Rorate Caeli

For the record: new PCED letter on Sunday obligation
Update: important clarification - not listed as SSPX or SSPX-friendly venue

Clarification (2100 GMT): Following our request for a clarification, we have been informed by the US District of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) that the chapel mentioned in the letter below is not a chapel of the Society and that, while its specific name was expressly mentioned by the sender in the deleted data, it is NOT included in the public list of chapels, including those other chapels identified by the Society publicly as 'Friends of the Society of St. Pius X'. It is very possible that this information, easily researched online on the website of the U. S. District, might have led someone in the Commission to believe that this specific chapel, which is not listed by them and not one of the "Friends of the Society of Saint Pius X" or "other traditional (non-SSPX) venues", is a venue with no affiliation whatsoever with  the SSPX and led to this different appraisal by the Commission. 

For the point of view of the Society of Saint Pius X on their masses and sacraments, please visit their website.

SSPX-Rome - Appeal from the Asian District Superior
"How the devil tempts good souls"

Father Daniel Couture, Superior of the Asian District of the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), sent this appeal to his priests and faithful.


May 31, 2012
Feast of the Queenship of Mary
Let us implore the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary for our Superior General, for his Assistants, for our Bishops
« All these were persevering with one mind in prayer with the women, and Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. (Acts 1,14)

On this last day of May, feast of the Queenship of Our Lady and eve of the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I am making an urgent appeal to all the members of the Society of St Pius X of the Asian District, to all our faithful and to all those who want to join with us, to continue “persevering with one mind in prayer .. with Mary the Mother of Jesus”, our Immaculate Queen, Queen of the Clergy, Mother of the Church, for the Retreat and important Chapter of the SSPX which are scheduled to take place next July 1-14.

In the present difficult circumstances, truth will be made known to souls who humble themselves before God, to those who control their passions and their interior agitation in order to have no other thirst than that for the truth of God, and no other will than His. This is not the first time the Society of St Pius X goes through stormy days. Back in 1977, after a major crisis had hit the seminary of Ecône, the Archbishop wrote the following lines which radiate the peace and fortitude of the Holy Ghost present in him even in times of trial. What he said under Paul VI, he would certainly substantially repeat again today under Benedict XVI.

MOVIE REVIEW: For Greater Glory

Tomorrow, Ember Friday in Pentecost, a movie comes to mainstream theaters around the U.S. entitled “For Greater Glory,” which is set in Jalisco, Mexico, during the Cristeros War from 1926 to 1929.  Known as “Cristiada” when the movie was released in April in Mexico, it has been screened to several interested Americans over the last few months, including this writer.
This is a movie well worth seeing and supporting.  It had an impressive budget with three major movie stars and accurately portrays a time of Church and State struggle under a Marxist, anti-Catholic president, Plutarco Elías Calles, played by Rubén Blades.

More about Chartres

The Chartres Pilgrimage is complete for another year, and the pilgrims have a chance to recover, upload their photographs, and blog about it. Counter Cultural Father was there; the official photos are available; I've had a problem with most of mine (cough), so I'll be pinching other people's; these are from Notre Dame de Chrétienté, the organisers.

It is quite simply the biggest event of the traditional Catholic calendar. Depending on where you start from, the Camino to Compostella is likely to be a lot longer, but the Chartres Pilgrimage is a single, huge movement of people on the same pilgrimage, attending the same Masses, blessed together at the beginning and the end. The sense of solidarity with so many thousands of other pilgrims is extraordinary. We fill every inch of Notre Dame de Paris at the beginning, and overflow into the square in front of Notre Dame de Chartres at the end.

For various reasons (including economic ones, I suspect) numbers have fallen in recent years; I think this is an event which should be supported with more vigour internationally. One of the founding organisers of the Australian 'Christus Rex' pilgrimage said to me that the it was valuable to have an event each year which acted as a 'gathering of the tribe' for the Traditionalist community in Australia. The Chartres Pilgrimage does that for France, but also for the whole world. Traditional Catholics need an opportunity to meet others from other parishes and nations, served by different orders or dioceses, and sustained by distinct traditions of popular piety, to sing together, to share experiences, to grow in mutual understanding and respect.

There is something uniquely and wonderfully Catholic about the pilgrimage. The different national flags and banners in honour of the patron saints of the different groups, the variety of songs and devotions, all united in one great religious act. In what other context, than a Catholic one, could one see a German flag the size of a football pitch (so it seemed) march across the French countryside, not only in peace, but in solidarity with a French pilgrimage and for the conversion of France?

Ember Days during Pentecost

One of the most curious things concerning the traditional liturgical calendar, at least to this writer, is the placement of the summer Ember Days during the octave of Pentecost.  Today is Ember Wednesday, a first class liturgy.  But, if one follows the discipline of the Church in place during the 1962 calendar, it is also a day of fasting and partial abstinence (one full meal with meat and two small meatless meals).

The Ember Days this week -- Ember Wednesday, Ember Friday and Ember Saturday -- have a unique feature compared to the other nine Ember Days.  All Masses this week are with red vestments.  The Alleluia is said/sung.  The Pentecost sequence is said/sung.  It is still Pentecost.  But three Ember Days are within the octave.

An interesting piece of trivia is that there was a time in the Church's history where this curious mix of feast and fast was severed.  The Ember Days were observed as Masses during the octave of Pentecost like the 1962 calendar.  But their corresponding fast and abstinence disciplines were delayed a few weeks.  That ended when Pope Gregory VII in the 11th century treated the summer Ember Days like the other three seasons, with fasts on all three days, partial abstinence on Ember Wednesday and Ember Saturday and, of course, complete abstinence on Ember Friday.

This is all a moot point with the novus ordo, as Paul VI virtually eliminated the Ember Days and almost all fasting and abstinence in the 1960s.

But it remains a very interesting week for those who follow the traditional calendar and voluntarily follow the disciplines in place during the 1962 calendar, including Ember Day fasting and abstinence.  A week of festive Pentecost Masses, yet with three days of penance during the octave, the way it was under pain of mortal sin from the late 11th century through the late 20th century.

Having said that, the purpose of the Ember Days outweighs everything else:  priests.  This week, during the Ember Days, we pray for many more.

Pope on leaks crisis: The Lord will always support the Church

The Pope spoke publicly on the current Vatican problems for the first time today, following the general audience:

The events of recent days involving the Curia and my collaborators have brought sadness to my heart. However, I have never lost my firm certainty that, despite the weakness of man, despite difficulties and trials, the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit and the Lord will ensure she never lacks the help she needs to support her on her journey.

Nonetheless there has been increasing conjecture, amplified by the communications media, which is entirely gratuitous, goes beyond the facts and presents a completely unrealistic image of the Holy See. Thus, I wish to reiterate my trust and encouragement to my closest collaborators and to all those people who every day, with fidelity, with a spirit of sacrifice, and in silence, help me carry out my ministry. [VIS translation, corrected]
Let us pray for the Holy Father.

On abortion, it is possible to move back to sanity

There is not a "law of history" that determines the worldwide spread of legal abortion on demand. And if an increasingly Islamic Turkey, first inspired by the Christian pro-life movement throughout the West, is to become an avant-guard nation in the defense of unborn life, while formerly Christian nations massacre their babies, then so be it - let us follow in the pro-life steps of Turkey. It will be a strong sign from a land in the heart of Eurasia against the concept that laws that abet the state-sanctioned (and often tax-financed) murder of the unborn only move in the sense of further "liberalization", that is, further bloodshed, and cannot be revised, reversed, and abrogated.

Following strong remarks by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan against abortion last week, Turkish Health Minister Recep Akdağ announced on Wednesday that the ministry plans to complete its work on a draft bill on abortion next month and present it to the Cabinet.

The content of the bill is not clear, but there are reports that the government plans to decrease the time up to which abortions can legally be performed from 10 weeks to four or five weeks into a pregnancy. Akdağ added that he personally believes that no abortion should be performed unless it is a medical necessity. [Today's Zaman]

Erdogan sparked the row last week when he told the women’s arm of the governing Justice and Development Party that abortion is murder and its proponents are trying to cripple Turkey’s economic success by curbing population growth. The premier said today that Turkey is seeking to follow in the steps of anti-abortion [sic] movements in the U.S. and the West.

“There’s no difference between killing a fetus in the mother’s womb and killing someone after birth,” he said at a hospital opening in Istanbul. “This cannot be allowed.” [Bloomberg]

Abortion on demand up to the 10th week of pregnancy has been legal in Turkey since 1983, and for the entire length of the pregnancy if the life or health of the mother are at risk or in the case of "fetal impairment". 

Joan of Arc dies in Rouen

On May 30, 1431, Saint Joan of Arc was executed in the Old Market square in the city of Rouen. Following the Saint's burning at the stake - by order of the ecclesiastical court headed by the Bishop of Beauvais, Pierre Cauchon - Cardinal Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, ordered that her bones and ashes be thrown into the Seine. 

For our special series on the 600th anniversary of the birth of Saint Joan of Arc, visit the articles posted earlier this year: 

This is real priestly courage

In these days, in which leaking letters and being "rebellious" are considered by some as acts of "courage", it is quite heartening to see things in perspective. From Italian news agency ANSA:

A country priest's only possession is his church. It does not matter if it is not a part of the history of architecture, if it does not include major masterpieces. Every statue, every piece, is, as it were, a part of town. Father Ivan Martini, 65, for nine years parish priest in Rovereto, one of the towns of the lowlands of Modena most affected by [today's] earthquake, died this morning in his collapsed church. ... 
Don Ivan loved his church, and all that was inside it. The parish church of Santa Caterina had been damaged and had been condemned following the previous earthquake, but a search was needed in order to remove some objects that had been left inside. Therefore, this morning, joined by two firemen, he entered the church to try to salvage some statues, in particular one of the Virgin of which many of his parishioners were especially fond. This is where the strong quake found him. Don Ivan was hit by the fall of a stone or of a beam, and he could not escape. The two firemen who were with him were unharmed and were able to return to safety. Rovereto, then, in the midst of so many structural damages, cries for its only victim, its parish priest, loved by the town. 

May he rest in peace.

The papers stolen from the Pope
An interview with the Sostituto

L'Osservatore Romano, the daily of the Holy See, publishes this afternoon (dated May 30) an interesting interview with the Substitute of the Secretariat of State (the "Sostituto"), one of the highest positions in the Curia, currently held by Abp. Angelo Becciu. Breaking its silence on the affair, it is the first interview published by the paper with a curial officer. 

The complete interview is available in English here, from which we transcribe the following excerpts, with some very important reflections for all Catholics:

How did you find Benedict XVI?
Saddened. Because, given what it has  been possible to find out so far, someone close to him seems to be responsible for conduct that is unjustifiable from every point of view. Of course, sorrow for the person involved is what the Pope feels most deeply. Yet the fact remains that he suffered a brutal act: Benedict XVI saw published papers stolen from his house, letters that were not merely private correspondence but indeed information, reflections, expressions of conscience and even outbursts which he only received by virtue of his ministry. For this reason the Pontiff is particularly sorrowful and also because of the violence suffered by those who wrote these letters or writings addressed to him.

"Benedict XVI is by himself"
The disastrous "bad governance" legacy of Vatican II and John Paul II

Published today in La Croix, the semi-official daily of the French episcopate [tip: Le Forum Catholique]:

For Philippe Levillain, an expert in the recent history of the Popes, the adaptation of the Curia to the new orientations of Vatican II greatly contributed to make its governance more complex. 

LA CROIX: In the course of History, has it become more difficult to govern the Vatican? 

Philippe Levillain: Vatican II set a new stage, by making structures more complex. Numerous committees and commissions were established, in order to apply the new axes of the Council: interreligious dialogue, health, family, justice and peace, laity. These structures were added to those that were the heart of the traditional Curia, with the classic dicasteries (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith [Holy Office], Evangelization of peoples [Propaganda Fide]...). Out of this fact, the role of the Secretary of State, the number 2 of the Holy See, is henceforth one of an orchestra-man, charged with creating synergies and coordinating the whole of these actions while playing the part of an arbiter. It is extremely complex. A pope will undoubtedly not be able to do as Pius XII, who decreed that he would fill the functions of Secretary of State from 1944 to 1958. 

The Secretary of State chosen by Benedict XVI presents, from this point of view, a profile somewhat different from that of his predecessors? 

Yes, John Paul II had chosen Secretaries of State who knew well the machinery of the State, as Cardinals Agostino Casaroli or Angelo Sodano, personalities to whom he was not nevertheless particularly close. On the contrary, Benedict XVI named as Secretary of State someone very close to him, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who was always his faithful companion in the Curia.

It is to be noted, however, that, while John Paul II had entrusted the administration to a "high-level servant" used to the Curia, he had also placed men of trust, Poles, in all dicasteries, creating in this way a kind of "Parallel Curia". Benedict XVI has absolutely not put in place a parallel German system. 

There is the sentiment that the Vatican suffers from bad governance, is that new? 

In reality, John Paul II left aside some particularly sensitive matters, without truly taking charge of them, and his successor partly pays the price of this incompetence. For instance, the question of the Legionaries of Christ, whose founder was left in place while his sexual deviations were known, at least partly. In the same way, he did not take serious charge of the consequences of the pedophilia cases, and particularly with the juridical questions on the way guilty priests should be treated. Or also, following the moment in which the Lefebvrist broke negotiations, John Paul II allowed the schism with the Traditionalists to take hold. 

Finally, was not the Vatican always a place of intrigue? 

Yes, but, before, this intrigue was mostly motivated by the desire to occupy positions. ... What is new today is the strong media promotion of all that surrounds the pope. This began with Vatican II, but was masterfully magnified by John Paul II. Today, the pope is by himself before public opinion.  

Philippe Levillain supervised the publication of the Dictionnaire historique de la papauté [Historical Dictionary of the Papacy], Fayard, 2006.

Basilica del Santo almost intact

From Cantuale Antonianum (in our sidebar): despite reports to the contrary, this morning's earthquake in Northeast Italy has left only very minor damage, apparently, in the Basilica of Saint Anthony, in Padua - the image is of the only damage noticed in the building.

It is the latest of several stronger than usual quakes to hit northern Italy in the past few weeks - fifteen people died in today's event (requiescant in pace).

Something "astonishing"

From Vittorio Messori's article today in Corriere della Sera on recent events and ridiculous calls from some quarters in Italy asking for the Pope's resignation. (He will not resign, obviously, and Messori reveals something else.)

[T]he serenity of Benedict XVI comes from the knowledge that, since the beginning - since Pentecost itself - the ecclesial institution has seldom reached the level of its ideal. Imperfection is the rule whenever man are involved. Some have even spoken of a certain apathy of his before the recent, grave events that certainly do not touch upon theology, but harm the institutional machinery, with risk of scandal to the faithful and the loss of credibility of all of Catholicism. There are even some who, saying they speak as friends of the Pope and for the good of the Church, have advocated for a resignation that would lead him to finally go back to his true vocation: that of a scholar, retreated into solitude, alone with his books. Leaving to someone else, more active and attentive to the concrete life of the Church, the administration of things. But these friends of Joseph Ratzinger, whose good faith we do not venture do doubt, fail to understand that, in this way, they are actually playing the game of his enemies, if they truly wish to call him to go away with events such as the leak of private documents. As for apathy, who mentions it ignores that Benedict XVI does is not a friend of uproar, but of patient, meditated work, respectful of persons and that what he has already done, and does, is often overlooked by the media, but is not in fact irrelevant. And soon, it is said, they will have a proof that will astonish whomever accuses him of distance from the facts. [Source: PDF]
He is still a curious analyst... But at least he has very good sources.

Rome-SSPX - Important: Fellay speaks on Pentecost Sunday

In the course of a long sermon pronounced on Pentecost Sunday in Villepreux, France, during the pilgrimage of priests and faithful to Orléans (not Paris this year, in celebration of the 600th anniversary of the birth of St. Joan of Arc), the Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), Bishop Bernard Fellay, had some words on current affairs with Rome. The general context of the sermon is the birth of the Church in Pentecost and trust in Divine Providence when all seems lost, as they seemed in Joan's France, even if (and especially because) the future is unknown.

We transcribe below our translation of the portion of the sermon dealing with such matters, and apologize in advance for any mistakes. The general oral tone and sense of the words were kept as much as possible.

Another thing very similar is the lamentable, almost despairing, situation, not of a country, but of the Church, the Church, the Bride of Christ in such a situation! Who could imagine it? The demolition, the blows suffered, for, by and following the Council, they're there, right before us. Sad. Lamentable. We dare to think, "how will the Church rise again?" And, we dare say, humanly, it's over. But we don't have the right of saying "humanly" when we talk about the Church, because the Church remains, she remains, the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ. And, even if we see her in this lamentable state, we don't have the right to associate this lamentable state with the Church and then say, "the Church is no more". No! The Church remains, but as if disfigured, as if having generalized cancer, and we have this certitude that she will rise again. ...

When we say that Rome would like to give us a canonical  recognition, we are filled with mistrust. By seeing the way with which the authorities have treated Tradition and all that have a little bit of a traditional sentiment, or traditional leanings, when we see how they have been treated, we are filled with mistrust. And even with fear. Fear of the future, and we say, "but how will this be possibly done?" But do we have the right of feeling this way? Aren't they real, very true, feelings, and too human?...

Certainly, it is necessary to act with all prudence, certainly, by analyzing the dangers, by seeing if it is possible or not, but up to now, my dear brethren, we may say that a certain direction seems to appear, that might say that it might perhaps be possible that we be recognized, that we continue, but, up to this moment, I don't have, I myself, all the elements, one could say, the final elements, that may allow me to say, "yes or no". And thus up until today, and well that's where we are . ... That's all of it. If we have elements that are sufficient for deciding that, yes, it is possible, well then, we can reach the conclusion. And if we reach the conclusion that, no, it isn't possible, it's too dangerous, then, no, it's impossible, this cannot go on. And we'll say "no". That's it. It is not we who will try to impose upon the Good God our decision, our will. On the contrary, we try to search, by way of events, things that go on, what is His will, what does He want, the Good God? It is so surprising that we reach this point. It was not we who looked for it. Today, at least I reach this certainty, that the one who wants to recognize the Society is, in the end [bel et bien], the Pope. I see that, in Rome, everyone is not of the same mind. In Rome and elsewhere. But the Pope, yes. And then will he go until the end? Will he give in when faced with pressure, with opposition? ... Let us pray, let us continue to pray, let us ask for this light for all. That we may remain very united. Because it is true that such a decision, and it is also one of the reasons for this fear, it implies such a change of perspective... . From some parts we hear, "is that possible?" With all the elements I have in my hands, I say, "yes, it seems possible to me", but, once again, with the condition that we are left free to act. It seems clear that, if we are wanted, it is to reintroduce Tradition in the Church, if we can speak like this. Therefore not for us only, but also for all the Church, so that the whole Church may gain from it, from this magnificent thing, the Christian life.

There are certainly lots of questions, that remain open. This question of a non-entente on certain points of the Council, we are not in agreement. It is precisely this that is surprising: why then, why then offer us this path, there must well be a reason. ... the reason is this state of the Church. 

[Source: French original audio and image: DICI] A 17-minute English summary of the sermon was delivered in the end, following the much longer French sermon (comments on current affairs begin at 13:12).

Something's missing in this analysis...

Ah, Vittorio Messori! Always the sophisticated analyst - now in his comments on  the leaks scandal:

“I’ve spent my life studying the history of the Church and attending Church, though more sparingly. I’m hardly going to be shocked.”

“The Roman Curia has always been a viper’s nest. However, in the past at least, it was the most efficient state organisation in the world. It ran an empire the sun never set on and it had an unparalleled diplomatic corps. What is left of that today?”

“The priests in the Roman Curia used to enlist the best people from all the dioceses in the world. Bishops had plenty of clergy around them and had no problem letting them go. Today seminaries have either closed or they’re half empty. So if a bishop has a good priest to hand, he keeps hold of him. And the Pope is like Charles V, who had to run a vast empire and cried out in a depopulated Spain: ‘Give me men’.”

“The boom in vocations [in Africa]? I’m not kidding myself. In Africa men enter the seminary for the same reasons they did here when we were dying of hunger. It’s a way of making a living. And apart from that, celibacy is incomprehensible for African culture so the Church – let’s put it this way – turns a blind eye. Many priests have wives and children. What are you going to do, send them to Rome? To be bishops?” “The decline in quality is obvious. There aren’t even any Latin speakers that are up to the job any more. When Luciani was elected Pope, they were even forced to stop the press at L'Osservatore Romano, the Holy See's newspaper because there was a mistake in the Latin on the front page headline. Even John Paul II’s last encyclicals had Latin mistakes, imagine that.”

Yes, it is true, the Church is in great trouble, things have changed considerably in the past half-century, and mediocrity reigns almost everywhere in our clergy, in the dioceses, and also (despite what he says) in the Curia. As a consequence, ignorance is the queen of the laity... Not even the fall of Latin provided him with a clue? No, he is an enthusiast of the Council, he would never admit it.

Pentecost, feast of the Unity of the Church

[W]hen I speak, think and act like a Christian, I do not stay closed off within myself – but I do so in everything and starting from everything: thus the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of unity and truth, can continue to resonate in people's hearts and minds, encouraging them to meet and welcome one another. Precisely because it acts in this way, the Spirit introduces us to the whole truth, who is Jesus, and guides us to examine and understand it. We do not grow in understanding by closing ourselves off inside ourselves, but only by becoming capable of listening and sharing, in the “ourselves” of the Church, with an attitude of deep personal humility. Now it is clearer why Babel is Babel and Pentecost is Pentecost. Where people want to become God, they succeed only in pitting themselves against each other. Where they place themselves within the Lord's truth, on the other hand, they open themselves to the action of his Spirit which supports and unites them.  ...

Saint Paul lists the works of the flesh: they are the sins of selfishness and violence, like hostility, discord, jealousy, dissent. These are thoughts and actions that do not allow us to live in a truly human and Christian way, in love. This direction leads to us losing our life. The Holy Spirit, though, guides us towards the heights of God, so that, on this earth, we can already experience the seed of divine life that is within us. Saint Paul confirms it: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace”. We note how the Apostle uses the plural to describe the works of the flesh that provoke the loss of our humanity – while he uses the singular to define the action of the Spirit, speaking of “the fruit”, in the same way as the dispersion of Babel contrasts with the unity of Pentecost.

Dear friends, we must live according to the Spirit of unity and truth, and this is why we must pray for the Spirit to enlighten and guide us to overcome the temptation to follow our own truths, and to welcome the truth of Christ transmitted in the Church.
Benedict XVI 
Homily on the Mass for Pentecost Sunday 
May 27, 2012 
 [Translation: Vatican Radio]

Saint Hildegard and Saint John of Avila, Doctors

Pope Benedict XVI announced on this feast of Pentecost that he will officially proclaim Saints Hildegard of Bingen and John of Avila Doctors of the Church on October 7, first day of the ordinary assembly of the Synod of Bishops during the "Year of Faith".  (First mentions by us: Saint John of Avila, May 5, 2011; Saint Hildegard, Dec. 15, 2011.)

John XXIII: What priests are supposed to do

John XXIII offers the Holy Sacrifice,
Dec. 1962
50 years ago, as he prepared for the opening of his Council, Pope John XXIII met participants at the first International Congress for Priestly Vocations. It was a Saturday, like today, May 26, 1962. If only the Council had expressed this spirit, the spirit with which he concluded his short address... 

 Finally, may priests be careful not to give themselves totally to activism and exterior works of their ministry. By acting with such imprudent behavior, by slowly impoverishing the soul, one is incapable of working for the good of the parish and of the diocese. This also causes grave detriment to the vocations to the priesthood. For how will young men understand the seriousness of the priestly office if they do not see in priests an example of perfection which they may want to imitate?

For which priests must remember, in order to give example of perfect behavior, that the most important activities in their mission are: [1] to offer the Sacrifice of the Altar worthily; [2] to announce the word of God; [3] to give the Sacraments; [4] to be near the infirm, particularly the dying; [5] to teach the faith to the ignorant. All the rest that is not pertinent to these activities must be put aside or, at most, tolerated.

Pilgrimage to Chartres: setting off

For the record: full text of the Lecture on Nostra aetate by Card. Koch

The full text of the 2012 John Paul II Annual Lecture, promoted by the "John Paul II Center for Interreligious Dialogue", has now been made available. The lecture this year was delivered in the Angelicum by Cardinal Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Bishop Fellay speaks to USCCB's Catholic News Service: Video - Part 2
[Updated: Extras - "Will there be an agreement?"]

What can we say? The Valais truly is a beautiful place, blessed by Almighty God... (The first part is here). [Posted at 1430 GMT]

Life imitates fiction
The source of the Pope's secret letters? His butler

From Italian news website Orticalab:

The Pope betrayed by his butler
The "mole" is found, it is the house steward of the Pontifical Family, Paolo Gabriele

 Friday, May 25, 2012

When reality exceeds fiction. Paolo Gabriele, the house steward of the Pontifical Family, that is, the butler of Pope Benedict, is the "mole" that has passed on the secret letters of His Holiness [published in the book His Holiness, published this week in Italy - see previous post].

At this moment, this is what seems to be the end of an obscure affair that has lasted for several months in the sacred palaces. ... [F]rom what can be learned from Vatican sources, Ratzinger's enemy would be his closest lay helper. The one who, together with secretaries [Monsignors] Georg Gänswein and Alfred Xuereb and the four Memores Domini [consecrated laywomen] of Communion and Liberation, shares the day with Benedict XVI. From the morning rise to the mass in the private Chapel in the Pontifical apartment, to meals and audiences. A very hard blow for Joseph Ratzinger, surrounded in his home by the wolves whom he had mentioned at the beginning of his pontificate.

Gabriele is under arrest at the moment. This morning, the Pope's butler was heard in a hearing conducted by the Vatican prosecutor, Nicola Picardi. The inquiry conducted by the Vatican Gerdarmerie on the leaking of secret documents "has led to the identification of one person in the illicit possession of reserved documents." Thus said Father Federico Lombardi, explaining that this person "is now at the disposal of the Vatican judicial authorities for further investigations." 

[Tip: reader] Let us pray for our Holy Father.

[Update] Gabriele is a holdover of the Wojtyla Pontificate, during which he served in other positions in the Holy See. If he is indeed a source of leaked documents, he is probably merely one of several sources, according to several reports.

A Roman [by birth], a little over 40, the man has worked in the Pontifical apartment since 2006, and was brought into the Papal Family after being in the service of the Prefect of the Pontifical Household, Abp. James Harvey.

The crimes of which he may be charged may lead to up to "30 years in prison":

The acts of which he is accused are in fact extremely grave: the criminal legal definition is that of violation of the correspondence of a Head of State, which is similar to an act against the security of the State. In the case, the Vatican legislation makes use of the Italian one and it is possible that - if convicted - he will spend [the prison time] in Italy, since there is no penitentiary in the Vatican City State.

Humble souls in unity with the Roman communion

The first [favor I ask of God] is that you may receive the grace of rendering to the true Church that which she is owed. ... The spirit of the Savior is a spirit of peace, of love and of union; he wished that those who were his own would be completely involved by unity: he did not satisfy himself with an interior and invisible unity, he wished to establish a complete interior and exterior unity, in a way that it would be due to this visible and remarkable sign that we would recognize his true disciples. Therefore, woe to those who separate themselves or who remain separated from the rod that takes the sap to all branches! Woe to those who divide in two, or who leave divided that which Jesus Christ wished to make one.

Notice, please, that the greatest saints, and the writers of interior life, who possessed the most touching marks of the spirit of grace, were, as Saint Francis de Sales, in the Roman communion, and more prepared to die than to leave it.

The humble and peaceful souls, who live only by virtue of meditation and love, are always small before their own eyes, and enemies of conflicts; they are very far from rising up against the body of the pastors, of judging, of condemning, of insulting, as Luther and Calvin did countless times. Their style has nothing that is bitter, prickly, or scornful. They do not work for a reform that is dry, judgmental, or haughty, that aims to sever unity and to defend that the husband has abandoned the wife. If they witness abuse or superstition, they mourn sweetly: and the mourning of the dove is always discreet and modest; it mourns only for a tender and calm love. They never raise their voice in presumptuous arguments ... their voice is but love and obedience. Their interior gifts, far from inspiring in them a proud elevation and a sentiment of independence, are used only to humiliate their own selves, to make them more pliant and less sure of themselves ...  .

Oh, how much they are horrified by bitter zeal and all battles of words! Instead of argument, they make use of guidance, patience, and edification; instead of speaking of God to men, they speak of men to God, so that he may touch, persuade, transform them in a way that none other can do. Prayer vanquishes all arguments. In true prayer, no one is overwhelmed by his own sentiment, each one silences his own mind. ...

Search as much as you want outside this holy unity, and you will find only haughty, contentious, and dry hearts; you will find doctors who are dried up and blinded by their own knowledge, who languish in endless disputes, who vaporize in their own reasoning ... . It is necessary to let the chaff and the wheat grow until the harvest, so that a reckless reformation will not carry away the wheat along with the chaff, so that it will not devastate instead of reform. The true Church is the one that nourishes the pure wheat along with the chaff, and that tolerates the chaff with the hope that the Lord will one day separate the pure wheat himself.

Once again, sir, it is only in the Catholic Church that you will find this prayer that you love so, and that gives you such an attraction for God. ... In the ancient Church, we calm down, we make ourselves small, we rejoin childhood by way of simplicity, we count for little, we renounce our own selves, we are the sacrifice of love. ... Only unity leads to such fruits.

Abp. F. Fénelon 
Lettres sur l'autorité de l'Église (Letters on the authority of the Church)
1719 (posthumous - written between 1700 and 1711)

 Omnipotens et misericors Deus, qui ad defensionem populi christiani in beatissima Virgine Maria perpetuum auxilium mirabiliter constituisti: concede propitius; ut, tali praesidio muniti certantes in vita, victoriam de hoste maligno consequi valeamus in morte. Per D. N. ...

Pope: hermeneutic of rupture "unacceptable", in favor of a "hermeneutic of continuity and reform"

In an address to the Italian Episcopal Conference today:

[M]ay the 50th anniversary of its beginning [of Vatican II], which we will celebrate in the fall, be an occasion to deepen the study of its texts, the condition for a dynamic and faithful reception. "That which above all concerns the Council is that the sacred deposit of the Christian faith be kept and taught in a more efficacious way," Pope Blessed John XXIII affirmed in his opening address. And it is worthwhile to meditate and read these words.

The Pope charged the Fathers to deepen and present such a perennial doctrine in continuity with the millennial Tradition of the Church: "to pass on the doctrine, pure and whole, without attenuations or distortions," but in a new way, "according to what is required by our times." (Address of solemn opening of the Ecumenical Council of the Vatican II, October 11, 1962). With this key for its reading and application - according to a view, certainly not of an unacceptable hermeneutic of discontinuity and of rupture, but of a hermeneutic of continuity and of reform -, listening to the Council and making ours the authoritative indications are the path to ascertaining the ways with which the Church may offer a significant response to the great social and cultural transformations of our time, which have visible consequences also on the religious sphere.
Benedict XVI 
May 24, 212

Latin Mass Society Conference in London

I'd like to announce an important event, the Latin Mass Society's first conference. We have a good range of speakers, tickets are reasonably priced, and I urge everyone who can be in London on 9th June to come along. Book online here.

Latin Mass Society One Day Conference: ‘Traditional Liturgy and Catholic Life’

Freak extremes meet: Hans Küng becomes a Sedevacantist, declares Benedict XVI schismatic over SSPX

Not, this is not May Fools' Day: heresiarch Hans Küng, who, "in his writings, has departed from the integral truth of Catholic faith, and therefore ... can no longer be considered a Catholic theologian nor function as such in a teaching role" (Declaration of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Dec. 15, 1979), has lost all notions of basic sacramental theology - and takes from this the most hilarious consequences. Or maybe he has just lost all shame, but that must have happened at the time of the Council.

Published today in the Südwest Presse:

HANS KÜNG - Papally provoked disobedience

Both in the official and in the alternative activities in the Mannheim Katholikentag*, the prevailing sentiment was one of resentment and frustration over the delayed reforms in the Church. In fierce contrast with that, Pope Benedict XVI prepares, apparently for Pentecost, the final reconciliation with the Catholic Church of the traditionalist Society of Saint Pius X, with its bishops and priests. This should happen even if the SSPX keeps rejecting key conciliar documents, having to be incorporated into the Church with  the use of skillful canonical tactics. Before the Pope does this, he must be duly warned, not least by the bishops, because of the following: 

1. The pope would be including in the Church bishops and priests that are definitely invalidly ordained. According to the Apostolic Constitution of Pope Paul VI  "Pontificalis Romani recognitio", of July 18, 1968, the ordination of bishops and priests by Archbishop Lefebvre is not only illegal but also invalid. This view is shared among others by a relevant member of the "Doctrinal Commission", Karl Josef Becker, SJ, now a cardinal.** 

2. With such a scandalous decision, Pope Benedict would, in his overall regretted isolation,  be even more separated from the People of God. The classical doctrine regarding schism should be a warning to him. According to it, a schism of the Church happens when there is separation from the Pope, but also when the latter separates himself from the body of the Church. "Even the Pope could become a schismatic, if he will not guard the unity and communion proper to the whole body of the Church." (Francisco Suárez, major Spanish theologian of the 16th/17th centuries). 

3. A schismatic pope loses his position according to that same teaching of the constitution of the Church. At least, he cannot expect obedience. Pope Benedict would be therefore encouraging the already widespread popular movement of "disobedience" against a hierarchy that is disobedient to the Gospel. He would bear sole responsibility for the grave rift and the strife created inside the Church. Instead of reconciling with the ultra-conservative, anti-democratic, and anti-Semitic SSPX, the Pope should rather care about the majority of reform-minded Catholics and reconcile with the churches of the Reformation and the entire ecumenical movement. Thus he would unite, and not divide.

 [*Rorate: the conference of Catholics in Germany that usually takes place every two years; the 2012 Katholikentag was held in Mannheim over the weekend. / ** This obviously makes no sense and Cardinal Becker would have never said such a thing. / - Source: Südwest Presse, in German - tip: German District of the SSPX.]

SSPX-Rome: Do some want to be more "Lefebvrist" than Lefebvre himself?

On April 30, we published the May editorial of Father Michel Simoulin for the newsletter of the Toulouse (France) priory of the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), Le Seignadou (We are not 88ers). Simoulin, currently serving as chaplain for the Dominican teaching sisters of Fanjeaux, previously served as rector of the University Institute of St. Pius X, rector of the International Seminary of St. Pius X in Écône from 1988 to 1996, and superior of the Italian District of the SSPX. 

This is the main excerpt of his June editorial for Le Seignadou:

Since the 1970s, we have been engaged in resistance. ... This is a difficult attitude to maintain, requiring great, supernatural wisdom, of which Archbishop Lefebvre left us a fine example, one very difficult to follow. For a long time I have been noticing that without this wisdom we easily fall into challenging all authority, whatever it may be and whatever reason: family, school, chapel, religious or priestly institute, and so forth. This goes further than simple disobedience because it derives more from a gratuitous mistrust of anyone who wants to lead me somewhere I do not feel like going.

Although our area has been spared some of the troubles about which I prefer not to speak, and to follow up our previous Seignadou editorial, it does not seem to me superfluous to return to the question of our relations with Rome.


For example, I remember quite well, during the years 1988-1991, Archbishop Lefebvre stating that if Rome wanted to resume contact with us, he would insist on beginning with doctrinal discussions. This is what we have done. But as far back as my memory serves, I have no recollection that he ever envisaged having to wait for the “conversion” of Rome before going further. He knew too well what the Church is, to pretend to “convert” Rome. He knew that it is illusory to imagine that Rome would be able to disavow Vatican II or condemn its most condemnable theses! He knew better than we, we who so much like to sermonize the Pope and who dream of instantaneous “victory,” that it would take decades, and undoubtedly several generations, for Rome to abandon and forget these disastrous theses. At the very least, he would say, he wanted to continue going to Rome in the hope of “doing them a little good,” to make his objections heard and, if possible, admitted, so that he would be allowed to continue his work.


Big Mass in the Big Apple

The bad news is only one priest was ordained for the Archdiocese of New York this year.

The good news is that priest offered a traditional Latin Missa Solemnis as his first Mass.

The Society of Saint Hugh of Cluny has photos here.

Note the homilist -- an extremely rare appearance by an Opus Dei priest at a traditional Latin Mass -- in this case, the vice secretary.

Let us pray for the Reverend Father Patric D'Arcy and for many more priests to offer the traditional sacraments.  Mary, queen of the clergy, pray for us, pray for our priests, religious and deacons. Obtain for us many more!

John Lamont on Liturgical Pluralism and the TLM

The following paper was especially written for Rorate Caeli.

Liturgical Pluralism and the Traditional Latin Mass 
John Lamont 

The international federation Una Voce has recently released its sixth position paper, 'Liturgical Pluralism and the Extraordinary Form'. The paper makes assertions and raises issues that call for further discussion.

 Several commenters, including myself, have been hard on this paper, so it should be acknowledged at the outset that it provides a conclusive answer to one objection that has indeed been commonly made against the practice of the traditional Roman rite (abbreviated henceforth as TLM). This objection is that unity among Catholics demands that they share the same form of worship, and hence that it is wrong to allow use of two forms of worship, the TLM as well as the Novus Ordo. The idea that it is the TLM rather than the NO that should be abandoned is taken for granted by this argument, which concludes that only the Novus Ordo should be permitted. The paper shows that the existence of legitimate liturgical pluralism within the Catholic Church means that the first premise of this objection is false – it is not the case that Catholics must all have the same form of worship – and hence it shows that this objection has no value. 

The trouble with the paper is that it does not limit itself to the useful service of providing a purely negative, dialectical refutation of this objection. It goes further; it attempts to argue for a positive thesis, which is that the use of the TLM in the Church can be justified as an instance of legitimate liturgical pluralism. 

It asks: 'the question to be addressed by this paper is whether the existence in the Latin Rite of an extra, ‘extraordinary’, ‘Form’ of the Roman Rite is problematic, and therefore something to be overcome if possible, in the short or long term, perhaps by the creation of a single, amalgamated, Form of the Roman Rite.' It gives an affirmative answer to this question on the basis of an appeal to 'the value of pluralism'.

Card. Brandmüller: Nostra aetate and Dignitatis humanae non-binding

Yesterday, a new book authored by Cardinal Walter Brandmüller (Emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences), Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, and Mons. Nicola Bux was presented to the media in the studios of Radio Vaticana: “Le ‘chiavi’ di Benedetto XVI per interpretare il Vaticano II” (The keys of Benedict XVI for the interpretation of Vatican II, Cantagalli, Siena). 

In an interview to Radio Vaticana, Abp. Marchetto answered several questions, including the following: 
 Q. – Let us return to the hermeneutic of discontinuity, of rupture, and the hermeneutic of reform: which one prevails today within the Church?

The American Kulturkampf
For the record: USCCB statement and full list of plaintiffs

For the record, a summary of current events. From the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), in a May 21 statement applauded 43 dioceses, hospitals, schools and church agencies for filing 12 lawsuits around the nation saying the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandate violates religious freedom.

His statement follows.

“We have tried negotiation with the Administration and legislation with the Congress – and we’ll keep at it – but there's still no fix. Time is running out, and our valuable ministries and fundamental rights hang in the balance, so we have to resort to the courts now. Though the Conference is not a party to the lawsuits, we applaud this courageous action by so many individual dioceses, charities, hospitals and schools across the nation, in coordination with the law firm of Jones Day. It is also a compelling display of the unity of the Church in defense of religious liberty. It's also a great show of the diversity of the Church's ministries that serve the common good and that are jeopardized by the mandate – ministries to the poor, the sick, and the uneducated, to people of any faith or no faith at all.”

The complete list of plaintiffs in Monday's lawsuits is the following:

Rome-SSPX - Fellay speaks in Vienna: the words of Pope Benedict XVI

Following his visit to Salzburg, the Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), Bishop Bernard Fellay, was in Vienna yesterday, for confirmations of local faithful. He had additional words on the current relationship with Rome, including some words of Pope Benedict XVI:

"You have surely heard that, in the last few months, Rome has offered us a solution - we could rather say, a recognition.

"This structure that is being offered to the Society is in fact entirely appropriate. That is, if it actually takes place, you will feel absolutely no difference between now and afterwards. We will remain as we are, so to speak. The problem is the [existence of] safeguards: will it actually happen this way? The fear is great that we will be transformed. ...

"It is quite clear that this offer is also very, very controversial in the Church at large. I can assure you: it is the will of the Pope. This must not be doubted. But it is certainly not the will of everyone in the Church.

"Whether this will come to fruition depends on terms that are not yet clear. There are still points that remain unclear. It could happen that, in the upcoming days, weeks - it is very hard to ascertain this -, the Pope will decide directly. It could be that he takes the case back to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. There is a lot of pressure in Rome. Which is why I couldn't say more than this. That is the current status.

"One must not think that things will be easy afterwards. To use the words of the Pope that describe the situation quite well: 'I know,' he said, 'that it would be easier both for the Society and for myself to leave the situation as it currently is.' This describes very well the situation, and also that the Pope himself knows that he, when he does it, will be attacked. And also that the situation will not be easy for us. That which will arise out of this situation will be with Rome or against it. Both of which will be difficult.

"Yet we have trust in the good God. He has guided us very well so far. We must not think that, praying so much, He would abandon us in the moment of greatest danger. That would be [a thought] against hope. We are counting on God's assistance. We are ready to pay the cost. His will be done.

[Comments on previous post.]
[Source and German transcript of the excerpt: GloriaTV]

Rome-SSPX - Fellay speaks in Salzburg

The Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), Bishop Bernard Fellay, was in Salzburg (Austria) on Thursday, in order to confirm some local faithful on the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord. At the end of the sermon, he had some words to say on current affairs:

"I am sure you, my dear faithful, would like to know something about what is going on with Rome. It is a delicate matter. You know, this matter deals with our future. Therefore, it is not an easy matter. What will happen? Will we be received? Or won’t we?

"I know there are many fears. We have witnessed so many things! We fear, precisely, that things may go wrong. For the largest part, these fears are understandable. We won’t just take a step with our eyes closed. That is very, very clear. But at this moment, I cannot even tell you if it will happen, or not! Because, it isn’t clear yet. We need assurances that we can continue to do what we have been doing so far. And in this respect, some things aren’t clear yet. Simply not clear.

"And I can tell you: the devil is at large! ['der Teufel ist los'] And, well, really everywhere. So, for us, one thing is clear: pray! We have to pray as never before. We have for our whole history been consecrated to the Mother of God, she will surely not abandon us, especially if we pray this much, and if we only want the will of God. Therefore, we will continue to pray, with trust, with trust in God. That’s it. Let us not be unsettled by our passions, by unjustified fears…

"I tell you, really, the devil is at large! And, well, everywhere. In the Fraternity itself; throughout the Church. There really are people who do not want us. Those are the Modernists, the Progressives. And they, too, cause a lot of pressure in order to stop the right thing from being done, the right thing, that is: justice. That once again we will be officially recognised as being Catholic. And that, of course, does not mean that we will all of a sudden accept that which has caused the Church so much damage. One has to understand this correctly. That is not what this is all about. The matter at hand is that we may be recognised the way we are. That we can continue Tradition, that we cannot only show Tradition to others, but also give it to them.

"At the moment I don’t have anything else but this. So, let us continue to pray, let us entrust these big, big intentions to the good God. He will not abandon us! Here we must have this hope! Whoever asks from our Lord His help will not be left alone by Him! In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."

[Heartfelt thanks to IM for the translated transcript. Source: German District of the SSPX: video, in German.]

See also: Fellay's words in Vienna on Sunday, May 20.

Ordination of new FSSP priests - Video

In record time, the entire video of the ordination of the five new priests of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter has been uploaded by our friends at LiveMass, led by Fr. Fryar, FSSP. Watch it below:

Bossuet: "Two ways of aspiring to the reformation of the Church"

There were thus [prior to the 16th century] two different sorts of persons who called for reformation: one, the truly peaceful and true children of the Church, without bitterness supporting her grievances, and who, with respect, proposed a reformation of them, and in humility bore them despite its delay.

Far from desiring to effect this object by schism, they, on the contrary, looked on schism as the greatest of all evils. In the midst of these abuses, they admired the Providence of God, who, according to his promises, knew how to preserve the faith of the Church.

And, though they could not accomplish a reformation of attitudes, free from all bitterness, and free from all passion, they deemed themselves glad that nothing prevented them from accomplishing it within themselves. These were the strong ones of the Church, whose faith no temptation could shake, nor induce to deviate from unity.

Besides these, there were proud spirits, who, shocked by the disorders they saw prevailing in the Church, particularly in her ministers, did not understand how the promises of her eternal duration could subsist in the midst of such abuses; whereas the Son of God had taught to respect for  the chair of Moses, notwitstanding the evil works of the Scribes and Pharisees who sat upon it; these became proud, and thereby weak, yielding to the temptation which inclines to hate the Chair itself, due to the hatred towards those who preside upon it; and, as if the wickedness of man could make void the work of God, the aversion they had conceived against the Doctors made them hate both the doctrines they taught and the authority they had received from God to teach.

Such were the Waldensians and Albigensians; such were John Wycliffe and Jan Hus. The ordinary bait by which they induced weak souls into their webs was the hatred with which they inspired them against the Pastors of the Church; influenced by this spirit of bitterness, they desired nothing but rupture.

Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
Histoire des variations des églises protestantes

Heartfelt congratulations... the five new priests of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP), ordained yesterday in Nebraska: they are Fr. Gregory Eichman, Fr. Karl Marsolle, Fr. Brian McDonnell, Fr. Kevin O'Neil, and Fr. Kenneth Walker. Congratulations to their families, their professors, their Fraternity, and all who helped them along the way. 

The event was broadcast live at LiveMass, the wonderful apostolate of the FSSP community in Sarasota, Florida (as we annouced earlier this month). If you were not able to watch it, we are sure it will be available in the LiveMass archives shortly.

Knowledge, discernment, prudence, and love.

  O Lord, who art called the Branch, the Orient, the Splendour of the eternal light, and the Sun of Justice, who art that Tree, of whom Thy beloved disciple speaks as the Tree of life, bearing twelve fruits, and its leaves for the healing of the nations, give Thy grace and blessing on all those various states and conditions in Thy Holy Church, which have sprung from Thee and live in Thy Life.

Give to all Bishops the gifts of knowledge, discernment, prudence, and love.

Give to all priests to be humble, tender, and pure;

Give to all pastors of Thy flock to be zealous, vigilant, and unworldly;

Give to all religious bodies to act up to their rule, to be simple and without guile, and to set their hearts upon invisible things and them only.

Grant to fathers of families to recollect that they will have hereafter to give account of the souls of their children; grant to all husbands to be tender and true; to all wives to be obedient and patient; grant to all children to be docile; to all young people to be chaste; to all the aged to be fervent in spirit; to all who are engaged in business, to be honest and unselfish;

And to all of us the necessary graces of faith, hope, charity, and contrition.
Bl. John Henry Newman 
Twelve Meditations and Intercessions for Good Friday

You know it's bad when ...

‘Exorcist’ author to sue Georgetown University in Catholic court

By Daniel Burke Religion News Service

The author who turned Georgetown University into a horror scene in “The Exorcist” plans to sue the school in church court, charging that his alma mater has strayed so far from church doctrine that it should no longer call itself Catholic.

William Peter Blatty, who graduated from Georgetown in 1950, says the “last straw” was the university’s speaking invitation to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

News analysis: "Has the SSPX leadership changed sides?"

What we may be seeing this moment, from some quarters, is an example of a voluntary desire to just look away from what was always there. Let us go back to April 2006.

At that time, as a comment to an article by the Superior of the French District of the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), Father Régis de Cacqueray (The One-Two-Three Strategy, April 5, 2006), Rorate presented the following words on the "doctrinal discussions" (which, more than one year before the motu proprio and almost three years before the lifting of the excommunications, seemed almost impossible):

Some may also believe that "doctrinal discussions" are unacceptable -- but that is preposterous. The Holy See has been hopelessly dialoguing, since the Council, with the Anglican Communion, which lost any sign of faith sometime between 1860 and 1960... Honest and topical discussions with the Fraternity would be far more objective, since there is no dogmatic issue involved, and could set the basis for a very useful definition of the "hermeneutics of continuity" proposed by Pope Benedict. Such discussions could also happen after a clearer canonical framework is established, since they are not among the "preconditions".

Therefore, one could envision a situation whereby the creation of a "Doctrinal Commission" -- which would then be the institutional "locus" of the debates between the Fraternity and the Holy See -- serves as the fulfilment of this step ("the resolution of doctrinal questions"), allowing for the complete canonical regularization of the Society even though not every controversy is actually resolved before the establishment of the new canonical framework. [Emphasis added]

The One-Two-Three strategy reached its end today, as, after all preconditions were achieved by the SSPX and following the doctrinal discussions, the final matter officially reached the Pope's desk. Not a single person was deceived in the process - but there is a problem, certainly. The problem is undoubtedly that there were, and remain, some people on both sides (the widows of Vatican II on the liberal side, for one example), who for some reason thought this moment would never come. And now they are appalled that it is here...


Vernet, Roman landscape at sunset (1782)
 "Today there will be a storm, for the sky is red and lowering. You know then how to discern the face of the sky: and can you not know the signs of the times?" (Mt. xvi, 3)

It is not the Superior General of the Society, and certainly not the Bishop of Rome, who should be blamed if others have difficulty in understanding the nuance that every step of the strategy indicated (though we in Rorate certainly tried to disentangle any misunderstandings and unclear declarations, as our 2006 comment above indicates, trying to understand "the signs of the times"). The resolution of doctrinal questions never meant that Pope Benedict XVI would become the ventriloquist puppet of the Society of Saint Pius X... but rather that some composition on some level would take place at some moment following the fulfillment of the actual two preconditions.

The current product of this doctrinal resolution is what was officially delivered to the Pope today.

Following two years of serious doctrinal discussions, a "Doctrinal Preamble" - the draft of a statement, in plain English - was delivered by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to Bishop Fellay in September 2011. This preamble was duly presented by Fellay to the highest authorities of the Society in an extraordinary meeting in Albano, in the outskirts of Rome, in October 2011 - the group rejected the preamble. After one new draft was presented in December 2011, and some clarifications of the draft in January 2012, the final draft was delivered by Fellay in April 2012.

This final text is evidently an exposition of the doctrinal position of the Society, what they consider to be a reasonable resolution of the matter. It was analysed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (obviously, since it is the Pope's advising body for all doctrinal matters) and delivered to the Pope today.

What about the canonical framework? As we said in 2006, it does not matter if every single doctrinal disagreement is solved; what was sought, then as now, was some level of resolution - which simply means that the Pope accepts the doctrinal position of the Society as freely presented by its Superior General. It does not mean that the Pope will proclaim the content of the doctrinal statement from the loggia of Saint Peter's, but that he will present a canonical framework if he finds that the doctrinal statement is a reasonable doctrinal resolution of the matter. A doctrinal resolution, and not an attempt by the parties involved to forcibly enter into a "merely" practical agreement.

All steps were always clear: in 2006 as in 2007, in 2009 as in 2012, "God restoreth that which is past" (cf. Eccles. iii).
[Posted on May 18, 2300 GMT]