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Showing posts from April, 2009

The Scapegoat
Ranjith to Colombo

As first mentioned here over one year ago, the mounting pressures against the formidable Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, will finally lead to his departure. Italian Vaticanist Andrea Tornielli reports today that Ranjith's nomination as Archbishop of Colombo, capital city of his native Sri Lanka, will be announced next Saturday.

Tornielli implies that Ranjith could be made a Cardinal (only one occupier of the See of Colombo was ever created Cardinal) in what will be his second exile from the Roman Curia - his first one happened in 2004 when, as adjunct secretary of Propaganda Fide, he was suddenly nominated Nuncio to Indonesia by Pope John Paul II. 
Tornielli also mentions that a prelate from an English-speaking nation could be the new Secretary of Divine Worship, a man who would "pacify the liturgical battlefield"...
____________________ (UPDATE - 1100 GMT) The nomination predicted by Torniell…

Sweet Christ on Earth

On the feast of the maiden of Siena, let us pray for the Holy Father.

And do not look at the ignorance and pride of your little children; but with the enticement of your love and of your benignity, granting them that sweet discipline and benign reprehension which may please your Holiness, render peace to us, your miserable children who have offended you. I tell you, o sweet Christ on earth, from Christ in heaven, that, doing thus, that is, without quarrel and uproar, they will all see with pain the offense they have done, and will place their heads in their hands.

Saint Catherine of Siena
Letter CXCVIto Gregory XI

Cancelling Masses to stop an epidemic?

Both secular and Catholic news media are now full of reports (such as this) that, in response to the swine flu epidemic, the Archdiocese of Mexico had cancelled Masses without exception last Sunday, April 26. Apparently, churches in Mexico City remain closed up to now. This is deeply disturbing. Our prayers and sympathies are with the people of Mexico as they come to grips with this terrible scourge. However, should we not ask out loud: is this the way to combat disease: by preventing the faithful from attending Holy Mass? This does seem odd in a country where, only in the last century, people risked torture and martyrdom in order to attend clandestine Masses! Are we missing something?

Secularist Parisians try to snuff out SSPX Pilgrimage Mass

Communiqué from Fr. Loïc Duverger, 1st Assistant District Superior of France
Suresnes, 24 April 2009

To all faithful pilgrims,

By now you've probably heard that the City Council of Paris, at the instigation of Green Party and Socialist members, voted under false pretenses a motion asking the mayor of Paris to deny us access to the Square-Louise Michel (formerly Square Villette) at the foot of the Sacré-Cœur Basilica at Montmartre where we customarily celebrate the closing Mass of the pilgrimage. At this time the mayor has not officially banned entrance to the Square. We pray to Our Lady of Chartres and to the Sacred Heart of Jesus that he does not, and we invite you to join in our prayer so that we can offer, as we do every year, the Holy Mass on the Mount of Martyrs for the intentions of the Church and of France. Since this announcement, the pilgrimage organizers have been trying with admirable enthusiasm to find a location where we could celebrate Mass in the event the Square becomes…

All hail the Holy Constable:
Saint Nuno Alvares Pereira,
glory of Portugal

This Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI will include in the canon of saints of the Catholic Church the great warrior, holy patriot, and humble Christian: Nuno Alvares Pereira.

As we mentioned last year, in an age of so many disgraceful individuals involved in public life, the life of the Holy Constable of Portugal, Nuno Alvares Pereira (1360-1431), is perhaps the most surprising of them. One of the greatest statesmen and military leaders in the history of the Iberian Peninsula, he was always a most faithful son of the Church. After becoming a widower, and despite having all the fortune, power, and gratitude of his nation at his disposal, Blessed (soon to be Saint) Nuno became a Carmelite lay brother in a monastery whose foundation he himself had helped.

A great warrior, a loyal protector of his nation, its Sovereigns, and its independence, a good father and husband, a generous benefactor, a humble monk; at all times, an unwavering Son of the Holy Catholic Church: a full and complete hero for …

The new SSPX Rosary Crusade

In his latest Letter to Friends and Benefactors (in French, dated April 15, 2009), the Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), Bishop Bernard Fellay, after some strong words about those enemies of the Church (inside and outside Church institutions) who have been trying to undermine the Pope's efforts of reconciliation, proposes another Rosary Crusade, much larger than the other two previous Crusades:
"It seems to us that the moment is come to launch a substantial offensive, deeply anchored in the message of Our Lady at Fatima, in which she herself promised the happy ending, for she announces that, in the end, her Immaculate Heart will triumph. It is this triumph that we ask her, by the means that she herself requests, the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart by the Supreme Shepherd and all the bishops of the Catholic world, and the propagation of the devotion to her Dolorous and Immaculate Heart. It is for this that we wish to offe…

Pope addresses PBC on the Divine Inspiration and Truth of Scripture

Vatican Information Service has reported that Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday morning delivered an address to 30 members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission upon the completion of teir plenary assembly, which was dedicated to the theme of "Inspiration and Truth in the Bible."

The complete Italian-language text of the papal allocution may be read here. I do not yet have access to an English translation, so for now here is the summary of the Pope's address as reported by VIS, with emphasis added:

Benedict XVI began by underlining the importance of the chosen theme, which "concerns not only believers, but the Church herself, because the Church's life and mission necessarily rest upon the Word of God, which is the soul of theology and, at the same time, the inspiration of all of Christian life". Moreover, "the interpretation of Sacred Scripture is of vital importance for Christian faith and for the life of the Church."
"From a correct approach to th…

"Christ did not die for the sins of the people..."

From Lifesite News: "Christ did not die for the sins of the people": Head of German Catholic Bishops' Conference on TV By Hilary White
FREIBURG, Germany April 21, 2009 ( - According to the chairman of the Catholic bishops' conference of Germany, the death of Jesus Christ was not a redemptive act of God to liberate human beings from the bondage of sin and open the gates of heaven. The Archbishop of Freiburg, Robert Zollitsch, known for his liberal views, publicly denied the fundamental Christian dogma of the sacrificial nature of Christ's death in a recent interview with a German television station.
Zollitsch said that Christ "did not die for the sins of the people as if God had provided a sacrificial offering, like a scapegoat."
Instead, Jesus had offered only "solidarity" with the poor and suffering. Zollitsch said "that is this great perspective, this tremendous solidarity."
The interviewer asked, "You would now no…

Prefect of CDW celebrates Traditional Pontifical Mass in Rome (Lateran)

As we had first mentioned in February, the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Cañizares Llovera, celebrated a Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite earlier today, anniversary of the City of Rome, in its Cathedral (Basilica of Most Holy Savior, or of Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist in the Lateran).
(Series of pictures - tip: Rinascimento Sacro.)

You Report:
Dedication of Diocesan Church for the Traditional Roman Rite
Diocese of Venice, Florida

A reader sends us the report of the ceremony of the Dedication of a diocesan Church for the exclusive use of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in Sarasota, Florida (Diocese of Venice). Congratulations to Bishop Dewane for his obedience to the Pope in the matter of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum (quite rare in the dioceses of Florida, particularly, as is publicly known, in the large neighboring Diocese of Saint Petersburg), as well as to the persistent Traditional Catholic community in Sarasota. On April 19, 2009 Bishop Frank J. Dewane of the Diocese of Venice in Florida Dedicated Christ the King Church in Sarasota, the first church in Florida which will administer the Sacraments exclusively according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

Over 400 people were on hand for the Dedication-- and the Mass in the Presence of a Mitred Bishop.

The celebrant was Father James Fryar, FSSP. Also assisting were clergy and seminarians of the FSSP, as well as Father Robert Tatman of …

Cardinal Zen and the Traditional Rite

The hype of the official religious press would lead us to believe that only a few activists and some old senile folks are disposed to traditional forms of the Roman Rite ... Each day brings evidence to the contrary. Today that evidence comes from China. We’ve learned that His Excellency Joseph Cardinal Zen Zekiun, bishop of Hong Kong, wished to celebrate his final Pontifical Mass on April 15, 2009 - less than eight days ago - in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite. This is how the Cardinal wanted to demonstrate his commitment to the liturgical form in China which has nourished numerous martyrs of the Faith.

The Cardinal, who is known for his frankness, also told the many journalists who attended the ceremony that he now wanted to devote part of his retirement life to the faithful who are attached to the traditional liturgy of the Church.

Paix Liturgique

Terms fixed for Rome-SSPX discussions

In his blog, the now internationally famous Richard Williamson, one of the four Bishops of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), informs that Bernard Tissier de Mallerais (one of his brother Bishops in the Fraternity) confirmed in Paris that "terms have been fixed for the doctrinal discussions due to take place between the Society of St. Pius X and the Church authorities in Rome". 

"The discussions," Williamson adds, "are to be in writing"; they "will not be made public".

Tissier de Mallerais was one of the four members of the informal commission set by the Holy See and the SSPX in the negotiations of 1988 (the others were Father Patrice Laroche, also named for the Fraternity by Archbishop Lefebvre, and Father Tarcisio Bertone among those named for the Holy See by Cardinal Ratzinger).
(photo by Stephen Heiner, Colton, CA, April 2006)

Paschal Greetings

Wishing a Blessed Pascha to all Christians -- Catholic or Orthodox -- who follow the Julian Paschalion

New minister

The Holy Father accepted the resignation of Cardinal Barragán as President of the Pontifical Council for Health (Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers), naming as his successor Zygmunt Zimowski, up to now Bishop of Radom (Poland). (Source)

Zimowski, now elevated to Archishop, worked in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 1983 to 2002, when he was named Bishop of Radom.

Pontifical Biblical Commission to take up Synod Proposition 12

Of special notice is this announcement today from Vatican Information Service:

The Pontifical Biblical Commission is due to celebrate its annual plenary meeting at the Vatican's "Domus Sanctae Marthae" from 20 to 24 April, under the presidency of Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Fr. Klemens Stock S.J., pro-secretary general of the commission, will oversee and direct the work of the assembly.

This will be the first gathering of the Pontifical Biblical Commission since the partial renewal of its membership, in accordance with current norms. During the meeting attention will be given to a new study entitled "Inspiration and Truth of the Bible", the draft version of which has already been examined by the commission members.

As previously reported here, at the Synod of Bishops in Rome last October, the synod asked for clarification of the concepts of biblical inspiration and truth:

Proposition 12: Inspiration and…

Amidst the waves

"May the Lord give you spiritual and intellectual inspiration, and also physical strength, to thus be able to take the right decisions and to find the proper words, and to remain brave and steady on the waves which, according to a secret Divine will, surround the Church, and you with her. Oremus pro invicem." [Can. Georg Ratzinger, 2006]

A place at the table

On Holy Thursday, Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, archbishop of Bordeaux, hosted all the priests of his diocese for dinner. Taking to heart the recent decision of the pope (the lifting of excommunication of the bishops of the FSSPX on January 21st), he invited all Catholic priests and priors who exercise ministry within the Archdiocese of Bordeaux and Bazas, including the prior of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X - marking the first time he’s dined with his Diocesan confreres or other communities, especially those dependant on the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. The Cardinal recalled the speech made by Benedict XVI in France last September: "No one is too many in the Church. Everyone, without exception, must be able to feel at home and never feel rejected." Le Salon Beige

Another priest expelled from the SSPX

After a series of extremely confrontational public letters to Bishop Bernard Fellay, the Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), Father Basilio Méramo was finally informed of the decision of the Superior General to expel him from the ranks of the Fraternity.

Father Méramo was asked several times to restrain from public comments on the current negotiations between the SSPX and Holy See. Instead, from the moment of the first reports of the papal decision on the removal of the excommunications, Father Méramo, a very respected priest within the Fraternity and whose last assignment had been in Orizaba (Veracruz), Mexico, insisted on making public his harsh opinions on the matter. 

The news was made public last week (April 7), and Father Méramo's response was made known today.


1. The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales announces traditional Confirmations in the Archdiocese of Westminster in November 2009:

Bishop George Stack, auxiliary bishop in Westminster, will administer Confirmations in the Traditional Latin Rite at St James’s Church, Spanish Place, London W1 on Saturday, 7 November at 11.00 am at the request of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster. This will be the sixth consecutive year that Westminster auxiliary bishops will have conferred Confirmation in the Traditional Rite. Last year in November 2008, 44 candidates received the sacrament at the hands of Bishop George Stack – including 3 adults.John Medlin, General Manager of the Latin Mass Society, said, “Our Traditional Rite Confirmations have themselves become a traditional part of the Westminster calendar of events. The numbers are very encouraging every year and I expect this will continue in the new situation brought about by Pope Benedict’s Motu Proprio. Those attach…


Osanna, Sanctus Deus Sabaoth,
superillustrans claritate tua
felices ignes horum malacoth!

L'anima d'ogne bruto e delle piante
di complession potenziata tira
lo raggio e il moto delle luci sante;

ma vostra vita sanza mezzo spira
la Somma Beninanza, e la innamora
di sé sì che poi sempre la disira.

E quinci puoi argomentare ancora
vostra resurrezion, se tu ripensi
come l'umana carne fessi allora

che li primi parenti intrambo fensi.

Commedia, Paradiso (c. VII)
Hosanna holy God of Sabaoth,/ abundantly illumining with thy brightness/ the blessed fires of these kingdoms ... The soul of every brute and of each plant,/ The ray and motion of the sacred lights,/ Draw from complexion with meet power endued./ But this our life the Eternal Good inspires/ Immediate, and enamours of itself;/ So that our wishes rest forever here./ And hence thou mayst by inference conclude/ Our resurrection certain, if thy mind/ Consider how the human flesh was framed,/ Wh…

The Man of Sorrows

The anguish of the Passion of the Lord Jesus cannot fail to move to pity even the most hardened hearts, as it constitutes the climax of the revelation of God’s love for each of us. Saint John observes: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16).

It is for love of us that Christ dies on the cross! Throughout the course of the millennia, a great multitude of men and women have been drawn deeply into this mystery and they have followed him, making in their turn, like him and with his help, a gift to others of their own lives. They are the saints and the martyrs, many of whom remain unknown to us.
Even in our own time, how many people, in the silence of their daily lives, unite their sufferings with those of the Crucified One and become apostles of a true spiritual and social renewal! What would man be without Christ? Saint Augustine observes: “You would still be in a state of wretchedness, had He not …

"The difference of this pope from his predecessor..."

Another interesting statement from Bishop Hilarion, formerly of Vienna, now of Volokolamsk, successor of the now-Patriarch Kirill as head of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for External Church Relations. Emphases mine. I have not corrected the grammatical errors, and I am posting this without comment!

This is the latest in the series of statements from the Moscow Patriarchate in support of Pope Benedict's policies. (See this in support of Summorum Pontificum, this one on the lifting of the excommunications of the SSPX bishops, and the latest on Pope Benedict and condoms.)
The Moscow Patriarchate approves of Pope's uncompromising position on ethics

06 April 2009, 12:09

Moscow, April 6, Interfax - Refusal of Pope Benedict XVI to use politically correct language and offer compromise on traditional issues of Christian ethics has gained support of the Russian Orthodox Church.

"The difference of this current Pope from his predecessor is that this Pope never watches for pol…

Praeclarus calix

The Roman Canon describes the chalice which the Lord gives to his disciples as “praeclarus calix” (the precious cup), thereby alluding to Psalm 23 [22], the Psalm which speaks of God as the Good Shepherd, the strong Shepherd. There we read these words: “You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my foes … My cup is overflowing” – calix praeclarus. 

The Roman Canon interprets this passage from the Psalm as a prophecy that is fulfilled in the Eucharist: yes, the Lord does indeed prepare a banquet for us in the midst of the threats of this world, and he gives us the glorious chalice – the chalice of great joy, of the true feast, for which we all long – the chalice filled with the wine of his love. The chalice signifies the wedding-feast: now the “hour” has come to which the wedding-feast of Cana had mysteriously alluded. 
Yes indeed, the Eucharist is more than a meal, it is a wedding-feast. And this wedding is rooted in God’s gift of himself even to death. In the words of Jesus at …

Away from prevailing opinions

...[H]ow do things stand in our own lives? Are we truly pervaded by the word of God? Is that word truly the nourishment we live by, even more than bread and the things of this world? Do we really know that word? Do we love it? Are we deeply engaged with this word to the point that it really leaves a mark on our lives and shapes our thinking? Or is it rather the case that our thinking is constantly being shaped by all the things that others say and do? Aren’t prevailing opinions the criterion by which we all too often measure ourselves? Do we not perhaps remain, when all is said and done, mired in the superficiality in which people today are generally caught up? Do we allow ourselves truly to be deeply purified by the word of God?

Friedrich Nietzsche scoffed at humility and obedience as the virtues of slaves, a source of repression. He replaced them with pride and man’s absolute freedom. Of course there exist caricatures of a misguided humility and a mistaken submissiveness, which we do…
Prayers from the Roman Missal
In Time of Earthquake

As we mourn the loss of life and the destruction of a priceless cultural and Christian patrimony in the Italian region of Abruzzo, let us not overlook the human and divine depths so vividly expressed in the following prayers handed down from our forefathers, who survived similar catastrophes with faith, hope and adoration of God.

Oratio. Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui respicis terram, et facis eam tremere: parce metuentibus, propitiare supplicibus: ut, cujus iram terrae fundamenta concutientem expavimus, clementiam contritiones ejus sanantem jugiter sentiamus. Per Dominum. (Oratio. Omnipotent and eternal God, who look upon the earth and make it tremble: spare the frightened, show favor to those kneeling before you, so that as we have been terrified by your anger shaking the foundations of the earth we may always know your clemency which heals its grindings. Through our Lord Jesus Christ . . . ) Secreta. Deus, qui fundasti terram su…

Chalice of abandonment and mercy

Pater, si non potest hic calix transire nisi bibam illum, fiat voluntas tua. (Communion for Palm Sunday, Second Sunday in Passiontide - St. Matthew xxvi, 42: "Father, if this chalice may not pass away, but I must drink it, Thy will be done.")


... The most soothing consolation to the man who is plunged in affliction is the consciousness of his innocence; which, like an angel, watches at his side, and whispers comfort to his soul. The holy confidence arising from the consideration of innocence supported the martyrs,and upheld their enduring patience under the pressure of the most feverish tortures! This consideration acted with a magical influence: it calmed their sufferings, it lulled the excruciating sensation of the flames while they consumed their bodies, and diffused over their countenance the expression of a celestial joy.

But Jesus, the innocent Jesus, found no such consolation in his sufferings: what was given to the martyrs was denied to the Ki…

Update: Alain Juppé lies in his own bed

Last month Rorate Cæli reported on the vitriolic assessment of Benedict XVI made by France’s former Prime Minister, Alain Juppé. This morning the current mayor of Bordeaux, who complained less than three weeks ago that "this pope is becoming a real problem" because he is living “in a situation of total autism”, was greeted with the full impact of his words by some of his constituents who are none too happy about their mayors support for the construction of an enormous mosque (capacity: 2000) to be built in the ancient quarter of La Bastide.

Bloc Identitaireis a political movement which supports the promotion and defense of regional identities.
A militant protest organized by Bloc Identitaire Aquitaine unfolded at 11 am today in Bordeaux at Cours Victor-Hugo with the theme: "Juppé insults Benedict XVI but supports the Grand Mosque. This mayor is becoming a real problem" ... that is what was written on a huge 20 by 3 meter banner unfurled from the roof of the Victor Hug…

Pope names enemy of the motu proprio President of Theology Academy

The Holy Father named the Rev. Fr. Don Manlio Sodi, S.D.B., President of the Pontifical Academy of Theology. (Holy See Press Office)

Father Sodi is well known to our readers from some past posts (Moved by hatred: the words of an enemy of the motu proprio - I and Moved by hatred: the words of an enemy of the motu proprio - II); he is a Professor at the Salesian Pontifical University and was already a member of the Academy. Sodi is also the organizer of the Monumenta Liturgica Piana collection at the Libreria Editrice Vaticana - which has been a great success only because of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, curiously enough.

40 years of Missale Romanum and the new Roman Rite - IV
A liturgical tale in three acts

Dramatis Personae

Pope Saint Pius V
Pope Paul VI
Pope Benedict XVI

Act I

Pope Saint Pius V: "Furthermore, by these presents [this law], in virtue of Our Apostolic authority, We grant and concede in perpetuity that, for the chanting or recitation of the Mass in any church whatsoever, this Missal is hereafter to be followed absolutely, without any scruple of conscience or fear of incurring any penalty, judgment, or censure, and may freely and lawfully be used. Nor are superiors, administrators, canons, chaplains, and other secular priests, or religious, of whatever title designated, obliged to celebrate the Mass otherwise than as enjoined by Us. " (Quo Primum Tempore - July 14, 1570)



Pope Paul VI: "We wish that these Our decrees and prescriptions may be firm and effective now and in the future, notwithstanding, to the extent necessary, the apostolic constitutions and ordinances issued by Our predecessors, and other prescriptions, even those deservin…