Rorate Caeli

The post-synodal exhortation: "shortly"

From the meeting of the Holy Father with the Parish Priests and Clergy of the Diocese of Rome (February 22):

During the Synod on the Eucharist, the bishops spoke considerably of their experiences, on how new life retuns to the communities with this [Eucharistic] adoration, even nocturnal, and of how new vocations are thus created. I can say that I will shortly [fra poco] sign the post-synodal Exhortation on the Eucharist, which will then be at the disposal of the Church. It is a document which is appropriate for meditation. It will aid on liturgical celebration, on personal reflection, on the preparation of homilies, and on the celebration of the Eucharist. And it will also help to guide, enlighten, and revitalize popular piety.
It was also officially announced today that the canonization of Blessed Antonio Galvão de França will take place on May 11, 2007 -- therefore, during the Holy Father's voyage to São Paulo, Brazil. The other ceremonies are scheduled for June 3, 2007 (in Rome).


  1. Anonymous5:00 PM


  2. "the bishops spoke considerably of their experiences, on how new life retuns to the communities with this [Eucharistic] adoration, even nocturnal, and of how new vocations are thus created."

    Please God, more holy vocations. How wonderful!


    November freeze,
    Warmth melts the chill,
    At Mass, alone,
    On Calvary's hill.

    Where from its heights,
    Fierce, sleety, rains
    Beat down upon
    Stained-window, panes.

    At the Mass of all times,
    The Faith's never frozen,
    "Many are called...
    But few are chosen."

  3. I thought that "immanently" (as reported elsewhere) sounded a bit precipitous as a translation of "fra poco." Shortly in the churches time means sometime before the second coming.

    As to the "new life" the bishops speak of, their NEW LIFESTYLE is going to cost the Diocese of San Diego and its benefactors $200,000,000.00 That's two-hundred-million. That kind of new life I don't need.

    Oh, and the Clerks Regular (I won't say of who) who run a parish here are in despair because they can't get a vocation for love or money. Gee, I wonder why? New life. The same-old life is ever new. We'll get back to that realisation in the end, but after how much perverted love, and how much wasted money?

  4. Yes, you are correct, Hebdomadary. It was not said that the release of the document is imminent, as some agencies reported yesterday. What the Pope said was that he will sign it in a short time (shortly).

    It will be released soon afterwards, certainly.

  5. New Catholic: your "certainly" reminds me of the credulous and dry exchange from "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" between Terry Thomas and Milton Berle after they abandoned Ethel Merman in the desert. Thomas says "I mean to say, she wouldn't go back on her word...surely!" Berle looks at him blankly, then with splendidly understated sarcasm repeats: "Surely!" They speed off to try to prevent the irate mother-in-law from giving the fortune away to her worthless son, Sylvester.

    So here we are in the desert of our suburban churches, debating over the hood of our pontifical jeep as to whether we can rely on anything to happen in response to the crisis we find ourselves in thanks to clerical misadventure.

    New Cath: "I mean to say, it will be released soon thereafter...certainly."

    Hebdomadary: With blank stare, then with gentle sarcasm: "Certainly!"

    They speed off in search of their 1962 missals and rubrics for the Quarant'Ore. Certainly, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Church! ;-)

  6. Anonymous6:06 PM

    Hebdomadary, certainly the Catholic Church has some very insane characteristics, which has nothing to do with the Gospel:)

  7. Anonymous6:18 PM

    The reference to popular piety is interesting, isn't it?

  8. Anonymous6:19 PM

    "Fra poco" is an informal expression, meaning "in a little while", "in a bit". It´s use can mean that the event is imminent; however, the event to which the pope is reffering here is the SIGNATURE, not the RELEASE of the document.

    As we know, due to printing, distribution issues, pontifical documents are usually released
    in a different moment, sometimes months after the signature.

    The pope himself in the quoted passage talks about the signature and the release to the Church as two different events, connected by the Italian word "poi" (a word that is used to connect events happening one after the other, that can be traslated as "then", or "afterwards").

    The Holy Father said he would sign the Document shortly, in a bit, in a little while, and that it would then, afterwards, be released to the Church.

    The "fra poco" event can even have happened yesterday, as fra poco is generic enough to also mean "in a few moments"; the real question is how long will the "poi" take.


  9. Yes, he certainly could have signed minutes after the meeting, but that is unlikely...

    Anyway, we will certainly learn about its release in the appropriate time.

  10. Vocations?

    Parish with 15,000 (!) produces one possible vocation in 2006.

    Parish with 500 produces seven firm vocations in 2006.

    Wonder what the difference is between the two?

  11. Deus escam dabit nobis in tempore opportuno.

  12. How long will the "poi" take? The poi is lousy in Hawaii, but maybe that's because they make it too quickly.

    I suppose "poi" is the direct descendant of "postea," which does seem suitably vague for the occasion.

  13. Anonymous9:40 PM


    The 500 person parish is not Novus Ordo.

    "It's ... ALIVE!!!" :-)

  14. Anonymous1:24 PM

    Cardinal Ratzinger in 1998:

    'On the other hand, it must be admitted that the celebration of the old liturgy had strayed too far into a private individualism, and that communication between priest and people was insufficient. I have great respect for our forefathers who at Low Mass said the "Prayers during Mass" contained in their prayer books, but certainly one cannot consider that as the ideal of liturgical celebration. Perhaps these reductionist forms of celebration are the real reason that the disappearance of the old liturgical books was of no importance in many countries and caused no sorrow. One was never in contact with the liturgy itself.'

    Reactions to this?

  15. Wouldn't it be the case that one-on-one communication between celebrant and congregation, rather than limiting individualism in the celebration of the mass, actually fosters it?

    One of the things I've always admired about the traditional mass is the limitation it puts upon subjectivity, or individualism. Those participating in the traditional liturgy are forced to relenquish themselves and assume one of three role, to draw a metaphor from the dramatic aspect of the mass, transcendant as it is. The priest loses himself and assumes the role of alter Christus," a role in which the congregants have a share, by virtue of their assent of will with the actions of the priest. Then there is either the role of John or Mary at the foot of the Cross, with which members of the congregation can identify individually as assistants, although this is secondary to the role of Him who is sacrificed, and who is the object of our cooperation of will.

    So I'm not sure that I agree that we are forced to admit excessive individualism in the traditional liturgy. I would allow, however, that degrees and manners of participation are allowed in full measure and scope with the traditional liturgy, but that is part of its flexibility. Everything from following every single word in the missal, to sitting in utterly enrapt assent are allowable.

    Do we really want to mandate that the person who deals on a daily basis with issues which may cloud their ability (and frankly this is most people to one degree or another) to do anything but surrender to the liturgy, must do every jumping-jack, shake every hand, sit, stand, sing and kneel in every place in order to bring validity to their personal "participatio actuosa?" I'm not sure that we do (or really can).

    At least I don't want to make such a demand, but then I'm not the Holy Father. (nevertheless you did ask for opinions!) If I were, though, I think I might want to revisit that particular sentiment.

  16. As to the second portion, Low Mass has its place. If some people related to it, and they undoubtedly did, then there's a need for it. Perhaps we would do better to consider Low Masses moments of monastic quietude for lay-people amid the overpowering noise of the world.

    But in this age of "I'm ok, you're ok" where "everything has its place," are we to allow that everything has it, except traditional Catholic liturgical practices? Because if we do then everything does NOT necessarily have its place, that is, unless it conforms to some external criteria of someone elses devising. THEN we have to look and see what the agenda is and who devised it, and why.

    So if we're going to take a truly fair and balanced approach, and then let the chips fall where they may, I think we should allow that Low Mass has its place, and that as a liturgical variant in itself, it is a response to, and not a contrived imposition on, the human needs and behaviours of the people it is designed to serve and save.

    If it weren't, it wouldn't have cause so much obvious pain to so many by its passing. Perhaps the only people who didn't lament it were the generation of priests who were no longer inconvenienced by its language or intricacy, and by having to say it. Not everybody loves their job, but one might have supposed that that was why the priests of the generation took their on. If in fact they took it on only to have a hand in changing it because they didn't like it, they there we find the true root of the individualism of which the Holy Father speaks at the beginning of his remarks. Not in the old Mass, but in the new clergy.

  17. Anonymous4:27 PM

    Hebdomadary's comments seem very much on point, although as a post-Vatican II convert with very little exposure to the Traditional Mass, my own perspective is limited, which is part of my motivation in seeking opinions on Ratzinger's remarks.

    S-P's observations here are also worth considering. If the Traditional Mass is able to foster vocations in such marked contrast to the Novus Ordo, it would seem that the root cause of the "individualism" that Ratzinger laments must be sought elsewhere than the Old Rite itself.

  18. Anonymous4:37 PM

    Interesting insight from a secular media outlet:

    The suspense is indeed unbearable. Is the Pope giving his traditionalist base a Lenten exercise in patience?

  19. Anonymous4:48 PM

    'Wouldn't it be the case that one-on-one communication between celebrant and congregation, rather than limiting individualism in the celebration of the mass, actually fosters it?'


    Wouldn't the opposite also be the case, that a total and undistracted focus on the heart of the Mass, Jesus Christ the Lamb of God, who is offered in sacrifice for all of our individual sins, would in the end be the most effective antitdote to individualism?

  20. By "private individualism" I think Cardinal Ratzinger was referring to how isolated and unitary one can be in attending and offering traditionalist Mass. The Tridentine Mass manifests ecclesial unity in deep spiritual and mystical levels, but this depth often enough is inaccessible to the poorly catechized and to the spiritually immature.

    So this criticism doesn't belong to the essence of the rite, but rather to how it is received based on human conditions. No validly celebrated Mass is in itself individualist.

    And perhaps it can be admitted that the "novus ordo" emphasizes ecclesial communion more explicitly than the traditional rite ("perhaps"), but what is the cost? Has not the experience of Mass become desacralized, less focused on the personal reception of disciple and Eucharistic Lord? In making participation in the Mass more extroverted, have we lost the introspective benefits of a less explicitly participatory liturgy?

    The problem is that because liturgical reform was not organic, it missed the opportunity to find the golden mean of a traditional and sacralized Mass with greater emphasis on values such as "active participation" and "ecclesial communion."

    The same overshooting is even more noticeable in the catechetical shift from the conversion deficient text of the Baltimore Catechism to the content and conversion deficient catechesis of the 70s and 80s.


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