Rorate Caeli


It is sad to realize that the most striking words during the journey of our Supreme Pontiff to Asia Minor and Eastern Thrace were pronounced not by the visiting Vicar of Christ, but by the welcoming Patriarch of Constantinople in imperfect communion with him. Words of wisdom from the Phanar on that most sublime of subjects, Sacred Liturgy:

Every celebration of the Divine Liturgy is a powerful and inspiring con-celebration of heaven and of history. Every Divine Liturgy is both an anamnesis of the past and an anticipation of the Kingdom. We are convinced that during this Divine Liturgy, we have once again been transferred spiritually in three directions: toward the kingdom of heaven where the angels celebrate; toward the celebration of the liturgy through the centuries; and toward the heavenly kingdom to come. Christ, there is a deep connection between past, present, and future. In this way, the liturgy is more than merely the recollection of Christ's words and acts. It is the realization of the very presence of Christ Himself, who has promised to be wherever two or three are gathered in His name.

At the same time, we recognize that the rule of prayer is the rule of faith (lex orandi lex credendi), that the doctrines of the Person of Christ and of the Holy Trinity have left an indelible mark on the liturgy, which comprises one of the undefined doctrines, "revealed to us in mystery," of which St. Basil the Great so eloquently spoke.
Thus our worship coincides with the same joyous worship in heaven and throughout history. Indeed, as St. John Chrysostom himself affirms: "Those in heaven and those on earth form a single festival, a shared thanksgiving, one choir" (PG 56.97) ... In its spacious embrace, it includes the whole world, the communion of saints, and all of God's creation. The entire universe becomes "a cosmic liturgy", to recall the teaching of St. Maximus the Confessor. This kind of Liturgy can never grow old or outdated.

How very true: the Traditional Liturgies, of East and West, never grow old. Never.


  1. Is it just me, or is this a not-so-suddle statement by the Patriarch on the currently dismal state of the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church? "Hint, hint. Nudge, nudge. Time to begin respecting your own Traditions," or something to that effect.

    If so, I believe this goes back to a theme voiced a short while ago that the restoration of Traditional Latin Mass would go a long way in relations with the Orthodox, ironically fostering true ecumenism.

  2. ..........and then another modern Holy Father treks off to the mosque to pander to political correctness and interfaith folly.

    Indeed, there is a great need to respect Tradition and what the traditional catechism has instructed Roman Catholics about their Faith. Presumably, these instructions applied to the hierarchy as well.

  3. I hate to say it, but the Mass offered tommorow by Pope Benedict (in the presence of the Patriarch) is going to probably look pretty bland compared to today's divine liturgy celebrated in the resence of the Pontiff. Sad! If there was a solemn pontifical Mass celebrated with Gregorian chant, Palestrina, etc., this would be the more appropriate counterpart to today's sacred liturgy. Alas, we can probably only expect banality under the watchful eye of Marini.

  4. Anonymous1:59 AM

    Sad indeed. :(

  5. Biblically speaking, when God wants to humble and witness against his chosen people on account of their sins, he will have unbelievers do what they ought. The people in the northern Kingdom of Israel should have converted, but they persisted in their sins and idolatry, so God brought conversion in Niniveh, and the pagan Assyrians converted as a witness against the Israelites. The prophet Micah exclaims that all the gentiles will honor the true God. Apart from its prophetic sense foreshadowing the Mass, in its literal sense it is a condemnation against the apostasy of Israel.

    God is using the Greek Patriarch to witness against the apostasy of the Church. Benedict should be guarding the Church's liturgical tradition, promoting it, speaking endlessly on its riches. Instead he is presiding over the same nonsense. It is the Greek Patriarch who is doing this instead, again to witness against the apostasy of the New Israel.

    You can also check out my comments on the Papal trip (read betrayal) at: A BENEDICTion for the Turkey

  6. John Mastai, let's be honest, instead of blaming everything on Marini, the responsible is Benedict XVI. Marini only follows the instructions of Benedict XVI and the Novus Ordo tradition. AMDG.

  7. On the dedication of the Great Church, Justinian raised hands to heaven and exclaimed, "Glory to God who has judged me worthy of accomplishing such a work as this! O Solomon, I have outdone you."

    The Russian Primary Chronicle records Russian emissaries to Constantinople who had stood in the nave of Hagia Sophia reporting to Prince Vladimir of Kiev upon their return: “we knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth. For on earth there is no such splendor or such beauty, and we are at a loss how to describe it. We only know that God dwells there among men.”

    The Byzantine poet George of Pisidia said that the dome seemed to "hang suspended as if from heaven itself."

    I believe that the very last Masses to be held in Hagia Sophia were Latin Rite after the short-lived reunion following the Council of Florence.

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

  9. Imagine the Novus Ordo being celebrated in Hagia Sophia. Aesthetically, it would be like drinking Pepsi from the Tassilo Chalice.

  10. "This kind of Liturgy can never grow old or outdated"


    The Holy Mass, that cannot die,
    Was said amidst the oaks,
    While pin-oak leaves came floating down
    Around the simple folks,

    Who knelt upon the acorn floor,
    All dotted nutty brown.
    The acorns cracked and old knees snapped,
    Yet still there was no sound...

    But the tinkling of the golden bells
    As the White Host Son rose high,
    On priestly limbs, like mighty oaks,
    They branched up to the sky.

    And in that wood, I laughed with joy,
    Amongst the souls bowed down,
    For the mighty oak was once a nut
    That merely held it's ground.

    So Christian souls, like acorn nuts,
    Must burrow all around
    And be the seed that sprouts new oaks
    On consecrated ground...

    Where the Holy Mass, that cannot die,
    Is said around the oaks,
    While pin-oak leaves come floating down
    Amidst a mighty folk!

  11. Despite his grossly inappropriate acidic comments introducing and following the Patriarch's comments, I'm grateful to New Catholic for posting this.

  12. Athanasius,

    God is using the Greek Patriarch to witness against the apostasy of the Church

    I don't think I need to comment on the unTraditional nature of this statement.

  13. Long-Skirts,

    Excellent Poem!

    Maybe coming from outsided this thinly veiled criticism by the Orthodox will be heard and given more importance than when given from within the Church.

  14. Well said, "With Peter."
    I don't understand all this falling over ourselves to blow kisses to the Good Patriarch.

    Oh yes, it's a good thing that we have the Orthodox, with their acceptance of divorce and contraception and their rampant disunity, to lecture the Church. They don't teach the truth on core matters of morality, but at least they look good doing it, right?

  15. St Andrew's day 30th November.

    Following in the footsteps of this Apostle who responded to the call of Our Blessed Lord to go forth and preach the Gospel to the world in the name of The Blessed Trinity, The Holy Father prayed in the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, turned towards Mecca, alonside the mufti Mustafa Cagrici, and adopted the classical muslim posture of prayer.

    What is this behaviour of esteem towards the "darkness of islamism" referred to by a previous Holy Father and the one noted as "paganism" by the Catechism of The Council of Trent?

    Now, argue "obedience" to that! Who among us here will obey this particular comportment?

    It is symbolic that the current head graphic on this website is of ruins. Indeed, the NO church seems bent on following the schismatic eastern church into a process of continuing "auto-demolition": the one correctly diagnosed by Pope Paul (RIP) VI himself.

    And all of this is committed in the post-conciliar name of interfaith "dialogue" and ecumenical "deepening of understanding". It is not division which is the "scandal" of christianity at present. The scandal is the flagrant disregard of the true Faith given to us by Our Blessed Lord to His Apostles. Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture have to bend and bow to the postmodern gods of pluralism and cultural relativism.

  16. Mack,

    "The Holy Father prayed in the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, turned towards Mecca,"

    Um, Constantinople, Jerusalem and Mecca are virtually in a straight line, with Jerusalem between the other two. The Pope was facing Jerusalem and praying to the One True God. Most of us can fairly accurately guess what Benedict was praying for.

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

  18. Ryan

    As long as it remains possible to be a "Catholic in good standing" while at the same time denying the virgin birth or the literal resurrection, your quibble over the Orthodox canons on divorce must appear perilously close to pharisaical scandal.

    Whatever the Holy Father may have prayed in the mosque, the episode presents the strongest argument for discontinuing these Papal trips, which are a novelty of recent years. The Pope should not be manouevred into the position of a diplomat. He is not a diplomat; he has a Secretary of State precisely so as to be able distance the Papacy itself from diplomacy. This trip has raised very troubling questions (not for the first time) about the value of an exercise which exposes the Holy Father to the practical certainty of being manipulated by those whose primary motivation is the humiliation of the Church.

  19. For God's sake everyone,

    I know it's just me, but the manner in which Benedict XVI offers the novus ordo is perfectly reverent and beautiful. And Ryan is correct. It's pharisaical to observe the external trappings of liturgy, yet fail to keep to the core of Christian morality. It amounts to a "whited sepulchre."

    And to all of you who are agog at the Holy Father "praying" in a mosque, please remember that all he was doing was offering a private prayer to the Triune God. The Pope was very careful not to compromise himself or his faith while in the mosque. All of you are far too dependent on the Islamic press, which will use the Pope's private prayer for their own purposes.

  20. I think some of the comments here were quite anti-ecumenical...

  21. Ryan & Mack,
    Your comments strike me as being essentially the same sort of sniping I hear from time to time from our radical Old Calendarists. Just this morning I read a snarky comment about the scandal of having the heretical bishop of Rome commemorated in the doxology of an Orthodox liturgy! Sigh.

    I for one was deeply moved by the presence of the Pope in Constantinople at an Orthodox liturgy. It was less than a hundred years ago that the Latin bishop of that city had a sign nailed over the door to his residence that read "qui ex Patre Filoque procedit."

    We are a broken family in need of healing. The wounds of this estrangement are a thousand years in the making. So they will not be set aside overnight. But it is imperative that we move in this direction.

  22. Scandal is a matter of appearances. If a Catholic goes to a Protestant church, for instance, and appears to take part in their worship, while secretly praying for their conversion to the true Faith, the scandal is not any less. The same is true for the Pope in a mosque praying with a mufti.

  23. Poeta,

    Enough with the sniping at the Holy Father. He did not take part in any "scandal to the faith." He has taken part in ecumenical services with Protestants and the Orthodox in the past and prayed among them. Was that scandal? I don't expect he renounced his principles then nor has he now.

  24. John (ad orientem):

    I agree with you. I do however take exception to the habit of scandalously asserting the falsehood that our Orthodox brethren have maintained the deposit of the faith better than the Catholic Church just because they have some good ides about liturgy.

    As for "moretben," are you seriously suggesting that all Orthodox considered in good standing believe in the Virgin Birth and the literal resurrection?

    In any case, you are complaining about an administrative problem. God never guaranteed that his Church would efficiently excommunicate every half-assed beleiver. He guaranteed that the Church would always maintian the deposit of the faith and never teach error. ONLY the Catohlic church has maintained these things.

    And are you suggesting that matters of divorce and contraception are trifles? You have obviously never read Humanae Vitae or any of the writing of Pius XII on sexual morals.

  25. are you seriously suggesting that all Orthodox considered in good standing believe in the Virgin Birth and the literal resurrection?

    Absolutely! I have never ever met any practicing Orthodox Christian who has advertised a rejection of these elements of the creed. While it is I suppose possible that somewhere in the world's 250 million Orthodox there are some who would reject these articles of faith, I would seriously doubt they are regular church goers. And if they are open about such views I can not imagine them being allowed to commune the Holy Mysteries.

    To be sure we have all kinds of problems. But the wholesale rejection of the faith by both clergy and laity is not one of them. There are certainly some heretics among those baptized into Orthodoxy. But the principal difference between us and the West is that our heretics tend to keep their opinions to themselves.

  26. Janice,

    Sorry I was unclear-- I meant only to say that if something has the effect of giving scandal, then secret thoughts do nothing to change that effect.

  27. A "reality check" for Janice:

    Let us not forget that many of the original Saints of the Roman Martyrology got their place in those hallowed annals because they refused to "show signs of respect" to the Romans' false gods! Facing Mecca, in a mosque, is just like burning incense to the graven image of the Emperor in those ancient times....

    Let there be no doubt: when it comes to questions of giving scandal, appearances count every bit as much as internal intent.

    I know St. Paul said something about "being all things to all men," but there are limits!

  28. Somerset76 said:
    "because they refused to "show signs of respect" to the Romans' false gods! Facing Mecca, in a mosque, is just like burning incense to the graven image of the Emperor in those ancient times...."

    Yes it is, Somerset76,you are right. Many are weak, today,let us pray for Pope Benedict...


    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!

  29. Modern catholics are quite adept at phenomenologising what traditional and consistent teachings from previous holy fathers, doctors and many other great Roman Catholic saints have wisely taught us, guided by the light of Sacred Scripture. The Faithful should not go into pagan temples of false religions and carry out acts of worship. Similarly, there are rules about who we distribute the Scared Host to. However, when the current Holy Father does what pleases him or what he has been compromised into doing (like his predecessor who he stated publicly his papacy would follow), the same catholics perform "u-turns" in their bid to appear "obedient" to the pope and to seem politically correct. The world witnessed The Holy Father turn towards Mecca (not Jerusalam or Rome or anywhere else) at the behest of the mufti and in same manner prayed like him (not like a Roman Catholic). This was in a temple of a false religion, whether Benedict XVI was there or not, it is false, like it or not.
    He has spent his time flattering schismatics and non-believers and behaving like a politician. We have testified with our own eyes. Many knowthis in their hearts to be so. In the meantime, there are those who will explain it all away as though it is the perfect expression of Roman Catholic norms and an authentic expression of Catholic values. However, it is not. Such behaviour is only explicable in the contemporary confusion of religious pluralism and cultural relativism. Therefore, it is not essentially Catholic. Call it what you like and excuse it as much as you wish - it is not Catholic behaviour.

  30. Mack,

    The world witnessed The Holy Father turn towards Mecca (not Jerusalam or Rome or anywhere else) at the behest of the mufti and in same manner prayed like him (not like a Roman Catholic).

    This factually in error.

    He has spent his time flattering schismatics and non-believers

    some probably wish he would spend more time flattering sedevacantists.

    it is not Catholic behaviour.

    Nor is making an attack on the pope based on factual errors.

    God Bless,


  31. While it is true that one must avoid giving scandal by avoiding actions that are open to misinterpretation, there still needs to be an allowance for what is objectively reasonable. No rational person could construe what the Pope did as an endorsement of Islam, or as participation in Muslim worship, any declarations that he "prayed like a Muslim" notwithstanding.

    He did enter one of their buildings, and he did pray there, in the presence of one of their clerics. He did not take part in a service, nor did he pray "with" the mufti, in the sense of sharing in the same prayers, nor did he perform any actions characteristic of Islamic worship as he prayed. Most notably, he did not kiss a Koran. He simply stood next to the mufti, while they were both praying separately.

    To me, this seems pretty exemplary conduct for a Catholic visiting a schismatic or non-Christian institution. The fact that the example was given by the person to whom we are supposed to look for examples ought to make us rejoice.

  32. cerimoniere,

    He did enter one of their buildings, and he did pray there, in the presence of one of their clerics.

    It is my understanding that he simply stood silently while the muhammedans prayed. Whether he was praying to God for their immediate conversion, or thinking about his Christmas shopping list, can't be discerned from the actual observations of seen. We presume he was praying, but I believe there is no outward evidence of that.


  33. One report that I saw stated that his lips were moving, which would suggest that he was praying quietly by himself, though not conclusively so.

    In any event, as you rightly point out, there is very little in his outward conduct to draw an inference from, and nothing to suggest that he was participating in what his hosts were doing.

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

  35. The sum total of your unrealistic appraisal of recent papal behaviour in mosques with muftis and comportment in like manner with them, illustrates amply my observations (and those expressed by other Catholics) about those who seek to excuse almost any action of a pope simply because he is pope. Sheer delusion and sheer political correctness.

    Of course, they were delighted with the event. The perfect expression of public endorsement of their faith. To deny this is denial of reality. Perhaps you ought to read the public press widely. It was very popular with the public generally speaking and actions perfectly understood by muslims.

    At a symbolical and practical level, also, there can be no doubt that any catholic can go into a mosque and pray. In obedience to previous papal example we may also embrace the "holy" book of any faith at all and demonstrate almost any act of solidarity with them. Goodbye to all pre-conciliar teachings on pagan religions, the darkness of false belief systems and avoiding compromising situations with unbelievers.

    I doubt very much, alongside many of my friends here where we work, if such behaviour will do anything to arrest the dechristianisation of Europe. In fact, it will certainly have done nothing to propagate the faith as Our Blessed Lord required and as The Holy Apostles taught. On the contrary, it has done much to improve the image of a militant religion which seeks to evangelise the world, by any means. Thankfully, many pre-conciliar popes and holy men and women, had the courage and the confidence of The Faith to resist otherwise we would have been islamised centuries ago.


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!