Rorate Caeli

"...o Dogma da Fé..."
Until when will Rome let Portuguese Bishops
get away with ignoring the motu proprio?

Rome, Madrid, Paris, Bern, Vienna, Berlin, Brussels, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, London, Edinburgh, Dublin, : what do all these cities have in common? 

They are the capital cities of great and historic nations in Western Europe; and they all have at least one Diocesan Traditional Mass at least every Sunday. 

Even the nations of Scandinavia, with their extremely small number of Catholics, have the Mass in the Extraordinary Form, as authorized by the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, at least a few times every month. That is the case in Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Oslo.

Is there any capital city missing in our list? Reykjavik, it seems... and Lisbon. Yes, the city in which Saint Anthony was born, where Saint Francis Xavier embarked in his lifelong journey to Asia...and thousands of other missionaries embarked to all corners of the Earth, where they celebrated the Traditional Mass, is a city with no Diocesan Traditional Mass.

Lisbon was conquered by the armies of the newly-created Kingdom of Portugal in 1147. Since 711 it had been a Moorish city. Yet one can say, with absolute certitude, that, even under the heavy hand of the Muslims and the hard tax of the Jizyah, there were more (many more) Traditional Masses in Lisbon than there are today! [Yes, according to the local variation of the Western Rites of the Latin Church, but absolutely recognizable as the Traditional Liturgy of the West.] 

The Moors were much, much, kinder to the Traditional Mass than the Portuguese Bishops of today. In the whole of Portugal there is today just one regular Mass in the Extraordinary Form, according to the Motu Proprio: as Our Lady would have it, it is in her town of Fatima, in the diocese of Leiria-Fatima.

This does not make the position of the Archbishop of Lisbon, the Cardinal-Patriarch, less untenable and absurd: we have been told, and have been able to confirm independently, that nuns in a small convent in the Rato neighborhood of the Portuguese Capital (we have been asked to refrain from naming them), were able to get a priest to celebrate the Traditional Mass for them in the first months of the Motu Proprio - until the Cardinal-Patriarch went personally to their house to demand that it be stopped. It seems that the Cardinal-Patriarch considers that one Novus Ordo Mass in Latin celebrated every Sunday in a church in the central area of his city is good enough for his conscience.

The scandal remains: in the long list of Western European capitals, Lisbon has "pride of place" - not a single diocesan Traditional Mass. Until when will Rome allow the Portuguese Bishops, in particular the Patriarch of Lisbon, to mock the attempt of the Holy Father to improve the liturgical life of the Church?
Some Portuguese men and women are trying to do more to revert this calamitous and scandalous situation; we ask all our readers to support the work of the recently-founded Una Voce Portugal. [Link sent by a reader; based on reader's report.] We will keep following this situation.


  1. Quousque tandem patiere, Roma, Episcopos inobedientes? Quam diu etiam contumacia ista eorum te non provocabit?

    ...I think Cicero can speak to us, at least stylistically, with regard to this matter. :P

    (I seriously couldn't think of anything else when I read the headline)

  2. VirgoPotens5:06 PM

    "In Portugal, the Faith will be preserved."

    Barely. Despite the best efforts of her bishops.

  3. "Rahnerians make up a large part of the Bishops who have the Church in their hands...The air we breathe to this day continues to be both defiled and defiling."

    Msgr. Gherardini

  4. Anonymous6:16 PM

    You can add to your list Warsaw, Prague, Budapest, Vilnius, Minsk, and even the Estonian capital, Talinn. And you can now add Zagreb.

    Missing from the list are Lisbon, Valletta, Ljubljana, among countries that are historically Catholic. But you are right: Portugal is the main exception. This year, the Cardinal Patriarch at Lisbon will turn 75 years old. He looks as if he needs a rest.


  5. Anonymous6:17 PM

    I apologise for writing "Mr. Michel" for Fr. Michel. This was not an insult on my part (obviously) but a typo. It has happened before too. I think that it is from constant letters written to people bearing the title Mr. My fingers just go to the M automatically.

    We should at this point, begin by asking our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary, to pray for Fr. Michel. Nothing is impossible to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and there is no prayer from the Immaculate Heart of Mary that is not heard by our Blessed Lord.


  6. Sad situation in Lisbon.

    BTW - do you suppose that the famous capital of Bohemia, Prague (with at least two TLMs every Sunday) is located in the Eastern Europe while Vienna is Western European city? :-)

  7. Anonymous7:16 PM

    In Lisbon we always have tradicional Mass given by FSSPX.

    Best Regards

    Pedro (Lisbon)

  8. Thank you, Mr. Perkins, I know we can always count on you (though I must remind you that I used the notion of "Western Europe" - one that can be, on the other hand, quite misleading: in many ways, Catholic Warsaw is more Western than Lutheran Reykjavik).

    Hello, Pedro: we speak here of Masses celebrated according to the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.

  9. Aemilius7:25 PM

    It is asked when this will end?? Perhaps this will end when a coetus of some form will decide to organize itself to the point where a protest is respectfully sent to the Pontifical Commission Eccleisa Dei in Rome. If the Commission recently and successfully confronted the Cardinal Archbishop of Zagreb, it will find no trouble in at least attempting to take on the Cardinal Patricarch of Lisbon. In this thread there was no mention of a formal request having been sent to Rome yet... if the faithful in Portugal are themselves interested in changing the situation, then they must make themselves heard. They should not expect this to come from their priests and especially not from their hierarchy... as happened in Spain, they should look to themselves and stand for their rights in the defense of their Patrimony. Horrible liturgical (and other kinds) of abuses run rampant in Portugal, but the Gregorian Rite is defiantly persecuted...pray for the Patriarch of Lisbon, if not for his change of heart, then for his prompt and happy retirement.

  10. Anonymous7:28 PM

    @ P.K.T.P. - There is no currently SP Masses in Vilnius and Minsk.


  11. You forgot to add another Eastern European capital, Bratislava in Slovakia. There is Traditional Sunday Mass however celebrated as Vigil Mass on Saturday evening in nearby village,Most. Currently only once a month.It seems there was pressure to eliminate regular celebration.

  12. Anonymous8:25 PM

    The members of Protridentina Malta have been asking for the TLM for a year now at their curia without any result. Our archbishop is blind.

  13. The Faith will always be preserved in Portugal as Our Blessed Lady said it would. To believe otherwise would be an absurdity. In spite of centuries of persecution The Faith remained alive in Japan and in other places where She has graced Her presence. The basic problem is that people take too literally Her words at Fatima. The continuation of The Faith in Portugal does not depend on renegade hierarchy there or disorientated presbyters. It depends on those who are true to The Faith. The Holy Rosary certainly helps while the SSPX fulfills its necessary role there also. We do not need backsliding bishops and rotten clergy to maintain us in The Faith.

  14. he turns 75 in a month, we'll be rid of him soon.

  15. Aemilius, you are right, in a sense, which is why we added a link to Una Voce Portugal at the end.

  16. Anonymous10:05 PM

    The Cardinal Patriarch recently said in an interview that he will stay in office for more two years. As for the SSPX, the Mass is celebrated in a very small chapel where only fit less than 30 persons.

    Antonio (Lisbon)

  17. Anonymous10:34 PM

    it's true that scandals (remember the attenpt to wreckovate Fatima and introduce interfaith celebrations there, even Rome had finally to remember the new Pombalian Church of Portugal) and this cardinal of Lisbon is putting a serious brake on new evangelization.

    To be honest it doesn't seem the trad movement in Portugal was very active so far. It's good news that a Una Voce association is built up now.

    May Our Lady of Fatima intercede for these good Catholics to revive the faith in this poor country...


  18. For those who are able to read portuguese, the story involving the small convent in Lisbon is already public and was made known here two years ago -

  19. Anon @ 22:34:

    "...and this cardinal of Lisbon is putting a serious brake on new evangelization."

    I believe it, and, again to quote from Msgr.Gherardini

    "[After VII a] missionary conception of the Church now freed from any form of or temptation to proselytism...this type of ecumenism, unfortunately, found a license to legitimacy from the spirit of assisi, thanks to the 'multi-religious' meeting celebrated there..."

    The fact that the Church has lost her Missionary-Spirit should give pause. The Spirit that gave rise to Saint Francis Xavier has been assumed into a spirit of relativism, syncratism and subjectivism--selfishness, which defines modern man, in many ways--who can deny it?

    The fact that the modern Church has NO, absolutely NO, missionary Spirit, should give us a clue that, really, only FSSPX retains that age-old zeal.

    That's what I love about Black Robe a movie about seventeenth century Jesuit Missionaries to native Canada. Those guys spilt their blood for the Faith; only if our modern Jesuists had as much chutzpah as those earlier Martyrs.

  20. Aemilius12:48 AM

    As a Spanish speaker I am able to read Portuguese, and my heart aches for Portugal after reading the link provided above. It occured to me that a Cardinal does not need the pemission of an Ordinary to offer Mass publically anywhere in the world... make Cardinal Policarpo eat his birreta and invite Cardinals Cañizares, Burke, or Castrillón to offer the Gregorian Rite there. It would boost any movement, would not take all that much to make reality, and Portugal loses very little from a declined invitation from them compared to what Portugal would gain, and the movement, from one which could be accepted. This is how the Mass at the National Shrine got underway, it was an unimaginable success and will see itself repeated again this April. My heart goes out to the brothers and sisters in Portugal who rightly long to worship according to their legitimate aspirations, and are given stones instead of loaves from their "Shepherds."

  21. Anonymous1:19 AM

    Dear New Catholic:

    I am not sure why I wrote "Western Europe". I had meant to write "Europe". It may be because I think if Lisbon as so Western geographically. To the other poster, I would say that Vienna and Prague are in Central rather than Eastern or Western Europe. But just 'Europe' will do.

    Even Minsk has an every-Sunday T.L.M. and even Talinn does--but Catholic Lisbon does not. That was my my point.


  22. Anonymous1:24 AM

    Dear Porys:

    All right, the one I mentioned at Minsk is actually at Vitebsk--still in Byelorussia, though.

    There is one at Vilnius according to Wikimissa but I'm not sure if it is still every Sunday.


  23. Anonymous1:30 AM

    I pray one day for the world that the Tridentine Mass will again become the norm and for no other reason than it is better for souls as an expression of the Catholic Faith. I have nothing against the Novus Ordo Mass but the Bishops' attitude toward protecting a Mass that needs improvement and in doing so stomp on another form of Mass is indecent. The need a lesson in humility, not from people, but from GOD.

  24. Anonymous5:06 AM

    Does Copenhagen have a weekly Mass?

    P Carrion

  25. Anonymous5:18 AM

    "The fact that the modern Church has NO, absolutely NO, missionary Spirit, should give us a clue that, really, only FSSPX retains that age-old zeal.."

    NO missionary spirit indeed! And that is but one wretched diminishment the NO sorrowfully has bequeathed to the Church, no doubt! Look at the numbers of bishops who even this day work overtime to frustrate any implementation of Summorum Pontificum, denying the very patrimony of the Roman Church, so in love are they with themselves in the abysmal garish glare of the NO. The Church has the NO alright. Let us hope it disappears soon. Very soon. The missionary zeal we all desire to see rekindled can only birth from the ancient Roman mass, nothing else, and most assuredly can it be reborn from a committee liturgy. God help us!

  26. J. Basil Damukaitis5:48 AM

    A point could be made when you stated that the Motu Proprio "authorized" the Old Mass.

    I think it is more of a clarification. Were it authorized, it would have been an indult.

    The pope in other writings seems to convey that the Old Mass was never, and can never be supressed.

    I think the MP is merely an acknowledgement of what is and has already been permitted by law, that a priest may celebrate unrestricted, the Gregorian Mass, reserving the New Order of Mass as the normative form of celebration.

    This is what canonists, particularly Bishop Doran or Rockford, IL believes.

  27. This is the 2007 Letter sent by José Cardinal Policarpo, Patriach of Lisboa, to all the Priests of the Lisbon Diocese which, among other things:

    - expressly forbids the celebration of the EF on sundays (n.º7);

    - expressly forbids the advertising of any "private" EF masses (n.º4).

    - states that any "public" EF masses must be aproved by the Cardinal (n.º4).

    - any "public" EF masses must be sang in Gregorian "with a minnimum of quality" otherwise they must not be celebrated (n.º5.2).

    - states that any public EF masses must be celebrated "versus populum" (n.º5.4).

    - states that any Priest taht does not know latin must not celebrate the EF (n.º5.1). Which is fine, execept that when Cardinal Policarpo was head of the major seminary of Lisbon he removed Latin from the syllabus (or should I say Plan of studies).

    Cardinal Policarpo states that this letter is "expressão da nossa comunhão obediente com o Santo Padre" ("an expression of Our obedient communion with the Holy Father").

  28. I'm ashamed !!! But I'm not astonished. In Portugal there is a lot of ignorance in religious matters. Looks like people live in the middle of a distant island. When I talk about the errors of post concilium Vatican II, people stare at me as I was saying an heresy, when I say that people should kneel to have Communion and never receive Our Lord in the hand, they find me outdated, when I talk about the amount of anglicans coming home, they open their mouth with amazement...And so on.
    Well... What I don't understand is how the Patriarch is so resistent to the will of the Pope. Can it be true that he stopped that convent to have the Traditional Mass?!
    That is too much.

  29. Anonymous2:35 PM

    What is amazing is these silly cardinals don't even realize that they are pawns of the devil. Their silly ideas which promote superficial "active participation" and all the other Vatican II stuff continues to tear the church down brick by brick. Pity the man who finds out too late who his real master is!

  30. Anonymous3:00 PM

    To Joao :

    very interesting, except the prohibition of advertising for private masses, these measures are all ... illicit and abuse of authority, in blunt contradiction with the law.

    As for Latin within the seminarian studies, it is naturally absolutely ... mandatory.

    We have here a typical kind, alas, of disobedient bishop, and a cardinal on top of it. Pius XI would have solved this question quick ...


  31. J. Basil: You are correct. The Tridentine Mass was NEVER abrogated.

    The greatest concern I see in the SP is when the Pope states that both Masses are mutually enriching. Yikes! Talk about creating confusion! The NO began and remains a dangerous aberration of the Roman Rite.

    No wonder the liberal Cardinals, Bishops, and Priests are trying to hang onto everything that's wrong in the NO. The phrase "mutually enriching" gives them permission to keep a business-as-usual attitude.

    I will pray for the nuns in the Rato neighborhood!

  32. Anonymous7:57 PM

    Mr. Carrion:

    No, Copenhapen does not have a weekly T.L.M. Last time I checked, it was on alternate Sundays. The Diocese of Stockholm has one but not in the City of Stockholm.


  33. Stéphane10:12 PM

    Helsinki too is missing. On the other hand it is the capital of a country where you hardly find any Catholics - granted.

  34. There has not been much action on the part of the Portuguese, sadly, because we are not a proactive people. There are many who want change, but few who want to sully their hands.

  35. Anonymous5:32 PM

    Thanks for this article, the scandal needs to be exposed.

    PKTP mentioned Valletta, the capital city of Malta.

    Malta is another country where irenicism and modernisticism (which I define as a tendency towards modernism, rather than modernism per se, as I do not purport to judge any individual of heresy) have been brewing potently since the late 1970s.

    It has been several years at least since a Maltese bishop has ever spoken publicly against contraception. In spite of this, the population still lines up in the tens of thousands for the successor of St Peter when he chances to visit the archipelago. I know that priests have been telling married couples since at least the late 1970s that in "their particular situation" contraception is "the only choice". No wonder then that Contraception is rampant in Malta, which now boasts one of the lowest birth rates in the EU.

    Malta (I am not sure about this, but heard it said) has one of the highest % of its population in the membership of the NCW of any Catholic population in the world, followed ever so closely by the Charismatics. The MUSEUM founded by St. "Dun" George is the only organization remotely linked to a traditional practice of the faith.

    Malta has had its fair share of paedophile priests, many more Maltese are co-habitating outside of marriage, and both Nationalist ("pro Church") and Labour youth are fast becoming more pro-same sex marriage, divorce and abortion. Maltese Catholicism was always prone to clericalism, and this has devasted the Church there since Vatican 2.

    Thanks to the hypocritical EU, Malta has been forced to absorb close to 5% of its total population over the past decade in Islamic "refugees" who show up in makeshift rafts and boats at her shores demanding social welfare. Italy and Germany chastise Malta if she ever attempts the most meagre assertion of her sovereignty by turning these refugees away for reasons of social stability. I know of one refugee who declared to a police officer (a close relative of mine)as his refugee status had been processed that "One day we will kick you off this island". Couple this with an incident in 2008 where about 100-150 Muslims gathered in a public promenade used by locals and tourists to enjoy a peaceful walk by the seaside at Sliema demanding they be allowed to conduct their 3pm prayers in public, and one is justified to be concerned for the future of Catholic demographics on Catholic Malta. Notch one more victory for the Maltese Freemasons.

    So while Catholics of faithful sensibilities look to Malta as some last bastion of Catholic hope, Malta is just a few years away, at most, from the precipice.

    In spite of this precarious situation there is not a single EF Mass, private or public, offered on either Malta or Gozo.

    While the Maltese bishops (both of them) remain ambivalent towards contraception and illegal Muslim immigration, to their credit, they do still publicly condemn divorce and abortion. Sodomy is a different matter, and one wonders if this is out of respect for modest speech or because they have alot to hide.

    The only true bastion of practicing Maltese Catholics appear to be well into their 60s, 70s and 80s, but even these are almost 100% sold hook, line and sinker on the Vatican 2 break on everything traditional in the Church, and many see even asking for an EF Mass as a sign of a wayward and disobedient spirit.

    May Our Lady of Ta'Pinu, who appeared on the Western-most point of the Maltese Archipelago, much like Our Lady of Fatima appeared on the Western-most point of Continental Europe, protect and save the Faith in Malta.

    Sincerely, Neophyte

  36. Anonymous7:03 PM

    Wow! No sooner did I write my piece, then I saw the following news on the Times of Malta for today:

    Divorce referendum in 6 months

    The referendum is being actively promoted even by Nationalists (pro-Churchers) and one MP who declared that as a Catholic he would resign if his party espoused a move to legalize divorce is being run through the ringers for placing his Catholic faith ahead of the "will of the electorate".

    I realize this is somewhat off topic here - we are meant to be bemoaning Portugal's loss of Faith - but one can legitimately argue that if little Catholic Malta can be lost how on earth can we expect Portugal to hold fast?

    Sincerely, Neophyte

  37. My 26 January, 2011 09:29 comment is wrong concerning the teaching of latin in the Lisbon Major Seminary.

    Cardinal Policarpo did not remove latin from the syllabus.



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