Rorate Caeli

Animists in the Cathedral:
a look at interreligious "services" in the Benedictine age

We have to thank one of our most diligent South American readers for this piece of news from the largest city in South America, Sao Paulo (home to a man considered a "papabile" in the last conclave, Cardinal Hummes -- it seems the cities named after Saint Paul have some remarkable archbishops!).

Last week, an "ecumenical [actually, interreligious] service" was held at the Metropolitan Cathedral, one of the largest Neo-gothic structures in the Western Hemisphere, as a homage to the remains of a Marxist guerrilla leader killed by the Brazilian military régime in the 1970s.

We will not comment upon the political aspects of the episode, which are not clear, but purely on some religious curiosities of the ceremony. The report (in Portuguese) linked by our reader includes this passage:

"An atheist by conviction, as a Communist militant, 'Comandante Crioulo' [his alias] received the homage of religious [leaders] of African persuasion, such as Pai Francisco de Oxum, Pai Persio and the ogans [some kind of 'divinized' drum players, see here] of the orishas Ogum and Oxossi [African gods, see here] and ebomi Conceição Reis de Ogum, vice-president of the National Institute of African-Brazilian Tradition and Culture (Intecab). Tata Nkisi Taua, president of the Confederation of Angola Kongo Traditions in Brazil (Cobantu) also took part in the ceremony, with his mametus and makotas [as far as we can tell, other kinds of followers of African gods]. They sang chants from the altar of the Cathedral to the dead militant. ... Representatives of the Jewish and of the Muslim communities of Sao Paulo also took part in the celebration."

The article also says that "the solemn service... was presided by Father Julio Lancelotti" and that, in the end, the "Internationale" [the international Socialist-Communist anthem] was played.

Our reader, who was present at the service, tells us that, during the performance of the African-Brazilian priests and priestesses, a dead black chicken was placed on the altar, though he could not ascertain if it had been sacrificed beforehand.

P.S. The warnings of Pope Benedict regarding what should be avoided in interreligious meetings are somewhat clear -- yet, it does not seem that his words are truly heard.


  1. "...a dead black chicken was placed on the altar, though he could not ascertain if it had been sacrificed beforehand."

    Does it MATTER??!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Where is Father McMahon when you need him??!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    St. Patrick saved the Irish.
    Columba...monks he gave.
    Flanigan built up Boys Town
    Where boys, their souls, could save.

    But have ya heard the story,
    Of fightin' Father McMahon,
    Who battled back the Buddhists,
    The way a Catholic can?

    The True Faith, yes, he stood for,
    A Christ-like priest, so humble.
    The Buddhist "monks" stood clueless,
    And then began the rumble.

    But not the kind of rumble
    From God-less violent deeds.
    No pagan chanting mumble,
    But roaring rosary beads.

    And then the wind, she blew,
    A rapid, grand tornado,
    When fightin' Father McMahon
    Intoned our Catholic Credo!

    So gather round, my children,
    All false faiths we must ban
    From Holy Mother's Churches...
    Like fightin' Father McMahon!

  2. Well, I guess the use of the Altar as a sacrificial stone for chickens is worse than just placing dead chickens on it, but I mentioned the detail just for accuracy...

  3. Please dear Pope Benedict XVI, take action while you still can, to hold accountabilities and set straight the teachings of the Church -- before it is too late.

  4. It occurs to me that until fairly recently it would be quite impossible to be so well informed, so publicly about an abuse that happened so far away.

    New Catholic--wherever he is in this ever smaller world of ours--receives photos and a story from a reader in Sao Paulo and then Bang! There it is right for us to see. It's rather remarkable, but it makes me wonder if sometimes easier access to information gives us a skewed impression of what's happening in the world today vs. what happened in the past.

    Take the recent conflict in Lebanon, where less than a thousand people died when all was said and done. I'm not trying to minimize or express a particular political or moral opinion of the conflict. I'm just saying that in the past, it would have received less (and less graphic) media attention.

    I'm not accusing New Catholic of rabble rousing or anything like that, but merely pointing out how technology has allowed him to draw attention to a situation in a way that would have been impossible for him just 15 or 20 years ago.

  5. Yes. But did HH +Bendict XVI expressly forbid sacrificing black chickens on the altar?

  6. with peter,
    The TRUTH is never bad and calling heresy and scandal for what it is, is virtuous.

  7. Well, WP, we have in these many months received news and tips from many places, from Australia and India to France and Argentina, and it is wonderful to be able to report the universal problems of a universal Church.

  8. Chicken sacrifice or no, time was not all that long ago that such a secular and anti-Catholic event would never been permitted in a Catholic church.

    Anyway, it makes one wonder if that cathedral will now have to be exorcised and reconsecrated.

  9. "Ad Orientem said...
    Yes. But did HH +Bendict XVI expressly forbid sacrificing black chickens on the altar? "

    Ummm... no, but neither did St. Pius X. Such a practice is clearly forbidden by it's nature, in documents promulgated by JPII. I pray also that Benedict will have the courage to take strong disciplinary action, and have the cathedral re-consecrated.

  10. BG- I'm not sure if this is "heresy"; it seems to rather be a liturgical abuse with a flavor of disobedience and possible apostasy.

    NC- I definitely wasn't criticizing your story or your work, but rather simply pointing out something that often gets overlooked. For most of the Church's history, this sort of abuse could not be reported in such accurate (and photographic) detail. Prudence and zeal need not be opposed to one another, I'm sure you will agree.

  11. with peter,

    I think it is worth noting that there may have been abuses in the past that went unnoticed due to a lack of communication; however, I would like to mention two other points to consider. First, this is why the Church relied upon the local ordinary to identify and remedy such abuses (a system which has broken down in the wake of the chaos introduced into the Church). In fact, unfortunately, the local ordinary is often the source or facilitator of the abuses now days. Secondly, the modern ability to immediately disseminate this information works both ways. Those higher up in the hierarchy are also able to see the same abuses we do quickly and could potentially act to stop them just as quickly. I know that they may have limited time and resources, but I doubt this would be impossible if they had the will and dedicated the effort to monitor and stop these abuses, particularly the most egregious cases.

  12. WP: It may be that abuses are now more reported than in days gone by, but can anyone doubt that in the entire history of the Church up 'til now no atheist has ever been worshipped by animist priests by placing a dead chicken on the altar of a Catholic cathedral in the presence of at least one Catholic priest in good standing with his bishop? Drop the neo-con nonsense. The Church is in an unprecedented state of decline. Indeed, it is only in the context of such a state that the lack of rage you seem to exhibit at the blasphemy decribed in this article could even be understood coming from a professed Catholic.

  13. quaremerepulisti said...

    WP:... Drop the neo-con nonsense. The Church is in an unprecedented state of decline. Indeed, it is only in the context of such a state that the lack of rage you seem to exhibit at the blasphemy decribed in this article could even be understood coming from a professed Catholic.

    Good on you, Quare!


    Vestments of red,
    Altar cloth too,
    Martyrs who bled,
    Did this for you.

    Gold Tabernacles,
    Veiled in red's hue,
    Martyrs in shackles,
    Hung for this view.

    Red mums full bloomed,
    In water and brass,
    Martyrs consumed,
    Burned for this Mass.

    Red rays of sun,
    Rose-streak the nave,
    Their suf'ring done,
    Now, red, we must crave!

  14. Who said I wasn't enraged? Assuming that the report here is correct--and I have no reason to assume that it is not--this is certainly the worst kind of liturgical abuse. Pending futher investigation, it is even apostasy. And if you look carefully, you will see that this is what I said.

    As far as the Church being an unprecedented state of decline, this statement shows an obvious ignorance of the nature and extent of both the Gnostic crisis of the second century and the Arian crisis of the fourth century. The monothelite controversy, which paved the way for the Mohammadian take-over of North Africa and the Middle East, caused a far graver situation than what is happening in the present (which is better now than it was in the 70s), where the world's bishops are overwhelmingly united in submitting to the pope. Jansenism caused far greater rancor among the hierarchy.

    Arthur- I'm not sure that these abuses are as ignored by the Holy See as you suggest. Just because it is not handled in a very public and polemical way, designed to embarrass an erring prelate, doesn't mean that it goes unaddressed. I trust the Holy See handles these situations as it sees fit. Perhaps you will think me naive, but there it is.

    quaremerepulisti- What about my comments indicates to you that I am a "neocon"? I don't consider myself a "neocon" (i.e. an abortion equivocating, pro-death penalty, Republican propagandist war-hawk) and therefore I view this as an illogical ad hominem and slanderous detraction. I don't have any ill-will toward you, but as your borther, I am obligated to tell you that I believe you have done violence to the eighth commandment.

    New Catholic, I apologize to you if I was condescending. I had no such intention. I really was only trying to be clear that my comments were directed against the your perfectly responsible presentation of the abuse. I don't think this is condescending.

  15. "not"

    " comments were NOT directed against..."

  16. Isn't it curious how many people seem willfully to misunderstand With Peter?

  17. I didn't say your illogical ad hominem and slanderous detraction were "willful." I acknowledge that your authority is far greater than mine in evaluating your subjective intentions.

    It is "curious" how you evaded my question: Why did you conclude that I am a "neocon"? Do you have an answer for this?

  18. Peace, brother. I bow to your superior holiness and abjectly ask your pardon.

    As to neo-con. People who defend the NO mess in the Church are, in my opinion, in respect to integral Catholics what the neo-cons are, politically speaking, with respect to true political conservatism. Evidence: you can be consistently relied upon to put a euphonious spin upon any ugly incident of the NO that gets reported. To use the term 'liturgical abuse' to describe what went on in Sao Paolo is ridiculous and indicative of your constant attempts to minimize the abominations perpetrated or, at the least, countenanced, by eccleciastical authority. You may regard this as an ad hominem attack, but I see it as an analysis of your many postings that have genrally as their object to stick a finger in the eyes of traditionalists and to defend the Church regime, Roman and otherwise, from the credible and serious charges made against them.

  19. "stick a finger in the eyes of traditionalists"

    Not traditionalists, just schismatic ultratraditionalists.

  20. Leave the judgment of my sanctity to God, Christ and the Church to whose authority we both ought to submit without reservation. To speak insincerely and sarcastically about holiness is blasphemous. In other words, I am, as your brother, compelled to tell you that you are now doing violence to the second commandment. I think this is more from carelessness than willfulness and therefore I hold nothing against you, Quare. Your contrition (or lack there of) will be better expressed to someone other than me and in a forum other than this.

    Now, it does not make one a “neocon” if he believes that Tradition demands giving one’s assent to the Church’s “regime,” which was in fact established by Christ. Moreover, the Church’s “regime” enjoins obedience to Tradition. And paraphrasing Augustine, I can say that I would not believe in Tradition if the Church had not instructed me. It does not make one a neocon to believe that there is seamless continuity between Scripture, Tradition and Magisterium. Believing in this continuity is not merely acceptable, but to deny it is grave heresy.

    I have no reason to further accuse you. Your comments speak for your antagonistic attitude toward the authority of the Church. I only remind you, “Whosoever resists the power so ordained by God, resists the order of God.” Or do you also dismiss St. Paul (Romans 13:2) and Pope Boniface VIII (Denzinger 469) as “neocons”?

    PS. Thank you Jordan.

  21. WP:Sacrcasm is my usual response to pompous, priggish, arrogant condescension. It is a fault, I know, but you are in no position to judge me, nor to catechize me about which particular Commandment I am violating at any particular moment. If your God and your 'Catholicism' are anything like you, count me out. I'll just have to be a poor, rejected, blasphemous (according to you), commandment-violating schismatic. Careful you don't inadvertantly choke on your owm smugness.

  22. Jordan Potter said...
    "stick a finger in the eyes of traditionalists"

    Not traditionalists, just schismatic ultratraditionalists.

    And by whose authority do you do this? And in what way is this helpful in reconciling "schismatics" to the Church? And how can it be said to comport with charity?

    Just a curious "schismatic".

  23. You judge me pompous, arrogant, smug and priggish and then proceed to tell me that I am not in a position to judge you.

    This is one of the most overtly ridiculous things I think I have ever seen. For the record, I don't judge your heart, mind or intentions, just the completely objective insanity of your words.

  24. OK... I believe that is enough, right, folks?