Rorate Caeli

Exultet Note
"Be ye wise as serpents and simple as doves"

Our skepticism was proven right.

In the days leading up to Holy Thursday, I had already made my skepticism regarding the date for the release of a possible document known when I published the words, "Ja nicht auf das Fest, auf daß nicht ein Aufruhr werde im Volk!" (i.e. "Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people," St. Matthew, xxvi, 5, famously set to music by Bach in his Matthäuspassion). That obviously was too cryptic for many, so I had to write down more intelligible reasons for my skepticism.

Around the world, pedophiles, sodomites, perverts of all kinds, and other abusers of the body are commended and promoted in the Church; and, only when their abuse is made public, they are hidden and quietly dismissed. Around the world, heretics, dissenters, liturgical wreckers, and other abusers of the soul are praised and elevated.

Meanwhile, Traditional Catholics, those who merely want to be catechized, to pray, and to worship as countless generations of Catholics did, are the lepers of Catholicism. They are despised, trampled upon, hated, persecuted, and, when tolerated, ghettoized. They receive hatred and ridicule from "liberal" bishops. They are seen with mistrust and disdain by "conservatives".

This reality is very clear to me and to most Traditionalists, who are keenly aware of the Catholic version of "Murphy's Law": "If a measure which favors Traditional Catholics is expected, then it will probably not happen." This law has been in force for 40 years and Catholics who follow this kind of news must never forget it -- I certainly never did and I had assumed most, if not all, Traditional Catholics were experienced enough to know it.

Another blogger amusingly saw despair here... Not at all, I have always expected the worst, and I have never expected much, not even in the most optimistic days, for this is the state of our times -- even though I felt compelled to report and translate what I had read elsewhere. This is an unfortunate age, but it auspiciously allows Catholics to earn many merits which otherwise would have been impossible for them to earn: "...the Divine permission of the greatest evils is holy, for it aims at a superior good, a good which we will one day contemplate and which only God may judge." (Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, The Three Ages of the Interior Life). If we do not see the supernatural side of things, we will always be disappointed about ecclesiastical power struggles which are not for us to settle.
And the document, will it come out? Well, why not? But the eventual signs for it will have to be clearer (see items (b) and (c) of my "increasingly skeptical" post here). A surprise, perhaps?... That would be very unlikely, but may God choose the time He sees fit.
In Dr. Philip Blosser's parallel blog Scripture and Catholic Tradition, a wonderful interview, first printed in the Latin Mass Magazine, with Dr. Alice von Hildebrand, with very good insights on the worst pontificate in modern times (Which one? Check here.)
A Happy Easter to all!


  1. I'd say that things have slowly been going the way of Traditionalists, though the time it takes tries their patience.

    I'm sorry that you aren't as optimistic as you said before in your comments...I'm still very optimistic that we'll see something big before long. Your unflagging attention has been of great benefit to all your readers and you deserve our thanks.

    Alice von Hildebrand is a wonderful woman and I loved her interview. But someone has to stick up for the Servant of God, Paul VI, lest the "worst pontificate" crack be left undisputed. "Greatest pontificate" of modern times would be more like it, if it weren't for "il grande Papa Giovanni Paolo" as our noble Benedict puts it. Considering the almost impossible situation Paul VI had to manage, it's a cinch to argue against the weak criticisms of Montini in the interview. I have recourse to his intercession frequently and I am quite sure he will be canonized within our lifetimes.

    If anyone's interested in more Apologia pro Montini, I'll be happy to give it; but I'll wait til Great Easter is past.

  2. In the period of greatest turmoil in the History of the Church in modern times, right after the infamous 1968, Pope Montini threw gasoline on the fire with his authoritarian imposition of the measures predicted in the Apostolic Constitution "Missale Romanum". That alone would have made his pontificate the worst in modern times, but there are so many failings I could not even begin to list them here.

    I have no doubt that the feeling many, even those who are not young, have regarding the Wojtylian age, is a personal feeling of relief after the worst pontificate in modern times.


    Thank you very much for the undeserved compliment, Jeff. A happy Easter to you and to your family.

  3. Pius XII when he sent Montini to Milan said that Arcgbishop Montini was his"gift to the people of Milan". Montini was close to Pius,he accopmanied him into Rome after the bombing and he detailed how shaken Pius was and how hiscassock was covered with blood.I personally know CardinalGagnon and he told me the story of th reports he ordered by Paul to do.One was on the Curia and the other on the Lateran university. Gagnon was devoted to Pope Paul VI but he told me the "agents of satan" are in the Vatican. I believe Paul VI is a saint as any holy person would be butno,no,no,to his canonization.His weakeness devastated the church.I grew up under Pius XII only to see Paul VI unable to control the forces that arose after the council.Bugnini himself tells how hehad to persuade the Pope to issue the Novus Ordo,Laicization was given if asked. Pope JPII inherited a chotic mess and gave the church enough stability that followingpopes can restore the Church. Rember it was Pope JPII who was going to issue the universal indult until the bishops of England anf France descended on Rome.PopeJPII told Alice vonHildebrand (whom I also know and admire) that the indult was on his desk and could be signed anytime. I believe Benedict will do itwith a smile no matter who tells him not to.

  4. Paul VI was often called the "Hamlet Pope"; my own feeling is that King Lear is much closer fit, in almost every respect - right down to the giving away of his crown. Goneril, Regan and their wicked consorts continue to devastate the vineyard, while good men go blind and mad. Cordelia? the only true daughter, banished with maledictions at the start of the madness? Well, who's Cordelia?

    "Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave
    My heart into my mouth. I love your Majesty
    According to my bond, no more nor less."

  5. Paul VI,..."Greatest pontificate" of modern times would be more like it, if it weren't for "il grande Papa Giovanni Paolo" as our noble Benedict puts it.


    You're an amiable and intelligent guy - but I'm simply staggered by this lunacy.

    "If you seek his monument, look around you"

  6. Jeff, I have no idea how you can call the potificate of Pope Paul VI great, good, or even average, it was a disaster for the church, and while Paul VI may have had a great deal of personal holiness, his indecsions, bad decsions and bad choices at all levels is the main reason why the church is in such bad shape today. The reason why the church was in a impossible situation after Vatican II is because Pope Paul VI refused to put his foot down. Knowing the damage his leadership caused, and to this day is still causeing, it would make me sick to see him canonized.

  7. As I said, I think all your observations are not absurd, but simply wrong. There are answers to them; or so I believe. And I'll return on Monday and stick up for my man Montini some more!

    Nevertheless, all these arguments--even the ones about liturgy, vital though they are--are put in the shade by that astounding and transforming truth: He is risen; indeed, He is risen! Alleluia!

    In the Blessed Beams of that Orient from on High, all shadows and all things that pass away are brought to naught. May we all see each other and rejoice in the place where there are no more tears and where all these bitter memories will be swallowed up in bliss.

  8. Of +Paul VI's personal sanctity I am not in doubt. Of his qualities as a leader of the Church... that I fear is another matter altogether. We would do well to remember that +Celestine V is commemorated by the West as a saint. But I have never read any apologies for his pontificate. One does not normally canonize a saint on the basis of their policies. Saints are made on the basis of their life in God which sometimes are reflected in their policies and sometimes not. We in the East commemorate the Holy Passion Bearer and Czar Nicholas II as a saint along with the other members of the Imperial Family. But I assure you his politics did not get him that honor.

  9. There is a saying that if you do not know the enemy, you know nothing; you are hopelessly lost.

    It is not cynicism to doubt the "good intentions" of those in charge in Rome. These are all Modernists, thus enemies of Tradition, if not the Church herself. There is no excuse for ignorance in this regard inasmuch as for forty years the documentation has been vast and consistent, from such as Atila Sinke Guimaráes and the priests and bishops of the SSPX.

    Then there is the evidence of the fruits of Vatican II and the relentless denial on the part of those responsible.

    Still, there are those who hold out hope that some "Vet" at the top is going to be willing, never mind able, to doctor the dead horse back to some semblance of life.

    If there is some seeming rapprochement with tradition, you can bet your bottom dollar that "it's all done with mirrors."

    There is one thing that is inarguable: they hate the Roman Rite; they hate Latin; they hate anything that even appears to stand athwart that devil's brew called Vatican II.

    Every man, at whatever clerical level, who walked into that Council had taken the Oath Against Modernism and every one of them betrayed that oath, even Archbishop Lefebvre.
    He at least spoke and wrote and acted during the Council in such a way as to prepare for turning against it when everything was over and perfectly clear for those who had eyes to see. As a matter of fact, Ralph Wiltgen's "The Rhine Flows into the Tiber" was evidence enough as to what the intentions were from the beginning.

    When Our Lord was betrayed, he said to his enemies - the The Enemy - now is the hour of darkness; your time has come.

    In 1962 the Holy Ghost repeated those words, but they were smothered in the cacophony of euphoria, whether false or real - and a lot of it was real, indeed. They knew what they wanted and they got it.

    Wherefore the disappointment now?

  10. Anonymous4:49 AM

    I don't think any pope in the 2nd half of the 20th century should be canonized. Look at the mess the Church is in and has been for 40 years or more.

    Not only that but everyone is so aggravated by bad management that the situation is nearly intractable.

    I don't know where this goes from here.......

  11. To Jeff

    I am looking forward to your defense of Paul VI - in all sincerity.

    On the other end of the spectrum from tradosaurus, I am perhaps an alien here.

    In that, inasmuch I think the loss of the sacred in the liturgy is a tragedy beyond measure.

    And deeply agree with the Franciscan brother who posts here that a restoration of the latin liturgy could lead to a springtime, a revitalisation of the Church that it seems 90% of the Cardinals, even can't seem to see. They can't seem to see it ...!

    The traditional liturgy unites people into the Body of Christ. The Novus Ordo dissolves, dissolves, dissolves and goes the way of evangelical happy-clappy Protestantism.

    BUT this doesn't mean that I think everything about the Council was wrong. That we need to return to the Syllabus of Errors ...

    I applaud the 1960's efforts to address the wrong the Church has done to the Jews for example ...

    And I believe - though I am not as informed as I would like to be - that Paul VI pioneered a deeper awareness of the immense and real SUFFERING of the third world ... Latin America, etc

    I applaud what I know of Paul VI's attempts to address the real depth of horror and suffering in the third world ...

    Can't say more now. But Jeff, I am intrigued to hear of a traditionalist whose thinking can embrace the positive dimensions of - let's face it - the Pope who presided over the destruction of the liturgy.

    The universe is filled with paradox and mystery. God works in mysterious ways ...

    Though it sounds like lunacy to some here - which I understand completely, for it seems to me that the Cost of the Novus Ordo, the COST is INCALCULABLE ...

    I for one sincerely want to hear why you feel Paul VI should be canonised.

    And applaud you for speaking up on such a controversial point in this forum.

    Meanwhile to those who disagree with Jeff, I want to say your efforts mean a great deal to me.

    Thank you to all and to New Catholic especially for your defense, not only of the traditional Mass, but of traditional piety and **prayer**.

  12. In answer to R. Buck

    I think that Jeff is either a devil's advocate who periodically gets, shall we say, carried away, or a perfect example of a citizen of the Unreal City.

    Neither a traditionalist nor a Traditionalist is ever going to tolerate, let alone advocate, the canonization of the Weenie Montini.

    After having read more than is needed of Mr. J's adumbrated obfuscations I can assert without danger of sane contradiction that he cannot possibly be anything but either liberal or IN DEMENTIS.

    As for the restoration of the Roman Rite bringing about a "new springtime" (when was the old springtime?), it wouldn't. For all the potential unification: a) the bishops are in charge, not the Pope - it wouldn't happen; b) were it to be permitted, who would say it - they don't know how; c) the Novus Ordure Messae pew potatoes would leave in droves; d) most important of all, it isn't essentially about the Mass, it's about Dogma, and the New Ecclesia ain't gonna let that be changed in any way that would conflict with the "non-doctrinal" Dogma of Vatican II.

  13. I found the Dr. Alice von Hildebrand interview especially interesting in light of the Fatima prophecy about "the errors of Russia" spreading. I realize now that this probably refers to the infiltration of the hierarchy by masons and communists, not the infiltration of land by tanks.

  14. Tradgrind,

    Jeff and Pope Montini aside, I'm interested in your speculation as to a real scenario for restoration and a cure. One of my chief frustrations as a champion of Tradition and reluctant supporter of a reform of the reform, is to hear nothing but naysaying from fellow trads. How can the situation be solved? Realistically, how can it be effected? Immediate, wholesale return to the books and praxis of 1962? Is this at all possible? Is a more gradual return, a la universal indult and reform of the Novus Ordo more tenable? What can be done? What's your prediction?

    All I seem to hear is "don't trust 'em" and "see, I told you so." I rarely encounter anything realistically constructive. Your thoughts?

  15. The criticisms of the Pontificate of Paul VI generally fall into two categories. First, he is held to be a weak and indecisive Pope in general who allowed the Church to spin into a disastrous state of indiscipline from which She has not recovered to this day. Second, he is held to have been responsible for destroying the traditional liturgy, perhaps contributing a primary cause to the dissolution of the Church, perhaps exacerbating the disaster.

    Neither of these criticisms holds water, I think. I can understand why people say these things; they are not implausible, they just don’t hold up under constistent, patient revisitation. It is worth noting at the the outset that the vast majority of the people who knew him and were intimately involved with his pontificate admired it and him immensely. That includes Pope Benedict, Popes John Paul I and II, and the same Cardinal Gagnon who, as von Hildebrand says, complied the stolen dossier on “penetration” of the Vatican. None of them thought he was a bad or a weak Pope, but rather a great one.

    The disastrous indiscipline and massive apostasy hit the Church like a tidal wave. I know of no one who predicted it or took any accurate measure of its size or overwhelming strength and its onset was sudden. Pope Ratzinger in his MILESTONES recalls that by the end of the Council, the understanding of what the Church was among many theologians and bishops had changed beyond recognition and it left him appalled and baffled. I can’t let this brief apologia turn into a defense of the Council here, but suffice it to say that if Montini was a fool for not expecting the Council to result in such a massive crisis, so was Ratzinger.

    By the time anyone in authority really grasped the extent and depth of the Crisis, it was already full-blown. It’s easy to use the hammer of discipline when you have a basically tight ship, but it simply doesn’t work when there is massive confusion about elementary principles. Some wish that the Popes used firmer discipline to control the confused and straying and would be happy to see the Church reduced to a small percentage of her membership if that’s what the result would have been.

    But the policy of the Church in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries when faced with Gallicanism, Josephinism, and Jansenism was the same. Verbal condemnation and occasional discipline, but no thoroughgoing attempt to separate sheep from wolves. The Vatican appointed slews of heretical and schismatical bishops in France and Germany and did not break communion with them for fear of schism. She trusted that time would take care of the problem and over centuries, it did.

    The Novus Ordo has to be evaluated in a similar way. There was a liturgical revolution already underway with massive chaos in its wake led by national episcopates in Europe, Canada, and Asian countries. The new books were an attempt to corral and channel forces that had already been unleashed and at work for some time, purifying and narrowing them into something that would be acceptable to everyone. That was a nearly impossible job and I don’t fault people for criticizing the result. But it wasn’t simply a production out of thin air which would “suppress” the 1962 liturgy, which had already been replaced by the ’65 and ’68 revisions anyway. It was an attempt to bring stability out of chaos and to come up with a formula that would be acceptable enough to preserve the heart of the liturgy, while leaving enough room for variance to keep almost everyone within new bounds.

    Moreover, the Novus Ordo on the books, used by a priest that has a basically traditional attitude is not what we get in most parishes today. I don’t think Montini in the Vatican could have envisioned that Latin would disappear, that ad orientem would be forbidden, and that an anti-liturgical attitude would infect the liturgy to such a degree. Even people involved in producing it, like Louis Bouyer, were simply shocked by the way liturgy simply disappeared as the concept of ritual celebration was replaced by spontaneity and carelessness. Nevertheless, the Novus Ordo DID operate to corral and limit the worst excesses. An attempt to simply enforce the older books would have been a disaster, resulting in massive schism. If the Novus Ordo is celebrated in a traditional manner--as at Brompton Oratory, for example—even a Michael Davies admitted that it is not likely to shock the sensibilities of the lovers of tradition. And I think Pope Paul and many others hoped for something like that method of celebration, rather than what we got.

    This is a massive comment and I can’t trespass on the bloggers’ kindness hospitality any further. I’m HAPPY to continue the debate elsewhere, since I can anticipate lots of answers, to which I can provide my own replies, but I just don’t have the room here. So, provide blog space somewhere else or else feel free to email me at, if you like.

    And, again, I’m not saying any of this in a spirit of rancour. I don't even hope to change hardened opinions. It’s certainly okay to express the opinion that Pope Paul was a bad pope. But it must, mutatis mutandis, be okay to defend him too and I think wisdom demands a different evaluation of him from the one offered here. I didn’t want the opinion expressed here to go without answer, as if it were unanswerable. The honor of Montini, whom I consider a very great man and an exceptional Pope (as well as a saint), demands that much at least.

    So what was the "worst pontificate of modern times", then? The answer is that since Blessed Pius IX we have had only great Popes and almost all of them were saints. The question would have to be rephrased: Which was the least exceptional pontificate? Grudgingly, I would have to say either that of JPI, because of its brevity, or perhaps Benedict XV, though both were wonderful men (the first clearly a saint) and astonishingly good popes.

  16. Next stop: "Apologia pro Annibale Bugnini", by Jeff.

    Next May, we will remember the 30th anniversary of one of the most startling speeches ever pronounced in the sacred halls of the Vatican. Montini knew how to be strong, Jeff, just against the wrong people...

    I recommend all our readers not to be to read Iota Unum, by Romano Amerio, to grasp the whole disaster of the Montinian Age.


    Jeff, you are an old and faithful reader, but your appraisal of the "new mass" is so full of deceptions I would not even know where to begin. It is impossible to discuss such a twisted and inaccurate view of History.

    To try to argue that the aim of the "new mass" was to bring stability is intellectually offensive, historically misleading, morally deceptive, and a sign of a bankrupt liturgical spirit.

    Regarding Pope Paul VI, I want apologies, not an apologia.

  17. To Mr. Jon:

    Simon-Peter gave one good answer, although, maybe, a little too sarcplistic. I understand your frustration/impatience/whatever, and generally I agree - if you ain't got a solution, then where's the problem and, by the way, quit yer bitchin'.

    My answer is that this is a supernatural and historically unique phenomenon, which leads me to agree with Bishop Williamson, who is on record as having said: "Humanly speaking, it's over - only Divine intervention can correct things now."

    Meanwhile, I think Traditionalists should take to heart Malcolm Muggeridge's admonition: "We must gird up our loins to fight the lost battles that lie ahead."

    Our only real weapons now are prayer; and, yes, hope - but not in princes nor any child of man.

    To Mr. New Catholic:

    "Apologia pro Annibale Bugnini" (anent Jeff):

    As Oscar Wilde said to Jimmy Whistler, "Oh, Jimmy, I wish I'd said that!" To which Whistler answered, "Don't worry, Oscar, you will."

    As for the irremediable Jeff, there's always the one who finds two trunks on the elephant.

    I like to refer to the "subject" as Anna Belle Bug Ninni. Normally I wouldn't take after a man's name, but THIS man . . . all rules deserve their exceptions

  18. New Catholic:

    "your appraisal of the "new mass" is so full of deceptions"

    "Deceptions"? Perhaps you don't REALLY mean to accuse of being deliberately misleading... A slip of the pen, as it were, I hope.

    You are usually not only just, but careful and charitable; it's one of your hallmarks. I hope this blog will continue to be a place not only for traditionalists, but one in which those who have great sympathy with traditionalists but don't swallow the line whole are part of the discussion.

    I DON'T defend Annibale Bugnini, by the way; you'll have to find someone else for that job...

  19. "Deception" has many meanings, Jeff...


    I recommend all our readers who do not to want to be fooled to read Iota Unum, by Romano Amerio, and grasp the whole disaster of the Montinian Age.

  20. Tradgrind interrupts the Jeffersonion monologue to second New Catholic's recommendation of Iota Unum by Romano Amerio; to which recommendation I would add the set (so far only partially translated and published in English; available on the Tradition in Action Website) by Atila Sinke Guimarães called Eli, Eli, Lamma Sabacthani? especially Animus Delendi I (Vol. IV) and Animus Delendi II (Vol. V). These books have enough documentation to satisfy, albeit never to convince, Mr. Jeff.

    Meanwhile, humility forces me to mention my own pitiful blogsite at where admirers and the merely prurient may find a dandy picture of yours truly. (Please disregard the gut - to paraphrase Reagan, I forgot to suck it in, honey.

  21. New Catholic:

    " "Deception" has many meanings, Jeff..."

    Indeed it does! And from what I can see in my sources, they all involve purposely leading people astray from the truth.

    Or, maybe you just mistakenly THINK it has a nice meaning. In this very comment, for example, when you meant to say "Addendum" (=Addition), you said, "Erratum" (=Mistake).

    Ah, well, it's hardly the worst I've been called! I always think these personal, temperamental things reflect more on the people saying them than on the people on the receiving end, no matter who's right and who's wrong.

    In any case, you are such a wonderful blogger and are such a great source of pleasure and edification that I'll let it slide...

  22. It was a mistake (erratum). I had not written the book recommendation correctly in my first comment after your dreadful apologia ("not to be to read", which does not make any sense), and I corrected it later.

    See, you were deceived by your senses, and then you expressed your mistaken understanding of my erratum -- and that was a deception, too, even if unintended...

  23. Ah, well, it's the intent that matters, so you're forgiven for your deceptive and misleading comments about me! I figured you just lost your temper anyway. That sometimes happens when we run out of arguments! ;-)

    Seriously, though, Traditionalists often don't seem to want ALLIES. You're either with them 100% or you're against them. I think it's a bad strategy. There are many Catholics who love the old mass, will fight wholeheartedly for it to be freed and encouraged, and who think that Traditionalists have many cogent points and arguments, even if they are not always right. They want a reconciliation on the broadest and softest of terms for the SSPXers.

    But many of them prefer the new Mass in English for themselves most of the time and don't think the recent Popes were a bunch of fools and traitors. Don't you want them on your side? Best to argue with them respectfully rather than just call them names. They're likely to be useful in the struggle. And you might even make a few converts!

  24. And where are YOU, Jeff? Are you one who knows better? Or are you one ready for "conversion"?...

  25. Jeff

    A brave attempt, for which I admire you - however: one might as well insist that King Lear (who as I noted above is the literary prototype of Paul VI) was a great monarch. He had good men as his devoted and loyal subjects too, who defended him and followed him into "exile" because he was the King and because they were his subjects - not because his actions were wise or defensible, or the least of alternative evils.

  26. Picking up on the "NO bringing order and stability " point, this is clearly mistaken. Nearly all of the groundwork for the NO was laid before the Council, at Lugano and Maria Laach in the '40s and '50s. All that was required to put it into effect was a compliant authority.

  27. "And where are YOU, Jeff? Are you one who knows better? Or are you one ready for 'conversion'?..."

    If you want to know what a man thinks, listen to what he SAYS he thinks. Whatever one is to make of it, this individual has apparently gone to considerable lengths to explain himself.

  28. I do not think he needs your advocacy on his behalf, Mr. Alexander. A Bugninian mind can always defend contradictory concepts... :)

  29. There's one thing for certain: Mr. Jeff and Mr. New Catholic are never going to be found arm in arm walking down the same side of the street. Which is certainly to the benefit of the latter.

    To D.I.A., with regard to your admiration of "considerable length:"

    Jeff puts me in mind of a certain female of Hamlet's acquaintance: "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."

    I was a diehard atheist for thirty years after I escaped the clutches of Smith (that took forty years) and I could defend my unbelief at a length you would never suppose.

    Whether long or short, old cock (British usage), any remonstration of this gravity should be a), coherent; b), logical - that is, make some sort of sense; c) supportable from well-researched and readily apprehensible history: there is good theological ground for asserting that willful ignorance is a mortal sin. One may reasonably conclude at this point that such an asinine argument carried to preposterous lengths is willful.

    One rhetorical question: on which page of your lexicon, Mr. Alexander, does one find the word "truth."? I don't recall your having considered anything like.


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