Rorate Caeli

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.


  1. Anonymous4:44 PM

    Michael Davies was right on a great number of issues, this being one of them.

  2. A very poignant post. I was just thinking about Michael this morning myself. I was reflecting on the air of unreality that surrounds things that have been so long awaited, when they finally happen. If that is true for those of us who have been waiting for about twenty years, like myself, how much more so for those who have suffered through all the changes from the beginning? And so I began to think of those who have persevered through it all, and those, such as Michael, who persevered until their deaths and did not live to see this day.

    The wounds of the past decades will probably be felt past the lifetimes of any of us now living; what we see now is surely the end of the beginning. I could have wished that some of those to whom we owe so much, humanly speaking, had had the consolation to live this long; but that they did not makes their merit all the greater, and means also that they now rejoice with us the more greatly.

  3. Anonymous4:58 PM

    I just had a thought--the muto proprio will not only free up the Latin Mass for ordinary priests. The fact this document has now been written, signed and promulgated will also free up the Latin Mass for Holy Father. Perhaps this is his personal preference. Think about how difficult would it be for His Holiness to say a public Latin Mass if this document didn't exist. What an uproar that would cause among the modernists! I do hope I'll be able to watch a Papal Latin Mass on EWTN soon.

    Also, the Holy Father may be waiting to see how receptive the Bishops are to the document before making any appointments.

  4. Michael Davies was fully right to defend Cardinal Ratzinger
    You can find the link to this defend: Apologia Pro Josef Ratzinger by

    All of us have been waiting for a long time for this coming moment at which the freeing of the traditional Roman Rite will be manifested. Although that moment has been delayed again and again, we have to consider that the resistance against this liberalization of the traditional Roman Rite by many members of the World Episcopate is still large. We even have to realize that not only in 1986, but also already in 1982 before the indult of 1984 and in 1989 after the publication of the Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei and the installation of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei a large number of the Episcopates in the world has blocked such liberalization. Pope Benedict XVI, although still as Cardinal Ratzinger, was involved to all these trials to liberalize the traditional Roman Rite. He knew about the massive resistance to be expected by his own experiences for many years and still he started the process, even despite of the demonstration of silence by the Bishops at the Bishops Conference two years ago when Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos mentioned the rights of this ancient Rite. Contrary to what has been said about our Holy Father by some impatient Faithful and to what has been suggested by the press of several denominations His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has shown a great heroism by this act.
    He always knew what was right and therefore he always has been on our side.

    Jack P. Oostveen
    President of the International Federation Una Voce

  5. I believe the MP to be the work of Michael Davies, pleading at the throne of the Father to relent of His chastisement of His people. Nothing else to my mind can really explain it. Certainly not Church politics. The pope gains nothing politically. Not that the Church (and no, not even the SSPX) deserves mercy. Yet mercy is being extended to her, and to her children.

  6. Dear Mr Oostveen,

    We are very honored by your comment and thank you for your hard work.

  7. Mew Catholic
    This was a very classy post.


  8. Arrggg...
    Mew = New*
    Apologies for the typo.

  9. Of course Michael Davies was right. He has already been proven to be right by what the Holy Father has done til now.

    It isn't asserted that Michael Davies believed that Joseph Ratzinger was "a traditionalist" but only that "Michael believed that the Cardinal believed he was our ally" and was "on our side".

    Give him time, Davies said, and he would turn things "in tradition's favor".

    There are many overt signs of this, as long as one doesn't expect that Joseph Ratzinger will act like a traditionalist rather than a deep sympathizer and ally who agrees on a great many things.

    Incidentally, I wish more trads would read Michael Davies, including his Apologia linked about. He is mentioned little these days.

  10. As a relatively new traditionalist, I recently discovered Michael Davies through his audio talks which I bought from I have become a big fan of Michael Davies and have sought out some of his articles and interviews online.

    I look forward to learning more about this great man and reading some of his books.

    I have not yet read a book of his but I hope to, in the near future, buy his three volume Liturgical Revolution.

    Unfortunately, I did not know about Mr. Davies while he was alive, did not get the chance to meet him, so therefore I am so very thankful for the work of those who have published his materials and who have passed on the legacy of this holy warrior for the Church.

    I pray that one day I will meet him in heaven.

  11. For some reason the link Mr. Oostveen graciously provided is not working for me, can somebody assist me in reading the apologia.

    Thank you.

  12. Anonymous8:15 PM

    Would someone who knows how to do it please consider starting a cause for the beatification of Michael Davies?


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