Rorate Caeli

Fellay speaks: The talks begin in the autumn of 2009


The Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), Bishop Bernard Fellay, has granted an extensive interview to Italian news agency APCom (full interview):

[Apcom:] The Pope is in Valle d'Aosta for a period of vacation. [Note: The Pope left Valle d'Aosta for Castel Gandolfo on July 29, which means that the interview was granted before his departure.] You are located very near him. Have you had any contact, or has there been any kind of contact between his entourage and you?
[Fellay:] No, absolutely not. There has been no contact. During his vacation, we must leave the Pope alone [lasciare in pace]. The matters go on with the Vatican, with the people in charge of the conversations. But we have not disturbed the Pope. This is his vacation.

[Apcom:] Bishop Fellay, is a trip of yours to Rome foreseen for the near future? Has the initial date of the dialogue been set? And, about your commission, have you already considered who will take part in it? How many people will form it?

[Fellay:] There is not date set for the beginning of the dialogue, but we may assume that it will be in the autumn. I will be in Rome for that period, but there is nothing yet detailed. The Commission is already formed, by 3-4 people, but we cannot yet mention the names, even if to avoid any kind of pressure.

[Apcom:] Do you consider that in the Vatican there is an excessive sensibility regarding the expectations of the Jewish world, in the "Williamson affair" as well as concerning the Good Friday prayer?

[Fellay:] Yes, I do think so. I am myself embarrassed - after that which took place in the case of Bishop Williamson - when I see Jews who concern themselves with matters of the Catholic Church. It is not their religion. Leave us alone [lasciare in pace].They are matters which concern the Catholic Church. If we wish to pray for the Jews, we will pray for the Jews, in the manner we see fit. I do not know if they pray for us, but I would say that this is their problem.

[Apcom:] Therefore, the Pope and the Vatican receive pressures from the Jewish world?

[Fellay:] Right. This is an extremely delicate and burning matter, and I think that we should remove ourselves from this climate which is not good. There was an unfortunate coincidence of events which must never happen again. In this context, the anger of the Jews can be understood, I understand it, and I deplore what happened.

[Apcom:] In the motu proprio 'Unitatem ecclesiam' [sic: ECCLESIAE UNITATEM], the Pope maintains that "the doctrinal questions obviously remain, the Fraternity does not a canonical status in the Church, and its ministers cannot exercise any ministry in a legitimate manner". What do you think of this?

[Fellay:] I think that nothing much has changed. What has changed is that this new disposition will focus our relations on doctrinal matters. But it is not a change, it is a process that moves forward, and that we had already asked for in 2000; the path goes forward. That which the Pope writes is in line with the usual speech of Rome, since 1976, therefore it is not new. We maintain a clear position, which we have carried on for a while, and that we maintain, even if we are in contrast with this law, that there are serious reasons that justify the fact that we exercise this ministry legitimately. The circumstances in which the Church finds herself, which we call a "state of necessity". For example, when a great catastrophe happens in a country, its ordinary structure is put out of use, the system goes into crisis mode, and then all those who are able to help do help. And therefore it is not our personal will, but the need of the faithful that demands the help of all those who are able to help. And this state of necessity is very widespread in the Church - there are certainly some exceptions - in order to secure, in conscience, the legitimate exercise of the apostolate.

[Apcom:] What juridical status do you desire for the Fraternity of Saint Pius X? A prelature, a society of apostolic life, or what?

[Fellay:] It will depend on Rome, obviously, that is the authority that will decide this structure. Their perspective is the wish to respect at the utmost the concrete reality that we represent. My hope is that we be sufficiently protected to exercise the apostolate to be able to do good, without being always stopped from action by juridical reasons. The hope is for a prelature, even if I do not have a preference. On the timetable, I cannot express myself, it all depends on Rome.

[Apcom:] For Williamson, the Second Vatican Council is a "poisoned cake", to be thrown in the "dustbin"; for Tissier de Mallerais, the Council should be "cancelled"; and for Alfonso de Gallareta [sic] there is not "much to salvage" from the Council: is there a division inside the Fraternity of Saint Pius X? How do you intend to solve it? The Vatican maintains that there are divisions inside the Fraternity.

[Fellay:] I might say that I do not see union even in the Vatican. The problem in the Church of our age is not us. We have become a problem only because we say that there is a problem. Besides, even if we may give the impression of opposing or even contradictory declarations, there are no internal fractures. For example, on the Council, we may say that almost all of it is to be rejected. But it may also be said that what is possible should be salvaged. But we all can never say the same thing. The Council is a mixture: there are good things, and bad. Even the Pope, when he maintains that a hermeneutic of continuity is to be desired, that he does not want a rupture, rejects the Council interpreted as rupture.

[Apcom:] Is Bishop Williamson a problem?

[Fellay:] He is a completely marginal problem. What he said has no relation whatsoever with the crisis of the Church, with the core issue with which we have dealt for 30 years following the Council, it is a historical matter. The question of knowing how many and in what way the Jews were killed is not a matter of faith, it is not even a religious matter, is is a historical matter. We are obviously convinced that he did not consider this matter as he should have, and we have distanced ourselves. But on the religious positions of the Fraternity regarding the Council, I do not see any problem with Williamson.

[Apcom:] Williamson says that the Council is a "poisoned cake" to be thrown away in the "dustbin". Does this phrase not seem to you a bit strong? Are you in agreement with it?

[Fellay:] It is a controversial phrase, but I do not condemn him. So many declarations today are made in a controversial tome, it is a provocation made in order to make people think. I would state the concept in another way, but I do not know if I am not in agreement. I would say it in another way, I would say that we must transcend the Council to return to that which the Church has always taught, and from which the Church cannot separate herself, and in a certain moment we must transcend the Council which intended to be pastoral, and not doctrinal. Which wished to concern itself with the mutable situation of the Church. But things change, and so many things of the Council are now worn-out.

[Apcom:] Bishop Williamson had promised to remain in silence, but he continues to speak: will he be punished? If he continues to maintain that a compromise with Rome on the Council is not possible, will he be expelled?

[Fellay:] It is not true that Williamson speaks often. It is very rare... he once said something... and then we did not ask him to keep silent about everything. The field about which we asked for his silence was very limited. His removal has been temporary. I downplay it as much as possible... it is not to be exaggerated... at the moment, I see no grounds for expulsion. It depends on him, on the situation in which he placed himself. For the time being, it is an ongoing process, he has seriously damaged his reputation, I cannot imagine anything beyond the situation in which he already is. It will depend on what he says. He has already been sufficiently punished, pushed to the margin, with no position.

[Apcom:] And, regarding the Council, will you accept a compromise with Rome?

[Fellay:] We will not make any compromise on the Council. I have no intention of making a compromise. The truth does not tolerate compromise. We do not want a compromise, we want clarity regarding the Council.

[Apcom:] The recent ordinations of priests have been seen as a provocation: would it have not been better to avoid them, in this delicate moment?

[Fellay:] It was not a provocation. Some bishops profited of occasion to claim provocation. But it was not a provocation, neither for Rome nor for us. It is like preventing a person from breathing. We are a priestly society whose goal is to form priests. And therefore to prevent the ultimate act of formation, which is the ordination, is like preventing someone from breathing. On the other hand, it had always been foreseen and we had always known that with the removal of the excommunication a new situation has taken place which is better than the preceding one, but not perfect. For us, it is normal to move forward with our activities, and, therefore, with the ordinations.

[Apcom:] L'Osservatore Romano has mentioned Calvin, Michael Jackson, Harry Potter, Oscar Wilde. What do you think of this?

[Fellay:] I ask myself: is the role of "L'Osservatore Romano" truly to busy itself with such matters? This is a first question. And the second question is: what is said about these people is truly the right thing? I have a mostly critical appraisal of such matters.

[Apcom:] Do you believe that this tired matter of the Lefebvrians may finally reach an end with this Pope?

[Fellay:] I do believe that there is certainly good hope. I believe that we must pray intensely, they are very delicate matters. We have been in this situation for 40 years, and not for personal considerations, but truly for serious things which pertain to the faith and to the future of the Church. We certainly see in the Pope an authentic will to reach the core of the matter, and we cherish this with all satisfaction. We pray, and we hope, that with grace of the good God we will reach something that is good for the Church and for ourselves.

[Apcom:] What do you think of Benedict XVI?

[Fellay:] He is an upright man, who regards the situation and the life of the Church most seriously.

________________
Tip: Papa Ratzinger Blog

Upcoming TLM in Rio de Janeiro

An announcement from a Brazilian reader. The new Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro seems to be quite friendly to the Traditional Latin Mass.

Mons. Sérgio Costa Couto, chaplain of the church of the Imperial Brotherhood of Nossa Senhora da Glória do Outeiro in Rio de Janeiro (who, with the blessing of our new Archbishop, Dom Orani João Tempesta, celebrated the TLM for a group of faithful who requested it last July 11th) will celebrate another TLM on August 8th next.
I mention the blessing of the Archbishop because, although it is nolonger necessary according to law under Summorum Pontificum, it was widely known that our past Ordinary, Cardinal Eusébio Scheid, SCI, was opposed to the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in his Archdiocese, and his opposition was such that many priests, out of fear of incurring the consequences of the Cardinal's wrath, refused requests to celebrate the TLM. So, when our new Archbishop was installed last April, we made new attempts towards obtaining the celebration of the TLM (that was restricted to one or two very distant places), and the Archbishop indicated to Mons. Costa Couto that thefaithful attached to the EF "are welcome". So, it was with the Archbishop's explicit knowledge and approbation that Mons. Costa Couto took the step of offering the TLM last July 11th.
Father Costa Couto intends to provide regular celebrations of the TLM,in spite of his many duties (the church of the Outeiro is the site of many weddings and baptisms, and he already has a special dispensation to celebrate more Masses on Sunday than normally allowed; and he is also Vicar General of the Ordinariate for the Faithful of Oriental Rite in Brazil without their own Ordinary). The dozens of us who attended the Mass on July 11th last signed a petition to Archbishop Tempesta, so as to indicate that we are a stable group, and we requested that some structure be set up for us so that we may have a wider avalibility of the TLM (we are aiming for weekly celebrations).
I'm writing to ask you to include in your blog, if possible, an announcement about the upcoming celebration of the TLM scheduled totake place on August 8th, at 12:30 PM, so as to spread the word about the event to as many people as possible.

Two Years after Summorum Pontificum: The Situation in France

We present here the translation of a report (with important statistics) on the post-Motu Proprio situation of the Traditional Latin Mass in France. I would like to apologize for the delays in posting this as well as many other translations and notices in the "pipeline" (including a number of submissions), and I would like to ask for the understanding of our readers.
***

On the 7th of July, it would be exactly 2 years since our Holy Father published the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum on the usage of the Roman liturgy prior to the Reform of 1970.
This text reminded the Universal Church of the legitimacy of the Tridentine Mass and gave permission to all Catholic priests of the Latin Rite – be they secular or religious – to celebrate it freely.
In the weeks following this publication, a journalistic hammering, and declarations from clerics that were said to be “authorized,” tried to circumvent the range and the signification of the motu proprio.
Thus, “they” insisted on the “theoretical” character of this decision, on its inopportuneness … “they” explained that the motu proprio was the dream of an old man completely out of rhythm with the Church of his time… Moreover, the same “they” explained without a blush that in France the liturgical reform had been well digested and that for a long time now the parishes have had no liturgical problems.

In short, as the “unofficial-official” organ of the French Episcopate (Fr. organe officieusement officiel de l’épiscopat français) La Croix in its edition of September 13th 2007 summarizes so perfectly: “the motu proprio does not cause an upheaval...” (Fr. “Le Motu proprio ne provoque pas de raz de mare…")
Two years after the prophetic decision of Benedict XVI, what is there to say?
1 – The increase of places where the extraordinary form of the Roman rite is celebrated
On the evening before the decision of the Pope, the Traditional Mass – since then designated by the term “extraordinary form of the Roman Rite” – was celebrated in France in 132 churches or chapels with the consent of the Ordinary of the place on the basis of the Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei by John Paul II.
In addition to these 132 “authorized” places of worship, there were also 184 places served by the Society of Saint Pius X and its affiliated communities.

Two years after the publication of the motu proprio there has been an additional number of 72 new chapels and churches in which the Traditional Mass is celebrated added, with the consent of the Ordinary of the place.
Thus, in two years, the number of “authorized” places has increased from 132 to 204, an increase of 55 %.
During this time, the number of places served by the Society of Saint Pius X has remained at a stable 184.
2 – Multiplication of demands (for the TLM -- CAP)
Spectacular as it may seem, when one knows that between 1988 and 2007 the annual increase was between 2 and 5%, this figure is without connection with the number of demands and celebrations that are gently but firmly beginning to be implemented in the territories of the "Hexagon" ("l'Hexagone" an old name for France as it looks like a hexagon on the map - CAP).
Actually, without mentioning all the families who would wish that what has been given them generously is not conceded them parsimoniously –- let us for example think of the 250 faithful in Rambouillet (just outside of Paris), to whom the Bishop did not concede more than one single traditional celebration a month, or of those faithful living in Sens (120 km south-east of Paris) who will not be able to assist at such a Mass more than five times a year –- at present there are in France a great number of demands for the application of the papal text.
According to information we have received from friends on the territory, the situation of the number of applicants for the summer of 2009 is the following:
- 350 groups of Catholic families, spread over all the dioceses of France, who “formally” demand the possibility of living their Catholic faith in their parishes at the rhythm of the extra-ordinary form. "Formal demand" means that it has more often than not been done in the form of one or several letters
- More than 600 groups have taken similar measures, mostly in a more informal way –- discussions outside the mass with the parish priest or his assistant, a discreet mention during a dinner among friends -- with the hope that the first steps will then be taken by their own parish priests.
- At last, and we may affirm this today in an exact way, we have the existence in the 4 500 French parishes of numerous faithful who, even if they have not constituted themselves in groups, yearn for an application of the motu proprio in their parishes.
This certainty is based on a survey realized on the 24th and 25th of September 2008 by the Institute CSA asked for by Paix Liturgique (Survey CSA 08 01 153 B). The survey was made under the usual professional conditions: a sample of 568 persons adhering to the Catholic faith, taken out of a representative sample selection of 1001 persons of the age of 18 or more and formed by the method of quotas (sex, age, profession of the head of the family), after stratification per region and agglomeration category.
The results of the survey are to be consulted on the web-site of Paix Liturgique (letters by the Paix Liturgique n° 145, 145 bis and 146). We have also reached this certitude by reading the hundreds of replies received every week in response to the large survey undertaken by the initiative “Motu Proprio France” (www.motupropriofrance.com) among the faithful in various parishes.
Thus there seems to be a profound change taking place in the bosom of the Church of France, and those responsible for her had better get to grips with reality sooner or later, and accept dialogue, sharing and coexistence with the roughly 34% practicing Catholics, of whom there are some living in every parish, who all long to put an end to the liturgical apartheid that has victimized them.
3 – The generosity of the Bishops
In the columns of Paix Liturgique we have often implored our Bishops, asking them to be good and generous to their children desiring to live their Catholic faith in their own parishes to the rhythm of the Traditional Mass…
Often, it seems that we are not listened to.
And yet, the signs of hope and peace are multiplying. Here are two examples:

A – Since the 7th of July 2007, 25 % of the French bishops have themselves celebrated or presided in their own diocese over a Mass according to the extraordinary form … thereby giving a clear answer to those who only yesterday said: “but what is it that the Pope wants?” … if he wishes to propagate the extra-ordinary form, he should really celebrate it himself”
It is not necessary to be a great expert to see what the Pope wants on the subject of Liturgy. To see our fatherly bishops celebrate or preside over celebrations in the extraordinary form is a real encouragement and an undeniable consolation for all the faithful who from then on will feel respected and loved.
B – As of the 7th of July, 2007, the French diocesan seminary in Toulon is open to those wish to become priests in France, remaining at the same attached to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.

This possibility, as commonplace as it may seem, is however to such a high degree “extraordinary” that many people find it to be a true miracle, all the more so when one learns that at the start of the seminary year in the autumn of 2009 a second French diocesan seminary – this time in Lyon – will receive other young men desirous to become priests in the traditional spirit.
Finally – oh, wonder of wonders! – we have received some information, not yet confirmed, that other diocesan seminaries in the near future are about to do the same, providing a place to seminarians attached to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.
4 – The movement of priests
The prospect from now on offered to young boys that they can become priests in France and at the same time remain attached to the “traditional” mass, must not make us forget that this desire has existed for quite some time now in the Church of France.
Let us then not be surprised if tomorrow 10, or 100, or 1000 diocesan priests or even more will start to celebrate "Utroque usuas” as the Pope recently asked the Benedictines of Norcia to do, which means using both the extraordinary and the ordinary forms of the Roman rite.
When this will happen also in France, the number of chapels and churches where the extraordinary form will be newly celebrated will be counted not in tens but in hundreds and soon peace will be restored – not on an isolated little island, but in the totality of the parishes of France…
Thus, when remembering the declaration given by La Croix on the 13 of September of 2007 “the motu proprio does not cause an upheaval” comes automatically to our mind this passage from the Bible: “They have eyes but do not see”, which expresses an exact truth, today in the same way as yesterday, as “there is nobody more blind than the person who does not want to see”.
But with the help of the Spirit, we know that tomorrow peace and reconciliation will triumph for the good of the Church and of all of its children.

Slow posting continues till mid-August...

...but we may post news at any time.







¡Santiago
y cierra, España!









If you have announcements to make, please post them as comments to this post.

Solemn Pontifical Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, October 18, 2009

Rinascimento Sacro has announced that, as the culminating activity of the Second Convention on Summorum Pontificum organized by Giovani e Tradizione, a Solemn Pontifical Mass according to the classical Roman Rite will be celebrated in the Chapel of Eucharistic Adoration in St. Peter's Basilica on Sunday, October 18, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. The Mass will be offered by His Excellency, Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. Music will be provided by a mixed choir of Franciscans of the Immaculate.
Deo Gratias!

Spiritual Exercises for Women in Colombia

Una Voce Georgia (United States) sends us an announcement of Ignatian Spiritual Exercises for women which will be offered by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) in a retreat center near Bogotá, Colombia, in October:

LA FRATERNIDAD SACERDOTAL SAN PEDRO ANUNCIA

Ejercicios espirituales de San Ignacio
del 10 al 12 de octubre
en La Casa de Retiros La Isabelita
(Anolaima - Cundinamarca)

Los ejercicios serán predicados por los sacerdotes de la Fraternidad Sacerdotal San Pedro, y en esta ocasión se dirigen a mujeres

Se ruega a las personas interesadas nos contacten en la siguiente dirección:

amartindeporres@hotmail.com

More Traditional Latin Masses in Chile

There seem to be two new regular Sunday celebrations of the TLM in Chile.
1. The TLM in the San Juan de Dios parish in Santiago de Chile, which used to be offered only on First Saturdays (and is still listed as such in WikiMissa), is now offered every Sunday at 8:00 P.M. It is regularly offered by Fr. Milan Tisma Diaz



2. According to the blog of the parish of Santa Barbara de la Reina de Casablanca, a twice-monthly Traditional Latin Mass (every second and third Sunday of the month at 5:00 P.M) has been established in the main church of that parish. The first Mass was offered last July 19 by Msgr. Jaime Astorga Paulsen, who will also be the regular celebrant of this Mass.
According to Una Voce Malaga it was the first celebration of the TLM in the Chilean city of Casablanca in 40 years.
I would like to take this opportunity to repeat the call of my fellow Rorate Caeli contributor, Mornac, for our readers to take the initiative in updating the Mass listings on WikiMissa.
(Thanks to Una Voce Malaga for all the info)

"...there is no text of the Tradition which supports it"

The Italian website Pontifex.Roma has published a short interview with Msgr. Nicola Bux on the topic of Holy Communion. Here is the full text of the interview in English translation. Emphases mine.

Given Msgr. Bux's closeness to the Pope and his liturgical thought, it seems that we have here a clear exposition of the "Benedictine" stance regarding the proper way to receive communion: clearly favorable towards communion kneeling and on the tongue coupled with a clear disapproval of communion in the hand (clearer than in the previous three Pontificates), without as yet proposing strict measures to abolish anything not already condemned in documents like Redemptionis Sacramentum, and definitely without opposing communion standing up. -- CAP.

***

How to administer communion in a dignified manner

Communion on one’s knees guarantees devotion and the sense of the sacred. Certain flippant ways to administer this sacrament show a loss of the sense of the sacred. The faithful must not take for themselves the Chalice and the Host, this being a serious abuse.

Monday, July 20th, 2009
From Pontifex Roma

How should one administer communion in a dignified manner? We asked the theologian and esteemed liturgist Monsignor Nicola Bux. It may be a random case but the modernism and the slovenliness of certain post-conciliar interpretations have lead to such a debasement of this Sacrament , that there are all kind of ways in which people approach it…

Don Bux, which is the most correct way to communicate?

“I would say there are two ways. There is the position where one stands up, taking the Host in the mouth, or else on one’s knees. I do not see any third way.”

There is the standing-up position.

“OK, I have nothing against it. The important thing is that the faithful are intimately conscious of what they are about to receive, that is that they do not approach the communion with a lightheartedness that shows immaturity and being at a complete distance from God.”

Communion standing up, but what is the best way to do it?

“Well, look here, even the receiving of the communion standing up may be full of devotion, of compunction…... and a sense of the Sacred is good to have. It would be very good and convenient, no doubt about it, to let a formal sign of reverence precede communion (even if it is received standing up), which means the head is covered for the women, sign of the cross or a slight bow in a sign of one’s love.

But for what reason do people often approach the communion as if it is a kind of buffet?

I like this expression and in part it is correct. Many persons rise mechanically (from their seats - CAP) and they do not know and are not even able to imagine what they are about to receive. They think that participation in Mass something that automatically includes communion and that they have to go up and receive it, although the fact is that only those who are really in the grace of God should do so”.

In his latest Masses pope Benedict XVI has administered communion only to those who were kneeling.

"Yes, he was very right to do so. I believe that kneeling when receiving the communion helps one to gather oneself together and to understand the mystery in a more reverential way. To kneel in front of the Body of Christ is an act of gratuitous love and humility before God, and this sense of the sacred is seldom understood. In our days it is mostly adrift and lost or almost muted. “

All in all, communion on one’s knees helps the spirit?

“Yes, certainly so, it favors devotion and spirituality. I believe that the position on one’s knees when receiving the communion is the one which by far responds the most to the Sacred.

And receiving in one’s hand?

“I am sorry to say, but there is no text of the Tradition which supports it. Not even if everybody takes it and eats it in this way. There is no text concerning this, and if we wish we could say that the Apostles were priests and thus had the right to take it by the hand. The Oriental Church does not permit it.”

In a church in Rome, the so called Caravita, usually very crowded, particularly by the Catholic Mexican community, a Jesuit priest (the Jesuits consent to dancing with women and even to drinking beer in public), personally administers the Host to his faithful in such a way that they dip it in the Chalice, is it not true?

“Yes, this is a most serious and intolerable abuse, which you do well to report to me and which the Bishop must be made aware of, this must come to his knowledge. In paragraphs 88 and 94 (of Redemptionis Sacramentum – CAP) it is firmly said that it is not permitted for the faithful to take the Host themselves, or to pass the Chalice from one person to the other. I think that such a communion is not valid (non sia valida). I will analyze the problem, but we have here to do with an inadmissible abuse which we must repress the sooner the better.

Bruno Volpe

Cardinal Zen clarifies misinterpretations of the Pope's letter to Chinese Catholics and its compendium

Although Cardinal Zen has retired from the See of Hong Kong, he has not remained silent and has now issued a letter defending the letter of Pope Benedict XVI to Chinese Catholics (and its Compendium) from misinterpretations, especially those emanating from the Chinese government and its minions in those elements of the "Patriotic Church" that favor the schismatic mentality. We reproduce the full letter here due to its importance; the original can be accessed on the website of the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong. Emphases mine.
Cardinal Zen's stance in favor of the underground Catholic Church is clear. Unfortunately, in many parts of the universal Church, there is a tendency to see the "Patriotic Church" as if it is THE Catholic Church in China, even to the exclusion of the suffering faithful of the underground Church. Cardinal Zen's letter exposes this for what it is: a monstrous lie.
Cardinal Zen's coat of arms alludes to the famous dream of St. John Bosco -- the barque of Peter, the barque of the Church, anchored between the two great pillars of the Holy Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin, standing fast against the enemies of the Catholic faith. A true reflection of the spirit of this great man, and of his struggle for the unity of the Chinese Church under Rome!
Two years ago we received a letter from the Pope
Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun SDB
In these days, from the Holy See you have received a compendium of the Letter of the Pope which helps you to understand more easily the essentials of the Pope’s teachings and also to dispel a wrong interpretation of a particular point of the Letter.

Allow me to underline few things in it.
1. Question 7 of the Compendium

First of all, to my brothers in the underground community, I like to point out the Compendium’s Question Number 7 which brought into evidence many quotations from the Letter where the Holy Father shows his appreciation for and encouragement to all those who have suffered and are still suffering for the Catholic faith.

Often we hear complaints from our brothers in the underground community that they feel abandoned, neglected, even considered a nuisance. We understand this impression and these feelings of theirs. But the rich quotations, from the Letter of the Pope, contained in Number 7 of the compendium should reassure them that the Holy Father is with them. From the bottom of my heart I wish to encourage my brothers in the clandestine community to persevere in their fidelity without compromise.
Footnotes 2 and 5 of the Compendium

I like also to bring to your particular attention the Footnotes Number 2 and Number 5 of the Compendium.

The Footnote Number 2 makes an important distinction between “a spiritual reconciliation of hearts and a structural merger into one system”. The Pope encourages the former which should be pursued with the almost commitment and urgency, while the realization of the latter may be beyond our unilateral good will.

Footnote Number 5 says clearly that the Pope “neither excludes the possibility of accepting or seeking Government recognition, nor encourages doing so”. Every body would like to act in the open freely, but unfortunately very often, “indeed almost always”, it is impossible to do so since conditions are imposed on us which are not compatible with our Catholic conscience. (For the phrase “indeed almost always” in the Chinese translation, please see the revised Chinese text which appeared on the Vatican website since the October 24th, 2008, when this phrase was re-inserted because it was missing from the first official Chinese edition of the Letter).

It is true that the Holy Father leaves the final decision to the single bishops on whether to accept / request the recognition by the Government. But the Holy Father also said that this decision is a very difficult one to make, because, most of the times, the conditions imposed by the Government render a positive decision impossible.

It is no secret that this delicate point of the Letter of the Pope, shortly after its publication, had received a tendentious interpretation that went beyond what the Holy Father had said. The interpretation stated that, according to the Holy Father, there was no longer any reason to remain in the situation of clandestinity and that the Holy Father wanted that all underground communities request the recognition of the Government. This interpretation also favoured an indiscriminate participation in Eucharistic concelebrations. (THIS IS A NECESSARY POINT. Indiscriminate concelebration with Patriotic clergy can't be considered as permitted. - CAP)

The error of such a view consists in that it chooses to overlook the long steps that it is necessary to make and thinks that one can reach immediately the goal. We may call it a sin of impatient optimism. People are easily tempted by optimism, so this erroneous interpretation has had an enormously wide diffusion in China and has been believed by many, as if this were the true will of the Holy Father.

However, since such an interpretation not only does not represent the mind of the Holy Father, but also goes against the cruel reality of the facts described by the Holy Father in his Letter, in the last two years this interpretation has had disastrous consequences all over the Church in China.

The fundamental reality is that the Government has kept its policy substantially unchanged, a policy that aims at enslaving the whole Church. That is why we have to witness such a painful spectacle: bishops and priests who, thinking they are obeying the Holy Father, make enormous efforts to come to terms with the Government; many of these, faced by the unacceptable conditions imposed by the Government, draw back, but in the process the clergy is no longer as united as before; others, thinking that to draw back would be to disobey the will of the Holy Father, have tried to remain in that situation of compromise, while striving hard to keep their peace of conscience, a contradictory state that makes deeply suffer not only the bishops directly involved, but also their priests who are no longer able to understand their bishop.

The Government, on its part, has presented itself as an enthusiastic executor of the will of the Pope, declaring itself the promoter of unity, evidently a unity under the total control of the Government inside the iron-tight structure of an independent Church.

Let us thank the Lord that finally in the Footnotes 2 and 5 of the Compendium the Holy See has given its own authoritative interpretation on this point. We hope that the Compendium may be able to resolve the painful contradiction in so many faithful hearts and to make it possible for the clandestine community to rebuild its faithful unity in suffering.

Obviously, on the level of reconciliation and communion of hearts between the two Church communities, there is much to be attempted and to be done as soon as possible, overcoming every negative feeling caused by historical situations not willed by us, but imposed on us from the outside.
3. Self-examination

In His letter the Pope has presented in unambiguous terms the apostolic nature of the Church, which is always to be led by the bishops, the successors of the Apostles, in communion with the Pope, the successor of Peter, the head of the Apostles. The Holy Father, in all his fatherly kindness, has put his finger on the abnormal present situation of our Church in China, controlled and led by bodies other than the Hierarchy established by Jesus Christ.

The enormous challenge now before us is to bring our Church back to normality, to be a truly catholic Church.

Two years have passed, since the Pope has written his Letter to us. Are we closer to the ideal of Christian fidelity portrayed in the Letter? If yes, let us thank God. If not, let us reflect seriously on why we have wasted such a precious gift from heaven. What we must meditate seriously upon is how much we have taken upon ourselves our small or big part of obligation in achieving this wonderful and arduous goal. How have we spent these two years? How many times have we asked ourselves: What should I do to make the Pope’s dream become a reality?

On the Day of Prayer for the Church in China this year, the Holy Father, while visiting the Montecassino Abbey, exhorted us “to renew our communion of faith in Christ and of fidelity to the successor of Peter”. He also expressed his hope that “the unity of all Christians, the catholicity and universality of the Church always will be deeper and more visible”. Those brothers and sisters in the clandestine community, do they still believe that it is worthwhile to suffer for the faith and that the sufferings would bring victory even though at the moment everything seems to be a failure? Those brothers and sisters in the open community, do they believe that their effort to come out of the canonically abnormal situation is important and that coherence with their status of being in communion with the Holy Father requires them to be courageous?

We all live in a particular moment of history. This gives us particular duties. Our very special duty today in the Church in China is to show to the Chinese people the true nature of the Catholic Church, the home of all peoples and nations. Its unity and universality fit so well into the globalizing desire of humankind. The Church is a community that welcomes all peoples without distinction and for that reason must not be dominated by any particular civil power.

The Church, who cares for our wellbeing on earth, brings us also towards an eternal goal: our homecoming to heavenly Father’s embrace. The rich inheritance which belongs to us has been gained through the suffering and death of our Saviour and has been entrusted to the Apostles, so that it may be faithfully transmitted through the ages. It is our greatest fortune to be called into this great family and it is now our noble duty to live out our faith with coherence, handing it down intact to future generations.

There are people who would like to establish an opposition between our fidelity to the Church and our patriotic duty to our Country. You know that this is a sophism. We all know that, precisely by being loyal to our Church, we are being truly patriotic, because the building up of a truly Catholic Church in China is our specific contribution to the greatness of our Motherland.

We must pray that the leaders of our Nation come to understand that a free Catholic Church is no threat to our country. On the contrary, if we are allowed to live happily our faith, we can contribute more to the welfare and all-round progress of our people.

Dear brother and sisters, look higher up, unto “the mountains from which my help comes” (Ps 120[121]). On this journey of faith, we have been promised both tribulations and consolations. Our companions and models are the Saints and especially the glorious Martyrs.

Mary, Help of Christians, our heavenly mother and the Star of Hope, to whom the Pope has entrusted our Church, will lead us to peaceful victory.

Cardinal Joseph Zen 29 June 2009

An Appeal to the Holy Father from the Faithful of the Diocese of Ventimiglia-San Remo

The diocese of Ventimiglia-San Remo is located near the Diocese of Albenga-Imperia, on which we have just reported. What contrast in attitude!

Supplica al Santo Padre nell'anniversario del Motu Proprio
Holy Father,
On the second anniversary of the motu proprio from July 7 2007, which restored for the faithful the possibility of having access to the Church’s sacred traditional liturgical treasure, we, the faithful who love the old liturgical forms, address ourselves to Your Holiness with the confidence and the affection of children who, when they ask of their Father a bread, a fish and an egg, are certain not to receive a stone, a serpent or a scorpion.
In the first place, our intention is to express our gratefulness and admiration with this letter. We are grateful both for your catechesis, which you succeed in rendering so comprehensible and rich in theological content, on the way of the Doctors of the Church, among whom you will one day be numbered; and for having wanted to bring back to full citizenship the liturgical form which carries the sacred breath of centuries, yes, of millennia, having been used for the sanctification of numberless generations and indeed still used today, so that we may pray with even deeper devotion together with the Fathers of the Fathers, verbatim and with the same gestures.
We are persuaded that together with the main aim of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, the result is not just the praiseworthy and even more sacrosanct faculty of creating the conditions to enable us to return to the peace and the full unity of the Church. Moreover, it means an act of supreme justice, as Your Holiness writes in your autobiography: "I remain dismayed by the prohibition of the old mass; something like this has never been seen in the whole of liturgical history”. But it is not only this last aspect that concerns those among us who have reached a certain age: the motu proprio has now made known to so many Catholics -- who had ignored its existence before, mainly because they were born after the reform -- the inestimable value of the enormous richness in terms of the riches of prayer of the liturgy that unfortunately were lost or hidden during the last decades.
We are ourselves witnesses to the enthusiasm that is rapidly spreading in so many persons, who never before had known the “extraordinary form” of the Roman Rite or even Gregorian chant, or the expression of prayer in Latin. We speak not only out of the experience of our own group, but also based on the commentaries we receive on our webpage. Not only the groups already formed around the motu proprio but also and above all the many “novices”, if I may say so, who are seeking this special kind of spiritual nourishment that Your Holiness has wanted to again make available for us with your marvellous intuition.
And the expression that we often read: that the old mass is a forge for vocations; indeed we notice it and would like to bear witness to it. During the first six month of our website’s existence, five young men have written (almost one per month!) to the chaplain of the website asking information on where to find a seminary or a religious order where their traditionalist sensibility could be allowed to subsist without being opposed or mortified. In La Marche, where already for some time, the Mass according to the extraordinary form has been celebrated, in less than a year two vocations to the Church have emerged.
Finally, we believe that behind the aim of the motu proprio (and which perhaps is the most important one), lies the wish to spread in the Church, inspiration emanating from the old liturgical form, so that it can constitute a frame of reference, as well as an example for the Holy Mass in its ordinary form. With all our heart we believe that there should not and could not be any disagreement or conflicts between the supporters of the two forms of the Holy Mass. Their co-existence, the free choice of the faithful, the mutual enrichment and the happy assimilation, will also mean that the ordinary form will be able to benefit a little from the sober sacredness that is often lost in it. In the same way we greet as a positive element the possibility – permitted as a facultative choice by the motu proprio – of proclaiming, in the old rite, the readings in the vernacular. In this way the motu proprio can influence the lex orandi of the faithful who will remain attached to the ordinary form (the great majority), even if in an indirect way: giving them an example of a different kind of celebration, without any imposition or constriction, according to the style of Your Pontificate, which always comes in the manner of a proposition and never imposes itself.
However, and now we have to strike a more distressing note, it is not unknown to Your Holiness that the concrete application of the motu proprio has been obstructed in many places. Not by the faithful laymen, who have understood that the motu proprio opens up a new opportunity for those who so wish (to attend the liturgy in the extraordinary form – CAP), without taking away or imposing anything; but by the clergy who are not so young anymore, and especially the members of the episcopacy, who in the majority are not open to this beneficial liturgical progress.
The explicit intent of the motu proprio: to celebrate the mass in its extraordinary form in the parishes, wherever there is a group that demands it, has been difficult to apply. And yet it would seem normal that in the big parishes, where on Sundays sometimes as much as five Masses are celebrated, there could be one also in the extraordinary form, just as there is one for the young people, another one sung, etc…Instead, as the worthy editors of the liturgical web-site Maranathà, have written, one has to get a chapel or an oratory, possibly isolated, due to the express orders of the Bishop. This means that the prevailing regime is that of the indult, rather than the liberation represented by Summorum Pontificum. But even this represents a privileged situation; the majority of the dioceses do not even have any Holy Mass in the extraordinary form at all. And there is no doubt that the demand is there, and how great it is! A recent independent opinion poll commissioned by the French Paix Liturgique, has shown that 34% of those who attend Mass at least once a month would be happy if they could now and then participate in extraordinary form of the (Roman) rite in their parish. We are convinced that the situation among the faithful in Italy (where there have not been any “liturgical wars” like in France) are even better disposed towards the old rite and that it is statistically impossible that in a diocese, be it small, “there would not be any demands”, seeing that we are talking about at least one faithful out of three.
Our web-site receives much alarming information with regard to this fact and the written evidences are published on the following link: (http://www.messainlatino.it/pag3_sito.htm). From our own direct (and sad) experience we can testify and bear witness of the fact that in our diocese of Ventimiglia-San Remo there are not at present any Masses in the extra-ordinary form. In the beginning such Masses were celebrated in the convent of the Jesuits in San Remo, the Superior of whom had the intention to celebrate it every Sunday, but under the pressure of the Bishop had to limit the number to once a month. The old mass was celebrated only once with an exceptional attendance of around 500 persons. As a result of this, the Vice-Provincial of the Company of Jesus, who is said to have acted under the solicitation of our Bishop, forbade the continuation of the celebration of this Mass. The Superior, who had shown himself obliging to us, was in consequence dismissed from his office as superior and after some months was transferred. It has been confirmed that this was the motive. After many difficulties the monthly Mass was resumed and the task given to the Convent of the Capuchins, thanks to the Superior of that convent. But also the latter was at first, after a few months, lifted from his office as superior and shortly thereafter transferred. Then, a third attempt: a parish priest welcomed the large stable group of San Remo to his parish. But the Curia had forbidden the easiest solution, that is to add another Mass not previously scheduled. The only possibility was to transform an already scheduled NO Mass into a VO Mass [a condition the Curia considered almost impossible...]. Well, the parish priest did accept this transformation of the evening Sunday Mass. So the Curia intervened again on the parish priest: not more than once a month, and after the first mass (with a full church) it was suppressed. Well then, after our insistence it seems that the Bishop ordered on his own initiative for a monthly Mass to be celebrated – in a sanctuary situated on a hill....
Not to speak of even more serious matters: The marginalisation and the stigma following it within the ecclesial environment, which is where the application of the motu proprio belongs. If we report this, which may be of scarce interest, it is because of the value it may have as an example of a more general trend, which shows the difficulties, not to say downright harassments, awaiting the faithful who adhere to the old rite. We have here mentioned only the cases which has come to our direct knowledge, but the problem exists in the whole world (lately we have seen the letter from the Bishop of Malaga who refuses the petition of a group of faithful : http://unavocemalaga.creeblog.com/Primer-blog-b1/Denegada-la-Forma-Extraordinaria-de-la-Misa-en-Malaga-b1-p24.htm)It is for this reason that we entreat you, Holy Father, to act on the many difficulties which the faithful are up to. Maybe you could arrange for the Ecclesia Dei-commission, the reform of which seems close at hand, to intervene resolutely in those cases. On this depends, in concrete terms, the future of the motu proprio which with your farsightedness you have been so good to promulgate. Therefore we beg for your intervention, conscious as also we are, that “the ecclesial crisis in which we find ourselves today depends in great part upon the collapse of the liturgy”.
Reiterating the expression of our deepest esteem and devotion, we ask Your Holiness to confer your apostolic benediction on us and on all the faithful attached to the traditional liturgy in the Holy Church.
San Remo, the 7th of July, 2009
The stable group of faithful of the Diocese of Ventimiglia- San Remo
"Beato Tomaso Reggio"
The original Italian is on the Messainlatino blog.

460 years ago today

On July 19, 1549, a group of sailors accompanied by two Dominican friars, Gregorio de Beteta and Juan García, arrived near the fort-harbor of San Juan de Ulúa, in Veracruz, New Spain (Mexico). Those long-suffering men were the remnant of a glorious mission, and Brother Gregorio had a story to tell about the first martyrs of what would become the eastern United States.

In late Spring 1549, the Dominicans had left Veracruz under the leadership of Father Luis de Cancer de Barbastro, on a mission to take the Gospel to the restless Indians of the Florida Peninsula. After a brief stop in Havana, their ship, Santa Maria de la Encina, first landed near the entrance of Espíritu Santo Bay ("Holy Ghost", now known as Tampa Bay) in late June 1549. The friars were initially well-received by the natives (probably of the Timacuan tribe), but two were kidnapped, together with their interpreter, an Indian woman called Magdalena, who had come with them from New Spain.

A Spaniard who had remained captured in the Florida coast after the De Soto expedition was able to communicate to the missionaries that the captured friars had been killed. Father Luis de Cancer insisted, despite some resistance aboard, that the mission had to go on. Knowing that fresh water could be found inside Espíritu Santo, the ship captain entered the Bay. On June 24, Father Luis de Cancer and Father Juan García celebrated Masses on shore on the Feast of Corpus Christi

On June 26, Father Luis de Cancer went ashore by himself. Some Indians approached him; on his knees, he was grabbed by one, and hit on the head by another, as he spoke his last words: "Adjuva me, Domine". Their interpreter had betrayed them.

The three Dominicans were the protomartyrs of the eastern United States, and the Dominican protomartyrs of North America.

On June 28, 1549, the remainder of the mission returned to New Spain.

Venezuelan National Assembly Censures the Catholic Hierarchy

The Catholic hierarchy of Venezuela had courageously issued a communique this July 10 denouncing a proposed "Organic Law for Justice and Equality of Gender" (Ley Orgánica para la equidad e igualdad de género) which according to the hierarchy legalizes same-sex unions and promotes abortion.
In response, Merelis Perez Marcano, President of the Commission for Family, Women and Youth of the National Assembly (Asamblea Nacional) of Venezuela, proposed a censure against the Catholic hierarchy, alleging that the Church "never cared a bit about the Venezuelan family" and accusing it of purely political motives in publishing its criticisms, which she called baseless. The vote for censure was declared approved without there being any discussion or vote taken, and in defiance of the Venezuelan constitution itself, which stipulates (article 187) that the AN may approve censures only against the Vice President of the Republic and against cabinet ministers.
Before the "approval" came the President of the National Assembly alleged that there are cohabiting homosexuals among the Venezuelan bishops; the bishops were also called "manipulators, liars and immoral persons."
Pray for the Church in Venezuela as it struggles against the power of the new red tyrant.

The blessing of water for the sick in honor of St. Vincent de Paul

Although July 19 falls on a Sunday this year, I would like to take this opportunity to continue the series on the neglected cycle of liturgical blessings for the whole year by reminding everyone of the custom of blessing holy water for the sick in honor of St. Vincent De Paul, whose feast falls on this day in the calendar of the classical Roman Missal. Although the blessing of "St. Vincent Water" used to be reserved to the priests of the Congregation of the Mission, Pope Paul VI lifted this reservation on September 26, 1964, thus allowing all priests to impart this blessing; there seems to be no compelling reason why tradition-minded priests should not bless this sacramental.
From the Sancta Missa website (see no. 52 of the linked webpage):
BLESSING OF WATER FOR THE SICK IN HONOR OF ST. VINCENT DE PAUL

P: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
All: Who made heaven and earth.
P: Blessed be the name of the Lord.
All: Both now and forevermore.
P: Lord, heed my prayer.
All: And let my cry be heard by you.
P: The Lord be with you.
All: And with your spirit
P: Let us pray.

Holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God, who, in pouring out the grace of your blessing on the bodies of the sick, encompass your creatures with your generous love; hearken as we call on your holy name, and by the prayers of Blessed Vincent, your confessor, free your servants from illness and restore them to health, and then hasten their convalescence by your sure hand, strengthen them by your might, shield them by your power, and give them back in full vigor to your holy Church; through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen.

He then immerses a medal or a reliquary of St. Vincent de Paul in the water, and holds it so until the following prayer is concluded:

Lord, bless this water, that it be a saving remedy for men; and grant that, by the prayers of Blessed Vincent, your confessor, whose relics (or medal) are (is) now immersed in it, all who will drink this water may have health in body and protection in soul; through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen.

He then removes the medal or reliquary from the water, and says:

Antiphon: The poor of Sion I will sate with bread, and I will let my blessing overflow on her priests, and her saints will exult exceedingly.

P: God, you have provided in your kindness for the poor.

All: The Lord gives orders to his messengers with great authority.
P: Let us pray.
O God, who through Blessed Vincent have added to your Church a new community to serve the poor and to train the clergy; grant, we pray, that we may be imbued with the same fervor, so as to love what he loved and to carry out what he inculcated; through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen.

(Note: I know that this is not the best translation, but for now it will have to do.)

SSPX goes on trial in Britain, fails in bid to buy church

On July 15, the SSPX's bid to buy a disused Anglican church (St. George's, Gorton, in east Manchester) was rejected by the Commissioners of the Church of England. This came after more than a hundred letters letters of objection to the sale of the church reached the offices of the Anglican Diocese of Manchester. More on the actual decision here and here.

For more on the background to the decision, please read this:

Persecution Rising
SSPX Goes on Trial in Britain

(Posted 07/15/09 www.RemnantNewspaper.com) Today, July 15, 2009, the SSPX goes on trial in Britain accused of being a threat to the peace and welfare of society. The venue for this show trial is, however, no legal court of the land but rather the Church of England’s Commissioners offices in London.

The question to be formally decided by the sitting Committee for church buildings (uses and disposals) is: Can we sell a building to the SSPX in light of the Bishop Williamson comments about the Holocaust, or, as one Liberal Democrat Councillor put it, can the Church of England sell a building to “the church of latter-day Holocaust deniers.”

Read more in the Remnant

Bulgarian Patriarchate says no to Catholic-Orthodox theological dialogue

Time for honesty and forthrightness...CAP
Sofia, Bulgaria - According to the correspondent of the Ecclesiastic News Agency "Romfea" in Sofia, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Bulgaria decided to not send envoys to the Meeting of the Combined International Theological Committee for the Dialogue between the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Church, which is to be held in Cyprus between the 16th and the 23rd of October 2009.

Specifically, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Bulgaria examined the letter-invitation sent by the organizers of the Meeting, and after discussions, decided that representatives of the Bulgarian Church should not participate.

The participation of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in this dialogue was characterized as inappropriate by the Holy Synod, who, after carefully analyzing similar meetings and conferences which had taken place in the past, reached the conclusion that such theological dialogues between Orthodox and Catholics had not led to even the slightest settlement between Roman Catholic and Orthodox Dogmatics.

The Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Church did express its willingness to discuss other social and humanitarian issues in the future, during such meetings.

It should be noted that similar meetings of the Committee and its sub-committees have taken place in Belgrade, Ravenna, Rome and Ayios Nikolaos in Crete.

Finally, it should also be noted that the last meeting took place on the 27th of September to the 4th of October 2008 in Ayios Nikolaos of Crete, on the subject of "the role of the bishop of Rome in the community of the Church during the 1st Millennium".

Away

If you have sent me announcements of events or links to news in the past week, please re-send them to Carlos Antonio Palad, at caloyraj AT yahoo DOT com. I will remain away for a few more days: please, send all new announcements to the same e-mail address.

Thank you.

A worthy commentary on Caritas in Veritate

Split in Consciousness: Split in Conscience:
“liberal” and “conservative” reactions to Caritas in Veritate

by Michael D. O’Brien
As Cardinal Josef Ratzinger pointed out more than 25 years ago, the political terms “liberal” and “conservative” are grossly misleading when applied to the Kingdom of God. They are especially so when applied to the ongoing evangelical mission of the Church, which is to draw all men to Christ, to work while the light lasts, to be a “light to the Gentiles.”

The most destructive aberrations in social and political thought of the post-war era have arisen from the application of these artificial constructs to the human community: left versus right, liberal versus conservative, neo-liberal versus neo-conservative, love versus truth, justice versus mercy, etc, etc. These adversarial templates present to us as fact certain images that function in the mind much the same way as does myth, faith systems, and symbols. But myths, if they are not based in reality, can create artificial dichotomies that derive from damage done to man’s concept of himself and his societies. They alter consciousness, the psychology of perception at its very roots. And thus they alter conscience. This in turn largely determines the choices we make and the actions that come from them.

While the templates may have a strictly limited value in their particular sphere of reference, they become destructive to the degree that they displace or negate “the whole truth about Man.” The slow mutation of the crucial templates since the end of the Cold War has not brought about the end of dehumanizing forces at work in the world. It is part of our current state of delusion to think that the fall of major Marxist regimes has ushered in a new era in which freedom largely reigns, and in which the spread of democracy has taken a leap forward in a determined historical process. The truth is that the errors inherent in all forms of Materialism, including Marxism, varieties of Socialism, and certain kinds of exploitive Capitalism, have now spread throughout the world as the great leveler and engine of societies. Theocratic tyrannies (radical Islamicism being the most obvious) are a different category, yet they and the Materialist societies have one thing in common, and it is a decisive thing, a most deadly thing: In their anthropology and practice, each in their way minimalize, where they do not negate altogether, the value of man—every man, any man from conception to natural death.
To read more, click here
Look out for Mr. O'Brien's filleting of the Canadian Bishops' Development & Peace arm: it is worthy of being quoted again and again...

Philippine diocese promotes the TLM







The Diocese of Baguio in the northern Philippines, on its own initiative, has published a leaflet introducing the Catholic faithful to the Traditional Latin Mass. Please click on the above pictures to read.


The leaflet was written by Fr. Andrew Cosalan, the Vicar General of the Diocese, who is also the initiator and celebrant of the two every-Sunday TLMs in the Our Lady of the Atonement Cathedral of Baguio. (I met Fr. Cosalan last year, he is a very orthodox priest who truly loves the Church and who is a supporter of Catholic apologetics and of Summorum Pontificum)


The leaflet is not perfect, and some things in it need correction, but overall it is much more positive than most of the diocesan material on the Traditional Latin Mass that I have read. It will hopefully go a long way towards introducing the Filipino Catholic faithful to their liturgical and theological patrimony. Baguio is one of the very few dioceses in the world, and the only one in the Philippines, to have gone out of its way to publish an introductory leaflet on the TLM for the benefit of the local faithful.

Thank you, Bishop Carlito Cenzon! And thank you, Fr. Cosalan!


H/t for images: Pro Deo et Patria

Bishop Aillet on the liturgy, future priests, and the two forms of the Roman Rite

Bishop Marc Aillet of Bayonne, Lescar and Oloron is said to be one of France's more tradition-friendly bishops, along with Bishops Dominique Rey (bishop of Frejus-Toulon), Jean-Pierre Batut (auxiliary of Lyons), Nicolas Brouwet (auxiliary of Nanterre) and Yves Le Saux (bishop of Le Mans).


Rorate recently featured Msgr. Aillet's response to Gay Pride in Biarritz (see here and here).

From the French Catholic website Eucharistie Sacrement de la Misericorde:



Mgr Aillet is of the opinion that future priests must make the liturgy theirs again

July 8 2009 - In an interview with the French internet-magazine “L'Homme nouveau" dated July 4 2009, Mgr Aillet, Bishop of Bayonne, Lescar and Oloron gives his instructions in the form of a “waybill” of how the mission in his diocese should be run.



Mgr Aillet thinks that future priests must make the liturgy theirs again


July 8th 2009 - The Eucharist, Sacrament of Mercy – In an interview that appeared in the French Internet-magazine "Homme nouveau" dated on the 4th of July 2009, Mgr. Aillet, Bishop of Bayonne, Lescar and Oloron, gives his instructions in the form of a “waybill” for how the mission in his diocese should be run. This waybill is marked by his experience in the Community of Saint-Martin and in the Diocese of Toulon where he was the Vicar General. Here is what Mgr Aillet has to
say about the liturgy:


"We must be very careful about liturgical education and see to it that it permits us to appropriate for ourselves the spirit of the liturgy. Future priests should benefit from a very attentive instruction in which the liturgy is included as a priority discipline in the course. And this is due to the simple reason that the liturgy must be “the source and summit of the whole Christian life”. It is a question of forming a liturgical life that is being taught in the very heart of the seminary. This formation should not only be carried out in the form of a mere study on liturgy, but above all arousing a liturgical spirituality and a practical usage of the liturgical rites. It is necessary to have in mind that the liturgy, more than being just an object of study, is a life in itself. However, all too often what we are doing is reducing the liturgy to a kind of intellectual discipline which actually studies the various stages of the constitution on the liturgy. This must of course also be done, taking care, however not to reduce the liturgy to a history of rites. It has not been sufficiently stressed that the liturgy is the place where the Christian experiences the Faith, receiving a concrete experience of the mystery of the faith. A whole vast field opens up in front of us in the liturgy.”

It is more than 40 years since we have heard such words from the mouth of a Bishop!



On the two forms of the Roman rite we were given this declaration by Mgr Aillet:


"(...) as for myself, it seems to me that the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of Pope Benedict XVI will in the long run be a necessary factor of unity as it will normalise the situation for those faithful who are attached to the extraordinary rite and make it possible for them to live their faith without having the impression of being marginalised. In my opinion, the more we implement the Motu proprio within the parish communities themselves, the better result we will have with the transition between the two forms of the Roman Rite (...) I think we must avoid to “chapelize” (in French, "chapelliser" -- CAP) the extraordinary form, meaning that we must avoid its remaining in a kind of marginalisation, which reduces the life of the Church of those who adhere to it. There are two ways of doing this. Either one addresses oneself to a well-defined community, or one arranges for a timetable for the extraordinary form to be inserted in the midst of the life of the parish, so that the parishioners – even if they participate only in one or the other form of the Roman Rite, may drink out of the same source in their own parish.

In my opinion, the Reform of the Reform above all is about rediscovering the spirit of the liturgy, in its extraordinary form as well as in its ordinary form, such as we find it in the great uninterrupted tradition of the Roman liturgy. Thus I interpret the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum as a first stage where we implement the re-apprenticeship of the extra-ordinary form in order to reduce the gap between the two modes of celebration and learn to retrieve the same theological principles that govern the one and the other liturgical form. In a second stage, this might lead to a reform of the Missal (apparently referring to the Missal of Paul VI – CAP) into which could be incorporated the intuitions of the liturgical movement and which would then reduce the elements that may have become too arbitrary in the realization of the liturgical reform."


"The elements that may have become too arbitrary in the realization of the liturgical reform..” for once it is not the Pro Liturgia who says it but a French bishop. Bravo, Monseigneur!



As for the “reform” of the Missal, it is perhaps not that which is pressing, but rather the formation which will make the priests – and thus the parish communities – use the Missal in a way which does not betray it, such as the Community to which Mgr. Aillet belongs knows how to do.

A Byzantine Look at the Novus Ordo

The following is the perspective of an Eastern Catholic layman on the Novus Ordo as it currently stands. It is published here as a serious contribution to the current reflection on liturgical reform and renewal in the Roman Rite.
I will be very vigilant over the comments, and will not hesitate to exercise censorship once the time for "free commenting" is up. I will neither tolerate snide remarks on how the Byzantines are "modernists", nor permit any comments to the effect that Mr. Vernoski should speak and think like a Roman-Rite Traditionalist. He is an Eastern Catholic, and in this blog we respect all orthodox Catholic viewpoints. Besides, there is much in this interview that Traditionalists and "Reform of the Reform" supporters can agree with.
***
An interview with John Vernoski, a layman in the Byzantine Catholic Church who is a student of Liturgy and the webmaster of byzcath.org, which features The Byzantine Forum - a discussion group which is hosted there.
Q: What do Byzantines see when they look at the Novus Ordo Roman Catholic Mass? How would you change it?
A. If this had been right at Vatican II the answer would be easy. I would have prepared exactingly accurate and faithful translations of the “1962 Blessed John XXIII” missal into Standard English (literal, word-for-word but with elegance). Then I would have taken the responses typically recited by the altar server and given them to the faithful. Finally, I would have recommended the development of new chant settings for those responses for a sung Mass.
Q: And now?
A: Almost the same thing. I’ve seen the draft texts of the corrected translation of the Novus Ordo Mass and they appear to be quite excellent (and my friends who are Latin scholars say they are very accurate). I’d implement them along with a new lectionary that is the old lectionary or a modified form of the old lectionary.
I’d also move away from the presentation of “four songs and a Mass”. Right now in many (not all) Roman Catholic parishes you have a recited Mass with the four “anchor” songs (Opening, Processional, Communion and Recessional). When this happens what is communicated to the faithful is that the four songs are important and the Mass is not (the very fact the organist and choir or cantor gear up to sing for these four songs but not the rest of the Mass is what transmits that message). Instead I’d encourage the singing of the entire Mass. Gregorian chant – yes. But also simple chant that people can pick up and sing with gusto. I would not outlaw the “four songs” but I would be careful with them to make sure they are not a distraction from the Mass itself.
Finally, I’d ask the priest to face ad orientem (East, towards the altar table) for the Anaphora (the prayers of the Eucharistic Canon). I can understand the “we gather around Jesus rather then face Him together” approach but it just doesn’t work. No matter what happens the priest is the star of the show. People watch him and are not attentive to the Mystery taking place. I’d also recommend that at least the Eucharistic Canon return to being prayed quietly. In his book “The Spirit of the Liturgy” Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) noted that the praying of the Canon loud has led to what some liturgists call a “crisis” and the endless writing of new Canons. He concludes that all the various experimentation with the Eucharistic Prayer “balk, now as in the past, at the possibility that silence, too, silence especially, might constitute communion before God.” Some who support the praying of the Canon aloud claim that they do so because these prayers are “for us”. They’re right, but in the wrong way. The prayers are indeed for us but they are not for our education by hearing. They are for our salvation by praying.
I suspect there would be more, but all this would be more then enough for one or two generations. Liturgical changes must never be so severe that they hurt the faithful. We know that after Vatican II a sizeable number of Roman Catholics walked away from the Novus Ordo Mass. Some became “Christmas and Easter Catholics”. Many never returned.
Q: You mentioned you’d change the lectionary. How? Would you recommend going back to the older lectionary?
A: Good question. The Revised Lectionary currently in use sought to bring in the Old Testament and other New Testament readings that were not read in the traditional Roman Catholic lectionary. A worthy motive. but it came at the cost of deemphasizing some of the really important readings that need to be read year after year. I’m not against using the Old Testament – we Byzantines read the Old Testament at Great Vespers for major feast days. But the readings should always clearly point to Jesus. The older lectionary did a better job at than then the new lectionary.
Then there is a problem in the Revised Lectionary with the abbreviation of readings. Very often they are so abbreviated that the listener can’t pick upon on what is being read. A Roman Catholic priest friend of mine complains that he has to keep a Bible handy and often takes the daily readings from the Bible instead of the lectionary. The lectionary can abbreviate with “He said to him” and through the whole reading who “he” and “him” are is never made clear.
Then there is the problem of the gender-neutral political language of the Revised-Amended-Revised New American Bible. Best to scrap the NAB altogether go with either the Revised Standard Version – Second Catholic Edition (RSV-CE2) or the English Standard Version. Both are accurate while be quite elegant. My Byzantine parish uses the RSV. No one has complained they can’t figure out what “Thou hast” means. I’m not advocating it, but suggesting for considering that a sacred version Standard English (without the PC overtones) is always best.
Q: What has been your experience of the Novus Ordo? Good or bad?
A: Both. At the Jesuit University I went to in the early 1980s I attended one “coffee table Mass”. One was enough. But the daily and Sunday Masses in the main chapel were quite edifying. I’ve attended many lackluster Masses. [No surprise there – we Byzantines have lots of parishes with lackluster Liturgy, too.] I’ve also attended some wonderful Masses – Masses that were well planned, well prayed, and well sung. I occasionally attend Novus Ordo Roman Catholic Masses in the Diocese of Arlington here in Virginia where I live. Yes, on Sunday they have the “four songs” but they are (in the nearby parish) well chosen to reflect either the readings or sometimes the saint of the day. Even better is that all the major parts of the Mass are sung (the Kyrie, the Gloria, the Sanctus, the Lord’s Prayer and the Lamb of God). Sometimes the chant is Gregorian and sometimes modern. Almost always very good. Now if only the priest would face East for the Canon and pray it in a low voice.