Rorate Caeli

A storm of pure fun!
A Vatican II Moment in Rio

Dance, theater, lots of music, and fun - together with adoration, benediction, and the inevitable Paul VI Mass - in a wildly entertaining event ("O Banquete do Cordeiro", i.e. The Lamb's Banquet) organized by the Archdiocese of Saint Sebastian of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), with the presence of Archbishop Tempesta.

It is really thrilling: they use the Benedictine arrangement on the mensa, so perhaps this is the super-new liturgical movement. The event happened on June 19. (More pictures and tip: Fratres in Unum)

Important papal nominations

The Holy Father has named today, as mentioned here before, the new Prefect of Bishops (former Archbishop of Québec, Cardinal Ouellet), and the President of the new "Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization (former Rector of the Lateran University and former President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Archbishop Fisichella - indirectly corrected by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for the doctrinal confusion he generated regarding abortion, cf. The Recife Affair).

The Holy Father named the new Presidents of the Pontifical Academy for Life (Mons. Ignacio Carrasco de Paula) and of the Lateran University (Fr. Enrico dal Covolo, SDB), as well as others (see here).


It would seem that, with his novel doctrine on tolerating abortions in situations of "emotional distress", Archbishop Fisichella will have the utmost success in "new evangelization" efforts in cocktail parties and formal dinner events from Berlin to Paris, from London to New York, from Madrid to Buenos Aires. The new Pontifical Council is brought forth with a stain the size of Brazil... Auguri, monsignor Fisichella!

Pope formally announces new Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization

Pope Benedict announced the creation of a New Pontifical Council dedicated to the New Evangelization on Monday evening, during the Vespers service marking the vigil of the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.

Pope Benedict chose the Church the first great Christian missionary – St. Paul – to announce a new Pontifical Council dedicated to the evangelization of secularized Christian nations.

The Pope was celebrating the Vespers of the Vigil of the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul in the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. During his homily, he spoke of how his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, had urgently proclaimed a new evangelization, aimed at countries which had long before received the Gospel.

Pope Benedict said he received this legacy upon his own election to the Chair of Peter, and noted the challenges of the present time are mostly spiritual.

He said he wanted to give the new Pontifical Council the task of promoting a renewed evangelization in countries with deep Christian roots which are now experiencing a sense of the “eclipse of God”, and becoming increasingly secularized.

He said this situation presents a challenge in finding the appropriate means in which to revive the perennial truth of the Gospel of Christ.
The initial job of the new Council should be a crash course for some Bishops, who need to be "re-evangelized" first...

The Pope and the Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna
or... Stop plotting the next conclave: this Pope is very much alive

2. Vatican Information Service translation:

The Holy See Press Office released the following communique early this afternoon:

"(1) The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Christoph Schonborn O.P., archbishop of Vienna and president of the Austrian Episcopal Conference. The cardinal had asked to meet the Supreme Pontiff personally in order to report on the current situation of the Church in Austria. In particular, Cardinal Schonborn wished to clarify the exact meaning of his recent declarations concerning some aspects of current ecclesiastical discipline, and certain of his judgements regarding positions adopted by the Secretariat of State - and in particular by the then Secretary of State of Pope John Paul II - concerning the late Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, archbishop of Vienna from 1986 to 1995.

"(2) Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, and Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. were subsequently invited to join the meeting.

"In the second part of the audience certain widespread misunderstandings were clarified and resolved, misunderstandings deriving partly from certain statements of Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, who expressed his displeasure at the interpretations given to his words.

"In particular:

"(a) It must be reiterated that, in the Church, when accusations are made against a cardinal, competency falls exclusively to the Pope; other parties may have a consultative function, while always maintaining due respect for persons.

"(b) The word 'chiacchiericcio' (gossip) was erroneously interpreted as disrespectful to the victims of sexual abuse, towards whom Cardinal Angelo Sodano nourishes the same feelings of compassion, and of condemnation of evil, as expressed on various occasions by the Holy Father. That word, pronounced during his Easter address to Pope Benedict XVI, was taken literally from the pontifical homily of Palm Sunday and referred to the "courage that does not let itself be intimidated by the gossip of prevalent opinions".

"(3) The Holy Father, recalling with great affection his own pastoral trip to Austria, via Cardinal Christoph Schonborn sends his greetings and encouragement to the Church in Austria, and to her pastors, entrusting the journey to renewed ecclesial communion to the celestial protection of the Blessed Virgin, so venerated at Mariazell".

Portuguese Bishop: OK with men who "live" with other men;
for artificial contraception

"Progressive" Bishops attack again. Let the Belgian collapse be a warning: there is no innocence or naivety in anything that "Progressive" Bishops do or say. And, particularly when they are so nonchalant and shameless about certain matters, the signs of grave problems in their dioceses and nations are clear. Rome should act before grave things come out, and not express sympathy for the hierarchy when the result of their behavior leads to an inevitable humiliation of the hierarchy.

Honestly: is there anything more ridiculous than a shameless old man who thinks he is "hip"?

[Excerpts of the interview granted by the Bishop for the Armed Forces (Military Ordinariate) of Portugal, Januário Torgal Ferreira, to Portuguese website i-online and published yesterday. (Tip: JSarto)]

The Church is usually a little inflexible in such matters... [of culture]

What I do think, then, is that there is a group of people, and I say it respectfully, who have become perfectly illiterate, filled with guilt, malice, sensuality, almost castrated. Whoever knows the world, and loves it, looks at it in a clean and happy way. And I give thanks to life, and to the educators I had, for looking to the world in a guiltless and uninhibited way. It is as when people tell me: "Oh...[sic] you go to the beach and to the pool in trunks." And then? What is the problem? I am a citizen like everyone else!

But people have told you that?

Not directly. But people see me in the beach. Let us imagine the following situation: "So, you were there lying down, next to a topless lady?" And then? What is the matter? Only a pervert goes to the beach and thinks about these things. Malice is often in the way one faces the world. And there you see where this conversation has led...[sic] [laughter]

[On the recently-approved Portuguese law extending the concept of marriage to same-sex couples.]
To me, independently of the content - I do not agree with the notion of [same-sex] marriage -, I do agree with and accept a man who lives with a man, and a woman who lives with a woman.

And this does not shock you?

Obviously not. The attitude I must keep is one of respectability.

The Church welcomes homosexuals, in fact. As long as they do not practice their homosexuality...

It is certain that a homosexual couple is not theoretical, isn't it? And affections are translated through this practice, through this psycho-affective fusion of mysterious unity that is the human being.[*]

The Church must understand this?

She must understand it. But not sanctify it - because love is, for the Church, a sacrament, matrimony. This is a very complex matter, which must be very well understood. And no institution may say that it accepts it or does not accept it. Each case is a [particular] case.


But you must surely have received complaints for speaking about things you shouldn't have...

Yes. From people who disagree with my ideas. I receive so many nasty letters! One day, I will publish them all! I don't care, naturally, that there are positions different from my own. What upsets me is that people distort what I defend or decide to use insult and gratuitous aggression.

And from within the Church?

I have been warned once or twice.

Regarding what?

Family planning, for instance. But I still keep thinking what I thought before, and to say what I said before. Which proves that, from my part, that is not any hostility at all. There is a great communion, and love for the Church, and I am convinced, by my pastoral experience, that that which I defend will soon be a reality. I do not accept the dogmatism of natural methods. People often do not wish to be realistic. But what matters most is that there continues to be a great dialogue, because truth is never possessed in full.
[* RORATE note: one of the most euphemistic definitions of sodomy we have ever read.] Bishop J.T.Ferreira, 72, was named by Pope John Paul II Auxiliary Bishop for the Armed Forces, in 1989, and Bishop for the Armed Forces, in 2001.

Message of the Holy Father

To the dear Brother,

Abp. André Joseph Léonard,

Archbishop of Mechlin-Brussels,

President of the Belgian Episcopal Conference

I wish to express to you, dear Brother in the Episcopate, as well as to all Bishops of Belgium, my closeness and my solidarity in this moment of sadness, in which, with certain surprising and deplorable methods, searches were carried out in Mechlin Cathedral and in places where the Belgian Episcopate were assembled in plenary session. During that meeting, aspects related to the abuse of minors by members of the clergy were to have been treated, among other things. I have myself repeated numerous times that these grave facts should be treated by the civil order and by the canonical order in reciprocal respect for the specificity and autonomy of each one. In this sense, I wish that justice will follow its course, ensuring the rights of persons and institutions, in respect for victims, with the recognition, without prejudices, of those who wish to collaborate with it and with the refusal of everything that could darken the noble duties that are ascribed to it.

Assuring you that I daily accompany you in prayer for the path of the Church in Belgium, I gladly send you an affectuous Apostolic Benediction.

Vatican City, June 27, 2010.


I am shocked! Shocked, I say!

"Cardinal Danneels is seriously shocked "

Cardinal Godfried Danneels remains very shocked after the [Police] raid at his home at Varkensstraat, the archbishop's palace, and the cathedral.

"The cardinal is only human. He is a very hard worker. He is a man who has had a very experienced life, and always [lived in a] very quiet [manner]. ... I can assure you that the cardinal had envisioned his retirement very differently," said his spokesman Hans Geybels. []
He had probably envisioned his retirement in Castel Gandolfo...

Anyway, is he more shocked than, for instance, the people of Bruges when they found out earlier this year that their Bishop and Danneels's protegé and major ally, Roger Vangheluwe, was a pedophile and had abused, among others, his own nephew?

Permanent Holy See Representative in Vietnam

Good news for the liberty and peace of the Church in Vietnam, as a quasi-Nuncio for that nation ("a non-resident Representative of the Holy See") will be appointed by the Pope shortly.

Thank you, Cardinal Danneels - 2

Flemish daily De Standaard has a curious article (in Dutch) on the search led by police authorities in the crypt of the great Cathedral of the Primate of the Low Countries, Sint-Romboutskathedraal, in Mechlin, Flanders (which would be comic, if not for the tragic circumstances which led to the search).

The Cathedral guide himself did not think there was much of a desecration of the crypt. Two tiny holes were drilled and two small cameras were inserted in the crypt, in which the remains of Council leader Cardinal Suenens are buried. Nothing of interest was found, so the crypt was left otherwise untouched.

Then, the investigators turned to the tomb of Cardinal Mercier (the Ecumenist), also in Saint Rumbold's, which seemed to have had some recent works done to it. It was so tightly shut that they were not able to find any way to verify if there was anything of interest in it, and left it alone.

Appeal: Catholics in Long Island and in the Tri-State Area

From a reader:
We are making an urgent appeal for prayers that our parish Latin Mass will not be eliminated in the coming weeks. Msgr. James Lisante, our pastor, informed us at a meeting yesterday that he is leaning heavily towards replacing the weekly Sunday 1:30 p.m. parish Latin Mass with an "English Mass." He cited, among other reasons for this substitution, low attendance and poor collections.

The weekly Sunday Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Massapequa Park was established by the former pastor, Fr. Robert Mason, in September of 2007, immediately after Summorum Pontificum was issued. Two years ago when Fr. Mason retired, it was moved from a morning time slot to 1:30 in the afternoon, but has maintained a consistent attendance of between 75-100 people every week for three years. The current pastor was concerned by the $400 average weekly collection, he told us yesterday, which the business manager (present at yesterday's meeting to discuss the future of the Mass) claims is the lowest collection every week.

We are asking for prayers for our pastor, Msgr. James Lisante, as he makes this decision, and for the Bishop of Rockville Center, Bishop William Murphy. If you would like to call, urging them to please preserve this important diocesan Latin Mass, the contact numbers for both are below:

1-516-541-3270 (Our Lady of Lourdes Rectory)

1-516-678-5800 (Diocese of Rockville Centre Chancery)

Priestly meeting in Brazil

Three bishops, including Bishop Fernando Rifan, and almost three dozen priests went to the meeting of priests for the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite last week in the diocese of Garanhuns (Northeastern Brazil - some pictures are available here). Yearly meetings will be held, with the next one scheduled for 2011 in Rio de Janeiro, mentioned in the letter sent by the participants to the Holy Father as as response to the encouraging letter Cardinal Levada had sent them (both letters in Portuguese).

Thank you, Cardinal Danneels!

What utter humiliation! Poor new Archbishop Léonard certainly did not deserve this "gift" from the past administration. From the BBC:

Belgian authorities have raided the headquarters of the Belgian Catholic Church during an investigation into child sex abuse claims.

A spokesman for the Brussels prosecutors' office confirmed that the palace of the Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels had been sealed off.

Police have also raided the home of retired Archbishop Godfried Danneels.

Belgium is one of several countries in which a stream of abuse claims have shaken the Roman Catholic Church.

A prosecutors' spokesman told AFP news agency that prosecutors had "been informed of accusations denouncing abuse of minors committed by a certain number of Church figures".

An inquiry into child sex abuse in the Catholic Church in Belgium has been running for several years.
Liberal Bishops: a never-ending gift to the Church (even after retirement)!

UPDATE: The Brussels Journal adds that the search included the crypt of Mechlin Cathedral (the historic main Cathedral of the Primate of the Low Countries), and also the following:
Since the revelation in April that Cardinal Danneels’s close friend and collaborator, Mgr Roger Vangheluwe, the Bishop of Bruges, had been a practicing pedophile throughout, and even before, his career as a bishop, victims have gained confidence that they will be taken seriously, and complaints have been pouring in, both to the courts and to the extra-judicial investigation committee of the archdiocese. The new archbishop Mgr. André-Joseph Léonard, has urged victims to take their case to the courts.
The illustrated testimony of Dr. Alexandra Colen (homeschooling mother and Member of the Belgian Parliament for Antwerp) on Catholic life during the reign of Cardinal Danneels is just too shocking (BEWARE: STRONG CONTENT, ABSOLUTELY UNSUITABLE FOR CHILDREN OR YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN). Caesar is the instrument of a justice that the hierarchy in Belgium (and in Rome, at least during the last Pontificate) ceaselessly denied to children and parents. Countless bodies and millions of souls were abused. May Danneels, Vangheluwe, and their collaborators be brought to justice in this world - and may God have mercy on their souls.

Happy St. John's Day!

Fuit homo missus a Deo, cui nomen erat Ioannes.
Non erat ille lux, sed ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine.
Christ is the completion of the law for righteousness unto every one that believes. ... For this reason the blessed Baptist is brought forward, as one who had attained the foremost place in legal righteousness, and to a praise so far incomparable. And yet even thus he is ranked as less than one who is least: "for the least, He says, is greater than he in the kingdom of God." But the kingdom of God signifies, as we affirm, the grace that is by faith, by means of which we are accounted worthy of every blessing, and of the possession of the rich gifts which come from above from God. For it frees us from all blame; and makes us to be the sons of God, partakers of the Holy Ghost, and heirs of a heavenly inheritance. (St. Cyril of Alexandria, Sermon XXXVIII [Commentary on Luke])
A happy St. John's Day to all our readers, wishing you and yours joyful celebrations of Midsummer (or Midwinter, for those in the Southern Hemisphere)!


From French blog Osservatore Vaticano:
In the past year, the Pontifical Academy for Life has been under the spotlight - including the ambiguous support of its chairman, Archbishop "Rino" Fisichella, for "therapeutic" abortion, in the sordid and painful Recife affair (Brazil).

Increasingly persistent rumors tell us that Bishop Fisichella will soon leave his post. [Rorate adds: but perhaps moved upwards?... Hopefully not!]

Meanwhile, the Pope yesterday appointed several [new] members of the direction of the Academy ... .

A True Prince of the Church: Cardinal Siri

The website of the Institute of Christ the King has a new gem in its collection: a photo album of His Eminence Giuseppe Cardinal Siri. Most of the pictures apparently date to the post-Conciliar era and show how the Cardinal never abandoned pre-Conciliar prelatial dress and vestments for his liturgical functions. (He is quite aged in these photos. Furthermore, the PDF file on "Spoliations dans l'art liturgique", located in the page dedicated to some of the Cardinal's writings, notes that the picture of Cardinal Siri in winter cappa magna [with biretta in hand] that can be found in this page of the photo album, was taken during the celebration of the thirtieth anniversary of his cardinalate -- that would have been in 1983.)

There is also a page in the ICRSS website dedicated to some of the Cardinal's writings (translated into French).

Traditional Confirmations in Gabon

On June 5, 2010, His Excellency Basil Mve Engone, Archbishop of Libreville in Gabon, confirmed twenty-one youths and adults in the Institute of Christ the King's parish in his archdiocese.
Pictures can be found here. The American website of the ICRSS has an article here (h/t to one of our readers.)

Polish Bishops and the Traditional Latin Mass

The Polish Catholic website Nowy Ruch Liturgiczny has published an English-language article offering "an account demonstrating bishops, dates and occasions, and forms of participation or offering Masses according to Missale Romanum of the blessed John XXIII of 1962. The account includes celebrations across the country and bishops residing in Poland". The list runs from November 14, 1998 to May 23, 2010, Pentecost Sunday. (Magnificent pictures of the Solemn Pontifical Mass offered in Krakow on that day by Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek can be found here.)
Hopefully, similar lists can be compiled for all countries where at least one bishop has offered the TLM.

The Enthronement of a Greek Catholic Bishop

Enthronement of Milan Saslik as Eparch (Bishop) of Mukachevo of the Ruthenians on April 24, 2010. The videos were uploaded on Gloria TV only this month.

Part 1

 Part 2

H/t to ByzCath Forum.

Cardinal Ricard in the FSSP church in Bordeaux

On June 13, 2010, His Eminence Jean Pierre Cardinal Ricard, Archbishop of Bordeaux, confirmed several faithful according to the pre-Conciliar books in the FSSP church in his see city. More pictures can be found on Le Forum Catholique.


We really are so saddened by the comments we are forced to reject or delete, even in such a harmless post as the last one, on the 400th anniversary of the Douay-Rheims Bible.

Why all the bile? Why the bitterness? Why the sarcasm and intellectual arrogance that never end?

Comment threads are closed for all posts during the weekend, and existing comments will remain hidden during that period: a good moment for prayer and meditation.
Cum tacet, haud quidquam differt sapientibus amens:
Stultitiæ est index linguaque voxque suæ.
Ergo premat labia, digitoque silentia signet,
Et sese Pharium vertat in Harpocratem.
[Andrea Alciati, Emblemata]

Douay-Rheims, 400th anniversary

The overall translation of the Bible in English by the scholars of the English College in Douai was completed 400 years ago, in 1610, with the publication of the final volume of the Old Testament, 28 years after the publication of the New Testament (when the College was temporarily in Reims).

Our sincere gratitude to the holy men, from all nations of the British Isles, who, through several decades, accomplished this work for the Church. (And one question: is any celebration, seminar, or event taking place this year in commemoration of this anniversary?)

Reader suggestion (great for homeschoolers): History of the Douay Bible slideshow

"In the Eucharistic celebration we do not invent something"

The Holy Mass, celebrated in the respect of the liturgical norms and with a fitting appreciation of the richness of the signs and gestures, fosters and promotes the growth of Eucharistic faith. In the Eucharistic celebration we do not invent something, but we enter into a reality that precedes us, more than that, which embraces heaven and earth and, hence, also the past, the future and the present. This universal openness, this encounter with all the sons and daughters of God is the grandeur of the Eucharist: we go to meet the reality of God present in the body and blood of the Risen One among us. Hence, the liturgical prescriptions dictated by the Church are not external things, but express concretely this reality of the revelation of the body and blood of Christ and thus the prayer reveals the faith according to the ancient principle "lex orandi - lex credendi." And because of this we can say "the best catechesis on the Eucharist is the Eucharist itself well celebrated" (Benedict XVI, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Sacramentum Caritatis," No. 64). It is necessary that in the liturgy the transcendent dimension emerge with clarity, that of the mystery, of the encounter with the Divine, which also illumines and elevates the "horizontal," that is the bond of communion and of solidarity that exists between all those who belong to the Church. In fact, when the latter prevails, the beauty, profundity and importance of the mystery celebrated is fully understood. Dear brothers in the priesthood, to you the bishop has entrusted, on the day of your priestly Ordination, the task to preside over the Eucharist. Always have at heart the exercise of this mission: celebrate the divine mysteries with intense interior participation, so that the men and women of our City can be sanctified, put into contact with God, absolute truth and eternal love.

Benedict XVI
Address to the Ecclesial Convention of the Diocese of Rome
June 15, 2010

The picture is from the blog of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer.

Settled: It's Ouellet

After the problems that stood in the way of the designation of Cardinal Pell (Sydney), the Pope seems to have settled on the Primate of Canada, Cardinal Ouellet, as new Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops - one of the most consequential of all Roman Dicasteries. Vaticanist Andrea Tornielli reports (Il Giornale):

The change at the helm of the Congregation for Bishops has finally been decided: in the next few weeks, the name of the successor of Brescian Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, [who has been] at the leadership of the "factory" of Bishops for a decade. Unless there are improbable - though always possible - last minute surprises, the choice of the Pope is settled on Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Archbishop of Québec.

Training Conference for Priests at Downside Abbey (Somerset, England)

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

The conference will run from Tuesday 10 to Friday 13 August 2010 and will feature Traditional liturgies in Downside’s beautiful chapel together with a Gregorian Chant schola and polyphonic choir.

Expert tuition in the celebration of Mass in the Usus Antiquior will be provided on a small group basis. There will be tuition in Low Mass, Missa Cantata and Missa Solemnis and there will be streams for beginners and more advanced students. Tuition will also be given in the other sacraments and in Latin.

There will be opening and closing High Masses, daily Mass, Offices and Rosary. There will also be a closing Conference dinner with guest speaker.

The subsidised fee to participants is only £115.00 which includes all accommodation, meals and training materials. There are limited places and priests are asked to register as soon as possible.

Further details and registration forms can be obtained from the LMS office (Tel: 020 7404 7284, e mail: or from the conference organiser, Mr Paul Waddington (Tel: 01757 638027, e mail:

Running alongside the training for priests, the Society of St Tarcisius (the LMS’s newly-formed sodality for Traditional altar servers) will organise a residential training course for servers and MCs. Further details can be obtained as above.

Paul Waddington said, “This is the sixth training conference the LMS has organised and we are delighted to be going to Downside Abbey. The Pontifical Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei’ has recently praised our work which makes us more determined than ever to provide training to every priest in England and Wales who seeks to learn the Usus Antiquior.”

The Cathedral of Cordoba will not be shared with Muslims

The Cathedral of Cordoba, once the Great Mosque of Cordoba


The Bishop of Cordoba says that they will not share the cathedral, a former mosque, with Muslims.

The Bishop of Cordoba, Demetrio Fernandez, said today that "sharing" the Cathedral of Cordoba and former mosque that some Muslim groups want, "is a euphemism which means: get Catholics out of here". Faced with this and in an interview with Europa Press, Fernandez wanted to make clear that, "therefore, the answer to the question about sharing the Cathedral is that no, we're not, because this place has been a Catholic Church 16 centuries, while Muslims have been four and half centuries".

Consequently, the Catholic Church, which is the holder of the temple through the Cathedral Chapter of Córdoba, has "a good relationship with Muslims" and want to collaborate with those who profess Islam in constant search of "peace, justice and coexistence between peoples, but that is one thing and another, very different, you want to share the same temple for worship, which is not possible, either by Muslims or by Catholics".

Therefore, Christians, "which are those using the cathedral, have said they will not go unless they kick us out, because there has been 16 centuries of Christian worship in this place". In this regard, the bishop of Cordoba said "if I let in the Muslims pray in the Cathedral of Cordoba, it is equivalent to Catholics saying goodbye, and good night, it would be irresponsible".

Thus, in the argument for not sharing the use of the Cathedral of Cordoba in response to a fundamentalist position, Fernandez said that "there are things that are shared and others that are not, and the Cathedral of Cordoba is not shared with Muslims".

Meanwhile, Barcelona is poised to become the first major city in Spain to ban the Burqa in all public spaces

H/t Ad Orientem

In the Pope's own cathedral?

From Messa in Latino:

"The Church too must use the shepherd's rod"

"Your rod and your staff – they comfort me": the shepherd needs the rod as protection against savage beasts ready to pounce on the flock; against robbers looking for prey. Along with the rod there is the staff which gives support and helps to make difficult crossings. Both of these are likewise part of the Church’s ministry, of the priest’s ministry. The Church too must use the shepherd’s rod, the rod with which he protects the faith against those who falsify it, against currents which lead the flock astray. The use of the rod can actually be a service of love. Today we can see that it has nothing to do with love when conduct unworthy of the priestly life is tolerated. Nor does it have to do with love if heresy is allowed to spread and the faith twisted and chipped away, as if it were something that we ourselves had invented. As if it were no longer God’s gift, the precious pearl which we cannot let be taken from us. Even so, the rod must always become once again the shepherd’s staff – a staff which helps men and women to tread difficult paths and to follow the Lord.

Benedict XVI
Closing Mass of the Year for Priests
(The irony is that these words -- which can be quite useful against your local heretic -- were delivered in the same Mass where St. John Vianney was to have been proclaimed Patron of All Saints, a decision the Pope was forced to reverse at the last minute. CAP)

The Zapatero Government:
A horror story that never ends

Cerro de los Ángeles, Province of Madrid, 1936

After the approval of laws legalizing "express divorce" and abortion as a "right", on demand, and regardless of parental notification, the current Socialist government of Spain has urgent priorities (and, no, they are not new measures to rescue the Spanish Treasury from the brink of bankruptcy). Libertad Digital reports this Sunday:
... the Government has leaked to daily El País the draft of the Religious Liberty bill. ... It contains a total of 37 articles, among which are those related to several bans, selected by El País. According to this information, "religious symbols must not be displayed in public establishments and buildings, unless they are of artistic-historic, architectural, or cultural worth." ... "This means that, for instance, crucifixes will be removed from all public schools ... and from public buildings."

"Official acts and celebrations will not include religious ceremonies."
This Sunday, the Belgian elections should be a sign of the increasing support for independence in Flanders. The former Spanish Netherlands always had only one true unifying principle: a vigorous and firm Catholicism. The attempt to replace it with a mild Secular French identity under a very superficial Catholicity merely fostered resentment among the Dutch-speaking Flemish during the first century of the Belgian state. The vertiginous secularization of Belgian society following the Council has led to the inevitable result: Flemish Nationalism, of course, for, after the demise of their shared Catholic identity, what do Flemish and Walloons have in common? Flanders will in the end become independent - not now, but shortly.

The same will certainly happen in Spain, a diverse nation which was always held together by its festive and colorful, yet stern, Catholic identity. As the remains of Catholicism are expelled from the public square, the Flemish lesson will soon be learned. As the great Menéndez Pelayo famously said, "España será católica, o no será" ("Spain shall be Catholic, or shall not be.").

Spain ya no es, and a glorious chapter of the History of Christendom will soon come to an end.

The Blessing of Lilies in Honor of St. Anthony of Padua

Sacerdos superpelliceo et stola color albi indutus, lilia benedicturus dicit:

V. Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini.

R. Qui fecit caelum et terram.

V. Dominus vobiscum.

R. Et cum spiritu tuo.

Oremus. Deus, Creator et Conservator generis humani, sanctae puritatis amator, dator gratiae spiritualis, et largitor aeternae salutis, benedictione tua sancta bene + dic haec lilia, quae pro gratiis exsolvendis, in honorem sancti Antonii Confessoris tui supplices hodie tibi praesentamus, et petimus benedici. Infunde illis salutari signaculo sanctissimae + Crucis rorem coelestem. Tu benignissime, qui ea ad odoris suavitatem depellendasque infirmitates humano usui tribuisti, tali virtute reple et confirma; ut, quibuscumque morbis adhibita, seu in domibus locisque posita, vel cum devotione portata fuerint, intercedente eodem famulo tuo Antonio, fugent daemones, continentiam salutarem indant, languores avertant, tibique servientibus pacem et gratiam concilient. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. R. Amen.

(Translation of the Collect: O God, the Creator and Preserver of mankind, thou Who art the lover of holy purity, the giver of spritual grace, the dispenser of eternal salvation, bless + these lilies we bring on this day in thanksgiving to thee and in honour of Saint Anthony, thy Confessor. Pour out on them heavenly dew by the saving + sign of the most holy cross, O God of love! Thou hast endowed these lilies with delicious fragrance to be a comfort and help to those on their sickbeds. Wherefore, imbue them with so great strength that whether they are used in a home, in a sickroom, or carried about one's person, they may have power, through the intercession of Saint Anthony, to drive out evil spirits, to safeguard chastity, to turn away illness, and to bestow on thy servants peace and grace.)

Deinde aspergit lilia aqua benedicta interim dicens: Asperges me etc., ac postea subdit:

V. Ora pro nobis, beate Antoni.

R. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.

Oremus. Subveniat plebi tuae, quaesumus Domine, praeclari Confessoris tui beati Antonii devote et jugis deprecation: quae in praesenti nos tua gratia dignos efficiat, et in futuro gaudia donet aeterna. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. R. Amen.

(May the devout and constant intercession of Blessed Anthony, thy Confessor, come to our aid, we beseech thee, O Lord, that we may become of thy grace in this life, and merit everlasting joys in the next.)

His dicitis, lilia distribuit.

The life and work of Saint Anthony

This morning I would like to speak of another saint who belonged to the first generation of the Friars Minor: Anthony of Padua, or of Lisbon, as he is also called with reference to his native town. He is one of the most popular Saints in the whole Catholic Church, venerated not only in Padua, where a splendid Basilica has been built that contains his mortal remains, but also throughout the world. Dear to the faithful are the images and statues that portray him with the lily a symbol of his purity or with the Child Jesus in his arms, in memory of a miraculous apparition mentioned in several literary sources.

With his outstanding gifts of intelligence, balance, apostolic zeal and, primarily, mystic fervour, Anthony contributed significantly to the development of Franciscan spirituality.

He was born into a noble family in Lisbon in about 1195 and was baptized with the name of Fernando. He entered the Canons who followed the monastic Rule of St Augustine, first at St Vincent's Monastery in Lisbon and later at that of the Holy Cross in Coimbra, a renowned cultural centre in Portugal. He dedicated himself with interest and solicitude to the study of the Bible and of the Church Fathers, acquiring the theological knowledge that was to bear fruit in his teaching and preaching activities. The event that represented a decisive turning point on his life happened in Coimbra. It was there, in 1220, that the relics were exposed of the first five Franciscan missionaries who had gone to Morocco, where they had met with martyrdom. Their story inspired in young Fernando the desire to imitate them and to advance on the path of Christian perfection. Thus he asked to leave the Augustinian Canons to become a Friar Minor. His request was granted and, having taken the name of Anthony, he too set out for Morocco, but divine Providence disposed otherwise. After an illness he was obliged to return to Italy and, in 1221, participated in the famous "Chapter of the Mats" in Assisi, where he also met St Francis. He then lived for a period in complete concealment in a convent at Forlì in northern Italy, where the Lord called him to another mission. Invited, in somewhat casual circumstances, to preach on the occasion of a priestly ordination, he showed himself to be endowed with such knowledge and eloquence that the Superiors assigned him to preaching. Thus he embarked on apostolic work in Italy and France that was so intense and effective that it induced many people who had left the Church to retrace their footsteps. Anthony was also one of the first if not the first theology teachers of the Friars Minor. He began his teaching in Bologna with the blessing of St Francis who, recognizing Anthony's virtues, sent him a short letter that began with these words: "I would like you to teach the brethren theology". Anthony laid the foundations of Franciscan theology which, cultivated by other outstanding thinkers, was to reach its apex with St Bonaventure of Bagnoregio and Bl. Duns Scotus.

Having become Provincial Superior of the Friars Minor in northern Italy, he continued his ministry of preaching, alternating it with his office of governance. When his term as Provincial came to an end, he withdrew to a place near Padua where he had stayed on various other occasions. Barely a year later, he died at the city gates on 13 June 1231. Padua, which had welcomed him with affection and veneration in his lifetime, has always accorded him honour and devotion. Pope Gregory IX himself, having heard him preach, described him as the "Ark of the Testament" and subsequent to miracles brought about through his intercession canonized him in 1232, only a year after his death.

In the last period of his life, Anthony put in writing two cycles of "Sermons", entitled respectively "Sunday Sermons" and "Sermons on the Saints" destined for the Franciscan Order's preachers and teachers of theological studies. In these Sermons he commented on the texts of Scripture presented by the Liturgy, using the patristic and medieval interpretation of the four senses: the literal or historical, the allegorical or Christological, the tropological or moral, and the anagogical, which orients a person to eternal life. Today it has been rediscovered that these senses are dimensions of the one meaning of Sacred Scripture and that it is right to interpret Sacred Scripture by seeking the four dimensions of its words. St Anthony's sermons are theological and homiletical texts that echo the live preaching in which Anthony proposes a true and proper itinerary of Christian life. The richness of spiritual teaching contained in the "Sermons" was so great that in 1946 Venerable Pope Pius XII proclaimed Anthony a Doctor of the Church, attributing to him the title "Doctor Evangelicus", since the freshness and beauty of the Gospel emerge from these writings. We can still read them today with great spiritual profit.

In these Sermons St Anthony speaks of prayer as of a loving relationship that impels man to speak gently with the Lord, creating an ineffable joy that sweetly enfolds the soul in prayer. Anthony reminds us that prayer requires an atmosphere of silence, which does not mean distance from external noise but rather is an interior experience that aims to remove the distractions caused by a soul's anxieties, thereby creating silence in the soul itself. According to this prominent Franciscan Doctor's teaching, prayer is structured in four indispensable attitudes which in Anthony's Latin are defined as obsecratio, oratio, postulatio, gratiarum actio. We might translate them in the following manner. The first step in prayer is confidently opening one's heart to God; this is not merely accepting a word but opening one's heart to God's presence. Next, is speaking with him affectionately, seeing him present with oneself; then a very natural thing presenting our needs to him; and lastly, praising and thanking him.

In St Anthony's teaching on prayer we perceive one of the specific traits of the Franciscan theology that he founded: namely the role assigned to divine love which enters into the sphere of the affections, of the will and of the heart, and which is also the source from which flows a spiritual knowledge that surpasses all other knowledge. In fact, it is in loving that we come to know.

Anthony writes further: "Charity is the soul of faith, it gives it life; without love, faith dies" (Sermones Dominicales et Festivi II, Messagero, Padua 1979, p. 37).

It is only the prayerful soul that can progress in spiritual life: this is the privileged object of St Anthony's preaching. He is thoroughly familiar with the shortcomings of human nature, with our tendency to lapse into sin, which is why he continuously urges us to fight the inclination to avidity, pride and impurity; instead of practising the virtues of poverty and generosity, of humility and obedience, of chastity and of purity. At the beginning of the 13th century, in the context of the rebirth of the city and the flourishing of trade, the number of people who were insensitive to the needs of the poor increased. This is why on various occasions Anthony invites the faithful to think of the true riches, those of the heart, which make people good and merciful and permit them to lay up treasure in Heaven. "O rich people", he urged them, "befriend... the poor, welcome them into your homes: it will subsequently be they who receive you in the eternal tabernacles in which is the beauty of peace, the confidence of security and the opulent tranquillity of eternal satiety" (ibid., p. 29).

Is not this, dear friends, perhaps a very important teaching today too, when the financial crisis and serious economic inequalities impoverish many people and create conditions of poverty? In my Encyclical Caritas in Veritate I recall: "The economy needs ethics in order to function correctly not any ethics whatsoever, but an ethics which is people-centred" (n. 45).

Anthony, in the school of Francis, always put Christ at the centre of his life and thinking, of his action and of his preaching. This is another characteristic feature of Franciscan theology: Christocentrism. Franciscan theology willingly contemplates and invites others to contemplate the mysteries of the Lord's humanity, the man Jesus, and in a special way the mystery of the Nativity: God who made himself a Child and gave himself into our hands, a mystery that gives rise to sentiments of love and gratitude for divine goodness.

Not only the Nativity, a central point of Christ's love for humanity, but also the vision of the Crucified One inspired in Anthony thoughts of gratitude to God and esteem for the dignity of the human person, so that all believers and non-believers might find in the Crucified One and in his image a life-enriching meaning. St Anthony writes: "Christ who is your life is hanging before you, so that you may look at the Cross as in a mirror. There you will be able to know how mortal were your wounds, that no medicine other than the Blood of the Son of God could heal. If you look closely, you will be able to realize how great your human dignity and your value are.... Nowhere other than looking at himself in the mirror of the Cross can man better understand how much he is worth" (Sermones Dominicales et Festivi III, pp. 213-214).

In meditating on these words we are better able to understand the importance of the image of the Crucified One for our culture, for our humanity that is born from the Christian faith. Precisely by looking at the Crucified One we see, as St Anthony says, how great are the dignity and worth of the human being. At no other point can we understand how much the human person is worth, precisely because God makes us so important, considers us so important that, in his opinion, we are worthy of his suffering; thus all human dignity appears in the mirror of the Crucified One and our gazing upon him is ever a source of acknowledgement of human dignity.

Dear friends, may Anthony of Padua, so widely venerated by the faithful, intercede for the whole Church and especially for those who are dedicated to preaching; let us pray the Lord that he will help us learn a little of this art from St Anthony. May preachers, drawing inspiration from his example, be effective in their communication by taking pains to combine solid and sound doctrine with sincere and fervent devotion. In this Year for Priests, let us pray that priests and deacons will carry out with concern this ministry of the proclamation of the word of God, making it timely for the faithful, especially through liturgical homilies. May they effectively present the eternal beauty of Christ, just as Anthony recommended: "If you preach Jesus, he will melt hardened hearts; if you invoke him he will soften harsh temptations; if you think of him he will enlighten your mind; if you read of him he will satifsfy your intellect" (Sermones Dominicales et Festivi III, p. 59).
Benedict XVI
February 10, 2010