Rorate Caeli

What could have been

Everyone realizes, of course, that God our Redeemer founded this society which was to endure to the end of time, for as Christ said, "Behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world."For this intention He addressed ardent prayers to His Father: "That all may be one, even as thou, Father, in me and I in thee; that they also may be one in Us." Surely this prayer was heard and granted because of His reverent submission. This is a comforting hope; it assures us that someday all the sheep who are not of this fold will want to return to it. Then, in the words of God our Savior, "there shall be one fold and one shepherd."

This fond hope compelled Us to make public Our intention to hold an Ecumenical Council. Bishops from every part of the world will gather there to discuss serious religious topics. They will consider, in particular, the growth of the Catholic faith, the restoration of sound morals among the Christian flock, and appropriate adaptation of Church discipline to the needs and conditions of our times.

This event will be a wonderful spectacle of truth, unity, and charity. For those who behold it but are not one with this Apostolic See, We hope that it will be a gentle invitation to seek and find that unity for which Jesus Christ prayed so ardently to His Father in heaven.
When the Divine Redeemer founded His Church, there is no doubt that He made firm unity its cornerstone and one of its essential attributes...
But this unity, Venerable Brethren and beloved sons, must be solid, firm and sure, not transient, uncertain, or unstable.(23) Though there is no such unity in other Christian communities, all who look carefully can see that it is present in the Catholic Church.

Indeed, the Catholic Church is set apart and distinguished by these three characteristics: unity of doctrine, unity of organization, unity of worship. This unity is so conspicuous that by it all men can find and recognize the Catholic Church.

It is the will of God, the Church's founder, that all the sheep should eventually gather into this one fold, under the guidance of one shepherd. All God's children are summoned to their father's only home, and its cornerstone is Peter. All men should work together like brothers to become part of this single kingdom of God; for the citizens of that kingdom are united in peace and harmony on earth that they might enjoy eternal happiness some day in heaven.

The Catholic Church teaches the necessity of believing firmly and faithfully all that God has revealed. This revelation is contained in sacred scripture and in the oral and written tradition that has come down through the centuries from the apostolic age and finds expression in the ordinances and definitions of the popes and legitimate Ecumenical Councils.

Whenever a man has wandered from this path, the Church has never failed to use her maternal authority to call him again and again to the right road. She knows well that there is no other truth than the one truth she treasures; that there can be no "truths" in contradiction of it. Thus she repeats and bears witness to the words of the Apostle: "For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth."
Blessed John XXIII
Quoted from Ad Petri Cathedram
June 29, 1959
A most instructive encyclical that reveals John XXIII's authentic intentions for Vatican II.
Posted in honor of this encyclical's 50th anniversary


  1. Pope Benedict XVI has clearly departed from the teachings of Pope John XXIII, as he does not believe that those who left the church must return to it. He explained this very clearly in his speech in Cologne in 2005, during the ecumencial meeting.

  2. Once the FSSPX is regularised, we will begin to realise Blessed John XXIII's wishes for the world.

  3. Thank you for posting this.

    I am glad to see Pope J23 talked in an orthodox manner in 1959. Sounds quit good, like the Popes of yore...well at least not the NO double talk.

    His opening comments to V2 were orthodox as well although they were unfortunately quickly abandoned by the counsel...without his objection I would add.

  4. I find that reading the papal speeches on the Council is frankly misleading. And I have read all of them many times.

    The true architect of the Council, in my opinion, was Belgian archbishop Leo Joseph Suenens. Which means that the ''spirit of Vatican II'' is really the ''spirit of Joseph Suenens''.

    To believe in the Council is to believe in everything that Suenens taught and believed in. Which means that you need to believe in almost nothing at all.

    But look at the Belgian Church now ! It is the most morally depraved Church in the world ! It is literally under the powers of the Grand Orient of Belgium, that most cruel and unjust association of impious men.

  5. As Vatican II commenced in 1962, a little-known secret society, the Ordo Templis Orientis (OTO), conducted a ceremony to celebrate the opening of the Council. The OTO's occult icon, the "Stele of Revealing," was carried across Germany from Hamburg to Zurich, then onwards to Stein, where it was borne into the OTO's chapel, with bells ringing, for a Gnostic ritual. What advance knowledge did OTO have of the Council's designs that caused it to celebrate in such a manner? It was its assurance that the Masonic liberal principles of the French Revolution would be enshrined in the Council.

    Even Leon Josef Cardinal Suenens of Belgium noted that the Vatican II Council is the French Revolution (1789) in the Church; Yves Congar, O.P. stated that “The Church has peacefully undergone its October Revolution”.

    Secondly, the failure of this Council to formally condemn International Atheistic Communism is sufficient to cast a dark shadow up its entire proceedings. If this Council were truly Pastoral as it claimed it was, wouldn’t it make sense to demonstrate its pastoral solicitude for the million who suffered under Communism? I should think that this would be first & foremost, being a Pastoral Council.

  6. LoganE:

    Speaking of Jean Guitton, I am reminded of a very telling quote from him:

    "When I read the documents relative to the Modernism, as it was defined by Pope Saint Pius X, and when I compare them to the documents of the Second Vatican Council, I cannot help being bewildered. For what was condemned as heresy in 1906 was proclaimed as being henceforth the official doctrine of the Church. In other words, those that Pope St. Pius X condemned as Modernist heretics in 1906 were the ones who taught me my beliefs. My teachers were among those condemned as heretics by Pope St. Pius X. My parents taught me the Modernism that Pope St. Pius X condemned and anathematized. How could Pope Saint Pius X reject those that now seem to be my teachers?"

  7. It is a shame that Lumen Gentium didn't simply quote Pope John the XXIII.

    The whole thing is sad, really, like a tragic play.

  8. That's a really interesting story, Paul. I wonder if it's true.

  9. Windswept House is a good book to read on this subject that Paul mentions in his comment.

    It is by Father Malachi Martin, S.J.

    It is interesting that Freemasons hate Christ and His Church, but they hold so many positions within it.

  10. OK, so back in the real world... who is going to engage with whats happening, or are you all going to complain from the sidelines?

  11. Can we have sources for the assertions of Suenens and Congar? This isn't sarcasm - I would like to track them down so as to be able to cite them.

  12. Fr. Edward,
    Perhaps you have not heard. Our Holy Father, the Pope, is preparing to restructure the CDF in order to facilitate a dialogue with the SSPX to clarify the documents of Vatican II in light of Catholic Tradition.

    You may be surprised to wake up one morning and discover that it is you who who are not engaging what is happening in the real world and are complaining from the sidelines.

  13. Father,

    I have been "engaging" with the real world of the Church, for years now and am reporting on it.

    God bless you Rev Father.

  14. From the Bishop of Basel as found on Fish Eaters.

    "Diocesan Page for Parish Bulletins for July 2009

    What moves me?

    More honesty please!

    In the last few weeks a lot of journalists, and also some clergy, have been expressing their opinions of Pope Benedict. In these opinions were also contained many half-truths, untruths, and slanders.The worst accusation asserts that the Pope wishes to go back to before the Second Vatican Council. This accusation is the worst because it implies that the very person who possesses the teaching authority of the universal Church would work to undermine the authority of the council. This verdict, however, would be completely mistaken. As a young theologian, in fact, Benedict XVI contributed very much to the council. Anyone who seeks to understand the Pope now -- not just from the media -- but also by reading what he writes, would come to the conclusion that he has oriented his entire magisterium on the council. How should we then understand the accusation being made?

    Many people have signed a petition for the unqualified acceptance of the council. Right from the start, the expression "unqualified acceptance" irritates me because I don't know anyone -- myself included -- to whom it would apply. A few arbitrarily chosen examples will suffice:

    - The council did not abolish Latin in the liturgy. On the contrary, it emphasized that in the Roman Rite, apart from exceptional cases, the use of the Latin language must be maintained. Who among the vocal defenders of the council wishes "unqualified acceptance" of that?

    - The council declared that the Church regards Gregorian Chant as the "music proper to the Roman Rite", and that it must therefore "be given primary place." In how many parishes is this implemented "without qualification?"

    - The council expressly requested that governmental authorities voluntarily give up those rights to participation in the selection of bishops, that had arisen over the course of time. Which defender of the council advocates "without qualification" for that?

    - The council described the fundamental nature of the liturgy as the celebration the pascal mystery and the eucharistic sacrifice as "the completion of the work of our salvation." How can that be reconciled with my experience, made in many different parishes, that the sacrificial understanding of the Mass has been completely eliminated from the liturgical language and the Mass is now understood only as a meal or "the breaking of bread?" In what way can one justify this profound change by reference to the council?

    - No office of the Church was given more significance by the council that that of bishop. How can we then understand the widespread diminishment in Switzerland of this office of the Church, which is justified by reference to the council? When, for example, Hans Kung denies completely the teaching authority of the bishops, allowing them only the office of pastoral leadership?

    It would not be difficult to lengthen this litany. Even so, it should be obvious why I demand more honesty in the current debate about the council. Instead of accusing others, and even the Pope, of wishing to go back to before the council, everyone would be well advised to look over their own books and reassess their own personal position on the council. Because not everything that was said and done after the council, was therefore done in accordance with the council -- and that applies also the the diocese of Basel. In any case, the last few weeks have illustrated to me that a primary problem in the current situation has been a very poor, and in part very one-sided understanding and acceptance of the council, even by Catholics that defend the council "without qualification." In this regard we all -- once more including myself -- have a lot of ground to make up. Therefore I again repeat my urgent request: More honesty please!

    + Kurt Koch
    Bishop of Basel"

    Van nosse

  15. Though J23rds intentions were laudable, it was inevitable that such a council proposed by him would fail, because it is God who disposes, and you cannot will the greater santification of the Church: we men, the pope included, must will to be conformed to God's Will, we cannot will the greater sanctification of the Church in the sense that we can be the cause of that formally.

    Councils have always been called for the remedy of evils, not the promotion of Sanctity apart from that. A Council needs to condemn, to promote true holiness; if a pope or bishops presume to seek the second end, without the first, they commit a great sin of presumption, by neglecting the necesssary means, and demanding the consequential fruit....and that is why this address of the Pope, though it sounds wonderful, was a harbinger of doom....

  16. Anonymous wrote:

    “I find that reading the papal speeches on the Council is frankly misleading. And I have read all of them many times.

    The true architect of the Council, in my opinion, was Belgian archbishop Leo Joseph Suenens. Which means that the ''spirit of Vatican II'' is really the ''spirit of Joseph Suenens''.

    To believe in the Council is to believe in everything that Suenens taught and believed in. Which means that you need to believe in almost nothing at all.”

    Is there any reading material on this?

  17. What Anonymous said:

    'Pope Benedict... does not believe that those who left the church must return to it. He explained this very clearly in his speech in Cologne in 2005, during the ecumenical meeting.'

    What did Benedict really say at Cologne?

    Not what Anonymous accuses him of saying. Here are some extracts though:

    "What does it mean to restore the unity of all Christians? The Catholic Church has as her goal the full visible unity of the disciples of Christ, as defined by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council in its various documents (cf. "Lumen Gentium," 8, 13; "Unitatis Redintegratio," 2, 4, etc.). This unity subsists, we are convinced, in the Catholic Church, without the possibility of ever being lost (cf. "Unitatis Redintegratio," 4). This does not, however, mean uniformity in all expressions of theology and spirituality, in liturgical forms and in discipline.

    Unity in multiplicity, and multiplicity in unity: in my homily for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul on June 29, I insisted that full unity and full catholicity go together."

    Anonymous either hasn't read Pope Benedict's speech carefully or is deliberately misrepresenting it. S/he's yet another person scandalously quick to leap to accusations of heresy.

    Oremus pro pontifice nostro.

  18. We must remember that J23 mixed with modernists who provided some of the impetus for the Council and post-WW2 there was a general appetite for change from the old world order. At the time he was bound to act like an old-fashioned pope while wittingly or unwittingly preparing a blueprint for the new church.

  19. Bern,

    what you're quoting is "Translation of German original issued by the Vatican press office". However, pope did add off the cuff, departing from the written text, many passages, cf. Benedict XVI, Recorded Live: His Ecumenism? It’s Right Here. Among other, there are things like: "We all know there are numerous models of unity", "On the other hand, this unity does not mean what could be called ecumenism of the return: that is, to deny and to reject one's own faith history. Absolutely not!", "I would also like in this context to remember the great pioneer of unity, Bro. Roger Schutz", "walking together is a form of unity". Aren't they just another example of post-V2 doublespeak? I for one find them really disturbing.

  20. John XXIII was a soldier of the revolution.

  21. One just just as much say that the SSPX is engaging in "doublespeak" with its validly ordained but illicitly consecrated kind of two-handedness. Also, its profession that the See of Peter is the sole means of salvation but yet not submitting to that See.

    In any event, Benedict XVI's statements on ecumenism are pastoral and make sense. He was the architect of the CDF clarification that only the Catholic Church possesses the fullness of the means of salvation. Separated Christian communities that attempt to walk towards the Catholic Church increase, albeit imperfectly, their unity with the foundational Church.

    If one disagrees with that statement, it is a disagreement more as to the definition of the word "unity" than anything--and at that point, it's just a question of language. Such is the nature of the discussion between the SSPX and the CDF now, most likely.

  22. ..........and then pandora's box was opened in The Church.

  23. "If you are going to read only one book about the Council, the indispensable work is Father Ralph Wiltgen’s “The Rhine Flows into the Tiber." Wiltgen had access to all the correspondence and documentation of the Rhine Group and was also the director of an independent Council news service. His reporting of the Council’s often unedifying manoeuvring turned his account, as Wiltgen ruefully notes, into support for “those who charge that the Council’s 16 documents have been vitiated, even invalidated, by pressure groups.”

    by Ann Roche Muggerideg, Harper & Row, Publishers, 1986, p.60

    Yves Congar, O.P. quoted by Father George de Nantes, CRC, no. 113, p.3.

  24. Dear Father Edward,


    Some of us are working and if our efforts are not in the forefront perhaps it is due to the great need for us men to step up to the plate. So much to do, so few to do it.

    Please click on my name to view a couple of my efforts; a web site and blog. Please critique my sites as you wish. I have a thick hide.

    The need is great and the workers are few. While working to help extend the Kingdom of Christ a man had better realize he will lose everything and everyone he has, and take a physical and mental pounding to boot. For us laymen, if people look at you and cannot tell the difference between you and a homeless beggar, you are not doing enough. That is the Pablo rule of thumb, Padre.

    With the assurance of my Holy Rosary prayers for all your good work in the vineyard of the Divine Master, I remain yours truly in Jesus and Mary Immaculate.


  25. Veterum Sapientia, that is what also needs clarification today. Written I believe in 1960 on the Eve of the Council, it is a valid constitution of the Church as well. It has been allowed to get far too dusty as far as I am concerned....Why bother writing it if a Bishop or Priest can throw it in the trash? It is fundamental to seminary foundation. A copy should be sent worldwide and enforced..This from the same Blessed Pope John XXIII. Get ahold of it folks and give it to your parish Priest and ask for an explanation.

  26. pjj, yes that is exactly what I was referring to. Benedict XVI does not believe that orthodoxs and protestants must return to full and visible unity with the Holy See. And the added words are included in the Vatican Web Site's version.

  27. I apologise for my earlier oversight but the extra things the pope said (perhaps not as carefully as he might have done, given that they were spontaneous) do not cancel out the passages I quoted; indeed, the former should be interpreted in the context of the latter, not wrenched out of any context.

    Anonymous - the pope does not deny that other Christians should return to "full and visible unity with the Holy See."

    Look at his words in context:

    "On the other hand, this unity does not mean what could be called ecumenism of the return: that is, to deny and to reject one's own faith history. Absolutely not! It does not mean uniformity in all expressions of theology and spirituality, in liturgical forms and in discipline."

    In other words, returning to full communion with the Catholic Church doesn't mean abandoning everything from their Protestant/Orthodox past. There will be room for some legitimate diversity in "theology and spirituality, in liturgical forms and in discipline"; all that is good and true in their heritage can be preserved.

    NOWHERE does the pope deny that unity must involve union with the Holy See.As you can see from my earlier quotations, Benedict explicitly says that the Catholic Church's ecumenical goal is the "full visible unity of the disciples of Christ, as defined by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council in its various documents (cf. "Lumen Gentium," 8, 13; "Unitatis Redintegratio," 2, 4, etc.)."

    In those Vatican II documents cited, the Catholic understanding of unity and the Church is made very clear.

  28. Bern, it seems you are right. However, the pope's words were ill-chosen, ambivalent and somehow angry as he was defending something that has been attacked. I don't understand this man. He is a man with a lot of defects.

  29. Dear Mr Palad, Ave Maria Purisima!

    What do you mean his "authentic intentions"?

    It seems you never heard of His Roliness Roncalli's "Gaudet Mater Ecclesia(e)"!

    Good reading, then.

    In JMJ,
    Felipe Coelho


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