Rorate Caeli

Mass at the Altar of the Chair of Saint Peter
Vatican Basilica

So many people were present at the Pontifical Mass celebrated by Cardinal Brandmüller!
The Altar. Just a few short years ago, its more traditional predecessor was the victim of a heinous liturgical crime (remember our 2006 post "Saint Peter's: How does an altar disappear?"), somewhat corrected in 2008.

Heartfelt congratulations to the organizers of the Convegno and the Mass - many in Rome must know how numerous we are and that we are not going away. Ever.

"Et recordaberis cuncti itineris, per quod adduxit te Dominus Deus tuus quadraginta annis per desertum, ut affligeret te, atque tentaret, et nota fierent quæ in tuo animo versabantur, utrum custodires mandata illius, an non. ... Vestimentum tuum, quo operiebaris, nequaquam vetustate defecit, et pes tuus non est subtritus, en quadragesimus annus est: ut recogites in corde tuo, quia sicut erudit filium suum homo, sic Dominus Deus tuus erudivit te, ut custodias mandata Domini Dei tui, et ambules in viis ejus, et timeas eum." (Deut. viii, 2, 4-6) We are out of Sinai: God willing, we are not going back.

(Source and several other pictures and videos: J.P.Sonnen's  Orbis Catholicus)


  1. Where is the Pope? Why isnt he present to set an example to the bishops of the world?
    It would have been a great opportunity for a Pontifical Mass Coram Summo Pontifice

  2. H.H. did not show up, unfortunately.


  3. Anonymous3:43 PM


    How about appreciating the moment instead of using the occasion to attack the Holy Father. Can people stop whining like undisciplined children for even one day.

  4. Jack O'Malley4:10 PM

    Non solum dicta, Sanctitas, verum etiam acta! Recordabimur verba tua. Recordari et de gestis tuis volumus, in his de celebratione Veteris Ordinis a Summo Pontifice. Donum supremum fuerit Universae Ecclesiae.

  5. Anonymous4:12 PM

    I don't think it's the "whining of undisciplined children" to say that it's a quite strong statement that someone who celebrated this liturgy many times before becoming pope hasn't had anything to do with its public celebration since. Nor did his predecessor.

  6. Anonymous4:48 PM

    It is becoming an obvious "lacuna" that the Pope gives this freedom and allows St. Peter's to have this Mass offered, but has not one time even observed it as Pope. It is no longer an accident, but very clearly the decision of the Pope. One wonders why this is the case. J Brown

  7. Anonymous5:13 PM

    I offer an occasion when the Pope might first celebrate the TLM again: it will be the occasion when thee SSPX is received back in full communion with the Church. (NB: I have absolutely no connections at the Vatican.)

  8. Please, do not use that kind of language here.

  9. Please forgive what may appear as a very stupid question, but did this occur today, May 15th?

    I didn't see any specific date, other than your customary header date.

  10. Yes, Dan, this Mass took place this morning.

  11. Louis E.6:47 PM

    What of Cardinal Canizares Llovera as celebrant?

  12. Anonymous6:53 PM

    It is a bit like whining undisciplined children to demand to know everything that the father of the family has planned.

    Perhaps the Holy Father has the intention to offer the Mass at a certain point in time on his calendar -- should H.H. post his calendar on Facebook to satisfy Rorate Caeli readers?

    Whining is a reasonable term for much that transpires in Rorate Caeli's comment box.

  13. Anonymous7:04 PM

    You didn't like RipK's very legitimate questions and so dismissed them as whining in lieu of actually trying to answer.

    I am also curious as to why the Holy Father is MIA with regards to publicly celebrating or even being present for the TLM.

    It is odd given his MP and now UE. I've heard the "it would cause a revolt amongst the bishops" argument but I don't buy any of that.

  14. Anonymous7:09 PM

    Whiny, sure, if this were 2005. No, the Holy Father has reigned over six years. And to have even one 1962 Mass coram Pontifice is hardly something that takes six years to arrange. And his predecessor had the better part of two decades between Ecclesia Dei and his death. This isn't an "attack" on the Holy Father, now or then. It's merely the truth.

  15. Cathal8:11 PM

    RipK's comment, sadly, is the sort of thing that gives trads a bad name: snide, wholly divorced from reality, and pointless.

    In keeping with trads' well-earned reputation for competence and perspctive, it comes 48 hours after the Ecclesia Dei Commission issued what amounts to a blank check for those of us who have worked to advance the TLM for two decades and more.

  16. Anonymous8:11 PM

    The Holy Father was offering prayers for peace in Syria and Libya after the Regina Caeli. Is that OK with everyone? Or should he have his daily schedule approved by the angry fringe of the traditionalist movement?

  17. Anonymous8:12 PM

    Live the Truth in Charity. It is not the truth which is in question when focusing on the whining ... it is the lack of charity.

  18. Anonymous8:15 PM

    It brings tears to my eyes to see this Mass being offered in St. Peter's Basilica along with the outstanding polyphonic choir and know that our Holy Father saw fit not to celebrate it himself nor even to attend. Whatever his reason(s), it is a slap in the face to all who have been pleading with him to celebrate this Mass. Please, Holy Father, do not let us down. Remember your own words: whatever was once sacred for us remains sacred now.

    LtCol Paul E. Haley, USAF(Ret)

  19. Anonymous8:38 PM

    A papal Mass is extremely complicated to organize. According to specialists, the know-how is practically lost and a big training would be necessary for all the numerous persons involved.

    So the possiblity of organizing such a Mass is unlikely. I'm not learned enough to know if there is a way to have the pope acting liturgically with the Extraordinary Form.

    By the way popes never celebrate, if I'm correct, in the Eastern rites and nobody is questionning the Catholic Eastern Churches for not celebrating the same Mass as the pope.
    I'm even not sure if a pope, as pope, celebrated in the Ambrosian rite.

    I thought for a long time that the Papal Mass could be a big gesture and so could have bishops rally and change. However we can see in the past 6 years that the Papal Mass has little influence on every Sunday Novus Ordo Masses.
    I can tell that in Europe at least bishops and pastors cannot care less. They want their litnik celebrations. period.

    The true issue was stated by a cardinal named Joseph Ratzinger in 1998 : renewing the episcopate. Outside Northern America and Autralia (like under John Paul II), nearly nothing has been done to achieve this goal.

    This 3rd colloquium of Rome upon TLM is certainly a very positive event, the solemn Mass at St-Peter is also a positive sign and a blessing.
    That being said a tough Instruction would have been better and a drastic change in the episcopal nomination policy is what we urgently need.

    And when the revision of Novus Ordo is finally going to start ?


  20. Anonymous8:39 PM

    Absolutely beautiful! And the celebrant seems to have pontificated according to the Tridentine Rite before (or he has practices a lot the last days/ weeks)!

    I am so happy to see more and more Trid. Masses offered by prelates! And I hope to see the Holy Father Himself offering it too! When, that is in God's hands solely :)

    Ave Cor Mariae!
    Pax et Bonum!


  21. Pope or no Pope,
    this is an awesome thing!

  22. Anonymous8:59 PM

    "A papal Mass is extremely complicated to organize. According to specialists, the know-how is practically lost and a big training would be necessary for all the numerous persons involved."


    Jackie Kennedy seemed to pull off a repeat of Lincoln's funeral just fine, and that happened just once!

  23. We are indeed a miserable lot if we can not see at least the good in this, the dignity to which St Peter's was first constructed has been restored.

    The ultimate and full expression of the Catholic Liturgy has come to its most visible symbol of Christian unity which is St Peter's.

    Remember that ultimately this is mainly for God not for us.

  24. Anonymous9:37 PM

    We've heard over and over how impossible a papal Mass would be. While that's disputable in itself, it's also irrelevant. Mass can be offered coram Pontifice with far, far less effort. As for Eastern liturgies, John Paul celebrated them on several occasions.

  25. Anonymous10:17 PM

    None of you have gotten it!

    What happened today...the incredible, most spectacular event which happened today (I was fortunate to be present), was a dress rehearsal for the Pope if I ever saw one, in the sense that a trial run of sorts had to be held in order to gauge what would work and what would not work should the Supreme Pontiff decide to go ahead with the decision.

    Allocation of space and displacement of the current altar would have to take place before adding even greater complexity and ministers to the celebration coram
    Summo Pontfice.

  26. Thanks, Anonymous. Was Mons. G. Marini anywhere to be seen?


  27. Jack O'Malley11:49 PM

    Regarding the logistical complications of a public papal liturgy, I, too, think that argument is blatant hyperbole. Rome has always been superb at spectacles, both those pre-Petrine and post. I'm sure that a pontifical liturgy celebrated in St. Peter's is no more strenuous on the MC than, let us say, World Youth Day, or ... Assisi 3. Let us hope the previous Anonymous is correct.

    But as Pope Benedict (we all know which one I mean even without his mantissa) is a promoter of the new media, let him post a video on the Vatican website of himself offering a simple Low Mass in his private chapel. It would be the most downloaded thing on the site. After that he could do a Missa Sollemnis from the Sistine. The New Evangelization is in cyberspace. The Good Lord, were he on Earth today, would put the Sermon on the Mount on Youtube.

    It would be a great frustration (in its Latin sense) if we should never witness the author of Summorum Pontificum celebrating the Missa Vera as Summus Pontifex.

    (I'll take my hit on paragraph 19.)

  28. "What of Cardinal Canizares Llovera as celebrant?"

    Ah, Fr. Z gives the following explanation:

    "Card. Brandmueller wound up being celebrant for the Pontifical Mass at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica. Card. Canizares should have been the celebrant, but he had by accidentally (sic) scheduled a flight, apparently because he had been under the impression that this was going to be a Low Mass. (!!! - Pascal) Things happen."

  29. Anonymous4:18 AM

    Im sorry, but I for one get tired of how hard it would be for a Papal TLM, stop insulting our intelligence, try it Holy Father please.

  30. Anonymous4:21 AM

    The Pope must act now and say the TLM, this would at least give the S.S.P.X. some reason to return to Rome.

  31. Anonymous11:04 AM

    Poor excuse from Cardinal Lloverda!

  32. Anonymous2:34 PM

    Maybe what we need is a direct appeal to the Holy Father himself, signed by as many members as signed on to the Rosary Crusade, asking the Holy Father to give impetus to Universae Ecclesiae by celebrating a Pontifical Solemn Mass in the Extraordinary Form at the high altar in St. Peter's Basilica. Daily rosaries would be prayed by the members signing the petition for the success of the petition and the Holy Father's pontificate. Would Rorate Caeli spearhead such a petition?

    LtCol Paul E. Haley, USAF(Ret)

  33. Anonymous9:43 PM

    "Live the Truth in Charity. It is not the truth which is in question when focusing on the whining ... it is the lack of charity."

    Is that you Okie?

    "The Holy Father was offering prayers for peace in Syria and Libya after the Regina Caeli. Is that OK with everyone? Or should he have his daily schedule approved by the angry fringe of the traditionalist movement?"

    Well, now, I don't know. It would be nice if he consulted me from time to time...


  34. Anonymous12:51 AM

    The second of my two comments is meant in jest.

    Actually, I think this event quite wonderful and would have loved to have been there (but no one invited me). That it comes right on the heels of the document says a lot. Sometimes actions speak louder than words.


  35. Anonymous7:22 PM

    Marvelous. Some mild criticisms, however:

    1. The procession was a mess (they always are). When will Catholic Masters of Ceremonies ever learn to SPACE apart those in procession, so that processions stop looking like cattle calls? They all but step on top of each others' heels, causing unseemly congestion as they wait for those before them to genuflect and get out of the way. The Anglicans can do this right, the military can do this right, why can't Catholics (especially at St. Peter's)? Attention to ceremonial details is something we need to work on.

    2. Covering the ugly new table with an elaborate antependium doesn't hide the fact that it's very badly situated. Put the altar back where it belongs. As to the question of why a pre-Conciliar solemn papal Mass is never held at St. Peter's (apart from the obvious answer that the Mass was reformed since then), that table would make a mess of things if they ever tried to. Where it stands now is smack in the middle of the area that once served as the chancel for solemn Papal Masses. The Pope would have to walk around it every time he moved from the throne to the altar and back.

    3. The candlesticks are too short. Why the short candles?

  36. Anonymous7:42 PM

    "Jackie Kennedy seemed to pull off a repeat of Lincoln's funeral just fine, and that happened just once!"

    In the first place, Mrs. Kennedy did not authentically duplicate Lincoln's funeral (although she based JFK's funeral on Lincoln's); neither did she do everything single-handedly.

    In the second place, a pre-Conciliar solemn papal Mass was at least ten times as elaborate as the obsequies of a US president. That's really to compare apples to oranges.

    I wonder if there are any clergy still alive anymore who meaningfully participated in the last such ceremony to be held at St. Peter's in the early years of the reign of Pope Paul VI?

    I can't imagine there's anyone around anymore who knows how to correctly pull-off even one of the many ceremonial roles involved in such a Mass, much less anybody who would be able to coordinate everyone's role.

    Even if they wanted to pull one of those elaborate pre-Conciliar papal ceremonies off (which they evidently do not)who on earth would train all the participants? Nobody has the expertise, any longer. Nobody would remember how after 45 years.


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