Rorate Caeli

The Gentle Traditionalist Returns — Roger Buck on the “New Ageification” of Ireland and the West

by Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

The Gentle Traditionalist Returns by Roger Buck. Brooklyn: Angelico Press, 2019. 262 pp. Paperback $17.95; cloth $34.35. Order here.

MANY CATHOLICS, many Christians, even many “non-religious” people who have retained shreds of sanity (like the recently deceased Roger Scruton), are trying to answer the question: How did the West get to this point of dissolution in its social and cultural life? How did it come about that the Catholic Church itself, which had once seemed an impregnable bastion of order, decency, beauty, and meaning, succumb enthusiastically to the suicidal secularism and irrationalism characteristic of our postmodern times?

Humanly speaking, there will not be a single source that can give a complete answer to this question. We piece together our answers as we are able and as the Lord grants us opportunities for insight. But I think we have all had the experience that certain books stand out for opening up fruitful avenues of thought, connecting more dots, or bringing in new elements of which one had been unaware. This has been my experience over the years with key books, such as Martin Mosebach’s  Heresy of Formlessness and Henry Sire’s masterpiece Phoenix from the Ashes, and I imagine it is happening for a lot of readers today with Bishop Schneider’s Christus Vincit.

Roger Buck, a former New Age enthusiast, indeed apologist and campaigner, who experienced a double conversion, first to Christianity and then to traditional Catholicism, is making unique contributions to this effort to understand our current situation in the West and in the Church, which has come to a head in the panreligious, syncretistic, humanistic, one-world-government Age of Abu Dhabi. He speaks authoritatively, with detailed academic and personal knowledge, about the influence of the New Age movement behind the scenes and diffusively throughout society in its popular media spin-offs, which can nevertheless be traced back to purer origins.

The last two works by Buck — his winsome novel The Gentle Traditionalist (Angelico, 2015) and his more wide-ranging, philosophical, autobiographical Cor Jesu Sacratissimum: From Secularism and the New Age to Christendom Renewed (Angelico, 2016) — are now joined by a third book: The Gentle Traditionalist Returns (Angelico, 2019). As one who hugely enjoyed the first novel when appeared four years ago and ended up distributing many copies of it to friends and family, I was overjoyed to see a sequel, although also a bit apprehensive, because sequels can sometimes be disappointing (certainly with movies, as often as not: with the endless Star Wars series, pretty soon we’ll be peering into Luke’s first trimester).

HAPPILY, Buck’s latest foray is a grand success. The book opens with the narrator discussing his journey to Catholicism and how he is slowly awakening to the magnitude of the spiritual combat around him, something his more sensitive wife has long perceived. There are moving reminiscences of the Ireland of yesterday and today, together with expressions of affectionate concern for their relative Brigid, whom we learn has fallen prey to a New Age activist and slickster, Gareth LightShadow. In the central part of the story, GT (Gilbert Tracey or the Gentle Traditionalist) skewers LightShadow, though the latter is too besotted with himself to realize he’s been made a fool of. In the process, GT exposes political and cultural connections most Christians have never heard of, much less reckoned with. In particular, Buck wants to explain how a twin force, which he names the New Secular Religion (or Secular Materialism) and the New Age Religion (or Secular Spiritualism), work together to undermine Christianity and, in fact, basic human dignity and reason.

The story features the same singular combination of whimsy and surprise, keen social commentary, and deft argumentation as the first Gentle Traditionalist. (Note that it is not necessary to have read the first in order to follow the second; they are written as stand-alone books.) The new book, however, has more pathos, paints its characters more fully, and sustains a more serious tone throughout, without descending into preachiness. The tragedy of an Ireland implosively denaturing itself, the plight of the unborn sold to the Me-market, and the self-disembowelment of the Church are prominent themes.

In a lengthy Afterword, “Occultism and the Easternization of the Anglosphere” (pp. 193–242) that is worth the price of the book all by itself, Buck drops the story genre and simply expounds the penetration of Eastern esotericism into the West. He wants to explain how “Eastern Occultism Without Christ” has penetrated so far and so wide that it is nowadays to be found in bestselling novels, popular magazines, television shows, UN and EU programs — and, we might add, in homilies and sermons too, not to mention utterances from Rome. There is a great deal of connecting-the-dots in these pages that helps in tuning one’s ear and sharpening one’s eye. Already thanks to the novel and its Afterword, I am able to perceive new layers of intelligibility in pieces of world news and Vatican news.

The novel part of the book is shot through with a combination of melancholy and hopefulness that reminds me of the best poetry and folk music, while the Afterword offers a painstaking analysis of figures we neglect to our disadvantage. The Gentle Traditionalist Returns appeals to what is best and deepest in us, so that we will reengage with that which ultimately matters while there is yet time. 

Thank you, Roger Buck, for another brilliant tale of spiritual awakening and discovery.

To order in paperback or hardcover, visit the publisher's page, which has links to various Amazon sites. Interested readers may wish to visit the author's blog Cor Jesu Sacratissimum and especially his YouTube channel, which features many video discussions on a variety of subjects.


“Vatican’s dear citadel / Besieged of hell?”: A Poem Written by Pope Leo XIII

Although educated Catholics know Leo XIII as a prolific author of encyclicals, especially on Catholic social doctrine and on the Rosary, fewer are aware that he wrote a considerable body of poetry, including liturgical hymns, sonnets, ballads, and other popular forms. What follows is a (poetic) English translation of one of the poems, copied out of an old volume that I have long since lost the title of. The poignancy of certain lines struck me, in light of the events of recent days and years. (UPDATE: A kind reader sent in the exact reference! The book is called Poems, Charades, Inscriptions of Pope Leo XIII: Including the Revised Compositions of His Early Life in Chronological Order, published in 1902.
Lines written on New Year’s Eve, 1900
Pope Leo XIII

A noble nurse of all the arts,
The Age departs:
Let who will sing the truths it taught,
The marvels wrought.

Me rather shall its sinful years
But move to tears,
As in a backward glance I see
Its infamy.

Shall blood of men be my lament,
Or scepters rent,
Or Vatican’s dear citadel
Besieged of hell?

Socci: The Backstory: here is what went on behind the scenes. The rage of the despot against the Catholic Pope

Reliable sources inside the Vatican have pieced together what happened. The book “From the Depths of Our Hearts” is clearly by Benedict XVI and Cardinal Sarah (as indeed the letters between the two of them -  made public by Cardinal Sarah -  demonstrate unequivocally). Everything had been decided and agreed upon from the very start. The other day – when the part defending celibacy was published -  pandemonium broke out in the Vatican because Bergoglio was fuming with rage. In fact, that authoritative  pronouncement by Benedict, stops him from tearing apart ecclesiastic celibacy, as he had intended to do in the upcoming Post-Synod Exhortation. So, he personally summoned Monsignor Gaenswein, Benedict’s secretary, but also Prefect of Bergoglio’s Papal Household and, furious, ordered him to have Benedict XVI’s name removed from the cover of the book (being unable to demand the changing of the texts therein).
Bergoglio demanded a full and total disclaimer. For this reason the first filtered report spoke of sources “close to Benedict XVI” who said Benedict had not written the book with Cardinal Sarah, nor had he approved the cover (that is, his signature on the volume).
This however, was not true and Benedict XVI was unable to accept speaking falsely by implicitly accusing Cardinal Sarah of having involved him without his consent. Neither did Pope Benedict have any intention of taking back what he had written in defense of celibacy in the book. In fact Cardinal Sarah immediately made the letters exchanged between them public, which showed the book had been decided upon by both of them, and without doubt he made them public with Benedict’s permission. To re-establish the truth.   
On the other hand, Benedict also found himself needing to protect his secretary from the South American’s “vengeance”, seeing as he had received a peremptory order from Bergoglio. So this solution of compromise was adopted: in  successive book editions the author will be Cardinal Sarah “with the contribution of Benedict XVI”.  The text of the book, nevertheless, remains the same.
With this messy compromise, the Bergoglian court can say to the mass-media that “Benedict XVI removed his signature from the book” (even if it’s not true) but in actual fact the book remains just as it is, with Sarah’s signature and Benedict’s name as author of the parts agreed upon.
A very ugly story of clerical bullying, which, in the end, aims at muzzling Benedict XVI.  
The fundamental question remains however: If Bergoglio – in his Exhortation -  hits out at celibacy (with the ordination of “viri probati”), he places himself de facto in direct contrast with the  doctrine of the Church, reaffirmed in recent days by Pope Benedict XVI. Thus, he becomes  responsible for a very grave rift, fraught with consequences.

Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana

Source: Antonio Socci’s Facebook

Vatican - Bishops, Get Ready: The Amazon Fake-Synod Bomb is Coming Up! (Confidential Letter)

"...with the guidance of the Holy Spirit..."
Vatican City, 13 January 2020

Your Eminence, Your Grace, Your Excellency:

The Holy Father is preparing a new Apostolic Exhortation to present the New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology as developed with the guidance of the Holy Spirit during the Synod on the Amazon in October last year.

The draft is currently being reviewed and corrected and then needs to be translated. Pope Francis hopes to promulgate it by the end of this month or in early February.

Announcing And Rightly So—Selected Letters and Articles of Neil McCaffrey

The name of Neil McCaffrey (1925–1994) will be familiar to those who have followed the fortunes and trials of the conservative movement in the United States, as well as to long-time readers of Rorate Caeli, which has featured a number of his outstanding occasional writings: his ever-relevant “Memorandum on Papal Cheerleaders” from February 1976; his incisive essay “Archbishop Lefebvre, Pope Paul VI, and Catholic Tradition” from 1977; a couple of his personal letters (1, 2) on the meaning of true charity and how it coexists with right judgment; and a letter exchange with Msgr. Eugene Clark on the superiority and insuppressibility of the old Mass.

Born in Rye, NY and a lifetime resident of Pelham, Neil McCaffrey was the founder of Conservative Book Club and Arlington House Publishers, which he ran for decades, and a respected behind-the-scenes political organizer who knew everyone, collaborating especially with William F. Buckley, Jr., and others at National Review. Neil was also a knowledgeable enthusiast of old films and the music of the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, an enthusiasm reflected in his founding of the Nostalgia Book Club in 1968 and his leading of the Movie Entertainment Book Club from 1978. Above all, Neil was a faithful and well-educated Catholic who saw what was happening to the Church because of the Vatican II revolution, and who spoke with unusual eloquence in defense of the orthodox Faith.

Anno Domini MMXX - Notes for the Year: Benedict XVI Speaks Up in Defense of Priestly Celibacy - Could this be why Amazon Synod document is late?

Wasn't the final papal document (post-synodal exhortation) of the Amazon Synod supposed to be released before Christmas 2019? And yet, nothing came out. Could it be a last-minute intervention regarding one of the pet projects of the Francis pontificate, the ordinary ordination of married men in the Amazon region?

One can suspect this with the upcoming publication of a Book jointly written by Benedict XVI and Cardinal Sarah. A scoop revealed by Jean-Marie Guenois, of conservative French daily Le Figaro, as we note below in excerpts from the Associated Press report (book excerpts in bold):

Pope Benedict XVI breaks silence to reaffirm priest celibacy

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Retired Pope Benedict XVI has broken his silence to reaffirm the value of priestly celibacy, co-authoring a bombshell book at the precise moment that Pope Francis is weighing whether to allow married men to be ordained to address the Catholic priest shortage.

Benedict wrote the book, “From the Depths of Our Hearts: Priesthood, Celibacy and the Crisis of the Catholic Church,” along with his fellow conservative, Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, who heads the Vatican’s liturgy office and has been a quiet critic of Francis.

Events: Third Annual Lepanto Conference, New York City, February 15, with Cardinal Zen

This is major news indeed!

The third annual Lepanto Conference will take place in New York City on Saturday, February 15, 2020, beginning with a Pontifical Mass in the traditional rite at the great Dominican church of St Vincent Ferrer (869 Lexington Avenue).

The Mass will be celebrated by His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Zen, Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong, beginning at 11 a.m., and followed by followed by lectures and a procession. Lectures will be given by Cardinal Zen, Dr. Michael P. Foley, and Rev. George Rutler. Confessions will be heard at the Church of St Vincent Ferrer beginning at 10:00 AM.

Last year’s conference was a massive success, boasting 700+ in attendance. For more information, see the event's Facebook page.

De Mattei: In Memoriam: The French Historian and the Italian Philosopher

Roberto de Mattei
Corrispondenza Romana
January 8, 2020

Roberto de Mattei, Augusto Del Noce, Jean de Viguerie

The French historian, Jean de Viguerie departed this life on December 15th 2019. Two weeks later, on December 30th , there was the 30th anniversary of the death of the Italian philosopher Augusto del Noce. What did these two figures of 20th century Catholic culture have in common?

Jean de Viguerie, born in Rome in 1935, followed a brilliant academic career, becoming Professor emeritus at the University of Lille-III, without ever making compromises to the dominant culture. «La foi irriguait toute la vie de Jean de Viguerie et nourrissait sa vie de professeur» wrote his disciple, Philippe Pichot Bravard.

Viguerie had a thorough, deep knowledge of the 20th century. In my opinion, his fundamental work is Christianisme et Révolution. Cinq leçons d’Histoire de la Révolution française (Nouvelles Editions Latines, 1986). The reading of this book, alongside La Révolution française by Pierre Gaxotte (Edition by Jean Tulard, Complexe, 1988) offers us a synthetic, but illuminating picture of what happened in France between 1789 and 1795. His most original work though, is Les deux patries. Essai historique sur l’idée de patrie en France (Dominique Martin Morin, 1998). The French historian demonstrates how in the 19th century, a new concept of « patria » superimposed itself on the traditional one, rooted in a concrete place and a precise historical memory. It was in the name of this ideology that France went into the First World War. The Union Sacrée of 1914, between nationalists of the left and the right, was a continuation of the call to arms launched in 1792, when the National Assembly declared “La Patrie en danger!” [The Homeland is in danger!].

The Priest Who Led Believers into the Temple of the Roman Liturgy

The following article was published in German on November 21st for the 50th Anniversary of the death of Father Sylvester Juergens, the ultimate source of the Angelus Missal, still in use today after eight reprints. It is offered here to Rorate readers in an English translation.

Fr. Sylvester Juergens (1894–1969):
The Priest Who Led Believers into the Temple of the Roman Liturgy

By Clemens Victor Oldendorf

2019 was a year in which many golden anniversaries or fiftieth anniversaries lined up for the Catholic Church, bearing on extolling the liturgical reform of Paul VI or defending the preservation of the liturgical tradition.

On April 3, 1969 Paul VI promulgated his Novus Ordo Missae, which came into force in most countries on November 30, the first Sunday of Advent in 1969. June 5, in that year the feast of Corpus Christi, was the date of the Short Critical Investigation of this new Ordo, addressed with a cover letter by the Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci to Paul VI on September 25, 1969. On October 13, 1969, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre opened his theological study-centre for priestly formation in Friborg, Switzerland, which was, so to speak, the seed from which the tender plant of the Society of St. Pius X was to spring forth.

The Papal slap

A lot of people have weighed in on Pope Francis repeatedly slapping the hand of a pilgrim in St Peter’s Square. Reactions have not divided simply along ideological lines. Austin Ruse suggested, on Twitter, that Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul II would have reacted even more fiercely to a pilgrim grabbing their hands and not letting go. I was undecided myself at first. The pilgrim’s action did seem a little aggressive. On the other hand, there she is, in the video, a rather small Chinese lady, making a sign of the cross to steel herself to take the hand of the much larger Pope, surrounded by body guards. From what one can see of the timing of the incident, the Pope reacts as he does not to the surprise of the physical aspect of the gesture, but to what she is saying. She is saying something about Hong Kong…

Fontgombault Sermon for the Epiphany - "The Church is necessary for Salvation: The storms rocking Peter’s ship invite us to get closer to Christ."

Sermon of the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau
Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault
Fontgombault, January 6, 2020

Vidimus stellam eius.
We have seen His star in the East.
(Mt 2:2)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
My dearly beloved Sons,

During Advent, we appropriated the expectation of the men and women of the Old Testament, and we yearned for the coming of the promised Messiah. This found an echo in the liturgy, with its many repetitions of the call, “Veni, Come”.

This expectation for a Comforter is not something proper to Christians exclusively. Every man who wonders, even just a little, what the meaning of his life may be, yearns for a light, for a pointer on the path towards happiness, for an answer to the painful questions included in each human life. Unfortunately, many go astray, following stars leading to dead-ends, to unfulfillable hopes. The multiplication of sects, the revival of mystery religions, the development of Masonic lodges, bear witness to that fact. Man is often an anonymous person, lost in a crowd of anonymous persons. Everyone follows his own path, towards manifold directions, without a guide, on his own.

Anno Domini MMXX - The Epiphany of the Lord: Let us celebrate Kings' Feast with great joy!

Omnes de Saba venient, aurum et thus deferentes, et laudem Domino annuntiantes.
All they from Saba shall come, bringing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the Lord.
Isaiah, 60
Gradual for the Mass of the Feast

Theodosius, Charlemagne, our own Alfred the Great and Edward the Confessor, Stephen of Hungary, the Emperor Henry 2nd, Ferdinand of Castile, Louis 9th of France, are examples of Kings who had a special devotion to the Feast of the Epiphany. Their ambition was to go, in company with the Magi, to the feet of the Divine Infant, and offer him their gifts. At the English Court, the custom is still retained, and the reigning Sovereign offers an ingot of Gold as a tribute of homage to Jesus the King of kings: the ingot is afterwards redeemed by a certain sum of money.

Anno Domini MMXX - Notes for the Year
- January 5th: The Most Holy Name of Jesus in St. Therese's most ardent desires

At the Name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.

Epistle of St. Paul to the Philippians 2:10 
Introit for the Mass for the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus


To be Thy Spouse, O my Jesus, to be a daughter of Carmel, and by my union with Thee to be the mother of souls, should not all this content me? And yet other vocations make themselves felt—I feel called to the Priesthood and to the Apostolate—I would be a Martyr, a Doctor of the Church. I should like to accomplish the most heroic deeds—the spirit of the Crusader burns within me, and I long to die on the field of battle in defense of Holy Church.

Anno Domini MMXX - Notes for the Year - January 3rd: Roe should be overruled

"For while I was yet little I pleased the Most High, and from my womb have I brought forth God and man."
Roman Breviary
Responsory for the First Lesson for Matins, January 3rd


'Roe’s jurisprudence has been haphazard from the beginning. Roe did not actually hold that abortion was a “fundamental” constitutional right, but only implied it. ... Roe’s jurisprudence has been characterized by Delphic confusion and protean change.'
'[We] respectfully suggest that the court’s struggle—similar to dozens of other courts’ herculean struggles in this area—illustrates the unworkability of the “right to abortion” found in Roe and the need for the Court to take up the issue of whether Roe and Casey should be reconsidered and, if appropriate, overruled.'

From the Amicus Curiae brief signed by over 200 members
of the United States Congress
to the Supreme Court of the United States
in the pending case June Medical Services LLC v. Gee

Free traditional liturgical calendar for bishops and priests

As they have done the last couple of years, the Servants of the Holy Family have asked us to alert the prelates and priests who read our blog that they can obtain a free traditional liturgical calendar! We have already reviewed this calendar and included that review with pictures below.

We are told that many priests, and several bishops, have requested free calendars over the last two years so this project has been successful.

For any priests or bishops who want a free calendar -- and for any layman who wants to send a calendar to a priest or bishop -- just click on the "CLICK HERE" below and fill out the form. Be sure to have the name and title of the cleric it should be sent to as well as the address.

Original post 9/20/2019:
We seem to say this every year -- but it really is hard to believe summer is almost over and it's time to start thinking about your 2020 liturgical calendar! Here at Rorate, we will review several calendars for the upcoming year, each and every year. And once again this year, the first calendar we received to review comes to us from the Servants of the Holy Family. 

Reminder: Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society

This is our monthly reminder to please enroll Souls of the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society. Last month, we gained another wonderful priest for the ranks, and the Society now stands at 98 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 in English to give to the loved ones of the Souls you enroll (you send these to the family and/or friends of the dead, not to us). It's free for anyone to use. CLICK HERE to download in Latin and CLICK HERE to download in Spanish

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 repose of 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.

Anno Domini MMXX - Notes for the Year: January 1st with 5th-Century Mosaics at Saint Mary Major

The divine plan for the world’s salvation included the existence of a Mother of God: and as heresy sought to deny the mystery of the Incarnation, it equally sought to deny the glorious prerogative of Mary. Nestorius asserted that Jesus was only man; Mary consequently was not Mother of God, but merely Mother of a Man called Jesus. This impious doctrine roused the indignation of the Catholic world. The East and West united in proclaiming that Jesus was God and Man, in unity of Person; and that Mary, being his Mother, was, in strict truth, Mother of God.’

Plenary Indulgence reminders:
Te Deum on Dec. 31
Veni Creator on Jan. 1

§ 1. A plenary indulgence is granted to the Christian faithful who, in a church or in an oratory, are present in a recitation or solemn chant of: ...

Malarkey from Mullaney: The Conversion of Jesus by a Woman

Malarkey from Mullaney:  The Conversion of Jesus by a Woman

Just when one thinks that one has read or heard all of the mindless and harmful stuff that Catholic clergy have written or spoken, that assumption is shattered, this time by a truly offensive homily given by Father Michael Mullaney, the President of Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Ireland, a section of which homily was published on Rorate Caeli a short while ago.  

THOMAS BECKET - "This is the sign of the Church always: The Sign of Blood."

KNIGHTS. Where is Becket, the traitor to the King?
Where is Becket, the meddling priest?
Come down Daniel to the lions' den,
Come down Daniel for the mark of the beast.

Fontgombault Sermons for Christmas
- II: Christmas Day - "The Catholic Faith is thrown into doubt in our days - It is not enough for a Christian to be merciful."

Christmas Day Mass

Sermon of the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau
Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault
Fontgombault, December 25, 2019

Et Verbum caro factum est.
And the Word was made flesh.
(Jn 1:14)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
My dearly beloved Sons,

At this time, the shepherds have now left to go back to their fold. Mary and Joseph find themselves alone in the stable. Mary ponders in her heart the events that just took place, and which already are a mystery.

Fontgombault Sermons for Christmas
- I: Midnight Mass - "Our Dehumanized World has no room for children."

Christmas - Midnight Mass

Sermon of the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau
Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault
Fontgombault, December 25, 2019

Natus est vobis hodie Salvator.
This day is born to you a Savior.
(Lk 2:11)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
My dearly beloved Sons,

The Church celebrates Christmas by unfolding the treasures of her liturgy. During the three Masses today, she commemorates the historical birth of the Child Jesus, more than two thousand years ago in a poor stable in the surroundings of Bethlehem; what is more, she initiates us to the great mystery, both visible and invisible, which is taking place, and of which we are the recipients.

There are three milestones on this path. The midnight Mass readings recall the birth of the divine Child. The Mass at dawn invites us to follow the shepherds’ path of faith. They see and they believe. The foretold light has shone for these men. It should also shine for us, provided that we have simple hearts. Last, an unexpected milestone: the day Mass readings focus on the eternal generation of the Word of God in the bosom of the Father. As they contemplate the Trinity, they remind us that the Child in the crib is truly God.

The Original Festival of Nine Lessons - Merry Christmas!

A Very Merry Christmas and a Blessed Christmastide to you and Yours!

Not everyone has the opportunity or the inclination to pray the entire Matins of the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord. So we in Rorate gathered that our readers could take a shorter time to read through the traditional Nine Lessons of Christmas, as given to us in the Roman Breviary and the Roman Missal.

A Festival of Nine Lessons

Lesson I
Isaiah 9:1-6

At the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian. For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.


Lesson II
Isaiah 40:1-8

"Comfort ye, comfort ye my people," saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." The voice said, "Cry." And he said, "What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever."


Lesson III
Isaiah 52:1-6

Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion. For thus saith the Lord, "Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money." For thus saith the Lord God, "My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause. Now therefore, what have I here," saith the Lord, "that my people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them make them to howl," saith the Lord; "and my name continually every day is blasphemed. Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I."

Lesson IV
From the First Sermon of Pope Saint Leo the Great for Christmas

Nothing Says Christmas Like a Priest Saying "Jesus Was a Racist"

It didn't happen just anywhere, no, it happened in that which used to be the central learning institution for thousands of Irish priests sent around the world to teach the Catholic and Apostolic Faith, Maynooth. The preacher was the President of Saint Patrick's College Maynooth himself, Father Michael Mullaney.

And in a Christmas Carol service no less, and posted on the website of the Bishops' Conference of Ireland:

RORATE SUNDAY: Fourteenth Anniversary of Rorate Caeli

This blog was launched fourteen years ago today. We thank Almighty God for the countless graces He has showered upon this apostolate, for the many souls that have been nourished by Catholic truth, encouraged by signs of hope, challenged by the demands of tradition, driven to prayer and fasting by the need to exorcise the demons of our time -- and, above all, moved to greater love and fidelity to Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

How often have we felt like crying out, with the Prophet Isaiah, with the people of Israel, with all God-fearing souls throughout the centuries: "O that thou wouldst rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at thy presence -- as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil -- to make thy name known to thy adversaries, and that the nations might tremble at thy presence!" (Isa 64:1-2). Now, more than ever, O Lord, rend the heavens and come down to save Thy People, in captivity, in exile, wandering in the desert of modernity!

This, indeed, is what the magnificent, evocative, and pleading melody of the Introit at today's Mass conveys to us: "O heavens, let the Just One rain down like the dew, let Him descend from the clouds like rain: let the earth be opened and give birth to the Savior."

Dom Dominic Johner, O.S.B., offers us this wonderful meditation on the Introit in his classic work The Chants of the Vatican Gradual:

Great Moments in Papal Oratory - I: Processes

We need to initiate processes and not just occupy spaces: “God manifests himself in historical revelation, in history. Time initiates processes and space crystallizes them. God is in history, in the processes. We must not focus on occupying the spaces where power is exercised, but rather on starting long-run historical processes. We must initiate processes rather than occupy spaces. God manifests himself in time and is present in the processes of history. This gives priority to actions that give birth to new historical dynamics. And it requires patience, waiting”. In this sense, we are urged to read the signs of the times with the eyes of faith, so that the direction of this change should “raise new and old questions which it is right that we should face”.


Dominus Meus et Deus Meus! - Saint Thomas the Apostle's Day is TODAY

At that time, Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, We have seen the Lord. But he said to them, Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe. And after eight days, His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being closed, and stood in their midst, and said, Peace be to you! Then He said to Thomas, Bring here your finger, and see My hands; and bring here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing. Thomas answered and said to Him, My Lord and my God! Jesus said to him, Because you have seen Me, Thomas, you have believed. Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed. [Gospel for the Feast of Saint Thomas]

The Feast of Saint Thomas the Apostle has traditionally been celebrated on December 21st in the Latin Church: it is a great feast of a great apostle, and it is held on this day because it is considered the date of his martyrdom. It has been celebrated for so long on this day in the Western Church, that Saint Thomas of Canterbury himself -- whose martyrdom we will celebrate shortly, during the Octave of Christmas, and who made the name Thomas, previously not very used in English, great in England and in English-speaking nations -- was named after the Apostle, having been born on this feast day: December 21st, 1119 (or 1120). Unfortunately, this is one of the feasts (of an Apostle no less) that the committees that created the new mass of Paul VI out of nowhere decided to move elsewhere in their customarily careless and slapdash way due to their own pet historical or pseudo-historical prejudices.

The Syro-Malabar Church -- one of the "sui iuris" churches of the Catholic Church, and the main Eastern-rite Catholic Church in India, the land where the great Thomas died and is most highly venerated -- still celebrates this most eminent Apostle with all Traditional Catholics of the Latin Rite on this day. It is a strong reminder of the unforgettable profession of Faith in the Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the days nearest to His blessed Nativity. As Dom Guéranger said:

De Mattei: The ‘Mestizo’ Theology of Pope Francis

Roberto de Mattei
Corrispondenza Romana
December 18, 2019

One of the oft repeated words in Pope Francis' vocabulary is “mestizo”. Francis gives a political, cultural and even a theological interpretation to this term,  not only an ethnic meaning,  He did this on December 12, when affirming  Our Lady “wanted to be  “”mestizo’. She became mestizo for us, not only for Juan Diego. She became  mestizo to show that she is everyone’s mother. She became mestizo with all of humanity. Why?  Because God became “mestizo”. And this is the great mystery: Mary, Mother “mestizo” God, true God and true Man, in His Son” (’Osservatore Romano, 13 December 2019.

Whether Pope Francis is aware of it or not, the origin of  this “mestizo” vision  regarding the Mystery of the Incarnation is in the heresy of Eutyches (378-454,  Archimandrite, of a monastery in Constantinople,); according to Eutyches,  after the hypostatic union, the humanity and Divinity of Christ, was fused to form a tertium quid, a hybrid coalescence that would actually be neither God nor man. ‘Eutycheanism’ is a rough form of Monophysitism because it admits in the Son of God Incarnate, one single nature, resulting from this confused union of divinity with humanity.

Following Eusebius of Dorylaeum’s denunciation (he had also accused Nestorius twenty years before that), Flavian, Bishop of Constantinople, in 448 A.D. summoned a synod in which Eutchyes was condemned as a heretic and excommunicated. Eutchyes, however, with the support of Dioscoros, the Patriarch of Alessandria, succeeded in having another synod called in Ephesus, at which he was rehabilitated, while Flavian, Eusebius and other bishops were attacked and subsequently deposed.  The Pope at that time was Leo The Great, who rejected the Synod of Ephesus, calling it Latrocinium Ephesinum; in fact, it was called the  Robber Council of Ephesus and went down in history with that name.

On Pontifical Biblical Commission document and homosexuality, better not to rush to judgment

The Pontifical Biblical Commission, first created by Pope Leo XIII and strengthened by Saint Pius X, but transformed for the worse, like everything, after Vatican II, released this week a document dated from September 30, 2019, with the following title: "What is Man? An Itinerary of Biblical Anthropology" (Che cosa è l’uomo? Un itinerario di antropologia biblica).

Unfortunately, the document is currently available only in Italian and only in very limited circulation in printed form, published by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

Some excerpts have popped up, claiming that the document states, among other things, that, "the erotic homosexual relationship should not be condemned," or favoring same-sex unions. Since the context of each quote is not available, we would caution any rush to judgment, even though so many bad things are to be expected from the Vatican in the current pontificate.

We wish to give two examples of the dangers of short excerpts without further data from the surrounding context. For instance, what if we say that "The Vatican" said that, "homosexuality is at least a completely harmless, if not an entirely good, thing"? Or that "The Vatican" said that, "homosexual activity is equivalent to, or as acceptable as, the sexual expression of conjugal love"?

The context for the first quote is the following:

There is an effort in some countries to manipulate the Church by gaining the often well-intentioned support of her pastors with a view to changing civil-statutes and laws. This is done in order to conform to these pressure groups' concept that homosexuality is at least a completely harmless, if not an entirely good, thing. Even when the practice of homosexuality may seriously threaten the lives and well-being of a large number of people, its advocates remain undeterred and refuse to consider the magnitude of the risks involved. [emphasis added]

And the context for the second quote is the following:

The Church can never be so callous. It is true that her clear position cannot be revised by pressure from civil legislation or the trend of the moment. But she is really concerned about the many who are not represented by the pro-homosexual movement and about those who may have been tempted to believe its deceitful propaganda. She is also aware that the view that homosexual activity is equivalent to, or as acceptable as, the sexual expression of conjugal love has a direct impact on society's understanding of the nature and rights of the family and puts them in jeopardy. [emphasis added]

Both quotations come from the important 1986 Letter to the Bishops on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Therefore, context is key. One may expect the worst and still be cautious regarding excerpts that do not provide a full view of the arguments presented in the overall context of a theological text. If the text turns out to be terrible, then it must be condemned. But a rush to judgment must be avoided.

As soon as the full document becomes widely available, we will return to this matter.

Event: Advent day of recollection for young adults with ICR in Missouri

Christmas Octave of Sung and Solemn Masses in St. Louis, Missouri

In what may well be a first at the diocesan level, the Oratory of Sts. Gregory and Augustine in St. Louis, Missouri, will be offering Solemn High Mass or Missa Cantata every day of the Christmas octave, as indicated in the poster below.

These special Masses will be added to the normal schedule of low Masses.

The sacred music will be sung by both the Oratory choir and the Schola of St. Hugh. It will include ordinaries by Victoria and Byrd and little heard chant ordinaries III and V. Other selections include Palestrina, Marenzio, Bach, Daquin, and Handel.

The Oratory has been functioning at St. Luke Parish in Richmond Heights since July 1, 2018.

FLASH: Queen's Chaplain converts to Catholicism!

Even though papers of record like the New York Times have not deemed as newsworthy the story of one of the former Queen’s Chaplains who has very recently converted to Catholicism, for those of us Catholics who have real concern over the present state of the Catholic Church, this story is indeed of great interest, or should be.

Gavin Ashenden will receive Confirmation on December 22, the Fourth Sunday in Advent, during a Mass at Shrewsbury Cathedral from Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury.  The Diocese of Shrewsbury said that Ashenden’s Anglican orders will be suspended upon his reception into the Church, and he will become a lay Catholic theologian.

Communion handling: the gravest problem (First of Two Posts)

Inspired by recent debates on the matter, we repost this 2011 item.


Translation problems? Mass celebrated towards the people? Altar girls? Postures?

No, the greatest and gravest problem of the liturgy of the Latin Church - that is, of the "Ordinary form", or Mass of Paul VI - is one that transcends all this, even it is related to all of them: it is the way the Body of Christ is treated.

You Suggest: Help a jewel of a church in West Virginia renovate its organ

The following email was sent to us by a reader. You may remember back in the summer Rorate visited this church and posted about it. Catholic churches in West Virginia are typically anything but beautiful. To say this church is a jewel is an understatement. This Advent, consider opening your hearts, and your wallets, to help restore this organ and keep the church thriving in the future. It is the only diocesan parish in the entire state with a weekly Sunday Traditional Latin Mass!

From a reader:

St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Weston, West Virginia, is working to renovate and expand its pipe organ.  Weston is a small town in central West Virginia, with an historically strong Catholic population.  St. Patrick’s is currently the only diocesan parish with a weekly Sunday TLM.  The pastor, Fr. James DeViese (whose responsibilities include three parishes, a school, and work in the Diocesan chancery), seeks to encourage a greater “mutual enrichment” between the two forms of the Roman Rite, while managing the limited resources of a small parish. 

You Report: Card. Burke and the rise of tradition in Slovakia

Note: The following report is from a reader, however we can report ourselves that we hear tradition, and the Mass, are rising in Slovakia. Be sure to look at all of the amazing photos in the link and a video of the full Mass below. 

CLICK HERE for more wonderful photos.

From a reader:

Card. Burke visited Trnava, a city in Western Slovakia, between November 15 and 18, 2019 during the famous Trnava novena in honor of a miraculous image of Our Lady venerated in the Basilica of St. Nicholas. The picture wept blood in 1663 when Trnava was threatened by the Turks, and again in
1710 when Our Lady saved the city from the plague.

New edition of the FIUV magazine

Readers of Rorate Caeli may not even know that there is such a thing as Una Voce International, the FIUV (Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce), let alone that it has a magazine.

But a new edition is available as a pdf download, and is worth a look, with news and photographs from literally all over the world. It can be downloaded here.

Anyone can join the mailing list for receipt of Gregorius Magnus: sign up here  to receive mailings like this one.

With best wishes for Advent and Christmas!

Appeal! Please Help a Group of Traditional Monks in France acquire their permanent Home

Readers may know of the Monastère Saint-Benoît, a small Benedictine monastery in Provence in the South East of France in the Diocese of Fréjus-Toulon founded in 2011, of traditional, classic monastic observance which celebrates the older forms of the Roman and monastic rites – including, with permission, the pre-1955 Holy Week rites. Later this month Bishop Rey will confer the minor orders of Exorcist and Acolyte on one on the junior monks in formation.

The monastery is an international English-speaking community and with a good number of vocation enquiries from young men around the world and is the home of the Sacra Liturgia initiatives. In recent years its annual liturgical summer school has welcomed Cardinal Burke, Bishop Schnieder, Archbishop Thomas Gullickson, etc. As its latest newsletter details, Cardinal Sarah visited the monastery for a weekend last September and celebrated a beautiful pontifical Mass according to the traditional rites.

Pontifical High Mass with Cardinal Burke and Christkindlmarkt in La Crosse, December 14-15

We are very pleased to announce two very special things happening on this upcoming weekend at the magnificent Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin:

Back in Print: Cardinal Billot’s Liberalism: A Critique of Its Basic Principles and Its Various Forms in a Newly Revised Translation

Exciting news from our friends at Arouca Press!

This new edition of Billot's classic work on liberalism features an introduction and a newly revised translation by Thomas Storck. It also includes a foreword by Fr. Thomas Crean, OP.