Rorate Caeli

You Report: Corpus Christi in Brazil

Our reader Fabio G. Durante sends us this report from São Paulo, Brazil, on the Traditional Mass and Procession for the Feast of Corpus Christi, which took place on Thursday, May 22, 2008:

Guided by clerics of the the Good Shepherd Institute (Institut du Bon Pasteur - IBP), Father Roch Perrel and Deacon Vincent (ordained in February by Archbishop Luigi de Magistris in Santa Maria Maggiore), with the help of Father Renato and some seminarians of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri, the faithful (around 300) walked past one of the most important historical spots in the largest city in South America - the Ipiranga Museum, where the independence of Brazil was proclaimed.
Mr Durante also adds a plea:

From these pictures, one may gather how much the IBP needs a church in São Paulo. Nowadays, masses are celebrated in the garage of their House, where seminarians are selected to be sent to the main seminary, in Courtalain, France.
Congratulations to the clergy and the faithful in this procession - and may a dignified and large Church be soon provided to this community.

Please, keep sending us your reports from around the world.

Juventutem's Sydney launch: Countdown to WYD

Members and friends of Juventutem Australia converged at St Augustine's Church Balmain (Sydney) last Saturday (24th May), to mark the final preparatory phase before World Youth Day. Appropriately, Our Lady Help of Christians (24th May), is the patronal feast of Australia and the 4th anniversary of the founding of the Juventutem movement in 2004.

Solemn Mass was celebrated at St Augustine's Church Balmain by Fr Glen Tattersall (Spiritual Director of Juventutem Australia), assisted by Fr Terence Naughtin OFM Conv, and Fr Michael McCaffrey FSSP.

The beautiful church of Saint Augustine, built in 1907 in the arts and craft style, is conveniently located in an historic inner suburb minutes by bus, car or ferry from Sydney's CBD. St Augustine's will be the official Church of Juventutem during WYD in Sydney. For further photos and a history of the church, please visit the parish website .

A magnificent program, commencing in Melbourne on Thursday 10th July, and continuing in Sydney from Tuesday 15th July, is now in place for Juventutem. Highlights include:

Week 1: Days in the Dioceses in Melbourne
(St. Aloysius' Church, 233 Balaclava Rd, Caulfield North)

Thursday, 10th July
Chant Workshops, 7.30pm Solemn Pontifical Mass (Bishop Basil Meeking), Exposition of Blessed Sacrament overnight until Friday morning.

Friday, 11th July
Low Masses, Chant workshops, Exposition of Blessed Sacrament and Compline.

Saturday, 12th July
11.00am Solemn Pontifical Mass at the Throne (Archbishop Denis Hart).

Sunday, 13th July
11.00am Solemn Mass (Fr Glen Tattersall), 4.00pm Solemn Vespers.

Week 2: World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney
(St. Augustine's Church, 3 Jane St, Balmain)

Tuesday, 15th July
Chant workshops, 7.30pm Solemn Mass (Fr Denis Buchholz ICK).

Wednesday, 16th July
9.00am Catechesis, 11.00am (approx) Solemn Pontifical Mass (Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett), 2.00pm Chant Workshop, 4.00pm Solemn Pontifical Vespers at the Throne (Cardinal Pell).
Thursday, 17th July
9.00am Catechesis, 11.00am (approx) Solemn Pontifical Mass (Bishop Peter Elliott), Compline.

Friday, 18th July
9.00am Catechesis, 11.00am (approx) Solemn Pontifical Mass (Bishop Basil Meeking), 8.00pm Solemn Mass (Maternal Heart Chapel, Lewisham), Compline

Juventutem is not only for those already committed to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, but also seeks to introduce young Catholics who have not yet experienced this liturgy to their own heritage of worship, and the spirituality and culture that are part of this. This will be done in a way that is “user friendly”, with talks and literature aimed at educating and assisting those who are experiencing this liturgy for the first time. Everyone is welcome!

A special feature of Juventutem at this WYD will be chant workshops led by Scott Turkington. In particular, on Wed 16th July at 2.00pm, Mr Turkington will be conducting a special chant workshop for all pilgrims at St. Augustine's, an official WYD Youth Festival Activity. In preparation for this, Juventutem Australia will be holding a series of introductory chant workshops in Sydney during June titled “The EnCHANTment Project” which all are invited to attend – please visit for further details.

In addition to pilgrims from around Australia, Juventutem now has participants registered for its WYD chapter from New Zealand, France, the US, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, the Philippines, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda. We are still waiting to hear from our friends in the UK and Ireland, and a few other countries! It is still - barely! - not too late to register, but we need you to act now!

To register with Juventutem, go here.

Venite, fratres et sorores in Christo! Let us rendezvous in Melbourne, and then gather around our beloved Pope Benedict in Sydney. Godspeed!

Automatic excommunication for "ordination" of women

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

General Decree

On the delict of attempted sacred ordination of a woman

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in virtue of the special faculty granted to it by the Supreme Authority of the Church (cf. Can. 30, Code of Canon Law), in order to safeguard the nature and validity of the sacrament of Holy Orders, decreed, in the Ordinary Session of December 19, 2007:

In accordance with what is disposed by Can. 1378 of the Code of Canon Law, he who shall have attempted to confer holy orders on a woman, as well as the woman who may have attempted to receive Holy Orders, incurs in a latae sententiae excommunication, reserved to the Apostolic See.

If he who shall have attempted to confer Holy Orders on a woman or if the woman who shall have attempted to received Holy Orders is a faithful bound to the Code of Canons of the Oriental Churches, he is to be punished with the major excommunication, whose remission remains reserved to the Apostolic See, in accordance with can. 1443 of the same Code (cf. can. 1423, Code of Canons of the Oriental Churches).

The present decree enters in force immediately after its publication in L'Osservatore Romano.

William Cardinal Levada
Angelo Amato, s.d.b.
Titular Archbishop of Sila

(Published in L'Osservatore Romano of May 29, 2008 - permanent link)


Congregatio Pro Doctrina Fidei

Decretum generale

de delicto attentatae sacrae ordinationis mulieris

Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei, ad naturam et validitatem sacramenti sacri ordinis tuendam, vigore specialis facultatis sibi a suprema Ecclesiae auctoritate in casu tributae (cfr can. 30 Codicis Iuris Canonici), in Congregatione Ordinaria diei 19 Decembris 2007, decrevit:

Firmo praescripto can. 1378 Codicis Iuris Canonici, tum quicumque sacrum ordinem mulieri conferre, tum mulier quae sacrum ordinem recipere attentaverit, in excommunicationem latae sententiae Sedi Apostolicae reservatam incurrit.

Si vero qui mulieri sacrum ordinem conferre vel mulier quae sacrum ordinem recipere attentaverit, christifidelis fuerit Codici Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium subiectus, firmo praescripto can. 1443 eiusdem Codicis, excommunicatione maiore puniatur, cuius remissio etiam reservatur Sedi Apostolicae (cfr can. 1423 Codicis Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium).

Hoc decretum cum in L'Osservatore Romano evulgabitur, statim vigere incipiet.

Gulielmus Cardinalis Levada
Angelus Amato, s.d.b.
Archiep. titularis Silensis
a Secretis

You Report: Corpus Christi in Front Royal, Virginia

Our reader Paul Davidson sends us this report of the Corpus Christi Mass and Procession in Front Royal, Virginia (pictures taken by Mr. Tom McFadden):

Immediately following the weekly Sunday 12:30 P.M. Traditional Latin Mass in the main church, attended by two to three hundred faithful, the Pastor mounted the Most Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance upon the main altar, all knelt and sang "O Salutaris Hostia", then from in front of the altar the Procession began.

Continuing out the main front doors of the church, behind the Blessed Sacrament the Procession went down the steps and into the street. Many altar servers (all boys - we have no altar girls in our parish), including candle-bearers and two swinging thuribles (with plenty of "holy smoke"!), a Knights of Columbus Honor Guard, and the four men holding up the canopy on poles over the Pastor bearing the Holy Sacrament in the monstrance, led the Procession, followed by the parish choir, the First Communion Class in their beautiful white dresses and veils, and the Legion of Mary, and then the congregation from the Mass.
As the town police stopped traffic for the Procession, we proceeded down Main Street to the Town Gazebo where an altar had been set up. Along the way townspeople and tourists watched from the sidewalks. We sang Eucharistic hymns as we processed.

At the town gazebo, everyone knelt - on cement, on brick surface, on grass - as the Pastor celebrated Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in Latin. All sang the traditional Latin hymns. We then prayed the Fatima Prayers. When all this was done, the Procession lined up as described above and we all processed back to the church, singing Eucharistic hymns once again. Inside the church, the Parochial Vicar celebrated Benediction at the main altar. At the close, everyone loudly and thankfully sang the hymn "Holy God, we Praise Thy Name." For those who wished to remain, an ice cream social was then enjoyed in the parish hall.

Corpus Christi in the Philippines

Last Sunday, May 25, the Traditional Latin Mass community at the Parish of the Lord of Divine Mercy marked Corpus Christi with a Missa Cantata followed by a Procession with the Blessed Sacrament. The procession started around four in the afternoon and went through mostly empty streets as the little crowd of some 80 people sang hymns to the Eucharist and the Sacred Heart. The procession ended in one of the rooms of the parish hall (see the last picture), where Benediction was held.

Even as the Traditional Latin Mass community had its Eucharistic Procession, my own home parish cancelled its Corpus Christi procession for the first time that I can remember. Pray for the Church in the Philippines, which is increasingly becoming a battleground between traditional piety and liberal theology.

A Fantastic Eucharistic Miracle
Faverney, France, 1608

Exactly 400 years ago, between May 23 and May 25, 1608, an extraordinary Eucharistic miracle took place in the town of Faverney, in the Franche-Comté, France. The old Catholic Encyclopedia summarizes the events of those days:

In olden times many cities possessed a miraculous Host, but the French Revolution destroyed a certain number of them, especially the one at Dijon where each year a Mass of expiation is yet celebrated in the church of St. Michael. In other places the miraculous Hosts have disappeared, but their ancient feast is still commemorated.

In the seventeenth century the Benedictine abbey at Faverney (Haute-Saône) was the scene of a noted miracle. On the night of 23 May, 1608, while the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament was in progress, a fire consumed the tabernacle, the linens, and the entire altar; but the ostensorium remained stationary, being suspended in the air without any support. This prodigy lasted for thirty-three hours, was well authenticated by thousands of persons, and was made the object of an investigation, the documents of which have been preserved. The ostensorium contained two Hosts, so that the crucifix could be seen from both sides.

One of the Hosts was given to the city of Dole, where it was destroyed in 1794, and the other is preserved in the parish church of Faverney, where the anniversary is celebrated annually on the Monday after Pentecost.

Neocatechumenal Way statutes
definitively approved by the Pope?

ACI Prensa, the Spanish version of the Catholic News Agency, reports that Pope Benedict definitively approved the Statutes of the Neocatechumental Way, placing his signature on the final text yesterday.

[Update - May 25, 2008: Gianluca Barilla informs today in his papal news website Petrus that "The Holy Father, Benedict XVI, has in fact decided to approve the Statutes of the Way only 'ad experimentum', that is, temporarily and not in a definitive way, until 2015: it will be then that it will be decided if one of the most controversial and studied movements in the history of the Catholic laity will be officially recognized." Barilla adds that the Pope made his decision "after having read with attention a dossier of 80 pages and listened carefully to the opinions of the Congregations for the Laity and for the Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments ... , since the Liturgy has not yet been adapted to the official one and the catecheses are in need of ulterior corrections, not being in full conformity with the Magisterium of the Church."]

The statutes had been approved "ad experimentum", for a period of five years, on June 29, 2002.

The changes which may have been introduced in the statutes regarding the uncommon liturgical practices of "The way", following the recommendations of the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship (December 1, 2005), are still unclear.

For instance, has the custom of "los kikos" (as they often called in Spanish in a reference to their founder, Kiko Argüello) of receiving Communion while remaining seated been phased out after two years, as the Congregation determined in 2005?

5. On the manner of receiving Holy Communion, a period of transition (not exceeding two years) is granted to the Neocatechumenal Way to pass from the widespread manner of receiving Holy Communion in its communities (seated, with a cloth-covered table placed at the center of the church instead of the dedicated altar in the sanctuary) to the normal way in which the entire Church receives Holy Communion. This means that the Neocatechumenal Way must begin to adopt the manner of distributing the Body and Blood of Christ that is provided in the liturgical books.
Of course not: who cares about obeying Rome in "The way", anyway? On April 24, less than a month ago, in the Redemptoris Mater seminary in Namur, Belgium (one of a large number of seminaries of the same name run by the Neocatechumenal Way around the world), this is how Communion was distributed: as always, a single pancake-sized host is consecrated and then broken into many pieces, and distributed to the sitting congregation - 2 years, 4 months, and 23 days after the two-year phase-out deadline given by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Adoring the God of Jesus Christ, made bread, broken for love, is the most valid and radical remedy against the idolatries of yesterday and of today. Kneeling in front of the Eucharist is a profession of freedom: who bends to Jesus cannot and must not prostrate before any earthly power, as strong as it may be. We, Christians, kneel only before God, before the Most Holy Sacrament, because we know and believe that in it is present the one true God, who has created the world and has so loved the world to give his only begotten Son.

We prostrate before a God who first inclined himself toward man, as Good Samaritan, to rescue him and give him life, and who knelt before us to cleanse our filthy feet. Adoring the Body of Christ means believing that there, in that piece of Bread, there is truly Christ, who gives true meaning to life, to the immense universe as well as to the smallest creature, to the entire human history as well as to the briefest existence. The adoration is a prayer which prolongs Eucharistic celebration and communion, and in which the soul continues to nourish itself: it is nourished with love, with truth, with peace; it nourished itself with hope, because the One before whom we prostrate does neither judge us, nor humiliates us, but transforms us and makes us free.
Benedict XVI
Homily (Most Holy Body of Christ)
May 22, 2008

Fr. Cantalamessa and Communion Under Both Species

Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, still preacher to the pontifical household, is a prolific author who has written many good pages inspired by patristic and other traditional sources. However, he easily goes off the rails from time to time, as in a Holy Week sermon in St. Peter’s Basilica several years ago when he denounced the Fathers of the Church en masse for their lack of charity to the Jewish people. Another instance is his treatment of communion under both species in The Eucharist: Our Sanctification (Rev. ed., Liturgical Press: Collegeville, 1996).

There are two main scholarly faults he commits regarding this topic on which his enthusiasm for the laity’s communion under the species of wine seems to bias and limit his use of sources. First, and surprisingly for a university professor of early Christianity, he misleads his readers with a truncated version of the famous decree attributed to the late fifth century Pope Gelasius: “They should receive the whole sacrament or be deprived of it altogether. It is, in fact, sacrilegious to divide this mystery which is one and identical”. This is a key point in Cantalamessa’s grand narrative of how all the faithful used to fulfill the command of Jesus to drink his Blood, until the Middle Ages and especially Trent when a number of factors took the cup away from the laity until Vatican II and present legislation most happily restored it. But it turns out that the celebrated quote, known since the 12th century from its appearance in an anonymous addition to the Decretum of Gratian, is not to be found in the place Cantalamessa cites: volume 59, page 14 of the Latin Fathers in the still widely used Migne edition. This is nothing more than the first page of the letters of Pope Gelasius, and there is no reference to reception from the cup. One wonders whether Cantalamessa simply copied a reference from another writer without ever reading the quote himself in context. If he had consulted the article on Eucharistic communion in the Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique, for example, he would have found that just a few decades before Pope Gelasius, Pope Leo the Great had to denounce Manichean type heretics in the liturgical assembly who declined to receive the Blood of Christ, while receiving under the form of bread, as a way of avoiding contamination, in accord with their heresy which found some or all material things to be impure. Biographical sources on Gelasius say that as Pope he was himself still contending with Manicheans in the 490s, and here is where the part of the quote omitted by Cantalamessa is crucial for understanding: “by I know not what superstition”. Thus it is that Catholic writers have explained that Gelasius was only condemning abstention from the cup when the abstainer superstitiously considers its consecrated contents impure and illegitimate. It is such superstition which “divides the sacrament”; the sacrament is not divided as long as at least the priest drinks from the chalice. Furthermore the Decretum Gratiani itself referred the quote to the priest’s obligation to receive from the chalice, not the laity. Since the quote is only a fragment, we can speculate at this point that perhaps the context known to the interpolator (presuming the quote is authentic) was indeed capable of interpretation in this restricted sense: the Pope was condemning heretical priests who abstained from the cup. At any rate, the quote was a weapon in the arsenal of Protestants who maintained that Christ in the sixth chapter of John had commanded everyone indiscriminately to drink from the chalice; they used the Gelasian fragment from the early Church to back up their claim that the medieval Church was disobeying Christ. St. Robert Bellarmine provided a detailed response, and the great Bossuet used the Manichean connection to explain the quote in his masterful apologetic Treatise on communion under both species. The upshot is that the quote from Pope Gelasius has been explained by St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Robert Bellarmine, le grand Bossuet and countless other Catholic writers who have defended the legitimacy of not distributing the species of wine to all when there are good reasons for not doing so, but Fr. Cantalamessa only provides a truncated version of the quote which in reality provides no support for people like him who exaggerate the significance of communion under both species if they do not heretically imply that the laity are obligated to receive from the chalice.

Which brings us to the second of Fr. Cantalamessa’s scholarly errors, which is one of omission: saying that the theological reason for not giving the chalice to the laity was in order to emphasize Christ’s full presence under both species, over against the Reformers, Cantalamessa fails to consider a different decree of the Council of Trent where it is solemnly taught that Christ’s command was never meant to obligate all of the faithful to receive the cup. In other words, the full presence of Christ under both species is not the only matter of belief which is involved with the question of the chalice: it also has to do with the true interpretation of several words of Christ himself about eating his body and drinking his blood. The Reformers claimed the plain sense of these words was the obligation of all to drink from the chalice, with the consequence that the Church was in error by reserving it to the priest. So there is a fundamental issue of faith and the Bible here: the Church’s authoritative discipline and teaching is the true interpretation of the Scriptures, and she has never understood Christ to have given a strict and universal command that everyone must drink from the chalice: it is sufficient as a minimum for the priest to do so, in the person of the apostles, as it were, and in the person of the whole Church whom he represents at the altar, as St. Thomas says.

Despite the greater sign-value of reception under both species from the standpoint of the symbolism of the chalice itself, there is therefore a value present in the Tridentine Mass where the priest alone receives from the chalice: in addition to considerations of hygiene, orderliness and ease of reverent distribution and reception, the Church perpetually implies that she, not the heretics of the sixteenth century, truly understands Christ’s words, even to the extent of knowing that he did not intend to bind everyone to receive from the chalice. And when today we hear or sense that many Catholics labor under the delusion that they do not receive the blood of Christ if they do not drink from a cup, then we have all the more reason to be grateful for the form of the Roman rite codified by St. Pius V.

Manila Archbishop: It's "not too bad" to have priests with homosexual inclinations

(Picture taken from the website of the Archdiocese of Manila)
Cardinal Rosales says gay priests OK but...

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:57:00 05/20/2008

MANILA, Philippines—The Manila Archbishop Monday said that having homosexual Catholic priests wouldn’t be “too bad” as long as they didn’t “act out” their “tendencies.”

In an interview on Church-run Radio Veritas, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales acknowledged that gay men had been accepted into the priesthood because “even if [the priest] has [homosexual] inclinations, it does not immediately mean that he is evil.”


The cardinal noted that such priests had chosen “to make a distinction between inclination and acting out.”

“A homosexual inclination is not bad but acting it out is an entirely different matter, and that is what is written in the sacred scriptures,” he added.

Rosales explained that this had been the stand of Pope Benedict XVI who, he said, was “not condemning homosexuals” per se when he confronted the issue of pedophile priests during his recent visit to the United States.

He noted that when Benedict declared in New York that “the Church needs holy priests, not many priests,” the latter was speaking out particularly against men of the cloth who had sexually abused children and brought shame to the Church.

Fact-finding body

In this country, Rosales said, complaints against priests who commit sexual abuse may be raised before bishops. The subject priest would be made to answer the allegations before a fact-finding body.

If found meritorious, the case would be elevated to the Vatican, where it would be decided whether the priest should be defrocked, Rosales said. Jeanette I. Andrade

Given that Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales is the acknowledged spiritual leader of the third largest Catholic country in the world (with some 6,000+ seminarians), head of one of the world's largest cardinalatial sees (Manila, which is also a hub for seminarians from all over Asia and Africa) and one of the most eminent prelates of Asia, his interpretation of the recent Vatican instructions regarding homosexual seminarians and priests is bound to have massive influence.

While the Cardinal's stance against priests who commit sexual abuse is laudable, his interpretation of the Holy See's directives against homosexuals in the priesthood is gravely mistaken, to say the least.

"In the light of such teaching, this dicastery, in accord with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, believes it necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called "gay culture."
Such persons, in fact, find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women. One must in no way overlook the negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies."

Incidentally, the Philippine Daily Inquirer is by no means an "anticlerical" paper, and has a history of strongly supporting the more "socially-oriented" sectors of the Catholic Church as well as Cardinal Rosales.

No concessions to the spirit of this world

It is above all necessary that we become "experts" in listening to God, and credible examples of a holiness which is translated into faithfulness to the Gospel without concessions to the spirit of the world. As Cardinal Giuseppe Siri, zealous Pastor of this Archdiocese for several decades, and now buried in your Cathedral, "religious life moves around God, and offers everything before God, and therefore becomes a testimony of God and an appeal from God" (August 15, 1953).

At the end of the meeting, the Pope prayed before the burial place of Cardinal Giuseppe Siri (in the picture, Cardinal Siri in 1958).

"Never yield to compromises!"

The Pope celebrated Mass today in the Piazza del Popolo, in Savona, Liguria, very close to the house in which the tyrannical Bonaparte kept the exiled Pope Pius VII under observation as Italy was occupied by the Forces of Napoleon and the Papal States were abolished, in 1809. In his homily, Benedict had extremely important words for all Christians:

[M]y visit to Savona, on the feast of the Most Holy Trinity, is above all a pilgrimage, through Mary, to the fountains of faith, of hope, and of love. A pilgrimage which also is remembrance and homage to my venerated predecessor Pius VII, whose dramatic life is indissolubly linked to this city and to its Marian shrine [Our Lady of Mercy].

With the distance of two centuries, I come to renew the expression of the recognition of the Holy See and of all the Church for the faith, the love, and the courage with which your fellow citizens sustained the Pope in his forced residence, imposed upon him by Napoleon Bonaparte, in this City. Numerous testimonies of the gestures of solidarity to the Pontiff by the Savonesi, at times even at personal risk, are preserved. They are episodes which the Savonesi of today may remember with pride.
As your Bishop has fairly observed, that dark page of the history of Europe became, by the power of the Holy Spirit, rich of graces and of teachings, even for our days. It teaches us the courage to confront the challenges of the world, Materialism, Relativism, Laicism, without ever yielding to compromises, willing to pay in person in order to remain faithful to the Lord and to his Church. The example of serene firmness given by Pope Pius VII invites us to keep the faith in God unchanged in the trials, in the knowledge that He, if also allowing difficult moments for his Church, never abandons her. The event lived by the great Pontiff in your land invites us to always trust in the intercession and in the maternal assistance of Mary Most Holy.

The Love of the Most Holy Trinity
and the Immaculate Mother of God

Caritas Dei diffusa est in cordibus nostris, alleluia: per inhabitantem Spiritum eius in nobis, alleluia, alleluia. (From the Introit for Ember Saturday in the Octave of Pentecost: "The love of God is poured forth in our hearts, alleluia: by His Spirit dwelling within us, alleluia, alleluia.")
And in what does this life of the Spirit in Mary consist? He Himself is uncreated Love in her; the Love of the Father and of the Son, the Love by which God loves Himself, the very love of the Most Holy Trinity. She is a fruitful Love, a "Conception." Among creatures made in God's image, the union brought about by married love is the most intimate of all. In a much more precise, more interior, more essential manner, the Holy Spirit lives in the soul of the Immaculata, in the depths of her very being. He makes her fruitful, from the very first instance of her existence, all during her life, and for all eternity.

This eternal "Immaculate Conception" [which is the Holy Spirit] produces in an immaculate manner Divine life itself in the womb or depths of Mary's soul, making her the Immaculate Conception, the human Immaculate Conception. And the virginal womb of Mary's body is kept sacred for Him; there He conceives in time the human life of the Man-God.

And so the return to God [which is love], that is to say the equal and contrary reaction, follows a different path from that found in creation. The path of creation goes from the Father through the Son and by the Holy Spirit; this return trail goes from the Spirit through the Son back to the Father; in other words, by the Spirit the Son becomes incarnate in the womb of the Immaculata; and through this Son love returns to the Father.

And she, the Immaculata, grafted into the Love of the Blessed Trinity, becomes from the first moment of her existence and forever afterwards the "complement of the Blessed Trinity." In the Holy Spirit's union with Mary we observe more than the love of two beings... . . . . in this union Heaven and earth are joined; all of Heaven with the earth, the totality of eternal love with the totality of created love. It is truly the summit of love.

Saint Maximilian Kolbe

Those who encounter Christ and enter into a friendly relationship with him welcome into their hearts Trinitarian Communion itself, in accordance with Jesus' promise to his disciples: "If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him" (John 14: 23).

For those who have faith, the entire universe speaks of the Triune God. From the spaces between the stars to microscopic particles, all that exists refers to a Being who communicates himself in the multiplicity and variety of elements, as in an immense symphony.

All beings are ordered to a dynamic harmony that we can similarly call "love". But only in the human person, who is free and can reason, does this dynamism become spiritual, does it become responsible love, in response to God and to one's neighbor through a sincere gift of self. It is in this love that human beings find their truth and happiness.

Among the different analogies of the ineffable mystery of the Triune God that believers are able to discern, I would like to cite that of the family. It is called to be a community of love and life where differences must contribute to forming a "parable of communion".

The Virgin Mary, among all creatures, is a masterpiece of the Most Holy Trinity. In her humble heart full of faith, God prepared a worthy dwelling place for himself in order to bring to completion the mystery of salvation. Divine Love found perfect correspondence in her, and in her womb the Only-begotten Son was made man.
Benedict XVI
June 11, 2006

Official Vatican Note:"No homosexuals in seminaries"
means "No homosexuals in seminaries"

of the Secretariat of State
«Rescriptum ex audientia»

"Regarding the Document of the Congregation for Catholic Education, 'Instruction concerning the criteria for the discernment of vocations with regard to persons with homosexual tendencies in view of their admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders', published by the same Dicastery on November 4, 2005, and following numerous requests of clarification made to the Apostolic See, it is clarified that the dispositions contained in said Instruction are valid for all the Formation Houses for the priesthood, including the ones which are linked to the Dicasteries for Oriental Churches [Seminaries of Eastern Churches], for the Evangelization of Peoples [Seminaries in Mission areas], and for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life [Seminaries of Religious Orders].

"The Supreme Pontiff approved this clarification on the 8th of April of the year of the Lord of 2008."
Published in today's edition of L'Osservatore Romano

Papal Prayer for the Church in China

In the Letter to the Bishops, Priests, Consecrated Persons, and Lay Faithful of the Catholic Church in the People's Republic of China, of May 27, 2007, the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, wrote:

"Dear Pastors and all the faithful, the date 24 May could in the future become an occasion for the Catholics of the whole world to be united in prayer with the Church which is in China. This day is dedicated to the liturgical memorial of Our Lady, Help of Christians, who is venerated with great devotion at the Marian Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai.

"I would like that date to be kept by you as a day of prayer for the Church in China. I encourage you to celebrate it by renewing your communion of faith in Jesus our Lord and of faithfulness to the Pope, and by praying that the unity among you may become ever deeper and more visible.[...]

"On that same day, the Catholics of the whole world – in particular those who are of Chinese origin – will demonstrate their fraternal solidarity and solicitude for you, asking the Lord of history for the gift of perseverance in witness, in the certainty that your sufferings past and present for the Holy Name of Jesus and your intrepid loyalty to his Vicar on earth will be rewarded, even if at times everything can seem a failure."

For the next Day of Prayer, His Holiness has written the following "Prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan", which may be used in the entire Church:

to Our Lady of Sheshan

Virgin Most Holy, Mother of the Incarnate Word and our Mother,
venerated in the Shrine of Sheshan under the title "Help of Christians",
the entire Church in China looks to you with devout affection.
We come before you today to implore your protection.
Look upon the People of God and, with a mother’s care, guide them
along the paths of truth and love, so that they may always be
a leaven of harmonious coexistence among all citizens.

When you obediently said "yes" in the house of Nazareth,
you allowed God’s eternal Son to take flesh in your virginal womb
and thus to begin in history the work of our redemption.
You willingly and generously cooperated in that work,
allowing the sword of pain to pierce your soul,
until the supreme hour of the Cross, when you kept watch on Calvary,
standing beside your Son, who died that we might live.

From that moment, you became, in a new way,
the Mother of all those who receive your Son Jesus in faith
and choose to follow in his footsteps by taking up his Cross.
Mother of hope, in the darkness of Holy Saturday you journeyed
with unfailing trust towards the dawn of Easter.
Grant that your children may discern at all times,
even those that are darkest, the signs of God’s loving presence.

Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China,
who, amid their daily trials, continue to believe, to hope, to love.
May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world,
and of the world to Jesus.
In the statue overlooking the Shrine you lift your Son on high,
offering him to the world with open arms in a gesture of love.
Help Catholics always to be credible witnesses to this love,
ever clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built.

Mother of China and all Asia, pray for us, now and for ever. Amen!

The good government of the People's Republic of China has all but forbidden traffic around the Sheshan Basilica for the most important days of pilgrimage this year.
Biblical Revelation is, in fact, above all the expression of a story of love, the story of the alliance between God and men. That is why the story of love and of the union between a man and a woman in the alliance of matrimony was taken by God as a symbol of the story of salvation. Due to this, the union of life and love, based on the marriage between a man and a woman, which constitutes family, represents an irreplaceable good for the entire society, which must not be confused with nor likened to other kinds of unions.

Marriage between a man and a woman:
a non-negotiable value
Reject "pseudo-marriages"

None of us, in fact, belongs exclusively to himself or herself: one and all are therefore called to take on in their inmost depths their own public responsibility.

Marriage as an institution is thus not an undue interference of society or of authority. The external imposition of form on the most private reality of life is instead an intrinsic requirement of the covenant of conjugal love and of the depths of the human person.

Today, the various forms of the erosion of marriage, such as free unions and "trial marriage", and even pseudo-marriages between people of the same sex, are instead an expression of anarchic freedom that are wrongly made to pass as true human liberation. This pseudo-freedom is based on a trivialization of the body, which inevitably entails the trivialization of the person. Its premise is that the human being can do to himself or herself whatever he or she likes: thus, the body becomes a secondary thing that can be manipulated, from the human point of view, and used as one likes. Licentiousness, which passes for the discovery of the body and its value, is actually a dualism that makes the body despicable, placing it, so to speak, outside the person's authentic being and dignity.

When new forms of legislation are created which relativize marriage, the renouncement of the definitive bond obtains, as it were, also a juridical seal.

In this case, deciding for those who are already finding it far from easy becomes even more difficult. Then there is in addition, for the other type of couple, the relativization of the difference between the sexes.

The union of a man and a woman is being put on a par with the pairing of two people of the same sex, and tacitly confirms those fallacious theories that remove from the human person all the importance of masculinity and femininity, as though it were a question of the purely biological factor.

Such theories hold that man - that is, his intellect and his desire - would decide autonomously what he is or what he is not. In this, corporeity is scorned, with the consequence that the human being, in seeking to be emancipated from his body - from the "biological sphere" - ends by destroying himself.

If we tell ourselves that the Church ought not to interfere in such matters, we cannot but answer: are we not concerned with the human being? Do not believers, by virtue of the great culture of their faith, have the right to make a pronouncement on all this? Is it not their - our - duty to raise our voices to defend the human being, that creature who, precisely in the inseparable unity of body and spirit, is the image of God?
Benedict XVI
Christmas Address to the Roman Curia
December 22, 2006
[Human] love is the privileged path that God chose to reveal himself to man and in this love he calls human beings to communion in the Trinitarian life.

This approach enables us also to overcome a private conception of love that is so widespread today. Authentic love is transformed into a light that guides the whole of life towards its fullness, generating a society in which human beings can live. The communion of life and love which is marriage thus emerges as an authentic good for society.

Today, the need to avoid confusing marriage with other types of unions based on weak love is especially urgent. It is only the rock of total, irrevocable love between a man and a woman that can serve as the foundation on which to build a society that will become a home for all mankind.

...there are mounting threats to the natural composition of the family based on the marriage of a man and a woman, and attempts to relativize it by giving it the same status as other radically different forms of union. All this offends and helps to destabilize the family by concealing its specific nature and its unique social role.
Benedict XVI
Address to the Diplomatic Corps
January 8, 2007 law made by man can override the norm written by the Creator without society becoming dramatically wounded in what constitutes its basic foundation. To forget this would mean to weaken the family, penalizing the children and rendering the future of society precarious.

Worship pleasing to God can never be a purely private matter, without consequences for our relationships with others: it demands a public witness to our faith. Evidently, this is true for all the baptized, yet it is especially incumbent upon those who, by virtue of their social or political position, must make decisions regarding fundamental values, such as respect for human life, its defence from conception to natural death, the family built upon marriage between a man and a woman, the freedom to educate one's children and the promotion of the common good in all its forms. These values are not negotiable. Consequently, Catholic politicians and legislators, conscious of their grave responsibility before society, must feel particularly bound, on the basis of a properly formed conscience, to introduce and support laws inspired by values grounded in human nature. There is an objective connection here with the Eucharist (cf. 1 Cor 11:27-29).

Hoc est quod dictum est per prophetam Ioel

The days of the Octave of Pentecost, the last universal octave of the liturgical year according to the 1962 (1960) rubrics, bring the name of the Prince of the Apostles constantly to mind. On Monday, Saint Peter proclaims to all Jerusalem the mission ordered by the Lord ("Men, brethren, the Lord commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He Who was appointed by God to be judge of the living and of the dead: to Him all the prophets give testimony, that through His name all receive remission of sins, who believe in Him"). On Tuesday, Saint Peter and the Loved Disciple are sent to Samaria ("...when the apostles that were in Jerusalem had heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John; who, when they were come, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost"). On [Ember] Wednesday, Saint Peter exhorts his listeners to receive his word, which is the Word of God ("Peter standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice and spoke to them: Ye men of Judea, and all you that dwell in Jerusalem, be this known to you, and with your ears receive my words... this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel, 'And it shall come to pass in the last days... I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh''").

The Mission of the Third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity is, in fact, inseparable from the mission of Peter and of his successors for the visible unity and unified government of the Church. Communion with the faithful means above all communion with the visible Peter, assurance of communion with the invisible Spirit of God.

Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed. ...

And therefore, if a man refuse to hear the Church, let him be considered - so the Lord commands - as a heathen and a publican. It follows that those who are divided in faith or government cannot be living in the unity of such a Body, nor can they be living the life of its one Divine Spirit. ...

Let every one then abhor sin, which defiles the mystical members of our Redeemer; but if anyone unhappily falls and his obstinacy has not made him unworthy of communion with the faithful, let him be received with great love, and let eager charity see in him a weak member of Jesus Christ. ...

Now since its Founder willed this social body of Christ to be visible, the cooperation of all its members must also be externally manifest through their profession of the same faith and their sharing the same sacred rites, through participation in the same Sacrifice, and the practical observance of the same laws. Above all, it is absolutely necessary that the Supreme Head, that is, the Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth, be visible to the eyes of all, since it is He who gives effective direction to the work which all do in common in a mutually helpful way towards the attainment of the proposed end. As the Divine Redeemer sent the Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth, who in His name should govern the Church in an invisible way, so, in the same manner, He commissioned Peter and his successors to be His personal representatives on earth and to assume the visible government of the Christian community.

Filipino Archbishop Calls for Revival of Apologetics

Archbishop Jesus A. Dosado CM, Archbishop of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Ozamis since 1983, has been one of the Philippines' more outspoken bishops when it comes to spiritual and doctrinal topics. He has issued several pastoral letters critical of contraception and Freemasonry and, now, is one of the very few Asian bishops to openly call for an apologetics campaign against the inroads of Evangelical Protestantism.

The "Catholic Faith Defenders" mentioned here, is a valiant group of Catholic laity who, in the face of death threats and violence from Protestant and other indigenous sects, continue to defend the Catholic faith in the cities and rural areas of the southern Philippines. (Unfortunately, even in a Catholic country such as the Philippines, it is the Evangelicals and their offshoots -- as well as the Islamists -- who feel free to malign their opponents and to threaten the majority Catholics with abuse if not outright acts of terror, not excluding martyrdom.)

From the CBCP NEWS website:

OZAMIS CITY, May 10, 2008―The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Ozamis, Archbishop Jesus A. Dosado, C.M., called on the faithful to “defend Catholic church doctrines” as he urged for a rebirth of apologetics, “the first subject we used to study when we began our Theology in the seminary.”

The prelate said the time is “ripe for a revival of the defense of our religion by reason illuminated by faith.” He said apologetics should be centered on the living testimony of believers rather than the traditional philosophical and historical reason, “not on the traditional question of ‘how we get to God’ but God comes to us.”

He explained that apologetics of personal testimony is particularly suited to the nature of Catholicism and traditional arguments are still necessary.

“There’s a need to study the scriptures, the Catechism, the History of the Church and especially the teachings of the magisterium,” the prelate said.

In a separate interview Friday afternoon, Bro. Reynaldo Rosal, Catholic Faith Defenders’ (CFD) chairman for religious programs, said the government’s Securities and Exchange Commission noted a significant growth in Christian fundamentalist groups from 228 before 1980 to 1,448 from 1980 to 1989.

CFD National Treasurer Adam Amper said “Our Catholic faith is a way of life which we are supposed to live with and we are called to defend.”

He added the Acts and Decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines recognize Apologetics as an important part of the pastoral and theological tradition of the Catholic Church.
Dosado, in his letter to the Catholic Faith Defenders, has recognized its role in helping propagate the Gospel as it is mandated to “study Catholic doctrines, dogmas, precepts and traditions of the Church; to uphold and defend, in writing and in speech the Catholic faith from attacks and denunciations whether from within or from without.”

Catholic Faith Defenders of Ozamis City leads in the evangelization programs over Catholic-run DxDD AM – Radyo Kampana.

The Catholic Faith Defenders – Ozamis chapter will renew their oath before Archbishop Dosado at a 5 a.m Mass on Pentecost Sunday. (Wendell Talibong)

Online course on St. Thomas

Prof. Francisco Romero-Carrasquillo, a friend of this blog, announces a summer online course: "Introduction to the Thought of St. Thomas Aquinas". All those who may be interested please visit his blog, Ite ad Thomam.

Launch of Mass-book by Melbourne's Bishop Peter Elliott

Responding to the Pope’s initiative in Summorum Pontificum, the Ignatius Press has now released an Order of Mass for the Extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, prepared by Michael Sternbeck of the Saint Bede Studio. The Mass-book may be purchased online here. This is a completely new edition, not a reprint of previous books, published under the Imprimatur of the Archbishop of Melbourne, Australia, the Most Rev’d Denis Hart.

The new Mass-book will be made available to World Youth Day Pilgrims for use at Juventutem Liturgies in the Extraordinary Form in Melbourne and Sydney.

Well-known liturgist and auxiliary bishop of Melbourne, the Most Rev’d Peter J Elliott, recently launched the Order of Mass book at a ceremony in Melbourne.

The ceremony was preceded by a Solemn Mass celebrated in the bishop’s presence in the church of S’ Aloysius, Caulfield (Archdiocese of Melbourne). The Old Mass community of Saint Aloysius graciously made available their facilities for the launch ceremony. The bishop was welcomed on the occasion by Father Glen Tattersall, chaplain to the Old Mass community in Melbourne. Following the bishop’s speech, Michael Sternbeck made a brief reply explaining his philosophies and aspirations in preparing the Mass-book.

The Bishop's speech at the book launch may be read here.

The photograph shews the Bishop with Father Glen Tattersall and Michael Sternbeck.

3,000 Assyrians Received into the Catholic Church

The Chaldean Catholic Diocese of St. Peter and Paul has formally received into its fold, those members of the Assyrian Catholic Apostolic Diocese who, under the leadership of Mar Bawai Soro (pictured above), had asked to be reconciled with the Catholic Church last January 17, 2008.

One bishop (Mar Bawai himself), six priests, 30+ deacons and subdeacons and an estimated 3,000 faithful were received into full communion during liturgical celebrations for the Feast of Pentecost. The announcement by the Chaldean Catholic Church can be found here.

The Black Cordelias blog has an earlier article here.

Mar Bawai Soro has long advocated the Primacy of the See of Rome. On November 2, 2005, he presented to the Synod of Bishops of the Assyrian Church of the East (of which he was a bishop at that time) a paper entitled "The Position of the Church of the East Theological Tradition on the Questions of Church Unity and Full Communion " in which, among other things, he stated that

The Church of the East attributes a prominent role to Saint Peter and a
significant place for the Church of Rome in her liturgical, canonical and
Patristic thoughts. There are more than 50 liturgical, canonical and Patristic
citations that explicitly express such a conviction. The question before us
therefore is, why there must be a primacy attributed to Saint Peter in the
Church? If there is no primacy in the universal church, we shall not be able to
legitimize a primacy of all the Catholicos-Patriarchs in the other apostolic
churches. If the patriarchs of the apostolic churches have legitimate authority
over their own respective bishops it is so because there is a principle of
primacy in the universal Church. If the principle of primacy is valid for a
local Church (for example, the Assyrian Church of the East), it is so because it
is already valid for the universal church. If there is no Peter for the
universal church there could not be Peter for the local Church. If all the
apostles are equal in authority by virtue of the gift of the Spirit, and if the
bishops are the successors of the Apostles, based on what then one of these
bishops (i.e., the Catholicos-Patriarchs) has authority over the other

The Church of the East possesses a theological, liturgical and
canonical tradition in which she clearly values the primacy of Peter among the
rest of the Apostles and their churches and the relationship Peter has with his
successors in the Church of Rome. The official organ of our Church of the East,
Mar Abdisho of Soba, the last theologian in our Church before its fall, based
himself on such an understanding when he collected his famous Nomocanon in which
he clearly states the following: “To the Great Rome [authority] was given
because the two pillars are laid [in the grave] there, Peter, I say, the head of
the Apostles, and Paul, the teacher of the nations. [Rome] is the first see and
the head of the patriarchs.” (Memra 9; Risha 1) Furthermore, Abdisho asserts “.
. . . And as the patriarch has authority to do all he wishes in a fitting manner
in such things as are beneath his authority, so the patriarch of Rome has
authority over all patriarchs, like the blessed Peter over all the community,
for he who is in Rome also keeps the office of Peter in all the church. He who
transgresses against these things the ecumenical synod places under anathema.”
(Memra 9; Risha 8). I would like to ask here the following: who among us would
dare to think that he or she is more learned than Abdisho of Soba, or that they
are more sincere to the church of our forefather than Mar Abdisho himself? This
is true especially since we the members of the Holy Synod have in 2004 affirmed
Mar Abdisho’s List of Seven Sacraments as the official list of the Assyrian
Church of the East. How much more then we ought to consider examining and
receiving Abdisho’s Synodical legislation in his Nomocanon?

Five days later, Mar Bawai was suspended by the Holy Synod of the Assyrian Church. The story behind this, as well as the full text of the paper on papal primacy that Mar Bawai had presented to the Synod, can be found here.

Following upon his suspension, Mar Bawai and the clergy and faithful who had remained loyal to him formed the Assyrian Catholic Apostolic Diocese, then proceeded to draw ever closer to the Catholic Church through the Chaldean Catholic Patriarchate. How fitting that they finally came home on Pentecost Sunday. Deo Gratias!

Building a civilization

This is a little text that I put in our parish bulletin! May the Holy Ghost inspire us so that we can continue the battle for the reign of Christ the King.
Happy Feast of Pentecost to all of you.

We will never be harmed by repeating this: the liturgy is eminently educational. It is even more than this; the liturgy civilizes societies and raises the arts and the culture. The reason is that it establishes a relation between men and God. And when men are close to God, they can only be better and perform better work. France has gained the beautiful titles of Eldest Daughter of the Church and educator of peoples and I think that the liturgy certainly had a great role to play in this matter. One of the pillars of the Carolingian dynasty was precisely the liturgy.
We can find an origin to this fact with the influence of the remote ancestor of this dynasty, who was Saint Arnoul (582-641), Bishop of Metz and forbearer of Charlemagne. One of his successors to the See of Metz also had a great influence on the building of the Carolingian empire, Saint Chrodegang (712-766). Pepin the Short appointed him as mediator between the kingdom and the papacy. He went to Rome where he discovered the Old Roman chant which he brought back to Austrasia. He then convinced King Pepin to officially adopt the Roman liturgy in his kingdom, which was done at the Council of Quierzy in 754. The Franks recognized in this liturgy the most exalted expression of the type of civilization they desired to promote. Metz became a high liturgical place and its numerous manuscripts are still today a precious source of information for research on the Gregorian chant.

The son of Pepin, Charlemagne, pursued the work of his father. One of his closest counselors was an English monk named Alcuin, who worked for the unity of the Empire by promoting the liturgical unity. A great liturgist, among many other talents – philosopher, theologian, man of letters and of arts – Alcuin can be considered as one of the lights of the early Middle Ages. One of his major works was the organization of the monastic Orders in the Empire. The monasteries were the seats of knowledge and culture. But their main and highest duty was the Divine Work according to the teaching of Saint Benedict. The building of Christendom would probably not have been possible without the monks. We know the great influence that Cluny and Citeaux would have later. How interesting it is to see that among the greatest names whose memory has been perpetuated from the Middle Ages until today, many are the names of monks! Because they were men of prayer, and especially of the prayer of the Church, they were the artisans of a social, political, economic and cultural order, in other words, the artisans of a civilization.

The two orders, temporal and spiritual, are well distinct, but they are not stranger to each other, as the body and the soul are distinct but are both the two essential components of one human person. If one part is sick, the other is affected. For that reason, one of the causes of the western world’s crisis may be found in the liturgical drift of the recent past decades. If the liturgy has the power to make a civilization, it can also maintain this civilization in time, as the soul, which is the form, informs the body, which is the matter, of the same one substance. But when the soul is separated from the body, this one, breaks down and is changed into something else.
It needed only half a century for France to change her identity. The Eldest daughter has denied what had been her principle for many centuries. She lost her soul and her body has changed. The Church of France has lived through many ordeals and torments and yet has always found the strength to invigorate herself. We see this in the XIX century when dealing with the Revolution which persecuted her; she still produced a beautiful missionary impulse within the country which extended to all the continents. Truly, it was a century of heroes for the Church, with names that have crossed the boarders of the country, such as Saint Jean-Marie Vianney, the humble Curé d’Ars who clandestine, made his first Communion, because the Church was then persecuted. It is the century of Saint Eugene de Mazenod, the beautiful Bishop of Marseille and founder of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate; he established the second house of his Congregation at Notre-Dame du Laus whose apparition has just been approved by the Vatican this past week. One of his spiritual sons, Joseph Cardinal Guibert would become Archbishop of Paris in 1871, succeeding Monseigneur Darboy, who was killed by the “Communards.” A few decades earlier, it was Archbishop Affre who died on the barricade while trying to restore the peace during the insurrection of 1848. To General Cavaignac who urged him to not come, for his safety, Monseigneur Affre answered: my life is of little value, I will gladly risk it. As soon as he arrived to the See of Paris, Monseigneur Guibert began to work on the project of the building of the church of the National Vow, as a symbol of the Counter-Revolution. This church is now known as the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Montmartre.

It was the century of the restoration of the Benedictine Order by Dom Gueranger in Solesmes whose works on the liturgy and Gregorian chant are priceless. Inspired by this example, Lacordaire would follow by restoring the Order of Saint Dominic which had been suppressed in the country in 1790. So many other Congregations flourished or were created in this century that it would be impossible to name them all, but let us just mention the Congregation of the Holy Ghost and the Society of the Foreign Missions of Paris whose seminary used to train a legion of martyrs. One of them, who inspired Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, was Théophane Venard. This magnificent priest chosen in the prime of his age was so happy to give his life for Jesus Christ. The Most Holy Sacrament had His champion too, in the person of Saint Pierre Julien Eymard, founder of the Congregation of the Fathers of the Blessed Sacrament.
And there are all the others, those that we cannot name, because the list would be too long or simply because they were unknown to the world, but not to God.

For us, the deeds of our eldest are not just a beautiful thing to remember. They are – they should be – a source of inspiration in order to continue the prodigious work of civilization accomplished during twenty centuries. We have to go to the source to draw the strength to do this. The source is Our Lord Jesus Christ, the One for whom it is worthy to consecrate our lives and to die if it is necessary. It is first, at the altar that we will find Him. The liturgy introduces us into the mystery of His life. By doing this, it has the power to edify us. Before thinking of a restoration of Christendom, we should remember that we have first to become saints.
The time of Pentecost is an occasion to be renewed in the Spirit. This is the intention that I present to Our Lady during this month of May. Her powerful and yet delicate intercession is more than ever necessary. The task is huge!

Father Laurent Demets, FSSP