Rorate Caeli

Manifesto from the United Kingdom

Mister Leo Darroch who is the Secretary of the International Federation Una Voce has published this manifesto this Monday.

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!

Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce.


There has been much speculation in the media in recent months about the expectation from Rome of a document that will grant greater freedom for the celebration of the traditional (‘Tridentine’) Roman rite of Mass. There have been some highly critical comments from certain quarters, especially from the French and German bishops, who do not agree with the prospect of loosening the very tight restrictions imposed by most bishops around the world. It is a fact, for whatever reason, that these bishops oppose greater freedom for the celebration of the traditional Mass and have no interest in the opinions of the laity or even of many of their own priests who long to celebrate this ancient rite; a rite that has never been abolished and is still valid.

In an effort to counter the negative and uninformed attitudes of the bishops a number of public manifestos have been published by lay people in France, Italy, Poland, Germany, and including one from English-speaking people from around the world. A number of people in the UK wish to publicly declare their support for Pope Benedict XVI and his intention to grant greater freedom for the celebration of the ancient classical Roman rite of Mass.

Leo Darroch – Secretary, Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce.

Appeal to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.
[From the British Isles]

In 1971 many leading British and international figures, among whose number were Yehudi Menuhin, Agatha Christie, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Nancy Mitford, Graham Greene, Joan Sutherland, and Ralph Richardson, presented a petition to His Holiness Pope Paul VI asking for the survival of the traditional Roman Catholic Mass on the grounds that it would be a serious loss to western culture. The then Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Heenan himself appealed to Pope Paul for the continued celebration of the traditional Mass. The full text of this appeal in 1971 was:

"If some senseless decree were to order the total or partial destruction of basilicas or cathedrals, then obviously it would be the educated - whatever their personal beliefs - who would rise up in horror to oppose such a possibility. Now the fact is that basilicas and cathedrals were built so as to celebrate a rite which, until a few months ago, constituted a living tradition. We are referring to the Roman Catholic Mass. Yet, according to the latest information in Rome, there is a plan to obliterate that Mass by the end of the current year. One of the axioms of contemporary publicity, religious as well as secular, is that modern man in general, and intellectuals in particular, have become intolerant of all forms of tradition and are anxious to suppress them and put something else in their place. But, like many other affirmations of our publicity machines, this axiom is false. Today, as in times gone by, educated people are in the vanguard where recognition of the value of tradition in concerned, and are the first to raise the alarm when it is threatened. We are not at this moment considering the religious or spiritual experience of millions of individuals. The rite in question, in its magnificent Latin text, has also inspired a host of priceless achievements in the arts - not only mystical works, but works by poets, philosophers, musicians, architects, painters and sculptors in all countries and epochs.
Thus, it belongs to universal culture as well as to churchmen and formal Christians. In the materialistic and technocratic civilisation that is increasingly threatening the life of mind and spirit in its original creative expression - the word - it seems particularly inhuman to deprive man of word-forms in one of their most grandiose manifestations. The signatories of this appeal, which is entirely ecumenical and non-political, have been drawn from every branch of modern culture in Europe and elsewhere. They wish to call to the attention of the Holy See, the appalling responsibility it would incur in the history of the human spirit were it to refuse to allow the Traditional Mass to survive, even though this survival took place side by side with other liturgical reforms."

This appeal in 1971 came at a crucial time in the history of civilisation when the future of the traditional Latin “Tridentine” Mass was in jeopardy. Pope Paul VI graciously acknowledged this appeal and the traditional Mass was saved, at least in England and Wales. Since this momentous appeal in 1971 the traditional Latin Mass has prospered once again among the faithful worldwide and is now celebrated in almost every country in the world. Now, in 2007, there is great hope and expectation that this treasure of civilisation will be freed from its current restrictions. We, the signatories of this petition, wish to associate ourselves to the sentiments expressed in the petition of 1971 which, perhaps, are even more valid today, and appeal to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in 2007 to allow the free celebration of the traditional Roman rite of Mass, the Mass of Ages, the Mass of Antiquity, on the altars of the Church.

Rt. Hon. Michael Ancram, QC MP.
Miss Madeleine Beard, M.Litt. (Cantab).
Dr. Mary Berry CBE, Founder of the Schola Gregoriana in Cambridge.
James Bogle, TD, MA, ACIarb, Barrister, Chairman of the Catholic Union of Great Britain.
Count Neri Capponi, Judge of the Tuscan Ecclesiastical Matrimonial Court.
Fr. Antony F.M. Conlon, Chaplain to the Latin Mass Society.
Julian Chadwick, Chairman – The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales.
Rev. Fr. Ronald Creighton-Jobe, The Oratory, London.
Fra’ Fredrik Crichton-Stuart, Chairman CIEL UK.
Leo Darroch, Secretary – International Federation Una Voce.
Adrian Davies, Barrister.
R.P. Davis, B.Phil., M.A., D.Phil (Oxon), retired senior lecturer in Ancient History, Queen’s University of Belfast; translator/commentator on the Liber Pontificalis of the Roman Church.
John Eidinow, Bodley Fellow and Dean, Merton College, Oxford.
Jonathan Evans MEP, Vice Chairman Catholic Union of Great Britain.
Fra’ Matthew Festing, OBE, TD, DL. Grand Prior of England – Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta.
The Right Honourable Lord Gill, Lord Justice Clerk of Scotland.
Dr. Sheridan Gilley, Emeritus Reader, University of Durham.
Dr. Christopher Gillibrand, MA (Oxon).
Rev. Dr. Laurence Paul Hemming, Heythrop College, University of London.
Stephen Hough, Concert Pianist and Composer.
Neville Kyrke-Smith, National Director, Aid to the Church in Need UK
Prince Rupert zu Loewenstein, President of the British Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. KCSG.
James MacMillan, CBE, Composer and Conductor.
Anthony McCarthy, Research Fellow, Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics.
Mrs. Daphne McLeod, Chairman – Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice.
Anthony Ozimic, MA (bioethics).
Dr. Susan Frank Parsons, President, Society for the Study of Christian Ethics (UK) and Co-Founder of the Society of St. Catherine of Siena.
Dr. Catherine Pickstock, Lecturer in Philosophy and Religion; Fellow – Emmanuel College, Cambridge.
Dr. Thomas Pink, Reader in Philosophy and Director of Philosophical Studies, Kings College, London.
Piers Paul Read, Novelist and Playwright; Vice-President of the Catholic Writers’ Guild of England and Wales.
The Rev’d. Dr. Alcuin Reid, Liturgical Scholar and Author.
Nicholas Richardson, Warden of Greyfriars Hall, Oxford.
Prof. Jonathan Riley-Smith, retired Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical History, Cambridge University.
Fr. John Saward, Lisieux Senior Research Fellow in Theology, Greyfriars, Oxford University.
Dr. Joseph Shaw. Tutorial Fellow in Philosophy, St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford University.
Damien Thompson, Editor-in-Chief, The Catholic Herald.

A novena for life in Portugal

On February 11, millions of Portuguese voters will cast their ballots in the second referendum called for the legalization of abortion in the country. Does this seem like old news to you? Yes, there was a recent referendum on abortion in Portugal in 1998, but the answer from the limited number of voters who cast their ballots at the time was the "wrong" one: NO.

As is well known, there is only one acceptable result in European referenda: that which is determined beforehand by the European political elites. When the people's choice is unexpected, just ask the people again!

Naturally, irrespective of the answer provided by the Portuguese voters who choose to vote in February, the Truth of the matter can never be darkened.* A "yes" vote in favor of the death of babies in the Portuguese Republic will not make it right; yet, why not pray for the best result?

We invite all our readers and their families and friends to pray a novena for life to Our Lady, beginning on Our Lady's Saturday following Candlemas (Feb. 3) and ending on Feb. 11, the day of the referendum and Feast of the Apparition of Our Lady (at Lourdes), so that the right to life shall remain protected in one of its last bastions in Europe. Use the prayer of your choice (though the Most Holy Rosary seems certainly to be the most appropriate). If you are able to ask a community of religious men or women of your acquaintance to pray for life in Portugal, please do. And, if you are a priest and are able to include this intention among those for which you offer the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, please take it into consideration.

*As Pope John Paul II affirmed in an important passage of Evangelium Vitæ:

If the promotion of the self is understood in terms of absolute autonomy, people inevitably reach the point of rejecting one another. Everyone else is considered an enemy from whom one has to defend oneself. ... At that point, everything is negotiable, everything is open to bargaining: even the first of the fundamental rights, the right to life.

This is what is happening also at the level of politics and government: the original and inalienable right to life is questioned or denied on the basis of a parliamentary vote or the will of one part of the people-even if it is the majority. This is the sinister result of a relativism which reigns unopposed: the "right" ceases to be such, because it is no longer firmly founded on the inviolable dignity of the person, but is made subject to the will of the stronger part.

In this way democracy, contradicting its own principles, effectively moves towards a form of totalitarianism. The State is no longer the "common home" where all can live together on the basis of principles of fundamental equality, but is transformed into a tyrant State, which arrogates to itself the right to dispose of the life of the weakest and most defenceless members, from the unborn child to the elderly, in the name of a public interest which is really nothing but the interest of one part. The appearance of the strictest respect for legality is maintained, at least when the laws permitting abortion and euthanasia are the result of a ballot in accordance with what are generally seen as the rules of democracy.

Really, what we have here is only the tragic caricature of legality; the democratic ideal, which is only truly such when it acknowledges and safeguards the dignity of every human person, is betrayed in its very foundations: "How is it still possible to speak of the dignity of every human person when the killing of the weakest and most innocent is permitted? In the name of what justice is the most unjust of discriminations practised: some individuals are held to be deserving of defence and others are denied that dignity?" When this happens, the process leading to the breakdown of a genuinely human co-existence and the disintegration of the State itself has already begun.

For the Record: The priests they foster

Sacerdos in Aeternum

About the Holy Father's rumored Motu Proprio:
Father "Reggie"'s opinion of the Traditional Mass:

The Traditional Mass: the Sun of our lives

In Reparation for a Public Offense
against the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

The legacy of the Lord, the Mass is the Sun of our lives and our treasure.

We love it due to the fact that it is substantially and principally of the Lord's [own] institution. But we love it also as the Church, to which Jesus entrusted its celebration, has transmitted it to us down through the centuries by means of the various liturgical traditions. Because the prayers and rites developed through the centuries in order to explain and manifest before the eyes of the entire Church the unfathomable riches of the essential rite bequeathed by the Lord. ...

We cannot in any way forswear a heritage slowly built by the faith of our fathers, their burning devotion, and the theological reflection around the sacrament of the Passion of the Lord. In contact with the Mass of Saint Pius V -- in which we also contemplate the purest masterpiece of Western Civilisation, hierarchical as well as sacral -- our souls lift up and our hearts expand, while our minds taste the most authentic Eucharistic doctrine. This is why we wish to understand and love, at all times more, the Traditional Mass, our treasure, and we will not cease to defend and advance it.
Father Franck-M. Quoëx (1967-2007 - Requiescat in pace)
Le Baptistère (March 2003)


... Excipias, quæsumus, benignissime Iesu, beata Virgine Maria Reparatrice intercedente, voluntarium huius expiationis obsequium nosque in officio tuique servito fidissimos ad mortem usque velis, magno illo perseverantiæ munere, continere, ut ad illam tandem patriam perveniamus omnes, ubi Tu cum Patre et Spiritu Sancto vivis et regnas in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Applied Hermeneutics of Continuity

Regarding the intrinsic juridical nature of Holy Matrimony, in the beautiful speech of the Holy Father to the auditors of the Roman Rota (text in Italian).

The entire attitude of the Church and of the faithful in the field of family [affairs] must be based on this truth about marriage and its intrisic juridical dimension. Nonetheless, as I recalled previously, the relativist mentality, in a more or less open or subtle way, may insinuate itself even within the ecclesial community. You are well aware of the currentness of this risk, which manifests itself at times in a distorted interpretation of the canonical norms in force.

It is necessary to react to this trend with courage and confidence, constantly applying the hermeneutics of renewal in continuity and not letting oneself to be attracted by interpretive ways which imply a rupture with the Tradition of the Church. These ways move away from the true essence of matrimony as well as from its intrinsic juridical dimension and, under various more or less attractive names, seek to dissimulate a forgery of conjugal reality.

For the record: "Motu Proprio" News in Radio Vaticana

News provided by Link and translation provided by Gillibrand at Catholic Church Conservation:

Father Eberhard von Gemmingen SJ:

Weekly Commentary

In all probability Pope Benedict will give the permission to celebrate again the traditional or Tridentine Rite. It would however be completely wrong if Catholics started to quarrel over this, some of them full of joy about this reversal, the others full of anger. It is to be noted that the Pope will not on any account reintroduce the old liturgy or even make it compulsory. He is only of the opinion that the prohibition of the classical Rite after the Council is in contradiction to Church tradition, because according to his conviction, Rites can be further developed but cannot be abrogated.

The whole thing is not about Latin and the celebration with the back to the people. The new Rite allows both. The exact differences between the old and the new Rite are minimal and are hardly recognizable if the new Rite, as permitted and desired, is celebrated in Latin and with the back to the people.

In my opinion, our actual problem in Europe is that the Faithful find today’s Masses often banal with little mystery and at times also with arbitrary additions to the Rite. Christians with a sense of aesthetics wish for a more classical form and mystery. Behind this is probably also a longing for European language which links all together in a common culture. At that stage, one knew that a Catholic Mass in Lisbon was the same as the one celebrated in St Petersburg. One was spared any surprises. But let’s admit it, at that time millions took part in the Mass diligently and faithfully but have not understood anything and only prayed the Rosary. The German hand Missal, Schott was only known to German intellectuals because in other countries it did not exist (untrue!). The desire to assist at the Mass, actively and with understanding is good and very important. It is my opinion therefore that in todays world we priests should learn again to celebrate the mystery so that Faith, heart and reason are in used to equal measure. If we look at the growing Churches in Africa and Asia, the celebration of the correct Rite is a mere trifle. I can hardly imagine that anyone in these young Churches will want the old Rite.

In Britain, the Church must always submit

It seems to be one of the favorite British sports, equally appreciated in England and in Scotland: forcing Catholics to submit to the almighty State.

Yet, how could an objective assessment of the events surrounding the current "Gay Adoption" Church-State confrontation be any different from this?

Oddly, had the Catholic position been more hardline, it might have stood more of a chance. But once Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Birmingham, admitted on Tuesday’s Newsnight that his agencies were happy to place children with single gay people, but not couples, his argument fell apart. Surely two parents are better than one? If single homosexuals are acceptable, why not a couple committed to each other? The widespread view was that he couldn’t have it both ways: either homosexuality was wrong or it wasn’t. Equally, Catholic agencies are prepared to place children with cohabiting heterosexual couples, even though the Church disapproves of sex before marriage. As one Cabinet minister put it: “If there was a religious principle at stake here, they sold the pass several years ago.” (source)

As always in its difficult history in the "Sceptred Isle", the Catholic Church, whose local prelates now rightfully demand a clear exemption from this iniquitous law, would now be in a much better position if its hierarchy had consistently stood for clear, Traditional, Catholic principles.

From the land of Santiago

From Galicia, in northwestern Spain, the land of Santiago de Compostela, pictures (via Le Forum Catholique and La Cigüeña de la Torre) of a Mass in a folk meeting named "Romaxe de Crentes Galegos", celebrated by Father Rubén Aramburu.

More pictures here.

Aparecida Notes: The Pope goes to Latin America

Catholic heritage in an increasingly secularized environment: The abbatial church of Saint Benedict's Monastery (Mosteiro de São Bento), as seen from the entrance to the São Bento Subway Station, in São Paulo, Brazil. Pope Benedict XVI will be the guest of the Benedictines during his visit to São Paulo and Aparecida, Brazil, on May 9-13, 2007. The city of São Paulo was founded by Jesuit missionaries on January 25, Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, 1554. (Thanks to the reader who sent us the picture and the information).

In the next few months, as hundreds of bishop-delegates get ready for the largest regional gathering of bishops, the Fifth General Conference of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM), which will be opened by Pope Benedict XVI in the Marian town of Aparecida, Brazil, this weblog will try to provide views on the real challenges facing the Church in the most Catholic region of the planet.

The greatest of these challenges is the seemingly unstoppable growth of Evangelical sects throughout the region since the 1970s, when, in the wake of Vatican II and of the materialistic consequences of the disastrous II General Conference of the CELAM (1968), in Medellín, Colombia, the Church lost its spiritual leadership in the region. As millions of Catholics moved from rural areas to the burgeoning cities, the "new" politicized "Church of Liberation" could not quench the spiritual thirst of the Catholic masses, who became easy targets for the Pentecostal sects.

The current shepherds of Latin American Catholics are men who were indoctrinated with Liberation Theology, which is still taught throughout the region. The efforts of Pope John Paul II in Puebla (1979) and Santo Domingo (1992) could not alter the course of events. Is there any hope that the Catholic hemorrhage will be stopped?

We invite our many Latin American friends and readers to provide us with news and views from their countries. Send us your views and news of the Church crisis in your country (in English, en español, em português) as the Pope goes to Aparecida.

Father Barthe on the Motu Proprio

Father Claude Barthe, author of "Beyond Vatican II: The Church at a new crossroads" and one of the most well-informed clergymen in France, had this to say on the possible Motu Proprio in an online interview given today to the readers of Le Forum Catholique:

As far as it can be known, there have been two successive drafts of the MP. It was the second one -- which should be more complete and which should detail the resolution of problems -- which was examined by the full membership of the Ecclesia Dei Commission in December. A handful of modifications would have been added by the Commission and the text is "ready for signature" on the desk of the Pope. It is notorious that he takes his time for the decisions (that became legendary in Munich, during the short time in which he was Archbishop).

The text is now known to Cardinal Ricard, Cardinal Barbarin, and a certain number of French bishops, at least in its general lines. Their reactions, the precautions which they take, the manner in which they speak to their clergy seem to indicate that there is nothing institutional in the document (it would not refer at all, in theory, to the Ecclesia Dei communities themselves), but that the "needs of the faithful" must be compulsorily satisfied, without their being able to oppose it, except in a justified manner.

I do not believe, but I may be wrong here, that the freedom shall be restrained. I believe that the psychological shock which the freedom will generate will be salutary, even if it creates difficulties, those which we can predict and others which we quite surely cannot predict. ... I insist on the conditional tone which I have constantly used [in this answer].

A tiny Editorial Note

Some readers have questioned our reading of the recent Panorama article by Ignazio Ingrao on several aspects of the Benedictine pontificate. The problem is... we never offered any "interpretation" of the article. Quite the opposite, in fact: as we usually do here, one of our contributors merely translated a small portion of the Panorama article.

So, what is the main theme of the article? Is it the resistance of the Curia? Or is it the acquiescence of the Pontiff?

Is it not evident, in a monarchical system such as that established by the Divine Constitution of the Church, that every resistance which is not caused by an extra-ecclesiastical authority (such as the civil authorities) is a resistance which does not have power in itself except that which is granted to it, willingly, by the acquiescent authority who wields the real power?

Happy Fifth Anniversary

to the Apostolic Administration of Saint John Mary Vianney, in Campos, Brazil.

Bishop Fernando Rifan with Fr. Claudiomar Souza and some members of his flock in a recent pilgrimage to Aparecida, the National Shrine of Brazil, whose main cupolas are being restored in preparation to the CELAM 2007 Conference. All races, all ages, one Tradition, One Church. Animarum bonum suprema est lex ac finis Ecclesiae!

On January 18, 2002, the Decree "Animarum Bonum" of Erection of the Personal Apostolic Administration of Saint John Mary Vianney was signed by the appropriate authority, a few weeks after the autograph letter of Pope John Paul II recognizing full communion with Bishop Licinio Rangel and the Traditionalist priests linked to the heritage of Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer.

Panorama: Pope not a "Decider"

The Italian Panorama has a new piece about the Holy Father. Of relevance to us, this:
Benedict XVI does not have the temperament of a "decider" and must take his age into consideration (he will be 80 on April 16). Moreover, his initiatives meet great resistance. The French Cardinals, guided by the President of the Episcopal Conference Jean-Pierre Ricard, oppose the liberalization of the Latin Mass of Saint Pius V.


After the persecution of the main community of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) in France, in the Archdiocese of Lyon, by the joint work of some "unsure priests" (i.e. priests who are not sure of what they wish to be: devoted to the Traditional Roman Rite in a stable Society of Apostolic Life or diocesan biritual clergy) and diocesan officials, now is the turn for dire times at the Diocese of Versailles, as new joint effort of "unsure priests" and diocesan "forces" may cause the FSSP to abandon another important location in the French Republic. The FSSP did not completely disappear from Lyon (it retained a foothold at the outskirts of the city), and it will not be wiped out at Versailles -- but at what human and emotional cost?... (More information at Le Forum Catholique).

This while a new wonderful episcopal nomination is announced by the Holy See for the Gauls: the new bishop of Mende, François Jacolin, a well-known "progressive" figure, who had recently been named "national chaplain" for the extremely "progressive" French Catholic Rural Movement, "Chrétiens dans le Monde Rural" (CMR).

It is cold and the wind is blowing,
We need something to keep us going:
Holy Father, have pity on the faithful man!

Saints Berard, Peter, Accursius, Adjutus, and Otho
Pray for us!

Marrochii, in Africa, passio sanctorum quinque Protomartyrum Ordinis Minorum, scilicet Berardi, Petri atque Othonis Sacerdotum, Accursii et Adiuti Laicorum; qui, ob Christianæ fidei prædicationem ac Mahumeticæ reprobationem legis, post varia tormenta et ludibria, a Saracenorum Rege, scissis gladio capitibus, enecati sunt.

(from the Roman Martyrology, Jan. 16: "[A.D. 1220:] In Morocco, in Africa, the martyrdom of the five Protomartyrs of the Order of Friars Minor, Berard, Peter, and Otho, priests, and Accursius and Adjutus, lay brothers; who, for preaching the Catholic Faith and for their condemnation of the Mohammedan Law, after various torments and mockeries by the Saracen king, and with their heads opened by the scimitar, were executed.")

Today is the glorious feast of the Franciscan Protomartyrs, the main patrons of this page.


Deus, qui sanctorum Martyrum tuorum Berardi, Petri, Accursii, Adiuti atque Othonis glorioso certamine ordinis Minorum initia consecrasti: concede nobis famulis tuis; ut quorum lætamur triumphis, eorum virtutes imitemur. Per Dominum... (God, who has consecrated the beginnings of the Order of Friars Minor with the glorious struggle of your holy Martyrs Berard, Peter, Accursius, Adjutus, and Otho; make us, your servants, imitate the virtues of those in whose triumph we rejoice. Through Our Lord...)


Pro pretiosa, Domine, tuorum morte Sanctorum sacrificium istud offerimus: quo opem tuam nostris temporibus clementer impendas, et gratiam nobis veræ devotionis exhibeas. Per Dominum... (We offer this Sacrifice, o Lord, for the precious death of your Saints: that you may mercifully give your aid to our time, and that you may show us the grace of true devotion. Through Our Lord...)


Cælestia, Domine, dona quæ sumpsimus, vitam nobis tribuant sempiternam; quam cum beatorum Martyrum tuorum Berardi, Petri, Accursii, Adiuti atque Othonis gloriosis meritis imploramus. Per Dominum... (Lord, may the heavenly gifts which we have consumed bring us everlasting life; this we implore by the glorious merits of your blessed Martyrs Berard, Peter, Accursius, Adjutus, and Otho. Through Our Lord...)


Holy Franciscan Protomartyrs,
Pray for us!

Fellay speaks to The Remnant

In an interview by Brian Mershon, published by The Remnant, the Superior-General of the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX/FSSPX), Bishop Bernard Fellay, adds some new information.

(1) The letter with the "Bouquet of rosaries" sent by the FSSPX to the Pope asking for, among others, the freedom of the Traditional Mass, has been sent:

The letter has not yet been published. It has been sent, but it has not been published, so I cannot say much.
(2) The future liberalization of the Traditional Mass:

Personally, I do not think things will happen that way. I do not see the big heat wave immediately after the publication of greater permission for celebration of the Mass. ...
I’m sure that especially among younger priests, this expectation is there. There remains the possibility, and that will depend upon what is, or will be, in this famous motu proprio. And there I cannot say much because I have no idea what it is.

There is an expectation. And just speaking about the possibility of having a motu proprio is spreading the appetite around. I’m pretty sure there will be an interest everywhere.
(3) Was the motu proprio signed?

My knowledge is zero. ... I was pretty sure before it had been signed, yes. So the fact it has been put again on the desk, it means definitely, the French bishops are mighty. That’s all I can say because I really don’t know more. But I was pretty sure it had already been signed.

(4) The contents of the letters sent by the Holy See:

There are not so many letters. In fact, let me think… There is one letter of Cardinal Castrillón. And then of course greetings for my election [Ed. Note: Bishop Fellay’s re-election as Superior General in July 2006]. I don’t know if you want to count that or not. There is nothing more than that. And then I answered this letter of Cardinal Castrillón. It [Ed. Note: The letter Bishop Fellay wrote] is more like “Why don’t you answer? Why don’t you move?”

It does not yet deal with in-depth things. There are openings. There are invitations to go ahead and so on. And we say, “Please, first do the preconditions.” This is the kind of thing we have asked since the year 2000.
(5) Vatican II and doctrinal discussions:

The Church needs to go back to the principles, to the solid. Vatican II is like plastic. It’s not solid. It’s ambiguous. It’s inconsistent. Even discussing Vatican II is not going to bring you much. We have to go back to the solid. If the discussions bring us to that point, then fine. But if the base of the discussions is Vatican II, then forget it.
(6) On a canonical structure for the SSPX:

The Vatican has never brought us any kind of blueprint of our future structure. The only thing they said in 2003, it was something between an apostolic administration, a personal prelature and a military ordinariate. So it was something in between these. They said they didn’t have a name for it. This was the only thing we know. We don’t know much, and since then, we have never had any concrete discussions on this topic.
(7) On "Traditionalist ecumenism":

...the great majority of the Ecclesia Dei movement sticks to the Mass, but not to the doctrine. They have already swallowed the poison. So, I don’t see any big traditionalist ecumenism.

A Word from the Polish Bishops
to All the Faithful of the Church in Poland

This letter should be read in all parishes of the Church in Poland on Sunday, January 14, 2007.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. In recent days we have experienced dramatic events, related to the resignation from office of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Warsaw, Stanislaw Wielgus, on the day designated for his solemn installation in Warsaw Cathedral. We have painfully followed the accusations brought against him in the last weeks, concerning his entanglement in the collaboration with the secret service (SB) and the People’s Republic of Poland (PRL) intelligence. This has caused a wave of unrest and even distrust towards the new minister. Divisions in the community of believers became apparent. We are grateful to the Holy Father, Benedict XVI for his fatherly help in the evangelical standing up to the difficult situation which we face. Thanks to his decision and attitude we are better prepared to live through this unusual time courageously and fruitfully. We also thank Archbishop Jozef Kowalczyk, the Papal Nuncio in Poland, for his brotherly and competent help.

On January 5, 2007, in an appeal directed to the community of Warsaw Church, Archbishop Wielgus confirmed the fact of the above mentioned entanglement and admitted having harmed Church through it, as well as – in the face of a media campaign – having done damage to the Church by denying the facts of collaboration with the secret service.

We accept with respect his decision of resignation from the ministry of Metropolitan Archbishop of Warsaw. It is not up to us to judge a man, a brother, who has served the Church in a faithful and zealous way, including his time as a professor and Rector [President] of the Catholic University of Lublin (KUL) and then as the Bishop of Plock. We want to support the Archbishop with our prayer in the full clarification of the truth. At the same time we regret to state that not taking into account the widely accepted rule of the presumption of innocence contributed to create an atmosphere of pressure around the accused Archbishop, which did not make it easy for him to present the public opinion with an appropriate defence, to which he was entitled.

2. We state once again that a gloomy past from the period of a totalitarian system dominating our country for decades continues to mark its presence. As we have written in the Polish Episcopate Memorandum Concerning The Collaboration of Some Clergy with The Secret Service in Poland in The Years 1944-1989, “The records kept in the IPN [National Remembrance Institute] archives uncover a part of the vast areas of enslaving and neutralizing the Polish society by the security services of a totalitarian state. They are not, however, a full and exclusive record of past times.” Only a critical and solid analysis of all the available sources can allow us to approach the truth. One-sided reading of documents created by officers of the repressive apparatus of a communist state, hostile towards the Church, can seriously harm people, destroy the links of social trust, and, as a consequence, prove to be a posthumous victory of an inhuman system, in which we were fated to live.

The Memorandum also states that “The Church is being accused of the intention of hiding a truth difficult for Her, of an attempt at protecting the people responsible for collaboration with the secret service and forgetting the victims of this collaboration. As a consequence, the authority of the Church is being undermined, its credibility is being weakened. All too easily it is being forgotten that in the times of communist totalitarianism the whole Church in Poland constantly stood against the enslavement of the society and was an oasis of freedom and truth.”

3. Therefore we repeat once more: the Church is not afraid of the truth, even if this is a hard, shameful, truth and approaching this truth is sometimes very painful. We deeply believe that the truth liberates, because Jesus Christ himself is the liberating truth. The Church has been struggling with sin inside herself and in the world, to which it is sent, for two thousand years. Sin degrades man and distorts the image and similitude of God in him. The Church does not carry this through under her own power. It does it under the power of the One, who as the only one can make us free from evil. Therefore we begin every Eucharist with a confession of our sinfulness: “I confess to Almighty God…” This is not a void liturgical formula, but a deep confrontation with our weakness and faithlessness before the face of the merciful God. Similarly, we ask in every Eucharist: “Lord Jesus Christ … look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church.” We are not afraid to confess that the Church is a community of sinners, but at the same time she is holy and called to holiness, since Jesus Christ is her Head, living and working in her – the Saint above all saints. It is before Him that we stand, asking the Holy Ghost to deliver us from evil, fear and our small-mindedness.

Last Sunday, during the Lord’s Baptism feast, in Warsaw Cathedral, we read the Gospel about Jesus who joined the sinners, standing on the bank of Jordan to receive the baptism of penance. We believe strongly that Jesus stands together with all of us on the banks of the Polish Jordan. Once more the words of Jesus bring back our hope: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Lk 5:31-32, NRSV). Solidarity with sinful people led Jesus to the Cross. Thanks to this we have received His Baptism – the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire for the remission of sins.

4. Let us remind: “For two thousand years the Church has opposed the evil in the evangelical way, which does not destroy the dignity of another man. The truth about the sin should lead a Christian to a personal acknowledgment of guilt, to contrition, to a confession of the guilt – even a public confession, if need be, and then to repentance and satisfaction. We cannot abandon such an evangelical way of confronting evil. (…) The Church of Christ is a community of reconciliation, forgiveness, and mercy. Inside her there is a place for every sinner, who wishes to reform, as Peter did, and despite his weaknesses, wants to serve the cause of the Gospel” (Memorandum).

As the Servant of God John Paul II stated emphatically, “Man is the way of the Church” (Redemptor hominis, 14) – every man, including every priest and every bishop. Fulfilling the conditions of Christian conversion, everyone has the right to forgiveness and mercy, to join in the life of the Ecclesial community and society. We know that many of those, who once submitted to enslavement, deafened their conscience, and compromised their dignity, have already repented for their weakness with years of faithful service. They are our brothers and sisters in faith!

We wish Ash Wednesday, February 21, 2007, to be a day of prayer and repentance for the whole Polish clergy. In all the churches in our dioceses, services to the Merciful God should be celebrated for forgiveness of mistakes and weaknesses in proclaiming the integral Gospel. As clergy, we are “taken from the people”, we are a part of Polish society, which as a whole needs to turn away from evil and make a full conversion.

5. There is a great task of reconciliation for the Church in Poland, apart from standing in truth before the face of God. We will not change the past, both the glorious, and the one that we are ashamed of. We can include everything, with God’s help, in our present and future in such a way that the power of Christ on the face of the Church is revealed. We appeal to all the people of the Church, the clergy and the laity, to carry on the examination of their consciences concerning their conduct in a time of totalitarianism. We do not want to encroach on the sanctuary of any man’s conscience, but we encourage to do everything to confront the truth of possible facts and – if need be – to adequately admit and confess the guilt.

We appeal to the people in power and to Members of Parliament to ensure that the use of materials found in the archives dating back to PRL will not lead to encroaching on the rights of a human person and demeaning the dignity of man and that they will make it possible to verify these materials in an independent court of justice. It should also not be forgotten that these documents incriminate their authors above all.

Being aware of the call of Christ: “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged.” (Mt 7:1), we ask everyone to refrain from passing superficial and rash judgments, for they can be damaging. We mean especially those who work in the media. May Christian conscience and human sensibility suggest them what should be presented to the public opinion and how it should be done, always taking into account the dignity of a human person, the right to defence and good name, even after one’s death. We appeal to the young generation, lacking a direct experience of the era in which the older people happened to live, to make an effort to learn the hard and complex truth about the past times. Despite all the shadows, it is to the generations living in those times, including the generations of clergy and their uncompromising struggle with evil, that we owe our regaining of freedom after years of Marxist ideology and Soviet patterns of political and social life imposed on us.

The Church in Poland has always empathized with its people and shared their fate, especially in the gloomiest periods of our history. This fact cannot be changed by bringing into light, after many years, the weaknesses and unfaithfulness of some of her members, including the clergy. May the present time be a good time for all of us to cleanse ourselves and reconcile with each other, restore the violated justice and regain mutual trust and hope. May it be, above all, a time of prayer and deepening the faith in the presence of the Lord of History among the most complicated human issues.

Having trust in the power of the Gospel we want, as your Pastors, to continue the work, already underway, of fully checking the contents of records stored in the IPN, concerning ourselves and all the clergy.

6. “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil, for you are with me” (Ps 23:4). May the word of the Psalmist accompany us in these days. We thank you, Brothers and Sisters, especially for the spirit of prayer, which calmed down the emotions, brought about a peace of heart and order of love. We thank you for your concern for the Church and standing by her in the moments of trial. We believe that our current experience will contribute to a renewal of the Church, to a greater transparency and maturity of her members. We believe that it will help the Church to be faithful to the Gospel and look to it for solutions of our problems, to be reborn from it, in order to be a leaven of good and love in the world.

Having all these desires in our hearts, we call for God’s blessing over everybody and for the intercession of Our Lady of Czestochowa, who always reminds us: “Do whatever he tells you.” (Jn 2:5).

Signed by:
Cardinals, Archbishops, and Bishops assembled for the Permanent Council, and Diocesan Bishops of the Polish Episcopate Conference.

Warsaw, January 12, 2007.

Official translation with minor corrections.

Quodcumque dixerit vobis, facite

Omnis terra adoret te, Deus!

Dicitur mater eius ministris: Quodcumque dixerit vobis, facite. (From the Gospel for the Second Sunday after the Epiphany, John ii, 5: "His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye.") seems to Us that the Blessed Virgin, who throughout the whole course of her life - both in joys, which affected her deeply, as in distress and atrocious suffering, through which she is Queen of Martyrs - never departed from the precepts and example of her own Divine Son, it seems to us, We say, that she repeats to each of us those words, with which she addressed the servers at the wedding feast of Cana, pointing, as it were, to Jesus Christ: "Whatsoever He shall say to you, do ye" (John ii, 5).

This same exhortation, understood, of course, in a wider sense, she seems to repeat to us all today, when it is evident that the root of all evils by which men are harshly and violently afflicted and peoples and nations straitened, has its origin in this especially, that many people have forsaken Him "the fountain of living water and have dug for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water" (Jeremias ii, 13). They have forsaken Him Who is the "Way, the truth and the life" (John xiv, 6).

If, therefore, there has been a wandering, there must be a return to the straight path. If the darkness of error has clouded minds, it must be dispersed immediately by the light of truth. If death, death in the true sense, has seized upon souls, eagerly and energetically must life be taken hold of. We mean that heavenly life which knows no ending, since it comes forth from Jesus Christ; which, if we faithfully and confidently pursue in this mortal exile, we shall surely enjoy for ever with Him in the happiness of the eternal home. This is what she teaches us; to this the Blessed Virgin Mary exhorts us, our Most Sweet Mother who, with true charity, loves us more than any earthly mother.

Today, ... men are greatly in need of these exhortations and invitations by which they are admonished to return to Christ and diligently and effectively to conform their lives to the Commandments, since many are trying to root out the Christian Faith from their souls, either by cunning and secret snares, or else by open and arrogant preaching of those errors of which they wantonly boast, as if they were to be considered the glory of this progressive and enlightened age!

Yet, once Holy Religion is rejected, once the Divine Majesty, establishing what is good and evil, is ignored, it is plain that laws and public authority have little or no value. Then again, once hope and expectation of eternal reward are lost through these fallacious doctrines, men will greedily and without restraint seek the things of earth, vehemently covet their neighbor's goods, and even take them by force as often as occasion or opportunity is given. Hence hatred, envy, discord and rivalries arise among men; hence public and private life is perturbed; hence the very foundations of society which can scarcely be held together and maintained by the authority of government are gradually undermined; hence, deformation of morals by evil theatrical performances, books, periodicals and actual crime.
Pius XII
Fulgens Corona

Locus enim in quo stas terra sancta est

The short Christmas cycle of the Liturgical Year ends as the gigantic Easter cycle begins. In a few weeks, the season of Septuagesima will commence and the rubrics for the current editions of the traditional Breviary and Missal of the Roman Rite, established by the Letter Rubricarum Instructum, call this season a time (per annum...) "ante Septuagesimam", "before Septuagesima". The name of the season is quite appropriate since it reminds the clergy and the faithful that the number of Sundays after the Epiphany is determined by the position of Septuagesima Sunday in the Calendar (which is set by the variable date of Easter).

As always, in a most wonderful way, which only the "democracy of the dead" through the centuries could have established, the intense yet intimate joys of Christmastide give way to a time of calm and serenity. The Time before Septuagesima is the perfect reflection period before the great road to Jesuralem is climbed.

We are now at a plateau at the foot of the great Calvary of Salvation: the first steps are right in front of us, and their names are Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima. Now is the time to plan for the season of fasting and sacrifice. Now is the time to ask a good priest for true guidance on how to climb the mountain so that we can be worthy to at least witness and meditate once again on the Mystery of the Sacrifice of God Incarnate.

"Put off thy shoes: thou standest on holy ground." Ecce ascendimus Ierosolymam.

Ecce Agnus Dei

Vidit Ioannes Iesum venientem ad se, et ait: Ecce Agnus Dei, ecce qui tollit peccatum mundi. (from the Gospel for the Commemoration of the Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ, John i, 29: "John saw Jesus coming to him, and he saith, Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him Who taketh away the sin of the world.")

Let no one so arrogate to himself as to say that he takes away the sin of the world. Give heed now to the proud men at whom John pointed the finger. The heretics were not yet born, but already were they pointed out; against them he then cried from the river, against whom he now cries from the Gospel.

Jesus comes, and what says he?"Behold the Lamb of God!" If to be innocent is to be a lamb, then John was a lamb, for was not he innocent? But who is innocent? To what extent innocent? All come from that branch and shoot, concerning which David sings, even with groanings,"Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me." Alone, then, was He, the Lamb who came. For He was not conceived in iniquity, because not conceived of mortality; nor did His mother conceive Him in sin, He whom the Virgin conceived, He whom the Virgin brought forth; because by faith she conceived, and by faith received Him. Therefore, "Behold the Lamb of God." He is not a branch derived from Adam: flesh only did he derive from Adam, Adam's sin He did not assume. He who took not upon Him sin from our lump, He it is who takes away our sin. "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"

You know that certain men say sometimes, We take away sin from men, we who are holy; for if he be not holy who baptizes, how takes he away the sin of another, when he is a man himself full of sin? In opposition to these disputations, let us not speak our own words, let us read what John says: "Behold the Lamb of God; behold Him who takes away the sin of the world!" Let there not be presumptuous confidence of men upon men: let not the sparrow flee to the mountains, but let it trust in the Lord; and if it lift its eyes to the mountains, from whence comes aid to it, let it understand that its aid is from the Lord who made heaven and earth. ...

...was it needful for the Lord to be baptized? I instantly reply to any one who asks this question: Was it needful for the Lord to be born? Was it needful for the Lord to be crucified? Was it needful for the Lord to die? Was it needful for the Lord to be buried? If He undertook for us so great humiliation, might He not also receive baptism? And what profit was there that he received the baptism of a servant? That you might not disdain to receive the baptism of the Lord. ... the Lord, in order to invite such excellence to his baptism, that sins might be remitted, Himself came to the baptism of His servant; and although He had no sin to be remitted, nor was there anything in Him that needed to be washed, He received baptism from a servant
Saint Augustine
In Evangelium Ioannis - Tractatus IV

Brother Alexis Bugnolo tells us of a new addition to his Franciscan Archive: My Life with Mary, a beautiful Marian prayer booklet, freely available here.

The Wielgus affair - analysis

We believe that Prof. Robert Miller's analysis of the events at First Things, with a kind link to us, presents an accurate portrayal of the deep Vatican problems related to the Wielgus Affair, particularly the disastrous process of episcopal nominations, centered in the Congregation for Bishops.

Let us remind our critics that we had not published a single word on Wielgus in December 2006 - because we had trusted the first note issued by the Holy See, according to which the "Holy See ... took into consideration all the circumstances of his life, including those regarding his past" and the "Holy Father... nourishes full trust in Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus and, in full awareness, has entrusted him with the mission of pastor of the Archdiocese of Warsaw".

"All" (Tutti). "Full"(Piena). We should have guessed that the episcopal-picking process, a process which has presented, on average, disastrous results for decades, could not have been trusted this time...

The concluding paragraph of Miller's text is particularly appropriate:

Now, either the Vatican knew about Wielgus' past when it appointed him, as Wielgus says and as the Vatican's statement in December strongly suggests, or else it did not, as Re now maintains. If the former, then the Vatican's investigation of Wielgus prior to the appointment was grossly negligent, failing to discover information that was readily available in Poland. If the latter, as seems much more likely, then the Holy See exercised very poor judgment in making the appointment in the first place and even worse judgment in attempting to ram it through even after the truth about Wielgus became public. It stood by Wielgus while it knew he was lying to the faithful by denying the allegations. Many faithful Catholics looking at this situation will think that our bishops, rather than their critics, are the ones doing the real harm to the Church here.

Our recess continues for a few more days.
Urgent news may be posted at any time.

Congratulations to Cardinal Re!

Named yesterday as one of the members of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. A well-deserved token of recognition for a man who is doing his job right at the Congregation for Bishops.

Wielgus falls

Archbishop Wielgus has resigned, less than one hour before his official installation. From the Press Office of the Holy See:

The Apostolic Nunciature in Poland informs that His Excellency Abp. Stanisław Wielgus, Metropolitan Archbishop of Warsaw, on the day in which his installation, beginning his pastoral ministry in the Church of Warsaw, was expected at the Basilica-Cathedral, tendered to His Holiness Benedict XVI his resignation from the canonical office, as established in Can. 401 § 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

The Holy Father has accepted the resignation of Archbishop Stanisław Wielgus and has named His Emminence Cardinal Józef Glemp, Primate of Poland, Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Warsaw until further provision.

Warsaw, January 7, 2007

+ Józef Kowalczyk
Apostolic Nuncio in Poland
These were our posts on the Wielgus affair in recent days:

8. A Rorate Cæli Editorial: Ecce advenit dominator Dominus

7. Before Wielgus,...

6. Appeal of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Warsaw

5. Announcement of the Church Historical Commission

4. Wielgus crisis deepens

3. Other Polish Churchmen "knew how to refuse the offers"

2. Towarzysz Wielgus: Update

1. The Wielgus affair: Communist spy turned Archbishop of Warsaw

We could not have remained silent, for Holy Mother Church and in remembrance of those who were martyred, imprisoned, and persecuted by the Atheistic regime of Communist Poland.

A Rorate Cæli Editorial: Ecce advenit dominator Dominus

Omne munus et iniquitas delebitur,
et fides in sæculum stabit. (Ecclesiasticus xl, 12)

There is not a more deeply Catholic nation in the world today, despite all its problems, than the land of the Poles. Yet, on this weekend of the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, a transfixed laity watches a former collaborator of the Russian Communist invaders take over the see of Cardinal Wyszyński, named by a German Pope. As in so many moments of Polish history, ghosts from the past, as forces from the barbarous East and of the unpredictable West, seem to conspire to destroy the strengthened confidence of a fearless people.

It is hard to define exactly what is the most worrisome aspect of this sordid affair. Is it the new confirmation of an episcopal-picking process gone awfully wrong in the Roman Curia? Is it the lack of proper analysis of documents related to the past of prelates, especially those related to the problematic Communist past in Eastern Europe? Is it the notion that an informer-collaborator of the Communists is given a free pass in Poland, while at the very same time an unknown number of priests and bishops is being imprisoned, tortured, and killed by Communist governments in China and elsewhere?

Or is it perhaps the shamelessness with which Wielgus reacted to the first news of his dark past made public by the Polish press in December? Or is it perhaps the embarrassing lie made evident by a vigorous denial of any wrongdoing in the morning [of January 5, 2007], followed by a public "confession" of collaboration with the Communist regime in the evening of the same day, when overwhelming evidence could not be denied any longer?

As Archbishop Wielgus/"Agent Grey" is installed in Warsaw's Basilica-Cathedral of Saint John this Sunday, all documents related to his past are increasingly under scrutiny. His personal collaboration with the Atheistic regime, a collaboration which was voluntary, will eventually come entirely into the limelight. Other Polish priest-collaborators should be ready, as well as clueless or ill-meaning Vatican authorities: the light of Truth does not destroy the "mass media"; it destroys the phantoms of darkness, wherever they are. The blood of the martyrs and the suffering of the persecuted shall not have been in vain.

Ecce advenit dominator Dominus:
et regnum in manu eius, et potestas, et imperium.

"Tridentine" Manifesto


A text signed by English-Speaking Writers and Intellectuals at The New Liturgical Movement.

Before Wielgus,...

...came Benedict's and Ranjith's first gift to Catholic Poland: authorization for Communion in the hand, dated April 21, 2006, which John Paul II had never allowed in the country.


Prot. 376/06/L


Instante Excellentissimo Domino Iosepho Michalik, Archiepiscopo Premisliensi Latinorum, Praeside Conferentiae Episcoporum Poloniae, litteris die 6 martii 2006 datis, vigore facultatum huic Congregationi a Summo Pontifice BENEDICTO XVI tributarum, perlibenter concedimus ut in dioecesibus Poloniae usus admittatur consecratum Panem in fidelium manibus ponendi, ad normam Instructionis De modo sanctam Communionem ministrandi et adnexae Epistolae ad Praesides Conferentiarum Episcopalium (cf. AAS 61-1969, 541-547).

Contrariis quibuslibet minime obstantibus.

Ex aedibus Congregationis de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum, die 21 aprilis 2006.

(+ Franciscus Card. Arinze)

(+ Albertus Malcolm Ranjith)
Archiepiscopus a Secretis

These are actions.

Polish Episcopal Conference
Appeal of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Warsaw

Fakt newspaper: Wielgus, the "Arch-informer"

My sacrifice, o God, is a broken spirit

The Appeal of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Warsaw
on the Eve of His Installation

Come, Holy Ghost, the light of consciences
And show us the way

Dear Brother Priests,
Dear Brothers and Sisters of the whole Warsaw Church community,

Today I stand on the threshold of the Warsaw Cathedral with a heavy dilemma of conscience, which in the recent days has become a trying ordeal, not only for me, but also for you.

The Holy Father, Benedict XVI, sent me to you as the superior of the Warsaw metropolis. I delayed the acceptance of this nomination on account of the state of my health. I also presented my life history to the Holy Father and the appropriate dicasteries of the Holy See, including this part of my past which comprised being entangled in the contacts with the secret services of the past times, operating under the conditions of a totalitarian state, hostile towards the Church. Driven by a desire to do studies important for my academic specialization, I entered this entanglement without proper prudence, courage and determination to break it off. Today I am confessing before you this mistake made by me years ago, as I confessed it to the Holy Father beforehand.

Reports of the political police of that time, coming from the National Remembrance Institute, widely published in the recent days in the media, made known to me by the Historical Commission of the Bishops Conference, speak largely about the things which were expected from me or proposed to me. They do not say, however, to what extent I submitted to these demands. They point to the fact that I strived not to carry out the orders brought forward to me. It is the task of the historians to continue clarifying this. I referred to some of the issues in my statement, handed over to the press on 5th January 2007. I do not know if the documents brought to me by the Historical Commission are the only ones, but today with a full conviction I state that I did not inform against anybody and did not attempt to harm anyone.

However, by the very fact of this entanglement, I harmed the Church.

I have harmed Her again in the recent days when, in the face of a frantic media campaign, I denied the facts of this collaboration. This has jeopardized the credibility of the people of the Church, among them – the Bishops who supported me. I know that for many of you, Brothers and Sisters, this departure from the truth is a fact not less painful than that entanglement from the years gone by.

I have prayed in the recent days, burdensome for me, to the Divine Mercy and have appealed to your belief in this Mercy, my Brothers and Sisters in Christ. I am appealing to it also today, with the words of the Psalmist, expressing the supplication of a penitent:

“Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you have no delight in sacrifice;
if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Ps 50, NRSV)

Brothers and Sisters.
I come to you, then, with a double feeling. With the joy of being called to perform the Bishop’s ministry in the Capital, being conscious of the tasks involved in the pastoral work of such a great archdiocese, with a great understanding of the spiritual and cultural capacity of Warsaw and its impact on the whole Poland.

But I also come with the awareness of the shadow which falls on my installation, commencing the assumption of the office in the Warsaw archdiocese.

I you accept me, which I request with a contrite heart, I will be a brother among you, willing to unite and not to divide, to pray and make one the people in the Church, the Church of saints and sinners, constituted by all of us.

I regard the experience of the recent days, hard both for you and for me, as an obligation to make an effort in my ministry in the Warsaw Church to extend particular kindness towards the people who are lost, put off by the Church institutions and embittered by her human shortcomings.

I declare before the Holy Father, with a complete humility, that I will submit to his every decision.

I ask Our Lady for her attention and all the faithful for their prayers for the light of the Holy Spirit for the time of a difficult beginning of my pastoral ministry among you.

Warsaw, 6th January 2007

+ Stanislaw Wielgus
The Metropolitan Archbishop of Warsaw

Polish Episcopal Conference
Announcement of the Church Historical Commission

The Church Historical Commission, on the request of Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus, presented to the President of the Commission, prof. Wojciech Laczkowski on 2nd January 2007, became acquainted with the materials made available by the National Remembrance Institute (IPN), concerning his person. These records are included in a file called “Jacket nr 7207” (the documents were produced by the VIII (XI) Section of the Department I [one] in the Home Office).

The Commission analysed the materials submitted to them, guided by premises stated in the document from 12th December 2006, entitled “Work goals and regulations of the Church Historical Commission”. In this study (pt. II.3) the Commission decided that the following premises should be included while making a moral judgment about the collaboration with secret services of the People’s Republic of Poland (PRL):
1) a written or oral declaration of consent to conscious and secret collaboration (eg. hidden from one’s superiors);
2) active collaboration by the person who gave such declaration;
3) consciously harming lay people, clergy and Church institutions;
4) the intentions of the actions.
The Commission found out that there are numerous and substantial documents confirming the readiness for conscious and secret collaboration with the PRL secret services on the part of Fr. Stanislaw Wielgus. It also appears from the documents that this collaboration was actually taken up.

Collaboration with SB (secret service) was prohibited by the Episcopate. In the IPN documentation there are preserved opinions of the PRL intelligence officers, referring to SB materials, which indirectly show that Fr. Stanislaw Wielgus’s activities in the Lublin milieu could do damage to various people from the Church circles. As concerns the collaboration with PRL intelligence, the analysis of documents does not allow to unambiguously state that Fr. Stanislaw Wielgus harmed anyone.

The Commission does not exclude that in future new materials concerning the issue under question may appear, which – if need be – will be subject to analysis and assessment.

The Commission submitted their report to Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus, with a request to express his position. In response Archbishop denied most statements contained in the PRL security services materials, which were made available to the commission by IPN. He stated, among other things, that he has never done anybody any harm, either by deed or word.

Warsaw, 5th January 2007

Prof. Wojciech Laczkowski
The President of the Church Historical Commission

Fr. Prof. Jerzy Myszor

Prof. Zbigniew Cieslak
Fr. Dr. Bogdan Stanaszek
Fr. Prof. Jacek Urban

Wielgus crisis deepens

New information revealed by a recent dispatch of the AFP (Agence France-Presse - via Le Forum Catholique):

-(1) According to the documents made public yesterday, the informer-collaborator "Grey"/"Adam" (Father Stanislaw Wielgus) went so far in his parallel career as to undergo a "special training for agents" of the Communist Polish Intelligence Services (the SB);

-(2) According to the authorities of the Polish Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), which keeps all files related to the Communist-era intelligence activities, they were never asked for any files on Bishop Wielgus by any Vatican authority.

The last information certainly indicates that the trust put on the former informer-collaborator was based solely on his personal disclosures (and on eventual internal ecclesiastical material), but not on the actual documents, which were never even requested prior to January 2007.

The official statement is available at the IPN website:

The IPN declares, that the Apostolic See have not turned to the IPN for making available files concerning Archbishop Stanisław Wielgus, neither has done it the Primate Józef Glemp, or any of his representatives.

The Church Historical Commission, established by the Episcopacy, started its research work on the basis of the IPN materials on the 2. January, 2007.

Dorota Koczwańska-Kalita
Deputy Director of the Office of the President of the IPN

Other Polish Churchmen "knew how to refuse the offers"

Several pages of some of the publicly-available SB (Communist Polish Intelligence Services) files regarding informer-collaborator "Grey" (Wielgus) are available in Zip files here: File 1, File 2, File 3, in a total of 69 pages.

From Radio Polonia (with minor corrections; also in audio file):

Case proven, say historians

Documents have been found proving allegations that Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus was a knowing collaborator of the communist era secret services.

Agnieszka Bielawska reports


The allegations of the Archbishops’ cooperation appeared some two weeks ago in the Gazeta Polska weekly. Wielgus has called for the examination of his files in order to clear his name, but after two commissions began studying the documents more accusations followed in the media. The special commission set up by Poland’s ombudsman Janusz Kochanowski issued a statement that the documents leave no doubts that Archbishop Wielgus was an informant.

Andrzej Paczkowski a member of the commission.

"There is no field for discussion here. We can speak about motives, effects but the fact is there. This person was a conscious collaborator, but the documents do not state what this person really did. There are instructions, orders but no reports on the accomplished deeds."

Stanislaw Wielgus is to be sworn in as archbishop of the Warsaw diocese on Sunday but opinions prevail that he should resign and explain the proven facts. Tomasz Sakiewicz editor in chief of the Gazeta Polska, the first to raise the matter, says that such an explanation could avoid a serious crisis in the Polish church:

"It's never too late because I believe that Wielgus is responsible for the church and he knows that he caused the crisis. There was never such a crisis in the Polish church and many Polish Catholics believe that he should resign to avoid the crisis....”

The Polish church and the Vatican stand by Archbishop Wielgus, but the Polish churchgoers begin to have doubts. The accusations evoke unease among the faithful for whom the Church was a model of morality and the pillar of opposition to the communists. Tomasz Sakiewicz says that this situation, unless cleared up will undermine the credibility of the Church.

"Polish people stand by the church and believe their priests, but now everybody knows he is lying - it is even worse than his cooperation with the communists."

Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus is not the first high-ranking cleric to be accused of working with the communist era secret services. The Polish Church however was loath to open an internal probe, but research had been started by Father Tadeusz Issakowicz Zaleski.

He devoted a year studying the National remembrance Institute files which showed that only some 10% of the Polish clergy agreed to cooperate with the communists. Father Zaleski underlines that ... the former metropolitan of Krakow cardinal Franciszek Macharski or Archbishop Ziemba knew how to refuse the offers

"I think their examples show that the Polish priests could stand for their Church. They did not mind their church career but had other values to defend."

Father Zaleski is publishing a book about the invigilation of the Polish clergy by the communist secret services and devotes much space in it to those who had the courage to refuse the secret services. He is convinced that the case of Archbishop Wielgus has to be very carefully examined since now the archbishop has lost his credibility and may undermine the role he is to play as the Archbishop of the Warsaw diocese.

From this Saturday's edition of Il Giornale (Italian):

"Well - says Father Adam Boniecki, [who was] for eleven years the director of the Polish edition of L'Osservatore Romano - , the Vatican declaration of December 21 seemed strange" and maybe the Pope chose Wielgus without "a complete knowledge of the case. One fact is certain - adds Father Boniecki -, to be an archbishop of Warsaw with this introduction is a horrible thing" and Wielgus could find a way out by himself: "Asking, after a certain time, to be relieved of this charge."