Rorate Caeli

A Week of Benedict


certain values detached from their moral roots and full significance found in Christ have evolved in the most disturbing of ways. In the name of ‘tolerance’ [Canada] has had to endure the folly of the redefinition of spouse, and in the name of ‘freedom of choice’ it is confronted with the daily destruction of unborn children. When the Creator’s divine plan is ignored the truth of human nature is lost.

I have found in Saint Corbinian’s bear a constant encouragement to carry out my ministry with confidence and joy – thirty years ago, and again now in my new task – and to say my daily "yes" to God: I have become for you a beast of burden, but as such "I am always with you" (Ps 73:23). Saint Corbinian’s bear was set free in Rome. In my case, the Lord decided otherwise.

Every now and then, however, some African Bishop will say to me: "If I come to Germany and present social projects, suddenly every door opens. But if I come with a plan for evangelization, I meet with reservations". Clearly some people have the idea that social projects should be urgently undertaken, while anything dealing with God or even the Catholic faith is of limited and lesser urgency. Yet the experience of those Bishops is that evangelization itself should be foremost, that the God of Jesus Christ must be known, believed in and loved, and that hearts must be converted if progress is to be made on social issues and reconciliation is to begin ...

Monday, September 11

Jesus’ "hour" is the Cross; his definitive hour will be his return at the end of time. He continually anticipates also this definitive hour in the Eucharist, in which, even now, he always comes to us. ... In the Canon of the Mass, the Church constantly prays for this "hour" to be anticipated, asking that he may come even now and be given to us. And so we want to let ourselves be guided by Mary, ... by the Mother of all the faithful, towards the "hour" of Jesus.

...whenever priests , because of their many duties, allot less and less time to being with the Lord, they eventually lose, for all their often heroic activity, the inner strength that sustains them. Their activity ends up as an empty activism. To be with Christ - how does this come about? Well, the first and most important thing for the priest is his daily Mass, always celebrated with deep interior participation.

Tuesday, September 12

[Emperor Manuel II Palaeologos] addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached". The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God", he says, "is not pleased by blood – and not acting reasonably is contrary to God’s nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death...". The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God’s nature.


This inner rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek philosophical inquiry was an event of decisive importance not only from the standpoint of the history of religions, but also from that of world history - it is an event which concerns us even today. Given this convergence, it is not surprising that Christianity, despite its origins and some significant developments in the East, finally took on its historically decisive character in Europe. We can also express this the other way around: this convergence, with the subsequent addition of the Roman heritage, created Europe and remains the foundation of what can rightly be called Europe. ...

I must briefly refer to the third stage of dehellenization, which is now in progress. In the light of our experience with cultural pluralism, it is often said nowadays that the synthesis with Hellenism achieved in the early Church was a preliminary inculturation which ought not to be binding on other cultures. The latter are said to have the right to return to the simple message of the New Testament prior to that inculturation, in order to inculturate it anew in their own particular milieux. This thesis is not only false; it is coarse and lacking in precision. The New Testament was written in Greek and bears the imprint of the Greek spirit, which had already come to maturity as the Old Testament developed. True, there are elements in the evolution of the early Church which do not have to be integrated into all cultures. Nonetheless, the fundamental decisions made about the relationship between faith and the use of human reason are part of the faith itself; they are developments consonant with the nature of faith itself.

The organ has always been considered, and rightly so, the king of musical instruments, because it takes up all the sounds of creation – as was just said - and gives resonance to the fullness of human sentiments, from joy to sadness, from praise to lamentation. By transcending the merely human sphere, as all music of quality does, it evokes the divine. The organ’s great range of timbre, from piano through to a thundering fortissimo, makes it an instrument superior to all others. It is capable of echoing and expressing all the experiences of human life. The manifold possibilities of the organ in some way remind us of the immensity and the magnificence of God.


In an organ, the many pipes and voices must form a unity. If here or there something becomes blocked, if one pipe is out of tune, this may at first be perceptible only to a trained ear. But if more pipes are out of tune, dissonance ensues and the result is unbearable. Also, the pipes of this organ are exposed to variations of temperature and subject to wear. Now, this is an image of our community in the Church.

Thursday, September 14

I came to Germany to bring once more to my fellow-citizens the eternal truths of the Gospel and to confirm believers in their fidelity to Christ, the Son of God, who became man for the salvation of the world.


  1. So, traditionalists, what do you think? Is Pope Benedict still the Great Satan?

  2. Janice, is this necessary? Let us avoid disharmonious comments here, please, dear Catholic brothers and sisters.

  3. The Pope's remarks at Regensburg were widely (and favorably) commented on by many Orthodox.

  4. Benedetto XVI

    "Today, when we have learned to recognize the pathologies and the life-threatening diseases associated with religion and reason, and the ways that God’s image can be destroyed by hatred and fanaticism, it is important to state clearly the God in whom we believe, and to proclaim confidently that this God has a human face. Only this can free us from being afraid of God - which is ultimately at the root of modern atheism. Only this God saves us from being afraid of the world and from anxiety before the emptiness of life. Only by looking to Jesus Christ does our joy in God come to fulfilment and become redeemed joy. During this solemn Eucharistic celebration, let us look to the Lord lifted up before us on the Cross and ask him to give us the immense joy which, at the hour of his farewell, he promised to the disciples (cf. Jn 16:24)!"

  5. Bishop Williamson's communion with the Church is impaired. Janice's presumably is not.

  6. A great selection of quotations - thank you

  7. Quit arguing, you sound like three year olds.

  8. Legion of Mary,

    that sure doesn't sound like a good example of marian humility. Janice's comment is baiting. Not very nice, but nobody attacked her, only charitably suggested it should be refrained from.

    We should all be happy when Pope Benedict allows his true Catholicity to shine forth, it is to the benefit of the souls.

  9. New Catholic,

    I apologize for my remark to you and to the other bloggers.

  10. Let us hope Pope Benedict XVI translates words into action. This is the objective proof of his intentions.

    I am sure the history of this example has not escaped the Holy Father in his words on Canada. For these attitudes of "tolerance" in Canada - responsibility for the moral & religious corruption of Canadian society must rest to some extent with the post-conciliar Canadian hierarchy who advocated to the Canadian government that they rule according to conciliar thinking of "religious liberty". This has led to a loss of faith and sound governance in many other "catholic" countries too.

  11. The conciliar thinking on religious liberty has nothing to do with the Canadian situation, where "tolerance" has become a ideological pretext to violate the religious liberty of Catholics.

    Vatican II explicitly defined that religious liberty is (1) based on the right and duty to seek and conform to the truth and (2) should only be restricted in accord with the JUST requirements of public order. When a person can be imprisoned or sued for saying that homosexuality is a sin, this is a grotesque violation of the teaching of Vatican II.

    The Canadian concept of "tolerance" is thus incompatible with the Vatican II concept of religious liberty. To accuse Vatican II for giving rise to this concept makes about as much sense blaming the scholastics for the Enlightenment. Do you have an answer for this, Mack?

  12. This is not the way in which it was interpreted. Neither was the true Catholic perpsective defended. The Church in Canada has fudged and compromised until there is nothing left but a recent statement by the Canadian prime minister that he is a practising catholic but represents the whole canadian people. Indeed, the stereotypical modern catholic twisting and turning to suit the ways of the world and be friendly and nice to everyone: including encouraging sodomite aspirations.

    If you proclain relgious liberty and espouse the French revolutionary ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity this is what you get. Revise post-conciliar history as much as you like the situation is as it stands now - a church in retreat, confused and singularly lacking in a proper Roman Catholic sense of direction.

  13. I have no need to “revise post-conciliar history.” The text is right there for you to read. Dignitatis Humanae is unequivocal in asserting the two points I mentioned:

    1. “All men ... are both impelled by their nature and bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth. They are also bound to adhere to the truth once they come to know it and direct their whole lives in accordance with the demands of truth” (DH 2).

    2. DH 2, 3 and 4 each explicitly limit the exercise of freedom according to the “just requirements of public order.” DH 7 explicitly says, “Since civil society has the right to protect itself against possible abuses committed in the name of religious freedom the responsibility of providing such protection rests especially with the civil authority...These principles are required for the necessary protection of public morality.”

    Any interpretation of Vatican II which rejects these truths must be regarded as false. Mack I hope this inspires you to reread the actual documents of Vatican II so that you can see the truth through the many false representations.


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