Rorate Caeli

The Benefits and Beauties of Liturgical Repetition

(Delivered at St. Mary’s parish, Norwalk, Connecticut, on Thursday, February 14, 2019, sponsored by the Society of St. Hugh of Cluny.)

Poets, Lovers, Children, Madmen—and Worshipers:
Why We Repeat Ourselves in the Liturgy

Peter A. Kwasniewski

Repetition in the liturgy is a profound topic, and I am under no illusions that I will be able to offer a comprehensive or definitive account of it. Rather, I would like to suggest some ways of thinking about repetition that may help us to appreciate its positive value, over against the assumptions that stood behind the far-reaching simplification of liturgical rites in the 20th century.

Op-Ed: "So, Uncle Ted has been defrocked: Will the Big Tent Abuse Summit Turn Out to be a Circus?"

Will the Big Tent Summit turn out to be a Circus?

Father Richard G. Cipolla

Georges Seurat, The Circus (1891), Musée d'Orsay

So Uncle Ted has been defrocked.  One wonders how many times he wore the clerical frock as a symbol of his priesthood.  Pray for him.   The question that must be asked about this declaration /move:  is McCarrick to be the sacrificial lamb of the upcoming meeting in Rome called by the Pope to discuss the crisis in sexual abuse by clergy, including bishops, which meeting will be led by mostly bishops?  Will burning McCarrick at an imaginary stake be enough to slake the thirst of the liberal press? Will it be enough to placate the minority of bishops who take the sexual abuse seriously? Will it be enough to stifle discussion about the factual data that the majority of this abuse was with young boys and young men?  Will it be enough for those  who have suffered at the hands of these men for so many years, not in that terrible physical way, but in being suppressed and kept down because of refusing to deny that one of the greatest problems in the Catholic Church since the end of the Second Vatican Council has been not only the terrible predatory behavior of priests and bishops with respect to boys and seminarians and prostitutes, but also the silent complicity of those in the hierarchy who have deliberately turned a blind eye to the egregious destruction of Catholic faith, worship and morality of the past fifty years.

That these people have no shame and are tone-deaf to reality is recently proven by the naming of Cardinal Kevin Farrell as the Camerlengo of the Papal Household, a most important position indeed.  That this man, who lived with McCarrick while the latter was Archbishop of Washington, D.C. and Farrell was an Auxiliary Bishop, and who claims that he did not know anything about the then Cardinal’s history on the Jersey Shore and beyond, would be named by the Pope to this sensitive and central office shows either the total insensitivity of this Pontiff to reality, or a terrible blindness, possibly deliberate,  to the cause of the deep corruption in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, beginning with its center in Rome.  The sexual corruption of the Curial clergy is a major cause of the parlous situation of the Church today.  But this does not get at the heart of the matter.  The heart of the matter is the deliberate attack on the doctrinal and liturgical Tradition (the two go hand in hand) of the Catholic Church.  There is no end to the silly statements of the German bishops who want to out-Zwingli Zwingli but without his moral fiber.  The fact is that without the church tax in Germany these poseurs would be figuring out how to pay for their next meal.  One wishes that the Lutherans in Germany would chastise the Catholic bishops for their deep misunderstanding of the Christian faith and their deep silliness in their statements about the faith. But classical Protestantism is moribund, and how could it not be, for it is the source of the grey secularism that has destroyed the Christian heart of Europe.

The irony of ironies is that Pope Francis just approved the canonization of John Henry Newman. We should take care that Pope Francis does not read any of Newman’s important writings, especially those on the Development of Doctrine.  Newman would not be a support of the footnotes in Amoris Laetitianor of the Pope’s attempt to change the Church’s clear teaching on the authority of the State to inflict capital punishment.  But one must keep the Pope above all from reading Newman’s Biglietto Speech that he gave upon the receiving of his Cardinal’s biretta in Rome.  For it is there, in clear terms, that Newman predicts the terrible debacle of the post-Vatican II Church.  I have quoted this before and will continue to do so, because its prescience is clear and relates directly to what has happened in the Catholic Church this past half century.

You Suggest, video: 24 Men take the Cassock at SSPX's St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Virginia

From our friends in the new photography department of St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Dillwyn, Virginia:

Lepanto Conference: "I will not cease from Spiritual Fight, nor shall my sword sleep in my hand, till we have restored the worship of God"

The Second annual Lepanto conference took place Saturday amid the Gothic splendor of St Vincent Ferrer church in New York. There were 700 people in the congregation for the Pontifical Mass; some 315 attended the conference itself. Thanks are due to Fr Walter C. Wagner OP, the pastor of St Vincent’s and to the Dominican order for hosting the conference.

The Most Reverend James Massa, auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn, celebrated Solemn Pontifical mass for St Pius V – the codifier of the Traditional Roman liturgy. Our dear contributor, Fr Richard Cipolla, of the Bridgeport diocese, was assistant priest. Rev. Mr Roger Kwan (Archdiocese of New York) served as deacon; Fr. Sean Connelly (Archdiocese of New York) was the subdeacon. William Riccio and Steve Quatela were the masters of ceremonies.

The following is the magnificent talk given by Father Cipolla during the Conference:

“Rage—Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles, murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses, hurtling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls, great fighters’ souls, but made their bodies carrion, feasts for the dogs and birds.”So begins, in the English translation by Robert Fagles, one of the seminal epic poems of Western civilization, The Iliad.  The first  book is called The Rage of Achilles, Achilles, the son of a goddess, fierce, the ultimate war hero and  yet, in Fagles’ words in his introduction to the Iliad, “imprisoned in a godlike, lonely, heroic fury from which all the rest of the world is excluded.”  Achilles sits out most of the Iliad in rage against Agamemnon for taking his concubine, Briseis. He returns to action, so to speak, only when his friend, Patroclus, whom he loves so deeply, is killed and despoiled by the Trojan Hector. And it is then that Achilles becomes the killing machine not so much for the cause of the Greeks against the Trojans but rather because of his rage against Hector, a hero in in his own right, for killing and despoiling Patroclus.  And in that terrible scene we know so well, he kills Hector and drags his body around the walls of Troy three times in uncontrollable fury.  He rises as a hero to avenge the death of his beloved Patroclus, and he is godlike in his single mindedness to punish at all costs the one and those who have taken away someone that he loved deeply.  Heroism as singlemindedness, as physical prowess in war, as exhibiting passionate emotion, and heroism as knowing as well that one is doomed to death by the botched attempt of a god to make him immortal.

Around 4,500-5,000 Priests Currently Celebrate the Traditional Mass Around the World

The number is an estimation, of course, made by Christian Marquant for the French liturgical association "Paix liturgique".

This number is reached with the following subgroups.

(1) Around 760 priests who belong to the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) and religious communities friendly to it.

(2) Around 600 priests from those communities previously called "Ecclesia Dei" (that is, those established regularly following the motu proprio Ecclesia Dei).

(3) Around 130 priests from religious communities that were never under the authority of the now-defunct "Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei" (for instance, the priests belonging to Fontgombault and its daughter-houses, or Norcia, etc).

(4) At least 3,000 diocesan priests (maybe up to 5,000, if one includes those who are very cautious because of their local bishops) who celebrate it regularly, even if not exclusively, including 1,000 at least in the United States: this is the Summorum Pontificum group, by far the largest.

Marquant adds: "Our 4,500 priests attached to the Traditional Mass (1500 "Trad" priests to which are added 3,000 diocesan or regular priests) represent at least 1.1% of the global Catholic clergy (or more, if we consider only the Latin Church priests, since it is a Latin liturgy, and if we would consider only active priests) who have remained or become Tridentine, which is far from being a ridiculous number if we consider that this identity was forbidden for a long time and remains widely persecuted. And, despite this, it is growing..."

(Paix Liturgique, via Le Salon Beige)

Septuagesima: In the beginning

The lessons for Matins introduce the theme of the penitential pre-lenten season of Septuagesima: Creation and Fall, and Original Sin; and God's intervention in History to purify mankind through a remnant in an ark (Sexagesima week) and to choose a People for himself; and the will of the unfathomable Divinity to reveal himself through his chosen people of Israel; and the Mystery of the Incarnation, through which the promise to Abraham ("in thee shall all the kindred of the earth be blessed", First Lesson in the Matins for Quinquagesima Sunday) would be fulfilled by the Divine Son of the Blessed Virgin ("I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel", Third Lesson in the Matins for Wednesday in Septuagesima week).

The reality of Original Sin ("I am the Immaculate Conception") and the great need for penitence in our times ("Penance! Penance! Penance!") were also the messages of the memorable events which began on February 11, 1858:

Faithful Mocked: McCarrick Laicized -- While His Closest Friend and Confidant Will Run Next Conclave Setting

Ted McCarrick congratulates his friend Kevin Farrell on his creation as Cardinal

Cardinal Farrell, the closest friend, confidant, auxiliary bishop, and roommate of Ted McCarrick, was named this week Camerlengo. He will run the show when Francis is gone. That is his prize for being the ultimate McCarrick Man.

This all puts in perspective the decision of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released today, condemning the abuser McCarrick to the loss of the clerical state. Basically, it means justice delayed and, with the Farrell nomination, justice mocked.

The CDF communique is below:

On 11 January 2019, the Congresso of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, at the conclusion of a penal process, issued a decree finding Theodore Edgar McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of Washington, D.C., guilty of the following delicts while a cleric: solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power. The Congresso imposed on him the penalty of dismissal from the clerical state. On 13 February 2019, the Ordinary Session (Feria IV) of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith considered the recourse he presented against this decision. Having examined the arguments in the recourse, the Ordinary Session confirmed the decree of the Congresso. This decision was notified to Theodore McCarrick on 15 February 2019. The Holy Father has recognized the definitive nature of this decision made in accord with law, rendering it a res iudicata (i.e., admitting of no further recourse).

De Mattei: An LGBT Pamphlet against the Church

Roberto de Mattei
Corrispondenza Romana
February 14, 2019
An LGBT pamphlet against the Church. The title is “Sodom” and the author a well-known French LGBT activist. The book however, was hatched in Italy, during a conversation between the author and the publisher, Carlo Fetrinelli, son of Gian Giacomo, the publisher-terrorist who died in 1972, while placing a bomb on an Enel (Italian Electric Company) pylon in Segrate.  Sodom” will be presented within the next few days in eight languages and in about twenty countries.
The official launching of the book will take place on February 21, in conjunction with the Vatican conference dedicated to the sexual abuse of minors. What we are dealing here with then, is a powerful media operation, which has the Catholic Church as its target.  The author of the book, Frédéric Martel, presented in the press at times with different titles  i.e.  sociologist,  researcher and  historian, has achieved a certain amount of fame for his last paper, Global Gay, translated into various languages, (published  in Italy by Feltrinelli) dedicated to the current triumphant march of the homosexual movement all over the world. 

John Henry Newman, Saint - "I have resisted to the best of my powers the spirit of liberalism in religion."

Today, the Holy See announced that Francis has recognized the second miracle currently demanded for the canonization of the most famous convert in modern times, Cardinal Blessed John Henry Newman.

As our contributor Father Richard Cipolla wrote years ago:

We cannot let the celebration of the memory of Blessed John Henry Newman is particularly remembered go by without recalling his remarkable prescience about the current condition of Western culture and the current situation in the Church, a situation that is itself a continuation of the troubled years since the Second Vatican Council. The great irony—and Newman always understood irony—is that he has been invoked as the “absent Father” of that Council with respect to the role of the laity in the Church, religious freedom, and collegiality. Those who invoke him in this way have obviously never read much Newman, for he would understand that the Church today is in the parlous state in which she finds herself precisely because those to whom her ministry has been entrusted have swallowed and digested that noxious weed decried by Newman and are patting their stomachs in self-congratulation, having succumbed to that “liberalism in religion” whose heart is what Newman called the “anti-dogmatic principle”.

What is the current attempt to reduce doctrine to praxis if not an example of that liberalism against which Newman fought so strenuously in his own day? What is the gobble-de-gook of prelates pontificating about mercy and the "law of graduality", and the lack of true virile fatherhood among the shepherds, if not examples of that sentimentality that Newman detested and that is the acid of religion?

One can never read Newman’s Bigletto Speech too many times. This was in a sense his last will and testament, for he who had been shunned in so many ways by the Catholic hierarchy throughout his Catholic life was given the honor of a Cardinal’s hat in the twilight of his life, and what he said in his acceptance of that honor from Pope Leo XIII, is chillingly prescient. And this not only with reference to the current situation of the Church. Newman knew as few today understand that the creeping papalism of the past century has been and is being enabled not by traditionalism but rather by liberalism. Here is the voice of the prophet for our times from his Bigletto speech:

In a long course of years I have made many mistakes.

Special Series: "1919—2019 A Centenary Meditation on the Church"
- Part IV: “Catholic” Purification and "Worker-Priests"

A Centenary Meditation on the Church and a Quest for “Purification” Gone Mad

A Series by Professor John C. Rao, DPhil

A "Worker Priest" celebrates Mass turned to the people in the 1940s

Part III: Purification and Doctrine in the Interwar Era

IV. "Catholic" Purification and the "Worker-Priests"

          Many personalists looked, greeted the early fascist victories of the Second World War hopefully. A number of them, long convinced of the innate weaknesses of the liberal bourgeois “established disorder,” expressed little surprise over the conquests of Nazi Germany. What really concerned them was whether Catholicism could find some way to turn a potentially apocalyptic “purification” down the proper pathway. For fascism was seen to be a “monstrous prefiguration” of the new personalist humanity waiting to be born. It clearly revealed the presence of strong will, virile manliness, self-sacrifice to the community, and even, in the context of the war effort, a commitment to the construction of that European-wide super society which many thought to be crucial to a better New World Order.

         Pétain’s so-called National Revolution was appreciated by French personalists both because of its anti-liberal bourgeois character and its freedom from the more gross “materialist” aspects of Nazism. They hoped to make Vichy France a wartime laboratory for educational and evangelical schemes designed to reshape the world in a spiritual way. One major example of educational experimentation incorporating both contemporary Catholic ideas as well as features of the fascist Ordensburgen—the castle training centers for the new elite of German youth—was the École Nationale des Cadres at the Château Bayard above the village of Uriage, near Grenôble. Founded in the waning months of 1940, this institution became especially significant by June of 1941, when the Vichy regime determined to require a session at the Ecole for all future high government functionaries.

Guest Article: "Francis and the Joint Declaration on Human Fraternity: A Public Repudiation of the Catholic Faith"

Dr. John Lamont

On February 4th 2019, Pope Francis and Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Mosque, signed a 'Document on Human Fraternity'. The document and its signing were public acts. It contains the following passage:

'Freedom is a right of every person: each individual enjoys the freedom of belief, thought, expression and action. The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings. This divine wisdom is the source from which the right to freedom of belief and the freedom to be different derives.'

Taken in its normal meaning, the statement that the pluralism and diversity of religions is willed by God in his wisdom is directly contrary to the Catholic faith. The pluralism and diversity of religions is an evil, and as such cannot be willed by God. These religions contradict each other on doctrinal and moral issues. It must therefore be the case that at least some of these religions are in error where they disagree; and it is a grave evil to hold false dogmatic and moral beliefs. Moreover, the Christian teaching is that there is only one true religion, the religion that worships the Most Holy Trinity. Religions that do not worship the Holy Trinity are false religions, that in themselves cause harm to their worshipers. As such, they are evils.

+Schneider for Rorate - The Christian Faith: The only valid and the only God-willed religion

Rorate note: Earlier this week, Pope Bergoglio signed the problematic “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together.” If you haven't read the full document, please do, then read the piece below which actually doesn't contradict the Church's teachings or mock the countless Christians martyred over the last 2,000 years.

Once again, we are honored to post this guest op-ed, submitted to us by His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider. We not only allow but encourage all media and blogs to reprint this as well. 


By Bishop Athanasius Schneider
Special to Rorate Caeli
February 8, 2019

The Gift of Filial Adoption
The Christian Faith: the only valid and the only God-willed religion

The Truth of the filial adoption in Christ, which is intrinsically supernatural, constitutes the synthesis of the entire Divine Revelation. Being adopted by God as sons is always a gratuitous gift of grace, the most sublime gift of God to mankind. One obtains it, however, only through a personal faith in Christ and through the reception of baptism, as the Lord himself taught: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.” (John 3: 5-7).

In the past decades one often heard - even from the mouth of some representatives of the Church’s hierarchy - statements about the theory of “anonymous Christians.” This theory says the following: The mission of the Church in the world would consist ultimately in raising the awareness that all men must have of their salvation in Christ and consequently of their filial adoption in Christ. Since, according to the same theory, every human being possesses already the sonship of God in the depth of his personality. Yet, such a theory contradicts directly Divine Revelation, as Christ taught it and His Apostles and the Church over two thousand years always transmitted it unchangingly and without a shadow of a doubt.

Special Series: "1919—2019 A Centenary Meditation on the Church"
- Part III: Doctrine and Great Catholic Names in the Interwar Era

A Centenary Meditation on the Church and a Quest for “Purification” Gone Mad

III. Purification and Doctrine in the Interwar Era

Insistence on a purification achieved through submission of the natural to the supernatural world, taught by the nineteenth century Catholic revival movement and vigorously supported by the Papacy since the time of Pius IX (1846-1878), very clearly still characterized the teaching, in encyclicals, allocutions, and letters to individual bishops and episcopacies, of the two quite different popes of the bulk of the interwar period: Benedict XV (1914-1922) and Pius XI (1922-1939). Both placed emphasis upon doctrines and devotions that well illustrated how nature was purified through connection with the supernatural, perhaps most significantly with reference to those concerning the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as in Pius XI's Miserentissimus Redemptor (1928) and Caritate Christi compulsi (1932). A lasting postwar purification, this same pontiff declared in Ubi arcano dei consiglio(1922), was only possibleby ensuring the peace of Christ in the reign of Christ.

Purification, in the minds of the nineteenth century protagonists of Catholic revival, was intellectually very much dependent upon a deeper ecclesiology, one that truly understood the Roman Catholic Church as the Mystical Body and the fullness of her role as such in transforming the world in Christ. The earlier historical development of Catholic ecclesiology had been interrupted because of the politicization of the Papacy and the influence of an anti-speculative, philosophical and theological Nominalism from the thirteenth century onwards. Serious progress was only begun again at Trent, but here, too, had still been severely hampered due to the opposition of regalist States demanding firm control of their “national” churches. First Vatican Council’s much more serious labors in the ecclesiological realm were also halted in the face of numerous factors, theological and political, so that what was accomplished under its aegis proved tragically incomplete.

Albert the Great Summer School in Wisconsin, August 12-16, 2019: Study St. Thomas on Galatians, with Daily Latin Mass

"No Longer I Who Live, But Christ In Me"
St. Thomas's Commentary on the Epistle of St. Paul to the Galatians
Albert the Great Summer Program 2019 – USA
August 12 – 16, in Wausau, Wisconsin

The Angelic Doctor
The Albert the Great Center, which has held summer programs in Norcia, Italy, for several years, is expanding its offerings by holding a summer theology program in the USA for the first time, in collaboration with The Aquinas Institute for the Study of Sacred Doctrine. The primary focus of this week-long intensive course will be St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians, supported by St. Thomas Aquinas's superb commentary on the same.

According to St. Thomas, Galatians is about the grace of Christ as it exists in his Mystical Body, which is the Church, and in particular, as it exists in the sacraments of Church, for "in the letter ... superfluous sacraments are rejected against certain men who wanted to join the old sacraments to the new ones." Galatians and the commentary on it bring forward important considerations on the unchangeableness of sacred doctrine ("even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be anathema"), on the mystical identification of the Christian with Christ, on the setting-aside of the Old Covenant in consequence of its messianic fulfillment, and on the confrontation of Church hierarchs by their subjects -- all subjects under considerable discussion in our day.

Homily for the 4th Sunday after Epiphany: “There are Pirates in the Boat”

A traditional Catholic priest sent us his homily from last Sunday to publish for our readers.

Sermon for the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany

At that time, Jesus got into a boat, and His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was covered by the waves; but He was asleep. So they came and woke Him, saying: Lord, save us! We are perishing! But He said to them: Why are you fearful, o you of little faith? Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the sea, and there came a great calm. And the men marveled, saying: what manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him? (From the Gospel of the day: Matthew VIII, 23-27)

Dear Brethren,

The words of the Holy Gospel that we just heard tell us of what happened when the boat where Jesus was with his disciples was faced with a terrible storm. The waves were so big that it seemed that the boat would sink. So the disciples cried out to the Lord and the storm disappeared.

No, Francis, God did not "will a plurality and diversity of religions": saying so is "altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion."


The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings.


Never perhaps in the past have we seen, as we see in these our own times, the minds of men so occupied by the desire both of strengthening and of extending to the common welfare of human society that fraternal relationship which binds and unites us together, and which is a consequence of our common origin and nature. For since the nations do not yet fully enjoy the fruits of peace - indeed rather do old and new disagreements in various places break forth into sedition and civic strife - and since on the other hand many disputes which concern the tranquility and prosperity of nations cannot be settled without the active concurrence and help of those who rule the States and promote their interests, it is easily understood, and the more so because none now dispute the unity of the human race, why many desire that the various nations, inspired by this universal kinship, should daily be more closely united one to another.

A similar object is aimed at by some, in those matters which concern the New Law promulgated by Christ our Lord. For since they hold it for certain that men destitute of all religious sense are very rarely to be found, they seem to have founded on that belief a hope that the nations, although they differ among themselves in certain religious matters, will without much difficulty come to agree as brethren in professing certain doctrines, which form as it were a common basis of the spiritual life. For which reason conventions, meetings and addresses are frequently arranged by these persons, at which a large number of listeners are present, and at which all without distinction are invited to join in the discussion, both infidels of every kind, and Christians, even those who have unhappily fallen away from Christ or who with obstinacy and pertinacity deny His divine nature and mission.

Certainly such attempts can nowise be approved by Catholics, founded as they are on that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule.

Not only are those who hold this opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting the idea of true religion they reject it, and little by little turn aside to naturalism and atheism, as it is called; from which it clearly follows that one who supports those who hold these theories and attempt to realize them, is altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion.

Pius XI
Mortalium Animos

The Mystery of Suffering: Why do innocent little children suffer? - Editorial by the Abbot of St. Mary Magdalene of Le Barroux

This editorial opens the monastery letter for December 2018, but it seems to appropriate now, when infanticide is celebrated by so many in public life.


Suffering and its mystery

December 8, 2018
Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin

On September 27, Father Robert of our foundation Sainte-Marie de la Garde defended his doctoral thesis in theology at the Dominican convent in Toulouse. A strenuous two and a half hour exercise during which he presented the product of three years’ work on “Suffering in Saint Thomas Aquinas”. A very delicate subject! Saint John Paul II wrote in his apostolic letter Salvifici doloris that “Man, in suffering, remains an inaccessible mystery”. Nevertheless, theology can explore this great mystery, provided one looks at the divine purpose. For God has a plan, and suffering is one of them, but according to a line that remains to be clarified. Suffering, whether experienced or perceived, seems absurd, and it can be the cause of revolt against God, loss of faith or indulging in answers that are simplistic, and sometimes downright incompatible with faith and reason. Some theologians have spoken of God’s suffering in his divinity in order to maintain a bond of solidarity between the Creator and the creature. However, this is not the thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the great doctor of the Church.

Special Series: "1919—2019 A Centenary Meditation on the Church and a Quest for Purification Gone Mad"
- Part II: Dangers on the "Catholic Purification" Front

A Centenary Meditation on the Church and a Quest for “Purification” Gone Mad

A Series by Professor John C. Rao, DPhil

Part II: Dangers on the "Catholic Purification" Front 

Unfortunately for Catholics, the Church’s quest for purification of the spaces of public life in 1918 was a hotly contested one, with her Gnostic, Nominalist, Reformation, and Enlightenment shaped opponents either potentially or immediately wielding more power than she might ever hope to command on her own. Dangers on the purification front were international, national,and broadly cultural in character, with most of the threats in question ultimately perilous on all these levels.La Civiltà Cattolica continued to apply and develop the conclusions reached by the revival movement of the previous century to understand and parry them. Therefore, much of what I have to say below is fit into the broad framework that this journal’s interwar analysis provided.

One of the two newer, but historically rooted perils of the interwar period emerged from the United States. Due to her entry into the European conflict, and President Woodrow Wilson’s statement of allied goals in his Fourteen Points, his response to Pope Benedict XV’s peace proposals, and his popularization of the worldwide struggle as “the war to end all wars”, America loomed large as a potential purifying influence on November 11th, 1918 and in the months thereafter. Although the rejection of the Treaty of Versailles by the United States Senate and her consequent failure to participate in the League of Nations removed the imminent threat of New World competition for the political control of spaces in the Old, America’s “isolationism” in the interwar years was never truly complete. Latin America and East Asia remained public American concerns and fields of action, and New World cultural impact---the American way of life ---also continued to grow unabated in much of Europe as well. Cultural “Americanism” eased the way to American political domination of the European world in the wake of the second global conflagration. By 1945, mobilization of the American Way---what then came to be called pluralism---as a weapon for coaxing the reawakened Catholic Faith of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries back into its eighteenth century dogmatic slumber was complete.

A second new force competing with the Church for the occupation and purification of social spaces came out of Russia, which, although it played no role as a nation at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, was nevertheless “present” in everyone’s mind at that gathering. For the seizure of power in Russia by Lenin’s Bolsheviks---formally known as the Communist Party from March, 1918 onwards---and the impact that Marxism-Leninism immediately exercised outside that troubled country’s fluctuating borders gave grave significance the world over to what was happening therein.This was certainly true in the defeated nations, Germany’s Communist movement sparking the Sparticist uprising of the weeks preceding the opening of the Peace Conference, and Hungary experiencing a Soviet style government briefly thereafter. But the spirit of the Revolution was not unknown to the victors either, with Red Guards seizing factories and agricultural estates and dreaming of an Italian imitation of the distant Russian model.

Fontgombault Sermon for Candlemas 2019: "Christ's Light has a price: the Cross"

Sermon of the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau
Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault
Fontgombault, February 2, 2019

Dear brothers and sisters,
My dearly beloved sons,

The Presentation of Jesus ends the first part of the liturgical cycle, that began with the first Sunday in Advent, and developed with the mystery of Jesus’ birth. The framework of the Presentation in the Temple is the Holy Family’s carrying out two commandments prescribed by the Law. A woman giving birth to a boy was considered as unclean, and therefore precluded from taking part in the liturgical ceremonies, for forty days. Once this period had elapsed, she was to offer a sacrifice for her purification: a lamb as a burnt offering, and a turtledove for the sin. Those who were poorer were entitled to give only two young pigeons or two turtledoves. In the case of a first-born, who according to the Law belonged to God, they had to add the price to redeem him, five shekels, which could be paid to any priest.

Benedict XVI remarks that St. Luke, after he has recalled the commandments prescribed by the Law, no longer evokes Jesus’ redemption, but a third event, the object of our feast, the Presentation:

Obviously, what he means is that this child doesn’t have to be redeemed, and is no longer belonging to his parents, but quite the reverse, he has been personally entrusted to God in the Temple, he has been given to God as His full property. (Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth, The Infancy Narratives, ch. 3, § The Presentation)

None of the acts prescribed by the Law required that the Holy Family should go to the Temple. What could then be the motive for going up to Jerusalem, if not to offer the Child to God? Yet, Jerusalem and the Temple are also the place of priesthood and sacrifice. Concerning Jesus, Pierre de Bérulle writes in his comment on the mystery of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple:

Praise be to Jesus Christ! Aldo Maria Valli on the importance of a forgotten salutation

Aldo Maria Valli
H/T Riscossa Cristiana

February 1, 2019
Quite frankly, I think a priest should always – and I underline always – greet by  using the formula: “Praise be to Jesus Christ”, and the interlocutor should necessarily reply “May He always be praised”. I think this greeting is very beautiful and in a simple and immediate way renders praise to Jesus by putting Him in first place with regard to everything else.  I’d go further: for me even lay Catholics ought to greet each other like this.
And instead...

Virginia infanticide's Catholic support

The following is a guest post from a longtime Virginia resident:


The governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, made news this week when he spoke in support of infanticide (not to be confused with his latest news).

This followed the action of the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, who signed into law a bill that removed what little legal protections for unborn children existed in that state, now allowing abortion until the moment of birth.  Cuomo and many of the state legislators who supported the measure identify as Roman Catholic.  No one has been excommunicated by any of the bishops in New York. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who claimed President Donald Trump's effort to enforce immigration laws "is not Christian", went public opposing excommunication for Governor Cuomo.

In Virginia, the infanticide legislation was sponsored by Delegate Kathy Tran, and vocally supported by many Democrats, including Governor Northam.  Tran has not publicly listed a religious affiliation, and Northam reportedly (and ironically) "attends a Baptist church with a largely black congregation."

Several lawmakers in Virginia who identify as Catholic gave vocal support to the infanticide legislation.  Only one, however, actually voted in support of the measure when given the opportunity.  Not only does Delegate Michael P. Mullin list himself as a member of Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish in Newport News, Va., he also claims membership in the Knights of Columbus and its Walter Pollard Council #5480.

Virginia's infanticide bill was killed in a subcommittee vote in the state House of Delegates, controlled by Republicans.  (Both chambers in the Virginia legislature have a one-vote Republican majority; the House of Delegates majority was determined by a drawing after a dead heat.)

The subcommittee vote to kill the infanticide bill passed by a vote of 5-3.  Of the three delegates, all Democrat, who voted for infanticide, only Delegate Mullin identifies as Catholic.  His bishop, Barry Knestout of Richmond (formerly the hand-picked consigliere to Don Wuerl in D.C.), issued a statement today, calling the legislation: "Horrific. Outrageous. Vicious."  He made reference to the governor and sponsor of the bill, although not by name.  Missing, though, was any reference to the delegates who actually voted on the legislation.

Reminder: Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society

This is our monthly reminder to please enroll Souls of the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society. We now stand at 89 priests saying weekly or monthly traditional Latin Masses for the Souls. Come on Fathers, let's get this to 100!

** Click here to download a "fillable" PDF Mass Card to give to the loved ones of the Souls you enroll. It's free for anyone to use. **

Priests: The Souls still need more of you saying Mass for them! Please email me to offer your services. There's nothing special involved -- all you need to do is offer a weekly or monthly TLM with the intention: "For the Souls enrolled in the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society." And we will always keep you completely anonymous unless you request otherwise. 

How to enroll souls: please email me at and submit as follows: "Name, State, Country." If you want to enroll entire families, simply write in the email: "The Jones family, Ohio, USA". Individual names are preferred. Be greedy -- send in as many as you wish and forward this posting to friends as well.

Special Series: "1919—2019 A Centenary Meditation on the Church and a Quest for Purification Gone Mad"
- Part I: The Peace, the War, and the Longing for Purification

A Centenary Meditation on the Church and a Quest for “Purification” Gone Mad

A Series by Professor John C. Rao, DPhil


Part I: The Peace, the War, and the Longing for Purification 

Despite its claims of openness to everyone and anything, friendliness to time gone by is sorely lacking in our pluralist society, and this for very good reason indeed. Pluralism needs to destroy knowledge of the past in order to survive. Historical wisdom makes the depth and longevity of the intellectual, spiritual, and practical divisions in our daily life all too clear to those seeking to learn its lessons. Such wisdom diverts attention away from the only acceptable pluralist solution to human problems: the satisfaction of those material passions to whose endless permutations, monotonous as they ultimately really are, fallen man in his dullness seems ceaselessly attracted.

Unfortunately, we Catholics living in an all-encompassing pluralist society are ourselves subject to its soporific effects. We also have a tendency to don an historical blindfold, to focus on immediate material concerns and their time-bound explanations of current events, and, thus, to replace real intellectual judgments with shallow, pluralist-approved mantras. The result is that our own appreciation of the causes of our present ecclesiastical debacle is both too mundane as well as much too limited historically in its scope.And, sadly, this prevents us from dealing with its horrors effectively.

Two Events in Norcia this Summer

Two important events take place in Norcia this summer:

Francis' Pearls of Wisdom - "Abortion? Your child is in heaven!"; "We need sex education for children!"

From the interview granted by Francis to reporters on his flight back from Panama to Rome:

Lena Klimkeit, DPA: Holy Father, during the Stations of the Cross on Friday a young man spoke very strong words about abortion. I want to repeat them for a moment. ‘There is a tomb that cries out to heaven and denounces the terrible cruelty of humanity. It is the tomb that opens in the womb of the mothers from which innocent life is plucked. May God grant us to truly humanize ourselves, to defend life fervently, to make the laws that kill life not feel erased forever.’ This is a very radical position, in my opinion. I wonder and would like to ask you if this position also respects the suffering of women in this situation and if it corresponds to your message of mercy.

Pope Francis: The message of mercy is for everyone. Also for the human person who is in gestation. It is for everyone. After this failure, there is mercy as well. But a difficult mercy because the problem is not in giving forgiveness. The problem is to accompany a woman who has become aware of an abortion.

The Doctrine of Papal Infallibility

In the following lecture Prof. John Rao lectures on Vatican I, and gives a lucid explanation of the true meaning of papal infallibility.

Events: Upcoming Lectures in Norwalk and New York City

The Society of St. Hugh of Cluny is sponsoring two February events in the NYC area. The first is a lecture at St. Mary's in Norwalk by Dr. Peter Kwasniewski on Thursday, February 14th at 6:30 pm, preceded by Vespers at 5:30 pm. The second is the Second Annual Lepanto Conference on Saturday, February 16th, opening with a Pontifical Mass at St. Vincent Ferrer's and continuing with lectures by Fr. Gerald Murray, Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, and Fr. Richard Cipolla. 

Full details may be found in the posters below.

Op-Ed: A French Historian muses about the "Anglicanization" of the Catholic Church: A Priest Responds

Paul VI is paid a "solemn visit" by the high Anglican minister of Canterbury, March 23, 1966 

French historian Luc Perrin, a Professor at the University of Strasbourg, and a well-known commentator of Catholic matters, published a long comment at the French Traditional Catholic page "Le Forum Catholique", in which he asked if the Catholic Church is going through a process of "Anglicanization".

Our Contributor Fr. Richard Cipolla, DPhil, thought this was an interesting exercise and penned a response.

First, Professor Perrin's dubium:

I am submitting this reflection to the wisdom of the reader: this idea has been running around in my head since the annus terribilus of 2018 at least.

There were various theological elements of Catholicism that were the subject of discussion before 2013, but it seems to me—some will disagree on this point, but this is not what I am talking about—that in these discussions the magisterium of Vatican II and the post-conciliar developments until 2013 defended a hermeneutic of reform within a search for continuity, rejecting the hermeneutics of rupture in a direct and recurring manner (this is true for Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI, in whose allocution of December 22, 2005 was the last to formalize this insistence on continuity.)

Traditional Catholics and the Traditional Mass at World Youth Day in Panama: a Video Report by Catholic News Service

The official news service of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic News Service (CNS), published this video about Traditional Catholics and the Traditional Mass during World Youth Day, in Panama.

We thank CNS - and also Juventutem for organizing this refuge for Traditional Catholics.

Watch video below:

New 2019 Ordo app for traditional Missal and Breviary now available

We asked our old friend Louis Tofari of Romanitas Press to write a post for our readers when we saw his great new, inexpensive app for priests and laymen. See below from Louis:

The 2019 Ordo for the traditional (1962) Roman Missal and Breviary is now available again from Romanitas Press as mobile apps for both Android and Apple devices.

This digital version of the printed Ordo for mobile devices is not only handy for the traveling clergy who follow the traditional missal and breviary, but also for the laity as a liturgical calendar! 

Report: Solemn Traditional Mass in Bridgeport Cathedral

For the first time since the imposition of the Novus Ordo Mass on the Catholic Church in 1970 the Traditional Roman Rite was celebrated in St. Augustine Cathedral in Bridgeport, Connecticut. 

A Votive Mass of Peace was celebrated on the Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision made abortion legal in the United States.  

The pastor of the Cathedral Parish, Fr. Michael Novajosky, was the celebrant and preacher.  The deacon was Fr. Greg Markey, and the Subdeacon was Fr. Richard Cipolla.  

Deo gratias!

De Mattei: Martyrs of the Reform of the Church

Roberto de Mattei
Corrispondenza Romana
January 23, 2019

The Mutilation and the Murder of the Deacon Arialdo

Also the reform of the Church has its martyrs. Among them are Saints Arialdo (+1066) and Erlembald (+1075), leaders of the “Pataria”, a lay movement in the XI century which aimed at the restoration of morality in the diocese of Milan, one of the most corrupt in Italy.

Simony and Nicolaism were the two plagues afflicting the Church at that time.  Simony was the pretense of buying and selling clerical offices; Nicolaism, was the practice of taking wives and mistresses by bishops and priests. However, the most shameful expression of moral dissoluteness was sodomy, which, as St. Peter Damian writes, raged “like a bloodthirsty beast inside the sheepfold of Christ” (Liber Gomorrhianus, tr. it. Fiducia, Roma 2015, p. 41).  These vices were so deeply-rooted in northern Italy as to constitute general praxis.

Traditional Retreat for Men in New Jersey - Feb. 15-17

[click to enlarge image]
Father Hernan Ducci of the Fraternity of Saint Joseph the Guardian will preach a retreat for men on Septuagesima weekend based on the Ignatian Exercises, at the Church of Saint John the Baptist, 1282 Yardville-Allentown Road, Allentown, N. J. The Spiritual Exercises comprise an ordered series of meditations and contemplations born from the profound spiritual experience St Ignatius, gained from his conversion and his time as the first Superior General of the Society of Jesus. These exercises purpose to help the retreatant discern God’s will for his own life.
The retreat will begin on the early afternoon of Friday, February 15 and finish on the afternoon of Sunday February 17, with lunch (President's day weekend).

Louis XVI, King, Martyr: a Catholic going to death and His Last Will and Testament

Procession to eternity

On January 20, 1793, the National Convention condemned Louis XVI to death, his execution scheduled for the next day. Louis spent that evening saying goodbye to his wife and children. The following day, January 21, dawned cold and wet. Louis arose at five. At eight o'clock a guard of 1,200 horsemen arrived to escort the former king on a two-hour carriage ride to his place of execution. Accompanying Louis, at his invitation, was a priest, Henry Essex Edgeworth, an Englishman living in France. Edgeworth recorded the event and we join his narrative as he and the fated King enter the carriage to begin their journey:

"The King, finding himself seated in the carriage, where he could neither speak to me nor be spoken to without witness, kept a profound silence. I presented him with my breviary, the only book I had with me, and he seemed to accept it with pleasure: he appeared anxious that I should point out to him the psalms that were most suited to his situation, and he recited them attentively with me. The gendarmes, without speaking, seemed astonished and confounded at the tranquil piety of their monarch, to whom they doubtless never had before approached so near.

The procession lasted almost two hours; the streets were lined with citizens, all armed, some with pikes and some with guns, and the carriage was surrounded by a body of troops, formed of the most desperate people of Paris. As another precaution, they had placed before the horses a number of drums, intended to drown any noise or murmur in favour of the King; but how could they be heard? Nobody appeared either at the doors or windows, and in the street nothing was to be seen, but armed citizens - citizens, all rushing towards the commission of a crime, which perhaps they detested in their hearts.

The carriage proceeded thus in silence to the Place de Louis XV, and stopped in the middle of a large space that had been left round the scaffold: this space was surrounded with cannon, and beyond, an armed multitude extended as far as the eye could reach. As soon as the King perceived that the carriage stopped, he turned and whispered to me, 'We are arrived, if I mistake not.' My silence answered that we were. One of the guards came to open the carriage door, and the gendarmes would have jumped out, but the King stopped them, and leaning his arm on my knee, 'Gentlemen,' said he, with the tone of majesty, 'I recommend to you this good man; take care that after my death no insult be offered to him - I charge you to prevent it.'… As soon as the King had left the carriage, three guards surrounded him, and would have taken off his clothes, but he repulsed them with haughtiness- he undressed himself, untied his neckcloth, opened his shirt, and arranged it himself. The guards, whom the determined countenance of the King had for a moment disconcerted, seemed to recover their audacity. They surrounded him again, and would have seized his hands. 'What are you attempting?' said the King, drawing back his hands. 'To bind you,' answered the wretches. 'To bind me,' said the King, with an indignant air. 'No! I shall never consent to that: do what you have been ordered, but you shall never bind me. . .'

The path leading to the scaffold was extremely rough and difficult to pass; the King was obliged to lean on my arm, and from the slowness with which he proceeded, I feared for a moment that his courage might fail; but what was my astonishment, when arrived at the last step, I felt that he suddenly let go my arm, and I saw him cross with a firm foot the breadth of the whole scaffold; silence, by his look alone, fifteen or twenty drums that were placed opposite to me; and in a voice so loud, that it must have been heard it the Pont Tournant, I heard him pronounce distinctly these memorable words: 'I die innocent of all the crimes laid to my charge; I Pardon those who have occasioned my death; and I pray to God that the blood you are going to shed may never be visited on France.'

He was proceeding, when a man on horseback, in the national uniform, and with a ferocious cry, ordered the drums to beat. Many voices were at the same time heard encouraging the executioners. They seemed reanimated themselves, in seizing with violence the most virtuous of Kings, they dragged him under the axe of the guillotine, which with one stroke severed his head from his body. All this passed in a moment. The youngest of the guards, who seemed about eighteen, immediately seized the head, and showed it to the people as he walked round the scaffold; he accompanied this monstrous ceremony with the most atrocious and indecent gestures. At first an awful silence prevailed; at length some cries of 'Vive la Republique!' were heard. By degrees the voices multiplied and in less than ten minutes this cry, a thousand times repeated became the universal shout of the multitude, and every hat was in the air."

[References: Cronin, Vincent, Louis and Antoinete (1975); Edgeworth, Henry in Thompson, J.M., English Witnesses of the French Revolution (1938, Memoirs originally published 1815).]



In the name of the Very holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost.