Rorate Caeli

The Scapegoat
Ranjith to Colombo

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

Tornielli implies that Ranjith could be made a Cardinal (only one occupier of the See of Colombo was ever created Cardinal) in what will be his second exile from the Roman Curia - his first one happened in 2004 when, as adjunct secretary of Propaganda Fide, he was suddenly nominated Nuncio to Indonesia by Pope John Paul II. 

Tornielli also mentions that a prelate from an English-speaking nation could be the new Secretary of Divine Worship, a man who would "pacify the liturgical battlefield"...
(UPDATE - 1100 GMT) The nomination predicted by Tornielli was not made public this Saturday (Bollettino).

Sweet Christ on Earth

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

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

Saint Catherine of Siena
Letter CXCVI to Gregory XI

Cancelling Masses to stop an epidemic?

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

Secularist Parisians try to snuff out SSPX Pilgrimage Mass

Communiqué from Fr. Loïc Duverger, 1st Assistant District Superior of France

Suresnes, 24 April 2009

To all faithful pilgrims,

By now you've probably heard that the City Council of Paris, at the instigation of Green Party and Socialist members, voted under false pretenses a motion asking the mayor of Paris to deny us access to the Square-Louise Michel (formerly Square Villette) at the foot of the Sacré-Cœur Basilica at Montmartre where we customarily celebrate the closing Mass of the pilgrimage.
At this time the mayor has not officially banned entrance to the Square.

We pray to Our Lady of Chartres and to the Sacred Heart of Jesus that he does not, and we invite you to join in our prayer so that we can offer, as we do every year, the Holy Mass on the Mount of Martyrs for the intentions of the Church and of France.

Since this announcement, the pilgrimage organizers have been trying with admirable enthusiasm to find a location where we could celebrate Mass in the event the Square becomes prohibited. It is difficult to find a place for large crowds of pilgrims with a nearby area to leave bags and a parking lot large enough for the busses.
In any event, everything will be ready to end the pilgrimage with beauty and, like every year, with a triumph for Christ the King. This threat hanging over our heads should not intimidate us. On the contrary, this trial has created a renewed enthusiasm and a fierce desire to gather in great numbers on the Monday of Pentecost to demonstrate that the attacks against the Church, which have been multiplying for months, will not stop us from proclaiming publicly, loudly, and clearly, the rights of God over all men and the entire city.
Dear fellow pilgrims pray, offer sacrifices, let us mobilize. Let those that have been undecided about coming; those who have decided not to come – let all of these now join us. It is important that this year we have an enormous crowd to sing: "Forever Catholics – Forever French"

Fr. L. Duverger

La Porte Latine

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

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

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

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

(UPDATE - 1000 GMT) From the homily of His Holiness at the Canonization:
«Know ye also that the Lord hath made me wonders: the Lord will hear me when I shall cry unto him.» (Psalm 4,4). These words of the Psalm express the secret of the life of Blessed Nuno of Saint Mary, hero and saint of Portugal.

The seventy years of his life take place in the second half of the 14th Century, and the first half of the 15th Century, which saw that nation solidify its independence from Castille and extend through the Oceans - not without a particular design by God -, opening new routes which would lead to the arrival of the Gospel of Christ unto the ends of the Earth.

Saint Nuno considers himself an instrument of this higher design, and engages himself in the militia Christi, that is, in the service of testimony that every Christian is called to give to the world. His characteristics are an intense life of prayer, and an absolute trust in Divine help.

Even though he was a superlative soldier and a great leader, he never let his personal gifts be placed above the supreme action which comes from God. Saint Nuno made an effort not to place obstacles to the action of God in his life, imitating Our Lady, to Whom he was most devoted, and to Whom he publicly ascribed his victories. At the end of his life, he retired to the convent of the Carmel [Lisbon], which he had ordered to be built.

I feel glad to present to the whole Church this man, exemplary particularly for the presence of a life of prayer and faith in contexts apparently not too favorable to it, being the evidence that, in any situation, even of a military and warlike nature, it is possible to act and to fulfill the values and principles of the Christian life, above all it the latter is placed in the service of the common good and of the glory of God.

The new SSPX Rosary Crusade

In his latest Letter to Friends and Benefactors (in French, dated April 15, 2009), the Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), Bishop Bernard Fellay, after some strong words about those enemies of the Church (inside and outside Church institutions) who have been trying to undermine the Pope's efforts of reconciliation, proposes another Rosary Crusade, much larger than the other two previous Crusades:
"It seems to us that the moment is come to launch a substantial offensive, deeply anchored in the message of Our Lady at Fatima, in which she herself promised the happy ending, for she announces that, in the end, her Immaculate Heart will triumph. It is this triumph that we ask her, by the means that she herself requests, the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart by the Supreme Shepherd and all the bishops of the Catholic world, and the propagation of the devotion to her Dolorous and Immaculate Heart. It is for this that we wish to offer her, with this purpose, from now to March 25, 2010, a bouquet of 12 million Rosaries, as a crown of as many stars around her, accompanied by an equivalent sum of daily sacrifices that we may be able to fulfill most of all in the faithful accomplishment of the duties of our state of life, and with the promise to propagate the devotion to her Immaculate Heart."

Just as we were launching a second Rosary Crusade at our Lourdes pilgrimage last October, we hardly expected such a swift answer from Heaven! As for the Vicar of Christ’s Motu Proprio liberating the traditional Mass, our second entreaty was answered even more swiftly by the Blessed Virgin, because on the very same visit I made to Rome in January to put in the Sovereign Pontiff’s hands our bouquet of 1,703,000 Rosaries, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos put in my own hands the decree lifting the “excommunications” of 1988!

That is something we had asked for back in 2001, as a sign of good will on the part of the Vatican towards the Traditional movement. For, ever since the Council, everything Traditional or seeking to be Traditional in the Church has been undergoing one vexation after another, up to and including our being cast into exile. Naturally that undermined partially or even totally, ones trust in the Roman authorities. As long as that trust is not partially restored, as I said at the time, the relations between Rome and ourselves will hardly exist. Trust is not just a nice feeling, it is a fruit that grows all on its own when one can recognize in the Roman authorities shepherds who have the interests of everything Traditional at heart. That was the meaning of our two preliminary requests. It is impossible to understand our present position and attitude towards the Holy See if one does not take into account the state of crisis prevailing in the Church, which is no superficial matter, nor just a personal opinion. It is a reality quite independent of our way of looking at it, which is admitted now and again by those authorities, and verified all the time by the facts. There are numerous and varied aspects to the crisis, some profound, some merely circumstantial, but everyone suffers from it. What strikes the faithful above all are the updated liturgical ceremonies—very often scandalous, alas! and the day-to-day preaching from the pulpit of positions on moral questions in direct contradiction to the age-old teaching of the Church and the example of the Saints. Very often parents have been grieved by their children’s losing the Faith, after having been entrusted to Catholic schools, or by their almost complete ignorance of Catholic doctrine, thanks to the lack of any proper catechism. A countless number of members of religious orders, through their Constitutions having been re-written and their minds re-trained according to Vatican II, show that they have lost the spirit of the Gospel, in particular, self-renunciation, poverty and sacrifice. This loss has almost immediately resulted in such a falling off of vocations that a number of Orders and Congregations are closing their houses one after another, or disappearing altogether. The situation of many dioceses is just as dramatic.

All of which forms a coherent whole that did not happen merely by chance, but arose out of a Council setting out to reform everything, and claiming to bring even the Church up to date. Yet we are accused of either seeing a crisis where there is none, or of wrongly blaming the Council for a disastrous and enormously serious situation which anyone can recognize, or again of profiting by that situation to justify a wrongful attitude of rebellion and independence.

On the contrary, pick up the writings of the Church Fathers, or the Magisterium, or the Liturgy or Theology down the ages, and you find a unity of teaching and example to which we cleave with all our heart. This unity of doctrine is in practice heavily contradicted, thwarted and attacked by present ways of doing things. We are not imagining things when we say there has been a break. The break is all too real. To observe how the Bishops of certain countries treat us even after the “excommunications” were withdrawn, is enough for one to see how deeply the up-dated churchmen reject anything that smacks of Tradition. The only name that can be given to such an occurrence is a break with the past.

For again, as surprising as was the appearance of the Decree of January 21, just as astonishing was the violence of the reaction of the progressives and leftists in general with regard to ourselves. By Bishop Williamson’s unfortunate words they may well have been handed a golden opportunity to smear the whole Society of St. Pius X and to treat it as a scapegoat, but the truth of the matter is that we were merely an instrument in a much more important struggle, the struggle of Mother Church, truly called the Church Militant , against the evil spirits prowling through the atmosphere, as St. Paul says. It is no presumption on our part to say the Society has just now been playing a part in Church history, the history of the titanic struggle for the salvation of souls, announced in the Book of Genesis and described so dramatically in the Revelation of St. John. Normally this struggle confines itself to the spiritual domain, but every now and again it flows over from words and souls into the bodily domain, and then it becomes visible, as with open persecutions.

In all that has happened these last few months we should see a particularly intense moment of this struggle. It is clear as clear can be that the main target being aimed at is the Vicar of Christ as he attempts to undertake a certain restoration of the Church. A coming together of the Head of the Church and the Traditional movement is much feared, as is any going back on the novelties of Vatican II, so everything possible is done to prevent it. What does the Pope truly think? What position is he taking? Jews and progressives want to force him to choose between Vatican II and ourselves…. to such a point that to re-assure them, the Secretariat of State could find nothing better than to lay down as a necessary condition for our canonical re-instatement the complete acceptance of what we consider to be the main source of the current problems we have always been opposed to!.... Yet those churchmen are bound, as are we all, by the Anti-modernist Oath and all the other Church condemnations of modern novelties. Thus we refuse to approach Vatican II from any other angle than that of the Solemn Declarations (Profession of Faith and Anti-modernist Oath) drawn up before God and the Church. And if the Council is incompatible with such Declarations, then it is the novelties that must be wrong. We are relying on the up-coming doctrinal discussions to clarify these points as much as possible.

Profiting from the new situation arising from the withdrawal of the “excommunications” which has actually left the canonical status of the Society unchanged, several Bishops try to square the circle by demanding that we obey Canon Law to the letter on every point, as though we were perfectly in order, at the same time as they declare we have no canonical existence! One German Bishop has announced that by year’s end the Society will once more be out of the Church… Nice of him! In fact the only possible solution is the one we already asked for, namely an intermediary status, necessarily incomplete and canonically imperfect, but generally accepted as being intermediary, without our having to be constantly accused of disobedience and rebellion, without our having ridiculous prohibitions thrown at us. When all is said and done, one more proof that the Church finds itself in an abnormal state, which we call a state of necessity, is the present words and deeds of certain Bishops with regard to the Pope and Tradition.

So how will things develop from here? We have no idea. We stand by our proposal to accept our present imperfect situation as being temporary, even while we enter into the doctrinal discussions that have been announced, in the hope that they will bear fruit.

But on this difficult path, in the face of such violent opposition, we ask you, dear faithful, once more to resort to prayer. It seems to us that the moment has come to launch a major offensive, firmly anchored in the message of Our Lady at Fatima, where she promised us success, announcing that in the end her Immaculate Heart will triumph. This is the triumph we are asking her for by the means she herself requested, namely the Consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart by the Supreme Pastor and all the Bishops of the Catholic world, and the spread of the devotion to her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. So for this purpose we wish to offer her by March 2010 a bouquet of 12 million Rosaries, like a crown of 12 million stars all around her, to be accompanied by a similar quantity of daily sacrifices to be drawn above all from the faithful accomplishment of our duty of state, while we promise to spread the devotion to her Immaculate Heart. We are firmly convinced that if we take care to do what she says, we will obtain much more than we could ever have hoped, and above all we will make sure of our salvation by benefiting from the graces she has promised us.

So we ask also of our priests a special effort to make this devotion easier of access for our faithful, by putting the accent not only on the Communion of Reparation of the first Saturdays of the month, but also on living very close to Our Lady through the consecration to her Immaculate Heart. It would also be good to know better and to deepen the spirituality of Fr. Maximilian Kolbe, the great herald of the Immaculate.

Our Society was consecrated to the Immaculate Heart 25 years ago this year. We wish to renew this happy initiative of Fr. Schmidberger by wholly devoting ourselves to that Heart and by reviving our own hearts in this spirit. Obviously we are not going to tell Providence what it should do, but we have learned from the examples set by the Saints and in Scripture itself that to have great desires can bring forward the designs of the good Lord in a remarkable way. Thus today we make bold to entrust this intention to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, by asking her to take you all under her motherly protection. May God bless you abundantly!

On the feast of the glorious Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ,

Winona, Easter 2009

+Bernard Fellay

Pope addresses PBC on the Divine Inspiration and Truth of Scripture

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

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

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

"From a correct approach to the concept of divine inspiration and truth in Sacred Scripture derive certain norms that directly concern its interpretation", said the Pope. "The Constitution 'Dei Verbum', having affirmed that God is the author of the Bible, reminds us that in Sacred Scripture God speaks to mankind in a human manner. For a correct interpretation of Scripture we must, then, carefully examine what the hagiographers really sought to say and what God was pleased to reveal with their words."

The Pope then recalled how Vatican Council II had identified "three perennially-valid criteria for interpreting Sacred Scripture in accordance with the Spirit that inspired it. In the first place, great attention must be given to the content and unity of the whole of Scripture. Indeed, however different the books it contains may be, Sacred Scripture is one by virtue of the unity of God's plan, of which Jesus Christ is the centre and the heart.

"In the second place", he added, "Scripture must be read in the context of the living Tradition of the entire Church. . . . In her Tradition the Church carries the living memory of the Word of God, and it is the Holy Spirit Who provides her with the interpretation thereof in accordance with its spiritual meaning. The third criterion concerns the need to pay attention to the analogy of the faith; that is, to the cohesion of the individual truths of faith, both with one another and with the overall plan of Revelation and the fullness of the divine economy enclosed in that plan."

The task of scholars, the Holy Father went on, "is to contribute, following the above-mentioned principles, to a more profound interpretation and exposition of the meaning of Sacred Scripture. The academic study of the sacred texts is not by itself sufficient. In order to respect the coherence of the Church's faith, Catholic exegetes must be careful to perceive the Word of God in these texts, within the faith of the Church."

"The interpretation of Sacred Scriptures cannot be a merely an individual academic undertaking, but must always be compared with, inserted into, and authenticated by the living Tradition of the Church. This norm is essential in order to ensure a correct and reciprocal exchange between exegesis and Church Magisterium. Catholic exegetes do not nourish the individualistic illusion that biblical texts can be better understood outside the community of believers. The opposite is true, because these texts were not given to individual scholars 'to satisfy their curiosity or to provide them with material for study and research'. The texts inspired by God were entrusted to the community of believers, to the Church of Christ, to nourish the faith and to guide the life of charity."

"Sacred Scripture is the Word of God in that it is written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Tradition, on the other hand, integrally transmits the Word of God as entrusted by Christ the Lord and by the Holy Spirit to the Apostles and their successors so that they, illuminated by the Spirit of truth, could faithfully conserve, explain and spread it through their preaching."

"Only within the ecclesial context can Sacred Scripture be understood as the authentic Word of God which is guide, norm and rule for the life of the Church and the spiritual development of believers. This means rejecting all interpretations that are subjective or limited to mere analysis [and hence] incapable of accepting the global meaning which, over the course of the centuries, has guided the Tradition of the entire people of God."

In truth, the VIS quotes from the Holy Father do not say anything that Benedict XVI has not said on this subject before. It is noteworthy that in portions of his allocution not quoted by VIS, he refers to Leo XIII's Providentissimus Deus and Pius XII's Divino afflante Spiritu, which, though they are neglected or ignored by modern Catholic exegetes (as the Pope seems to hint at), provide the key for a proper understanding of Dei Verbum 11. If an English translation of the complete address is obtained, this post will be updated.

Previous posts on this subject:

Synod Retrospective: Proposition 12 on Inspiration and truth in the Bible

Pontifical Biblical Commission to take up Synod Proposition 12

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

"Christ did not die for the sins of the people": Head of German Catholic Bishops' Conference on TV
By Hilary White

FREIBURG, Germany April 21, 2009 ( - According to the chairman of the Catholic bishops' conference of Germany, the death of Jesus Christ was not a redemptive act of God to liberate human beings from the bondage of sin and open the gates of heaven. The Archbishop of Freiburg, Robert Zollitsch, known for his liberal views, publicly denied the fundamental Christian dogma of the sacrificial nature of Christ's death in a recent interview with a German television station.

Zollitsch said that Christ "did not die for the sins of the people as if God had provided a sacrificial offering, like a scapegoat."

Instead, Jesus had offered only "solidarity" with the poor and suffering. Zollitsch said "that is this great perspective, this tremendous solidarity."

The interviewer asked, "You would now no longer describe it in such a way that God gave his own son, because we humans were so sinful? You would no longer describe it like this?"

Monsignor Zollitsch responded, "No."

Archbishop Robert Zollitsch was appointed to the See of Freiburg im Breisgau in 2003 under Pope John Paul II. He is he sitting Chairman of the German Episcopal Conference, to which he was elected in 2008 and is regarded as a "liberal" in the German episcopate.

In February 2008 he said that priestly celibacy should be voluntary and that it is not "theologically necessary." Zollitsch has also said he accepts homosexual civil unions by states, but is against same-sex "marriage."

He told Meinhard Schmidt-Degenhard, the program's host, that God gave "his own son in solidarity with us unto this last death agony to show: 'So much are you worth to me, I go with you, and I am totally with you in every situation'."

"He has become involved with me out of solidarity - from free will."

Christ, he said, had "taken up what I have been blamed for, including the evil that I have caused, and also to take it back into the world of God and hence to show me the way out of sin, guilt and from death to life."

However, Article 613 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the definitive work issued by the Church explaining the dogmas and doctrines of the Catholic religion, describes the death of Christ as "both the Paschal sacrifice that accomplishes the definitive redemption of men, through 'the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world', the sacrifice of the New Covenant, which restores man to communion with God by reconciling him to God through the 'blood of the covenant, which was poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins'."

The Catechism continues, "This sacrifice of Christ is unique; it completes and surpasses all other sacrifices. First, it is a gift from God the Father himself, for the Father handed his Son over to sinners in order to reconcile us with himself. At the same time it is the offering of the Son of God made man, who in freedom and love offered his life to his Father through the Holy Spirit in reparation for our disobedience."

To express concerns:

Congregation for Bishops
Giovanni Battista Re, Cardinal Prefect
Palazzo della Congregazioni, 00193 Roma,
Piazza Pio XII, 10

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
William Joseph Levada, Cardinal Prefect
Piazza del S. Uffizio, 11,
00193 Roma, Italy

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

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

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

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

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

The celebrant was Father James Fryar, FSSP. Also assisting were clergy and seminarians of the FSSP, as well as Father Robert Tatman of the Quasi-Parish of Ave Maria Oratory, and Father Fausto Stampigilia, SAC.

The choir included Dr. Susan Treacy and many members of the Ave Maria University Schola. This was, to our records, the ‘highest’ Extraordinary Form Mass in over 40 years in the state of Florida. Bishop Dewane graciously stayed to chat with the parishioners and visitors for the reception which followed.

Cardinal Zen and the Traditional Rite

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

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

Paix Liturgique

Terms fixed for Rome-SSPX discussions

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

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

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

(photo by Stephen Heiner, Colton, CA, April 2006)

Paschal Greetings

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

New minister

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

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

Pontifical Biblical Commission to take up Synod Proposition 12

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

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

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

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

Proposition 12: Inspiration and truth in the Bible

The synod proposes that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith clarify the concepts of “inspiration” and “truth” in the Bible, along with their reciprocal relationship, in order to better understand the teaching of Dei Verbum 11. In particular, it’s necessary to emphasize the specific character of Catholic Biblical hermeneutics in this area.

In light of widespread confusion engendered by Catholic exegetes who depart from the teaching found in papal encylicals such as Providentissimus Deus and Divino afflante Spiritu, the need for clarification is urgent, so this month’s PBC discussions and proceedings will bear close attention and ought to be the subject of much intercessory prayer. Of course anything the non-magisterial PBC decides would have to be vetted and approved by the Pope and the CDF first. Unless the PBC’s findings are issued by the CDF and approved by the Pope, they would remain an interesting and hopefully useful but non-binding meditation on the subject.

Amidst the waves

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

A place at the table

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

Le Salon Beige

Another priest expelled from the SSPX

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

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

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


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

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

At St James’s, Spanish Place, in November 2008, a packed congregation of 600 family and friends were led by the St James’s choir in singing the Veni Creator Spiritus and other traditional hymns. During the anointing, the choir sang polyphony and plain chant. After the anointing, Bishop Stack conferred Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and led the congregation in the Divine Praises.


Parents who require Traditional Confirmation for their children in November 2009 should contact the LMS office for full details of how to register.


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

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

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

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

che li primi parenti intrambo fensi.

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

The Man of Sorrows

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

It is for love of us that Christ dies on the cross! Throughout the course of the millennia, a great multitude of men and women have been drawn deeply into this mystery and they have followed him, making in their turn, like him and with his help, a gift to others of their own lives. They are the saints and the martyrs, many of whom remain unknown to us.

Even in our own time, how many people, in the silence of their daily lives, unite their sufferings with those of the Crucified One and become apostles of a true spiritual and social renewal! What would man be without Christ? Saint Augustine observes: “You would still be in a state of wretchedness, had He not shown you mercy. You would not have returned to life, had He not shared your death. You would have passed away had He not come to your aid. You would be lost, had He not come” (Discourse 185:1). So why not welcome him into our lives?

Let us pause this evening to contemplate his disfigured face: it is the face of the Man of Sorrows, who took upon himself the burden of all our mortal anguish. His face is reflected in that of every person who is humiliated and offended, sick and suffering, alone, abandoned and despised. Pouring out his blood, he has rescued us from the slavery of death, he has broken the solitude of our tears, he has entered into our every grief and our every anxiety.
Benedict XVI
Good Friday, 2009

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

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

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

06 April 2009, 12:09

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

"The difference of this current Pope from his predecessor is that this Pope never watches for political correctness in his statements. This is the reason why his statements sometimes produce shocking effect on the Western society: people there are not used when the Church's Head voices a traditional standpoint of the Church," Bishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, a new head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations said at a live broadcast of National Interest program shown Saturday on Rossiya TV Channel.

That was Bishop's comment of criticisms aimed at the Pope, also by the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs, for his opposition to contraception.

Bishop Hilarion continued that "we view this as a positive shift in the Catholic Church's position, because head of the Church, in particular, head of the largest Christian Church, should not adapt himself to any PC language, he should tell people what his Church teaches him to tell them."

Praeclarus calix

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

The Roman Canon interprets this passage from the Psalm as a prophecy that is fulfilled in the Eucharist: yes, the Lord does indeed prepare a banquet for us in the midst of the threats of this world, and he gives us the glorious chalice – the chalice of great joy, of the true feast, for which we all long – the chalice filled with the wine of his love. The chalice signifies the wedding-feast: now the “hour” has come to which the wedding-feast of Cana had mysteriously alluded. 

Yes indeed, the Eucharist is more than a meal, it is a wedding-feast. And this wedding is rooted in God’s gift of himself even to death. In the words of Jesus at the Last Supper and in the Church’s Canon, the solemn mystery of the wedding is concealed under the expression “novum Testamentum”. This chalice is the new Testament – “the new Covenant in my blood”, as Saint Paul presents the words of Jesus over the chalice in today’s second reading (1 Cor 11:25). 

The Roman Canon adds: “of the new and everlasting covenant”, in order to express the indissolubility of God’s nuptial bond with humanity. The reason why older translations of the Bible do not say Covenant, but Testament, lies in the fact that this is no mere contract between two parties on the same level, but it brings into play the infinite distance between God and man. What we call the new and the ancient Covenant is not an agreement between two equal parties, but simply the gift of God who bequeaths to us his love – himself.
Benedict XVI
Missa "in Coena Domini" - Homily
Holy Thursday, 2009

Away from prevailing opinions

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

Friedrich Nietzsche scoffed at humility and obedience as the virtues of slaves, a source of repression. He replaced them with pride and man’s absolute freedom. Of course there exist caricatures of a misguided humility and a mistaken submissiveness, which we do not want to imitate. But there also exists a destructive pride and a presumption which tear every community apart and result in violence. Can we learn from Christ the correct humility which corresponds to the truth of our being, and the obedience which submits to truth, to the will of God? "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth": this word of inclusion in the priesthood lights up our lives and calls us to become ever anew disciples of that truth which is revealed in the word of God.
Did not Christ say of himself: "I am the truth" (cf. Jn 14:6)? Is he not himself the living Word of God, to which every other word refers? Sanctify them in the truth – this means, then, in the deepest sense: make them one with me, Christ. Bind them to me. Draw them into me. Indeed, when all is said and done, there is only one priest of the New Covenant, Jesus Christ himself. Consequently, the priesthood of the disciples can only be a participation in the priesthood of Jesus. Our being priests is simply a new way of being united to Christ. 

In its substance, it has been bestowed on us forever in the sacrament. But this new seal imprinted upon our being can become for us a condemnation, if our lives do not develop by entering into the truth of the Sacrament. The promises we renew today state in this regard that our will must be directed along this path: "Domino Iesu arctius coniungi et conformari, vobismetipsis abrenuntiantes". Being united to Christ calls for renunciation. It means not wanting to impose our own way and our own will, not desiring to become someone else, but abandoning ourselves to him, however and wherever he wants to use us. As Saint Paul said: "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (Gal 2:20). In the words "I do", spoken at our priestly ordination, we made this fundamental renunciation of our desire to be independent, "self-made". But day by day this great "yes" has to be lived out in the many little "yeses" and small sacrifices. This "yes" made up of tiny steps which together make up the great "yes", can be lived out without bitterness and self-pity only if Christ is truly the center of our lives. If we enter into true closeness to him. Then indeed we experience, amid sacrifices which can at first be painful, the growing joy of friendship with him, and all the small and sometimes great signs of his love, which he is constantly showing us. "The one who loses himself, finds himself". When we dare to lose ourselves for the Lord, we come to experience the truth of these words.

To be immersed in the Truth, in Christ – part of this process is prayer, in which we exercise our friendship with him and we come to know him: his way of being, of thinking, of acting. Praying is a journey in personal communion with Christ, setting before him our daily life, our successes and failures, our struggles and our joys – in a word, it is to stand in front of him. But if this is not to become a form of self-contemplation, it is important that we constantly learn to pray by praying with the Church.

Benedict XVI
Mass of the Holy Oils - Homily
Holy Thursday, 2009

Prayers from the Roman Missal
In Time of Earthquake

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

Oratio. Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui respicis terram, et facis eam tremere: parce metuentibus, propitiare supplicibus: ut, cujus iram terrae fundamenta concutientem expavimus, clementiam contritiones ejus sanantem jugiter sentiamus. Per Dominum. (Oratio. Omnipotent and eternal God, who look upon the earth and make it tremble: spare the frightened, show favor to those kneeling before you, so that as we have been terrified by your anger shaking the foundations of the earth we may always know your clemency which heals its grindings. Through our Lord Jesus Christ . . . )
Secreta. Deus, qui fundasti terram super stabilitatem suam, suscipe oblationes et preces populi tui: ac trementis terrae periculis penitus amotis, divinae tuae iracundiae terrores, in humanae salutis remedia converte; ut, qui de terra sunt, et in terram revertentur, gaudeant se fieri sancta conservatione caelestes. Per Dominum. (Secreta. God, who established the earth with its stability, receive the offerings and prayers of your people, and once you have entirely removed all dangers of the earth trembling, convert the terrors of your divine anger into remedies of human salvation, so that those who are of earth and shall return to earth may rejoice by your preservation at becoming citizens of heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ . . .)
Postcommunio. Tuere nos, Domine, quaesumus, tua sancta sumentes: et terram, quam vidimus nostris iniquitatibus trementem, superno munere firma; ut mortalium corda cognoscant, et te indignante talia flagella prodire, et te miserante cessare. Per Dominum. (Postcommunio. We beseech you, Lord, protect us who receive your sacraments, and by your gift from above make firm the earth we have seen trembling because of our iniquities, so that the hearts of mortals may realize that such scourges go forth when you are offended, and cease when you have mercy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ . . . )
Commentary: Yes, we know that we cannot normally make a one-to-one correspondence between a natural disaster and the sinfulness of its victims. As Our Lord said, It was not because this man sinned, or his parents, that he was born blind. However, it was the loss of original justice and innocence by the sin of our first parents, in whom we were all virtually contained, which incurred our loss of immunity from the forces of God’s universe. And this is only just, for on account of original sin and all our actual sins and spiritual neglect, the creation itself “was made subject to vanity” and “the servitude of corruption” (Romans 8). God never intended that his pure creatures of animal, plant and mineral nature should share the universe with our sin, and so because humanity in Adam has neglected God, God “neglects” to warn us when we get in the way of natural forces, but only so that we may recognize that everything is His, not ours, and turn to Him with faith and adoration, so as to be saved in eternity.
(Post and commentary by contributor Bonetus.)

Chalice of abandonment and mercy

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


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

But Jesus, the innocent Jesus, found no such consolation in his sufferings: what was given to the martyrs was denied to the King of Martyrs. Under the ignominy of the most disgraceful death, under the hostile impression of the most agonizing torments, he was not allowed to complain, nor even to think that he was treated with injustice. It is true, he was innocent respecting man; but what did the recollection of an immaculate life avail him? ...

Behold, behold the innocent Jesus, the spotless Lamb, suddenly become the goat of abomination, burdened with the crimes, the impieties, the blasphemies of all mankind. It is no longer the Jesus who once said, "Which of you convinceth me of sin?" (St. John, viii, 46.). He presumes no more to speak of his innocence. Oh, Jesus! Jesus! I dare not now pronounce you innocent, while I see you bending beneath the weight of universal guilt.

Brethren, what a subject for our most serious thoughts! What a theme for our affection! For you, and for me, this miracle of benevolence is performed! Devoid as we are of all merit, what have we to offer to our suffering Redeemer but our gratitude! ... See imputed to our divine Savior the crime of the whole world: all the perfidies that ever were acted, all the impurities and adulteries that ever were committed, all the sacrileges that ever were executed, and all the imprecations, all the blasphemies that ever were yelled from the throats of unbelievers.

This turbulent ocean of iniquity is ready to engulf our Redeemer; whichever way he casts his eyes, he sees torrents of sin bursting upon him. Let us now approach the divine Sufferer, and behold him carrying his Cross. I confess that this incident overpowers my bosom with affectionate gratitude.

To be fastened to the cross is to suffer the punishment of malefactors, but to carry the cross was esteemed as a public avowal of the condemned person, that the death he was going to suffer was justly ordained; and, therefore, when our Savior was in the act of carrying his Cross, he bore testimony to the justice of his condemnation.

...[T]he Cross is now uplifted, exhibiting the sublime victim! Now flows the sacred blood! ... [T]o us, the Divine Mercy was immediately extended. As we sometimes see the face of the heavens wrapped in a brooding storm, till, gathering to maturity, it bursts with a tremendous explosion, yet wasting its strength as it descends, and losing, as it were, its brightness in diffusion, the face of the heavens resumes its wonted cheerful serenity; so the fulminating wrath of God overwhelms his sacred Son; but, like a cloud rent asunder by its own vehemence, the storm subsides, the Deity relents, and the returning beams of mercy glitter from his throne!

By a wonderful commutation, which comprises the mystery of our salvation, the Heavenly Father abandons the innocent Son, in consequence of his unbounded love towards guilty man, and receives him into the arms of his forgiveness for the love of his innocent Son! How feeble are words, how inadequate is language, to uphold this weight of mercy! Let this church be to every one of us a Calvary! And let us not depart from hence before we have kindled, in our bosom, the flame of eternal gratitude for the sublime act of mercy which is, on this day, recorded throughout the Christian world.
Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
Premier Sermon pour le Vendredi Saint sur la Passion de N.S. Jésus-Christ
relevant news may be posted at any time.

Update: Alain Juppé lies in his own bed

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

Bloc Identitaire is a political movement which supports the promotion and defense of regional identities.

A militant protest organized by Bloc Identitaire Aquitaine unfolded at 11 am today in Bordeaux at Cours Victor-Hugo with the theme:
"Juppé insults Benedict XVI but supports the Grand Mosque. This mayor is becoming a real problem"
... that is what was written on a huge 20 by 3 meter banner unfurled from the roof of the Victor Hugo parking garage upon the arrival of the mayor (photo). Confronted by Thibault du Réau about the construction of the Grande Mosquée de La Bastide Alain Juppé has finally acknowledged that it has provoked opposition of many of the people of Bordeaux! Approximately thirty Bloc Identitaire activists chanted:
"Alain, it’s not autism, the problem is Islam!"

Le Salon Beige

Pope names enemy of the motu proprio President of Theology Academy

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

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