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Showing posts from January, 2009

Nel mare ora regna una grande calma

On the Feast of Saint John Bosco, it is impossible not to remember one of his most famous stories: his narrative of the "Dream of the Two Columns". Don Bosco told his dream to several listeners, including Don [Blessed] Michele Rua, on the evening of May 30, 1862.

Imagine yourself to be with me on the seashore, or better, on an isolated rock, and not to see around you anything that is not sea. On the whole of that vast surface of water, you see an innumerable fleet of ships in battle array. The prows of the ships are formed into sharp, spear-like points so that wherever they are thrust they pierce and completely destroy. These ships are armed with cannons, with lots of rifles, with incendiary materials, with other firearms of all kinds, and also books, and advance against a ship very much larger and higher than themselves and try to dash against it with the prows or burn it or in some way to do it every possible harm.

As escorts to that majestic fully equipped ship, there are …


The following event announcement was sent to us in the past week.

1. LMS Residential Training Conference for Priests Wishing to Learn the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Traditional Latin Mass) at Ushaw College, Durham.

The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales (LMS) is organising a residential training conference for priests wishing to learn the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Traditional Latin Mass) at Ushaw College, Durham, one of England’s most prestigious seminaries.

The conference will run from Monday 20 April to Thursday 23 April 2009 (i.e. Low Week) and will feature Traditional liturgies in Ushaw’s magnificent neo-Gothic St Cuthbert’s Chapel together with a Gregorian Chant schola and polyphonic choir.

Expert tuition in the celebration of Mass in the Usus Antiquior will be provided on a small group basis. There will be guest lecturers and all participants will receive 1962 Missals and altar cards.

Daily devotions will include Lauds, Vespers, Benediction and Rosary.



We have learned from a source in daily contact with Bishop Williamson the following information:

"His Excellency is alive and well and rumors of a tumor are not true and a very unfortunate attempt to draw Bishop Williamson out into the public arena for some sort of comment or interview."

Apology Letter of Bishop Richard Williamson

To His Eminence Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos

Your Eminence

Amidst this tremendous media storm stirred up by imprudent remarks of mine on Swedish television, I beg of you to accept, only as is properly respectful, my sincere regrets for having caused to yourself and to the Holy Father so much unnecessary distress and problems.

For me, all that matters is the Truth Incarnate, and the interests of His one true Church, through which alone we can save our souls and give eternal glory, in our little way, to Almighty God. So I have only one comment, from the prophet Jonas, I, 12:

"Take me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you; for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you."

Please also accept, and convey to the Holy Father, my sincere personal thanks for the document signed last Wednesday and made public on Saturday. Most humbly I will offer a Mass for both of you.

Sincerely yours in Christ 

+Richard Williamson
Written to Cardinal Castri…

Cardinal Castrillón:
Relevant declarations to Corriere della Sera

Excerpts of an article published today in Italian national daily Corriere della Sera[PDF]:

"[Card. Castrillón:] When I delivered the signed decree to Bishop Fellay, we knew nothing of the interview, it had been a few days before."
And at that moment? "[Card. Castrillón:] Evidently, at that moment [when the interview with Bishop Richard Williamson was known to Vatican authorities], the decree was already in the hands of the interested party. I would rather not enter into details, because they go beyond my competence." ...
"[Card. Castrillón:] Full communion will come. In our discussions, Bishop Fellay recognized the Second Vatican Council, he recognized it theologically. Only a few difficulties remain...[sic]"
Maybe on Nostra Aetate, the declaration which represented a turning point in the relationship with the Jews? "[Card. Castrillón:] No, that is not a problem. It involves discussing aspects such as ecumenism, liberty of conscience...[sic]" ______…

New Fellay interview:
"The eventual separations will be minimal"

Interview granted by the Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), Bishop Bernard Fellay, to French Catholic Magazine Monde & Vie. The noticeable line is Fellay's declaration that not all doctrinal positions have to be exhaustively discussed with no end in sight - what is needed is a "sufficient clarification" of doctrinal issues.

Did you expect, Your Excellency, this removal of the excommunication concerning you?

[Fellay:] I expected it since 2005, after the first letter requesting the lifting of the excommunication which I had sent at the request of Rome itself. Because it is clear that Rome did not ask for this letter in order to refuse to lift the excommunication. As for the moment when it took place, I did not expect it. These past few months, after the ultimatum affair [link], even after it had been minimized, we were mostly cool [in the mutual relations]. Then, I wrote the letter of November 15, which is mentioned in the decree …

More Papal moves towards unity
A Personal Prelature for the Traditional Anglican Communion?

The Catholic Australian weekly The Record publishes this week this most relevant report: the Traditional Anglican Communion could be received as a Personal Prelature of the Catholic Church before the end of the year.

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has decided to recommend the Traditional Anglican Communion be accorded a personal prelature akin to Opus Dei, if talks between the TAC and the Vatican aimed at unity succeed, it is understood.

The TAC is a growing global community of approximately 400,000 members that took the historic step in 2007 of seeking full corporate and sacramental communion with the Catholic Church – a move that, if fulfilled, will be the biggest development in Catholic-Anglican relations since the English Reformation under King Henry VIII.

TAC members split from the Canterbury-based Anglican Communion headed by Archbishop Rowan Williams over issues such as its ordination of women priests and episcopal consecrations of women and practising ho…

"The Second Vatican Council will not be negotiable"

Paris, Wednesday 28 January 2009 Statement by the Permanent Council of Bishops of France concerning the lifting of the excommunications

The lifting of the excommunication of the four bishops of the Fraternity Saint Pius X by the Holy See is drawing numerous reactions in Catholic opinion as well as that of society.

The coinciding of this announcement with the revelation of the position Bishop Williamson, denying the tragedy of the extermination of the Jews, has caused a condemnation that can not be sustained. The bishops of France strongly condemn the outrageous and unacceptable words of Bishop Williamson. They reiterate their commitment of dialogue and friendship with the French Jewish community.

They bear in mind that Benedict XVI continues to carry out his commitment to a fruitful relationship between Jews and Christians. They strongly emphasize that the lifting of the excommunication is not a pardon. It is the starting point on a long road that will require a precise dialogue. In any c…

Pope speaks about SSPX in General Audience

From the Holy Father at the end of today's General Audience:

Before greeting the Italian pilgrims, I still have three announcements.

The first: I have learned with great joy the election of Metropolitan Kirill as new Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias. I invoke upon him the light of the Holy Ghost for a generous service to the Russian Orthodox Church, trusting him to the special protection of the Mother of God

The second.

In the homily pronounced on the occasion of the solemn inauguration of my Pontificate, I said that it is the "explicit" duty of the Pastor "the call to unity", and, commenting upon the Gospel words regarding the miraculous catch of fish, I said, "although there were so many, the net was not torn"; I continued after these Gospel words, "Alas, beloved Lord, with sorrow we must now acknowledge that it has been torn!". And I continued, "But no – we must not be sad! Let us rejoice because of your promise, which does not di…

Note of the District Superior for Germany of the SSPX

As District Superior of the Society [of Saint Pius X] in Germany, I am very troubled by the words pronounced by Bishop Williamson here in this country. 
The banalization of the genocide of the Jews by the Nazi regime and of its horror are unacceptable for us.
The persecution and murder of an incalculable number of Jews under the Third Reich touches us painfully and they also violate the Christian commandment of love for neighbor which does not distinguish ethnicities.

I must apologize for this behavior and dissociate myself from such a view.

Such dissociation is also necessary for us because the father of Archbishop Lefebvre died in a KZ [concentration camp] and because numerous Catholic priests lost their lives in Hitler's concentration camps.

Stuttgart, January 27, 2009

Father Franz Schmidberger

Father Schmidberger was the Superior-General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X at the time of the consecrations of 1988.

_____________ From the website of the German District of the Prie…

Superior General of the SSPX:
Bishop Williamson forbidden to speak
on political or historical matters

Communiqué of the Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X,
Bishop Bernard Fellay 

It has come to our attention that Bishop Richard Williamson, a member of our Society, granted an interview to a Swedish network. In this interview, he also commented on historical issues, especially on the genocide of Jews by the National-Socialist regime. It is obvious that a bishop speaks with religious authority solely on matters of faith and morals. Our Society claims no authority over historical or other secular matters. 

The mission of the Society is the offering and restoration of authentic Catholic teaching, as handed down in the dogmas. We are known, accepted, and appreciated worldwide for this. 

We view this matter with great concern, as this exorbitance has caused severe damage to our religious mission. We apologize to the Holy Father and to all people of good will for the trouble it has caused.

It must remain clear that those comments do not reflect in any way the attitude of our community. …

Kirill of Smolensk elected new Patriarch of Russia

To no one’s surprise, Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, locum tenens of the Patriarchate of Moscow since the death of Alexy II in December and head of the same Patriarchate’s powerful Department for External Relations, has been elected Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.

The new Patriarch was born Vladimir Gundyaev in 1946, and has been varyingly described as a liberal and a conservative, as a moderniser and as a traditionalist. The Russian press reports that he was persecuted even as a child for his faith (he reportedly refused to join the Communist Party’s Young Pioneers). He has hosted a weekly TV program since 1994, and is reputed to be a good preacher and a prolific author with a firm grasp of both pastoral needs and international issues. On the other hand, there have been reports of his involvement in improper financial dealings from 1994-1997 related to the importation of cigarettes into Russia (hence the nickname, “Tobacco Metropolitan”). And some Orthodox have accused him …

Fellay: the first interview
"I am confident"

The Swiss daily Le Temps published today the first interview granted by Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), after the remission of excommunications made public last Saturday.

The full text:

- [Patricia Briel, Le Temps:] Do you condemn the negationist declarations of Bishop Williamson?

- [Fellay:] It does not belong to me to condemn them. I do not have the competence for this. But I deplore that a Bishop may have given the impression of involving the Fraternity with a view that is absolutely not ours.

- According to observers, the Pope's decision could create divisions within the Fraternity. All the faithful and priests would not be ready for unity.

- [Fellay:] I do not fear it. There may always be a dissonant voice here or there. But the zeal with which the faithful prayed the Rosary to ask for the removal of the excommunications says a lot about our union; 1 700 000 rosaries were said in two and a half months.

- In your let…

Solemn Requiem Mass

A Requiem Mass, celebrated solemnly in the presence of His Grace, the Archbishop of Melbourne (the Most Rev'd Denis Hart), was offered at Saint Aloysius' Church, Caulfield on 26th January.

The Mass was offered for the repose of the soul of Mr Harold Tattersall of Sydney. The celebrant of the Mass was Mr Tattersall's son, Father Glen Tattersall, a priest of the Archdiocese of Melbourne. Assisting in choir was the auxiliary bishop of Melbourne, the Most Rev'd Peter Elliott, the Vicar-General, Monsignor Tomlinson, and a large number of clergy and seminarists.

Below are some images from the Mass, taken by Chris Steward.

Do you approve?

The French daily Le Figaro is running an online poll asking "Do you approve of Benedict XVI's decision to lift the excommunications of the fundamentalist (sic) bishops?" The question is accompanied by the following bias-provoking editorial remark:

"On Saturday the pope lifted the excommunication of four bishops who had been so burdened since 1988. Among them, Bishop Richard Williamson, who has been noted as a denier: He has questioned the existence of gas chambers in Nazi concentration camps."

If you approve of the Pope's action you may go here and vote “oui”.

What will the SSPX have to do?
"Vatican II is not a dogma of Faith," Roman sources say

In her article on six questions related to the Decree which remitted the sanction of excommunication of the four bishops of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), the Vatican correspondent for French newspaper La Croix (the Catholic-owned daily), Isabelle de Gaulmyn includes some well-known facts.

However, there is some new information in the text, which we present below.

1. Possible news conference by Cardinal Castrillón: "This week, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, president of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, which is in charge of this reintegration, should explain it [the future possibilities] publicly to the press."
2. Letter of Cardinal Bertone. Regarding the question on whether this "reintegration encompasses an acknowledgment of the teachings of Vatican II", De Gaulmyn reveals that the decree was the object of a letter sent by the Secretary of State, Cardinal Bertone, to Curial authorities:
"This is the whole problem. The decree published on S…

Fifty years ago:
The Gathering Storm

In an interview to Il Tempo, published today, 93-year-old Archbishop Loris Capovilla (who was secretary to Pope John XXIII) recalls the momentous day: Let us come to January 25, 1959. Images of a historic day for the Catholic Church. «After Mass at home, the Pope, silent and reserved, goes to Saint Paul outside the Walls. Perhaps ten people [including Cardinal Tardini] know that, after Mass [at Saint Paul's], he will remain with the Cardinals, in Consistory, in the Chapter Hall of the Benedictine Abbey. Which takes place after 1 PM ... .».
In his pronouncement to the Cardinals, the Lombard Pope intertwined the challenges of modern progress and the need to strengthen ancient order:

All of this - we mean, this progress - while distracting from the pursuit of higher gifts, weakens the energies of the spirit, leads to the softening of the structure, of the discipline, and of the good ancient order, to great detriment of that which constituted the strength of the resistance of the Church …


The publication of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum led at least one Italian bishop to tears.

Now, a popular Italian theologian (Gianni Gennari, a "Conservative Catholic" and laicized priest, now married, who is a columnist for Catholic daily Avvenire, under the pseudonym "Rosso Malpelo") cannot hold back his own tears.

Genari: "I am disappointed, stunned, scandalized"

«A swipe at John Paul II. It is the complete debacle of the Church»

by Laurence Figà-Talamanca


"A swipe at John Paul II", who, up to the end, "begged" Anti-Conciliar Bishop Marcel Lefebvre not to consecrate new bishops. Gianni Gennari, former priest of dissent, is, to say little, "troubled", and he does not spare words in condemning the removal of the excommunication imposed by Pope Wojtyla, on June 30 1988 [sic], to the four Lefebvrist [sic] bishops: "It is a tragedy, the complete debacle of the Church!". "I am ashamed by the re…

Decree of the Congregation for Bishops

By way of a letter of December 15, 2008 addressed to His Eminence Cardinal Dario Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, Bp. Bernard Fellay, also in the name of the other three Bishops consecrated on June 30, 1988, requested anew the removal of the latae sententiae excommunication formally declared with the Decree of the Prefect of this Congregation on July 1, 1988. In the aforementioned letter, Bp. Fellay affirms, among other things: "We are always firmly determined in our will to remain Catholic and to place all our efforts at the service of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is the Roman Catholic Church. We accept its teachings with filial disposition. We believe firmly in the Primacy of Peter and in its prerogatives, and for this the current situation makes us suffer so much."

His Holiness Benedict XVI - paternally sensitive to the spiritual unease manifested by the interested party due to the sanction of ex…

Con lettera del 15 dicembre 2008 indirizzata a Sua il Sig. Cardinale Dario Castrillón Hoyos, Presidente della Pontificia Commissione Ecclesia Dei, Mons. Bernard Fellay, anche a nome degli altri tre Vescovi consacrati il giorno 30 giugno 1988, sollecitava nuovamente la rimozione della scomunica latae sententiae formalmente dichiarata con Decreto del Prefetto di questa Congregazione per i Vescovi in data 1° luglio 1988. Nella menzionata lettera, Mons. Fellay afferma, tra l'altro: "Siamo sempre fermamente determinati nella volontà di rimanere cattolici e di mettere tutte le nostre forze al servizio della Chiesa di Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo, che è la Chiesa cattolica romana. Noi accettiamo i suoi insegnamenti con animo filiale. Noi crediamo fermamente al Primato di Pietro e alle sue prerogative, e per questo ci fa tanto soffrire l'attuale situazione".

Sua Santità Benedetto XVI - paternamente sensibile al disagio spiri…

New Thread: Removal of the excommunications of SSPX Bishops
3 Updates: Decree of the Cong. for Bishops?
Confirmed:Vatican Statement SATURDAY

1. New article by Andrea Tornielli in Friday's edition of Il Giornale: Saturday or, at most, next week; Fellay met Cañizares in Rome.

The removal of the excommunication, decided by Pope Ratzinger, will be published already Saturday, or at most next week, after the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The four Bishops at this hour wait in silence ... .

The Superior-General of the Fraternity, Bishop Bernard Fellay, first signatory of the letter with which it was requested of the Pontiff to remove the excommunication, in the past few days was in Rome and also met Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, new Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship.
2. UPDATE (1630 GMT) Paolo Luigi Rodari, as Andrea Tornielli, reaffirms the news, and expects the removal of the excommunications to be made public tomorrow or, at the latest, on Monday.

[A]s you know, soon (tomorrow or, at the latest, on Monday) the Pope will revoke the excommunications of the four schismatic Lefebvrist…

Removal of the excommunications
A Guide

All signs now seem to indicate that the removal, withdrawal, or annulment of the excommunications of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (+ 1991), Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer (+ 1991), and of the four Bishops consecrated by them for the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) in Ecône, Switzerland, on June 30, 1988 is imminent. The Papal act on the matter has almost certainly been signed, and it will be made public shortly: read Surprise 2 - UPDATED; and Surprise 1.

RORATE CÆLI has been covering this matter since its beginning. Here is a guide of posts for those who wish to understand the situation.

1. The Events of 1988. The events which led to the consecrations of June 30, 1988, and to the subsequent reaction by the Holy See are summed up in two posts: 20 years on: Reliving the Events of 1988, Part I and Part II.

2. The Process of Regularization of the FSSPX. The process is clearly following the One-Two-Three Strategy, first explained by this blog here. The first step was accompli…

A surprise: end of SSPX Bishops' excommunications
Four Updates
Scheduled for this weekend

The extremely well-informed Spanish blogger Francisco José Fernández de la Cigoña (whose blog La Cigüeña de la Torre was, for instance, one of the first to predict the nomination of Cardinal Cañizares Llovera as Prefect of CDW) had hinted on the nature of the "explosive news" since last week - and since November, in fact.

Today, he confirms that his sources report "explosive news" related to the "Lefebvrists" [sic] - probably the removal or withdrawal of the excommunications of the four Bishops of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), consecrated by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and co-consecrated by Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer in Ecône, Switzerland, on June 30, 1988. Fernández de la Cigoña predicts the Papal act for "tomorrow" (though it is unclear how long it will take for the act to be made public).

The other signs that things are on the move were reported here yesterday. __________________
UPDATE (2248 GMT). Italian religious j…