Rorate Caeli

Motu proprio notes: What's news?

Most readers must be bored with our caveat regarding supposed contents of the motu proprio before the actual text is known, but we cannot fail to notice that several rumored aspects of the document are being presented as news... when in fact they are quite old.

For instance, the motu proprio will deal not only with the Mass, but with all rites of Sacraments. Is that news? Well, not for those who have been following the debate. Just this past May in Aparecida, Brazil, Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos said that "the Holy Father has the intention of extending to the entire Latin Church the possibility of celebrating Holy Mass and the Sacraments according to the liturgical books promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962".

What about calling the Traditional Roman Rite an "extraordinary form" of the "one" Roman Rite? This academic concept has permeated the Vatican language for a couple of years. In October 2006, Cardinal Ricard, President of the French Episcopal Conference, explained that he called the Traditional Roman Rite "what the Pope calls [it]": "an extraordinary form of the Roman Rite". And this expression has been constantly repeated by Vatican officials. Once again, no news.

All supposed contents of the motu proprio being published by the press and repeated by several weblogs seem to be old news, except for one important aspect, whose appearance is new - it does not matter what it is, for why comment upon an aspect of the document if it may very well not turn out to be true? Is it not better to wait until the texts of the motu proprio and its accompanying letter are actually known?

Which is why we will keep our pre-publication caveat:

Considering the closeness of the date of publication of the motu proprio on the liberalization of the Traditional Roman Rite and its accompanying letter, we will avoid commenting on the contents of both documents, until the actual texts are publicly known.


IMPORTANT NOTE: That there will be a period of time before all legal aspects of the motu proprio come into effect (what in Canon Law is commonly referred to as "vacatio legis") is not any kind of rumored content, but almost a certainty, considering the last words of the communiqué of the Holy See Press Office: "with the indication of its successive coming into effect" (con la indicazione della sua successiva entrata in vigore), that is, of when it will be ordered to come into effect. The duration of this vacatio legis (1 day after publication? 30 days? 90 days? 180 days?) is unknown at this moment and will probably only be known with the public release of the document.

A historical-introductory note is available, as well as a declaration of the Holy See Press Office.

Interesting excerpts:

In the Church – the People of God – only the sacred ministers, duly ordained after sufficient instruction and formation, may exercise the office of ''teaching, sanctifying and governing''. The lay faithful may, with a canonical mission from the Bishop, perform an ancillary ecclesial ministry of handing on the faith.

...there are certain Bishops – a very small number of them – who have been ordained without the Pontifical mandate and who have not asked for or have not yet obtained, the necessary legitimation. According to the doctrine of the Catholic Church, they are to be considered illegitimate, but validly ordained, as long as it is certain that they have received ordination from validly ordained Bishops and that the Catholic rite of episcopal ordination has been respected. Therefore, although not in communion with the Pope, they exercise their ministry validly in the administration of the sacraments, even if they do so illegitimately.
Concerning Bishops whose consecrations took place without the pontifical mandate yet respecting the Catholic rite of episcopal ordination, the resulting problems must always be resolved in the light of the principles of Catholic doctrine. Their ordination – as I have already said – is illegitimate but valid, just as priestly ordinations conferred by them are valid, and sacraments administered by such Bishops and priests are likewise valid. Therefore the faithful, taking this into account, where the eucharistic celebration and the other sacraments are concerned, must, within the limits of the possible, seek Bishops and priests who are in communion with the Pope: nevertheless, where this cannot be achieved without grave inconvenience, they may, for the sake of their spiritual good, turn also to those who are not in communion with the Pope.

Motu Proprio notes:
Stopping the Spin Cycle

How amusing it is to watch a Cardinal spin and downplay the greatest move of a pontificate. "This issue of the Latin Mass is not urgent for our country," says Cardinal O'Malley.

This is quite at odds with what the Cardinal responsible for the matter in the Roman Curia, Darío Castrillón Hoyos, said just last month in Aparecida: "The interest of the young curiously increases in France, the United States, Brazil, Italy, Scandinavia, Australia, and China". Any study of the "Traditionalist Question" around the world would confirm that: the number of Traditionalists in America is probably smaller only than that of France. And no other nation has such great potential for the Traditional Mass in the near future as the United States: the motu proprio will almost certainly have a greater numerical impact in America than in any other country.

Cardinal O'Malley does not stop there in this rhetorical tour de force: he dives deep into his own personal experience to say that "in the United States the number of people who participate in the Latin Mass even with permission is very low"; he adds that in his "archdiocese, the permission to celebrate the Latin Mass has been in place for several years". Very true, but Catholics in Boston are well aware of the humiliating and persistent denials of the Archbishop for the establishment of a more stable community, despite the "rightful aspirations" (Ecclesia Dei, 5) of the faithful attached to the Traditional Mass. We go to our archives to find this letter from an Archbishop and Chancery officials who believe they are being generous enough with the faithful:

First I wish to express my regrets that your 21 August 2005 is being acknowledged in such a tardy manner; however, I only recently have received it from the Office of the Archbishop with a request to respond to it. I note that your letter regards Holy Trinity Parish in Boston and specifically your request that the Archbishop invite either the Fraternity of Saints Peter and Paul [sic] or the Institute of Christ the King to come to the Archdiocese of Boston to service the Tridentine Community.

Please know that the Archbishop has received requests similar to yours in the past and has consistently responded that in accord with the request of Ecclesia Dei the Archdiocese of Boston provides the celebration of Mass in the Tridentine Rite and has the qualified priests to celebrate this Mass. It is not the intention of the Archbishop to begin a Tridentine Rite parish, thus at this time he does not envision the necessity nor the advantage of inviting priests from either of the two groups that you mention to the Archdiocese as we can provide for the celebration of the Mass on a weekly basis.

So, while the Cardinal spins and downplays the significance of the motu proprio now ("this document will not result in a great deal of change for the Catholics in the U.S. Indeed, interest in the Latin Mass is particularly low here in New England"), what was actually acknowledged by the Archbishop in the quite candid letter sent by the Archdiocese to a Catholic in Boston was that: (1) there had been repeated requests for the establishment of Ecclesia Dei orders in Boston (so much for "particularly low interest"); (2) it was enough to provide for the celebration of the Traditional Mass in one venue on a weekly basis in one of the largest archdioceses in the country.

This venue was recently relocated, as is often the case with Ecclesia Dei Masses, distinguished around the world by their great instability, including all kinds of incidents (such as the arrival of a new bishop, or the death of an old priest, or the closing of a church) which prevent most of the Ecclesia Dei faithful from establishing any long-term plans for their spiritual welfare and that of their families, as almost all Catholics are able to do in their parishes.

Unfortunately, Cardinal O'Malley's spin operation does not end in his own backyard. Considering the great relevance of the current position of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX/SSPX) for the papal decision, SSPX activities in America were nonetheless presented as a minor operation:

"In my comments at the meeting I told my brother bishops that in the United States ... , according to the research that I did, there are only 18 priories of the Society of St. Pius X in the entire country."

This must come as quite a surprise for the SSPX superiors, for whom the District of the United States is their second largest operation worldwide. Since we must charitably presume that the Cardinal is not intentionally presenting a skewed view of the SSPX numbers in America, we have to assume that his aides are not much of a help prepping him for important meetings. Had the Cardinal taken the trouble to merely checking the SSPX website in the United States, he would have been able to give a more accurate picture of the "SSPX Question" in the country.

For instance, according to the SSPX website, the numbers are more like this, similar to those of a small diocese: besides the "only" 18 priories, which are not only "parishes", but "priest distribution centers", there are regular Masses in 38 states, 104 Chapels (not counting SSPX-friendly chapels), 24 schools, 4 retreat houses, 4 Summer camps, 1 College, 1 Seminary, 64 priests, and 63 seminarians .

The time is up: it is time to stop giving the wrong picture to the "brothers". The age of mere generosity is coming to an end. It is time to face facts and to end the spin.


We repeat our caveat for readers who may be curious on why various rumored contents of the motu proprio are not being discussed here: Considering the closeness of the date of publication of the motu proprio on the liberalization of the Traditional Roman Rite and its accompanying letter, we will avoid commenting on the contents of both documents, until the actual texts are publicly known.

Motu proprio notes: The meeting

In the picture, from left to right:
Burke, Bagnasco, Koch, Dziwisz, Bertone, Mvé Engone, the Pope,
O'Malley, Castrillón, Ruini, Toppo, Ricard, Pell, Arinze, and Murphy O'Connor

We thank reader Simon Peter for compiling the list (to which we added a couple of missing names) of those who were present at the meeting last Wednesday for the presentation of the motu proprio on the liberalization of the Traditional Mass and its accompanying letter, and who were later joined by the Holy Father. The list reveals as much about those who were present, as about those who were not invited.

Roman Curia:

1. Cardinal Bertone, Secretary of State
2. Cardinal Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
3. Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei

4. Cardinal Ruini, Cardinal Vicar of Rome
5. Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genoa, President of the Italian Episcopal Conference
6. Cardinal Ricard, Archbishop of Bordeaux, President of the French Episcopal Conference
7. Cardinal Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon
8. Cardinal Lehmann, Bishop of Mainz, President of the German Episcopal Conference
England and Wales
9. Cardinal Murphy O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales
10. Kurt Koch, Bishop of Basel, President of the Swiss Episcopal Conference
11. Cardinal Dziwisz, Archbishop of Cracow

United States
12. Cardinal O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston
13. Raymond Burke, Archbishop of Saint Louis
14. Basile Mvé Engone, Archbishop of Libreville, President of the Episcopal Conference of Gabon
15. Cardinal Toppo, Archbishop of Ranchi, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India
16. Cardinal Pell, Archbishop of Sydney

Note: Though the list includes no diocesan ordinaries from Latin America, different sources confirm that two Latin American prelates (probably, considering the list, two presidents of episcopal conferences) were invited, but "justified" their absence. They probably had no idea that the Pope would personally greet them and discuss the matter with them for one hour. The pretentiousness and self-sufficiency of many Latin American Bishops were not softened by the Papal visit to the region in May...

Picture: Source


According to the Rome correspondent of the Argentinian daily La Nación (see also UCANews - in English):

... in the meeting sub secreto of the day before yesterday, Cardinal Bertone explained that the main reason for the imminent document is to favor reconciliation with the ultra-orthodox Lefebvrists of the Fraternity of Saint Pius X.


The second motive for the Motu Proprio is to satisfy and to placate the demands of the Traditionalist sectors which, while not having left with the Lefebvrists, desire the reestablishment of the old rite in Latin. And the third and last [reason] is "not to lose the treasures of the past" implicit in the Latin liturgy, which presents a much more complex choreography, but instead to integrate them into modern culture.

Letter to Chinese Catholics: tomorrow

The Holy See Press Office announces that the the "Letter of the Holy Father Benedict XVI to the Bishops, the priests, the consecrated persons, and the lay faithful of the Catholic Church in the People's Republic of China" will be available tomorrow, at noon, Rome time (for journalists, under embargo, the letter will be available three hours earlier).

Since Cardinal Zen of Hong Kong said a few days ago, to the French daily Le Figaro, that the Chinese authorities would receive advance copies of the letter "two or three days in advance", that would explain the reports that the Bishops named by the government have been summoned to Beijing to be told how to "receive" the document (UCANews).

The calendar announced by Cardinal Bertone in his interview to Avvenire on June 3, 2007 follows the expected order: first, the letter to Chinese Catholics; then, the motu proprio on the liberalization of the Traditional Mass.

Great experts recognize [Christ's] spiritual and moral stature in the history of mankind, comparing him to Buddha, Confucius, Socrates, and other sages and great characters of History. They do not get to recognize him in his uniqueness.


Hearing him preach, watching him heal, evangelize the small and the poor, reconcile sinners, the disciples reached little by little the understanding that He was the Messiah in the highest sense of the word, that is, not only a man sent by God, but God himself made man.

All this was clearly too great for them, it overwhelmed their capacity for understanding. They could express their faith with the titles of Jewish Tradition: "Christ", "Son of God", "Lord". But to adhere completely to reality, those titles had to be in some way rediscovered in their deepest truth: Jesus himself with his life has revealed its deepest sense, always surprising, actually paradoxical to standard conceptions.

And the faith of the disciples had to adapt progressively. It presents itself as a pilgrimage, which has its original moment in the experience of the historic Jesus, finds its foundation in the Paschal mystery, but must still move forward thanks to the action of the Holy Spirit. Such has also been the faith of the Church in the course of History, such is also our faith, [of the] Christians of today. Firmly established on the "rock" of Peter, it is a pilgrimage towards the fullness of that truth which the Galilee Fisherman professed with passionate conviction: "Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God".

Benedict XVI
Homily on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, 2007

Motu proprio notes:
playing ecclesiastical telephone and "the last word"

The news flood of the past few hours may have left some confused. For instance, an ANSA dispatch on the motu proprio includes the following*:

From last December, behind the scenes, various modifications were made to the original document, to grant to the bishops – or so it seems – to nevertheless have "the last word".

"The role of the bishop is central in the dispositions of the order of celebrations", the Cardinal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone, explained today, commenting on the Motu Proprio. With the restoration of the pre-Conciliar liturgy, he added, it was desired above all to give homage to the "great riches of tradition".

The use of quotation marks could leave some with the impression that Cardinal Bertone himself used the expression "the last word" when speaking of episcopal power on the matter. Alas, that was not the case.

The expression "the last word" was first found in the past 24 hours in the La Croix story we translated and posted yesterday and was picked up by the Italian papal news website Petrus, which added the quotation marks: "From last December, behind the scenes, various modifications were made to the original document, to grant to the bishops – or so it seems – to nevertheless have 'the last word' on liturgical celebrations in their dioceses." This almost exact text, which did not include any declaration by Cardinal Bertone, was later introduced by ANSA in its dispatch, causing the impression that the Cardinal had spoken it (in the picture, the Cardinal celebrates his farewell Mass in Genoa, according to the new rite).

What the Cardinal actually said today, as reported by Petrus in another story, included the following:

"Yesterday afternoon, a meeting on the 'motu proprio' which delineates a few conditions for the celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of John XXIII of 1962 took place at the Vatican, and the Pope explained his motivations. The 'motu proprio' will be published with all its rules in the next few days and it will come into effect soon afterwards."

"In addition, there is a beautiful personal letter of the Pope to all the bishops of the world which explains the why of reevaluating and rediscovering the pre-Conciliar liturgical form, [which is] a great wealth."

"The role of the bishop is central in the dispositions of the order of celebrations, priests are not autonomous but submitted to the bishop, who refers [fare riferimento] to the Pope and to the liturgy of the universal Church; there is a communion and there must be harmony in this beautiful orchestra."

The Cardinal, therefore, never said that the bishops will have "the last word".

Considering the closeness of the date of publication of the motu proprio on the liberalization of the Traditional Roman Rite and its accompanying letter, and to prevent this sort of mix-up, we will avoid commenting on the contents of both documents (for instance, on what would be limits of episcopal power in the matter), until the actual texts are publicly known.

*Translation courtesy of Father Zuhlsdorf.

Motu proprio notes:
No press conference; document could still be lightly "retouched"

Some further details from the news website of the Belgian Episcopal Conference.


In a declaration made on June 28 to the press, Father Lombardi [the head of the Holy See Press Office] assured that the publication of this document should take place in the days ahead, "maybe next week".

"The pope wished to present the document personally to the authorities most interested [in it],"explained the director of the Holy See Press Office. He added that Benedict XVI had thus wished for "a personal, direct and non-epistolary presentation" of the Motu Proprio to the bishops.

Fifteen people took part in the meeting, detailed Father Lombardi, among whom French Cardinals Philippe Barbarin, Primate of the Gauls, and Jean-Pierre Ricard, President of the French Episcopal Conference.Three Cardinals of the Curia were also present: Cardinals Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State of the Holy See, Darío Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, and Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Father Federico Lombardi indicated that the document would now be sent to the Bishops. The director of the Holy See Press Office added that no press conference will take place.


The text presented to the prelates on June 27 should still undergo "some small retouches", the [news] agency I.Media has otherwise learned.

The statement in the last paragraph was provided by the news agency, not by Father Lombardi.

Motu proprio notes: Remembering Michael Davies

Remembering a past note, first posted on April 4, 2006:

Some thoughts of Michael Davies (Requiescat in pace) recently crossed our mind. At first, we could not find the link to them -- but it was a sure bet that we would be able to find the piece through the archives of the greatest Catholic news source in English, Seattle Catholic.

Michael Matt, the editor of The Remnant, recalled some of Davies' most controversial convictions near the end of his life:

I make no secret of the fact, for example, that I questioned (and still question) Michael's dogged defense of Cardinal Ratzinger. Over the years and to Michael's dismay, I published criticisms of some of the Cardinal's more perplexing statements. But I can also assure the reader that there was much more to that story. As someone who took issue with him on this very point, I hasten to set the record straight—Michael Davies, through it all, had only the best interest of traditional Catholics at heart. And here's what I mean: He firmly believed (and had been assured on numerous occasions) that Cardinal Ratzinger is "on our side" and would do all in his power, short of touching off a schism in Rome, to gradually turn things in Tradition's favor. All His Eminence required of us was patience and time.

Some of us were (and are) skeptical. But, as Michael saw it, the Cardinal had demonstrated enough good will on our behalf to justify our giving him the benefit of the doubt, i.e., the Cardinal's foreword to Msgr. Gamber's book; the Cardinal's historic rehabilitation of Pat Morely and the Honolulu Six who had been placed under interdict for "formal adherence" to the SSPX; the Cardinal's public celebration of the Tridentine Mass on occasion; the Cardinal's willingness to meet personally with traditionalists, etc.

Whether we can bring ourselves to accept the Cardinal's assurances that he is "on our side" is not at issue. What is at issue is that Michael believed that the Cardinal believed he was our ally. His great "sin", then, was to take his friend, the Cardinal, at his word; but this was very much the British thing to do. There was no conspiracy or dark and dastardly plotting going on behind the scenes. Michael simply believed, based on private meetings with His Eminence (to which none of us was privy, by the way), that the Cardinal would prove an invaluable ally to us all. What of it? Wouldn't it be grand!

As we sit and wait, and see apparent signs, like Caesar across the Rubicon, we must wonder: was Michael Davies right? The die is cast, and there is nothing we can do but pray -- "patience and time" (and prayer) are all it takes.


A meeting took place yesterday afternoon at the Vatican, presided by the Cardinal Secretary of State, in which the content and the spirit of the expected "Motu proprio" of the Holy Father on the use of the Missal promulgated by John XXIII in 1962 were explained to the representatives of several episcopal conferences. The Holy Father came to greet those who were present and maintained a profound discussion with them for about one hour. The publication of the document - which will be accompanied by a thorough personal letter of the Holy Father to the singular Bishops - is predicted for within a few days, when the document itself will be sent to all Bishops with the indication of its successive coming into effect.

La Croix: Motu Proprio revealed to world's Bishops

Isabelle de Gaulmyn, Rome correspondent of the French daily La Croix, the semi-official newspaper of the Church in France, reports the following.


The motu proprio on the Missal of Saint Pius V
revealed to the Bishops

On Wednesday, June 27, a meeting in the Vatican of the representatives of episcopal conferences took place, in which Cardinal Bertone delivered the contents of the motu proprio aiming to liberalize the use of the Tridentine Missal.

On Wednesday, June 27, in the afternoon, Cardinals and Archbishops from different countries assembled around Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, to be advised of the contents of the motu proprio aiming to liberalize the use of the missal in Tridentine rite, said "of Saint Pius V".

"It is a kind of internal publication to the Church," it is said in the Curia. The "external" publication, that is, the official one, should take place soon, by way of L' Osservatore Romano, the daily edited by the Holy See. The text, written in Latin, will be accompanied by a letter of Benedict XVI, in several languages.

Before this meeting, the Bishops were unaware of the entire final content of the text. In fact, after the last known meeting of the Ecclesia Dei commission, charged with the rapprochement with the integrist [sic] movements, on December 12, 2006, the decisions were taken with the utmost discretion.

Safeguards to guarantee the last word to the Bishop

The Pope, who wishes to ease access to the rite of Saint Pius V, had asked the Ecclesia Dei commission to work towards a solution since 2006. With a double objective: favoring the return of integrist [sic] communities to the Catholic Church, but also to encourage the attachment of Catholics to a liturgical tradition mishandled, in his eyes, after Vatican II.


The project provoked the reservations of a certain number of episcopates, including those of France and the United States, for whom this de facto biritualism presents a risk for the unity of the Church. The fear is that the bishop, subject to pressures in favor of one rite, may lose his authority over the diocese. Concerns [which were] heard by the Pope who, in the exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, in March, specified that it belongs to the Bishop, "celebrant par excellence within his Diocese", to "ensure unanimous unity of the celebrations taking place in his territory" [sic - following French translation of the document]

The motu proprio should predict safeguards to guarantee the last word to the bishop, in case of a disagreement between faithful and priests on this matter.

... the motu proprio could establish that the lectionary be, in both rites, the one established by Paul VI in 1967. [sic]

For the Record


The motu proprio liberating the Tridentine Mass for the entire Catholic Church has been given to about 30 bishops from all over the world in the Sala Bologna of the Apostolic Palace by Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone

Vatican ( Welt/closedcafeteria.blogspot)

Die Welt report that the motu proprio liberating the Tridentine Mass for the entire Catholic Church has been given to about 30 bishops from all over the world in the Sala Bologna of the Apostolic Palace by Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone.

The bishops had been invited to Rome for that purpose. At the end of the meeting, in which the motu proprio was introduced together with a letter of explanation by Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Benedict met with the bishops. The document is about three pages long, the accompanying letter about four. From Germany, Cardinal Lehmann had been invited. The circumstances of the procedure make clear that the Pope was very interested to personally inform the bishops, in collegial manner, of the content rather than from the media. The publication of both documents will take place on July 7th. It emphasizes the unity of the Roman Rite which will consist of an ordinary and an extraordinary form which are supposed to inspire each other. The ordinary/regular form will continue to be the new rite of 1969. The extraordinary form will be the Missal of Bl. John XXIII. of 1962.
We await confirmation from other sources; we keep our caveat regarding the specific date of release until there is official confirmation of it (a care this weblog has kept, avoiding to grasp at all possible dates) and note the oddity that the very name of the document still seems to be ignored.

[Monday tip... : Bernardus]

Minor changes in the Roman Curia

Marco Tosatti predicted yesterday in the last paragraph of his article in La Stampa that:

...some changes may perhaps happen before vacations, particularly that of Archishop Claudio Maria Celli, Secretary of the Apsa [Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See], very close to Cardinal Silvestrini, to the position of Archbishop Foley, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, [himself] destined to substitute Cardinal Carlo Furno as Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre.
Well, both nominations were nominations were published today: Foley as new Pro-Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre; and Celli as new President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications (Foley's former position). Tosatti also predicted "the publication of two important documents" in the same article.

Motu Proprio
on the repristination of the conclave's qualified majority

According to the traditional rule, now brought back by Pope Benedict XVI, the election of the Roman Pontiff must always happen by the way of a solid two-thirds majority of Voting Cardinals. The following Apostolic Letter, released today, changes article 75 of Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis, which allowed a papal election by a lower absolute majority of voting Cardinals after a series of unsuccessful ballots (cf. Article 74 of the same Constitution), reestablishing that the qualified majority (two thirds of Voting Cardinals) remains the norm always for the validity of the election of a Roman Pontiff -- even when, after the series of unsuccessful votes, there is a runoff between the two Cardinals with the largest number of votes in the preceding ballot (who will not be able to vote in the runoff election).




de aliquibus mutationibus in normis
de electione Romani Pontificis


Constitutione apostolica Universi Dominici gregis, die XXII Februarii anno MCMXCVI promulgata [n. 1], Venerabilis Decessor Noster Ioannes Paulus II, nonnullas immutationes induxit in normas canonicas servandas pro electione Romani Pontificis a Paulo VI, felicis recordationis, statutas [n. 2].

In numero septuagesimo quinto memoratae Constitutionis statutum est ut exhaustis incassum omnibus suffragationibus, iuxta normas statutas peractis, in quibus ad validam electionem Romani Pontificis duae ex tribus partes suffragiorum omnium praesentium requiruntur, Cardinalis Camerarius Cardinales electores consulat de modo procedendi, atque agetur prout eorum maior absoluta pars decreverit, servata tamen ratione ut electio valida evadat aut maiore absoluta parte suffragiorum aut duo nomina tantum suffragando, quae in superiore scrutinio maiorem suffragiorum partem obtinuerunt, dum hoc quoque in casu sola maior absoluta pars requirebatur.

Post promulgatam vero laudatam Constitutionem, haud paucae petitiones, auctoritate insignes, ad Ioannem Paulum II pervenerunt, sollicitantes ut norma traditione sancita restitueretur, secundum quam Romanus Pontifex valide electus non haberetur nisi duas ex tribus partes suffragiorum Cardinalium electorum praesentium obtinuisset.

Nos igitur, quaestione attente perpensa, statuimus ac decernimus ut, abrogatis normis quae in numero septuagesimo quinto Constitutionis Apostolicae Universi Dominici gregis Ioannis Pauli II praescribuntur, hae substituantur normae quae sequuntur:

Si scrutinia de quibus in numeris septuagesimo secundo, tertio et quarto memoratae Constitutionis incassum reciderint, habeatur unus dies orationi, reflexioni et dialogo dicatus ; in subsequentibus vero suffragationibus, servato ordine in numero septuagesimo quarto eiusdem Constitutionis statuto, vocem passivam habebunt tantummodo duo Cardinales qui in superiore scrutinio maiorem numerum suffragiorum obtinuerunt, nec recedatur a ratione ut etiam in his suffragationibus maioritas qualificata suffragiorum Cardinalium praesentium ad validitatem electionis requiratur. In his autem suffragationibus, duo Cardinales qui vocem passivam habent, voce activa carent.

Hoc documentum cum in L’Osservatore Romano evulgabitur statim vigere incipiet. Haec decernimus et statuimus, contrariis quibusvis non obstantibus.

Datum Romae, apud Sanctum Petrum, die XI mensis Iunii, anno MMVII, Pontificatus nostri tertio.



1 IOANNES PAULUS II, Constitutio apostolica Universi Dominici gregis, 22 februarii 1996, in AAS 88 (1996) 305-343.

2 PAULUS VI, Constitutio apostolica Romano Pontifici eligendo, 1 octobris 1975: AAS 67 (1975) 605-645.

For the Record - Tosatti: Changes in the Roman Curia and "imminent" documents

Marco Tosatti, one of the most influential religious journalists in Italy, reports today in La Stampa on possible changes in the Roman Curia, confirming rumors that the Pope (and Cardinal Bertone) would want to move Cardinal Levada to New York (prompting the battle for his succession) and reports (already confirmed by I.Media and Andrea Tornielli in Il Giornale) that the letter to China and the "motu proprio" on the liberalization of the Traditional Latin Mass could be released before the beginning of the Pope's early summer vacation, in Lorenzago di Cadore.

Main excerpts below:

Benedict XVI brings back to life the ministry for Dialogue between religions, trusting it to a cardinal of great relevance, Jean-Louis Tauran, previously Foreign Minister and "Librarian" of Holy Roman Church; and, meanwhile, in the Sacred Palaces, a silent battle for two positions of great prestige and importance has begun: the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where Ratzinger reigned as Prefect for more than twenty-three years, and the Pontifical Council for Culture, in the hands of Cardinal Paul Poupard, who in August will reach seventy-seven years old. [Father] Gianfranco Ravasi, Prefect of the Ambrosian Library, is the candidate in "pole position" [sic] to succeed him, strongly supported by the "progressive" wing.


There are those who propose other names: Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet; the Spanish Archbishop of Toledo, Cardinal Canizares; and even the Bishop of San Marino, Luigi Negri. Antonio Cañizares, greatly esteemed by Pope Ratzinger, is, however, a possible candidate for another position: that of Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. If the operation, willed by the Pope and by Cardinal Bertone, to send Levada to New York is successful, the succession problem is opened. Other than Angelo Amato, the current secretary and a Salesian like Bertone, Cañizares is also mentioned. Many however bet on the Patriarch of Venice, Angelo Scola, greatly esteemed by the Pope and, in a certain sense, expecting a compensation, after Bagnasco became the president of Cei [the Italian Episcopal Conference].


On Monday, July 9, Benedict XVI leaves for Lorenzago di Cadore; some changes may perhaps happen before vacations, particularly that of Archishop Claudio Maria Celli, Secretary of the Apsa [Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See], very close to Cardinal Silvestrini, to the position of Archbishop Foley, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, [himself] destined to substitute Cardinal Carlo Furno as Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre. And the publication of two important documents is expected: a letter to the Chinese Catholics, which could be a milestone in relations with Beijing, and the "Motu proprio" for the liberalization of the Mass of Saint Pius V, both defined as "imminent" by authoritative voices.

Tip and online transcript: Papa Ratzinger.

Tauran back in business

Fifteen months ago, the unification of the presidencies of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Pontifical Council for Culture, under the joint chairmanship of Cardinal Poupard, was considered a first step in the restructuring of the Curia. However, there have never been further steps: the overall arrangement of both Councils has remained completely in place.

Today, the Holy Father ended the joint chairmanship of both commissions, by naming Cardinal Tauran, Archivist and Librarian of the Apostolic See, to head the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. Tauran was a very important member of the Sodano entourage (as Secretary of Relations with States, Foreign Secretary of the Vatican, a position now occupied by another Frenchman, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti), but was consigned to a golden early retirement as Archivist and Librarian of the Holy See in 2003.

Cardinal Tauran will begin his activities in the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue on September 1, 2007. He will be replaced in his current positions by the present prefect of the Apostolic Library, Raffaele Farina, who in his turn will be replaced in his position by the Vice-Prefect of the Ambrosian Library, the Library of the Archdiocese of Milan, Cesare Pasini.

Is it Trautman? Is it an English Bishop?

No, it is the new Archbishop of São Paulo, Brazil (and an almost certain future Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church), Odilo Pedro Scherer, named by Pope Benedict to replace the Prefect for Clergy, who says the following about the Traditional Latin Mass (or any Mass in Latin, actually...) :

The Mass in Latin is not a new thing about which the Pope speaks in the Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis. Even after the Second Vatican Council, there has always been the possibility of celebrating Mass in Latin. Of course, one will not celebrate in Latin with the people, who cannot understand it. What there is now is that some desire the return of the ancient liturgy. This creates some unease for raising the suspicion that what is wanted is to change the decisions of the Second Vatican Council. What was done with Paul VI, with John Paul II, and which is kept now is the authorization for some groups which have asked for the possibility of using the liturgy of the Council of Trent. This has been granted, now to will that this be once again extended to all the Church, indiscriminately, seems to me more complicated, and I do not see that it may happen. It is said that the Pope would be preparing a motu proprio widening the use of the ancient liturgy, but what is specifically happening must be seen. There is nothing concrete up to the moment.

Tip: reader. Source.


Regarding the Archbishop of Westminster, we would like to share the following e-mail sent to us by another reader, Mr David Werling, a response to an e-mail message sent by him to the Archdiocese:

Dear Mr. Werling,

The Cardinal has asked me to write and thank you for your email. The Cardinal would wish to assure you that he has done nothing to thwart the publication of the motu proprio on the liberalization of the Traditional Latin Mass. Assuming it is published before long, the Cardinal will do everything in his power to apply it generously.

With kind wishes,

Yours sincerely,

Mgr Mark O'Toole
Private Secretary

Mgr O'Toole does not deny that the Cardinal may have sent a letter to the Pope regarding the matter, as the Telegraph had published, simply that he has "done nothing", in his own opinion, naturally, "to thwart the publication of the motu proprio". We are glad that "the Cardinal will do everything in his power to apply it generously"...


Recess for one week: Relevant news may be posted at any time.

Cloud of Witnesses v. "Great Cosmic Mystery"

Professor Robert T. Miller presents what we believe is the best web-review so far of the ... indescribable document of the International Theological Commission (ITC) on the fate of unbaptized children. Some excerpts:

The ITC has now issued its document. (...) For all its faults, however, the document gets right the essential point: “Our conclusion is that [there are] . . . grounds for hope that unbaptized infants will be saved and enjoy the beatific vision” (no. 102), but “the church does not have sure knowledge about the salvation of unbaptized infants” because “the destiny of . . . infants who die without baptism has not been revealed to us, and the church teaches and judges only with regard to what has been revealed” (no. 79). In other words, after 42 pages, 135 footnotes, and more than 22,000 words, the ITC has said no more than what the Catechism had said back in 1994: (...).

In fact, the ITC even seems to back off slightly from the position taken in the Catechism, for the ITC expressly notes that the traditional teaching on limbo “remains a possible theological opinion” (no. 41). And no wonder, for in the section of the document treating the history of the question, the ITC assembles quite an array of authorities tending in various ways to oppose the view that unbaptized infants are saved. The list includes Pseudo-Athanasius, Anastasius of Sinai, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory Nazianzus, Augustine, Jerome, Fulgentius, Avitus of Vienne, Gregory the Great, Anselm of Canterbury, Hugh of St. Victor, Peter Abelard, Peter Lombard, Innocent III, Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus, Robert Bellarmine, Paul III, Benedict XIV, Clement XIII, Pius VI, and Pius XII.

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, what arguments does the ITC adduce to explain why it hopes that unbaptized infants be saved? After “provid[ing] a new context” by referring to the wars of the twentieth century, the modern temptation to despair, the improvement of global communications and travel, and the fact that we all feel bad when we see children suffer (none of which, of course, is in the least relevant), and after quoting and requoting (sometimes three and four times) the same passages from Scripture—passages that the ITC had already conceded don’t settle the issue (no. 9)—the argument comes down to this: God’s universal salvific will, plus the fact that Christ entered into solidarity with all humanity in a “great cosmic mystery of communion” (no. 92), give us “grounds for hope that unbaptized infants . . . will be saved” (no. 102). Given all the doctors, theologians, and popes on the other side of the question, one might think of this argument as being the triumph of hope over expertise.

Even calling it an argument, however, is generous. It amounts to nothing more than saying, “There seems to be a tension between . . . the universal salvific will of God on the one hand and the necessity of sacramental baptism on the other,” because the latter “seems to limit the extension of God’s universal salvific will” (no. 10).

The answer to this, of course, is obvious and well-known in sacred tradition. Although God wants all men to be saved, nevertheless some men are damned to hell (a fact the ITC acknowledges by quoting from the Synod of Quercy), and if God’s universal salvific will is compatible with some men being damned to hell, then there’s no problem at all with it being compatible with some unbaptized infants enjoying a natural but not a supernatural happiness in limbo.

Miller praises the honesty of the Commission in reaching its "conclusions" - but that was the least one could expect. We disagree with him on this point, and we would add that Vatican officials were irresponsible in allowing the typical dishonest Conciliar and post-Conciliar tactics of news-distortion which allowed the world (and most Catholics around the world who heard of the document, but who will never read it) to believe that "Limbo has been abolished".

Cardinal Levada should be the one explaining to the world what Miller so aptly does in a few paragraphs. The public release of the ITC document as well as its general perception as the document which "abolished Limbo" were a new triumph of the hermeneutics of rupture and discontinuity.

Read the whole piece at First Things. There is not much else to be said, unless one wishes to be just as repetitive and pointless as the document itself.

What is the basic difficulty?

Bishop Trautman, of Erie, chairman of the Committee on the Liturgy of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, asks in the Jesuit weekly America:

Why have the new translations become so problematic, so non-pastoral? What is the basic difficulty?

May we venture a guess? We call to the stand Dom Prosper Guéranger:

Since the liturgical reform had for one of its principal aims the abolition of actions and formulas of mystical signification, it is a logical consequence that its authors had to vindicate the use of the vernacular in divine worship.

This is in the eyes of sectarians a most important item. 'Worship is no secret matter.' 'The people,' they say, 'must understand what they sing.'

Hatred for the Latin language is inborn in the hearts of all the enemies of Rome. They recognize it as the bond among Catholics throughout the universe, as the arsenal of orthodoxy against all the subtleties of the sectarian spirit. ...

The spirit of rebellion which drives them to confide the universal prayer to the language of each people, of each province, of each century, has for the rest produced its fruits, and the reformed themselves constantly perceive that the Catholic people, in spite of their Latin prayers, relish better and accomplish with more zeal the duties of the cult than most of the Protestant people. At every hour of the day, divine worship takes place in Catholic churches. The faithful Catholic who attends leaves his mother tongue at the door. Apart form the sermons, he hears nothing but mysterious words which, even so, are not heard in the most solemn moment of the Canon of the Mass. Nevertheless, this mystery charms him in such a way that he is not jealous of the lot of the Protestant, even though the ear of the latter doesn’t hear a single sound without perceiving its meaning.

While the reformed temple assembles, with great difficulty, purist Christians once a week, the 'Popish Church' watches unceasingly her numerous altars visited upon by her religious children; every day, they withdraw from their work to come hear those mysterious words which must be of God, for they nourish the faith and ease the pains.

We must admit it is a master blow of Protestantism to have declared war on the sacred language. If it should ever succeed in destroying it, it would be well on the way to victory. Exposed to profane gaze, like a virgin who has been violated, from that moment on the Liturgy has lost much of its sacred character, and very soon people find that it is not worthwhile putting aside one’s work or pleasure in order to go and listen to what is being spoken in the way one speaks on the town square. ...

The Anti-Liturgical Heresy
(L'Hérésie Anti-Liturgiste, an excerpt of the Institutions Liturgiques, v. 1)

The Institutions Liturgiques, v. 1, were first published in 1840; Chapter 3 of Volume 2 of the same work includes a thorough presentation of the issue of liturgical language.

For the Record - Tornielli: "Benedict XVI has signed..."

Andrea Tornielli, one of the most respected religious journalists in Italy, confirms in this Sunday's edition of Il Giornale the reports of the past few days, adding some interesting new historical information. We keep our great caution on possible dates and note again the oddity that so much could be apparently known, yet a simple piece of information -- the very title of the document, its first Latin words -- seems to be ignored.

Ratzinger's turning point on the liturgy - All clear for the Ancient Latin Mass

by Andrea Tornielli

from Rome


Benedict XVI has signed the text of the "motu proprio" which will render easier the use of the ancient pre-Conciliar Missal in the liturgical celebrations, clarifying that it has never been abolished or prohibited and that it represents instead a richness for the Church. A precedent which has up to now remained secret provides the reasons for this decision, a text which the Cardinals of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had prepared in November 1982 and that "Il Giornale" is able to reveal. [SEE NOTE]

The publication of the "motu proprio" should take place in the next few days, probably even before the beginning of the vacations of the Pontiff. It is a meditated decision, following long collegial consultations, which Ratzinger took to recognize the requests of the faithful who remained attached to the ancient liturgy.
Already on November 16, 1982, on request of Pope Wojtyla, a meeting presided by Ratzinger, then-Prefect of the former Holy Office, at which also took part Cardinals Baggio, Baum, Casaroli (then Secretary of State), Oddi, and Archbishop [future Cardinal] Casoria, had confirmed that "the Roman Missal in the form in which it remained in use up to 1969, independently of the 'Lefebvre question', should 'be admitted by the Holy See for all Masses celebrated in the Latin language". With two conditions [in the 1982 decision]: the use of the old liturgical books should presuppose the full reception of the norms issued after Vatican II and should not express the suspicion that the latter "were heretical or invalid"; [2] on the public Masses celebrated in Parish churches on Sundays and Feastdays, "the new liturgical calendar" should be observed.

All Cardinals unanimously answered in the "affirmative", that is, "yes", to the question of whether the Mass in the ancient rite were licit. Moreover, at that meeting, a document against liturgical abuses, identified among the reasons "for the current crisis of the Church", was also suggested, as well as, in a remote future, a synthesis "of both missals". That future is today less remote. The decision of Benedict XVI is thus not a step back, but a stage of the liturgical reform willed by the Council and not yet fully accomplished.

In the letter of presentation, Benedict XVI will preventively respond to the objections raised against the liberalization of the ancient Missal, that is, the "lack of obedience to the Council" and the "rupture of unity".


Rorate Cæli NOTE: the first public revelation of this secret 1982 decision was made by the French daily Le Figaro on December 12, 2006, the very day of the plenary meeting of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei which discussed the draft of the papal document. Our post of that day was the following:

In today's edition of Le Figaro, Sophie de Ravinel tells us that her paper has had access to the minutes of a 1982 meeting of curial cardinals that dealt with the abrogation, or not, of the Traditional Mass.

The Commission, led by then Cardinal Ratzinger, concluded, inter alia, that the "Roman Missal, in the form which was used up to 1969, should be allowed by the Holy See to be used, in the whole Church, for Masses celebrated in the Latin language."

Beyond that conclusion, the Commission recommended a series of steps aimed at curbing liturgical abuses, and a possible reunification of the the Old and New rites, which Mrs. de Ravinel connects to the so called "Reform of the Reform".
Il Foglio was, to our knowledge, the second source to reveal the results of this crucial 1982 meeting.


Noi passammo oltre, là 've la gelata
ruvidamente un'altra gente fascia,
non volta in giù, ma tutta riversata.

Lo pianto stesso lì pianger non lascia,
e 'l duol che truova in su li occhi rintoppo,
si volge in entro a far crescer l'ambascia;

ché le lagrime prime fanno groppo,
e sì come visiere di cristallo,
rïempion sotto 'l ciglio tutto il coppo.

E avvegna che, sì come d'un callo,
per la freddura ciascun sentimento
cessato avesse del mio viso stallo,

già mi parea sentire alquanto vento;
per ch'io: "Maestro mio, questo chi move?
non è qua giù ogne vapore spento?".

Ond'elli a me: "Avaccio sarai dove
di ciò ti farà l'occhio la risposta,
veggendo la cagion che 'l fiato piove".

E un de' tristi de la fredda crosta
gridò a noi: "O anime crudeli
tanto che data v'è l'ultima posta,

levatemi dal viso i duri veli,
sì ch'ïo sfoghi 'l duol che 'l cor m'impregna,
un poco, pria che 'l pianto si raggeli".

Per ch'io a lui: "Se vuo' ch'i' ti sovvegna,
dimmi chi se', e s'io non ti disbrigo,
al fondo de la ghiaccia ir mi convegna".

Rispuose adunque: "I' son frate Alberigo (...)"...
Divina Commedia
Inferno - Canto XXXIII

Onward we pass’d,/ Where others, skarf’d in rugged folds of ice,/ Not on their feet were turn’d, but each reversed./ There, very weeping suffers not to weep;/ For, at their eyes, grief, seeking passage, finds/ Impediment, and rolling inward turns/ For increase of sharp anguish: the first tears/ Hang cluster’d, and like crystal vizors show,/ Under the socket brimming all the cup./ Now though the cold had from my face dislodged/ each feeling, as ’t were callous, yet me seem’d/ Some breath of wind I felt. “Whence cometh this,”/ Said I, “my Master? Is not here below/ All vapor quench’d?”—“Thou shalt be speedily,”/ He answer’d, “where thine eyes shall tell thee whence,/ The cause descrying of this airy shower.”/ Then cried out one, in the chill crust who mourn’d:/ “O souls! so cruel, that the farthest post/ Hath been assign’d you, from this face remove/ The harden’d veil; that I may vent the grief/ Impregnate at my heart, some little space,/ Ere it congeal again.” I thus replied:/ “Say who thou wast, if thou wouldst have mine aid;/ And if I extricate thee not, far down/ As to the lowest ice may I descend.”/

“The friar Alberigo,” answer’d he... [H.F.Cary translation]

Papal Letter to Chinese Catholics: some details

Korazym brings details of the letter to the Catholics of China to be released by the Holy See in the next few weeks (maybe "even next week"):

-It will be released in the format of a simple "Letter", named "Letter of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Bishops, the clergy, and the faithful of the Church in China" (even though there have been several encyclicals sent to specific nations in the History of Pontifical Documents, that has not been the use in recent pontificates, and the names "Encyclical" and "Apostolic Letter" will not be used);

-Its original draft was apparently written in Italian;

-The Italian version will have 28 pages;

-The letter will be published in Chinese and Italian, as well as in English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and French

-The text includes a historical retrospective of the past five decades of Catholic events in China, including a reference to two past encyclicals.

We would add that the Letter to Chinese Catholics is not only itself very relevant, but that it also is, apparently, an important temporal reference point for future events.

An English Cardinal speaks up again - 20 years later

From this Saturday's edition of The Daily Telegraph (tip - Father Brown):

Insiders [of the Westminster Curia] have disclosed, however, that Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has written to the Vatican arguing that such a relaxation [the liberalization of the Traditional Latin Mass] is unnecessary.

In a confidential letter, the Cardinal, the head of the Church in England and Wales, has argued that the provision of the Old Rite was already adequate in this country.

Cardinal Hume is said to have done much the same, with more explicit threats to the unity of the Church, two decades ago.

The Cardinal may believe we have forgotten what kind of pastoral oversight the Bishops of England and Wales truly favor...

Meeting the Church of Rome

First words of the address of the Archbishop of Cyprus, Chrysostomos II, to the Holy Father, in their Vatican meeting today:

Your Holiness, Pope of Old Rome,
and Bishop of the Historic Chair of the Blessed Apostle Peter

The grace of the Holy Spirit and our duty as Primate-Archbishop of the Most Holy Martyr-Church of the Holy Apostle Barnabas for unity and peace between our Apostolic Churches, have guided our steps here today, together with our reverend entourage to the place of the martyrdom of the Chiefs of the Apostles Peter and Paul, to the shrine of the Catacombs of the martyrs of our holy common faith, to meet Her, whom among the Bishops has the primacy of honor of the undivided Christendom, to give Her the fraternal kiss of peace and, after centuries of a non-fraternal path, build anew bridges of reconciliation, collaboration, and love.

For the record: Important news
French news agency says "Motu proprio has been signed"

The French religious news agency I.Media, based in Rome, confirms today that the information published yesterday by the Italian papal news website Petrus is for the most part accurate and that the motu proprio liberalizing the Traditional Latin Mass has been signed; details regarding the date of the document and a possible press conference are also explained by the director of the Holy See Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi.

Vatican - Agence I.MEDIA - 15 June 2007

The Motu Proprio liberalizing the Tridentine Rite has been signed by Benedict XVI

[Main excerpts:]

The Motu Proprio which will liberalize the Tridentine Mass has been signed by Benedict XVI and will be published very soon. An explanatory letter addressed to all the Bishops of the world will be joined to the text, Vatican sources close to the dossier have confirmed.

... Benedict XVI signed the document "a while ago", [the sources] have confided.


If "a precise date has been chosen" for its publication, it is still kept secret in the Vatican, it has been explained to I.MEDIA. While it is close, it would seem more prudent "to speak of weeks, instead of days".

... Father Federico Lombardi has for his part confirmed the information to I.MEDIA, without specifying the date of publication. He has not wished to confirm the fact that the document could be presented in a press conference at the Vatican. "I cannot tell things until they are confirmed and may be communicated, which I usually do by way of the Bulletin of the Press Office".


According to some Vatican rumors, the document could be published when Pope Benedict begins his Castel Gandolfo vacation, in late July [Rorate Cæli note: the Pope's late summer vacation this year at Castel Gandolfo will begin on July 28]. [The publication of] important and delicate documents [by the Holy See] during summer and vacations has already happened [in the past]. Such was the case of the Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the collaboration of men and women in the Church and in the world, of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, released in late July 2004.


For the record

Letter from the President of the International Una Voce Federation:

11th/13th June 2007
Short Preliminary Report

Dear Friends,

Leo Darroch, Monika Rheinschmitt and I have just returned from a visit to Rome. On Tuesday 12th June We were received in separate meetings by Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos and Mgr Perl of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei and Archbishop Ranjith of the Congregation of Divine Worship.

On Wednesday morning 13th June we were at the General Audience of Pope Benedict and were granted seats on the "Prima Fila" (="first row"). This gave us the opportunity of having some private words with the Holy Father for a couple of minutes. Conversations with the Holy Father are confidential but we can confirm by the words of His Holiness that the Motu Proprio will come soon.

Both Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos and Archbishop Ranjith were very open and friendly. We gave them some papers about the situation in our countries and said that a great many lay people and priests are waiting patiently, and impatiently, for news from Rome about greater freedom for the traditional liturgy; not only the Mass but all the liturgical books. We gave them each a bound volume of all the public manifestos that have been published around the world in the past few months in support of the Holy Father.

We expressed our regret that some bishops conferences had written to Rome against the forthcoming indult but gave our opinion that they had not consulted anyone about their decisions and, in this matter, they did not speak for their people or for many of their priests. We were urged to pray for the Holy Father and the whole Church in these difficult days.

Best regards

In Christo

Jack P. Oostveen
Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce

For the Record - URGENT - Italian Papal News website:
Motu proprio "signed and imminent"
Quotes from the Accompanying Letter

While we maintain our caveat regarding specific dates, it is simply impossible to ignore several important details of the present article, entirely translated from the famous and credible Italian website of Papal news Petrus: supposed excerpts of the actual Cover Letter to be sent to all bishops, details of the Press Conference which would host the public announcement of the document, as well as a clear declaration from an extremely credible source, Nicola Bux.

The Traditional Mass is presented in some detail to those who do not know it, though one clear weakness of the article is the fact that the very name of the document still seems to be ignored -- which seems peculiar considering the other details presented in the article.

Exclusive: "Motu Proprio" signed by the Pope, liberalization of Latin Mass imminent

by Bruno Volpe

The Papal "Motu Proprio" for the liberalization of the Latin Mass according to the Tridentine rite of Saint Pius V is ready, is about to be translated into several languages and will be published right before the departure of Benedict XVI for the summer vacation. [Rorate Cæli note: The Pope's early vacation this summer will be spent in a small villa owned by the Diocese of Treviso, in the tiny hamlet of Lorenzago di Cadore, Province of Belluno, in the Veneto region, in the July 9-27 period.]

The text has already been signed by the Pontiff, who has even written a long exaplanatory letter, of a theological character, "addressed to all the Bishops of the world", as it can be read in its introduction, "so that they may receive this document with serenity and patience".

The Pope thus asks the Bishops, the clergy, and the faithful for a serene mood in the acceptance of the "Motu Proprio", which will be presented in a Press Conference by Cardinals Francis Arinze, Dario Castrillon Hoyos, and Julian Herranz.

The delay in the publication of the document seems to be related to strong oppositions from some sectors of the clergy (especially from the French Episcopal Conference).

Monsignor Nicola Bux (a personal friend of the Pope), a theologian and collaborator of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, declares: "You may write calmly [that] Pope Benedict XVI loves agreement and collaboration, and does not wish to decide everything on his own, which is why he has heard several and repeated opinions, but the Motu Proprio for the liberalization of the Latin Mass has been signed and its publication is imminent, I would say it is a matter of days."

The Tridentine Mass is completely celebrated in Latin, with the exception of a few words and sentences in Ancient Greek and in Hebrew; it is interspersed with long periods of silence, to allow the faithful to adequately meditate on the greatness of the Eucharistic mystery which they are called to attend. The faithful follow the liturgy reading the bilingual handmissal or leaflet, which carry, side by side with the Latin text, the integral translation of the actions in Italian or in the other national languages.

It is not only the use of the ecclesiastical and universal language ("Catholic" means precisely universal) which represents the sole standing difference between the Tridentine Mass and the modern one. The priest, differently than what takes place in the course of the new rite, turns his back to the faithful, as he celebrates turned to the tabernacle and the altar which constitutes the representation of Calvary; the image is that of the celebrant who guides the people.

The Gospel is always read at the right side of the altar, while the Epistle on the left side (from whence the terms "in cornu evangelii" and "in cornu epistulae"). Communion - only the Host [sic] for the faithful - is received while kneeling and in the mouth.

[The faithful] mostly kneel during Mass, because [they] believe in its great mystery, because [they] believe in the real presence of Jesus in body, blood, soul, and divinity, because kneeling is the posture of the humble sinner who begs for God's mercy.

The limitation of the Tridentine Mass by the Second Vatican Council [sic] has been the main cause of the schism between the followers of French bishop Marcel Lefebvre and the Church of Rome. A painful schism [i.e. "schismatic group"], which arose in the Pontificate of John Paul II, which, with the "Motu Proprio" of Benedict XVI, seems destined to return definitively.

In the picture: Fr. Uwe Michael Lang, Abp. Albert Ranjith and Rev. Prof. Nicola Bux pose before a press conference for the Italian Version of "Turning towards the Lord" by Uwe Michael Lang with a preface by Joseph Ratzinger (Rome, April 27, 2006).

For the record

It seems, if the report is accurate, that Father Federico Lombardi, the spokesman of the Holy See, now confirms, in general terms, what the Superior-General of the FSSPX/SSPX had said over a month ago on the time frame of the eventual release of the document on the liberalization of the Traditional Latin Mass. article:

The Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, has declared this Wednesday in Vienna, in an interview to, that the Motu proprio on the "old Mass", willed by Pope Benedict, will certainly come [be released]. Questioned on the matter of the delay, Fr. Lombardi detailed that the exact date is still unknown; however, publication is expected for this year.

There have been speculations regarding the publication of this document for months. In the past few weeks, several Cardinals of high position in the Vatican have declared that publication was close. [The document] should declare that every priest would be able to celebrate Holy Mass in the Tridentine Rite.

Exsulta, Lusitania felix! O felix Padua, gaude!

With these words, Pope Pius XII, of most glorious memory, started his Apostolic Brief naming Saint Anthony of Padua Doctor of the Church. The Doctor Evangelicus was a fiery preacher, filled with the righteous indignation of a true saint -- not at all like the emasculated simpleton some seem to believe him to have been.

We present below two excerpts of his "Sermon on the justice of hypocrites and of true penitents", commonly included, in the "Sermones Dominicales", in the sermons for the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost. Saint Anthony warns negligent superiors and prelates of the dire personal consequences of their omission -- and the danger of ambition, particularly of superiors ("In superiori gradu præferuntur, ut lapsu graviore ruant.")

If the ox was wont to push with his horn yesterday and the day before, and they warned his master, and he did not shut him up, and he shall kill a man or a woman: then the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death. [Exodus xxi, 29]
The ox that pushes with his horn is the carnal appetite, which with the horn of pride kills a man or a woman: that is to say, his reason or his good will. Because his owner, the spirit, does not shut him up, he is killed along with the ox: body and soul will be eternally punished together. Hear this, you abbots and priors! If you have an ox that pushes with his horn, a monk or canon who is proud, a lover of wine and pleasure, and you will not shut him up, so that men and women are not scandalized by his bad example: the ox shall be stoned to death, and die in his sin, and the abbot or prior who would not restrain him will be punished eternally.

There follows: And call on the names of your gods, etc. They call on, and worship, as many gods as they have mortal sins. It says in Exodus:
These are thy gods, O Israel, that have brought thee out of the land of Egypt. [Exodus xxxii, 4]
Alas! How many religious there are today, who still worship, in the desert of religion and the cloister, the same gods that they worshiped in Egypt, the world! Because they lack the fire of charity, their sacrifice is useless to them. From morning until noon the cry out: Baal, hear us! [3 Kings xviii, 26: And they called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying: O Baal, hear us.] What is "crying to Baal" if not desiring to be a superior? But there is no voice, no one who answers their will. So they cry again, still louder. To cry is to desire. They cut themselves with knives and lancets, with fasts and disciplines. They disfigure their faces, fasting early in the day, so that later on they can celebrate the festival of the belly!

In Elijah's day, the prophets of Baal cried and were not heard. Nowadays, they cry and are heard! They are promoted to higher office, so that their fall is more ruinous. First they displayed a humble voice, a rough habit, a thin belly, a pale face, and assiduous prayer. Now they utter threats, and go coped and robed. They walk with ample stomach and ruddy face. They are assiduous in sleeping: but prayer -- not at all! Come, Elijah, come! Take the prophets of Baal and slay them at the brook Cison [cf. 3 Kings xviii, 40].

Excerpt translated by Reverend Dr S.R.P.Spilsbury.