Rorate Caeli

Il Tempo: "Yes to the Mass..."


At last, the matter has reached the Italian press. This Palm Sunday, the old Roman daily Il Tempo publishes the following article filled with the kind of information we have been witnessing for a couple of weeks. All information contained in the following article is provided by Il Tempo and we cannot vouch for its details of date or nature of the possible "gesture" (you will notice that the reporter himself is very careful). Parts of it are unrelated to the Mass and, naturally, we cannot translate all of it, for legal reasons:

Yes to the Mass "with the back to the people"



IN the next few days, maybe on Holy Thursday (the news is not still certain), Benedict XVI could decide to fulfill an official gesture in which he would grant the possibility, to whomever wishes to do so, to celebrate Holy Mass according to the ancient rite, that of Saint Pius V, and could do so by declaring that this rite (which was the one in force before the Second Vatican Council) is still in effect today simply because it has never been abolished.


The Pope's gesture, which, if accomplished, could determine an important development even towards the schismatic Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X, founded by bishop Marcel Lefebvre. With this kind of indult, in fact, all Traditionalists of the Holy Roman Church could return to celebrate Mass with the ancient rite without asking for the permission of a diocesan bishop and, in the meantime, the Lefebvrists, in view of the openness to Tradition made by Rome, could arrive at a declaration of acceptance, without conditions, of the accomplishments made by the Church during and after the Second Vatican Council and, in this way, receive the revocation of the excommunication by the pope, they themselves also returning [and] celebrating freely the Mass with the old rite.

[The new members of P. C. Ecclesia Dei]

Yesterday, ... the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, ... received the nomination of three new members..., all cardinals created in the last consistory. They are William Levada,...Jean-Pierre Ricard, ... and Antonio Canizares [sic] Llovera..., three routine nominations, probably made on the suggestion of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, who is the president of Ecclesia Dei.

It is a common practice, in fact, that, after every consistory, the new porporati be admitted as members of a few dicasteries of the Roman Curia and the choice of these three for the commission which cares for the relations with the Lefebvrists is justifiable, more than anything else, for technical reasons. ... Levada has been named as prefect of the former Holy Office (when he was a cardinal, Ratzinger occupied this position), because it is obvious that the president of Doctrine of the Faith be a member of a commission which deals with doctrinal questions. Ricard was already a member of Ecclesia Dei from the time he was a bishop (he has been nominated because it is in France that there is the highest number of practicing Lefebvrists [sic]) and, thus, his has been above all an ordinary reconfirmation. Perhaps the only unexpected nomination was that of Canizares, a great friend of Ratzinger, whose outstanding theological preparation can only add to the commission. ...

Some have said this blog has declared something will happen during Holy Week. Something may happen; we have only forwarded news from different sources, but we really cannot vouch for specific dates or for the content of a hypothetical document. All kinds of things may happen and we can only say that there is a clear crescendo (and also an enormous amount of rumors, some of which clearly wild and unfounded), though we do not know for sure what will come out of it. We have always recommended, since those early days of Septuagesima, prayer and penance, which are within our reach. Pray especially for the Pope -- and celebrate the most solemn days of the year.

Confidite, Ego vici mundum!

Laudetur Iesus Christus!

Observation (1730 GMT): It is an often repeated quip that the Italian press is unreliable. In our experience, it is not more or less reliable than the English-language press (we would say it is probably more reliable than the average American newspaper -- just check the ridiculous propaganda piece in The New York Times Magazine on abortion in El Salvador this Sunday). What is definitely true is that some journalists are more reliable than others. This particular journalist, Paolo Luigi Rodari, has twice before just in the past month described well: what would be the main theme of the pre-consistory meeting (and even we considered unlikely that the question of Archbishop Lefebvre would be a main theme of the meeting of all cardinals -- link); as well as what would happen on the eve of the merger of the presidencies of four Roman dicasteries (link).

You may take it or leave it, but just to yell "Italian Press!" is not enough.
Monday Update (April 10, 1700 GMT):
Yves Chiron's Aletheia bulletin (in French) and Alejandro Bermúdez's Catholic News Agency-CNA/ACIPrensa have joined the choir of those who have declared that the Pope has signed a document and will have it published in the next few days.

Following an excellent review of the steps taken during the past ten months, Aletheia declares: "• Holy Thursday, April 13: Benedict XVI should make public a motu proprio on the rite of the mass."

CNA publishes the information that "according to [its] source, the announcement could come 'between Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday,' but the exact day has not yet been set. Nevertheless, the source said the decision has already been made by the Holy Father and that it’s ' only a matter of time' before it is publicly announced."

Caveat: It could be that all of these new sources are simply echoing Il Tempo and others; nevertheless, these news sources, particularly CNA, usually double-check their own sources, so we are inclined to believe that they are not merely copying Il Tempo. (If you have any difficulties linking to CNA, you can find a copy of the original release at Angelqueen).

Tuesday Update (April 11, 2230 GMT):

Now even the very careful CWN admits that something is going on... (copy of the original release at Angelqueen), though unfortunately this news agency does not acknowledge the Il Tempo report, first translated here (CWN says: "My own prediction-- based on hints and inferences and hunches, nothing more-- is that the document will be at least as strong as a universal indult, but will not resolve the canonical status of the Society of St. Pius X. Again that is a prediction, not a report.").

Nonetheless, it is particularly odd that many well-known Vaticanists seem to be ignoring what could be a turning point in the current pontificate. Some of our own favorites, including Sandro Magister, Andrea Tornielli (since immediately after the March 23 pre-consistory meeting), and Vittorio Messori have been completely silent on the matter. It is also curious that "progressives", as Marco Politi and Giancarlo Zizola, have not mentioned anything on this pivotal subject, to our knowledge.

Wednesday Update (April 12, 1000 GMT):

1. Archivum, which first mentioned the news of the possible document on the Traditional Rites of the Latin Church, adds the following information today: "Several sources confirm that tomorrow, Holy Thursday, an important Papal document should be released, having as its subject the current validity of the Tridentine liturgy. This document --in the form of a Motu Proprio, it is said -- has already been signed and would simply be officially promulgated. Very recent Papal audiences with card. Arinze allow [us] to reasonably suppose that the date of publication shall be precisely tomorrow."

2. (1200 GMT) It still seems odd to us that not a word on this possible document has been uttered by other well-known sources, if only to deny its existence. In his latest web article, Sandro Magister once again deals with liturgical matters, but is completely silent on the possible document, as if it were a non-issue.

On the other hand, the almost complete silence of our own Vatican sources is of a kind unknown to us and is startling.

3. (1700 GMT) The website of the Latin Mass Community in Melbourne, Australia, administered by priests of the Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP), has published the following news: "It now appears certain that the Holy Father has signed a significant document on the Sacred Liturgy, and on the classical Latin liturgy in particular. We will let you know as soon as further details are to hand." Anything is possible at this moment, but we truly believe an official website would be careful with its sources and that these would be internal sources. (Thanks to reader Jon for pointing this out).

It is already Maundy Thursday in Australia and we hope they are right...

4. (2000 GMT) Regarding the news mentioned in the previous item, unofficial contacts have not confirmed the information made public in the FSSP website, though they have not denied it, either.



  1. Dear New Catholic

    Among other things I deeply appreciate about this service you are rendering us ...

    I DEEPLY, DEEPLY appreciate your call to prayer. To pray for the Holy Father and this situation.

    Yet I confess that as I feel I am not as informed as I would like to be, about praying for people and situations.

    If you or anyone else here would care to make recommendations about how one can **most effectively** pray for situation such as this or for the Holy Father - perhaps recommend links to articles about this -

    I think it might help all of us in our prayers for the Holy Father at this possible ... turning point in the history of the Church.

    To be more specific - do people here simply bend down and pray in their own hearts and own words, Please God ...
    Novenas? Other forms?

    This is important. And I seek any counsel in how to deepen my prayer in this regard.

    God bless you,


  2. I love the image of the building crescendo--I think this more effectively adumbrates the sense one gets these days. There are certain incontestable facts and occurrences, which, taken together with other probabilities and possibilities, guesses, hopes and blessed expectations make it very difficult to remain blase about what is likely to appear in the next few months and years of this Pontificate.

    Not all who read this blog will have felt the hand of God in alive in human events, guiding and shaping history in the death and funeral of John Paul and subsequent events. But Pope Benedict did and pointed it out to us. For me, these times continue to show the quiet, irresistable power of the Holy Spirit alive in the Church.

    God's favors on all in this Holy Week and a blessed Easter to all of you.

  3. Roger,

    I have been making the prayer of consecration to the Holy Ghost each day for months as part of my morning prayers. In each consecration, I ask Him to guide the Holy Father in his deliberations on the Liturgy and ask Him to put things as He wants them done. What more can one ask for? It seems to be helping as only God can accomplish this purpose.

  4. Dear Roger Buck,

    You may click on the pope's picture on the sidebar, which will take you to a page with the traditional prayer for the Pope.
    V. Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Benedicto.

    R. Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.

    1 Pater, 1 Ave

    Deus, omnium fidelium pastor et rector, famulum tuum Benedictum, quem pastorem Ecclesiae tuae praeesse voluisti, propitius respice: da ei, quaesumus, verbo et exemplo, quibus praeest, proficere: ut ad vitam, una cum grege sibi credito, perveniat sempiternam. Per Christum, Dominum nostrum. Amen.

    Many other prayers may be found online. We encourage our readers to please suggest websites (here or mailing them to us -- click on my profile on the blog home).

  5. I have never been more optimistic!

    Please, keep praying steadily for the Holy Father this Holy Week!

  6. I do believe, that if the Holy Father does actually put into the hands of every Latin rite priest, the right and freedom to say the TLM whenever and wherever, that we are about to see a great miracle of grace in the Church, worked by the Holy Spirit, through the Priesthood!

    God bless all priests of good will!

    Get ready to take back the Church for Tradition!

  7. I hope this day, I am optimistic, the Church needs the liturgy to express the beauty of the eucharisty, because It´s God. Novus Ordo is very useful, but a good Novus Ordo, not what happen in many countries.

  8. "Novus Ordo is very useful, but a good Novus Ordo, not what happen in many countries."

    I would welcome the opportunity to occasionally attend the traditional Latin Mass. I hope it becomes an option, as attending an Eastern rite Mass is an option.

    However, we must remember there is nothing magic about the Latin Mass. A priest can say it just as badly as any other liturgy. Many of us knew priests who would whip through it robotically in 20 minutes. Indeed, some of us sought them out. We need to be just as aware and critical of poor liturgy in Latin as we are in the Novus Ordo.

  9. Ed b,

    This is not the place to have a discussion about the merits of the Traditional Roman Rite vis a vis the Novus Ordo Missae. This blog has it as a given that the Old Rite is superior to the Pauline rite.

    In view of the nature and the magnitude of the "abuses" there are currently seen in the novus ordo masses, your criticism of the "20 minute mass" is sipmply ridiculous. In the old time, did you ever see anything like this Cardinal Mahony "mass":

    Now, what is really sad is that the Cardinal would contend that the "mass" he celebrated is within the bounds of the rubrics, others would not. Who is right?

    I say that they are both right, since the Novus Ordo is whatever you'd like it to be.

    Which of the masses are right? The EWTN mass, the “Adoremus” mass, Fr. Ruttler’s mass, or CARDINAL MAhony’s mass, Steubenville Mass, Thomas Aquinas College’s mass, Neo-Catechumenal Way mass, Opus Dei mass? What is the standard? Are they all right? Or are you saying that CARDINAL MAhony doesn’t know how to say a mass?

    I'll take that "20 minute Mass" everytime instead of a "clown mass". You can keep those.

  10. That's what the NO is all about, NO ORDER. The aggiornomentoists, want a religion without order, because they want religion without morality, religious without truth, and religious without supernatural justice.

    Having a liturgy that has no order and suffers no order, suit their objective splendidly, and has produced the fruits it aimed for.

  11. Lovely! I can't wait to see all the abuses that will occur in the traditional mass when invalid priests start parading their liturgical dancers around the altar.

    Can any honest traditionalist say they would attend a true mass said by a novus ordo "priest"?

    Benedict knows what he's doing since he participated in the demolition of the Catholic faith back at vatican ii.


  12. A friend pointed out to me today that it was on Holy Thursday that Pope Paul VI signed Apostolic Constitution concerning the New Mass.

  13. Trad:
    Your words of wisdom from the lunatic fringe are noted. Now go kiss the ring of Pius XIII ( and leave the real Catholics in peace.

  14. Trad,

    We don't mind you trying to prove that the Pope is not the Pope, but you don't get to call him names.

    Is that so much to ask?

  15. Tradosaurus,

    You've been on my blog, you've been on this blog and many blogs making comments such as that, however you never take the time to prove your assertions, you only continue to assert them.

    I consider myself open minded. Could you prove to us that the Pope is not valid, and that the 1969 Ordination rite is not valid? If you want, or if the Rorarte people don't approve of this here you can come onto my blog and make your argument, or send it in an e-mail and I'll make it an e-mail of the week, whatever you want.

  16. Tradosaurus' second message right after "jon-paul"'s was completely removed.

    Jon-Paul, that is correct: the Apostolic Constitution "Missale Romanum" was signed on Holy Thursday, 1969 ( Cena Domini N.I.C....).

  17. Athanasius if Trad takes you up on your offer be sure to put the word out. I have been intrigued by the weird fringe sects that plague the Church for some time. In fact I have been thinking about posting a short essay on the subject of the various extremist sects that are out there. Although I am Orthodox (almost anyways) this is not a shot at the the Roman Church. We have our crazies as well. I think your sede vecantists and our radical Old Calendarists are birds of a feather.

  18. In my nearby Novus Ordo parish, there's a lady who whacks the table at coffee hour and insists that the pope can ordain women priests any time he wants to. She says JPII only wrote Ordinatio Sacredotalis out of chauvinist pique.

    At the indult Mass I now attend, there's a lady at the coffee hour who insists the government is secretly implanting computer chips in our necks.

    Tradosaurs abound.

  19. I looked at the recent Arcivum article. I barely read Italian, but I found one thing interesting and the other amusing.

    Interesting that they should use the word "validita." I thought the word had been mistranslated in your post, it wasn't. Of all people, Archivum should know this would be a clarification of licity, not validity. It makes me scratch my head. Careless word, that.

    Amusing that the single commenter speculated (as have we all) that the impending announcement was the cause of Absp. Marini's recent

  20. His is not a Canon Law blog, jon. The meaning is nevertheless comprehensible: the validity not of the sacrament, but of the status ("vigenza" would probably have been better) of the liturgical law itself. It is licit, nobody doubts that, but is it a question of liberalization or of recognition (hence his use of the word "validità")?

  21. One would expect that if a serious document were to be issued tomorrow a note in today's Vatican bolletino would have had an avviso di conferenza stampa, no?

  22. Might not the reason for the silence be that nobody knows?

    Word is that the Holy Father has few confidants and plays his cards very close to his vest. One way of minimizing opposition from bureaucracy and bishops would be to keep the number of people who know what's in the document to a bare, bare, minimum. Perhaps only a handful of people really know what is in the document--it hasn't been prepared by the usual dicastery staff, etc, as the homosexuals in the seminary doc was. The Pope will simply send it out when he's ready and say: "Publish it now!"

    I don't see any other explanation. There is clearly something very big up, but no one seems to know what it is.

  23. As we continue to pray that this Universal recognition comes to fruition, may I observe that tonight's Tenebrae - wherever you can find one - is an ideal spiritual exercise in advance of whatever may come tomorrow. Pray, fast...and pray some more!

  24. NC,

    I know this is reaching far afield, but have you seen the below from the official FSSP web site in Melbourne?

    "It now appears certain that the Holy Father has signed a significant document on the Sacred Liturgy, and on the classical Latin liturgy in particular. We will let you know as soon as further details are to hand."

  25. Very interesting, Jon, thank you.

    By the way, thank you all for your comments.

  26. I just hope this measure has some teeth in it so it can't be circumvented by the bishops.

    And this is somewhat beside the point, I get really tired of this 'back to the people' stuff.

    In reality it's 'towards God' in the Tabernacle...

  27. CS, the position is called "Ad Orientem", which means eastward.
    We (priest and people) pray eastward because from the East Jesus Christ, the Sun of Justice, will come again to judge the living and the dead.
    The position of the Tabernacle is not relevant in this context.

  28. Correct, either 'true East,' or in churches not built to face this direction, the 'spiritual East' (for lack of a better term).

    You are right to clarify, it isn't actually about the tabernacle, but it is kind of interesting to consider how traditionally-built Western churches would have theirs placed so everyone would be looking towards it, even the priest...

    A far cry from the most Novus Ordo Masses you'll see, where everyone is looking at each other, often helping create a chummy atmosphere.

  29. The Ad Orientem is something that was very important for Catholics at one time. When bishop Gregory of Agrigento, Sciliy, dedicated the Temple of Athena to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the 6th century, he went to great expense to wall up the door to the temple which opened to the rising sun, and opened up a new door which faced west, so that the high altar could face East. The reason was that the Catholics understood all Satanic and Diabolic worship to be offered in the direction of the setting sun, which was a symbol of the triumph of darkness over the light.

    One thing I could never agree with, was Cardinal Ratzinger's statement some years ago, that a study of architectual monuments showed no preference for ad orientem in Church construction. I guess he never went to the Valley of Temples at Agrigento

  30. As I recall though, in Spirit of The Liturgy, then Cardinal Ratzinger makes very positive references to the traditional Eastern facing of Catholic Churches as well as the Ad Orientum posture.

  31. Athanasius,

    I believe I've tried to make valid points on your blog using Church teachings but you tended to remove them.

    However, proving the invalidity of the novus ordo ordinations is as easy as proving the invalidity of the Anglican orders.

    Just read Pope Leo XIII encyclical
    Apostolicae Curae where he confirmed that the Anglican ordinations are invalid.

    Pope Leo XIII, Apostolicae Curae, Sept. 13, 1896: “Being fully cognizant of the necessary connection between faith and worship, between ‘the law of believing and the law of praying,’ under a pretext of returning to the primitive form, they corrupted the liturgical order in many ways to suit the errors of the reformers. For this reason in the whole Ordinal not only is there no clear mention of the sacrifice, of consecration, of the sacerdotium [sacrificing priesthood], but, as we have just stated, every trace of these things, which had been in such prayers of the Catholic rite as they had not entirely rejected, was deliberately removed and struck out. In this way the native character – or spirit as it is called – of the Ordinal clearly manifests itself. Hence, if vitiated in its origin it was wholly insufficient to confer Orders, it was impossible that in the course of time it could become sufficient since no change had taken place.”

    Michael Davies and the Brothers Dimond have already gave detailed reason why the Church has already pronounced that defective ordination rites (such as novus ordo's) are invalid.

    “As the previous section made clear, every prayer in the traditional rite [of Ordination] which stated specifically the essential role of a priest as a man ordained to offer propitiatory sacrifice for the living and dead has been removed [from the New Rite of Paul VI]. In most cases these were the precise prayers removed by the Protestant reformers, or if not precisely the same there are clear parallels.” (Michael Davies, The Order of Melchisedech, p. 83)

    “…there is not one mandatory prayer in the new rite of ordination itself which makes clear that the essence of the Catholic priesthood is the conferral of the powers to offer the sacrifice of the Mass and to absolve men of their sins, and that the sacrament imparts a character which differentiates a priest not simply in degree but in essence from a layman… There is not a word in it that is incompatible with Protestant belief.” (Michael Davies, The Order of Melchisedech, p. xix)

    So what would Pope Leo say of the novus ordo ordinations? Probably:

    “Wherefore, strictly adhering in this matter to the decrees of the Pontiffs Our Predecessors, and confirming them most fully, and, as it were, renewing them by Our authority, of Our own motion and certain knowledge We pronounce and declare that Ordinations carried out according to the Anglican [novus ordo] rite have been and are absolutely null and utterly void.”

    Those who have ears to hear let them hear.


  32. I live in Nor-Cal. I have 4 grapevines in my backyard. After summer they shrivel up and turn brown, and I have to cut them down the stump. Just this week, a 1 inch spot on the vine turned from a dry-brown to a soft, yellow green. I know, from experience that this vine will grow like a weed and If i'm not careful, it will damage my fence! the 40 years in the desert for traditional catholics are almost over!

  33. I really like your site: I just linked it on my site as my new favorite.

  34. Re: Your recess post
    I do not agree with your pessimistic outlook on this. There is too much circumstantial evidence that indicates something big is coming. I could be wrong, but my money is still on something very close to a Universal Indult to be issued soon. Today? Maybe or maybe not. But it's coming.

  35. Trad,

    I'm away for easter, but I will cut and paste your comments from here in their entirety and deal with them on my blog in a few days. Also I have never removed your posts from my blog, if you search my archives you will find your comments are still there. If I put up new stuff the original post gets moved from the front page into the archives. However I rarely remove things and I certainly don't remove someone's comments because I merely disagree with them.

  36. Note the comment on the FSSP site in Australia has been removed.

  37. Was I the only one who noticed that Benedict XVI seemed to use a hybrid of the Roman Cannon traditional and modern versions during the Mass In Coena Domini today? Every prayer was complete and according to the traditional formula, except for the Mysterium Fidei and the response being outside the consecration of the Blood, and a couple of added words near the Communicantes and the Embolism. In effect the Canon was actually longer than it was in its original form! I was following along in my Tridentine Missal and there it was! Also, being in posession of a New Missale Romanum this wasn't the formula that I read in the official edition. What was it, and does this fall under the "Reform of the Reform" catagory? Was this significant?

  38. Heb:

    There are, at least in the reformed missal, special inserts just for the evening Mass of Holy Thursday. One would have to know exactly at what point these alleged abberations occured to make a judgement. That aside, it's pretty well established that this pope has less tolerance for novelty than the last one. He probably already knows there's people out there watching his every move.

    Probably why he didn't want the job in the first place. God knows I wouldn't.

  39. David:

    Not just in the reformed Missal. They are present in the old one, too. In fact, my missal has the whole first half of the canon printed in the propers for Holy Thursday (the only day I can find where this is done) because of the special features, "that is, today", etc.

  40. I mean, I could be wrong, but if you watch the re-broadcast on EWTN and read through the Traditional Canon, it seemed that that was the one they were following. I found it curious, that's all. I'm still praying that something comes of all this. But in the long run, did you ever think a statement - even a grudging one - of acceptance of the traditionalists would come out of the French Bishop's Conference? Somebody's knuckles are smarting, and they aren't mine!

  41. It appears today that the editors of Archivium are taking a hiatus following their rather embarrassing miscalculation. Well, we all get it wrong from time to time, though anything could still happen.


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