Rorate Caeli

"The Church has NO INTENTION of adapting herself" to the times

Such strong words have not been heard in Italy for many decades: and the semi-official news daily of the Italian Episcopal Conference, Avvenire, was the one to publish them in an editorial.

The time for this surprising affirmation was set by last week's succession of speeches (two in three days) in which Pope Benedict forcefully reminded the faithful of their duty in the protection of the legal definition of family and marriage, first in a speech we have already mentioned here (AsiaNews has translated its most important passages):

"Authentic love transforms itself into a light that guides one's life to fullness, generating a society that man can live within. The communion of life and love that is marriage thus configures as an authentic good for society. Avoiding confusion with other types of union based on a weak love is of special urgency today. Only the rock of total and irrevocable love between man and woman is capable of founding the construction of a society that becomes a home for all mankind."
These words had already deeply irritated the Italian left. Then, on Saturday, in a speech (Italian) to the Pontifical Council for the Family, the Holy Father was even more forceful regarding the direct responsibility of the competent authorities:

"Family, established on marriage, is a 'heritage of mankind', a fundamental social institution; it is the vital cell and the pillar of society, and that is of interest to believers and non-believers. This is the reality which all States must hold in utmost consideration. ...

"In the modern world, in which some equivocal conceptions of men, of liberty, of human love are being spread, we must not prevent ourselves anymore from the portrayal of the truth of the familial institution, as it was willed by God since Creation.

"The historical moment we are living demands Christian families to witness with courageous coherence that procreation is the fruit of love. A similar testimony shall not be lacking so that politicians and legislators may be inspired to safeguard the rights of the family. It is well known, in fact, how legal solutions for the so-called 'civil unions' are being discussed, rejecting the duties of matrimony while intending to enjoy similar rights."

The Italian political mood, which is already feverish in regular days, is reaching boiling point regarding the strong words which the Pope has dedicated to the most important "social issue" currently before the Italian parliament: a bill, which has the support of a large number of deputies from the center-left alliance, the Unione, would establish the PACS, the "Civil Pact of Solidarity", that is, the civil union between any two adults of any sex.

The secretary of the secular "Rose in hand" (Rosa nel Pugno) party, indispensable for Prodi's majority in Parliament, had the following answer to the Pope's second warning already on Saturday: "It is a grave act from a foreign Head of State who wishes to write the calendar of parliamentary works and who treats the Italian Republic as the courtyard of his house."

Then, on Tuesday, the new Speaker of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, Fausto Bertinotti, a member of the Communist Refoundation party, had even stronger words regarding Pope Ratzinger:

"The reaction of the Pontiff is erroneous because it is restorational. He does not see that a couple of homosexuals who are together and who have loved each other for five years represent a value of solidarity; it is a recognition of the other..."

Which is why Avvenire, in an editorial piece (reported by La Stampa), rejects those "laymen far away from the Church"and explains: "The Church has no intention of adapting herself" to the times.
[We first made a reference to the issues which the new Italian government may try to force through in our analysis of the Martini interview and Italian politics.]


  1. "The Church has NO INTENTION of adapting herself" to the times."

    Really? Has this statement been cleared by the USCCB?

  2. "The historical moment we are living demands Christian families to witness with courageous coherence that procreation is the fruit of love."

    Good. Our own house is in disorder however so who will listen? Stop publicly sacriligeous communions please THEN more folks will take you seriously.

    I found some NFP brochures in church on Sunday wherein was contained a statement that NFP could only be practised for grave reasons, which, naturally it did not mention, it also contained a glowing testimonial from a couple, who, have been using NFP SINCE they were married (!) just over a year ago (!) and who also claimed how it had enriched their marriage.

    I am sure they had grave reasons.
    I hid the brochures. Should I have removed them altogether?

    I wonder what the Holy Father means by "weak love"? Is it love at all? I thought it wasn't.

    Scholastics please help with clear definitions.


  3. The Church is the "Bride of Christ"
    and the churches presbyterate stands "Persona Christie" how is it then the pope and the magisterium has difficulty seeing a
    homosexual priesthood for what it is a same sex union. pope teach by example as Christ our Savior Did, you after all are supposed to be His Vicar.

    Deacon Joseph

  4. I'm sure Brother Bugnolo will have something negative to say about this.....

  5. No I wont, legion of mary!

    But I will say, that some in the Church want to adapt to the times; and they are at a very high level in the curia.

    Take for instance the new and revised translation of Mortalium Animos, in English at the Vatican Website; then compare it to the previous English translations, which you can download from more than a half dozen sites.

    I give credit to the reader of for pointing this out to me.

  6. Editor:

    The Pope's words are reasonably courageous but there is still no getting away from the fact that words are cheap. I would be much more impressed with some significant ACTION on the part of Benedict, such as sacking the bishops who are protecting the homosexuals under their supervision (and who are more than likely homosexuals themselves).

    If Benedict wishes to make a strong statement, let him do it with actions first, words later. Thus far, I'm afraid, his actions have been terrifying (e.g. Levada and Wuerl).

    Keep praying that he will wake up and smell the coffee.

  7. To R R-D:

    Heavens yes. I can hear seminary doors slamming all over the land.

    And to think, it only took forty years for : "words words words" (Hamlet).

    I once knew a homo-couple who stayed together for five years. The Greyhound Bus Depot "Blue Puppy" was closed for plumbing repairs, and there weren't enough Mormon missionaries returned yet to open a "gay" bar.

    Meanwhile, try to convince Mrs. Deacon that . . . on second thought, never mind.

  8. "The Church has NO INTENTION of adapting herself" to the times

    Really? Could have fooled me.

  9. I think what was meant by "The Church has no intention of adapting herself to the times" was in regards to morality.

    I doubt Benedict or anyone else he has elevated to be around him would seriously want to take the necessary steps to restore culture, such as:

    1) Advocating Traditional Catholic Monarchy

    2) Restoring the Traditional Liturgy which protected, fostered and strengthened Traditional Catholic Doctrine and piety

    3) Enforcing Traditional Catholic standards and teachings in the seminaries.

    So far I haven't seen any intention of truly restoring the Church in that respect.

  10. Anonymous8:54 PM

    I think I'd get more excited about this if Bishops like Bishop Clark or Cardinal Mahoney were actually publically disciplined and removed. Until there are changes in the shepherds I fear we are in for more of the same or worse.

  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. Re: Mortalium Animos

    I did a text comparison on the vatican site here "" against all the other versions I could find, and didn't come up with anything, could you tell me what I'm missing?

    Re: "1) Advocating Traditional Catholic Monarchy"

    You're suggesting that the world should renounce democracy in favor of monarchy? While there was a time when a Catholic Monarchy while having it's own problems, was the best option available at the time, I don't think that's true any more.

  13. There is nothing wrong with democracy per se. The problem is people seem to be under the impression that "their authority" does not come from God but from themselves. Whether Monarch (my choice) or any form of government, all power and authority come from above and government must function in accord with the natural law at a minimum...or else.

    I know you know this. Sorry.

    Anyway, the insanity of those who say, for instance, "I am a Catholic, but my public life and my private religion are two separate things" illustrates this self-willed delusion.

    As though God stops at the door of the Capitol building.

    "All unauthorized persons must pass security, and Jesus, if you're reading this, don't even try."

  14. I concur that all authority comes from God and that any leader elected or not, is morally obligated to respect the natural law in their governance.

    In an idealistic sense a benevolent dictatorship is the best form of government, there is only very brief and limited examples where this actually occurred. Even the "Catholic" monarchs of Christendom, while they accomplished much in the service of God, they often behaved immorally both personally and in their leadership -- "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely".

  15. To Mr. Matt and all like thinkers:

    You are right about power, and it has been a problem for the Church at least since the time of Constantine.

    The situation here, however, is unique inasmuch as it involves not personal corruption but rot in liturgy and doctrine.

    Even in the terrible centuries when popes were chosen by prostitutes (see Malachi Martin's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church - not a text for those of weak faith) were matters as bad in the universal Church establishment.

    However, remember especially the truism: "a fish rots from the head." The "little fishies" in charge ever since the Council of glorious memory certainly have.

    All we can do at this juncture is pray and follow the advice of Hamlet's father's ghost: "Leave [him] to Heaven."

  16. I'm sorry but I cribbed this from CWN blogger JChrys viz Cardinal Arinze's woodshedding of His Excellency Skylstad, president of AMCHURCH Inc.

    "What the US bishops have failed to internalize is that the laity are better informed, as a rule as well or better educated, and possessed of a greater desire for holiness than the average priest ordained over the past forty years. Trautman of Erie is a stellar example of misguided noblesse oblige. Our demands are simple and non-negotiable: stop perverting the liturgy, cleanse the Church of its widespread filth, and, for once, shut up."

    I know it doesn't really belong here...but it really gets to the heart of the matter. Anyway,I liked it.

  17. What "church" would that be? Your local Novus Ordo where men and women show up for Mass in shorts? Or the confirmation I recently attended where the girls were wearing tube and halter tops? Or is it the church where the “faithful”, immediately after Mass, find out how things are going in their best FORTISSIMO voice, ratcheting it up if the organist is still naïve enough to think they’ll cease and desist if she’s playing “On Eagle’s Wings? The only one that qualifies, in my opinion, is the SSPX. And please don't tell me about how they're in "schism". The post V2 landscape is littered with lost souls, destroyed and defiled churches and the Traditions that once made one proud to be Catholic. And this by accident? Most of the hierarchy deserve neither my respect nor my money. The latter being that which gets their attention. Shocking? You bet! That’s what I thought. So if it’s not what the Church has ALWAYS taught, I’m not interested. Talk is indeed cheap. May God Bless the School Sisters of Notre Dame who taught, exemplified, hammered, defended, adored and respected the Faith they taught me in Queens, NY in the ‘50s and the Dominican Sisters in the ‘60s. When you know the Truth, you can spot the phony stuff. And it stinks. The old Italian saying, “A fish rots from the head down” is so apropos.

  18. wtsansey:

    were you talking to me?

    I don't disagree with anything you have said.

    On Saturday I was at a NOParish where I removed a stack of prayer cards containing a supposed litany which (among other things) commended the Mother of God for (sit down and breathe deeply) "turning the Spirit of God into the Body and Blood of Jesus."

    Thanks to a certain Joan C., OSB.

    Throughout was rank filth, and yet, here they were, for all the people to pick up and take home.


    God bless.

  19. Mr Samizdat,

    I'm not sure how the second part of your post addresses anything I've stated, perhaps, you could clarify?

  20. To Mr. Matt:

    Directly, it does not realate to your point; in fact, my comment is somewhat in the nature of, that is analogous to, a mixed metaphor.

    However, it relates tangentially since, after forty years of corruption, it is no longer possible to point to Lord Acton's power corrupts axiom and let it go at that, as true as it may always have been.

    Even on the first day of the bloody Council, the wreckers seized power and never looked back.

    By now, it is humanly impossible, as Bishop Williamson has said, to avoid corruption.

    He, and like thinkers, have pointed to a situation in the Church parallel to the dark night of the Passion of Our Lord. Which is certainly feasible; with pretty rotten as well as irremovable blokes in charge.

    Then, as now.

  21. Sami,

    I guess what I don't get is that we were talking about the idea of the Catholic Monarchy, and now you're talking about the problems with the current hierarchy of the Church. On the latter point I find little to disagree with you on, the situation is indeed shameful.


Comment boxes are debate forums for readers and contributors of RORATE CÆLI.

Please, DO NOT assume that RORATE CÆLI contributors or moderators necessarily agree with or otherwise endorse any particular comment just because they let it stand.


(1) This is our living room, in a deeply Catholic house, and you are our guest. Please, behave accordingly. Any comment may be blocked or deleted, at any time, whenever we perceive anything that is not up to our standards, not conducive to a healthy conversation or a healthy Catholic environment, or simply not to our liking.

(2) By clicking on the "publish your comment" button, please remain aware that you are choosing to make your comment public - that is, the comment box is not to be used for private and confidential correspondence with contributors and moderators.

(3) Any name/ pseudonym/ denomination may be freely used simply by choosing the third option, "Name/URL" (the URL box may be left empty), when posting your comment - therefore, there is no reason whatsoever to simply post as "Anonymous", making debate unnecessarily harder to follow. Any comment signed simply as "Anonymous" will be blocked.

Thank you!