Rorate Caeli


Our friends at The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales have sent us the following reports of past events and announcements of future events.

1. High Mass at Westminster Cathedral (report with pictures).

2. Summer pilgrimage schedule.


Wed 1 - Pilgrimage to Caldey Island. St Illtyd’s Church, Caldey Abbey, Caldey Island. Sung Mass 11.30am, Details: Steffano Mazzeo on 01597 840634;

Sun 12 - National Pilgrimage to Holywell. St Winefride’s, Well Street, Holywell. Mass at 2.30pm followed by Procession to St Winefride’s Well Devotions and Veneration of the relic and Benediction; Details: David Lloyd on 01352 712327;

Sun 19 - Pilgrimage in honour of SS John Lloyd & Philip Evans. St Peter’s, St Peter St, Roath, Cardiff . Sung Mass and Procession 3.00pm; Details: Kingsley Lewis on 029 2025 1685


Sat 15 - Welsh National Pilgrimage to Shrine of Our Lady of the Taper. Our Lady of the Taper, North Road, Cardigan. Mass at 12noon followed by Procession, Holy Hour and Benediction; Details: Steffano Mazzeo on 01597 840634


Sat 5 - Pilgrimage to Brinkburn Priory. Brinkburn Priory, Nr Rothbury, Northumberland. Mass 12 noon; Details: Richard Rainbow on 0191 252 9133

Sat 5 - Pilgrimage to Glastonbury. Church of Our Lady, Magdalene St. Glastonbury. Mass at 12 noon; Benediction 2.15pm followed by Rosary Procession; Details: Nigel Taylor on 0117966 9976

Sat 12 - National Pilgrimage to Walsingham. Rosary Procession from Friday Market 2.00pm Sung Mass 3.30pm; Details: LMS office on 020 7404 7284

Sat 26 - Southwark Diocese Pilgrimage to Aylesford. Shrine of Our Lady & St Simon Stock The Friary Aylesford Kent, Mass at 1.00pm Talk at 3.00pm followed by Rosary and Benediction; Details: Piers Hugill on 020 7064 1910

Pictures of the Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Liturgy in Saint Mary Major last June 18

As previously reported on this blog, His Beatitude Mar Ignatius Joseph III, Syrian Catholic Patriarch of Antioch celebrated a Patriarchal Divine Liturgy in the Syro-Antiochene (or West Syriac) Rite last June 18, 2009, at the Papal Basilica of St. Mary Major. The occasion was the granting of ecclesial communion to the Patriarch by Pope Benedict XVI. (Upon their election, Eastern Catholic Patriarchs ask for, and receive, the ecclesiastica communio from the Roman Pontiff.)

Without in any way wishing to be critical of the Syrian Catholics in this time of great joy for them, and solely for the information of our readers, I would like to note the extensive influence of Roman liturgical vesture on the vestments of Syrian Catholic clergy, an influence also present in the Chaldean and Maronite Catholic Churches. Thus, their use of tall Latin-style miters and lace albs, and vestment decor that is more Western than Oriental.
The more authentic style of Syrian liturgical vesture has been preserved by the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church in India, which is co-heir to the West Syrian tradition along with the Syrian Catholic Church.
(NB: I am aware that some prefer to use "Syriac" rather than "Syrian". I do not wish to enter into that discussion here.)

H/t: ByzCath Forum.

Pope explains what "thinking like an adult" really means

In the last few decades, the expression ‘adult faith’ [fede adulta, 'grown up faith'] has become a widespread slogan. It is often used in relation to the attitudes of those who no longer pay attention to what the Church and her Pastors say — which is to say, those who choose on their own what to believe or not to believe in a sort of ‘do-it-yourself’ faith. Expressing oneself against the Magisterium of the Church is presented as a sort of ‘courage’, whereas in fact not much courage is needed because one can be certain of receiving public praise.

Instead, courage is needed to adhere to the Church’s faith, even if it contradicts the 'order' of today’s world. Paul calls this non-conformism an ‘adult faith’. For him, following the prevailing winds and currents of the time is childish.

For this reason, it is part of an adult faith to dedicate oneself to the inviolability of life from its beginning, thus radically opposing the principle of violence, in defense precisely of the most defenseless. It is part of an adult faith to recognize the lifelong marriage between one man and one woman in accordance with the Creator’s order, re-established again by Christ. An adult faith does not follow any current here and there. It stands against the winds of fashion.
Benedict XVI
June 28, 2009

CORRECTED: Pontifical Masses and Upcoming Ordinations

1) From our friends in Messainlatino comes news of the following ordinations and Pontifical liturgies:
June 30, 2009, Commemoration of St. Paul – In the ICRSP seminary in Gricigliano: Low Pontifical Mass by Msgr. John Basil Meeking, Bishop Emeritus of Christchurch, NZ, with conferment of tonsure and minor orders on seminarians

July 1, 2009, Feast of the Precious Blood of Our Lord, -- In the ICRSP seminary in Gricigliano: Solemn Pontifical Mass by Bishop John Basil Meeking, with ordinations to the subdiaconate and diaconate.

July 2, 2009, Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary – in the Church of Santi Michele e Gaetano in Florence, at 9:30 A.M: Solemn Pontifical Mass by Archbishop Raymond Burke, during which he will ordain three new priests, including the Japanese Raphael Katsayuki Ueda. (I believe that he is the first ICRSP priest from Asia -- CAP)

July 2, 2009, at 6:00 P.M., in the ICRSP seminary in Gricigliano: Pontifical Vespers and Te Deum presided over by Msgr. Giuseppe Betori, Archbishop of Florence, in the presence of Archbishop Raymond Burke, Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, and Bishop John Basil Meeking.
2) From the website of the Institute of the Good Shepherd we learn of the upcoming sacerdotal ordination of two IBP deacons this coming Saturday, July 4, in the Basilica of Sainte Anne d'Auray. The Pontifical Mass will be offered and ordinations conferred by Msgr. Joseph Madec, Bishop Emeritus of Frejus-Toulon.
(Correction: According to the more up-to-date entry in the IBP Roma website, the celebrant will be Msgr. Ennio Appignanesi, Archbishop-Emeritus of Potenza, in the presence of Msgr. Madec.)
3) I would like to remind everyone of the following Pontifical Mass to be aired live over EWTN:
Wednesday, July 1, 2009, 7:00 am CST (televised on EWTN - broadcast live at 7:00 am CST)

Pontifical Latin High Mass (Extraordinary Form) at 7am at the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament, Hanceville, AL (residence of Mother Angelica and the Poor Clare Nuns). Hear the schola cantorum of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius and the choir of the Poor Clare Nuns.
Mass will be offered by Bishop Joseph Perry with the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius.
(slightly edited from the original notice on the SJCC website)

What could have been

Everyone realizes, of course, that God our Redeemer founded this society which was to endure to the end of time, for as Christ said, "Behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world."For this intention He addressed ardent prayers to His Father: "That all may be one, even as thou, Father, in me and I in thee; that they also may be one in Us." Surely this prayer was heard and granted because of His reverent submission. This is a comforting hope; it assures us that someday all the sheep who are not of this fold will want to return to it. Then, in the words of God our Savior, "there shall be one fold and one shepherd."

This fond hope compelled Us to make public Our intention to hold an Ecumenical Council. Bishops from every part of the world will gather there to discuss serious religious topics. They will consider, in particular, the growth of the Catholic faith, the restoration of sound morals among the Christian flock, and appropriate adaptation of Church discipline to the needs and conditions of our times.

This event will be a wonderful spectacle of truth, unity, and charity. For those who behold it but are not one with this Apostolic See, We hope that it will be a gentle invitation to seek and find that unity for which Jesus Christ prayed so ardently to His Father in heaven.
When the Divine Redeemer founded His Church, there is no doubt that He made firm unity its cornerstone and one of its essential attributes...
But this unity, Venerable Brethren and beloved sons, must be solid, firm and sure, not transient, uncertain, or unstable.(23) Though there is no such unity in other Christian communities, all who look carefully can see that it is present in the Catholic Church.

Indeed, the Catholic Church is set apart and distinguished by these three characteristics: unity of doctrine, unity of organization, unity of worship. This unity is so conspicuous that by it all men can find and recognize the Catholic Church.

It is the will of God, the Church's founder, that all the sheep should eventually gather into this one fold, under the guidance of one shepherd. All God's children are summoned to their father's only home, and its cornerstone is Peter. All men should work together like brothers to become part of this single kingdom of God; for the citizens of that kingdom are united in peace and harmony on earth that they might enjoy eternal happiness some day in heaven.

The Catholic Church teaches the necessity of believing firmly and faithfully all that God has revealed. This revelation is contained in sacred scripture and in the oral and written tradition that has come down through the centuries from the apostolic age and finds expression in the ordinances and definitions of the popes and legitimate Ecumenical Councils.

Whenever a man has wandered from this path, the Church has never failed to use her maternal authority to call him again and again to the right road. She knows well that there is no other truth than the one truth she treasures; that there can be no "truths" in contradiction of it. Thus she repeats and bears witness to the words of the Apostle: "For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth."
Blessed John XXIII
Quoted from Ad Petri Cathedram
June 29, 1959
A most instructive encyclical that reveals John XXIII's authentic intentions for Vatican II.
Posted in honor of this encyclical's 50th anniversary

The Return of the “Fundamentalists”

Henri Tincq, specialist in religious issues who has just published "Catholicism: The return of the fundamentalists” analyzes the misunderstandings between the fundamentalists and Benedict XVI. The following is an interview with Monsieur Tincq which appears in the Sunday edition of Le Parisien :

Where do the fundamentalists come from?

The vast majority of the faithful are those nostalgic for the Church before 1965 and especially the Latin Mass. However, the leaders of the movement are priests and lay people who are much more arrogant and who often belong to the extreme right. Sociologically, they consist mainly of large families of aristocratic and bourgeois tradition who are very committed to the moral order and the Catholic tradition. But it is not exclusive - they also recruit from the mainstream.

Are we witnessing their great return?

We can not speak of a mass return, but the noise they make is inversely proportional to their numbers. There are 150,000 fundamentalists in the world including 25,000 to 35,000 in France. It is but a speck of dust in comparison to one billion Catholics! Yet this minority occupies more and more space in people's minds because we have a pope who encourages the return to a strong Catholic identity. As far as that goes, they have a growing influence at the Vatican. This is reflected in the liturgy, in particular the return to the Latin Mass.

Is this phenomenon related to Benedict XVI?

Yes, insofar as he is very traditional when it comes to dogma and liturgy. The fundamentalists consider him to be their pope. This leads to a double illusion. That of Benedict XVI, who believes that by continuing to make gestures towards them, they will return to the bosom of the Church and accept the reforms which have been under way for the past forty years. The illusion of the fundamentalists is the hope that this pope will put an end to the achievements of the Second Vatican Council. But the pope has shown in Jerusalem this past May, his commitment to dialogue with other religions, reviled by the fundamentalists.

(Note: Fundamentalist is the truest translation of the French term intégriste which is considered pejorative and which the French media regularly apply to traditional Catholics - Mornac)


Five new priests were ordained for the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) today, in Wigratzbad, Bavaria, by Bishop Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary of Karaganda (Kazakhstan). Pictures available at Schola Sainte Cécile.

Congratulations to the new priests, their families, and the Fraternity!

Troubles across the Río de la Plata
Bishop blackmailed by male lovers

The small Oriental Republic of Uruguay has a long shared history with Argentina - and common events... A few years ago, "Progressive" Bishop Juan Carlos Maccarone was forced to resign after being blackmailed by a male lover. Now, a similar episode takes place across the Río de la Plata, with Bishop Francisco Barbosa, of the Diocese of Minas, as La Nación reports:

Local daily El Observador revealed the case that has no precedents in the Uruguayan Church, and that has led to commotion in the Catholic community of Minas, a city in the upland section of this country.


The sexual relationship of the priest with two convicts was discovered because the Bishop himself presented a complaint to the criminal courts when he felt harassed by his lovers, who were blackmailing him with the threat of making public the pictures of their encounters.

Bishop Barbosa had met the former convicts when they requested assistance to the National Service for the Detained which, in the Department of Lavalleja [where the Diocese is located], is run by a priest.
El Observador notes tonight that Pope Benedict XVI was informed of the situation and will make a decision in the next few hours. Francisco Barbosa was named Bishop of Minas by Pope John Paul II, in 2004.

Events: Tomorrow, in Rio

A very important event will be held in the City of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, tomorrow (June 27th), 3pm, at Colégio Santo Adolfo, in the Santa Teresa neighborhood.

Fr. Michael Rodríguez, the parish priest of San Juan Bautista Church, in the diocese of El Paso, Texas, will give a lecture to Traditional Catholics of the City of Rio de Janeiro.

His presentation will be called “The Crisis of Faith and the Traditional Latin Mass”. It will include four parts, each one lasting approximately 30 min:
(1) The pearl of great price (Mt 13:45-46): our Catholic Faith
(2) The pearl of great price (Mt 13:45-46): the Traditional Latin Mass
(3) How to appreciate & participate in the Traditional Latin Mass
(4) An authentic Catholic spirituality based on the Traditional Latin Mass
After the lecture, Fr. Rodríguez will lead the Rosary and then celebrate the Traditional Mass.

St. Josemaria Escriva on the Sacred Liturgy: A Selection

St. Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei, was known for his love for the sacred liturgy. He offered the Mass of the Gregorian Rite in private until his death, and it was this Mass that inspired his statements on the importance of the liturgy and most especially of the rites of Holy Mass.

On the importance of the liturgy:

Your prayer should be liturgical. How I would like to see you using the psalms and prayers from the missal, rather than private prayers of your own choice. (The Way, 86)

Have veneration and respect for the holy Liturgy of the Church and for its ceremonies. Observe them faithfully. Don't you see that, for us poor men, even what is greatest and most noble must enter through the senses? (The Way, 522)
The Church sings, it has been said, because merely to speak would not satisfy its desire for prayer. You, as a Christian — and a chosen Christian, — should learn to sing liturgically. (The Way, 523)
That woman in the house of Simon the leper in Bethany, who anoints the Master's head with precious ointment, reminds us of our duty to be generous in the worship of God.

All beauty, richness and majesty seem little to me.

And against those who attack the richness of sacred vessels, of vestments and altars, stands the praise given by Jesus: 'opus enim bonum operata est in me — she has acted well towards me'. (The Way, 527)
The objects used in divine worship should have artistic merit, but bearing in mind that worship is not for the sake of art: art is for the sake of worship. (The Forge, 836)


On the rites of the Holy Mass

You saw me celebrate the holy Mass on a plain altar— table and stone, without a reredos. Both Crucifix and candlesticks were large and solid, with wax-candles of graded height, sloping up towards the Cross. The frontal, of the liturgical colour of the day. A sweeping chasuble. The chalice, rich, simple in line, with a broad cup. No electric light, nor did we miss it.

And you found it difficult to leave the oratory: you felt at home there. — Do you see how we are led to God, brought closer to him, by the rigour of the liturgy? (The Way, 543)
How great is the value of piety in the Holy Liturgy!

I was not at all surprised when someone said to me a few days ago, talking about a model priest who had died recently: “What a saint he was!

—“Did you know him well?” I asked.

—“No,” she said, “but I once saw him saying Mass.”

By a process of assimilation we should make these words of Jesus our own: Desiderio desideravi hoc Pascha manducare vobiscum: I have longed and longed to eat this Passover with you. There is no better way to show how great is our concern and love for the Holy Sacrifice than by taking great care with the least detail of the ceremonies the wisdom of the Church has laid down.

This is for Love: but we should also feel the need to become like Christ, not only inside ourselves but also in what is external. We should act, on the wide spaciousness of the Christian altar, with the rhythm and harmony which obedient holiness provides, uniting us to the will of the Spouse of Christ, to the Will of Christ himself. (The Forge, 833)


Unique Liturgical Customs

Low Sunday brings to my memory a pious tradition of my own country. On this day, in which the liturgy invites us to hunger for spiritual food — rationabile, sine dolo lac concupiscite, to desire the spiritual milk, that is free from guile — it was customary to take Holy Communion to the sick (they did not have to be seriously ill) so that they could fulfil their Easter duties.

In some large cities, each parish would organise its own eucharistic procession. From my days as a university student in Saragossa, I remember frequently seeing thousands of people crossing the Coso in three separate contingents made up entirely of men, thousands of men!, carrying huge burning candles. Strong and robust men they were, accompanying Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, with a faith that was greater than those candles that weighed so much.

(From "Getting to know God", no. 142, in the book Friends of God)

His homily on The Eucharist, mystery of faith and love is also worth reading.

All texts are from
Posted in honor of the feast today of St. Josemaria Escriva (1902-1975), one of the 20th century's most misunderstood saints.

Interesting News from Russia

Link to the full article

Relevant quote:

"... all patients in maternity hospitals and prenatal clinics in Astrakhan will be given small versions of the icon (of the Virgin Mary - CAP) for free.
"The initiative was organized by the Russian Orthodox Church and has provoked controversy, since 20 percent of the population of Astrakhan is Muslim, mainly ethnic Kazakhs and Tatars. "
This news comes as one of the Moscow Patriarchate's most high-profile and influential missionaries, Andrey Kurayev, criticizes the praising of tolerance and wonders aloud if Christians and Muslims are really compatible:
"We'd better stop praising tolerance and discuss if Christians and Muslims are compatible in the present-day world," he said in his interview to the Den za Dnyom Estonian weekly."
"...Their tactics is clear: while they make a minority, they speak of secularism and equality, but as soon as Muslims make more than a half population, they will demand total control," the theologian believes"

"Similar to Opus Dei?"
Schmidberger responds: "Somewhat."

Some ordinations of new priests by the Bishops of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) took place in the United States last Saturday. New ordinations are expected for next Saturday in Germany - despite the overreaction of several German ordinaries. Amidst the controversy, the German Catholic News Agency (KNA - Katholische Nachrichten-Agentur) interviewed the former Superior General of the SSPX and current Superior for the District of Germany, Father Franz Schmidberger (source: DomRadio):

The German Superior of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X, Franz Schmidberger, has defended the ordination of new priests planned for the coming weekend. In an interview with the Catholic News Agency (KNA), Schmidberger also commented on his assessment of the Second Vatican Council and what he expects from further discussions with Rome.

KNA: Herr Schmidberger, are you a priest of the Catholic Church?

Schmidberger: Of course. I was ordained to the priesthood in 1975 by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in Econe.

KNA: You say that without any qualifications?

Schmidberger: Yes. I live and work in the heart of the Church.

KNA: What does the Second Vatican Council mean to you?

Schmidberger: There is no doubt that it was an ecumenical council, but among the 21 councils it possesses a unique status as a pastoral council. Both popes of the council declared that they wished to define no new dogmas. Therefore, the Second Vatican Council does not have the same status as the other councils.

KNA: What about its content?

Schmidberger: The spirit of the council has been described as an evil spirit, even by Pope Benedict XVI. There are ambiguous statements in the documents, and many others that do not agree with traditional doctrine.

KNA: What should the theological dialogue between the society and Rome regarding the council look like?

Schmidberger: As far as the external form goes, it could be both oral or written, but primarily it should be written. We have selected representatives from our side and Rome also has chosen its people. The discussions will consider: what is ambiguous in the council? What contradicts the traditional doctrine of the Church?

KNA: Frankly, do you believe that the old and new rites can continue to coexist over the long term?

Schmidberger: Well, we will have to see how things develop. There are profound differences between the two rites; for example, the direction of the celebration. The old rite is God-centered. The new is man-centered. Many of the gestures, symbols, and rituals have been fundamentally changed. Today, the old rite is like a solid rock amidst the pounding surf, that must remain unchanged. The new rite requires radical reworking so that the sacrificial nature is once again explicitly expressed.

KNA: What does the Society think of the Council's Decree on Ecumenism [Unitatis Redintegratio]?

Schmidberger: It says that other [Christian] denominations are means of salvation. If that is true, then there is no longer any point in engaging in missionary activity. That needs to be cleared up.

KNA: What about Nostra Aetate, which concerns the relationship with the Jews?

Schmidberger: Not only the Jews, it also concerns Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. These non-Christian religions are heaped with praise. This has encouraged the expansion of Islam, for example. Today there are 4.3 million Muslims in Germany. The Church has a mandate to work for their conversion, but I do not know of a single German bishop who has made any plans to do so. As far as the relationship with the Jews goes, the statements of the Council cannot be criticized in their essence. But, since the Council, the idea keeps popping up that the Jews have their owns path to salvation. That is completely opposed to the missionary command of Jesus Christ.

KNA: And you also have problems with the description of the Jews by Pope John Paul II as the older brothers of Christians.

Schmidberger: Certainly Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the prophets are. But the Jews of today are not, because they do not recognize Jesus Christ as the one and only redeemer. How could they then be older brothers?

KNA: Is the impression correct, that you, with your positions, wish to set the price for unity with the Catholic Church.

Schmidberger: We want the truth to triumph. It has nothing to do with subjective opinions, it is all about the truth.

KNA: As you define it.

Schmidberger: No, we read all of the previous statements of the Councils and the popes. Pope Pius IX spoke out against religious freedom, for example. The question is: do these false religions possess natural rights? The Second Vatican Council answers differently than Pius IX. That is a rupture.

KNA: Canon law requires priests to submit to the local bishop. Why is that difficult for you?

Schmidberger: It isn't difficult at all. But we are our own society, that was even praised by Rome in 1971. Afterwards, we developed our own life. Then tensions developed because we refused to participate in the destructive protestantizing reforms. We have questions about the faith of the Church and the bishops only respond by demanding obediance. But faith is superior to obediance.

KNA: In connection with the Williamson scandal, Pope Benedict XVI accused the SSPX of arrogance and urged you to refrain from provocations. But the opposite has happened. How can you help to put the pieces back together?

Schmidberger: Naturally, every man has his weaknesses and unfortunate things have been said. But we want to live together peacefully. I have written a private personal letter to the chairman of the bishops conference, Archbishop Zollitsch, but the bishops are not willing to engage in discussions. They reject any dialogue with us. Why do they demand that we obey canon law to the letter while at the same time they assert that we are outside the Church?

KNA: In 2005 there was a conversation in Castel Gandofo, in which, in addition to the Pope, curial Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, and Traditionalist Bishop Bernard Fellay, you also took part. What was agreed at that time?

Schmidberger: We discussed the entire situation with the Society and agreed on the path which we are now following. The Motu Proprio of 2007 and the lifting of the so-called excommunications were the first steps. Now comes the theological dialogue. Next, we have to find a canonical structure for the Society with its 500 priests. We are satisfied with the solution that Rome is considering.

KNA: Which is?

Schmidberger: In the direction of a personal prelature.

KNA: Similar to Opus Dei?

Schmidberger: Somewhat.

KNA: More ordinations are planned for the coming weekend, although Rome has said that they are illict. Why do you insist on these ordinations?

Schmidberger: The supreme law of the Church is the salvation of souls. The faithful have a right to the celebration of the traditional form of the Mass. The point is making priests who desire to proclaim the Gospel available. The ordinations are not meant to be an affront to anybody. They are actually being done to help the Pope and the bishops. But it like dealing with patients who do not see what medicine does for their health.

KNA: And so you claim the role of physician.

Schmidberger: Yes, that is true. Tradition is the only guide to bringing the Church out of the present crisis. In 1950, 13 million Catholics went to Sunday Mass. Now it is just under 2 million. That is a drop of 85 percent. In ten years, all of the Churches will be empty. Is that what the bishops want? What is going to happen to our children? It is about preserving Christianity in the West.
Translation: reader (adapted).

Another small triumph for the restoration of the sacred

The "Penafrancia Festival" refers to one of the Philippines' largest religious events: a nine-day novena in Naga City (the see city of the Archdiocese of Nueva Caceres) to Our Lady of Penafrancia, culminating in a fluvial procession with the miraculous statue of Our Lady on the 3rd Saturday of September. This event attracts millions of pilgrims from all over the Philippines and the Filipino diaspora, and just like similar festivals all over the Catholic world, is constantly threatened by the danger of becoming yet another occasion for purely secular merrymaking and government-promoted mass tourism.

Some might find the decision to ban street parties and beer plazas for the duration of the novena to be rather puritanical, but the desire of both Church and state to work together to keep an event such as this entirely devoted to sacred thoughts, is yet another encouraging sign that the spirit of Christendom lives, here and there, even if only in flickers.
From the official news website of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines:

MANILA, June 25, 2009—Street parties and beauty pageants will no longer be allowed starting this year’s celebration of the Peñafrancia Festival in Naga City.

The Catholic Church in Bicol and local government authorities agreed to ban the fiesta’s civic components to avoid deflecting the public’s attention from the church’s celebration.

The agreement was reached recently between Caceres Archbishop Leonardo Legazpi and Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo.

Significant points in the deal include the banning of “Bicolandia Beauty Pageant” within the fiesta days that starts with the “Traslacion procession” on September 11.

“Street parties and beer plazas are no longer features of the Penafrancia fiesta,” said Fr Jay Jacinto, spokesman of the Archdiocese of Caceres.

The Naga City council also agreed with Archbishop Legazpi to make efforts in keeping the Peñafrancia Novena days “free from undue distractions”.

Jacinto said the agreement caps the series of dialogue between the church and the city officials to avoid commercialization mess of the Peñafrancia Festival.

“These arrangements are deemed in keeping with the celebration for the tercentenary of Peñafrancia devotion,’ Jacinto said.

Other activities agreed upon by both parties include the holding of a Perdon Procession on Sept. 16; the Voyadores Festival on Sept. 17; the Military Parade on Sept.18; and the Thanksgiving and Fluvial Procession on Sept.19.

Archbishop Legazpi had been chiding the local authorities for the commercialization mess that marred last year’s celebration of the Peñafrancia festival.

He lamented that some activities approved by the city government deviated from the occasion.

The prelate stressed that the essence of the event is the renewal of faith and understanding of the devotion to Mary.

The commercialism that happened in recent years, he added, has tarnished the religiosity of the country’s only regional fiesta.

With this recent agreement, the priest said, the church is looking forward to a suitable celebration of the tercentenary of the Peñafrancia devotion. (Roy Lagarde)


Photo from Daylife
PS: It might be of interest to our readers that the Metropolitan Province of Nueva Caceres was also one of the first places in the entire Roman Catholic Church to implement Liturgiam Authenticam in the Order of the Mass (with "pro multis" and "et cum spiritu tuo" literally translated.)

Maronite Patriarch confronts Hezbollah

The Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and the Whole Levant, Mar Nasrallah Boutros Cardinal Sfeir, has denounced in no uncertain terms the threat posed by the extremist Shiite group Hezbollah to Lebanon's identity, in the process facing the wrath of the Hezbollah -- which insults Christians even as it demands respect for its "religious sentiments"
Pray for the ancient Christian communities of Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Jordan and the Holy Land, that they will continue to be steadfast in the face of oppression and fanaticism.

The Roman Pilgrimage of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer

F.SS.R Mass in St. Peter's Basilica

The blog of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer now has pictures of the Roman pilgrimage of Fr. Michael Mary Sim F.SS.R and five of the congregation's seminarians. They attended the Papal Vespers of the Feast of the Sacred Heart last June 19 and offered Mass (1962 Missal, naturally) in various Roman churches, including St. Peter's Basilica (in the morning of June 22, 2009).

More from Rome (with pictures of the F.SS.R's Mass in St. Peter's Basilica)

Visiting Holy Places (including a picture of Solemn Mass in the FSSP church in Rome last June 21)

“Catholic Pride” Update: Church and State square off

As was recently reported here, His Exellency Marc Aillet, Bishop of Bayonne, Lescar and Oloron in the Basque region of France, issued a press release condemning the annual “Gay Pride” affair which took place on Sunday in the city of Biarritz. Rorate Cæli has come across an ensuing correspondence between the Bishop and the Mayor of Biarritiz, Mr. Didier Borotra.
Letter from Bishop Marc Aillet:
Mr. Mayor,
Having recently learned through families living in Biarritz of the forthcoming "Gay Pride" affair, I would just like to express my profound incredulity. It is yet another official offence aimed at the Catholic Church to believe the announced presence of the "Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence” virulently displaying their anti-Christianity.
I cannot even imagine how Muslims and Jews would react if the symbols of their religious traditions were used in this way ...
The disruptive protests made by groups who are for the most part outsiders in the city of Biarritz do not represent, by far, the deep conviction that homosexual persons feel. One need only read some of their particular testimonies to understand how these are suffering.
Besides the fact that young people, particularly children, did not need to see these protests so aggressively displayed, such sexual license exposed on city streets can only have a negative effect on social morality and the common sense of the majority of our citizens.
I wanted to share with you these few simple thoughts. You have, Mr. Mayor, the assurance of my prayers and my sentiments dedicated to Christ and his Church.
Response from Mayor Didier Borotra:
I cannot hide the fact that I was ashamed to read your letter of June 18. It is obvious that you are not familiar with the laws of the Republic. That is unfortunate. As a politician I do not meddle in the affairs of the Church and I advise you to do the same concerning the affairs of City Hall. As for other things, we do not share the same concept of freedom, including that of speech and public demonstration. It is, nonetheless, a basic right in all democratic countries. Please accept, Monsignor, the assurance of my highest consideration.

Liturgical Reminder for the Vigil of the Birthday of St. John the Baptist

The Birth and Naming of St. John the Baptist, by Giotto

It is my hope that more basilicas, cathedrals and parishes, seminaries and other houses of formation, and religious institutions, will make greater use of the rich treasury of feast-day blessings that is to be found in the Rituale Romanum as well as in the various local supplements to the Rituale. The same for the treasury of processions and other occasional ceremonies that can be found in the liturgical books associated with the classical Roman or Gregorian Rite.

These ceremonies enrich us wih grace, add spiritual depth to our experience and understanding of the liturgical year, illuminate the sacred mysteries and inspire fervor, and relieve the "flatness" of the liturgical season of the Sundays after Pentecost (or of the even more austere "Ordinary Time" of the Paul VI Missal). The faithful and complete celebration of the sacred liturgy in all its glory will do more for the restoration of Catholic Tradition than all our polemics and all our subtle arguments (although these too have an important part).

Hopefully, there will be a few more bonfires tomorrow. CAP.

{Note: I've revised the translation of "Et cum spiritu tuo"}

{Addendum: Some have been asking if this ceremony can be celebrated even in places where only the Novus Ordo is used. The answer is yes. The Directory of Popular Piety and the Liturgy (No. 225) enumerates the blessing of St. John bonfires among the pious customs associated with the cult of the Forerunner.}

From the Sancta Missa webpage on the "Blessings on special days and feasts" in the Rituale Romanum.


on the Vigil of the Birthday of St. John the Baptist

conferred by the clergy outside of church

In the Church's veneration of her saints the cult of John the Baptist had from earliest times and continues to have a most prominent and honored place. John gave testimony of the true light that shines in the darkness, although he proclaimed in utter humility: "He must increase, but I must decrease." And the Master also spoke in highest praise of His precursor: "I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist." Attuned to the words of the Gospel the Christians of former times were filled with love and enthusiasm for this saint, and expressed a justifiable conviviality at the approach of his feastday by lighting a bonfire the night before in front of their churches, in the market-place, on the hilltops, and in the valleys. The custom of St. John bonfires, indicative of a people with unabashed and childlike faith, continues in some places to this day.

P: Our help is in the name of the Lord.

All: Who made heaven and earth.

P: The Lord be with you.

All: And with your spirit.

P: Let us pray.

Lord God, almighty Father, the light that never fails and the source of all light, sanctify +this new fire, and grant that after the darkness of this life we may come unsullied to you who are light eternal; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

The fire is sprinkled with holy water; after which the clergy and the people sing the following hymn:

Hymn: Ut queant laxis

O for your spirit, holy John, to chasten

Lips sin-polluted, fettered tongues to loosen;

So by your children might your deeds of wonder

Meetly be chanted.

Lo! a swift herald, from the skies descending,

Bears to your father promise of your greatness;

How he shall name you, what your future story,

Duly revealing.

Scarcely believing message so transcendent,

Him for a season power of speech forsaketh,

Till, at your wondrous birth, again returneth,

Voice to the voiceless.

You, in your mother's womb all darkly cradled,

Knew your great Monarch, biding in His chamber,

Whence the two parents, through their offspring's merits,

Mysteries uttered.

Praise to the Father, to the Son begotten,

And to the Spirit, equal power possessing,

One God whose glory, through the lapse of ages,

Ever resounding.

P: There was a man sent from God.

All: Whose name was John.

P: Let us pray.

God, who by reason of the birth of blessed John have made this day praiseworthy, give your people the grace of spiritual joy, and keep the hearts of your faithful fixed on the way that leads to everlasting salvation; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

USCCB clarifies ambiguities of "Reflections on Covenant and Mission"

2. Since Reflections on Covenant and Mission is not an official statement of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, it was not subject to the same review process that official documents undergo. In the years since its publication, however, some theologians, including Catholics, have treated the document as authoritative. This has proven problematic because the section representing Catholic thought contains some statements that are insufficiently precise and potentially misleading. Reflections on Covenant and Mission should not be taken as an authoritative presentation of the teaching of the Catholic Church. In order to avoid any confusion, the USCCB Committee on Doctrine and the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs have decided to point out some of these ambiguities and to offer corresponding clarifications.
8. Reflections on Covenant and Mission correctly asserts that the Church "must always evangelize and will always witness to its faith in the presence of God's kingdom in Jesus Christ to Jews and to all other people."10 It also rightly affirms that the Church respects religious freedom as well as freedom of conscience and that, while the Church does not have a policy that singles out the Jews as a people for conversion, she will always welcome "sincere individual converts from any tradition or people, including the Jewish people."11 This focus on the individual, however, fails to account for St. Paul's complete teaching about the inclusion of the Jewish people as whole in Christ's salvation. In Romans 11:25-26, he explained that when "the full number of the Gentiles comes in . . . all Israel will be saved." He did not specify when that would take place or how it would come about.12 This is a mystery that awaits its fulfillment. Nevertheless, St. Paul told us to look forward to the inclusion of the whole people of Israel, which will be a great blessing for the world (Rom 11:12).
9. Reflections on Covenant and Mission, however, renders even the possibility of individual conversion doubtful by a further statement that implies it is generally not good for Jews toconvert, nor for Catholics to do anything that might lead Jews to conversion because it threatens to eliminate "the distinctive Jewish witness": "Their [the Jewish people's] witness to the kingdom, which did not originate with the Church's experience of Christ crucified and raised, must not be curtailed by seeking the conversion of the Jewish people to Christianity."13 Some caution should be introduced here, since this line of reasoning could lead some to conclude mistakenly that Jews have an obligation not to become Christian and that the Church has a corresponding obligation not to baptize Jews.
10. With St. Paul, we acknowledge that God does not regret, repent of, or change his mind about the "gifts and the call" that he has given to the Jewish people (Rom 11:29). At the same time, we also believe that the fulfillment of the covenants, indeed, of all God's promises to Israel, is found only in Jesus Christ. By God's grace, the right to hear this Good News belongs to every generation. Fulfilling the mandate given her by the Lord, the Church, respecting human freedom, proclaims the truths of the Gospel in love.
Committee on Doctrine and Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
June 18, 2009

Fellay speaks

The relevant questions and answers from the interview granted by Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) to Austrian daily Die Presse (Sunday Edition):

Die Presse: How is the dialogue between the SSPX and Rome, which created so much dust in January?

Bishop Bernard Fellay: We have sorted out our ideas in early June. The decision of the Pope on the design of the talks will be announced in the next few days. It is true that a special Commission will be set up for the discussion - with some Roman theologians and some of our priests.

The other major sticking point between you and Rome is the Tridentine Rite. Due to the Pope’s re-authorization of this Rite, this has at least largely been defused. Is this enough for you, or would you have expected even more?

Fellay: I'm sure there will be even more coming. Not from us, but for Rome itself the liturgical situation must be improved. That will come.

In a reconciliation with Rome, you probably need to make some kind of declaration of loyalty. Can you do this even if the church does not in all points return to dressing herself in the pre-Vatican II garment?

Fellay: I would rather say: if Catholic principles have been clarified, even though not everything has been resolved, then it is possible. There is a very practical question, which is now evident and that is: how are we accepted? There is a very sharp blockade. That is presently stopping us from going on. If we see too much opposition, then we simply say: well, we will still wait a bit.

Would not it be prudent to suspend the ordinations in order to improve the climate?

Fellay: The problem exists only in Germany. In Rome, there is sympathy for these ordinations, even if they say it is illegal and not according to the canon law. We were told that we are in an intermediate state in which we can talk peace, in which Rome can also observe us. We have nothing against it, if Rome would send an observer to us. We have offered it, but perhaps not clearly enough.

You therefore do not recognize any repudiation by the Pope of your acts?

Fellay: That would be a wrong interpretation of the event. This is not a hostile act, I have written to the Pope and asked him to consider these ordinations not as a rebellion, but as a step of survival in difficult and complex circumstances.

However you wish to interpret the ordinations, the Pope is being placed, at any rate, in an unpleasant situation.

Fellay: I understand that well. This situation is very unpleasant for all. Let me repeat: this problem comes from the different currents in the church, which themselves can hardly endure. This problem can ultimately only be resolved by the Pope. But I'm not even sure whether it ever can be resolved.

What is Bishop Williamson doing now?

Fellay: He is in London. He prays, he is studying, nothing else.

Is there a foreseeable end to the internal exile?

Fellay: I see none. The whole matter depends on him.

You would probably like a greater distancing from his Holocaust-denial.

Fellay: If such statements recur, then it would be unbearable.

Tip and first translation: Catholic Church Conservation

“Catholic Pride” – from the mouth of a Bishop

Statement by Bishop Aillet about "Gay Pride" in Biarritz

The organization of the "Gay Pride 2009” in Biarritz for Saturday 20 June only arouses my indignation, as it arouses the disapproval of many families and other people whatever their religious beliefs may be.
Indeed, the participation in this event by "Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence", an association known for its provocative anti-Catholicism and blasphemous provocations, shows a genuine contempt for the Catholic faith and religious life which so strongly characterizes the soul, culture, and traditions of the Basque region.

It is the Churches intends to defend and promote in all circumstances, the family founded on marriage between persons of different sexes and the right of every child to be raised by a father and a mother.

It therefore rejects claims that "Gay Pride" echoes in the name of a tiny minority of our citizens, but it eminently respects homosexual persons with care and compassion for the suffering and difficulties that are so often theirs.

It proclaims that every person is a child of God and that everyone is called to conversion and holiness.

+ Marc Aillet
Bishop of Bayonne, Lescar and Oloron, June 18 2009.


1. New weekly Traditional Mass location in Massachusetts

Reverend Father Thien Nguyen, pastor at Immaculate Conception Church in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, has generously invited Reverend Father David Phillipson to offer the Extraordinary Form Mass (the Traditional Latin Mass) every Sunday at 8am, beginning on June 28th and also on Holy Days according to the Traditional Calendar. Father will hear confessions at 7:30am before Mass, and the Rosary will be prayed aloud at that time. Father will also hold spiritual conferences and traditional devotions, and administer the Sacraments according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite."

For more information, visit the parish website. Immaculate Conception Church is located at 59 Walnut Street in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.

2. Feast of the Precious Blood in Virginia

Reverend Father Paul Scalia will be offering a Solemn High Mass on Wednesday, July 1st, 7 pm at Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church in Sterling, Virginia, for the Feast of the Precious Blood. This will be the first Missa Solemnis ever offered at this church. Seminarians from the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter will be assisting.

Solemn High Mass
Wed, July 1st 7 pm
Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church
46639 Algonkian Parkway
Potomac Falls, Virginia 20165

Archdiocese of Manila: Only young boys can be altar servers

I have just received a copy of Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales' Without Sunday We Cannot Live: A Pastoral Letter on the Sunday Celebration of the Eucharist. The letter is signed June 14, but is being disseminated only now.
I still have to thoroughly study the pastoral letter (36 pages long), and for now I would like to refrain from commenting on it, except to note that it is totally silent on both the Forma Extraordinaria and the modest "reform of the reform" that Pope Benedict XVI is promoting by his example (no surprise there). However, the letter does have at least one bit of very good news, and it can be found in no. 28. page 17:
Altar Servers
28. From antiquity, the altars (sic) servers have exercised their ministry within the assembly and they have helped to enhance the quality of the celebration by taking part in processions and by ensuring that all the requisites for the celebration are available at the appropriate time. (GIRM, 100)
  • It is a proven fact that many ordained ministers developed their vocation to the priesthood because of their membership in this ministry when they were young. We therefore wish to continue the practice of reserving this ministry to young boys, in order to introduce them to the life and ministry of the Church. (Redemptionis Sacramentum)
Female altar servers are becoming more and more common in Philippine parishes, although not yet to the same extent as in the West. It remains to be seen whether this directive from Cardinal Rosales will be strictly implemented in all the parishes of Manila, but it is encouraging to see that, at least, he has decreed this.

The Pontifical Masses of Bishop Rifan in NYC

The blog of the Society of St. Hugh of Cluny now has pictures of Bishop Fernando Areas Rifan's Solemn Pontifical Mass on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus last June 19, in St. Jean Baptiste Catholic Church. This Mass -- previously announced in Rorate and many other websites -- was reputed to be the first Solemn Pontifical Mass in New York City since Alfons Cardinal Stickler's memorable Mass in St. Patrick's Cathedral in 1996.
Bishop Rifan also offered Low Pontifical Mass for the Feast of St. Ephrem the Syrian (June 18, 2009) in Holy Innocents Church in Manhattan.

For priests

[O]ur needs, our limits and weaknesses must lead us anew to the Heart of Jesus. If it is in fact true that sinners, by contemplating Him, must learn from Him the necessary "sorrow of sins" that leads them to the Father, this is even more true for sacred ministers.

How to forget, regarding this, that nothing makes the Church, the Body of Christ, suffer so much as the sins of her shepherds, above all of those who turn into "robbers of sheep" (John 10, 1), either because they misguide them with their private doctrines, or because they suffocate them within snares of sin and of death? Even for us, dear priests, the call to conversion and to recourse to Divine Mercy holds true, and we ought also to present with humility to the Heart of Jesus the request that He may preserve us from the terrible risk of harming those whom we are bound to save.
Benedict XVI