Rorate Caeli

An Appeal to the Holy Father from the Faithful of the Diocese of Ventimiglia-San Remo

The diocese of Ventimiglia-San Remo is located near the Diocese of Albenga-Imperia, on which we have just reported. What contrast in attitude!

Supplica al Santo Padre nell'anniversario del Motu Proprio
Holy Father,
On the second anniversary of the motu proprio from July 7 2007, which restored for the faithful the possibility of having access to the Church’s sacred traditional liturgical treasure, we, the faithful who love the old liturgical forms, address ourselves to Your Holiness with the confidence and the affection of children who, when they ask of their Father a bread, a fish and an egg, are certain not to receive a stone, a serpent or a scorpion.
In the first place, our intention is to express our gratefulness and admiration with this letter. We are grateful both for your catechesis, which you succeed in rendering so comprehensible and rich in theological content, on the way of the Doctors of the Church, among whom you will one day be numbered; and for having wanted to bring back to full citizenship the liturgical form which carries the sacred breath of centuries, yes, of millennia, having been used for the sanctification of numberless generations and indeed still used today, so that we may pray with even deeper devotion together with the Fathers of the Fathers, verbatim and with the same gestures.
We are persuaded that together with the main aim of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, the result is not just the praiseworthy and even more sacrosanct faculty of creating the conditions to enable us to return to the peace and the full unity of the Church. Moreover, it means an act of supreme justice, as Your Holiness writes in your autobiography: "I remain dismayed by the prohibition of the old mass; something like this has never been seen in the whole of liturgical history”. But it is not only this last aspect that concerns those among us who have reached a certain age: the motu proprio has now made known to so many Catholics -- who had ignored its existence before, mainly because they were born after the reform -- the inestimable value of the enormous richness in terms of the riches of prayer of the liturgy that unfortunately were lost or hidden during the last decades.
We are ourselves witnesses to the enthusiasm that is rapidly spreading in so many persons, who never before had known the “extraordinary form” of the Roman Rite or even Gregorian chant, or the expression of prayer in Latin. We speak not only out of the experience of our own group, but also based on the commentaries we receive on our webpage. Not only the groups already formed around the motu proprio but also and above all the many “novices”, if I may say so, who are seeking this special kind of spiritual nourishment that Your Holiness has wanted to again make available for us with your marvellous intuition.
And the expression that we often read: that the old mass is a forge for vocations; indeed we notice it and would like to bear witness to it. During the first six month of our website’s existence, five young men have written (almost one per month!) to the chaplain of the website asking information on where to find a seminary or a religious order where their traditionalist sensibility could be allowed to subsist without being opposed or mortified. In La Marche, where already for some time, the Mass according to the extraordinary form has been celebrated, in less than a year two vocations to the Church have emerged.
Finally, we believe that behind the aim of the motu proprio (and which perhaps is the most important one), lies the wish to spread in the Church, inspiration emanating from the old liturgical form, so that it can constitute a frame of reference, as well as an example for the Holy Mass in its ordinary form. With all our heart we believe that there should not and could not be any disagreement or conflicts between the supporters of the two forms of the Holy Mass. Their co-existence, the free choice of the faithful, the mutual enrichment and the happy assimilation, will also mean that the ordinary form will be able to benefit a little from the sober sacredness that is often lost in it. In the same way we greet as a positive element the possibility – permitted as a facultative choice by the motu proprio – of proclaiming, in the old rite, the readings in the vernacular. In this way the motu proprio can influence the lex orandi of the faithful who will remain attached to the ordinary form (the great majority), even if in an indirect way: giving them an example of a different kind of celebration, without any imposition or constriction, according to the style of Your Pontificate, which always comes in the manner of a proposition and never imposes itself.
However, and now we have to strike a more distressing note, it is not unknown to Your Holiness that the concrete application of the motu proprio has been obstructed in many places. Not by the faithful laymen, who have understood that the motu proprio opens up a new opportunity for those who so wish (to attend the liturgy in the extraordinary form – CAP), without taking away or imposing anything; but by the clergy who are not so young anymore, and especially the members of the episcopacy, who in the majority are not open to this beneficial liturgical progress.
The explicit intent of the motu proprio: to celebrate the mass in its extraordinary form in the parishes, wherever there is a group that demands it, has been difficult to apply. And yet it would seem normal that in the big parishes, where on Sundays sometimes as much as five Masses are celebrated, there could be one also in the extraordinary form, just as there is one for the young people, another one sung, etc…Instead, as the worthy editors of the liturgical web-site Maranathà, have written, one has to get a chapel or an oratory, possibly isolated, due to the express orders of the Bishop. This means that the prevailing regime is that of the indult, rather than the liberation represented by Summorum Pontificum. But even this represents a privileged situation; the majority of the dioceses do not even have any Holy Mass in the extraordinary form at all. And there is no doubt that the demand is there, and how great it is! A recent independent opinion poll commissioned by the French Paix Liturgique, has shown that 34% of those who attend Mass at least once a month would be happy if they could now and then participate in extraordinary form of the (Roman) rite in their parish. We are convinced that the situation among the faithful in Italy (where there have not been any “liturgical wars” like in France) are even better disposed towards the old rite and that it is statistically impossible that in a diocese, be it small, “there would not be any demands”, seeing that we are talking about at least one faithful out of three.
Our web-site receives much alarming information with regard to this fact and the written evidences are published on the following link: ( From our own direct (and sad) experience we can testify and bear witness of the fact that in our diocese of Ventimiglia-San Remo there are not at present any Masses in the extra-ordinary form. In the beginning such Masses were celebrated in the convent of the Jesuits in San Remo, the Superior of whom had the intention to celebrate it every Sunday, but under the pressure of the Bishop had to limit the number to once a month. The old mass was celebrated only once with an exceptional attendance of around 500 persons. As a result of this, the Vice-Provincial of the Company of Jesus, who is said to have acted under the solicitation of our Bishop, forbade the continuation of the celebration of this Mass. The Superior, who had shown himself obliging to us, was in consequence dismissed from his office as superior and after some months was transferred. It has been confirmed that this was the motive. After many difficulties the monthly Mass was resumed and the task given to the Convent of the Capuchins, thanks to the Superior of that convent. But also the latter was at first, after a few months, lifted from his office as superior and shortly thereafter transferred. Then, a third attempt: a parish priest welcomed the large stable group of San Remo to his parish. But the Curia had forbidden the easiest solution, that is to add another Mass not previously scheduled. The only possibility was to transform an already scheduled NO Mass into a VO Mass [a condition the Curia considered almost impossible...]. Well, the parish priest did accept this transformation of the evening Sunday Mass. So the Curia intervened again on the parish priest: not more than once a month, and after the first mass (with a full church) it was suppressed. Well then, after our insistence it seems that the Bishop ordered on his own initiative for a monthly Mass to be celebrated – in a sanctuary situated on a hill....
Not to speak of even more serious matters: The marginalisation and the stigma following it within the ecclesial environment, which is where the application of the motu proprio belongs. If we report this, which may be of scarce interest, it is because of the value it may have as an example of a more general trend, which shows the difficulties, not to say downright harassments, awaiting the faithful who adhere to the old rite. We have here mentioned only the cases which has come to our direct knowledge, but the problem exists in the whole world (lately we have seen the letter from the Bishop of Malaga who refuses the petition of a group of faithful : is for this reason that we entreat you, Holy Father, to act on the many difficulties which the faithful are up to. Maybe you could arrange for the Ecclesia Dei-commission, the reform of which seems close at hand, to intervene resolutely in those cases. On this depends, in concrete terms, the future of the motu proprio which with your farsightedness you have been so good to promulgate. Therefore we beg for your intervention, conscious as also we are, that “the ecclesial crisis in which we find ourselves today depends in great part upon the collapse of the liturgy”.
Reiterating the expression of our deepest esteem and devotion, we ask Your Holiness to confer your apostolic benediction on us and on all the faithful attached to the traditional liturgy in the Holy Church.
San Remo, the 7th of July, 2009
The stable group of faithful of the Diocese of Ventimiglia- San Remo
"Beato Tomaso Reggio"
The original Italian is on the Messainlatino blog.


  1. Anonymous8:08 AM

    This is a much better letter than the Malaga one. But how does one get a letter to the Holy Father?

  2. Comments complaining about the length of the post will be deleted.

    Folks, it is time for you to know how to read things longer than a post-it note.

  3. FarmaMick8:17 AM

    We can hope and pray that Pope Benedict will listen to the words of this letter, and not ignore it, such as the letters of desperation from Campos were ignored during the reign of JP2.

  4. Did they send this letter to the Ecclesia Dei Commission (now within the CDF), as directed by Summorum Pontificum? Why are they appealing directly to the Holy Father if they have not gone to the Ecclesia Dei Commission first?

  5. We are in Lourdes, the Society of St Peter have a priest in Tarbes ( 30 Km distance)yet the Bishop of Lourdes & Tarbes allows only one Traditional Mass per week, on Sundays.
    The excellent Fr George Byers an American priest last year said this Mass, but this year Fr Byers has been "Booted out" according to what reliable people are telling us here.
    I have attended the SSPX Mass last Saturday, then the Mass said by the FSSP in the Basillica, both very excellent.
    Meanwhile the "masses" said by our diocese Lancaster England, are a disgrace, guitars and ghastly wailing, that would make the blind wish they were deaf...!!!
    I am going to print off this article and deliver it by hand to our Bishop, Lancaster and the Bishop of Lourdes.

    Yours Jim McPake Carlisle, England

  6. Anonymous11:30 AM

    Seems that, in large measure even with "Summorum Pontificum", nothing has changed at all.

    When will the Pope understand this and act to MANDATE in absolute terms, a return to the Tridentine Latin Mass in every parish along side to the current ordinary form, the so-called Novus Ordo.
    Mandate so that the bishops may not object, nor play their little games to frustrate the legitimate return of Catholic tradition.

  7. I wish I had a more substantive comment than to note that the letter is heartfelt and beautiful.

  8. Anonymous 11:30,

    Don't worry when the 'clarifying document' leaves the Holy Father's desk everything will be fine.

  9. Anonymous2:42 PM

    I too pray the Holy Father will mandate at least one Holy Mass in every parish, say within 3 years of the letter...The Bishops continue to obfuscate the intentions of the MP and the faithful...Why should simple lay people have to fight, argue, and suffer harassment just because they request Holy Mass (1962 books).This is outrageous..Many will not do it and then Priests and Bishops claim there is no interest..Of course not !! Who wants the battle of a lifetime in regards to Mass..I mean, come on..And then when they get it, it is suppressed again after a while for various reasons...It is enough to exhaust even the most faithful...This must be put to an end if the intentions of the Holy Father are ever to be realized. It is the Priest's and Bishops's job through their wisdom and responsability to protect us and nourish us..How does this behaviour accomplish that? There truly is rot high up in the ranks of clergy, not the faithful....

  10. IMHO what we have here, folks, is intransigence on the part of local bishops. There is no doubt about what SP says and its intent is clear. Yet, bishops in the main appear unwilling to give the EF the prominence that it deserves because the are committed to the modernist view that the NO is better. This occurs even though, as you know, the two masses differ enormously in both content and intent. Just the canon(s) and the words of consecration are enough to illustrate this fact.

    It is my opinion that the goals of SP would be advanced materially if the Holy Father were to celebrate the EF himself and if he were to grant temporary faculties and jurisdiction to the FSSPX. Watch the local bishops then scurry around trying to establish the EF in their dioceses as a means to counteract the influence of the FSSPX.

    But, not to worry my modernist friends, because this isn't going to happen due to the heresy of modernism having made such inroads in our Holy Church that it's impossible to see such an outcome. As I have said before and must repeat again, only heavenly intervention will change things. The Rosary Crusade is the only weapon we have left - again in my opinion.

  11. Anonymous3:29 PM

    Forgive me for being simplistic, but if I were a priest and my bishop ordered me to eat only Cheerios for breakfast, while I would weigh the many ways he could unjustly punish me for "disobeying," I would nevertheless exercise my freedom to eat whatever I pleased. The Pope has given the priests their freedom. If they only had an iota of the guts the liberals have, they would say whatever Mass they pleased. Bishops are generally craven and cowardly, and they will backdown.

  12. Joe B3:44 PM

    It has been correctly pointed out on Rorate Caeli that the faithful who have a strong preference for the TLM are but a tiny minority, maybe .1%, and this means the TLM may never replace the Novus Ordo, even if we increase our numbers a hundredfold. However, there is another aspect of this that may overwhelm that obstacle.

    The issue isn't what percent of the faithful want it, but what percent of priests want it. After all, we have to go to whatever is offered, and if a majority of priests come to realize how much better they can do their work when it is centered around the TLM and all that brings with it, then they will in time opt out of the Novus Ordo, and the faithful will go along, just as they did with the Novus Ordo, and many will begin to feel the difference.

    I suspect most good priests are learning this but are yet inhibited by their bishops. But the window is open now, and in time these young men will grow in power and we may yet see the ship righted in spite of our small numbers. I would hope the focus of reforms would move quickly to the seminaries, so even greater percentages of those good young priests will join the fray.

  13. A young priest4:57 PM

    Joe B:

    What an excellent comment; realistic, perceptive, hopeful! Thank you.

  14. I just heard this week about another priest in my diocese who has recently learned how to celebrate the traditional Mass. Apparently, in addition to his other duties, he intends to begin to celebrate it privately soon. (The same priest, ordained about a year ago, already celebrates the Pauline Mass in Latin.)

  15. Anonymous5:07 PM

    As Mr Haley stated--JURISDICTION MUST BE GRANTED TO THE SSPX in order to light a fire under the disobedient bishops.

    PRAY & FAST!

  16. Anonymous6:03 PM

    The implementation of SP rests upon TLM-friendly priests who refuse to permit to be cowered by TLM haters.

    Example: There is a young priest in the Dallas Diocese who wishes to offer the TLM and Latin Novus Ordo Masses.

    His pastor has refused to permit the priest in question to offer either form of Mass in Latin.

    Rather than hold fast to his right to offer Latin Masses, the young priest has gone along with the status quo at his parish.

    He also believes that the folks at the Dallas Chancery would not support his liturgical goals as Dallas diocesean officials are not keen to promote Latin Masses and Gregorian Chant.

    This fine young priest believes that he is unable to exercise his right of offer Latin Masses.

    Therefore, although done so with great dignity, he offers vernacular Novus Ordo Masses ad populum, complete with altar girls, piano music, EMs who gather about the altar to hold hands during the Our Father... know the scene.

    No, I am not in his shoes. I don't deal with the pressures that he faces.

    But at some point, to consign the dreadful Novus Ordo liturgical crisis to history, TLM-friendly priests, particularly young priests, must exercise their collective right to offer the TLM and Latin Novus Ordo Masses.

    Let us pray for the young Dallas priest in question.

    Let us pray for each priest who has been cowered to refrain from offering Latin Masses.


  17. Anonymous6:13 PM

    Tim, the traditional Latin Mass is available near Dallas, both in Sanger and in North Richland Hills.

    Better still, one does no have to suffer the Missal of 2008 during Holy Week.

  18. Anonymous6:16 PM

    Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church
    3900 Scruggs Drive
    Sunday 11:30am

    Our Lady of Fatima Church
    3rd & Peach
    Sunday 8:00am

  19. Anonymous6:23 PM

    In Dallas the FSSP celebrates the Missal of 2008, but the bishop does not allow Fr. Terra faculties to even hear confessions, perform Baptisms or marriages. So, unless one wants to confess to a "that isn't a sin any more" Novus Ordo presider, one must drive to Sanger or North Richland Hills.

  20. I think the very best thing that can be done for tradition is to make the learning of both the old and the new rites obligatory for seminarians (with possible, of course 'pastoral' exceptions for traditional seminaries).

    Once all aspiring priests are exposed to the old rite and discover its riches, a large number of them will seriously wonder what on Earth they need the new rite for.

  21. Biggus Headdus7:55 PM

    In Dallas the FSSP celebrates the Missal of 2008, but the bishop does not allow Fr. Terra faculties to even hear confessions, perform Baptisms or marriages. So, unless one wants to confess to a "that isn't a sin any more" Novus Ordo presider, one must drive to Sanger or North Richland Hills.

    Wait a minute - are you serious?

    So, the FSSP is in Dallas yet they can't hear confessions? (or any of the sacraments you listed for that matter).

    That's bizarre! So, they just get the TLM and that's it?


  22. Anonymous8:01 PM

    Dear Moderators of this Blog:

    I may have to return to commentary sooner than I had expected! I mentioned that I would return to discuss any one of about four matters: the structure for the Sons of the Holy Redeemer, a recognition or else a temporary regularisation of the S.S.P.X, creation of a pontifical council to administer S.P., or anything on the Traditional Anglican Communino (TAC), which has asked to become Catholic on 10-10-07.

    Well, it looks as if an announcment on the TAC may be coming. This Saturday is the first anniversary of the first letter sent by Rome to the TAC in reaponse to the TAC's request for full sacramenatal and ecclesial communion. Since then, there has been only stony silence as Rome waited for the mainstream (non-TAC) Anglicans to 'get sorted'. A few days ago, the E.C.U.S.A., the American member of the Canterburian Communion, broke with Anglicanism by admitting sodomites to all ranks of the clergy (esp. episcopate) and by approving the drafting of formulæ for same-sex blessings. ACNA, the Anglican Church in North America, was born out of this conflict. It has taken four E.C.U.S.A. dioceses plus 7,000 parishes and over 100,000 members. ACNA is not part of the TAC but is part of a growing parallel Anglican Communion. We are witnessing a split of mainstream Anglicanism into two communions, plus the merging of a smaller group (TAC) with Rome. The liberal mainstream Anglicanism can no longer be described as a Christian movement, although it claims to be that.

    Now would be a good time for Rome to respond to the TAC's request. Finally--finally--there are indications that it is coming.

    Just as I have opposed the horrid personal prelature structure for the S.S.P.X, I've opposed it for the TAC. I have always argued that the TAC should get a ritual church sui juris or else a 'primatiate', a new structure which would have the same autonomy as a ritual church but not the same method of governance as an Eastern church (and there are historical reasons for this). Well, it looks as if one of these is coming.

    Finally, "The Messenger", the organ of the TAC, is commenting as of today. I encourage the moderators to extract one article and one announcement. There are tabs for each here:

    The article mentions the ritual church structure and shows how a certain Fr. Aidan Nichols, O.P., has favoured this approach.

    I strongly recommend that this blog publish all or part of the article. This is major news.


  23. Thanks, Mr. Perkins.

  24. Anonymous11:19 PM

    "So, the FSSP is in Dallas yet they can't hear confessions? (or any of the sacraments you listed for that matter)."


    "That's bizarre! So, they just get the TLM and that's it?"

    Because of the changes in 2008 I wouldn't say they get TLM, they get ALM (A Latin Mass). As to that Mass, it is relegated to a tiny venue that is outstripped by all attendance by those willing to suffer a "traditional" rite that was revised as recently as 2008.

    The real traditional Mass is available in Sanger and North Richland Hills, but the fine priest, Fr. Katzaroff, is on a tight timeline, running a circuit that stretches from El Paso to Tulsa. For this reason, the lines for confession before Mass are long and require getting there 1-2 hours before Mass.

  25. Anonymous11:44 PM

    "Comments complaining about the length of the post will be deleted.

    Folks, it is time for you to know how to read things longer than a post-it note."

    That was great!! : )

    Personally, I found the letter very moving, and very true. This kind of situation can be repeated 100's of times... Malaga and the situation at Ventimiglia-San Remo and sould not still be happening.These bishops need to be removed. These priests need to be removed.

    Anyone who is interested in the restoration of the Mass, and Catholic tradition but who can't take the time to read a letter like this which speaks of our vital interests and rights, should "shut up".

  26. Anonymous1:33 AM

    Biggus Headdus:

    By the Missal of 2008, I presume you mean the 1962 Missal with the Good Friday Prayer altered. Is that it? We can get around the 2008 Good Friday revision easily enough. For example, it is perfectly lawful for the faithful simply to read the 1962 (or even the 1958) text in the vernacular while the priest intones whatever in Latin; and, since Good Friday is not a holyday, one can just skip it. I simply repair to the Byzantine Divine Liturgy for Good Friday and go to the T.L.M. on Sundays. Works for me.


  27. Because of the changes in 2008 I wouldn't say they get TLM, they get ALM (A Latin Mass).

    So one changed prayer that is prayed once a year makes it no longer the traditional Mass?

    Then logically, the insertion of St. Joseph into the Canon in 1962 makes the 1962 missal no longer the traditional Mass.

    Or wait, actually the traditional Mass has no longer existed since the Holy Week changes of 1955.

  28. Joe B2:22 AM

    Things must have changed since I assisted at the TLM in Dallas. I went to confession to the FSSP priest there many times between the Sunday morning masses, and the last time I visited there, less than a year ago, it sure looked like a lot of people were standing in the same confessional line I used to stand in. I think they do have permission to hear confessions.

    No weddings or funerals, though. And, of course, no Confirmations. They're tolerated, not welcomed.

  29. wsxyz: "Or wait, actually the traditional Mass has no longer existed since the Holy Week changes of 1955"

    Well that was certainly the view of a former Chairman of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales who wrote in The Tablet concerning the 'Heenan indult':

    "This is clearly not the Tridentine Missal, which being an unalterable version of the customary Roman Missal, has not been in general use in the Church since Pope Pius XII made alterations to the Holy Week ceremonies…The Church, strictly speaking, has been using a reformed version of the customary Roman Missal since the alterations of Pius XII until the introduction of the New Rite." (The Tablet, 18/12/1971, p. 1445.)

  30. Anonymous4:55 PM

    The Dallas Diocese's attitude toward the FSSP's apostolate in Dallas sheds light upon the other poster's information regarding the priest in Dallas who is forbidden to celebrate the TLM and Ordinary Form in Latin.

    I thought that Dallas' bishop, appointed by Pope Benedict XVI, is conservative?

    Is there really such hatred in Dallas for Tradition?

    What is the overall Mass attendance in Dallas? And how many priestly and religious vocations are generated in Dallas?

    I believe that the Church in Dallas is growing rapidly. But let me know.

    And so, if things are really that bad in Dallas, then they need to follow the lead of the people in Malaga and appeal to the Holy Father for relief.

  31. Biggus Headdus1:14 AM

    Concerning Dallas,

    I think JoeB pretty much clarified things. I find it highly improbable that a Bishop would incardinate a Priest into his diocese but not grant faculties for confession - this didn't make much sense to me.

    The Bishop of Dallas not allowing for the other sacraments is more believable and I have no reason to doubt that claim - but the confession claim was a little bit much for me to swallow.

    Thanks for clarifying.

    I just met Fr. Terra, FSSP this last weekend (prior to reading this post) - he is now stationed in Phoenix. Of course I can always just ask him myself to clarify a few things.

  32. Anonymous3:10 PM

    wsxyz: "Then logically, the insertion of St. Joseph into the Canon in 1962 makes the 1962 missal no longer the traditional Mass. Or wait, actually the traditional Mass has no longer existed since the Holy Week changes of 1955."

    Exactly, now you get it.

    Though admired by traditionalists, it was Pope Pius XII who first allowed Bugnini to tamper with the Mass

  33. Anonymous4:23 PM

    "What is the overall Mass attendance in Dallas?"

    About 17 to 19 percent.

    My Dallas Diocese parish, which has been labeled as "vibrant", averages 17 percent Saturday evening/Sunday Mass attendance.


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