Rorate Caeli

The Pope speaks on fidelity in doctrine and liturgy

During yesterday's General Audience, the Pope spoke about the teaching mission of priests. Of note are the following passages in his address:

The first task of which I wish to speak today is the "munus docendi," namely, that of teaching. Today, at the height of the educational emergency, the "munus docendi" of the Church, exercised concretely through the ministry of each priest, is particularly important. We live amid great confusion about the fundamental choices of our life and the questions about what the world is, from where it comes, where we are going, what we must do to carry out the good, how we must live, what are the really pertinent values. In relation to all this there are so many contrasting philosophies, which arise and disappear, creating confusion about the fundamental decisions, how to live, why we do not know more, ordinarily, from what thing and for what thing we were made and where we are going.


...The priest must also speak and act like this: "My doctrine is not mine, I do not propagate my ideas or what pleases me, but I am the mouth and heart of Christ and make present this unique and common doctrine, which the universal Church has created and which creates eternal life."


In the careful preparation of his Sunday preaching, without excluding the weekday preaching, in the effort of catechetical formation, in schools, in academic institutions and, in a special way, through that unwritten book that is his own life, the priest is always "docent," he teaches. But not with the presumption of one who imposes his own truth, rather with the humble and happy certainty of one who has found the Truth, who has been gripped and transformed, and because of this, can do nothing less than proclaim it. In fact, no one can choose the priesthood for himself, it is not a way to arrive at security in life, to win a social position; no one can give it to him, or seek it by himself. The priesthood is response to the call of the Lord, to his will, to become heralds not of a personal truth but of his truth.

Dear brother priests, the Christian people ask to hear from our teachings the genuine ecclesial doctrine, by which to be able to renew the encounter with Christ who gives joy, peace, salvation. Sacred Scripture, the writings of the Fathers and doctors of the Church, the Catechism of the Catholic Church constitute, in this regard, indispensable points of reference in the exercise of the munus docendi, so essential for conversion, the journey of faith and the salvation of men. "Priestly ordination means: being immersed [...] in the Truth" (Homily for the Chrism Mass, April 9, 2009), that Truth which is not simply a concept or a whole of ideas to transmit and assimilate, but which is the Person of Christ, with which, by which and in which to live. And thus, necessarily, is also born the timeliness and comprehensibility of the proclamation. Only this awareness of a Truth made Person in the incarnation of the Son justifies the missionary mandate: "Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). Only if it is the Truth is it destined to every creature, it is not an imposition of something, but the opening of the heart to that for which it is created.

More can be read here.

Meanwhile, the New Liturgical Movement has a preliminary report on the Pope's address today to the bishops of northern Brazil, in which the Holy Father speaks on true participation in the liturgy, and criticizes excessive inculturation.


  1. Anonymous5:09 PM

    I pray this is all a preliminary introduction to some papal mandate enforcing orthodox liturgy
    or else I believe nice words and good suggestions will be ignored by the majority of the worlds clergy.


  2. Fidelity in doctrine and liturgy eh? Why is it then, with all due respect, that those priests who are the most faithful in this regard are without canonical status and faculties, indeed without incardination in local dioceses because they refuse the allurements of Modernism and stick to what HMC has always held, taught and professed to be true. Just yesterday, I attended Holy Mass on the anniversary of the 37th year of Ordination for one of these holy priests and guess what? The local bishops were conspicuous by their absence.

    The crime, of course, is that priests such as this refuse in conscience to celebrate the new mass, much as Archbishop Lefebvre himself refused and was summarily suspended. Absolutely inconceivable! In the meantime apostates all over the world are celebrating liturgies that are festooned with balloons, costumes, communion in the hand, lay people literally bumping into one another attempting to supplant the priest-celebrant in his functions, etc. There are really two religions at odds with each other claiming to be Catholic. We all know it; it's painfully obvious to even non Catholics.

    Holy Father, until and unless you take action yourself to right these wrongs, your words will ring hollow in my ears. The very fact that a dedicated and holy priest was ignored by the local bishops testifies to the madness of this situation within our holy church.

  3. "There are really two religions at odds with each other claiming to be Catholic."

    Everything else you said I agree with. But this is too much.

    The NO, even as it is abused, makes Christ present on the altar.

    That's why this Passion of our Lord must stop!!

  4. Thomas John12:22 AM

    "There are really two religions at odds with each other claiming to be Catholic."

    Indeed. Alas, did not Monseigneur Lefebvre say "they have made a new religion!"?

    Excellent comments, Mr Haley. It remains, as it was during Archbishop Lefebvre's time, a situation absolutely inconceivable. I agree with you that many people do know the divide, the gulf, the truth, but the apostolic vigor sapped from the Church by forty years of exile from Herself is an incalculably burdensome toll. We must pray. The heart and will of the saints is required, and nothing of God comes but by prayer. Thanks for your fine remarks.

  5. Anonymous2:13 AM

    Mr Ortiz,

    Mr Haley is absolurely correct.

    He is not saying that the Novus Ordo is invalid, it is valid.
    But there are actually two different religions at odds with other in the Catholic Church, all one needs are "eyes to see and ears to hear" to tell this difference.


  6. Anonymous1:27 PM

    Even with a valid NO, why then is there such reluctance to allow the former Mass? If the continuity indeed exists as the Holy Father suggests then it should be easy to flip flop between the two. But even the lay people recognize this as a different Mass most unlike anything they know. How is this possible in a world of continuity. Better to address the discontinuities one by one and get rid of them. It should sart with ad orientem worship. The rest will follow. The externals are what really seperate the two forms of Mass in the public's eye. If this perception can change we can then address the problem of the NO havig many parts "fabricated" in the words of the Holy Father himself by committee...

  7. With respect to the two different religions question, may I say that de jure there can be as Mr. Ortiz implied, only one religion but there appears to be two different ones. This is the result of over 40 years of, ahem, shall we say novelties, appearing in how we practice the Faith in the Mass. I'm thinking of the dictum, lex orandi; lex credendi which, loosely translated, means we pray according to what we believe.

    Now, let us suppose that the Holy Father wanted to re-institute the TLM as the only juridically approved version of the Mass to be celebrated in all Catholic parishes of the Roman Rite.

    He would be faced with, I submit, a revolution the likes of which we can only imagine from those who have been brought up in the novus ordo. Think of it. All of the abuses that we as trads decry would have to be summarily given up and I'm thinking primarily of the "lay participation" type of things that have been imbued in the minds of novus ordo attendees all these years. Do you seriously believe they are going to give up their way of celebrating the Eucharist and modify their behavior to conform to that which we expect and demand of participants in the TLM?

    Do you not foresee a mass exodus of novus ordo attendees, not all but surely a good number, seeking out other religions or even none at all? To put it in a nutshell, would the "cafeteria" catholic simply go to another "cafeteria" at which they could "feel good" and let it all hang out? Even more to the point, where man is celebrated more than God Himself?

    So, you see, the pope is caught between the proverbial rock and hard place in trying to restore some semblance of Tradition in the celebration of the novus ordo sacraments. It has gone way to far for a simple papal edict to return to the celebration of the sacraments according to the 1962 rubrics.

    But, the situation is not hopeless, my friends, for he has at his disposal resources he could use to begin the restoration - the FSSPX, other traditional orders and even independents professing loyalty to the see of Peter from which he could appoint bishops and cardinals to lead the effort to restore all things in Christ. It would take proper formation of the laity but it could be done. What is needed is the will to act and to do so without worrying about the cries of the modernists who will no doubt see this as selling out to the "sprit" of Vatican II.

  8. To respond to Mr. Haley: I would say de jure matters. A lot.

    I would say that NO Masses celebrated with novelties, bad music, and lots of irregular things still, with the words said properly, with the intention of the Church, to be valid, and therefore brings the God-Man sacramentally, substantially, really, and truly there. That's BIG. IT's also a shame that He isn't being welcomed as he should.

    First, with clean hearts, cleansed with the graces of frequyent confession. Secondly, yes, I agree, the EF or the ad orientem No in Latin is best.

    BTW: somehow, I think we all overstate the risk of flight is B16mandated BIG changes.

    Just a sense..

  9. Mr. Ortiz said...

    To respond to Mr. Haley: I would say de jure matters. A lot.

    Then why, my friend, do we have two forms in the Latin Rite now when, for over 1500 years, we had only one form and why was the TLM de facto abrogated in the 20th century? If de jure matters, then why do we have "NO Masses celebrated with novelties, bad music, and lots of irregular things"?

    Certainly de jure matters and in my opinion the papal bull of St. Pius V in 1570 mandating the TLM in the Roman Rite in perpetuity was de jure. Now, I know that is not the judgment rendered by many of the modernists who were responsible for all the changes in what is called the "new" order of Mass but it is the judgment that I stand by.


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