Rorate Caeli

Editorial note: For Christ and His Vicar

It had to come to this. The leading daily of the culture of death (let us call it "The Abortion Times"), certainly encouraged by the instruments of Satan within the Church, dig up ancient "news" which, if accurately viewed, only highlight the unrelenting seriousness of the Vicar of Christ regarding all matters. All as part of a campaign which - they think! - will destabilize this rock-solid Pontificate and demoralize Peter in the properly-timed last weeks of Lent and during Holy Week.

Since when does The Abortion Times care about children?! Its editorial tone for the past several decades has been one of hatred for life: the life of all the weakest members of the human family. Their editorials, once and again, repeatedly defended even the most abhorrent "medical intervention" certainly ever invented, partial-birth abortion.

Let us remember what that medical procedure, defended by The Abortion Times incessantly in their editorial pages and masked by untruths in their "news" pages, entails:

[D]eliberate dilatation of the cervix, usually over a sequence of days; instrumental or manual conversion of the fetus to a footling breech; breech extraction of the body excepting the head; and partial evacuation of the intracranial contents of the fetus to effect vaginal delivery of a dead but otherwise intact fetus. (AMA)

OK, then. A newspaper which has always defended, both in its editorial and in its "news" pages, what can only be described as one of the most heartless methods of execution of human beings ever devised now claims some sort of high ground in the defense of children? Since when do they care about children? Obviously, they care about them as much as the diabolic liberals feeding their pages with false accusations against the Holy Father, beginning with the men truly responsible for the crisis of abuse of children and young men: the new Iscariots, as the despicable Weakland and his cohorts in chanceries around the world, who are ever eager to undermine the efforts of a truly reforming papacy.

Yesterday, in his homily for a Chrism Mass, the Bishop of Brooklyn, Nicholas DiMarzio, called the faithful to stand up with him and "besiege The [Abortion] Times. Send a message loud and clear that the Pope, our Church, and bishops and our priests will no longer be the personal punching bag of The [Abortion] Times."

This is the spirit! Fight back, for Christ and His Vicar! And let us all pray for the Pope in this holiest time of the year.

Sacred Triduum in NYC


For those of you close to Manhattan, NYC… the Sacred Triduum will be observed in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, according to 1962 Roman Missal at the Church of the Holy Innocents in Manhattan:

  • Maundy Thursday, 4/1, at 7:30 PM
  • Good Friday, 4/2, at 6:00 PM
  • Easter Vigil, 4/3, at 11:00 PM

On Good Friday, the choir will sing De Victoria’s turba setting for the Passion, as well as his setting of the Reproaches.

Holy Innocents Church is located on 37th Street between Broadway and 7th Avenue.


This may be the first time in a great while that the Triduum has been observed using the traditional form in Manhattan.

Announcements: The ceremonies of the Triduum according to the Usus Antiquior in the Philippines

Joint Declarations Are Out of the Question

DICI’s latest English issue (DICI 212) has the translation of the interview with Bishop Bernard Fellay published recently in Fideliter. Here are some excerpts:

In your opinion, are the theologians chosen by Rome representative of mainstream theology in the Church today? Or are they closer to a particular trend? Does their way of thinking align with that of Benedict XVI?

Our interlocutors seem to me to hold very closely to the Pope’s positions. They belong to what we may call the conservative line, in that they advocate the most traditional possible reading of the Council. They desire the good of the Church but at the same time wish to save the Council: that is like trying to square the circle.


In the talks, what will be the points of reference, besides Revelation, Scripture, and Tradition? The Magisterium before Vatican II exclusively? Or Church teaching since then also?

The problem concerns Vatican II. Therefore in light of the previous Tradition we will examine whether or not the post-conciliar Magisterium is a rupture.

Some people fear that our theologians, taken with the atmosphere of the Vatican offices, might lower their guard during the talks. Can you reassure them?

We go to Rome to testify to the faith, and the atmosphere of the offices is of little concern to us. Our theologians will meet every two or three months in a large room of the Palace of the Holy Office, not in the offices…

As to the duration of these talks, considering the difficulty of most of the subjects, each needing at least a year or two, could they last any less than five or ten years?

I hope that it will not be so… in any case, when one addresses with someone, whoever it may be, the question of the Mass, of religious freedom, or of ecumenism, one does not need all that time to convince him!

Do you not fear that, in the course of these discussions, Rome will finally end up responding to our objections (concerning religious freedom or the new Mass) with the argument from authority: Rome has decided, and Rome cannot be wrong, etc?

We might fear that, of course, but in this case, it would show that Rome did not really have the intention of participating in discussions. And yet, the debate over Vatican II is incontrovertible. The recent book by Msgr. Gherardini, a well-known Roman theologian, proves it enough. Vatican II can be discussed, it must be.

Shouldn’t we fear that these talks might end in joint declarations, in which the parties agree on common points, but do not resolve the underlying debates, somewhat like the Joint Declaration with the Lutherans on justification?

Joint declarations are out of the question.


For those who haven’t read it yet, here is the link to English translations of some interesting excerpts from Bishop Bernard Fellay’s January 2010 Conference in Paris:

Sample excerpt:

Please, let us not use the word negotiations, it completely misses the point. This has nothing to do with negotiating, bargaining—nothing at all…. For us, we must really see this opportunity for the discussions with Rome as truly a disposition of Divine Providence, as truly an amazing grace to be able to present to the highest authorities in the Church what that Church has always said and which, thanks be to God, we have kept; thus, to make it resound at the very top of the Church. To bear witness to the Faith is a great grace. And even at Rome, a certain number [of prelates] are expecting from these discussions—and it’s a direct quote— “very much good for the Church.”

A useful roundup

Media attacks on Pope Benedict, and responses (Roundup)

The Thiberville saga continues

The blog Osservatore Vaticano reports that Cardinal Hummes of the Congregation of the Clergy has rejected -- with unusual speed -- the appeal lodged by the Abbe Francis Michel against his sudden dismissal from the curacy of the parish of Thiberville (and of several other parishes) by his liberal bishop on January 3, 2010.

(For those not yet aware of the Thiberville saga, please read this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this.)

One wonders to what extent this decision will negatively impact on the implementation of Summorum Pontificum, not to speak of its effect on tradition-minded parish or assistant priests.

The following is a quick translation of the Osservatore Vaticano article, courtesy of our friend Natasja Hoven of Katolsk Observator:

Everybody knows the very famous Thiberville case, in the diocese of Évreux. This diocese is one of the most ill-fated in France. After Mgr Gaillot and Mgr David, the not so genial Mgr Nourrichard administers the collapse of a land which in times past was Christian, a land where churches are closed one after the other, catechism is deserted, vocations discouraged and finances dried up.

In this desert, a priest, abbé Francis Michel, maintains the most flourishing of parishes, Thiberville. This parish priest, not coming from a traditionalist milieu but profoundly traditionalist, in anticipation had applied the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum since many years back. In his church the masses are celebrated according to the form in our days called “the extraordinary form” and also masses according to the “ordinary” form, but in a manner in conformity with the wishes of Pope Benedict XVI, that is, turned towards the Lord.

And what was the result? Thiberville and the 14 parishes which abbé Michel is serving formed the most living Catholic ensemble and the one with the greatest missionary zeal of the diocese of Évreux : the church of Thiberville is full at all the masses, assuring the service “in turn” for the other churches ( desserte « tournante » des autres églises), there we find sound catechism, active participation of the faithful, abundance of ministrants, confraternities, all the churches magnificently restored, funerals celebrated by the parish priest himself … Those parishes where the communion of all the Catholics are lived in an exemplary way are a model for the application of the pope’s wish.

This is exactly what the “spirit of Vatican II”, with 40 years of delay, is not able to stand. At the end of December of last year, Mgr Nourrichard informed the parish priest … that his parish was abolished and brought together with a “parish ensemble”. By this procedure, the parish of Thiberville would no more have a parish priest of its own, as he was “withdrawn”.

We all know what followed: On January 3rd the bishop went to Thiberville with his collaborators in order to announce “with distress” the decision “beyond recall”. However he met with the revolt of the whole canton, which refused the end of the Catholic faith in this corner of the Norman land. A church full to the brim, on the first row of which were present the mayor and the county councilor together with the whole municipal council, acclaimed their parish priest and hindered the bishop to announce that he was suppressing the parish and its parish priest.

An appeal was then (twice) presented within the prescribed delay, before the Congregation for the clergy. The case was overwhelming for the bishop. It is necessary to understand that such an appeal is a delaying appeal: things remain as they are as long as the Roman decision does not intervene. In similar cases the Roman decision usually comes very late, when emotions have calmed down.

On the other hand everybody knows that Rome strongly disapproves of parish regroupings that are legally indefinable, this being a problem which retains the keen interest of the Roman canonists. Since the Council the rights of the parish priest have diminished. The traditional principal of the irremovability of the parish priest remaining (as in the popular saying: “the parish priest is the pope of the parish”). But the bishops’ conferences of each country have received the faculty of disregarding this right. This is how it is in France: the parish priests are from now on nominated "ad tempus", which is something that notably puts off balance the structure of the traditional diocesan life: the post-conciliar French bishop actually has much more power over his priests through the nomination “game” than the traditional bishop had. Moreover, it frequently happens that bishops do not nominate parish priests but only “parish administrators”, which makes the priests even more dependent on the diocesan administration.

In this case there was thus now the situation where there was a slow process while the Congregation of the Clergy examined the case, and thus there was a recovering of calm and common sense told that the Catholic life would continue in the parishes of abbé Michel and that the unjust – legally – and disastrous – pastorally – decision of the bishop could be nothing but reversed.

And then it was exactly the opposite that happened! The appeal that was presented in the end of February received a reply less than a month later …: On March 26th abbé Michel was informed … that his appeal was turned down and purely and simply rejected! The decision is signed by Cardinal Hummes, Prefect of the Congregation for the clergy: the parish of Thiberville does not exist anymore and thus has no parish priest.

Even in Rome one is dumbfounded. But everybody understands that the pressure exercised by the French bishops’ conference has had an uncommon force. The most eminent French instances have made it a question of principle. And they have won.

At least as yet. This decision is certainly going to be subject to appeal, and other means may be used. There is a rumor already on this matter. I will tell you more about it as soon as possible …

However it remains that for the good people of God, the negative sign that has been given is catastrophic.

Believing with the Church is an essential condition for following Christ

Humbly believing with the Church, like being bound together in a roped party [1] ascending to God, is an essential condition for following Christ. Not acting as the owners of the Word of God, not chasing after a mistaken idea of emancipation -- this is also part of being together in the roped party. The humility of "being-with" is essential to the ascent. Letting the Lord take us by the hand through the sacraments is another part of it. We let ourselves be purified and strengthened by him, we let ourselves accept the discipline of the ascent, even if we are tired.

Finally, we must again say that the cross is part of the ascent toward the height of Jesus Christ, the ascent to the height of God. Just as in the affairs of this world great things cannot be done without renunciation and hard work (joy in great discoveries and joy in a true capacity for activity are linked to discipline, indeed, to the effort of learning) so also the way to life itself, to the realization of one's own humanity is linked to him who climbed to the height of God through the cross. In the final analysis, the cross is the expression of that which is meant by love: Only he who loses himself will find himself.

Let us summarize: Following Christ demands as a first step the reawakening of the nostalgia for being authentically human and thus the reawakening for God. It then demands that one enter into the roped party of those who climb, into the communion of the Church. In the "we" of the Church we enter into the communion with the "Thou" of Jesus Christ and therefore reach the way to God. Moreover, listening to and living Jesus Christ's word in faith, hope and love is also required. We are thus on the way to the definitive Jerusalem and already, from this point forward, we already find ourselves there in the communion of all God's saints.

Our pilgrimage in following Christ, then, is not directed toward any earthly city, but toward the new City of God that grows in the midst of this world...

Pope Benedict XVI
Homily for Palm Sunday
March 28, 2010

[1] The Zenit article has the following note: The Pope is using a mountaineering metaphor here. Groups of climbers often rope themselves together when they scale mountainsides. This is the meaning of a "roped party." The Italian word is "cordata".

Palm Sunday Pontifical Mass in Melbourne

As previously announced on Rorate, His Excellency Bishop Basil Meeking celebrated yesterday the rite of the Blessing of Palms and offered Pontifical Mass at St. Aloysius Church in Melbourne. More pictures can be found here.

Jesus Christ, "the immortal King of souls", and his Vicar

Gloria, laus et honor tibi sit, Rex Christe Redemptor: Cui puerile decus prompsit Hosanna pium. (from the Anthem for the Procession of Palms, on Palm Sunday: Glory, praise and honor to Thee, O Christ, King Redeemer: to whom children poured their glad and sweet hosanna's song.)

Jesus Christ claimed the soul; He claimed that it should be free to know Him, to love Him, to adore Him, to pray to Him, to unite with Him. He did not admit that any other than Himself had right over the soul, and above all the right of hindering the soul from communicating with Him.

Yet there is much more than this: Jesus Christ claimed the public union of souls in His service; He knew nothing of secrecy; He demanded a clear and social worship. The liberty of the soul implied the right to found material and spiritual churches, to assemble, to pray together, to hear in common the Word of God, that substantial food of the soul which is its daily bread, and of which it can be deprived only by an act of sacrilegious homicide. The liberty of the soul implied the right of practising together all the ceremonies of public worship, of receiving the sacrament of eternal life, of living together by the Gospel and Jesus Christ.

None upon earth possessed any longer the government of sacred things, but the anointed of the Lord initiated the chosen souls into a larger faith and love, tested by the successors of the apostles, sanctified by ordination. All the rest, princes and peoples, were excluded from the administration of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, that divine centre of the kingdom of souls, and which it was not meet to deliver to dogs, according to the forcible expression of the most gentle Gospel.

But as the soul is the basis of man, by creating the liberty of the soul, Jesus Christ, at the same time, created the liberty of man. The Gospel, as the regulator of the rights and duties of all, rose to the power of a universal charter, which became the measure of all legitimate authority, and which, in hallowing it, preserved it from the excesses into which human power had everywhere fallen. On this account, the kingdom of souls was absolutely the very opposite of the Roman Empire, and it was impossible to imagine a more complete antagonism. The Roman Empire was universal servitude; the kingdom of souls, universal liberty. Between them it was a question of being or not being. The struggle was inevitable; it was to be a deadly struggle.

Now, what force did the kingdom of souls dispose of against that empire covered with legions? None. The Forum? It was no more. The Senate? It was no more. The people? They were no more. Eloquence? It was no more. Thought? It was no more. Was it at least permitted to the first Christians whom the Gospel had raised up in the world to gather one against a hundred thousand for the combat? No, that was not permitted to them.

What then was their strength? The same that Jesus Christ had before them. They had to confess His name and then to die, die today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, to die one after another, that is to say, to vanquish servitude by the peaceful exercise of the liberty of the soul; to vanquish force, not by force, but by virtue.

It had been said to them: If for three centuries you can boldly say, "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, was dead, and is risen again"; if for three centuries you can say this openly, and die daily after haying declared it, in three centuries you shall be masters, that is to say, free.

And this was done.

And this was done despite the fury of the Roman Empire ... . I will say no more of the martyrs; they conquered, as the whole world knows. And this kingdom of souls, founded by their blood; this kingdom of souls, which was to destroy idolatry, and which has destroyed it, which was to overthrow the Roman Empire, and which has overthrown it in all that was false and unjust in it; where did this kingdom of souls set up its capital? In Rome!

The seat of virtue was placed in the seat of power; the seat of liberty in the seat of bondage; in the seat of shameful idols, the seat of the cross of Jesus Christ; in the seat whence the orders of Nero were issued to the world, the seat of the disarmed and aged pastor, who, in the name of Jesus Christ, whose vicar he is, spreads throughout the world purity, peace, and blessing.

O, triumph of faith and love! O, spectacle which enraptures man above himself by showing him what he can do for good with the help of God! My own eyes have seen that land, the liberator of souls, that soil formed of the ashes and blood of martyrs; and why should I not recall that which will confirm my words by reinvigorating my life?

One day, then, my heart all trembling with emotion, I entered by the Flaminian Gate that famous city which had conquered the world by her arms, and governed it by her laws. I hurried to the Capitol; but the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus no longer crowned its heroic summit. I went down to the Forum; the orator's tribune was broken down, and the voice of herdsmen had succeeded to the voices of Cicero and Hortensius. I mounted the steep paths of the Palatine Hill; the Caesars were gone, and they had not even left a praetorian at the entrance to ask the name of the inquisitive stranger.

Whilst I was pondering those mighty ruins, through the azure of the Italian sky, I perceived in the distance a temple whose dome appeared to cover all the present grandeur of that city upon whose dust I trod. I advanced towards it, and there, upon a vast and magnificent space, I found Europe assembled in the persons of her ambassadors, her poets, her artists, her pilgrims, a throng, diverse in origin, but united, it seemed, in common and earnest expectation. I also waited, when in the distance before me an old man advanced, borne in a chair above the crowd, bareheaded and holding in his two hands, under the form of mysterious bread, that Man of Judaea aforetime crucified. Every head bent before him, tears flowed in silent adoration, and upon no visage did I see the protestation of doubt, or the shadow of a feeling which was not, at least, respectful. Whilst I also adored my Master and my King, the immortal King of souls, sharing in the triumph, without seeking to express it even to myself, the obelisk of granite standing in our midst sang for us all, silent and enraptured, the hymn of God victorious: CHRISTUS VINCIT, CHRISTUS REGNAT, CHRISTUS IMPERAT, CHRISTUS AB OMNI MALO PLEBEM SUAM LIBERAT! [sic]

And, lest an enemy should have been found in that multitude, it answered itself by another celebrated hymn, which warned us to fly from the lion of Judah if we would not adore him in his victory. After many years, which have already whitened my brow, I repeat to you... those songs of joy; happy are you if ... drawing nearer, you repeat with us all, children of Christ and members of His kingdom: CHRISTUS VINCIT, CHRISTUS REGNAT, CHRISTUS IMPERAT, CHRISTUS AB OMNI MALO PLEBEM SUAM LIBERAT!
Henri-Dominique Lacordaire
Conférences de Notre-Dame de Paris (1846)
(Special repost for Palm Sunday)

From the Closing Liturgy of the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress 2010

The R.E. Congress (more on it here) -- which had a turnout of some 40,000 -- had its own Youtube channel as well, full of similar videos.

One wonders what the Byzantine-Rite Catholic bishops concelebrating the Mass might have been thinking...

Dominican Rite website

It is absolutely wonderful that the Friars Preachers of the Province of Saint Joseph (Eastern United States) have made available a tutorial website fully dedicated to the Dominican Rite, one of the most glorious achievements of a glorious Order:

Tip: Father Finigan

(We've received the following note from Fr. Dominic Legge OP of the Eastern U.S. Province of Dominicans:

The site features the commentary of St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Albert the Great and St.Vincent Ferrer on the ceremonies of the Dominican Mass (woven into the tutorial text), some historical background on the Rite, and other helpful resources. While it will be of great help to priests, it also gives to the casual observer a unique perspective on one of the ancient branches of the Western liturgical tradition.)

Official acts of the Holy See now available online

Entire collections of the Actae Sanctae Sedis (A.S.S.) and of the Acta Apostolicae Sedis (A.A.S.) - i.e., the official Acts of the Holy See from 1865 to 2007 - are available in pdf format, as is the twelve-volume collection of the Actes et documents du Saint-Siège relatifs à la Seconde Guerre Mondiale, published by order of Paul VI starting in 1965, and edited by a specialised group of four Jesuit historians.

These texts represent a documentary resource of inestimable value that is now at the disposal of scholars and all interested persons, free of charge. It is a great contribution to research and information on the history and activities of the Holy See. (Holy See Press Office)
This means that all main acts of the Holy See since 1865, during the Pontificate of Blessed Pius IX, and particularly since 1909, in the Pontificate of Saint Pius X, are now available online. The A.A.S. of 1909, for example, are available here (PDF - large document).

Evangelium Vitae at 15 - I
Democracy turning into Totalitarianism

If the promotion of the self is understood in terms of absolute autonomy, people inevitably reach the point of rejecting one another. Everyone else is considered an enemy from whom one has to defend oneself. Thus society becomes a mass of individuals placed side by side, but without any mutual bonds. Each one wishes to assert himself independently of the other and in fact intends to make his own interests prevail. Still, in the face of other people's analogous interests, some kind of compromise must be found, if one wants a society in which the maximum possible freedom is guaranteed to each individual. In this way, any reference to common values and to a truth absolutely binding on everyone is lost, and social life ventures on to the shifting sands of complete relativism. At that point, everything is negotiable, everything is open to bargaining: even the first of the fundamental rights, the right to life.

This is what is happening also at the level of politics and government: the original and inalienable right to life is questioned or denied on the basis of a parliamentary vote or the will of one part of the people-even if it is the majority. This is the sinister result of a relativism which reigns unopposed: the "right" ceases to be such, because it is no longer firmly founded on the inviolable dignity of the person, but is made subject to the will of the stronger part.

In this way democracy, contradicting its own principles, effectively moves towards a form of totalitarianism. The State is no longer the "common home" where all can live together on the basis of principles of fundamental equality, but is transformed into a tyrant State, which arrogates to itself the right to dispose of the life of the weakest and most defenceless members, from the unborn child to the elderly, in the name of a public interest which is really nothing but the interest of one part. The appearance of the strictest respect for legality is maintained, at least when the laws permitting abortion and euthanasia are the result of a ballot in accordance with what are generally seen as the rules of democracy. Really, what we have here is only the tragic caricature of legality; the democratic ideal, which is only truly such when it acknowledges and safeguards the dignity of every human person, is betrayed in its very foundations: "How is it still possible to speak of the dignity of every human person when the killing of the weakest and most innocent is permitted? In the name of what justice is the most unjust of discriminations practised: some individuals are held to be deserving of defence and others are denied that dignity?" When this happens, the process leading to the breakdown of a genuinely human co-existence and the disintegration of the State itself has already begun.

To claim the right to abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, and to recognize that right in law, means to attribute to human freedom a perverse and evil significance: that of an absolute power over others and against others. This is the death of true freedom: "Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin" (Jn 8:34). ...

The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end in itself or as a means to a good end. It is in fact a grave act of disobedience to the moral law, and indeed to God himself, the author and guarantor of that law; it contradicts the fundamental virtues of justice and charity. "Nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a fetus or an embryo, an infant or an adult, an old person, or one suffering from an incurable disease, or a person who is dying. Furthermore, no one is permitted to ask for this act of killing, either for himself or herself or for another person entrusted to his or her care, nor can he or she consent to it, either explicitly or implicitly. Nor can any authority legitimately recommend or permit such an action".

As far as the right to life is concerned, every innocent human being is absolutely equal to all others. This equality is the basis of all authentic social relationships which, to be truly such, can only be founded on truth and justice, recognizing and protecting every man and woman as a person and not as an object to be used. Before the moral norm which prohibits the direct taking of the life of an innocent human being "there are no privileges or exceptions for anyone. It makes no difference whether one is the master of the world or the 'poorest of the poor' on the face of the earth. Before the demands of morality we are all absolutely equal".

John Paul II
Evangelium Vitae
Lady Day, 1995

Pope's critics must get their facts straight

By George Cardinal Pell

THE evil of sexual abuse has no place in the Catholic Church and no one should doubt Benedict XVI's resolve to see it eradicated. His unprecedented pastoral letter to the Catholics of Ireland reflects his deep compassion for the victims of sexual abuse and his strong commitment to seeing that justice is done.

The Pope has met victims of sexual abuse in Australia and elsewhere. He has heard first-hand what they have suffered.

He is a man of immense compassion and goodness, and is personally committed to doing all he can to bring justice and healing to the victims.

In his pastoral letter, the Pope warns priests and others in the church who have abused children that they will have to answer to God and the courts for what they have done.

He directly addresses those who have abused children: "You have betrayed the trust that was placed in you by innocent young people and their parents, and you must answer for it before Almighty God and before properly constituted tribunals."

Read the rest of the article HERE.

The abuse crisis is just a small part of the Vatican II crisis

It has become fashionable to claim that the sex abuse scandal currently afflicting the Catholic Church is “its biggest crisis since the Reformation”. Oh, really? Tell me about it. The abuse issue is just a small part of the much larger crisis that has engulfed the Church since the Second Vatican Catastrophe and which is more serious than the Reformation.

Abolish clerical celibacy? The last thing a priest abusing altar boys needs or wants is a wife. There is no compulsory celibacy in the Church of England, but that has not prevented vicars and boy scouts furnishing gratifying amounts of copy to the tabloid Sunday papers for the past century. Celibacy goes against the grain of today’s “unrepressed”, “non-judgemental”, let-it-all-hang-out attitude to sex; its continued existence is a reproach to the hedonist Western world; so Rome must be persuaded to abolish it – likewise its condemnation of divorce, abortion, contraception, homosexuality and all the other fetishes of liberal society. Dream on, secularists.

“Irish abuse victims disappointed by Pope’s letter.” Of course they are. They were disappointed by it before they had read it, before it was even written. Any other response would diminish the power they find themselves wielding against the Church. Have they a legitimate grievance? In most cases, yes. They have a ferocious grievance against the “filth” (Benedict XVI’s term, long before he came under public pressure) who defiled them and treated them like animals.

How could clergy transgress so gravely against the doctrines of the Church? What doctrines? These offences took place in the wake of Vatican II, when doctrines were being thrown out like so much lumber. These offenders were the children of Paul VI and “aggiornamento”. Once you have debauched the Mystical Body of Christ, defiling altar boys comes easily.

The “neglected” sacraments and devotional practices that the Pope says could have prevented this did not just wither on the vine: they were actively discouraged by bishops and priests. In the period when this abuse was rampant, there was just one mortal sin in the Catholic Church: daring to celebrate or attend the Latin Tridentine Mass. A priest raping altar boys would be moved to another parish; as for a priest who had the temerity to celebrate the Old Mass – his feet would not touch the ground.
There was a determined resolve among the bishops to deny any meaningful catechesis to the young. That is the generation, wholly ignorant of the faith, that in Ireland achieved material prosperity in the “Celtic Tiger” economy. Initially it still attended Mass (or what passed for Mass) out of social conformity. Then the sex abuse scandal gave Irish post-Vatican II agnostics the perfect pretext for apostasy: tens of thousands who had never been abused, nor met anybody who had, found an excuse to stay in bed on Sunday mornings.

The abusive priests are not the only hypocrites. “I am so shocked by the abuse scandal I am leaving the Church.” Right. So, the fact that some degenerates who should never have been ordained violated young people – in itself a deplorable sin – means that the Son of God did not come down to earth, redeem mankind on the cross and found the Church? This appalling scandal no more compromises the truths of the Faith than the career of Alexander VI or any other corrupt Renaissance Pope.

Should bishops be forced to resign? Oh yes – approximately 95 per cent of them worldwide. These clowns in their pseudo-ethnic mitres and polyester vestments with faux-naïve Christian symbols, spouting their ecumaniac episcobabble, have presided over more than sexual abuse: they have all but extinguished the Catholic faith with their modernist fatuities. They should be retired to monasteries to spend their remaining years considering how to account to their Maker for a failed stewardship that has lost countless millions of souls.

Benedict XVI should take advantage of a popular wave of revulsion against the failed episcopate to sack every 1960s flared-trousered hippy who is obstructing Summorum Pontificum. It is a unique opportunity to cull the hireling shepherds and clear away the dead wood of the Second Vatican Catastrophe. It is time to stop the apologies and reinstate apologetics; to rebuild all that has been destroyed in the past 40 years; to square up to liberals and secularists as so many generations of Catholics did in the past; to proclaim again the immutable truths of the One True Church that, in the glory of the Resurrection, can have no legitimate posture other than triumphalism.


Rinascimento Sacro has announced that, at 10:00 A.M. on March 25, 2010, H.E. Franc Cardinal Rode will offer Solemn Pontifical Mass and ordain 8 new priests for the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, in the Chiesa di Ognissanti in Florence.

The same website also reports that, on the occasion of a pilgrimage of traditionalist faithful to the Shroud of Turin, H.E. Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos will offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass according to the Traditional Missal on May 22, 2010, at 11:00 A.M., in the Chiesa della Misericordia in Turin.

A reminder for priests to become pure and holy

Fr. Paul Gunter OSB is a Consultant to the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff. Zenit recently published his essay on the "Priest in the Communion Rites", from which the following excerpt is taken.

The priest in the Communion Rites of the extraordinary form performs more complicated gestures that no less indicate priestly identity and function in preparing for Holy Communion...


After the Agnus Dei, there are three prayers the priest says before Holy Communion with his eyes fixed on the Sacred Host and whose content is largely found in the Communion Rite of the ordinary form. Then holding the Host he says the Domine, non sum dignus three times when simultaneously striking his breast. As he purifies the paten into the chalice prior to consuming the Precious Blood he quotes from Psalm 115, "What return can I make to the Lord for all he has given to me. I will take the chalice of salvation and call on the name of the Lord but adds "praising, I will call on the Lord for I will have been saved from my enemies." During the purifying of the chalice, after the Quod ore sumpsimus, the priest prays that there remain in him no stain from his misdeeds and that the Body and Blood of Christ which he has received transform his entire being.

It can be seen that any emphasis placed on priestly character and on the priest's liturgical actions in the Communion rites are overwhelmingly encouraging. While they do not hide a priest's awareness of his unworthiness, they highlight his unique dignity and remind him of how he must strive to become pure and holy like Christ. Then they are inviting; that is, immediately inviting to the sacrificing priest to enter into a closer union with Jesus Christ The High Priest and Victim, and inviting to the faithful that they may recognize with joy the ministry of the priesthood whose mystery is essential for the Eucharist, the 'Source and Summit of the life and mission of the Church'. In those different aspects of that invitation, the Church glimpses at the wonder of the love of God who humbled himself to share in our humanity, renewing his invitation each time his Covenant of Love is made present on the altar when Christ draws our human existence ever more deeply into his Risen Life. As the author of the Book of the Apocalypse testifies: "Look, I am standing at the door, knocking. If one of you hears me calling and opens the door, I will come in to share his meal, side by side with him."

Light from the East: A Prayer for the Pope

"Oremus pro Pontifice" chanted by a Greek cantor.

H/t to Sinaxe.

Third Vatican-SSPX meeting

The third official meeting of the representatives of the Holy See and of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) for doctrinal talks took place was announced yesterday in Rome, with the customary discretion. The meeting is to take place on Monday.

Let us keep praying.

The Legacy of Vatican II

The programme of renewal proposed by the Second Vatican Council was sometimes misinterpreted and indeed, in the light of the profound social changes that were taking place, it was far from easy to know how best to implement it. In particular, there was a well-intentioned but misguided tendency to avoid penal approaches to canonically irregular situations. It is in this overall context that we must try to understand the disturbing problem of child sexual abuse, which has contributed in no small measure to the weakening of faith and the loss of respect for the Church and her teachings.
Benedict XVI
Pastoral Letter to the Catholics of Ireland
March 19, 2010


1. Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Church in Ireland, it is with great concern that I write to you as Pastor of the universal Church. Like yourselves, I have been deeply disturbed by the information which has come to light regarding the abuse of children and vulnerable young people by members of the Church in Ireland, particularly by priests and religious. I can only share in the dismay and the sense of betrayal that so many of you have experienced on learning of these sinful and criminal acts and the way Church authorities in Ireland dealt with them.

As you know, I recently invited the Irish bishops to a meeting here in Rome to give an account of their handling of these matters in the past and to outline the steps they have taken to respond to this grave situation. Together with senior officials of the Roman Curia, I listened to what they had to say, both individually and as a group, as they offered an analysis of mistakes made and lessons learned, and a description of the programmes and protocols now in place. Our discussions were frank and constructive. I am confident that, as a result, the bishops will now be in a stronger position to carry forward the work of repairing past injustices and confronting the broader issues associated with the abuse of minors in a way consonant with the demands of justice and the teachings of the Gospel.

2. For my part, considering the gravity of these offences, and the often inadequate response to them on the part of the ecclesiastical authorities in your country, I have decided to write this Pastoral Letter to express my closeness to you and to propose a path of healing, renewal and reparation.

It is true, as many in your country have pointed out, that the problem of child abuse is peculiar neither to Ireland nor to the Church. Nevertheless, the task you now face is to address the problem of abuse that has occurred within the Irish Catholic community, and to do so with courage and determination. No one imagines that this painful situation will be resolved swiftly. Real progress has been made, yet much more remains to be done. Perseverance and prayer are needed, with great trust in the healing power of God’s grace.

At the same time, I must also express my conviction that, in order to recover from this grievous wound, the Church in Ireland must first acknowledge before the Lord and before others the serious sins committed against defenceless children. Such an acknowledgement, accompanied by sincere sorrow for the damage caused to these victims and their families, must lead to a concerted effort to ensure the protection of children from similar crimes in the future.

As you take up the challenges of this hour, I ask you to remember “the rock from which you were hewn” (Is 51:1). Reflect upon the generous, often heroic, contributions made by past generations of Irish men and women to the Church and to humanity as a whole, and let this provide the impetus for honest self-examination and a committed programme of ecclesial and individual renewal. It is my prayer that, assisted by the intercession of her many saints and purified through penance, the Church in Ireland will overcome the present crisis and become once more a convincing witness to the truth and the goodness of Almighty God, made manifest in his Son Jesus Christ.

The Pope speaks once more on SS. Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure

St. Thomas reflects on two possible contrasting answers. The first says: theology is reflection on faith and the aim of faith is that man become good, that he live according to the will of God. Hence, the aim of theology should be to guide man on the just and good way; consequently it is, fundamentally, a practical science. The other position says: theology seeks to know God. We are the work of God; God is above our action. God operates just action in us. Hence it is essentially not of our doing, but of knowing God, not of our working. St. Thomas' conclusion is: theology entails both aspects: it is theoretical, it seeks to know God ever more, and it is practical: it seeks to orient our life to the good. But there is a primacy of knowledge: we must above all know God, then follows action according to God (Summa Theologiae Ia, q. 1, art.4). This primacy of knowledge in comparison with practice is significant for St. Thomas' essential orientation.

St. Bonaventure's answer is very similar, but the accents are different. St. Bonaventure has the same arguments in both directions, as St. Thomas does, but to respond to the question if theology is a practical or theoretical science, St. Bonaventure makes a threefold distinction -- hence he lengthens the alternative between theoretical (primacy of knowledge) and practical (primacy of practice), adding a third attitude, which he calls "sapiential" and affirming that wisdom embraces both aspects. And then he continues: Wisdom seeks contemplation (as the highest form of knowledge) and has as its intention "ut boni fiamus" -- that we become good, above all this: to become good (cf. Breviloquium, Prologus, 5). Then he adds: "Faith is in the intellect, in such a way that it causes affection. For example: to know that Christ died 'for us' does not remain knowledge, but becomes necessarily affection, love" (Proemium in I Sent., q. 3).

His defense of theology moves along the same line, that is of the rational and methodical reflection of faith. St. Bonaventure lists some arguments against engaging in theology, perhaps widespread also among some of the Franciscan brothers and present also in our time: reason empties faith, it would be a violent attitude toward the Word of God, we must listen to and not analyze the word of God (cf. Letter of St. Francis of Assisi to St. Anthony of Padua). To these arguments against theology, which demonstrate the dangers existing in theology itself, the saint responds: It is true that there is an arrogant way of engaging in theology, a pride of reason, which places itself above the Word of God. But true theology, the rational work of the true and good theology, has another origin, not the pride of reason. He who loves always wants to know more and better the one who is loved; true theology does not engage reason and its seeking motivated by pride, "sed propter amorem eius cui assentit" -- [but] "motivated by the love of him, to whom it has given its consent" (Proemium in I Sent., q. 2), and wishes to know the loved one better: this is the essential intention of theology for St. Bonaventure. Hence, in the end, determinant for St. Bonaventure is the primacy of love.

Consequently, St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure define in a different way man's ultimate destiny, his full happiness: for St. Thomas the supreme end, to which our desire is directed, is to see God. In this simple act of seeing God all problems find their solution: let us be happy, nothing else is necessary.

For St. Bonaventure, man's ultimate destiny is instead to love God, the encounter and the union of his love and our own. This is for him the most adequate definition of our happiness.

In this line, we could also say that the highest category for St. Thomas is the true, while for St. Bonaventure it is the good. It would be mistaken to see a contradiction in these two answers. For both the true is also the good, and the good is also the true; to see God is to love and to love is to see. It is a question therefore of different accents in an essentially shared vision. In both the accents have formed different traditions and different spiritualities and thus they have shown the fecundity of the faith -- one in the diversity of its expressions.

Is the Novus Ordo influencing even the Melkites? Just asking.

The Melkite Greek Catholic Eparchy of Newton (with jurisdiction over the Melkites of the United States) recently came up with a new official English translation of the Divine Liturgy. The following is an excerpt from an analysis of the translation, written by a Melkite priest. While there are positive aspects to the translation, according to this analysis, there are others that will cause disquiet not just for Eastern Catholics, but also for Roman Catholics who already know the damage caused by the liturgical reforms of our age, so profoundly distant from the liturgical spirit.

(The analysis refers to the translation as a "final draft"; since then it has been promulgated by the Melkite hierarchy as the sole official English translation of the Divine Liturgy in the Eparchy of Newton.)

Given recent signs that some in the Eastern Churches are influenced by contemporary "Roman" practice (the de facto adoption of ad populum by some jurisdictions, especially those of Syriac origin; the hybridized "Melkite Vespers" with Novus Ordo-style general intercessions celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI last year in Jordan, and the controversial "Revised Divine Liturgy" of the Byzantine Catholic Church in America, among others), and given the recent calls of some Eastern Catholic prelates for sweeping liturgical reforms (see this for example), surely our Eastern Catholic brothers will forgive a Latin Catholic blog such as ours, for the interest and concern with which it views some (and not necessarily all) of the liturgical developments in their Churches.

Those who think that our concerns on these matters are misplaced are invited to (charitably) explain why, in the combox.

Here is the excerpt:

This also brings to the fore the question of the legitimacy of some of the options themselves. Here and there options are presented that obviously reflect the spirit of the Roman Church's post-Vatican II ‘people’s participation’. For example, the Ektene after the homily presents an option in which ‘readers’ chosen from the laity stand in the “middle aisle” facing each other and offer petitions from a large collection at the end of the volume. (The text is silent whether additional ‘made up’ petitions are allowed.) In short, a practice is being introduced that is a direct copy of the Roman Novus Ordo practice of "general intercessions" after the homily – a practice that is, to my knowledge, without precedent in the Byzantine Tradition.

The directions for the litanies after the homily also are troublesome from a theological perspective. The Litany of the Catechumens is directed to be done only “if there are Catechumens” present, and only one of the Prayers of the Faithful is to be included “(for brevity)”. This emphasis on 'brevity' extends to the introduction to the Holy Creed, directing that “if” there are Catechumens the traditional exclamation, “The Doors! The Doors!” is to be used, but otherwise omitted. The problem here is that it is debatable whether the “The Doors! The Doors!” ever related to the catechumens, given that they presumably were dismissed earlier, before the Great Entrance. Rather the exclamation was a warning to ensure that non-Christians not be admitted to the celebration of the Eucharist and Holy Communion. Thus, the exclamation has traditionally served as a reminder to worshippers of times of past persecution and the superlative holiness of the liturgical actions that will follow.

As to the omission of the Litany of the Catechumens and editing of the two Litanies of the Faithful "for brevity", the time factor in their inclusion amounts to a mere two or three minutes. Also, one must consider the spiritual possibility that whether present or not, the Church should always offer prayers for catechumens, recognizing that there are perhaps many whom our Lord is leading to His Church who have yet to realize this and so have not yet participated in the Divine Services. Offering this litany confirms our prayers to strengthen those 'invisible catechumens' whom we may not even know but whom God will lead to join with us in the future. It also reminds us of our duty to proclaim the Gospel in our whole life, not just in church, and thus encourages us to give daily witness to the True Faith such that those invisible catechumens may be inspired to come forward. Reflecting on the call to evangelism, omitting the Litany of the Catechumens could be said to border on sacrilege.

When viewed together, it seems that the various optional directions in the Final Draft combine to promote a Liturgy significantly influenced by the current Roman Rite Mass. While a few of the options present legitimate variations in the customary practice of the Church, most have the effect of encouraging a ‘shortening’ of the Liturgy to suit modern sensibilities and convenience or to promote a more "people friendly" (to wit, emotionally moving rather than spiritually uplifting) experience. During the reception of Holy Communion by the laity, there is even a note allowing the singing of “spiritual hymns” after the singing of “Receive me now, O Son of God”. One shudders at the thought of chanters or a choir singing “And He Will Lift You Up on Eagles Wings” at this most sacred moment!

Reminder of Upcoming Online Lecture: The Natural Superiority of Traditional Worship

This lecture was originally announced on Rorate last year (in this post).

From the International Society of Scholastics:

That man's very rational nature demands he give worship to God is an important conclusion of Thomistic ethics -- that supernatural worship builds on the natural, is equally important. Yet in the debates on liturgy in the last forty years little time has been spent examining man's nature and using this as a basis for evaluating religious ceremonies.

On Saturday 20th March, Patrick W. McCloskey, Executive Director of the International Society of Scholastics, will use the philosophical and scientific principles developed by St. Thomas Aquinas to investigate the kind of worship man's rational nature demands of him. He will then examine which approach to the Mass cooperates with these natural requirements and which frustrates these natural requirements - since it is the same God who instructs us to have Mass and who created man's nature, it would be a contradiction in God's providence for Him to prefer worship which is less conducive to this nature.

This lecture will be presented in the Sapientis Online Education virtual classroom, where you will have the chance to interact with students and instructors live, using the latest in internet conferencing technology.

After a short three hours, using reason alone, you will be able to explain:

-Why man needs to worship God.

-The connection between internal and external worship.

-What external worship should look like in order to realize this connection.

This course is recommended for anyone involved in promoting either the Traditional Latin Mass or a more reverent form of the Novus Ordo or, in fact, any one promoting reverence in any other of the Church's liturgies. As the approach is based on logic and common-sense philosophical principles it should enable you to show friends, family, the choir director and perhaps even the parish liturgical committee why the liturgy should be reverent.

A follow-up discussion will be hosted on the ISS blog "Veritas Rerum" to help you further refine your understanding and answer objections.

Course details:

When: this Saturday, March 20th at 12:00 noon EST.

Where: Online! After you sign up we will email to you the classroom link, password, and instructions.
Price: $15 per computer (you may invite as many people as can fit around your monitor!)

How to sign up: go to and select this Saturday's course.

If you are unable to attend, you can still sign-up and we will email you a recording of the talk in mp3 format together with any handout materials.