Rorate Caeli

A(nother) Vatican II moment in Louvain
Father De Cock and Homosexual love

"The sexual characteristics of man and the human faculty of reproduction wonderfully exceed the dispositions of lower forms of life. Hence the acts themselves which are proper to conjugal love and which are exercised in accord with genuine human dignity must be honored with great reverence. Hence when there is question of harmonizing conjugal love with the responsible transmission of life, the moral aspects of any procedure does not depend solely on sincere intentions or on an evaluation of motives, but must be determined by objective standards. These, based on the nature of the human person and his acts, preserve the full sense of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love. Such a goal cannot be achieved unless the virtue of conjugal chastity is sincerely practiced." (Gaudium et Spes, 51)


A Flemish reader reports:

At the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium) Fr. Bernard De Cock, O.P. (Dominican) has received (9th of December) his doctor's degree with a work "Touched to Love. An Attempt at a Theological Anthropology of the Body and Homosexuality."

The promotor is prof. dr. Roger Burggraeve S.D.B. (Salesian), well known for his 'subversive' opinions on sexuality and the Church. In his work, Fr. De Cock OP states "homosexual love can be God's love".

In the third part he makes use of Xavier Lacroix' method to describe the sexual gestures between homosexual men in function of the love of God for men.

In the past, De Cock has written other articles on this subject. He was also a speaker at a colloquium on 'Homosexualty and the Church', 2005 organised by the 'holebi-pastores' ['HOmosexual-LEsbian-BIsexual-friendly priests] in the Theological and Pastoral Centre in Antwerp.

"We remain the Church of Tradition"

The Catholic Herald has published another installment of Moyra Doorly and Fr. Aidan Nichols' continuing discussion of the meaning of fidelity to Catholic Tradition. This chapter of their discussion was published on Christmas Day of 2009 under the title, "We remain the Church of Tradition". I would like to present some excerpts:

From Moyra Doorly:

According to Archbishop Lefebvre in his 1986 Open Letter to Confused Catholics: "Tradition does not consist of the customs inherited from the past and preserved out of loyalty to the past even where there are no clear reasons for them. Tradition is defined as the Deposit of Faith transmitted by the Magisterium down through the centuries. This deposit is what has been given to us by Revelation; that is to say, the Word of God entrusted to the Apostles and transmitted unfailingly by their successors."

As SSPX Bishop Tissier de Mallerais explained in his discourse "The True Notion of Tradition", given at Versailles (May 19, 1995), Tradition is immutable just as God is, because God and the saints who adore Him exist in eternity which, unlike time, does not change. Thus, new teachings are not added to the Deposit of Faith, or derived by assimilating elements foreign to it. Instead they are formulated through progress in precision, as the qualities inherent in a rough diamond are revealed by the gem-cutter, and through development in explanation, as the truths contained in the revealed deposit unfold like a bud which blossoms but remains, in essence, the same flower.

By this development, truths already contained in the deposit pass from being implicitly believed to explicitly stated. Eventually a point which cannot be surpassed is reached, the point at which truth is defined ex cathedra by a pope, as was the Immaculate Conception by Pope Pius IX, or the Assumption of the Most Holy Virgin by Pope Pius XII. Defined truths are therefore irrevocable and no longer susceptible to development.

Thus the Mass codified by Pope St Pius V in his 1570 bull Quo Primum, represents this unsurpassable summit according to Bishop de Mallerais. The result of centuries of liturgical development, it is the full expression of the dogmas of the Mass. In contrast, the new Mass is a regression rather than a development, since the dogmas are less clearly manifested, the Real Presence less affirmed, the propitiatory sacrifice sidelined and the sacrificing character of the priesthood played down.

Immutable Tradition has an admirable capacity for application to all contingent circumstances, Bishop de Mallerais also points out. Catholic application involves no change, no mutation of the principles, but instead allows for the development of different applications of the same principles. Tradition is living because it is lived by the faithful, and alive because it applies the eternal and unchanging principles to the problems and necessities of each century. "But Vatican II let the principles fall, under the pretext of adaptation to the thinking of the modern world," Bishop de Mallerais claims.

Therefore Tradition is "living", is alive, as long as the Deposit of Faith is accurately transmitted. But the new theology adopted by Vatican II has falsified, adulterated and disarmed Tradition, so that sterility and not fecundity is the mark of the Conciliar Church, as evidenced in the dearth of vocations, the widescale abandonment of the Faith, and empty churches....

From Fr. Aidan Nichols:

There must be unceasing vigilance to ensure that "traditions" (lower-case "t") - whether ancient and inherited, or emerging and thus relatively novel - genuinely permit "Tradition" (upper-case "T") to make its appearance, really allow Tradition to enter minds and hearts. The tail must not wag the dog, the medium control the message. And this is where Archbishop Lefebvre was exactly right. If Tradition is Revelation itself as transmitted in the Church (and in that sense it may be said to include Scripture, just as in another sense it can be described as complementing it), then the continuance of Christian truth turns crucially on the authenticity of the manner in which this process of transmission is carried out. That is why the Pope and bishops, as, by Christ's will and determination, the chief witnesses to Tradition have a duty to "guard the deposit".

Was the deposit guarded at the Second Vatican Council? This will need to be the subject, Moyra, of another exchange. For the moment, it will have to suffice to say that the doctrinal Modernism combated by Pope St Pius X seems to me to play no role at all in the documents of the Second Vatican Council. The place to find it, were it to exist, would undoubtedly be the Council's Dogmatic Constitution on Revelation, Dei Verbum. In speaking of how "the tradition which comes from the apostles develops in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit", Dei Verbum explains such development (para. 8) as "a growth in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down". There is here accretion in understanding through - we are told - contemplative study (on the model of Our Lady at Nazareth) and mystical insight, and this finds sanction in the preaching of those who have received the "sure gift of truth" (a quotation from the second century St Irenaeus) in episcopal consecration. There is no suggestion in this text of accretion in the deposit itself. I see nothing here remotely reminiscent of Pascendi, no bubbling up from the depths of the collective subconscious, no insinuation that doctrines are only symbols of truth rather than triumphant acquisitions of truth. I find no spirit of accommodation to what Jones, or the man on the Clapham omnibus, can swallow.

That in the situation of anomie in the still not fully resolved crisis in our Church episcopal guardianship has often been lacking, I have no doubt. Nor do I think Neo-Modernism is merely a chimera. But I am equally convinced that the Church of the post-conciliar popes remains the Church of Tradition. What we need now is to recover, for the sake of their great serviceableness, many of the venerable traditions - conceptual, liturgical, and the rest - in which Tradition has been presented. I am speaking of their serviceableness to a Gospel which must, by ever-new inventiveness, be preached to unbelievers in the world of today. This was what was done by the scribe of the Gospels whom the Lord commended for bringing from his treasure chest things both old and new.

Previous exchanges between Fr. Aidan Nichols and Moyra Doorly can be found here:

Rome and the SSPX: a very puzzling dialogue (Moyra Doorly)

Letter from a confused Catholic: Could the liturgical crisis stem from the Council itself? (Moyra Doorly)

Reply a confused Catholic: The contrasts you draw are unnecessarily sharp (Fr. Aidan Nichols OP)

Is the SSPX right about the liturgy? (Moyra Doorly and Fr. Aidan Nichols)

Implementing Summorum Pontificum in St. Peter's Basilica (Expanded Article)

According to Messa in Latino, Angelo Cardinal Comastri (in the picture at left), the Cardinal Archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica, has ordered that four copies of the 1962 Missal be kept in the Basilica sacristy.

His action was in response to reports that priests who had wanted to offer the Traditional Latin Mass in that Basilica had to find a Missal on their own, because the sacristy was supposedly without a single copy of the 1962 Missal, despite the fact that the Cardinal had indicated the presence of three such Missals in the sacristy. In particular, Fr. Stefano Caruso of the Institute of the Good Shepherd had written to Cardinal Comastri about this "absence", which prevented some priests from celebrating Mass. Of course, the Missals were there in the sacristy... but these were not being provided to those who needed them!

There is no denying that the situation for the TLM in St. Peter's Basilica has improved since the times of the previous Archpriests, Virgilio Cardinal Noe (who forbade it outright) and Francesco Cardinal Marchisano (who allowed the TLM under the terms of the indult, but only in the "Hungarian Chapel".) At present, celebrations of the TLM are not unknown in the side altars of the Basilica (I've heard of one priest who managed to celebrate the TLM in the Basilica for most Saturdays mornings for nearly a year), and there was the great Pontifical Mass of Archbishop Raymond Burke on October 18, 2009.

Nevertheless, some difficulties have remained, as this piece of news indicates. In his letter to Cardinal Comastri (which can be found in the Messa in Latino article), Fr. Caruso mentions that, when he confronted a priest-sacristan in the Basilica regarding the "absence" of the Missals, said sacristan defended himself by stating that it was the Secretariat of State that had indicated its desire that only the Novus Ordo be celebrated in the Basilica.

One cannot help but wonder as well about the fate of the library of liturgical books that surely existed in pre-Conciliar times in the Vatican Basilica.

(H/t for picture to Orbis Catholicus)

Reminders of upcoming Masses

1) As previously reported, on January 10, 2010, the Bishop of Copenhagen, Czeslaw Kozon, assisted by the clergy of his diocese and by members of the FSSP (including Fr. Josef Bisig), will offer a Solemn Pontifical Mass from the throne. He will offer the Mass in his own cathedral, St. Ansgar's, in Copenhagen. This will be the first Solemn Pontifical Mass according to the 1962 Missal in the Scandinavian region since the liturgical reforms.

Bishop Kozon had also celebrated Mass according to the 1962 Missal on August 2, 2009, when he offered the regular (twice-monthly) Missa Cantata in the Jesu Hjerte (Sacred Heart) church in Copenhagen.

2) On Sunday, January 10, 2010, at 2 PM, a Tridentine Low Mass will be celebrated at the Co-Cathedral of St Thomas More, in Tallahassee, FL. Directions to the church may be found on the parish website.

As per our friend Eric Giunta: Any sacrifices one might make to attend would be most welcome. Future and more frequent celebrations, and at a more convenient hour, depend (at least in part) on good attendance and generous financial contribution. All monies collected at this Mass will go toward the region's Latin Mass apostolate.

Also, please place and/or keep our bishop, John Ricard, in your prayers. He is still in serious condition, having suffered a stroke on December 22.

Do feel free to post news about upcoming Masses in the combox

A Vatican II moment in the Diocese of Lugano, Switzerland:
The Vatican II crèche, a nativity scene for OUR AGE

Nativity scene at the Sacro Cuore
in Bellinzona (Italian Switzerland)

The creators of this nativity, which at the very least is unusual, declared that the fruit of their inspiration will bring to parishioners an opportunity to reflect on tolerance and on Human Rights.

Installed near the main chapel, next to a large crucifix, six white towers two meters high topped with Islamic crescents surround a baptistery where the baby Jesus is lying. In front, an open book presents parallel quotes from the Koran and the Bible (...)

"We have received as many positive criticisms as negative ones," explain the artisans who created the scene, Matteo Casoni and Letizia Fontana, adding: "For us, it is already a success, since our goal was in fact to make people think and to urge them to ask questions especially at this time of the year. The idea came to us at the end of November after the vote against minarets." The two young artists point out that in no way do they share the opinion of 57% of their fellow citizens who want to ban such constructions.

Matteo Casoni, who is a member of the Sacred Heart community, explains further:

Beyond the political aspects, we said to ourselves that we should encourage reflection on other religions and on their role. In our nativity, the three main monotheistic religions are represented; the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religions. The main message is that of comparison and of dialogue. (...) Saint Francis sought dialogue with Islam, without claiming to want to convert, but with the willingness to resolve a conflict in a peaceful way."

Letizia Fontana, a young historian who works at the Bibliographic Institute of Ticino believes that what she did is an act of civic commitment:

"Someone pointed out to me that this display does not respect the will of the people, making a clear reference to the referendum. But, for me, in a democracy, the minority has weight and especially in a case such as this one, I am part of the minority, and I have a duty to sensitize the population."

Father Callisto Caldelari, the Franciscan monk who is the priest at Sacred Heart approved the display, which is part of a larger initiative to exhibit about forty different nativity scenes:

"We accepted all the creations, the only requirement being that they attain a certain artistic level. This year there will be more than forty nativity scenes: from the traditional to the one illuminated by ultra-violet rays, and the one with six minarets. Naturally, we only accept those that respect our spirituality, and in the case at hand, the fact that a nativity with minarets is in a Franciscan church only reinforces the message of peace and dialogue.”

Father Callisto has nonetheless heard some negative comments:

"Yes! The most negative was precisely the one from the person who said that this nativity goes against the will of the people. I answered him in the following way: the popular will is not always ethical. Here, we speak of fraternity and of Human Rights."

"Since in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this sacred synod urges all to forget the past and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom." (Nostra Aetate, 3)
Tip and translation (adapted) by
The Brussels Journal; original source: La Regione Ticino.
Recess continues; news may be posted at any time.

This is the sign of the Church always, the Sign of Blood

Seven years were my people without my presence;
Seven years of misery and pain.
Seven years a mendicant on foreign charity
I lingered abroad:
Seven years is no brevity.
I shall not get those seven years back again.
Never again, you must make no doubt,
Shall the sea run between the shepherd and his fold.


It is not I who insult the King,
And there is higher than I or the King.
It is not I, Becket from Cheapside,
It is not against me, Becket, that you strive.
It is not Becket who pronounces doom,
But the Law of Christ's Church, the judgement of Rome.


I am here.
No traitor to the King.
I am a priest,
A Christian, saved by the blood of Christ,
Ready to suffer with my blood.
This is the sign of the Church always,
The sign of blood.
Blood for blood.
His blood given to buy my life,
My blood given to pay for His death.
My death for His death.


For my Lord I am now ready to die,
That His Church may have peace and liberty.

T. S. Eliot
Murder in the Cathedral
Our traditional post in honor of Saint Thomas Becket.

Matins and Lauds of Christmas according to the Ritus Strigoniensis

The Capitulum Laicorum Sancti Michaelis Archangeli has informed Rorate that it will be celebrating the Night Office (Matins and Lauds) of Christmas according to the ancient Use of Esztergom (Ritus Strigoniensis), in the Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Budapest (see picture) at 7:00 P.M. on December 29, 2009. The celebration of Matins and Lauds is projected to last 4 hours.

The text of Matins and Lauds can be found in the following link (pp. 24-92): IN NATIVITATE DOMINI: Ordo horarum canonicorum secundum ritum et consuetudinem almae Strigoniensis ecclesiae.

Reminder: Two Upcoming Solemn Pontifical Masses by Cardinals

On January 6, 2010, at 3:45 P.M., Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, assisted by the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, will offer Solemn Pontifical Mass (from the throne) in honor of the Epiphany at the Santuario della Beata Vergine Addolorata di Campocavallo in Osimo. This Marian shrine is run by the same friars, and is the location of the Archdiocese of Ancona's sole regular TLM, daily offered by the friars.

On January 7, 2010, as previously reported on Rorate, Antonio Cardinal Canizares Llovera will offer Solemn Pontifical Mass at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, as part of the "Year for Priests"- Clergy Conference 2010 in Rome. A full list of this conference's musically magnificent liturgical program can be found in this page.

Both Masses will be offered according to the Missal of 1962.

Philippine Update

First Sunday of Advent 2009, Chapel-Shrine of Our Lady of Atonement, Baguio Cathedral Compound

Bishop Angel Hobayan offers a "private" Low Mass, July 2009.

(This report is intended to be the first in a series on the state of the Traditional Latin Mass in various countries throughout the world. CAP)

In the Philippines, there are currently 9 locations (1 parish church, 1 chapel within a cathedral compound, and 7 other chapels) in 7 dioceses where the Usus Antiquior is available to the faithful on an every-Sunday basis, and under diocesan auspices. These are listed (along with weekday and monthly Masses) in an article that I’ve written for the website of the Ecclesia Dei Society of St. Joseph.

The current situation is a major improvement over the status quo of July 2007, when there were only three “indult” locations in the entire Philippines with an every-Sunday Mass that was open to the public. Filipino traditionalists are certainly thankful for the more than 300% jump in the number of Traditional Latin Masses. In particular, the openness of the diocesan authorities of Cebu and Baguio (in the former, the chairman of the archdiocesan "worship commission" offers the TLM every Sunday, while the latter is the only Filipino diocese that has promoted the TLM at its own initiative) is notable, and there is talk of establishing a personal parish for the traditional faithful in the Diocese of Cubao (but the congregation of traditionalists there has to first buy the land for the parish). Nevertheless, the situation could be a lot better – and that is an understatement!

In July 2008 there had been eleven (or twelve) locations (4 parish churches, one chapel within a parish compound, and 6 or 7 chapels) in 10 dioceses where every-Sunday Traditional Latin Masses under diocesan auspices were available to the faithful. Most of these had been listed in an article that I published on this very blog.

As much of the Traditionalist Catholic world now knows, the Archdiocese of Manila released one of the world’s most restrictive directives regarding the “implementation” of Summorum Pontificum. The hostility and ignorance manifested in the guidelines were not surprising; back in 2005, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales had refused to legalize a TLM that was being celebrated in the city of Manila every Sunday by a South Korean priest, claiming that “Quattuor abhinc annos” (no mention of Ecclesia Dei!) required Traditional Catholics to “celebrate” the Novus Ordo (!) In 2006, the Korean priest went back to his homeland; a fresh request to the Arzobispado for an indult Mass was summarily refused.

The “Manila Guidelines”, dated December 8, 2008, were released early in January 2009 and had been drafted in response to continuing requests by at least two groups for the regular celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass. After a sustained uproar in the blogosphere, a formal statement from FIUV, and a reported intervention from Dario Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos himself, the “Guidelines” were removed from the official website of the Archdiocese of Manila. Nevertheless, Summorum Pontificum has not been implemented in Manila, despite the presence of not a few faithful who have asked for the Mass. Even the monthly weekday TLM in the cathedral that was proposed by the Manila Guidelines has not materialized. (There is a First Friday TLM in a small private chapel in Manila, celebrated by the octogenarian former rector of Manila Cathedral, Msgr. Melencio De Vera.)

(Rorate's coverage of the Manila Guidelines can be found here.)

At present, the 9 locations for Sunday TLM seem stable and under no threat, and as the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate in the Philippines move towards the more frequent celebration of the Mass of Ages not just for weekdays but for Sundays as well, it is to be hoped that the number of regular Sunday TLM’s will significantly increase once again in the coming years. (The FFI has houses in four archdioceses and two dioceses; of these six, three have no every-Sunday Traditional Latin Mass either under diocesan auspices or the SSPX.)

The liturgical establishment of the Philippines remains wedded to the theories of the 1960’s and 1970’s, and even the faintest signs of the “Benedictine liturgical renewal” are absent from more than a tiny number of chapels and parishes. That crowds of faithful who have no knowledge of the Traditional Mass can be attracted to it merely by hearing about it or by seeing it celebrated once or twice has been proven time and again (especially in the now-suppressed Traditional Latin Masses of the Archdiocese of Manila and the Diocese of Paranaque, both of which attracted sizeable crowds), but this seems to have no effect on the attitude of not a few ecclesiastics.

Nevertheless, there is hope that the attitude of the liturgical establishment will become more positive. One sign of hope is the strong support for the TLM given by Fr. Timoteo Ofrasio S.J., professor of liturgy in the Jesuit Loyola School of Theology, (the country's most prominent theological academy), a former member of the "old" ICEL and once a strong proponent of inculturation and liturgical experimentation. He has spoken of the prayerfulness of the older form of Mass, which he now celebrates daily from Monday to Friday.

Meanwhile, the SSPX continues to maintain a stable presence. A list of SSPX Masses can be found here and here.

(I would like to acknowledge Paix Liturgique, which published its own update on the situation of the TLM in the Philippines in November, based upon an earlier version of this article that I had privately circulated.)