Rorate Caeli

Crisis? What crisis?
The beast was slain forever

"I saw that the beast was slain, and the body thereof was destroyed, and given to the fire to be burnt." (From the First Lesson of Matins, Michaelmas - Daniel vii, 11)
"Minds of all, it is true, are affected almost solely by temporal upheavals, disasters, and calamities. But if we examine things critically with Christian eyes, as we should, what are all these compared with the loss of souls?" (Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno)

New reprints

The Rituale Romanum of 1952 (the edition in force in 1962), published earlier in September by the publishing house of the Holy See, the Libreria Editrice Vaticana, has recently been made available for purchase (more information here).

The Rituale is the second volume of the Monumenta Liturgica Piana, at the care of Italian liturgical scholars Manlio Sodi (who did not like Summorum Pontificum, but has profited from it...) and Alessandro Toniolo. The Missale was published in 2007, but the Breviarium and the Pontificale have not yet been published.

A high quality reprint of the Breviarium Romanum (1962), in two volumes, is being sold by the main seminary of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), Ecône (more information here).

Philippine Bishops’ Newspaper : There are no Just Wars

The CBCP Monitor is the fortnightly newspaper that is issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, and that acts as its official organ. Its September 1-14 issue contains what may be a first in the world of Catholic Episcopal conferences: an editorial condemning – without qualifications – the very idea of “just war.” The language is unusually harsh in condemning a “theory” that has been held by virtually all Catholic doctors and theologians and which is taught by the Magisterium.

[UPDATE: The original version of the editorial was apparently written by Oscar Cruz, Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan and the recognized dean of Philippine canon lawyers. He is one of the Philippine hierarchy's harshest critics of the current president of the Philippines, whose overthrow he has repeatedly advocated. The original contains the following phrase, which has been modified in the published editorial: "It is definite and defined that any and all wars are unjust. In other words, there is no such animal as a just war..."]

The editorial refers to a “War in Mindanao.” This refers in particular to a still-ongoing military campaign against Islamic extremists in the southern Philippines, who had recently targeted and burned several Christian settlements after the collapse of peace talks between the main Islamic group and the Philippine government. Mindanao has been the scene of a continuous series of Islamic revolts and terrorist actions since the 1970’s.

The editorial appears in the first page of the “Opinion” section (p. A-4) of the CBCP Monitor, September 1-14, 2008 issue (Vol 12. No. 18). I will upload a scan of the editorial soon.

The text of the editorial is as follows. Emphasis mine.
Just war
ON the chilling occasion of the deadly and dreadful war now taking place in Mindanao – on otherwise naturally rich and potentially prosperous region in the country” a persistent question that comes to mind is one and the same. Is the war in Mindanao just?

If so, what makes it a just war? Who sees to it that the war is just? In the event the war is just, why not have war all over the country in promotion of the sorely needed justice in the land?

The unconscionable truth is that war makes a great business. As people are killed in war, there are always those who make big money in war trafficking. Just for the record, let it be noted that as the resources of others are destroyed by war, those however who make war their trade, in effect, build up their wealth. But the question remains and begs for an answer: When is a war just?

The answer to this is curiously found also in questions: Was there ever a just war in human history? Was the 1st World War just?

Was the holocaust just? Was the systematic extermination of the Jews just? Was the 2nd World War just?

Was the atomic bomb explosion in Hiroshima just? Was the indiscriminate killing of many thousands of civilian men, women and children just? Is the Iraq War just?

In other words: is it just to have thousands of invading soldiers killed and more thousands of locals sent to their death as “collateral damage” – with more people still to be killed as the days go on and as the war continues?

Thus far, history has not yet given humanity a just war. Despite philosophical or theological rationalizations, there is no such animal as a just war. Only fools say otherwise. Only clowns wear smiles during war. And only those, whose business is war, rejoice when war is actually waged.

Everybody else – if still alive and well – think, feel and say that there are no winners in war. And those who want war let them go to the front lines and do their war dance until they stop a bullet at hitting somebody else in its way.

The war in Mindanao is grim and gross. And those who are the causal factor of the war, those who provided the occasion for it, are not only censurable but also squarely answerable for the debacle: to agree to what is basically not agreeable, to promise what cannot be really done, to give way to what is not theirs to dispose of, and to expose the lives of others while carefully saving their own hides.

This is certainly not the way of the honorable much less the actuation of rational individuals. These are the characters squarely accountable for the War in Mindanao.

At their feet should be laid the dead and mutilated bodies of the war victims. In due time, justice will surely catch up with these purveyors of injustice – as it is already haunting and hunting them right now.

The core of our faith

Excerpt of a very interesting interview granted by Monsignor Georg Ratzinger to Andrea Tornielli, published today in Il Giornale:

What has the liturgy meant for the Ratzinger brothers?

"The liturgy, the Mass, represents the core of our faith and of our action, it is the personal meeting with God. It naturally is at first place. We cannot imagine a day without the Mass, without the liturgy, it would be poor, lacking what is essential..."

Why has Benedict XVI wished to liberalize the ancient, pre-Conciliar, liturgy with the motu proprio "Summorum Pontificum"?

"At the time of the liturgical reform, the change happened quickly, and it was not easy for all to accept. From one day to the other, the ancient liturgy was replaced by the new one, of which we are now fond and with which we celebrate mass with an interior participation which is full of joy. There were some in the Church, however, that did not accept this 'leap' completely, because the loss of the ancient liturgy had deprived them of something and had disturbed their faith. In order not to leave these people alone, to reintegrate them fully in the ecclesial community, my brother decided to render the ancient pre-Conciliar liturgy free."

Transcript: Papa Ratzinger blog

...whither your hope goes before, let your life follow...

Super flumina Babylonis illic sedimus et flevimus: dum recordaremur tui, Sion. (Offertory for the Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, cf. Psalm cxxxvi, 1: "Upon the rivers of Babylon there we sat and wept; when we remembered thee, O Sion.")

“The waters of Babylon” are all things which here are loved, and pass away. One man, for example, loves to practice husbandry, to grow rich thereby, to employ his mind therein, thence to gain pleasure: let him observe the issue, and see that what he has loved is not a foundation of Jerusalem, but a stream of Babylon. Another says, 'It is a grand thing to be a soldier: all husbandmen fear those who are soldiers.'

But then other citizens of the holy Jerusalem, understanding their captivity, mark how the natural wishes and the various lusts of men hurry and drag them hither and thither, and drive them into the sea; they see this, and they throw not themselves into the waters of Babylon, but “sit down and weep,” either for those who are being carried away by them, or themselves whose deserts have placed them in Babylon, but sitting, that is, humbling themselves.

O holy Sion, where all stands firm and nothing flows! Who has thrown us headlong into this? Why have we left your Founder and your society? Behold, placed where all things are flowing and gliding away, scarce one, if he can grasp the tree, shall be snatched from the stream and escape.

Humbling ourselves then in our captivity, let us “sit by the waters of Babylon,” let us not dare to plunge ourselves in those streams, nor to be proud and lifted up in the evil and sadness of our captivity, but let us sit, and so weep. Let us sit “by” the waters, not beneath the waters, of Babylon; such be our humility, that it will not overwhelm us. Sit “by” the waters, not “in” the waters, not “under” the waters; but yet sit, in humble fashion, talk not as one would in Jerusalem.

For many weep with the weeping of Babylon, because they rejoice also with the joy of Babylon. When men rejoice at gains and weep at losses, both are of Babylon. One ought to weep, but in the remembrance of Sion. If one weeps in the remembrance of Sion, one ought to weep even when it is well with oneself in Babylon. ...

Brethren, let not your instruments of music rest in your work: sing one to another songs of Sion. Readily have you heard; the more readily do what you have heard, if you wish not to be willows of Babylon fed by its streams, and bringing no fruit. But sigh for the everlasting Jerusalem: whither your hope goes before, let your life follow; there we shall be with Christ. [Sed suspirate in aeternam Ierusalem; quo praecedit spes vestra, sequatur vita vestra: ibi erimus cum Christo.]

Christ now is our Head; now He rules us from above; in that city He will fold us to Himself; we shall be equal to the Angels of God. We should not dare to imagine this of ourselves - did not the Truth promise it? This then desire, brethren, this day and night think on. ...

Let the Rock conquer. Be built upon the Rock, if ye desire not to be swept away either by the stream, or the winds, or the rain. If ye wish to be armed against temptations in this world, let longing for the everlasting Jerusalem grow and be strengthened in your hearts. Your captivity will pass away, your happiness will come; the last enemy shall be destroyed, and we shall triumph with our King, without death.
Saint Augustine
Enarratio in Psalmum CXXXVI
"The Holy Father appointed as consultors of the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff: Msgr. Nicola Bux, professor at the Theological Faculty of Puglia, Italy; Fr. Mauro Gagliardi, professor at the Pontifical Athenaeum "Regina Apostolorum", Rome; Fr. Juan Jose Silvestre Valor, professor at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome; Fr. Uwe Michael Lang C.O., official of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and Fr. Paul C. F. Gunter O.S.B., professor at the St. Anselm Pontifical Athenaeum, Rome."

An interview (in Italian) with Msgr. Bux, after his appointment today (interesting enough, but it contains no new information).

The FSSP in France

The Priestly Society of St. Peter has been entrusted with the Chapelle des Clarisses in Versailles under the authority of the rector of St. Louis Cathedral (Diocese of Versailles). The first Mass will be offered on October 12.

I will make no comment on the proximity of the FSSP’s new parish to the Society of St. Pius X’s Notre-Dame de l'Espérance chapel.

Tip: Le Forum Catholique

By Michael P. Foley

A potential danger of traditionalism is the stubborn defense of something about which one knows little. I once asked a priest who had just finished beautifully celebrating an Ember Saturday Mass about the meaning of the Ember days. He replied (with an impish twinkle in his eye) that he hadn’t a clue, but he was furious they had been suppressed.

Traditionalists, however, are not entirely to blame for their unfamiliarity with this important part of their patrimony. Most only have the privilege of assisting at a Sunday Tridentine Mass, and hence the Ember days—which occur on a weekday or Saturday—slip by unnoticed. And long before the opening session of the Second Vatican Council, the popularity of these observances had atrophied.

So why care about them now? To answer this question, we must first determine what they are.

The Four Seasons

The Ember days, which fall on a Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of the same week, occur in conjunction with the four natural seasons of the year. Autumn brings the September Embertide, also called the Michaelmas Embertide because of their proximity to the Feast of St. Michael on September 29.1 Winter, on the other hand, brings the December Embertide during the third week of Advent, and spring brings the Lenten Embertide after the first Sunday of Lent. Finally, summer heralds the Whitsun Embertide, which takes place within the Octave of Pentecost.

In the 1962 Missal the Ember days are ranked as ferias of the second class, weekdays of special importance that even supersede certain saints’ feasts. Each day has its own proper Mass, all of which are quite old. One proof of their antiquity is that they are one of the few days in the Gregorian rite (as the ’62 Missal is now being called) which has as many as five lessons from the Old Testament in addition to the Epistle reading, an ancient arrangement indeed.

Fasting and partial abstinence during the Ember days were also enjoined on the faithful from time immemorial until the 1960s. It is the association of fasting and penance with the Embertides that led some to think that their peculiar name has something to do with smoldering ash, or embers. But the English name is probably derived from their Latin title, the Quatuor Tempora or “Four Seasons.”2

Apostolic and Universal

The history of the Ember days brings us to the very origins of Christianity. The Old Testament prescribes a fourfold fast as part of its ongoing consecration of the year to God (Zech. 8:19). In addition to these seasonal observances, pious Jews in Palestine at the time of Jesus fasted every Monday and Thursday—hence the Pharisee’s boast about fasting twice weekly in the parable involving him and the publican (Lk. 18:12).

Early Christians amended both of these customs. The Didache, a work so old that it may actually predate some books of the New Testament, tells us that Palestinian Christians in the first century A.D. fasted every Wednesday and Friday: Wednesday because it is the day that Christ was betrayed and Friday because it is the day He was crucified.3 The Wednesday and Friday fast were so much a part of Christian life that in Gaelic one word for Thursday, Didaoirn, literally means “the day between the fasts.”

In the third century, Christians in Rome began to designate some of these days for seasonal prayer, partly in imitation of the Hebrew custom and partly in response to pagan festivals occurring around the same time.4 Thus, the Ember days were born. And after the weekly fast became less prevalent, it was the Ember days which remained as a conspicuous testimony to a custom stretching back to the Apostles themselves.5 Moreover, by modifying the two Jewish fasts, the Ember days embody Christ’s statement that He came not to abolish the Law but fulfill it (Mt. 5:17).6

Usefully Natural

This fulfillment of the Law is crucial because it teaches us something fundamental about God, His redemptive plan for us, and the nature of the universe. In the case of both the Hebrew seasonal fasts and the Christian Ember days, we are invited to consider the wonder of the natural seasons and their relation to their Creator. The four seasons, for example, can be said to intimate individually the bliss of Heaven, where there is “the beauty of spring, the brightness of summer, the plenty of autumn, the rest of winter.”7

This is significant, for the Ember days are the only time in the Church calendar where nature qua nature is singled out and acknowledged. Certainly the liturgical year as a whole presupposes nature’s annual rhythm (Easter coincides with the vernal equinox, Christmas with the winter solstice, etc.), yet here we celebrate not the natural phenomena per se but the supernatural mysteries which they evoke. The Rogation days commemorate nature, but mostly in light of its agricultural significance (that is, vis-à-vis its cultivation by man), not on its own terms, so to speak.8

The Ember days, then, stand out as the only days in the supernatural seasons of the Church that commemorate the natural seasons of the earth.
This is appropriate, for since the liturgical year annually renews our initiation into the mystery of redemption, it should have some special mention of the very thing which grace perfects.

Uniquely Roman

But what about Saturday? The Roman appropriation of the weekly fast involved adding Saturday as an extension of the Friday fast. And during Embertide, a special Mass and procession to St. Peter’s was held, with the congregation being invited to “keep vigil with Peter.” Saturday is an appropriate day not only for a vigil, but as a day of penance, when our Lord “lay in the sepulchre, and the Apostles were sore of heart and in great sorrow.”9 It is this Roman custom, incidentally, which gave rise to the proverb, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” According to the story, when Sts. Augustine and Monica asked St. Ambrose of Milan whether they should follow the weekly fasts of either Rome or of Milan (which did not include Saturdays), Ambrose replied: “When I am here, I do not fast on Saturday; when I am in Rome, I do.”10

Solidarity of Laity and Clergy

Another Roman custom, instituted by Pope Gelasius I in 494, is to use Ember Saturdays as the day to confer Holy Orders. Apostolic tradition prescribed that ordinations be preceded by fast and prayer (see Acts 13:3), and so it was quite reasonable to place ordinations at the end of this fast period. This allows the entire community to join the candidates in fasting and in praying for God’s blessing upon their vocation, and not just the community in this or that diocese, but all over the world.

Personally Prayerful

In addition to commemorating the seasons of nature, each of the four Embertides takes on the character of the liturgical season in which it is located. The Advent Ember days, for example, celebrate the Annunciation and the Visitation, the only times during Advent in the 1962 Missal when this is explicitly done. The Lenten Embertide allows us to link the season of spring, when the seed must die to produce new life, to the Lenten mortification of our flesh. The Whitsun Embertides, curiously, have us fasting within the octave of Pentecost, teaching us that there is such a thing as a “joyful fast.”11 The Fall Embertide is the only time that the Roman calendar echoes the Jewish Feast of the Tabernacles and the Day of Atonement, the two holidays that teach us so much about our earthly pilgrimage and about Christ’s high priesthood.12

The Ember days also afford the occasion for a quarterly check-up of the soul. Blessed Jacopo de Voragine (d. 1298) lists eight reasons why we should fast during the Ember days, most of them concerning our personal war against vice. Summer, for example, which is hot and dry, is analogous to “the burning and ardour of avarice,” while autumn is cold and dry, like pride. Jacopo also does a delightful job coordinating the Embertides with the four temperaments: springtime is sanguine, summer is choleric, autumn is melancholic, and winter is phlegmatic.13 It is little wonder that the Ember days became times of spiritual exercises (not unlike our modern retreats), and that folklore in Europe grew up around them affirming their special character.14

Even the Far East was affected by the Ember days. In the sixteenth century, when Spanish and Portuguese missionaries settled in Nagasaki, Japan, they sought ways of making tasty meatless meals for Embertide and started deep-frying shrimp. The idea caught on with the Japanese, who applied the process to a number of different sea foods and vegetables. They called this delicious food—have you guessed it yet?—“tempura,” again from Quatuor Tempora.

Dying Embers

While the Ember days remained fixed in the universal calendar as obligatory (along with the injunction to fast), their radiating influence on other areas of life eventually waned. By the twentieth century, ordinations were no longer exclusively scheduled on Ember Saturdays and their role as “spiritual checkups” was gradually forgotten. The writings of Vatican II could have done much to rejuvenate the Ember days. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy decrees that
liturgical elements “which have suffered injury through accidents of history are now to be restored to the vigor which they had in the days of the holy Fathers” (50).

But what came instead was the Sacred Congregation of Divine Worship’s 1969 General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, where we read:


On rogation and ember days the practice of the Church is to offer prayers to the Lord for the needs of all people, especially for the productivity of the earth and for human labor, and to give him public thanks (45).

In order to adapt the rogation and ember days to various regions...the conferences of bishops should arrange the time and plan for their celebration (46).

Happily, the Ember days were not to be removed from the calendar but tweaked by national bishops’ conferences. There were, however, several shortcomings with this arrangement. First, the SCDW treats Rogation and Ember days as synonymous, which—as we saw in a previous article15—they are not. The Ember days do not, for example, pray for “the productivity of the earth and for human labor” in the dead of winter.

Second, by calling for an adaptation to various regions, the SCDW allowed the Ember days to take on an indeterminate number of meanings that have nothing to do with nature, such as “peace, the unity of the Church, the spread of the faith, etc.”16 Unlike the organic development of the Ember days, which preserved its basic meaning while taking on others, the 1969 directive has no safeguards to keep newly assigned meanings from displacing the Embertides’ more fundamental purpose.

Third, the national bishops’ conferences were supposed to fix the dates of the Ember days, but none, as far as I can tell, ever did.

Dead Embers & Lively Debates

In the wake of this ambiguity and indirection, the Ember days disappeared from the celebration of the Novus Ordo, and at one of the worst possible times. For just as the Church was letting its liturgical celebration of the natural slip into oblivion, the West was going berserk over nature.

Ever since the publication of Machiavelli’s Prince in the sixteenth century, modern society has been predicated on a technological war against nature in order to increase man’s dominion and power. Nature was no longer a lady to be wooed (as she had been for the Greeks, Romans, and medieval Christians); she was now to be raped, beaten into submission through evermore impressive technological advances17 that would render mankind, in Freud’s chilling words, “a prosthetic god.”

While there were some strong reactions against this new attitude, the modern hostility to the God-given only expanded as time went on, growing from a war on nature to a war on human nature. Our current preoccupations with genetic engineering, sex “changes,” and same-sex “marriage”—all of which are attempts to redefine or reconfigure the natural—are examples of this ongoing escalation.

The environmental movement that began in the 1960s has helped bring to light the wages of ruthlessly exploiting nature, and thus today we have a renewed appreciation for the virtues of responsible stewardship and for the marvels of God’s green but fragile earth. Yet this same movement, which has served in many ways as a healthy reawakening, is peppered with absurdities. Often the same activists who defend endangered tadpoles go on to champion the annihilation of unborn babies. Recently, after liberalizing their abortion laws, Spain’s socialist government introduced legislation to grant chimpanzees legal rights in order “to preserve the species from extinction”—this in a land with no native ape population.18

Contemporary environmentalism is also sometimes pantheistic in its assumptions, the result being that for many it has become a religion unto itself. This new religion comes complete with its own priests (climatologists), its own gospels (sacrosanct data about rising temperatures and shrinking glaciers), its own prophets (Al Gore, who unfortunately remains welcome in his own country), and, most of all, its own apocalypticism, with the four horsemen of deforestation, global warming, ozone depletion, and fossil fuels all leading us to an ecological Doomsday more terrifying to the secular mind than the Four Last Things.19


My point is not to deny the validity of these anxieties, but to lament the neo-pagan framework into which they are more often than not put. Modern man is such a mess that when he finally recovers a love of nature, he does so in a most unnatural manner. Both the early modern antipathy to nature and the late modern idolatry of it stand in dire need of correction, a correction that the Church is well poised to provide. As Chesterton quipped, Christians can truly love nature because they will not worship her. The Church proclaims nature’s goodness because it was created by a good and loving God and because it sacramentally reflects the grandeur of God’s goodness and love.

The Church does this liturgically with its observance of the “Four Seasons,” the Embertides. Celebrating the Ember days does not, of course, provide ready solutions to the world’s complicated ecological difficulties, but it is a good refresher course in basic first principles. The Ember days offer an intelligent alternative to pantheist environmentalism, and they do so without being contrived or pandering, as a new Catholic “Earth Day” or some such thing would undoubtedly be.

It is a shame that the Church unwittingly let the glow of Embertide die at the precise moment in history when their witness was needed the most, but it is a great boon that Summorum Pontificum makes their celebration universally accessible once again. What remains is for a new generation to take up their practice with a reinvigorated appreciation of what they mean. At least then we’ll know why we are so furious.

Michael P. Foley is an associate professor of patristics at Baylor University. He is the author of Wedding Rites: A Complete Guide to Traditional Music, Vows, Ceremonies, Blessings, and Interfaith Services (Eerdmans) and Why Do Catholics Eat Fish on Friday? The Catholic Origin to Just About Everything (Palgrave Macmillan). _______________________________ NOTES: This article appears in the Fall 2008 issue of The Latin Mass Magazine, vol. 17:4; web publication at RORATE CÆLI authorized by author and periodical. Images related to the First and Second Lessons and to the Gospel of Ember Saturday in September: in the first image, Aaron and Moses offer a holocaust to the Lord.

1.Officially, they fall on the first [full] week after the Feast of the Holy Cross (September 14). 2. Another theory is that “Ember” comes from the Old English, ymbren, meaning time or season. 3. The one reason stated by the Didache is more polemical: Christians fast on different days in order to be different from the “hypocrites,” i.e., the Pharisees (8.1). 4.Cf. Francis X. Weiser, Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs (New York: Harcourt, 1958), 31-32. 5.Weiser does claim, however, that voluntarily fasting or abstaining on Wednesdays was still alive in some areas when he was writing (1958). Of course, the other remnant of the weekly fast is Friday abstinence from flesh meat. 6.Technically, neither Jewish fast was part of the Mosaic Law, though both were, I would argue, part of the Mosaic way of life. 7.From a prayer by St. Thomas Aquinas. 8.Cf. my article, “The Rogationtide,” TLM 17:2 (Spring 2008), pp. 36-39. 9.Jacopo de Voragine, “The Ember days,” in The Golden Legend. 10.Cf. Michael P. Foley, Why Do Catholics Eat Fish on Friday? The Catholic Origin to Just About Everything (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), 148-49. 11.The medievals called this the jejunium exultationis—the fast of exultation. 12.There are relevant readings from the Old Testament and from the Letter to the Hebrews that are used throughout the year in both the 1962 and 1970 lectionaries, but the September Embertide is the only time that these readings are used in order to coincide with the autumn festivals of Sukkot and Yom Kippur. Again we see the principle of fulfillment rather than abolition liturgically enacted. 13.Cf. The Golden Legend, Volume 1, “The Ember Days.” 14.In the Middle Ages, the Ember days were kept as holydays of obligation, with rest from work and special acts of charity for the poor, such as feeding and bathing them. There was also an old superstition that the souls in Purgatory were temporarily released from their plight in order to thank their relatives for their prayers and beg for more. 15.Cf. my article, “The Rogationtide,” TLM 17:2 (Spring 2008), pp. 36-39. 16.Response to the query “How should rogation days and ember days be celebrated?” (, retrieved 2/20/08). 17.Cf. The Prince, ch. 25. 18.“Spain to Recognize Rights of Apes?” Catholic World News, 6/27/08, 19.This is not a parody. Cf. Peter Montague, “The Four Horsemen—Part 1,” Rachel’s Environment & Health Weekly, #471, 12/7/95 (

Chasubles of the 16th and 17th centuries

At the New Liturgical Movement blog last week, an article was published written by the English architectural scholar Fr Anthony Symondson SJ about the so-called “Borromeon” chasuble. In a previous post on Rorate Caeli, I made a response to points made by Father Symondson.

In this post, I wish to discuss a famous statue of Saint Philip Neri in the sacristy of the church of Santa Maria in Vallicella, Rome. This marvellous 3-metre tall statue was completed in 1638 by the famed Italian sculptor Alessandro Algardi.

Attached is a digitally-enhanced photograph of the statue. I emphasise that this enhancement is NOT intended to depict actual colours or decoration. It is intended to show more clearly the form and decoration of the chasuble that Algardi sculpted.

This is a chasuble in the Roman tradition. It is very long at the back, reaching almost the full length of the alb; at the front it is slightly shorter. It has a curved shape, rather than being squared-off at the bottom. Note that the chasuble falls gracefully over the body, indicating that it is not interlined to stiffen it, as chasubles were of the later Baroque period. It largely corresponds to dimensions set down by Saint Charles Borromeo (whilst Archbishop of Milan 1560-1584), but it is slightly narrower, since as sculpted it falls only slightly beyond the elbow, rather than approaching the wrist.

Very prominent on the chasuble is the massive tau, with adjoining panels supporting the neckline. Almost certainly, the rear of the chasuble would have been ornamented with a single column. These ornaments are formed from a floral scrollwork damask, outlined with a galloon (probably 3cm wide).

In terms of studying the history of the development of the chasuble, this statue is most significant. It is important to note that the statue was sculpted within the living memory of Saint Philip (he died in 1595). And yet, it reflects a style of chasuble found in the first quarter of the 17th century.

Several paintings exist of Saint Philip, and his contemporary Saint Ignatius Loyola, shewing them in sacred vestments. Many of these artworks, however, were painted long after the deaths of Neri and Loyola, even a century later. As such, it cannot be asserted that the chasubles depicted in these later paintings necessarily reveal the style of chasuble of the late 16th and early 17th centuries. They depict vestments of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, by which time it was common that the width of the chasuble was less ample and it had begun to be interlined to stiffen it.

And yet, let us also remember this: Saint Charles set down dimensions for the chasuble out of a desire to prevent its form being cut back in a manner he considered inconsistent with Sacred Tradition. It would be foolish of us to imagine, however, that his instructions were adhered to strictly, or even widely known. As a result, in this period of the history of the chasuble (say, the century between 1550 and 1650), several different styles of chasuble would have been extant, some longer and wider than others. The width of the woven fabrics would also have determined, to some extent, the width of the chasuble, to say nothing of the personal taste and preferences of priests, bishops and the vestment-makers themselves.

To illustrate, I also attach one of the two famous painting of Saint Ignatius by Rubens. Even though it was painted at much the same time as the Algardi statue was sculpted, it depicts a completely different style of chasuble. It is much narrower and stiffened with interlining to support the lavish embroidery: most assuredly not a “Borromeon” chasuble.

A word on the albs in the two pictures. Both a very ample, falling to the ground in graceful folds. The sleeves are extremely long but, since the cuffs fit the wrist so snugly, the sleeves do not fall over the hands. The close-fitting sleeve is most appropriate to these styles of chasuble. The alb in the statue of S’ Philip is trimmed with a small amount of lace.

Good news: a faithful Diocese in Florida

Our warmest congratulations to the Bishop of Venice, Florida, and to the Traditional Catholic faithful of his diocese!

His Excellency Bishop Frank Dewane announced today that the Diocese of Venice in Florida has purchased a church for the exclusive use of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. This will be the first church to be dedicated exclusively for the Latin Mass in Florida. The church is situated on close to three acres of property and is located at 1900 Meadowood Street, Sarasota. The property previously belonged to Holy Trinity Anglican Church. Significant renovation will be necessary before doors can be opened, including a new roof, renovating the sanctuary and making the nave of the church larger. However it is hoped that the new church will be opened in the near future. Juridically, the building will be erected as a chapel, and at a future date it will be raised to the status of a parish. There will be an open house this coming Saturday afternoon (September 27th, 2008). All are welcome, bring friends!
Any other reports from neighboring Dioceses?

And in Africa...

The following is from a report which appears on the blog of Fr. Bernard Pellabeuf who has just taken a position as a professor of Latin for the seminary at Natitingou in the north of Benin.

At the minor seminary of Saint Pierre there are seventy-eight seminarians (who from their earliest years have) been introduced to Latin. The Mass in Latin is offered every Thursday. In all the seminaries of Benin, there is a Mass in Latin offered every week. I will ensure 19 hours of Latin per week.

Monsignor N'koué, the bishop of Natitingou, is very committed to the promotion of the liturgy in Latin. He has, for example, had the opportunity to celebrate Mass according to the Tridentine missal in Rome during one of the recent CIEL conventions. He invited the Sisters of the Benedictine Abbey of Joucques (diocese of Aix en Provence) who have their liturgy in Latin, to establish a community in his diocese. And he is particularly keen on ensuring that seminarians are learning Latin in accordance with canon law.

He created a personal parish for the faithful who wish to have Mass in the pre-counciliar Missal. The pastor, Father Denis Le Pivain, who built Saint Jean-Baptiste Church, consulted with Monsignor N'Koué about the orientation of the altar which he wanted to position so that Mass could be said on either side. The Bishop asked that the altar be constructed all the way against the wall.

In short, the Diocese of Natitingou is a laboratory where one can see the accuracy of Benedict XVI’s positions - especially in terms of liturgy.

Merci à Gatien, Le Forum Catholique

Fr. Anthony Symondson Questions the Borromeon Revival

An article of the above title appears on the New Liturgical Movement, in which the English Jesuit, Fr Symondson discusses the "re-introduction" of the Borromeon form of chasuble. His article, which is largely personal opinion, deserves some response.

There is a widespread confusion about the form of the Borromeon chasuble. In Father Symondson's article, he includes pictures of "Borromeon" vestments which are most assuredly not according to the dimensions laid down by Saint Charles Borromeo for the chasuble. Borromeo required the chasuble to be sufficiently long at the back to cover the alb, reaching the heels and wide enough that it reached the wrists. The chasuble worn by Pope Benedict in the Sydney Cathedral in July (photograph adjacent) was made according to the dimensions set down by Saint Charles.

But another style also existed in this period of the 16th century. It was neither as long, nor as wide as the chasuble dimensions laid down by Saint Charles. It is often shewn in paintings of Saint Philip Neri (adjacent picture). Father Symondson mistakenly describes this as "Borromean" (sic). Another photograph is included of a red chasuble of Saint Charles, which is now displayed in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. This chasuble is obviously wider than the one shewn in the painting of Saint Philip Neri.

This particular style of chasuble was interlined so that it became a very stiff affair. The so-called "Roman" vestments (also mistakenly referred to as "fiddlebacks") were also interlined in this manner. This interlining was intended to provide sufficient support for the lavish ornament often applied to these vestments.

But Father Symondson makes the mistake of imagining that the Philip Neri style of chasuble can only be made in this manner, with interlining. I can assure him that it need not; and when it is not interlined, it becomes a most convenient and comfortable vestment to wear.

It is a great puzzle to me why the revival of the "Philip Neri" style of chasuble by the Italian firm "Tridentinum" and also by my own Saint Bede Studio should trouble Father Symondson so much. Perhaps most significantly, the "Philip Neri" chasuble serves as a middle ground between those who prefer Roman vestments and those who prefer Gothic. Why should providing such a via media attract criticism?

I invite readers to look at this article for an alternative view about the history of these vestments.

Benedict XVI on Pius XII, the Pastor Angelicus

Pope Benedict XVI received today representatives of the "Pave the Way Foundation", an interreligious organization which has recently held a symposium on the papacy of Pius XII, of most glorious memory. These are Pope Benedict's words:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am happy to meet with you at the conclusion of the important symposium organized by the Pave the Way Foundation. I know that many eminent scholars have participated in this reflection on the numerous works of my beloved predecessor - the Servant of God Pope Pius XII - accomplished during the difficult period around the time of the second world war. I warmly welcome each of you especially Mr Gary Krupp, President of the Foundation, whom I thank for the kind words expressed on your behalf. I am grateful to him for informing me how your work has been undertaken during the symposium. You have analyzed without bias the events of history and concerned yourselves only with seeking the truth. I also greet those accompanying you on this visit, as well as your family members and loved ones at home.

The focus of your study has been the person and the tireless pastoral and humanitarian work of Pius XII, Pastor Angelicus. Fifty years have passed since his pious death here at Castel Gandolfo early on the ninth of October 1958, after a debilitating disease. This anniversary provides an important opportunity to deepen our knowledge of him, to meditate on his rich teaching and to analyze thoroughly his activities. So much has been written and said of him during these last five decades and not all of the genuine facets of his diverse pastoral activity have been examined in a just light. The aim of your symposium has been precisely to address some of these deficiencies, conducting a careful and documented examination of many of his interventions, especially those in favour of the Jews who in those years were being targeted all over Europe, in accordance with the criminal plan of those who wanted to eliminate them from the face of the earth. When one draws close to this noble Pope, free from ideological prejudices, in addition to being struck by his lofty spiritual and human character one is also captivated by the example of his life and the extraordinary richness of his teaching. One can also come to appreciate the human wisdom and pastoral intensity which guided him in his long years of ministry, especially in providing organized assistance to the Jewish people.

Thanks to the vast quantity of documented material which you have gathered, supported by many authoritative testimonies, your symposium offers to the public forum the possibility of knowing more fully what Pius XII achieved for the Jews persecuted by the Nazi and fascist regimes. One understands, then, that wherever possible he spared no effort in intervening in their favour either directly or through instructions given to other individuals or to institutions of the Catholic Church. In the proceedings of your convention you have also drawn attention to his many interventions, made secretly and silently, precisely because, given the concrete situation of that difficult historical moment, only in this way was it possible to avoid the worst and save the greatest number of Jews.

This courageous and paternal dedication was recognized and appreciated during and after the terrible world conflict by Jewish communities and individuals who showed their gratitude for what the Pope had done for them. One need only recall Pius XII’s meeting on the 29th of November 1945 with eighty delegates of German concentration camps who during a special Audience granted to them at the Vatican, wished to thank him personally for his generosity to them during the terrible period of Nazi-fascist persecution.

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for your visit and for the research you have undertaken. Thanks also to the Pave the Way Foundation for its ongoing activity in promoting relationships and dialogue between religions, as witnesses of peace, charity and reconciliation. It is my great hope that this year, which marks the fiftieth-anniversary of my venerated predecessor’s death, will provide the opportunity to promote in-depth studies of various aspects of his life and his works in order to come to know the historical truth, overcoming every remaining prejudice. With these sentiments I invoke upon you and the proceedings of your symposium an abundance of divine blessings.

A Holy and Important Anniversary

Only one of the popes was ever a "Parish Priest", a "Pastor", a "Curé", that is, in charge of a parish, with the "cure of souls". Giuseppe Melchiore Sarto, Pope Saint Pius X. This lion of a defender of the Faith was certainly one of the greatest popes of the last few centuries.
At the heights of holiness, what are seemingly hard to reconcile, are practiced with perfection. In him there was no contradiction between the "medicine of mercy" and the severity of condemnation. He realized, with Holy Mother Church that "the condemnation of error is itself a work of mercy since by pinning down error, those labouring under it are corrected and others are preserved from falling into it" (Iota unum).

His life was mysteriously and providentially connected to the patron of parish priests, St. John Vianney, the Curé d'Ars.

In the last year of Vianney's life, the young Sarto was ordained to the sacred priesthood - exactly 150 years ago, on September 18, 1858. While Fr. Sarto was a parish priest, Vianney was declared venerable. On the very anniversary of the Venerable John Vianney's death, Cardinal Sarto was elected the Successor of Peter. And it was Pope Pius X who beatified Fr. Vianney. Both were members of the Third Order of Penance (Secular Franciscans).

This year marks also the 100th anniversary of Haerent animo, the apostolic exhortation on priestly holiness. It bears a magisterial authority as well as a great moral authority, since it is literally infallibly certain that its author practiced what he preached.

May the Lord grant us, through the intercession of the Immaculate, our Lady of Lourdes, many holy priests "filled with apostolic courage and heavenly wisdom" (collect of St. Pius X).
Fr. Paul J. McDonald
Curé des paroisses françaises
Diocese of Saint Catharines,
Ontario, Canada

Perl: more comforting words

Besides the criticism levied against some Traditional Catholic faithful by the President of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, the conference on "Summorum Pontificum" currently taking place in Rome also included yesterday a presentation by the secretary of said dicastery, Monsignor Camille Perl. Vaticanist Andrea Tornielli reports (cf. also La Repubblica):

Rome- “In Italy, most bishops” have placed obstacles to the application of the motu proprio of Benedict XVI which liberalized the use of the ancient, pre-Conciliar, Missal in 2007.

…[Camille] Perl participated in Rome at a conference named “The motu proprio Summorum Pontificum of His Holiness Benedict XVI: spiritual richness for the entire Church one year later.” “In Italy – the cleric said – most bishops, with few admirable exceptions, have placed obstacles to the application of the motu proprio on the Latin Mass. The same must be said about many Superiors who forbid their priests to celebrate the Mass according to the ancient rite.” Monsignor Perl provided a not very rosy picture of the situation also in other countries, recalling that “in Germany, for instance, the Episcopal Conference published highly bureaucratic directives, which make for a difficult application of the motu proprio”, while in France “there are lights and shadows”. Yet to consider Italy, the nation of which the Pope is the primate, as a nation in which bishops have impeded the papal decision, represents a serious judgment, coming from the lips of the number two of the Commission.

The words are interesting, but has something been done about these obstacles? Is some action being planned?

Moving slowly

The first public confirmation of the document which should clarify "Summorum Pontificum" was made nearly a year ago, on October 12, 2007. Its publication has been delayed several times, and today Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", confirmed "that his office had completed its work and passed the draft on to the pope, who would make the final decision about its publication."

Regarding the rest of the article: while there may certainly be room for criticism of a few lay faithful who behave less prudently, we wonder if there has been any true action against bishops who still persecute Traditional Catholic priests and lay faithful around the world or who ignore their requests. Is "Ecclesia Dei" ready and willing to provide the oversight and to exercise the authority it has already been granted by Summorum, regardless of new general clarifications?

We cannot be silent about what we know

Most of the texts of the addresses and homilies pronounced by Pope Benedict during his trip to France are already available in the special Vatican website - including English translations for almost all texts).

We end this coverage remembering the words of Pope Benedict on Blessed Charles de Foucauld, from his meditation during the procession of the Blessed Sacrament, yesterday:
Blessed Charles de Foucauld was born in 1858, the very year of the apparitions at Lourdes. Not far from his body, stiffened by death, there lay, like the grain of wheat cast upon the earth, the lunette containing the Blessed Sacrament which Brother Charles adored every day for many a long hour. Father de Foucauld has given us a prayer from the depths of his heart, a prayer addressed to our Father, but one which, with Jesus, we can in all truth make our own in the presence of the sacred host:
“‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.’

This was the last prayer of our Master, our Beloved … May it also be our own prayer, and not only at our last moment, but at every moment in our lives:

Father, I commit myself into your hands; Father, I trust in you; Father, I abandon myself to you; Father, do with me what you will; whatever you may do, I thank you; thank you for everything; I am ready for all, I accept all; I thank you for all. Let only your will be done in me, Lord, let only your will be done in all your creatures, in all your children, in all those whom your heart loves, I wish no more than this, O Lord. Into your hands I commend my soul; I offer it to you, Lord, with all the love of my heart, for I love you, and so need to give myself in love, to surrender myself into your hands, without reserve, and with boundless confidence, for you are my Father.”
Beloved brothers and sisters, day pilgrims and inhabitants of these valleys, brother Bishops, priests, deacons, men and women religious, all of you who see before you the infinite abasement of the Son of God and the infinite glory of the Resurrection, remain in silent adoration of your Lord, our Master and Lord Jesus Christ. Remain silent, then speak and tell the world: we cannot be silent about what we know. Go and tell the whole world the marvels of God, present at every moment of our lives, in every place on earth. May God bless us and keep us, may he lead us on the path of eternal life, he who is Life, for ever and ever. Amen.

No "servile subordination" between the Pope and the Bishops

LOURDES (Hautes-Pyrenees), 14 September 2008 (AFP) - Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, president of the Conference of Bishops of France, stressed that the relationship between the pope and the bishops "is not a servile relationship of subordination".

"The relationship of the pope with the bishops is not a boss/employee relationship. He is not the CEO of a multinational corporation who is coming to visit a branch office," said Cardinal Vingt-Trois during a press briefing held after the meeting between the pope and the bishops.

"We have welcomed him and listened to him as a brother who has come to reinforce the faith of those with whom he works and with whom he is in communion," said the Cardinal Archbishop of Paris.

"We are in a relationship of communion, of affection, and of collaboration. And when we have things to say to him, we say them" said Cardinal Vingt-Trois.

Earlier the pope had spoke before the bishops calling for the steadfastness of the Church in the face of the challenges of the contemporary world – a speech with the tone of a directive which was met by somewhat lukewarm applause.

Unofficial translation by Mornac

Pope to the Bishops of France
Strong words on Summorum Pontificum

It is never too often said that the priesthood is indispensable to the Church, in the very own interest of the lay faithful. Priests are a gift from God to the Church. Priests must never delegate to the faithful [those] functions which are related to their own mission. Dear Brothers in the episcopacy, I ask you to remain desirous to help your priests live in intimate union with Christ. Their spiritual life is the foundation of their apostolic life. You shall exhort them gently to daily prayer and to a dignified celebration of the Sacraments, particularly of the Eucharist and of Reconciliation, as Saint Francis de Sales did with his priests. Every priest should be able to feel glad to serve the Church. At the school of the Curé d'Ars, son of your land and patron of all priests of the world, do not cease to repeat that a man can do no greater deed than to give the Body and the Blood of Christ to the faithful, and to forgive sins. ...

Liturgical worship is the supreme expression of priestly and episcopal life, and also of catechetical teaching. Your mission of sanctification of the faithful people, dear Brothers, is indispensable for the growth of the Church. I was prompted to detail, in the Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, the conditions for the accomplishment of this mission, in that which relates to the possibility of using both the missal of Blessed John XXIII (1962) and that of Pope Paul VI (1970). The fruits of these new dispositions have already seen [the light of] day, and I hope that the indispensable pacification of the spirits is being accomplished, thank God.

I comprehend your difficulties, but I do not doubt that you will be able to reach, within reasonable time, solutions which are satisfactory to all, so that the seamless robe of Christ is not torn anymore. No one is excessive within the Church. Everyone, without exception, must be able to feel at home, and never rejected. God, who loves all men and wills that no one be lost, entrusts us with this mission of Pastors, making us Shepherds of His sheep. We can only give Him thanks for the honor and the confidence He places upon us. Let us endeavor to always be servants of unity.

Sin divides; the Holy Mother unites

While sin divides, separating us from one another, Mary's purity makes her infinitely close to our hearts, attentive to each of us and desirous of our true good. You see it here in Lourdes, as in all Marian shrines; immense crowds come thronging to Mary's feet to entrust to her their most intimate thoughts, their most heartfelt wishes.
Mary shows us the right way to come to the Lord, ... in truth and simplicity. Thanks to her, we discover that the Christian faith is not a burden: it is like a wing which enables us to fly higher, so as to take refuge in God's embrace.

Here, close to the grotto, and in intimate communion with all the pilgrims present in Marian shrines and with all the sick in body and soul who are seeking relief, we bless the Lord for Mary's presence among her people, and to her we address our prayer in faith:

Holy Mary, you showed yourself here one hundred and fifty years ago to the young Bernadette, you 'are the true fount of hope' Faithful pilgrims who have gathered here from every part of the world, we come once more to draw faith and comfort, joy and love, security and peace, from the source of your Immaculate Heart. 'Monstra Te esse Matrem'. Show yourself a Mother for us all, O Mary! And give us Christ, the hope of the world!
Benedict XVI
Angelus, Lourdes
September 14, 2008

Translation: Vatican Information Service -
Image: The Pope at Massabielle, September 13

No one will ever replace priests!
Nothing will ever replace Holy Mass!

'Shun the worship of idols!', (1 Cor. 10:14), [Saint Paul] writes to a community deeply marked by paganism and divided between the observance of adherence to the novelty of the Gospel and the observance of old practiced inherited from their ancestors. ...

The word 'idol' comes from the Greek and means 'image', 'figure', 'representation', but also 'ghost', 'phantom', 'vain appearance'. An idol is a delusion, for it turns its worshiper away from reality and places him in the kingdom of mere appearances. Now, is this not a temptation in our own day – the only one we can act upon effectively? The temptation to idolize a past that no longer exists, forgetting its shortcomings; the temptation to idolize a future which does not yet exist, in the belief that, by his efforts alone, man can bring about the kingdom of eternal joy on earth! ...

Christ has willed that His Sacrifice be renewed, in a bloodless manner, every time that a priest repeats the words of the Consecration over the bread and over the wine. ... Millions of times over the last two thousand years, in the humblest chapels and in the most magnificent basilicas and cathedrals, the risen Lord has given himself to his people, thus becoming, in the famous expression of Saint Augustine, 'more intimate to us than we are to ourselves' (cf. Confessions, III, 6, 11). ... The Mass invites us to discern what, in ourselves, is obedient to the Spirit of God and what, in ourselves, is attuned to the spirit of evil. ... [Christ] alone teaches us to shun idols, the illusions of our minds. ...

Do not be afraid! Do not be afraid to give your life to Christ! Nothing will ever replace the ministry of priests at the heart of the Church! Nothing will ever replace a Mass for the salvation of the world! Dear young people, and those not so young who are listening to me, do not leave Christ’s call unanswered!

Benedict XVI
Mass at the Esplanade des Invalides, Paris
September 13, 2008

Pope Benedict on Summorum - UPDATED

This is the complete text of the Pope's answer to a question on Summorum Pontificum, in an interview granted yesterday on his Rome-Paris flight - the first public papal comment on Summorum since its publication (source: Holy See Press Office)

Question: What do you say to those who, in France, fear that the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum signals a backtracking on the great intuitions of the Second Vatican Council? How could you reassure them?

Pope Benedict XVI: It is an unfounded fear, because this 'motu proprio' is simply an act of tolerance, with a pastoral objective for people who have been formed in this liturgy, who love it, know it and want to live with this liturgy. It is a small group, given that it presupposes a formation in Latin, a formation in a certain culture. But it seems to me a normal demand of faith and pastoral concern for a bishop of our Church to have love and tolerance for these people and permit them to live with this liturgy. There is no opposition whatsoever between the liturgy renewed by the Second Vatican Council and this liturgy.

Each day [during the Council], the Council fathers celebrated Mass according to the ancient rite and, at the same time, conceived a natural development for the liturgy in all of this century, because the liturgy is a living reality that develops and that preserves its identity in its development.

Therefore, there are certainly distinct accents, but at the same time a fundamental identity that excludes a contradiction, an opposition between the renewed liturgy and the preceding liturgy. I think that there is the possibility of an enrichment of both parties. On one side, the friends of the ancient liturgy may and should know the new saints, the new prefaces of the liturgy, etc. [sic], on the other hand, the new liturgy underlines more the common participation but, it is, always, not simply the assembly of a certain community, but always an act of the universal Church, in communion with all the faithful of all the ages and an act of adoration.

In this sense, it seems to me that there is a mutual enrichment and it is clear that the renewed liturgy is the ordinary liturgy of our time.

Juventutem Interview

The following is an interview with Fr Glen Tattersall, who was Spiritual Director and Advisor to Juventutem Australia.

Q. What is “Juventutem” and what role did it have at WYD 2008?

Fr Tattersall: Juventutem is an international movement of those Catholic youth who are attached to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. It was formed in 2004, and made its debut, if you like, at World Youth Day in Cologne in 2005. The traditional liturgy provides the foundation for the spiritual formation of the youth of Juventutem. The general cultural formation of young people is also intimately linked to this liturgy. Juventutem chapters in different countries have their own ongoing and autonomous activities, but they come together to form an international chapter for World Youth Day. This happened for the second time at World Youth Day 2008 in Australia.

WYD provides an opportunity for the members of Juventutem to express their fidelity to the Holy Father, and for new friendships and connections to be forged among young Catholics of different nations who are united in their commitment to the traditional liturgy. The Juventutem WYD chapter is also an occasion to introduce other young Catholics to their liturgical heritage – for many are still unaware of this liturgy, or lacking in their experience of it. Even more broadly, we believe that this liturgy has an evangelical role: and so its presence at WYD and other Ecclesial events is a call to conversion which can and does touch hearts.

Juventutem Australia (JA) was of course the host body at WYD 2008. We welcomed Juventutem pilgrims from Kenya, Hong Kong and Macau, Singapore, the Philippines, New Zealand, Switzerland, the United States and France. JA was privileged to have as its patrons the Most Rev Basil Meeking, Bishop Emeritus of Christchurch, New Zealand, and the Hon. William Cox, recently retired Governor of the State of Tasmania. A week of preparation was held in Melbourne as part of Days in the Diocese (DID). Particular emphasis was given to Chant workshops under the superb direction of our guest from the US, Scott Turkington. These workshops continued in Sydney during the second week. Bishop Meeking opened DID for us with Pontifical Mass, and Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne celebrated Mass at the Throne for Juventutem. Pilgrims were welcomed into the life of the traditional Mass community of Melbourne for this week, centred at St Aloysius’ Caulfield. In Sydney, we were allocated a splendid and central Church in an historic precinct: St Augustine’s Balmain. The kindness and warm hospitality of the Parish Priest and community of St Augustine’s during this entire week was exceptional. His Eminence, George Cardinal Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, graciously agreed to celebrate Solemn Pontifical Vespers at the Throne, to preach, and give Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament: a magnificent and prayerful occasion. His Eminence returned to the Cathedral directly after this to receive the Holy Father; and the Cardinal assured us he would convey personally to Pope Benedict our loyalty, our prayers, and our gratitude for the Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum. That evening Cardinal George of Chicago led Juventutem pilgrims through the Rosary, prayed for Pope Benedict’s intentions.

As was the case with other Chapters, in Sydney we had three days of catechesis, ending each morning with Pontifical Mass: we were blessed to have for these three days Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett (Lismore, NSW), Bishop Peter Elliott (Auxiliary, Melbourne) and of course Bishop Meeking. Pilgrims were grateful to each of these both for the depth of their teaching, and their beautiful celebration of the liturgy. On the final day, before departing for Randwick and the Vigil with the Pope, we were privileged to hear a talk from Cardinal Zen of Hong Kong on the state of the Church in China. Juventutem pilgrims were of course present at all the Papal functions: the Pope’s official arrival in Sydney, the Stations of the Cross, the Eucharistic Vigil and the final Mass at Randwick. Everyone who was present at WYD 2008 recognised it as a time of extraordinary grace: to quote the Holy Father, it is an experience of the Church as She truly is, full of evangelical zeal. And we might add, an experience of the Divine origin of the Papacy….The evident humility of Pope Benedict only adds to his magisterial authority. For those of us in Juventutem, like so many others, we can only stammer: “It was good for us to be there.”

Q. And yet there has been significant criticism in various “traditionalist” quarters of WYD itself, and (from some) of Juventutem’s involvement in it. What do you say to the critics?

Fr Tattersall: Together with the other members of Juventutem Australia, I have been committed to WYD 2008 since experiencing the grace of WYD 2005 in Cologne. There were critical voices then, too. At that time, I simply went because I was answering a request from Fr Armand de Malleray, Ecclesiastical assistant to the International Federation Juventutem, for priests to assist. Fr de Malleray was also Secretary General of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter, and at that time I was a priest of the FSSP (since then I have joined the Archdiocese of Melbourne, meanwhile continuing my pastoral work in the Extraordinary Form). The experience of Cologne was in itself enough to persuade me that WYD is a grace for the Church, and that the traditional movement needs to be a part of it. However, subsequent events provided even more compelling reasons, in my opinion. WYD 2008 was the first World Youth Day held since the promulgation of the Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum. And in the accompanying letter to the Bishops let us recall that Pope Benedict had this to say: “…it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them.” Didn’t this simply create an obligation on the part of such youth to demonstrate before the whole Church the truth of these words of the Holy Father, and to express their fidelity and gratitude to him for this recognition? Juventutem and WYD 2008 was perhaps the premier opportunity to do this. It is surprising that anyone considering himself to be a faithful Catholic could think otherwise.

The support and involvement of Cardinal Pell, Archbishop Hart, and so many other distinguished prelates, demonstrated clearly that Juventutem and what it represents was regarded as a valued and vital part of the Church. It is then a great shame when those who claim to be promoting our liturgical tradition find a reason not be part of its renaissance. It would be futile to argue with them. But I would pose of them a question: what contribution are you making to the life and unity of the Church?

Q. Where to from here?

Fr Tattersall: No doubt there will be a Juventutem presence at Madrid in 2011 - but I am glad Juventutem Australia will not have to organise it! I think the thing that most encouraged and moved us in Juventutem Australia was the presence of Juventutem pilgrims from Africa and Asia. We must realise that the traditional liturgy is not – nor is it meant to be – only a European and North American phenomenon. It is truly something that has universal appeal and value, and in my view this liturgy has a great future ahead of it in Africa and Asia. Those of us associated with Juventutem Australia feel a prompting of the Holy Spirit to assist our brethren, especially in China and Kenya, to recover, or discover, this liturgy, and to be formed in it. So, in practical terms I think there might be a few missionary endeavours by Juventutem Australia members and associates in the years ahead. Please pray for the success of these.

Father Tattersall is a priest of the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

Another interview can be found on the official juventutem blog.