Rorate Caeli

Entre santa y santo, pared de cal y canto

There are many good commentaries on Sacramentum Caritatis available on the web -- including in most blogs to which we link.

(1) One of our favorite texts is the commentary (first part) provided by Father L. Demets, FSSP (in French).

(2) If you wish to understand the "progressive" mind, this hilarious article (the author actually means it) published in the online Italian "Leftwing daily" Aprile states that the apostolic exhortation is "a true Counter-reformist manifesto, something similar to the encyclical 'Quanta Cura', of 1864"; "it is the end of the Second Vatican Council" (in Italian).

(3) What about the title of this post? It is an old Spanish proverb which came to mind in a second reading of Sacramentum Caritatis, 29.


  1. Anonymous12:29 AM

    Sorry but this document isnt going to result in any significant was a let down for all of us. Its the usual "suggestions" from the Vatican but the refusal to go as far as to require/demand reform.

  2. That's may not be quite true. It may not result in significant reform, but that is probably because it is being sabotaged even before it was released. Fr. Zuhlsdorf, taking a heads up from another source, points out that in the paragraph dealing with the latin language in the liturgy, the phrase "aequum est" is rendered "could be" rather than "it is right to" which is what it obviously means. What the paragraph actually says is that, outside of the readings, the homily and the prayers of the faithful, IT IS RIGHT that the Latin language be used. I'd call that a directive. Maybe it is the case that the Latin objectors, knowing that they wouldn't get away with it for long, still wanted to make that the west doesn't read Latin well enough to know the difference. Maybe we don't, and it's hardly the point. But maybe there's more in this document than we think. Lets study it a little more carefully before we dismiss it entirely.

    Still, we have utter need of a Motu Proprio and a Universal Indult. But even if we don't get it, we have what we have, and will have more in time, because the Mass of Ages can't be stopped.

  3. What I was going to add was that there may be more in that leftwing Italian analysis, that this is the end of Vatican II, than meets the eye.

  4. Why do we expect it to resolve all the problems? At least this Pope seems to be doing something.
    Although I think it's just warm and fuzzy neo-con gobbly gook myself, I'm glad the Holy Father has at least recognized the problems. We'll be right, we just gotta keep praying.

  5. Anonymous4:27 AM

    There are also many translation inconsistences between Latin and Portuguese. Some of them (regarding to important statements)induce the portuguese/brazilian reader to misunderstand the authorship from the Sinod bishops to the Pope. Others make the reader thinks the Pope would endorse Sinod opinion.

  6. "a true Counter-reformist manifesto, something similar to the encyclical 'Quanta Cura', of 1864";

    Oh that it was!!

  7. A poster on NLM also makes the point that the phrase "occasional abuses" is not what is in the latin, nor in the (original?) Italian.

    The latin speaks of "known" abuses - a rather different perspective to what the Englsih translators would have wanted us to read. Further reason to study carefully what is written - and I assume a latin text (either this one or a refined one) will become the definitive text.

  8. Anonymous12:10 PM

    My question is: why is it important for seminarians to learn how to say Mas in Latin if Latin is only used at international events?

  9. Anonymous1:05 PM

    The more I think about the exhortation, the better I feel about prospects for the motu proprio -- so much is now riding on the MP (maybe even the reform of the reform now depends upon it) that its release seems unavoidable.

  10. So there ARE problems with the translation? I bloody knew it, I knew it. Do you all recall Sandro Magister's article last year dealing with the problems the Pope was having getting his words effectively tanslated and communicated?

    It seems to me utterly futile to discuss anything, anything at all until we are sure that every single word (because as we well know the omission of a single letter can cause no end of trouble) has been faithfully rendered into English.

    I do not think I exagerate. The heat generated already over "occasional" is classic. If this was the only example I had, -- and this is eggregious, it smells -- then *everything* else is now dubious. Has not this one (mis)characterization caused some to question both the veracity and sanity of the Pope himself?

    Some people here were rather annoyed at SC yesterday. If any of you can do the job channel your frustration into translating the text faithfully. This really smells, is this another pro multis moment? What else has been done and where? I would love to know whether a decent Latin scholar can detect any problems in translation in SC in those areas that I think are expositions of doctrine and dogma, ****or whether they only mysteriously occur when the discourse is more on matters disciplinary &c.****

    Yesterday many focused on footnote 6: has that been given to us correctly?

    Occasional could be a gloss on known, as in "there are known occasional" / "known frequent abuses" / "known consistent abuses" / "known once in a blue moon abuses" but even that is not acceptable, if the Latin does not permit it: if the Latin means "known" that should be it.

    What does the Exhortation really say?

    If someone does not get to grips with this I wash my hands of the whole lot of "you." Screw the Motu do we know it won't happen again?! If "they" can do this once and get away with it, they'll do it again. Can you imagine the nice things that might happen to:

    "The Bishop must allow if" becomes

    "The Bishop may permit so long as"

    Ugh. I don't understand some of you sometimes. Move on to the MP? Move on to what? Another text manipulated to obscure and confuse?

  11. I've been thinking all along that the Holy Father needs to sack the translators in the Secretariat of State and bring in some outside experts who can be trusted to do the work. This is almost laughable if it weren't so pathetic that the Church is being held hostage by some translators with an agenda.

  12. Here is Magister's article from last year.

    This is another pro multis moment. The hermeneutic of discontinuity played out right before our eyes in real time (as they say).

  13. Anonymous2:00 PM

    When it comes to the core teaching opportunity that was missed by this TEACHING document, we cannot fall back on complaints about the translation. Let me ask you, how many Catholics today understand that the ultimate purpose of the Mass is a sacrifice of praise to the Holy Trinity, that the ordinary purpose of the Mass is a propitiary sacrifice in atonement for our sins, and that the immanent purpose of the Mass is the very act of sacrifice? Is not ignorance of the threefold and essentially SACRIFICIAL purpose of the Mass at the root of the liturgical crisis? Yes, the word "sacrifice" appears frequently in SC, yet the notion of propitiary sacrifice is (purposely?) avoided. The utter lack of any CLEAR TEACHING on the sacrificial nature of the Mass is to me the single greatest disappointment of this document.

  14. Anonymous2:28 PM

    Further to my last comment, I do not wish to diminish the importance of the translation issue, which will be even more urgent in relation to the MP.

    As for SC, I think that its one saving grace is the insistent focus upon the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, which has always been (to me, at least) Benedict's most appealing quality. Ironically, it is a quality that Benedict shares with the late Archbishop Lefebvre.

  15. Anonymous7:08 PM

    I was glad to see that the Brazilian press also reported on the Exortation as if it were the most conservative of documents. Something in the lines of

    - To women, Benedict reaffirms the roles of wives and mothers, bashing re-marriage as a "plage"

    - To priests, he ordered them to get ready to celebrate Mass in Latin;

    - To the faithful, the pope exorted them to learn gregorian chant;

    Given that most nominal Catholics only learn about encyclicals, exortations, etc, from the lay media, and never bother reading the actual texts of the Magisterium, I was very pleased to see that the average faithful was mislead into thinking that Sacramentum Caritatis is a harsh decree.

    Hopefully, some priests will now learn Latin and a certain number of lay faithfull will acquire the Graduale Romanum in an attempt to adress the pope´s demands.

    A. Basto.

  16. Anonymous8:22 PM

    The often ridiculous and always entertaining Tradition in Action has an interesting interpretation of Paragraph 68:

    While I agree with those commentators here who suggest that Paragraph 68 is aimed at the Neocatchumenal Way, the TIA reading makes for a good conspiracy theory.

  17. Anonymous8:24 PM

    Correction: the TIA article talks about paragaph 63, not 68. Scroll down to the middle of the article.

  18. Anonymous9:19 PM

    Those inconsistencies between the official text and the ones that are really read by 99% of people are gravely disturbing.

    Those languages to which the original is translated are the most used vernacular languages of Christiandom. The translators work MUST be rigorously scrutinized and checked, to avoid creating the scenario of "creative" translators with a hidden agenda, as is the case in the Liturgy. THOSE ARE THE WORDS OF THE POPE WE ARE TALKING ABOUT.

  19. Anonymous9:42 PM

    @ all

    You should not forget this sentence of the exhortation:

    "The purpose of this Exhortation

    5. This Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation seeks to take up the richness and variety of the reflections and proposals which emerged from the recent Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops – ... – and to offer some basic directions aimed at a renewed commitment to eucharistic enthusiasm and fervour in the Church."

  20. Anonymous10:19 PM

    Im the first person who commented and said it was a let down...

    Anyway, I have been thinking and I guess its not a total let down, some good things were said. And I guess it was interesting the "Mass of Saint Pius V" was explicitly referenced.

  21. Anonymous10:44 PM

    '... and to offer some basic directions aimed at a renewed commitment to eucharistic enthusiasm and fervour in the Church.'

    Cardinal Mahoney would go along with this. Mahoneyfest is all about enthusiasm and fervour, of a sort. The "basic directions" in the document are fine, yet will they be followed up with actions? We shall see.

    Again, though, I come back to the missed teaching opportunity. There is no clear teaching -- or even a reminder -- about the threefold and sacrificial nature of the Mass. Many instances of the word "sacrifice", yet no substantive theology of the Mass as a sacrifice. It is precisly the loss of that theology that underlies the present liturgical crisis.

  22. Anonymous10:51 PM

    Most of the uses of "sacrifice", if I am not mistaken, refer to Christ's self-giving act on the Cross. Well, even Protestants will agree that Christ's death was an atoning sacrifice. The issue that concerns us as Catholics is the understanding of the MASS as the perpetual and unbloody renewal of that atoning sacrifice. I will point out again that the purpose of the Mass as a propitiary sacrifice appears nowhere in this document.

  23. See Sklystads take on this:

    Then yesterday Scola during the press conference apparently couldn't give a yes or no answer to the question of whether pro-abort policians should be denied communion, only saying they should not receive. I have a nice photo on my blog of Pietro Sambi doing just that in 2006 with John Kerry. And he is the man I called today to complain about the AE! What's the point???? This AE is going to get the McCarrick treatment...notice how much out of his way Sklystad goes to emphasize the role of the Bishops.

  24. I find it very interesting that +Benedict XVI released this on the eve of the Feast of St. Benedict of Nursia, the father of Western Monastacism who is widely credited with leading a spiritual revival in the Latin Church. Coincidence? I think not.

  25. But if I'm correct, St. Benedict's feast is the 21st, not the 14th.

  26. Anonymous11:54 AM

    Follow carefully:

    Bishop William S. Skylstad of the USCCB:

    'The Apostolic Exhortation clearly presents the authentic mind of the bishops who attended the Synod. ... By implementing the wise guidance of the Synod and of the Holy Father, our Eucharistic Liturgies will not only be celebrated in a way that is beneficial to all who participate, but will also give glory and praise to the Father in Christ Jesus through the Holy Spirit.'

    The ultimate purpose of the Mass according to Tradition: the sacrifice of praise rendered to the Holy Trinity.

    The ultimate purpose of the Mass according to "the authentic mind of the bishops who attended the Synod": a celebration that is beneficial to all who participate.


    Hat tip to Simon-Peter for drawing attention to Bishop Skylstad's all too revealing remarks.

  27. Anonymous12:44 PM

    If you want to understand why there will be no FUNDAMENTAL THEOLOGICAL RENEWAL of the Mass (which is precisely the kind of renewal that is needed), read this:

    (I hope that some readers will not be tempted to dismiss the above analysis on the basis of its source. That would be a pity.)

    Benedict XVI is a neo-conservative pope with certain traditional affinities. Those traditional affinities, having made their appearance in SC, will henceforth exit stage right. Meanwhile, traditionalist hopes will continue to be dashed upon this neo-conservative Rock.

    Let us continue to pray for our Holy Father.

  28. My apologies. I am Orthodox and forgot you all keep changing the calendar. It was yesterday for us (and a thousand years for you as well).

    Poeta wrote:
    "But if I'm correct, St. Benedict's feast is the 21st, not the 14th."

  29. Anonymous11:57 AM

    Athanasius has provided a detailed and insightful commentary on Sacramentum Caritatis:

    Compare Athanasius' lucid analysis to the neo-conservative cheerleading drivel that we will (unfortunately) hear more of in the coming weeks:

  30. I'm new to this particular thread and haven't read all the comments above, but I think New Catholic nailed it.

    To traditional Catholics, this document is mundane, one more insignificant disappointment. But to liberals posing as Catholic, this document is one more nail in the coffin of their Vatican II pipe dream. They have ravaged the Church, but now they are growing old and the Church still stands. Soon they will die and they have left no off-spring.

    This document affirms Latin and it talks about moving the sign of peace. It encourages eucharistic adoration and instructs parishes to put their tabernacles either in a eucharistic chapel or else in the traditional elevated, central location. It applies a thorough-going traditional catechesis to the sacrament. What do traditionalists say? That's nice, but let's see some substance. What do liberals say? This is a disaster.

    Chin up, folks, one step at a time. It took seventy years to get the Jews back to Jerusalem. The pope just belted one in the mouth of the Left, let's give God a little thanks.

  31. Ad Orientum- with papal documents, the release date is meaningless. The date of promulgation is what is remembered.

    The date of promulgation was February 22, which is the feast of the Chair of Peter. Your favorite, if I'm not mistaken, my good man of the east.

    (p.s. sorry, ad orientum, couldn't resist, but hey, what's with your screen name being in Latin?)

  32. With Peter,
    I have no issue with the feast of the Chair of Peter. The Primacy of the See of Rome has never been doubted in Orthodoxy. We just recognize it as it was understood and exercised in the first millennium as opposed to the way it was defined unilaterally by the Latin Church in 1871. Most Orthodox (Old Calendarists being an exception) generally like the Pope and respect him. This one in particular probably has a better grasp of Orthodoxy than any of his predecessors with the possible exception of +John Paul II of blessed memory. As for my choice of Latin there are three reasons. First I used to be Roman Catholic. Secondly The Roman Church does not have a monopoly on Latin (or western liturgical usage) any more than Orthodoxy has one on Greek. And third… I really like Latin. It’s a very cool language. Too many people (both eastern and western) have forgotten in the words of St. +John Maximovitch of San Francisco that “The West was Orthodox for a thousand years and her venerable liturgy is far older than any of her heresies.”

    Do you know any Catholic Churches that celebrate Mass using the Sarum Missal? I know some Orthodox ones that do (as also the rite of St. +Gregory the Great more commonly known in the West as the Tridentine Rite). I am convinced (as is +Benedict XVI) that many if not most of the problems now existing in the Roman Church can be traced to the crisis in the Western Liturgy. As I told Brian Mershon in his excellent article on the subject, I think a lot of people on our side of the Bosphorous would agree with that assessment. No one should be surprised that the sensus fidei of the West has disintegrated since the introduction of the liturgical dross you have been fed since 1970 or so. Lex Orandi Lex Credendi.

  33. Anonymous5:37 AM

    'It applies a thorough-going traditional catechesis to the sacrament.'

    You've got to be kidding.

  34. Anonymous5:41 AM

    As I have noted several times, it is PRECISELY the lack of 'a thorough-going traditional catechesis' that makes this TEACHING document so disappointing.

  35. Brideshead wrote: I will point out again that the purpose of the Mass as a propitiary sacrifice appears nowhere in this document.

    This is clearly the meaning when Benedict says, "In instituting the sacrament of the Eucharist, Jesus anticipates and makes present the sacrifice of the Cross."

    I counted the word "sacrifice" 43 times in the document, most of which referred to the Mass/Eucharist and the Cross as one single sacrifice.

    Brideshead, do you think it possible that you are reading this document with an adversarial spirit?

  36. Anonymous4:33 PM

    With Peter,

    I will not rule out the subjective possibility that I am reading with an adversarial spirit. Objectively, however, I stand by my point that SC contains NO CLEAR TEACHING on the threefold and essentially sacrifical nature of the Mass. I did the word count, too, and arrived at the conclusion that mere repetition of the word "sacrifice" does not change the fact that this document has missed an important teaching opportunity.

    See my reference to the Council of Trent, Session 22, Canon 3. SC does nothing to reinforce this important teaching of the Church, which has largely been abandoned by the liturgical reform.

  37. Anonymous10:41 PM

    I stand (somewhat) corrected on the above point, as the Pope does mention the benefit of offering Masses for the dead. Nevertheless, a robust re-affirmation of the traditional theology of sacrifice is notably absent from the document.

  38. Brideshead, you may be correct, although I don't think it is fair to say that the omission represents an "abandonment" of the traditional theological distinction. To abandon implies a disavowal, which is clearly not the case.

    Is the distinction omitted for other reasons, perhaps the belief that such language will go over the audience's head?

    I do think - and I think you may agree - that the traditional theology is implicit in the usages of the term "sacrifice." If I understand you correctly, your criticism is that this is insufficient. The distinction should be explicated more clearly.

    To this I can only say: Okay. I'm not sure if I agree, but I certainly have no quarrel with you.

  39. Anonymous12:10 PM

    With Peter, I cannot say that the traditional theology of sacrifice is necessarily implicit in the Pope's use of the word "sacrifice". In fact, there is good reason to suspect that it is not. Joseph Ratzinger as a private theologian is on record as saying that the traditional theology of sacrifice (an oblation offered to appease the wrath of God) is WRONG.

    The Novus Ordo has most evidently abandoned the traditional theology of sacrifice by the very deletion of the prayers that explicitly affirmed that theology.

    As for "going over the audience's head", there is much in the Apostolic Exhortation that will make the eyes of the average Joe Catholic glaze over. The Pope is a subtle theologian, sometimes too subtle. The traditional theology of sacrifice, by contrast, is easy to understand, yet difficult for the modern mind to accept.

  40. The then-cardinal's point is that speaking of God's wrath can lead to a gross anthropomorphic misunderstanding of God's nature. God's wrath is only loosely analogous to human anger. Because God is infinitely simple, his wrath is the experience of his love when one is in a state of mortal sin. The very same fire that makes precious metals glow is the same fire that makes chaff burn.

    When we speak, then, of appeasing the wrath of God. We are NOT speaking of producing a change in the Unchangeable, but rather of restoring man to such a state that God's justice will not be experienced as wrath.

    Based on these considerations, I believe that we can and should construe Ratzinger's rejection of an oblation to appease God's wrath not as a rejection of the traditional Catholic understanding of these words, but as a rejection of an erroneous offshoot.

    St. Alphonsus acknowledges and rejects the offshoot of Marian piety that elevates Mary to divine status. I'm NOT saying that Ratzinger's theology is comparable in genius or clarity to this great doctor, but I think a similar principle may be at work. Just as "Mary is to be worshipped above all the saints" can be interpreted in an orthodox (i.e. worship = veneration) or heretical manner (i.e. worship = ultimate adoration), so also the phrase about "appeasing the wrath of God" can be understood in an acceptable traditional way or according to an unacceptable metaphysical perspective.

    I don't really want to address the deletion of those prayers. All I want to say is that Fr. Cekada's book on the subject - published by TAN - is VERY presumptuous in its claims about the logic and motivation of the reformers.

  41. Anonymous8:26 PM

    'When we speak, then, of appeasing the wrath of God. We are NOT speaking of producing a change in the Unchangeable, but rather of restoring man to such a state that God's justice will not be experienced as wrath.'

    That is a perfectly acceptable way of explaining the traditional theology of sacrifice and atonement. If only it had been given a place in Sacramentum Caritatis.

  42. Anonymous5:05 AM

    No, Brideshead, you are mistaken. With Peter's explanation is not acceptable. We FLATTER OURSELVES with the idea that a loving God cannot be infinitely offended by our sins. The fact of the matter is that sin, which is anti-Love, is an infinite offense to infinite Love and requires an infinite atonement, which Jesus provides. That is the traditional theology of sacrifice, it is the truth, the Traditional Mass expresses that truth, and the modern mind (including its neo-conservative form) cannot tolerate it.

  43. Anonymous- I do not flatter myself with the idea that even the slightest sin is not an infinite offense to God, who is pure innocence and goodness. Where did you get such an erroneous notion about me? I absolutely acknowledge that an infinite offense can only be provided for by an infinite atonement.

    What I reject is that this atonement produces any change in God, who is unchangeable.

    This concerns me, Anonymous: I believe your rejection of what I wrote is a rejection of Tradition and traditional Catholic metaphysics. Are you asserting that God is passable? If not, on what basis do you disaree with my posts: Please quote one proposition and explain why it is erroneous.

    PS. Please tell me where Vatican II or any post-conciliar document denied any of the observations in your brief post.


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