Rorate Caeli

Recessional of the Solemn Pontifical Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington D.C.


  1. Anonymous4:15 PM

    Many need to learn the "nunquam postquam" rule - one never takes holy water in the procession out from Mass.

  2. Numquam postquam?
    Well, certainly not everywhere:
    "Egredientes de ecclesia aqua benedicta se aspergunt, nisi finito Officio pontificali Abbatem reducunt ad Abbatiam. Post Completorium, si facta fuerit aspersio, et infra Primam e choro ad capitulum procedentes hanc aspersionem omittunt." (Cæremoniale monasticum. P. I, c. I, n. 10) Translation: "They sprinkle themselves while leaving the church, unless they accompany the abbot to the abbey [i. e. from the church to his cell] after pontifical office. They also omit this sprinkling after Compline (if there was one already) and during the procession after Prime from the choir to the Chapter house."
    Cæremoniale monasticum secundum consuetudinem Congregationis Beuronensis O. S. B. Tornaci : Desclée et soc., 1908. xvi, 577 p.

  3. Anonymous6:36 PM

    WOW. this must've been awesome to attend!

  4. Anonymous8:40 PM

    Always nice when the first comment for such an historical and beautiful moment is frivolous criticism and bitching.

    Congratulations to all who helped to give tremendous glory to God through that magnificent Mass. May there be many more Masses such as this one all throughout the world.

  5. Could I make just 2 short observations with the greatest admiration for those who organized this magnificent event: They need to tell the crossbearer and acolytes to slow down,as the procession was disjointed.(a common problem) Also, if I am not mistaken the lay people, including knights etc etc, should be led by a separate crossbearer minus acolytes and the liturgical procession follows lead by the cross and acolytes.
    Secondly, it would not be too difficult to have someone make an altar cloth which hangs down both sides to the floor, which is the norm for the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite. On too many occasions you see the mini cloth used on the altar, which gives the impression that it is normative. Case in point: the reprint in Italian of Ludovico Trimeloni's liturgical compendium, with a photo on the front cover of an altar with a mini cloth, thus contradicting the norm in the book that the main altar cloth should extend down the sides of the altar.

    Don't get me wrong: the Mass was simply magnificent, but out of love for the Lord we all know we can make improvements here and there.

    Every blessing!

    Fr Ashley
    PS The organist did a superb job!Oh, it is not frivolous to take the liturgy seriously!

  6. Let's be kind.

    I was there, and it was magnificent. One really gets what
    B16 means when he speaks of the centrality of the Liturgy.

    There was a properly triumphant sense to the whole thing even as the Lord is hidden, humble in his Presence among us.

    Et incarnatus est...

  7. Anonymous10:39 PM

    It was a magnificent Mass and, considering it has been decades since the last one of its kind in Washington, small errors can easily be overlooked. With God's grace, we will have many opportunities ahead of us to achieve perfection in the rubrics. Afterwords, I found myself asking how anyone who is Catholic and seeking to come closer to God would not be pleased by such worship.

  8. Anonymous X11:45 PM

    Ah! If someone could please tell me who/what all these lay-people are. And why some of them walk between clergy and bishop? Thanks a lot :)

  9. Anonymous1:15 AM

    I could only see it on EWTN but happy I did..It was beautiful and hope to see the 1962 Mass celebrated in St. Patrick's in NY. 1996 was too long ago....

  10. Anonymous2:41 AM

    "Ah! If someone could please tell me who/what all these lay-people are. And why some of them walk between clergy and bishop? Thanks a lot :)"

    Anon X:

    Knights of Columbus, Knights of Malta, Constantinian Knights of St. George, Papal Knights of St. Gregory.

    Also, everone appeared to be in the proper order for the entrance procession. There appeared to be some confusion forming up for the procession after Mass because participants were out of order. This may have contributed to the gaps that were mentioned previously.

    It was, however, a magnificent occasion to see the high altar and the basilica used for their intended purposes.


  11. Anonymous2:52 AM

    Is the procession technically liturgical? If yes, whence the role of groups like the Knights of Columbus, who seem out of place?

  12. John McFarland3:00 AM

    I read Bishop Slattery's homily on Fr. Zuhlsdorf's website.

    Pure, unadulterated Vatican II.

    Christ makes himself "present" in suffering.

    This "presence" is apparently something different from the presence of Christ in Heaven, creation, the souls of the just, and the Eucharist.

    It seems very much like, if not identical, to the theology of the presence of Christ that underlies the new Mass: the congregants and their president somehow making Christ present by commemorating the paschal mystery.

    The words "sin" and "repentance" do not appear in the homily. So there is no distinction between suffering that you deserve and suffering that you don't (see the First Epistle of St. Peter on this distinction), and no talk of suffering as a satisfaction for sin.

    So a woman consenting to have an abortion is described as "deceived," and apparently Jesus will comfort her pretty much in the same way as he does, say, a martyr: through the recognition of God's mercy, which is apparently not conditioned on repentance, since His Excellency sees no need to mention it.

    But I suppose that since there is no mention of sin, it would not make sense to enjoin repentance for something that there is, apparently, no good reason to mention -- sin, that is.

    Of course, since there is no mention of sin, even in St. Peter's denial of his Lord, Jesus's sacrifice on the Cross cannot very well be described as sacrifice to assuage God's outrage over the disobedience of his creatures. Rather, it is a sacrifice to demonstrate that God will be merciful to us. He raised up Jesus, and so he'll raise up us, too -- again, it would seem, without reference to sin or repentance.

    All of this, of course, is at best a very misleading way of talking about God's mercy, and in fact seems to have nothing at all to do with Catholic teaching on God's mercy. As long as we are gracious enough to accept the fact that God, it seems, will save us come what may, everything will be fine. This doesn't match up very well with the strait gate and narrow way that leads to life, and that few find their way through.

    But Bishop Slattery's homily does perform a very useful function.

    It demonstrates why the SSPX enjoins its faithful not to assist at Motu Proprio Masses: at bottom, they are instruments of Vatican II.

  13. Anonymous5:11 AM

    In response to anonymous 26 April, 2010 20:40

    I agree with you.

    Some ultraditionalists are never happy with anything.

  14. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the Catholic Church.

    Very beautiful and inspiring. And the music is great! Hallelujah Jesus for this beautiful liturgy. I hope every parish in the world would have their EO form of the Mass so that every Catholic would know how beautiful their liturgy is.

  15. Anonymous10:11 AM

    I am pleased that Anonymous 1 pointed out the nunquam postquam rule. It has now been entirely forgotten, apart from an older generation. The monastic exceptions do not apply here.

    What interested me was how it happened. One priest towards the head of the procession made the mistake and it was followed by those who followed. Assuming that most of them were FSSP priests they should have known better. But, once more, I suspect that this is generational.

    Strictly the same rule applies to the taking of holy water when entering or leaving a church. Holy water should be taken on arrival, never on departure.

  16. John McFarland: What a twisted Christianity some possess, when they think the true mark of it is to contemplate the works of Satan.

    Here is the Easter Homily of St. John Chrysostom. Sin is mentioned once: "let no one weep over his sins, for pardon has shone from the grave".

    Pure, unadulterated Constantinople I.

    And for comparison, here is Bishop Slattery's homily: "It was obedience to the Father’s will that mankind be reconciled and our many sins forgiven us. “Son though he was,” the Apostle reminds us, “Jesus learned obedience through what He sufferered.” Obedient unto death, death on a cross, Jesus asks his Father to forgive us that God might reveal the full depth of his mercy and love. “Father, forgive them,” he prayed, “for they know not what they do.”"

  17. Strictly the same rule applies to the taking of holy water when entering or leaving a church. Holy water should be taken on arrival, never on departure.

    Who made up that "rule"? There are a LOT of Catholics who have holy water stoups in their own homes, and it's not unheard of for newly-blessed holy water is distributed to the faithful at the Easter Vigil or other times of the year, for use in the home. Should the faithful only bless themselves with holy water at home when they leave their homes and at no other times?

  18. I bless myself when I leave church. I learned that from a 70 year old nun who learned it before VatII.

    Rejoice, don't nitpick a good thing to death. It makes traddy folks look bad.

  19. John McFarland2:48 PM


    Well, you really knocked a large hole in my fine rhetoric crescendo on the theme that there is NO reference to sin in Bishop Slattery's homily.

    Furthermore, it is certainly true that Easter sermons in general, and St. John's in particular, talk about sin primarily in terms of its conquest. But I think that most of them do manage to work in a pitch for our continuing to eat the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

    But in any event, Bishop Slattery's is not a paschal sermon. Its entire focus is suffering, and that suffering seems to have very little relation to sin. Note that in the passage referring to sin, there is no connection made between sin and suffering. Conversely, in the many more numerous references to suffering, there is no reference to sin.

    So although you have, justly enough, demonstrated the inaccuracy of my statement that there's NO reference to sin, I don't think that you've made any headway against my basic point: that His Excellency's account of suffering is at best a very deficient account of the doctrine of suffering, because it doesn't take into account, much if at all, sin and repentance.

    In this connection, since Bishop Slattery makes glancing reference to the First Epistle of St. Peter, I'd suggest that you compare and contrast what St. Peter and His Excellency have to say on the matter of suffering.

    Now perhaps it's the case that on other Sundays in other seasons, Bishop Slattery talks much about sin and repentance. Indeed, I hope and pray that it is the case.

    But if I were you, I wouldn't bet much money on it. Vatican II doesn't do sin and repentance; and His Excellency wouldn't hold a bishophric if he weren't a Vatican II man. All in, he probably has more in common with, say, Cardinal Mahony than with you or me.

  20. Anonymous2:48 PM

    IN the procession Jordanes, in the procession.

  21. Of course. There is obviously no rule against blessing oneself with holy water when leaving a church, contrary to what an Anonymous erroneously claimed. What rules regarding holy water apply to processions and recessions is another, and entirely unimportant, question, however.

  22. Now perhaps it's the case that on other Sundays in other seasons, Bishop Slattery talks much about sin and repentance. Indeed, I hope and pray that it is the case.

    But if I were you, I wouldn't bet much money on it. Vatican II doesn't do sin and repentance; and His Excellency wouldn't hold a bishophric if he weren't a Vatican II man. All in, he probably has more in common with, say, Cardinal Mahony than with you or me.

    John McFarland,

    You seem to be making a rash judgment here. He does mention sin, penance, and the effects of sin throughout the sermon.

    Consider the following excerpts:

    "Suffering by itself is simply the promise that death will claim these mortal bodies of ours, but suffering in Christ is the promise that we will be raised with Christ, when our mortality will be remade in his immortality and all that in our lives which is broken because it is perishable and finite will be made imperishable and incorrupt...."

    "The image of Christ’s obedience is His Sacred Heart. That Heart, exposed and wounded must give us pause, for man's heart it generally hidden and secret. In the silence of his own heart, each of us discovers the truth of who we are, the truth of why we are silent when we should speak, or bothersome and quarrelsome when we should be silent. In our hidden recesses of the heart, we come to know the impulses behind our deeds and the reasons why we act so often as cowards and fools."

    But while man's heart is generally silent and secret, the Heart of the God-Man is fully visible and accessible. It too reveals the motives behind our Lord's self-surrender. It was obedience to the Father's will that mankind be reconciled and our many sins forgiven us. 'Son though he was,' the Apostle reminds us, 'Jesus learned obedience through what He sufferered.' Obedient unto death, death on a cross, Jesus asks his Father to forgive us that God might reveal the full depth of his mercy and love. 'Father, forgive them,' he prayed, 'for they know not what they do.'"

    "...Do not be surprised then that here at Mass, our bloodless offering of the bloody sacrifice of Calvary is a triple act of obedience. First, Christ is obedient to the Father, and offers Himself as a sacrifice of reconciliation. Secondly, we are obedient to Christ and offer ourselves to the Father with Jesus the Son; and thirdly, in sharing Christ’s obedience to the Father, we are made obedient to a new order of reality, in which love is supreme and life reigns eternal, in which suffering and death have been defeated by becoming for us the means by which Christ’s final victory, his future coming, is made manifest and real today...."

    I believe you owe Bishop Slattery an apology.

  23. Anonymous4:44 PM

    Mr McFarland,

    You seem to be a very petty and bitter man. I apologise if you are not.
    To find flaws in one of the best things that has happened at the largest Catholic church in America in 45 years is very petty of you.
    I think it would be safe to state that no matter what you think of His Excellencys sermon, it probably did not lead any souls to sins of commission or omisssion.

    It seems that you are the type of person that would find something wrong with a filet mignon from Delmonico's.
    Have a Cohibo and a glass of Port.

    Lighten up.
    God is in charge.


  24. His Excellency states that a woman having an abortion loses her soul. It is not too difficult to understand that the suffering of a post-abortive woman is from recognition of her own sinfulness. In fact many talk about the fear of God's judgment. Of course mercy requires repentance. One understands the depths of mercy when one understands the depths of one's own sinfulnesses and its consequences.

    Seems to me an unwarranted criticism.

  25. Anonymous7:57 PM

    Well said D.P.H.

    27 April, 2010 16:44

    I agree with your comment about John McFarland.

    Hey John if you don't like the True Catholic Church don't watch anything that has to do with it.

    Go to the SSPX chapels or go to Econe.

  26. Anonymous10:17 PM

    Congratulations to everyone involved in this most edifying event.

    Just one little comment...
    In future, could there be a "no cameras other than official cameras rule." So many cameras everywhere with everyone snapping photos can be distracting and can trivialise the sacred. A good photographer at a liturgical function is an unseen photographer.

  27. Would someone care to enlighten a young Catholic about the nunquam postquam rule? I have never heard of it. I was under the impression that processionals and recessionals are not covered by rubrics, since they occur before and after liturgical actions.

  28. Anonymous11:34 PM

    The disposition of Mr. McFarland and those like him does as much to keep good Catholics away from the traditional liturgy as an obstinate bishop, which Bishop Slattery is not. Perhaps some time in contemplation at Clear Creek Abbey, a traditional monastery in the good bishop's diocese, would help soften a hard heart.

  29. John McFarland12:27 AM


    "[A]ll that in our lives which is broken because it is perishable and finite will be made imperishable and incorrupt..."

    The problem with our lives from a Christian perspective is not with our finitude or with our perishability as such. It is with our sinfulness, and we are perishable because of sin.

    "All that is within our lives which is broken" will become imperishable and incorrupt? I don't know what that means. Will his adultery or her abortion or his theft or her perjury become imperishable and incorrupt? Is the idea that all our sins will not be forgiven and atoned for, but somehow elevated into something that gets beyond good and evil?

    WE, body and soul, will put on incorruption -- if we achieve salvation, which means among other things serving our purgator in this life or the next. Of the things that WE need to do in order to achieve salvation, we hear nothing.

    The Sacred Heart is the great symbol of Our Lord's love for us, and of the need for us to make reparation for the failure of many -- ourselves included, often enough -- to return that love. His Excellency turns it into an image of the paschal mystery: Jesus's obedience generates what looks like a very quick and easy, even close to automatic, forgiveness of our sins, with no reference to propitiation by either Jesus or ourselves. I submit that St. Margaret Mary would not recognize this Sacred Heart.

    I can't get any of this in sync with traditional Catholic understanding of the matters that it puports to deal with.

    So I'm sorry to have to say that I have nothing to apologize for.

    But I would be interested in knowing what His Excellency preaches about back in Tulsa.

  30. John McFarland12:44 AM


    Well, thanks for your kind offer to allow me to demonstrate that your judgment of me is not accurate; but I don't think I'll take you up on it.

    It is all about the Faith. We cannot very lighten up when very dubious teachings are being greeted with loud hosannas by those who consider themselves traditional Catholics.

    I'm prepared to believe that Bishop Slattery's sermon was not an occasion of sin, although I'd note that that is very faint praise indeed.

    But I would say that nobody left the Shrine with a renewed sense of the role of sin in our lives; and since his name was called Jesus because he will save his people from their sins, that is not a good thing.

  31. Anonymous6:46 AM

    Dear Mr. McFarland,
    I think that part of the problem here is that certain posters have not read the material that you rely upon and reference, such as "Problem of the Liturgical Reform".

    The other posters do not directly refute/discuss the nuances of the pascal mystery and risen lord theology because, in my estimation, the posters have not bothered to grasp or read your sources.

    I would suggest that you feed us here on the blog site with a little more milk to get us used to the solid food. Otherwise I fear your words are lost.

    I also think that it would not be false charity to recognise that the mass and sermon talked about in this thread are a step in the right direction...and at the same time you could provide a warning of be wary of the new theology. I just think that you can attract more flies with honey then vinegar.

    I sort of understand what you mean by paschal mystery and risen Lord theology and have read your references. They say we have two incompatible systems of thought (classical sense and something new). "Do they each adequately convey the explanation of the Catholic faith or is one a contradiction?"

    I appreciate that Mr. McFarland has very well researched resources to support his view.


  32. John McFarlane, I'm glad that you have conceded that sermons need not dwell upon the reality of sin and death if such is untopical.

    But I think Bishop Slattery's sermon was fundamentally not a catechesis on suffering but a sermon "in the glare of the world’s scrutiny to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the ascension of Joseph Ratzinger to the throne of Peter." The Mass of the Day was for the Anniversary of the Roman Pontiff in Paschaltide, and it occurred in the middle of a scandal about widespread clerical corruption, a scandal which had touched this very Mass and brought down the world's glare upon it. The theme of the sermon was suffering, but it was not the central mystery of the talk, which was the Church.

  33. M. A.4:52 PM

    I, for one, do appreciate Mr. McFarland's comments. He is much better informed than many other posters here, especially "anonymous". ;-)

    God bless you, sir!

  34. John McFarland10:37 PM


    Yash, yeah, but are you going to read the SSPX books?

  35. M. A.1:24 PM

    hee, hee.

    I read just about anything that comes my way, but I try to stay "non-denominational". ;-D

    Have a good day, John.

  36. John McFarland6:09 PM


    You said:

    'I read just about anything that comes my way, but I try to stay "non-denominational"'.

    I would have thought that the purpose of reading everything is to determine what, if any, of it is right.

    Or as G.K. Chesterton once cracked, the purpose of having an open mind is to close it on something solid.

  37. What???

    John does not have a sense of humor?

  38. John McFarland4:07 PM


    Speaking as a recovering wise guy, I'm here to advise you that some things are not a laughing matter --

    -- and lack of seriousness about the Faith is the most unfunny of these.


Comment boxes are debate forums for readers and contributors of RORATE CÆLI.

Please, DO NOT assume that RORATE CÆLI contributors or moderators necessarily agree with or otherwise endorse any particular comment just because they let it stand.


(1) This is our living room, in a deeply Catholic house, and you are our guest. Please, behave accordingly. Any comment may be blocked or deleted, at any time, whenever we perceive anything that is not up to our standards, not conducive to a healthy conversation or a healthy Catholic environment, or simply not to our liking.

(2) By clicking on the "publish your comment" button, please remain aware that you are choosing to make your comment public - that is, the comment box is not to be used for private and confidential correspondence with contributors and moderators.

(3) Any name/ pseudonym/ denomination may be freely used simply by choosing the third option, "Name/URL" (the URL box may be left empty), when posting your comment - therefore, there is no reason whatsoever to simply post as "Anonymous", making debate unnecessarily harder to follow. Any comment signed simply as "Anonymous" will be blocked.

Thank you!