have been grafted the wild olive branches of the Gentiles (cf. Rom 11: 17-24). From the earliest days of Christianity, our identity and every aspect of our life and worship have been intimately bound up with the ancient religion of our fathers in faith.

The two-thousand-year history of the relationship between Judaism and the Church has passed through many different phases, some of them painful to recall. Now that we are able to meet in a spirit of reconciliation, we must not allow past difficulties to hold us back from extending to one another the hand of friendship. Indeed, what family is there that has not been troubled by tensions of one kind or another? The Second Vatican Council’s Declaration Nostra Aetate marked a milestone in the journey towards reconciliation, and clearly outlined the principles that have governed the Church’s approach to Christian-Jewish relations ever since. The Church is profoundly and irrevocably committed to reject all anti-Semitism and to continue to build good and lasting relations between our two communities. If there is one particular image which encapsulates this commitment, it is the moment when my beloved predecessor Pope John Paul II stood at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, pleading for God’s forgiveness after all the injustice that the Jewish people have had to suffer. I now make his prayer my own: "God of our fathers, you chose Abraham and his descendants to bring your Name to the Nations: we are deeply saddened by the behaviour of those who in the course of history have caused these children of yours to suffer, and asking your forgiveness we wish to commit ourselves to genuine brotherhood with the people of the Covenant" (26 March 2000).

The hatred and contempt for men, women and children that was manifested in the Shoah was a crime against God and against humanity. This should be clear to everyone, especially to those standing in the tradition of the Holy Scriptures, according to which every human being is created in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:26-27). It is beyond question that any denial or minimization of this terrible crime is intolerable and altogether unacceptable. Recently, in a public audience, I reaffirmed that the Shoah must be "a warning for all against forgetfulness, denial or reductionism, because violence committed against one single human being is violence against all" (January 28, 2009).

This terrible chapter in our history must never be forgotten. Remembrance — it is rightly said — is memoria futuri, a warning to us for the future, and a summons to strive for reconciliation. To remember is to do everything in our power to prevent any recurrence of such a catastrophe within the human family by building bridges of lasting friendship. It is my fervent prayer that the memory of this appalling crime will strengthen our determination to heal the wounds that for too long have sullied relations between Christians and Jews. It is my heartfelt desire that the friendship we now enjoy will grow ever stronger, so that the Church’s irrevocable commitment to respectful and harmonious relations with the people of the Covenant will bear fruit in abundance.

Benedict XVI
February 12, 2009


The interview granted by the Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity  of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), Bishop Bernard Fellay, to French magazines Famille Chrétienne and France Catholique was made available today on the web (in French: Part 1 - Part 2). 

Among the answers:

What is the form and the timetable of the debates you will have with Rome?

Mgr Fellay: That will certainly kick off readily... I believe that we will present our questions, because it belongs to us to present the problem! But, as for the rest, I cannot go further, I cannot say anything. Because I do not know anything!

Do you expect anything from French Catholics?

Mgr Fellay : I expect a lot from them! That they may grow in the love of the good God, and in His service. The communion of saints makes that every good deed made within the Church profit to others. If anyone sanctifies oneself within the Church, he raised the entire Mystical Body. I expect that all of us live this communion of saints in a better way, and everything else will follow it. The universal vocation to sanctity is precisely one of the important things that the Council recalls.

Requiescant in pace

Three seminarians of the International Seminary of Saint Pius X, in Écône, Valais, Switzerland (the main Seminary of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X - FSSPX / SSPX), died in an avalanche this Wednesday in Nendaz, not far from the Seminary. Their names and additional information will be made public shortly.

Please, pray for them and for their families.

Spiritual Exercises with Fr. Demets, FSSP

Time goes definitively fast and we are now already in February, a few weeks after the beginning of the new year 2009. Many of you are busy with a professional life and the care of a family: many of you are too busy with temporal business, sometimes to the detriment of spiritual life. As usually you may have made good resolutions, and you now observe that you have not been able to keep them. Maybe they were not the right resolutions that you need. Maybe they were, but you lack of fortitude in order to keep them. Whatever is the reason, the fact is that you need more constancy in your spiritual life and to order your life. And because you are dependent on many affections and tendencies that are disordered, you miss many occasions to increase the love of God and to become more holy.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola, inspired by Our Blessed Mother gives you a wonderful remedy that allows you to follow Our Lord and to serve Him better. It is his famous Spiritual exercises that help you to conquer yourself and regulate your life, in other words, to become a saint by accepting and doing God’s will.

Father Gordon and I will give you an opportunity to follow the spiritual exercises of Saint Ignatius in a 4-days retreat. A retreat for ladies will be given from March 23rd to 26th and another one for men from April 13th to 16th, both at Subiaco retreat center in Arkansas. Will you consider this opportunity as an occasion to be renewed in the Spirit, as Saint Paul says, and to learn how to love and serve Him better?

It happens many times that Our Lord calls us, but we find many excuses for not answering his calls: "I have bought a farm and I must needs go out and see it. I pray thee, hold me excused. Or: I have bought five yoke of oxen and I go to try them. I pray thee, hold me excused. Or again: I have married a wife; and therefore I cannot come."

Be sure that your excuses are not a pretext to neglect the care of your soul. Remember what the Lord says: "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

With the assurance of my prayers for you and your families,

Father Laurent Demets, FSSP
40 Matecumbe Street
Cherokee Village, AR 72529
870 - 257 - 5588

For the record

The German press is still obsessing about the events that followed the removal of the excommunication of the four bishops of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X. (FSSPX / SSPX). One could be more sympathetic if the Polish bishops, government, and media were this obsessed... As a perspicacious commentator wrote regarding the statement of the Polish Episcopal Conference (very supportive of Pope Benedict), and how it contrasted with the German, Austrian, and Swiss reactions: "Amazing what a guilty conscience will do."

Anyway, Der Spiegel once again sought the opinion of a bishop of the SSPX, Bishop Bernard Fellay, its Superior General:

Bishop Bernard Fellay, the head of the ultra-conservative Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), has apologized for the comments made by Bishop Richard Williamson denying the scale of the Holocaust and said he had asked Williamson to retract "this nonsense."
"As soon as I saw this interview I told him to correct this nonsense," Fellay said. "The sooner, the better."

Fellay described Williamson as "educated and cultivated" and said the Society didn't understand how the bishop could have been so mistaken. "If one holds a person in esteem, it's very sad," said Fellay.

Fellay stressed that the Society of Saint Pius X instructed its priests to limit themselves to teaching religious faith and practice. "I must concede that we weren't strict enough here," he said.
In other news, French Catholic magazine Famille Chrétienne should publish tomorrow their interview with Bishop Fellay, in which he gave more detailed answers regarding what the discussions on Vatican II could involve, including a distiction between "the spirit and the letter" of the Council.

"There is a dangerous spirit which permeates all the Council, and, in this sense, we reject it"; and he adds: "but, when we speak of the letter, it is not about rejecting it outright as it is".

Also related: A reader sends us a link to the extensive opinion note written by Martin Mosebach for the current edition of Der Spiegel - an article which was printed, but was not made available online, as if it were destined to oblivion.

On the 70th Anniversary
of the death of Pius XI reason, however grave, may be put forward by which anything intrinsically against nature may become conformable to nature and morally good. Since, therefore, the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children, those who in exercising it deliberately frustrate its natural power and purpose sin against nature and commit a deed which is shameful and intrinsically vicious.
Casti Connubii

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

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

Quadragesimo Anno

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

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

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

Nos es muy conocida

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

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

Divini Redemptoris

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

Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio

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

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

Nothing remains for Us, therefore, but to invite this poor world that has shed so much blood, has dug so many graves, has destroyed so many works, has deprived so many men of bread and labor, nothing else remains for us, We say, but to invite it in the loving words of the sacred Liturgy: Convertimini ad Dominum Deum vestrum. ["Be thou converted to the Lord thy God."]
Caritate Christi