Rorate Caeli

A roll call of Catholic stars

The Bollettino of the Holy See Press Office publishes today the names of the consultants named for the new Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization - the crème de la crème of the who's who of the upper crust of the Church of our days: they include the Vicar General of the Personal Prelature of the Opus Dei, Mons. Fernando Ocáriz, Kiko Argüello, the famous founder of the Neocatechumenate, Fr. Julián Carrión, President of Communion and Liberation, and stars of the Catholic sisterhood, such as Sister Sara Butler, Professor of Dogmatic Theology at Mundelein (known as a great defender of the Church's doctrine on female ordination, that should be recognized), and Sister Mary Lou Wirtz (right), President of the International Union of Superiors General.

Can't you just feel the new "New Springtime" arriving?


  1. Does this say anything about the supposed "brick by brick," "hermeneutic of continuity" mindset of Pope Benedict XVI?

  2. Waiting for Pope Pius XIII11:18 AM

    I'm sure as recently as 2005, Legionnaires of Christ and their founder would have been included.

  3. Brian, I think it says more about the schizophrenic foundation of a big tent mentality that those given to wishful thinking are mistaking for a brick by brick policy of a new interpretation to replace the old interpretation.

    Isn't it nice that this pontificate is clearing up all the post-VCII confusion?

  4. Van Knackular11:56 AM

    Hocus Opus

  5. Anonymous12:00 PM

    Hegel reigns in the Apostolic Palace

  6. Celestino12:13 PM

    Are we having another Benedict XVI bashing session? Hegel? Hocus? Schizophrenic? Marciel? With loyal traditionalists like this who needs sedevacantists? Bad show all.

  7. Anonymous12:22 PM

    It looks to me the Pope wants to have "a bit of everything", like a happy meal. But, very, very poor in nutritional values.
    This is what happens with the big umbrella mentality.

  8. Anonymous12:32 PM


    Exactly. I fear NC is somehow in a particularly bad mood today, and it shows.

  9. Anonymous1:14 PM

    Crisis? What Crisis? There is no crisis within the Catholic Church.

  10. Parson's Nose1:17 PM

    I would like to know if, in the history of the Church, there are any canonized saints from among the laity who publicly criticized the Pope?

    I'm trying to find some to justify the kind and style of comments on this page but I can't think of any.

  11. I am in a great mood, as almost always.

    Laus Deo semper!

  12. Waiting for Pope Pius XIII1:49 PM

    Parson's Nose:
    We do have St. Paul's rebuke of Pope Peter at Antioch.

    Also, St. Columban is said to have written the following to Pope Boniface IV, though I'm not sure how public it was at the time:

    “it is sorrow rather than conceit that obliges me to express to you in such a humble suggestion as befits me, that the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles on account of you, contending, as you are, on both sides. For I am pained, I confess, at the infamy brought upon the Chair of St. Peter… For it is a painful and lamentable thing if the Catholic Faith is not preserved in the Apostolic See. And that I may see it all (not to seem to flatter even yourself unduly) it is also a painful thing to reflect upon, that you… were not the first to come forward influenced by zeal for the faith… Let me urge you, my fathers and my own patrons, to dispel the confusion from the face of your sons and disciples who are confounded on your account; and what is still greater, that the cloud of suspicion may be removed from the chair of St. Peter… Now is the fault yours if you have gone astray from the true confidence and make void your first faith: your juniors deservedly resist you and deservedly refuse to communicate with you; until the memory of the wicked be effaced and consigned to oblivion.”

    Compared to St. Columban, I'd say we're being rather tame and charitable here.

  13. Monsignor Ocariz is a very serious theologian, who was also reputedly the chief draftsman for "Dominus Jesus". I have his book "Fundamental Theology" and it is very good.

    Also, a pretty highly-placed Opus Dei priest, after assuring me that I do not have a vocation to Opus Dei due to my being too "diffuse" (or, as another priest, a Legionary, puts it,I have tendencies to "ADD"--which doesn't stop me from being in Regnum Christi, though), and thus letting me off the hook, in a certain way, allowed as how he thought Msgr Ocariz is the front runner to be the next Prelate of Opus Dei unless he is picked for a permanent post in the Curia first. In my own imagination, I could see him being the next Prefect of CDF, for example.

  14. Waiting for Pope Pius XIII,

    Parson's Nose requested examples of saints who were laymen or laywomen criticising the Popes.

    Offhand I know of St. Catherine of Siena's criticisms, though she never engaged in the uninhibited pope-bashing common in certain traditionalist circles -- and anyway she was a religious and not a laywoman strictly speaking.

  15. Waiting for Pope Pius XIII1:54 PM


    Fair point, I did not read closely enough.

  16. "By their fruits ye shall know them"

  17. Anonymous2:33 PM

    Interesting that the three examples given in answer to Parsons Nose have not been lay people and more importantly have always directed their "criticisms" to the pope DIRECTLY. Also I seem to remember there is a question mark about St Peter's (in the Father's) and St Colombanus' (in Church history) "criticisms" and St Catherine addended to her prodding "Sweet Christ on Earth" (improvement on "Hegel? Hocus? Schizophrenic? Marciel? " no...?) Just my penniesworth. I cannot think of any layperson who is held in the repute of sanctity who went about saying this, that, and the other about a pope, its a good question. I've done plenty of it myself in my day and I am very sorry for it. God forgive me.

  18. About Saint Catherine; first, she WAS indeed a laywoman - she was a tertiary, and even if she were a religious, there is still no intermediary category between clerics and laymen. It is true that the harshest letters were sent by Benincasa to the Popes themselves, but their contents did not remain limited to them - they were surely discussed and known to all involved, including the papal courts, both in Avignon and later in Rome, involving both Gregory XI and Urban VI. There was no printing press at the time, and most of the letters were dictated, so they got as public as they could get.

    And she did not criticize the Pope only in the letters directed to him. In one of her famous letters to Blessed Raymond of Capua, she had no fear, for instance, of criticizing Gregory's "weakness".

    In any event, it is quite unfair to compare times in which almost nothing was recorded or public to our age in which almost everything that is done, said, or written can be seen, recorded, and made public. Moreover, including for reasons that involve the great difficulty in canonizing lay people who are not martyrs (no orders interested in this troublesome endeavor, for example - how many non-martyr, non-religious laymen have been canonized?...), it is much easier to find Bishops in that position, beginning, of course, with the apostle Saint Paul.

    Let me add that we should and must be respectful of our Holy Father and the Pastors of the Church - but this terrible confusion, including the widespread lack of respect and love that we find in the world and amongst ourselves, is also a serious byproduct of the deep, deep, crisis in which the Church finds herself. This terrible Passion of the Church is not something that merely happens "outside" our traditional Catholic concerns and lives, leaving us untouched, but it unfortunately leads to terrible misjudgements and great pain in our own lives.


  19. John McFarland2:53 PM

    Dear New Catholic,

    ...and as regards the liturgical new springtime, I offer this:

    Pope's 'reform of the reform' in liturgy to continue, cardinal says

    Cardinal Koch (CNS/Paul Haring)
    By John Thavis
    Catholic News Service

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI's easing of restrictions on use of the 1962 Roman Missal, known as the Tridentine rite, is just the first step in a "reform of the reform" in liturgy, the Vatican's top ecumenist said.

    The pope's long-term aim is not simply to allow the old and new rites to coexist, but to move toward a "common rite" that is shaped by the mutual enrichment of the two Mass forms, Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said May 14.

    In effect, the pope is launching a new liturgical reform movement, the cardinal said. Those who resist it, including "rigid" progressives, mistakenly view the Second Vatican Council as a rupture with the church's liturgical tradition, he said.

    Cardinal Koch made the remarks at a Rome conference on "Summorum Pontificum," Pope Benedict's 2007 apostolic letter that offered wider latitude for use of the Tridentine rite. The cardinal's text was published the same day by L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper.

    Cardinal Koch said Pope Benedict thinks the post-Vatican II liturgical changes have brought "many positive fruits" but also problems, including a focus on purely practical matters and a neglect of the paschal mystery in the Eucharistic celebration. The cardinal said it was legitimate to ask whether liturgical innovators had intentionally gone beyond the council's stated intentions.

    He said this explains why Pope Benedict has introduced a new reform movement, beginning with "Summorum Pontificum." The aim, he said, is to revisit Vatican II's teachings in liturgy and strengthen certain elements, including the Christological and sacrificial dimensions of the Mass.

    Cardinal Koch said "Summorum Pontificum" is "only the beginning of this new liturgical movement."

    "In fact, Pope Benedict knows well that, in the long term, we cannot stop at a coexistence between the ordinary form and the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, but that in the future the church naturally will once again need a common rite," he said.

    "However, because a new liturgical reform cannot be decided theoretically, but requires a process of growth and purification, the pope for the moment is underlining above all that the two forms of the Roman rite can and should enrich each other," he said.

    Cardinal Koch said those who oppose this new reform movement and see it as a step back from Vatican II lack a proper understanding of the post-Vatican II liturgical changes. As the pope has emphasized, Vatican II was not a break or rupture with tradition but part of an organic process of growth, he said.

    On the final day of the conference, participants attended a Mass celebrated according to the Tridentine rite at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter's Basilica. Cardinal Walter Brandmuller presided over the liturgy. It was the first time in several decades that the old rite was celebrated at the altar.


  20. John McFarland3:02 PM

    Hegel? Little bit of everything?

    The Hegelian dialectic assumes the development of a contradiction, and then the transcendence of that contradiction to a new level that both encompasses and goes beyond what went before.

    Where's the contradiction? There's nothing here but various shades of Newchurch.

    A little bit of everything?

    A little bit of everything Newchurch.

  21. Parson's Nose3:20 PM

    Yes NC, thank you for that. Also Anon 14:33.

    I think that writing criticism about the Pope is a dangerous thing. I too have done it Anon 14:33 and regret it.

    If as Our Lord says every word we utter will be weighed and judged with His Divine severity it should make us think seriously before we write anything. There is little comfort in going to hell with a lot of others.

    The Saints were slow to criticize the Pope I think. Some wrote strongly to him. We can do that in full submission to him. If we do write to him, we will be careful with our words and what we put our name to.

    How many will go to hell for their blog comments? Who can undo the comments they havwe written that could trigger grave sins in others (cursing, blasphemy, even dispair if their Fairth and Hope were low.)

    At every second of the clock, God can judge His anointed and call Him to Judgment; I think that He is the only one who can do it.

    If our spoken words will be judged in the severity of divine justice what of our written words that will be visible to souls for many years. They are our own written record against ourselves.

    I'm just a Parson's Nose by name who fears becoming the real thing in eternity.

  22. Opus Dei is not a product of rupture, but deeply consonant with Tradition. We are not Orthodox fossils; God does bring fresh perspective to his Church now and again....Opus Dei is as old and as new as the Gospels, said its Founder.

  23. Brian3:33 PM

    I asked the question: Does this say anything about the supposed "brick by brick," "hermeneutic of continuity" mindset of Pope Benedict XVI?

    Does asking this question count me amoung the "Pope bashers" who will be "weighed and judged with His Divine severity"?

    I pray not.

    Perhaps Celestino or Parson's Nose might be kind enough to respond to my original question.

  24. Anonymous4:29 PM

    I thought those who think that lay people should just shut up and put up hung out over at Fr. Z's blog.

  25. Pope Benedict XVI was the one we were waiting for; we thought.

    But, many of us forgot that when it came time for the first Indult, he was in favor of it due to Liturgical Pluralism, not as the first yellow brick rebuilding the road back to Tradition.

    "Far from regarding this "Indult" on the lines of a "restoration," he was it rather in the context of that "legitimate pluralism" which has been so stresssed by Vatican II and its interpreters." (Ratzinger Report. Page 124)

    Well,, who knows how to respond to that claim calmly?

    I do know that the first time the Vatican Two Bishops tasted the Bugnini Burgoo they vomited.

    On October 24, 1976, after having The Vatican serve-up this Burgoo to them, they voted 105 – 76 never to order this again.

    And then Bugnini/Pual VI shoved it down our throats.

    So, yeah, The New Mass was all about liturgical pluralism because the Pope told everyone else to eat shinola when it came to the Gregorian Rite.

  26. Johannes4:47 PM

    The simple fact is - without speaking his name once - that this list of individuals that is being put together for the "new evangelization" which has been so much spoken of by he-whose-actions-we-dare-not-discuss and his successor, is not at all what we might wish it was.

    Europe does need to be re-converted. It does not need female priests, heterodox catechesis and check-out girls who think, because they are drilled in it, they can attain the quality of sanctity that historically, traditionally, has been gained at great expense and constant effort and asceticism by few, because they pour money into the pockets of a Spanish prelature and have retreats every so often. Fossils - no. But it is the same narrow road and angvsta porta that the living must walk to Life Eternal. I have defended Opvs Dei when I was younger. I know them. Where the poor do not profit and they who aspire to sanctity are not seeking poverty - beware.

    It is another clear evidence of the distance between us and he-whom-I-am-not-naming-because-I-agreed-above-not-to - and equally of his nearest to those whom we carp and cut at freely because they are not bishops of Rome.

  27. Celestino4:52 PM

    @ Brian
    In my first comment I did not include you with the bashers.

    My second comment was deleted by the blog owner to whose better judgment I submit.

    Of course the "hermenutic of continuity" "brick by brick" still holds. The Holy Father has a great mind and firm purpose. The President of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, Archbishop Fisichella has the task of reawakening the faith in traditionally Christian parts of the world. That's his job. He will have had a big say in the team he is to work with. Let us see if he has success. Let us wait.

    But credit the bricks and mortar Pope's genius for erecting the Council's structure 'brick by brick': that is the beginning. BTW, Abp. Fisichella has said the old Mass, done TRM ordinations.

  28. Johannes4:56 PM


    The second half of my last sentence should read

    - and equally of his nearness (not nearest) to those whom we carp and cut at freely because they are not bishops of Rome.

  29. Anonymous5:03 PM

    I don't see New Catholic or Jordanes on the list. Did I miss it?


  30. Anonymous5:06 PM

    Every time I bring up St. Catherine or any other saint who criticized the popes, I am accused of equating myself with them.

    You can't win.


  31. Anonymous5:07 PM

    Parson's Nose

    What do you suggest that we do? Just trust that all is well and will be worked out in God's time?


  32. I don't see New Catholic or Jordanes on the list. Did I miss it?

    Good one, Delphina.

    If in some insane alternate universe I were asked to join this Pontifical Council, I'd decline with the greatest vehemence. Not just for my lack of qualification to serve on any Pontifical Council, and that I'd never join a club that would have me as a member, but because my own view is that it would be better that this particular council be disbanded.

  33. Parson's Nose5:30 PM

    Anonymous 16:29 -not a good line; you've just wasted a brick throwing it at me. Write positively. Say something honorable. I put together a statement that is Catholic in the most traditional sense. If I am wrong in what I say tell me where. Do not slink past muttering.

    Brian: you were not picked for the team, nor was I; perhaps a good thing. But they are OUR TEAM, we have to go with what we've got; or risk supporting the "other side".

    Benedict XVI is in the best position to know what to do next given the situation that he finds the Church in. I was happy with the Motu proprio 777; and the Instruction. Support the Boss since his mindset is beyond our judging. Do you know how many books he has read? Could you play chess with him? His 'mens' is beyond the likes of us. In answer to your question: What does it say about the mindset of Pope Benedict XVI, I think the answer might be:
    It says that he is beyond us and is doing more for the Church than we are doing so we should support him and pray for his projects. Part of the secret of the success he has had so far is in moving in unexpected ways. Keep watching and supporting, you can't go wrong to be with the Pope and you could go to hell laughing, mocking and bashing him as others seem to do so easily.

  34. Louis E.5:48 PM

    Woody,I already mentioned before that Prefect of the CDF (or its predecessor jobs) is a job almost never granted to someone not already a Cardinal for years.If Ocariz joins the Curia,it will be at a second,not first,rank position in a dicastery...he is not even a bishop!

  35. Anonymous5:49 PM

    LOL! This blog is even more bitter than usual the last couple of weeks.

  36. Anonymous5:50 PM

    Sister Sara Butler RENOUNCED her former errant position on ordination in 2007 in a well done paper. You need to be more careful in your reporting!

  37. Parson's Nose5:52 PM

    To Delphin
    "What do you suggest that we do? Just trust that all is well and will be worked out in God's time?"

    Not at all.

    Those who were picked have been hard workers.

    If you don't like it, get a blog and do the New Evangelization YOURSELF. You have a PC you have the means. Make a positive blog and do positive things. That way you will be supporting the Pope's Council. They might even call you to Rome for you outstanding blog-work. Since you mention St. Catherine of Sienna imitate her. But POSITIVE is the word to watch. Let the virtues shine from your blog to those in need of re-evangelisation. Every PC is a possible lampstand.
    Viva the blog of Delphina!
    Delphina of Sienna is a name yet to be written in the Book of Life!

    Excuse, if un-PC, a Parson's Nose intruding onto your PC monitor!

  38. Anonymous6:09 PM

    Gee, Parson, I was sincere in my comment and question. You don't have to be so flip.

    Maybe you better work on the charity yourself - you know, "love thy enemies".

    I am not smart enough to have a blog, nor do we have the financial means to do so even if I was smart enough. But thank you for your suggestion.

    Delphina of Siena (santo subito)

  39. Anonymous6:25 PM

    One more thing.

    I am short on virtue (don't possess any that I am aware of - my faith is a gift and I can't take any credit for that), and any blog I would have would only have my vices (and they are many) shining forth.


  40. John McFarland6:35 PM

    Dear Mr. Ortiz,

    For nearly 25 years I was a convinced if tepid cooperator of Opus Dei.

    Unfortunately, it is indeed a product of rupture.

    There is no "lay spirituality" in scripture or tradition. God's kingdom is not of this world. Lay spirituality is indeed a "fresh perspective"; but not a true one.

    So, assuming the accuracy of its founder's account of his foundational insight, the Work is as old and as new as October 2, 1928.

    That in 1930 the Lord gave Fr. Escriva his own personal meaning for "When I am raised up, I will draw all men to myself" -- the meaning being that the Work was called to lift up the world to Christ by its work in the world -- is in effect the revelation of (for the Work, at any rate) a gospel behind the Gospel.

    Another term for a gospel behind the gospel is gnosticism.

    For good measure, this gospel behind the gospel was delivered while Fr. Escriva was celebrating the Mass -- at the consecration, to be precise.

    In 2005 I gave the priest of the Work who gave me spiritual direction a list of criticisms of the Work that he said he would answer.

    He never has. Not that I'm at all surprised: it is tough to defend the indefensible.

  41. A Doubter6:48 PM

    Mr. McFarland,

    Can you direct me to resources, printed or online, that contain cogent, reasoned critiques of Opus Dei, whether in its structures, its principles, its spirituality, or what-have-you? I have a friend who is flirting with the organization, and I would like to provide him with materials that will at least give him an alternative, critical view.

  42. Parson's Nose7:02 PM

    To Delphina:

    Goodness, I didn't mean to say anything uncharitable and if I have been flippant it is against myself first, for I am but the Parson's Nose.

    But if I might dare, I would dare to disagree that you couldn't run a blog. It is not yourself that must shine forth, but the gift God has given you, your faith.

    You could put up pictures or prayers, quotes from the holy books and a few good thoughts of your own. I would click on your site!

    Even if you don't get called to Rome for the best blog award you would gain merits for your soul and eternity by being involved in the Church's mission of New Evangelization.

    That's better that just sitting around and having to join in the buzz sessions criticizing what others are doing. Even if your blog gets only a few hits a week, it will stand there like a beacon of brightness in the dark, helping to balance off the pornography and sinful sites with something far better. So let your light shine before men, Our Lord said. You've been commenting here for a long time. You could also manage to upload through blogger.

    Yes, santo subito, for Delphina of Siena; and may her light so shine before men, that they may see her good works and glorify her Father in heaven.

    Viva Delphina, with God's grace you could do it.

  43. Sister Sara Butler RENOUNCED her former errant position on ordination in 2007 in a well done paper. You need to be more careful in your reporting!

    On the contrary, you need to be more careful in your reading. What New Catholic said was:

    "Sister Sara Butler, Professor of Dogmatic Theology at Mundelein (known as a great defender of the Church's doctrine on female ordination, that should be recognized)"

    In other words: it should be recognized that Sister Sara Butler is a great defender of the Church's doctrine on female ordination. The Church's doctrine is that female ordination is impossible, and that is the doctrine of which Sister Sara Butler is a great defender.

  44. Johannes7:16 PM

    "Sister Sara Butler RENOUNCED her former errant position on ordination in 2007 in a well done paper. You need to be more careful in your reporting!"

    In any event - I do doubt an un-habited, over-educated, almost-a-feminist nun is going to do anything that shall lead to another conversion of Europe. Moreover, the fact that she once held such a view makes her being given such a position doubtful. Cvr? As well, she seems only to have put it aside as a scientist or philosopher sets aside a poor theory - I do not sense that there was much contrition or any penance for having put forward and defended such a view.

    A paper in retraction. A well-done paper. Perhaps if she put on a veil and took up a vigorous lifetime apostolate against those who support womens' ordination - I could see cause for giving her such a position. As it is - it just seems unusual and unneeded. There are better men for it.

  45. M. A.7:25 PM

    I am glad to know that Jesus Christ will be my judge, and not Parson's nose.

  46. Parson's Nose7:34 PM

    "There are better men for it."

    That may be true Joannes, but while the Parson's Nose has not been chosen, neither have you. So what is your reason for not having the job that, as you say "an un-habited, over-educated, almost-a-feminist nun" has got?

    Write to the Archbishop and tell him if you think that you are one of the better men for the job.

  47. Emilio7:46 PM

    I don't quite understand the sarcasm when you also include Opus Dei and Communion and Liberation on the list? This personal prelature and this ecclesial movement are not exactly the favorites of the left, or even the middle, to my knowledge.

  48. Nobody is attacking the Pope or being disloyal and the idea that silent loyalty in the face of such appointments is a mandatory act is highly questionable especially given that Pope Benedict XVI his own self, in his books, grants liberty of disagreement with his ideas about Jesus of Nazareth.

    So is it the case that one may be at liberty to disagree with the Pope and his books about Jesus of Nazareth but one may not disagree with the Pope about those chosen for the New Evangilisation All-Stars?

  49. Not much sarcasm, Emilio: this really is the heterogeneous "élite" of the Catholic Church in our age. Is this untrue?

  50. Mr. Ortiz,

    The Eastern Orthodox aren't "fossils." In Eastern Europe and Russia, the Orthodox Church has been very active in bringing their previously atheist countries back to their Christian heritage. This has entailed Orthodox bishops, priests, religious, and laypeople bringing many fresh perspectives to spreading the Gospel in society. Don't mistake a strong traditional praxis with an inability to use innovation in evangelization.

  51. New insertions into the TLM prefaces, readings, new saints and so on is the underhand manner in which the traditional liturgy is going to be unhinged for the hybridisation process already begun. The NO bishops will achieve the remainder by ignoring requests for traditional Masses to be said and by continuing threatened persecution for aspiring presbyters. May Almighty God help us when this pope passes away and we find a new liberal pontiff in his place. The hermeneutic of continuity will demand and living tradition abound.

  52. Anonymous9:54 PM


    "You've been commenting here for a long time. You could also manage to upload through blogger."

    Others here have been posting as long and longer.

    Did New Catholic and Jordanes put you up to this to get rid of me????? Keep me busy elsewhere so that they won't have to put up with me here?? If so, they should know that if Delphina goes, she takes the posters and readers of Rorate Coeli with her!!


    Disclaimer: The above is written in jest. Feel free to laugh.

  53. LeonG,

    Maybe a future liberal Pope will scrap the idea of merging the two missals. Cardinal Koch indicated that the ultimate purpose behind "mutual enrichment" was the crafting of a new "common rite" that would replace the current Novus Ordo. If this is correct, a future liberal Pope wouldn't want to abandon the Novus Ordo and could simply put attempts to mutually enrich the two missals indefinitely on hold.

  54. Mr. McFarland:

    I'm in no position to judge your experience of the Work. I'm sorry you don't care for it. Your comments, however, are heretical, as several, not just one, bishops of Rome, have given it approval since its early days. To say that a gnostic group would get Papal approval puts you, sadly, outside the purview of Roman Catholicism. Perhaps you're happy with that. I know I would revise my opinions--such as--this isn't for me, but neither are the Franciscans. It's a big Church.

    I guess you're also forgetting St. Thomas Aquinas' vision--yes, during Holy Mass, December 6, 1273, in which he saw something that made him tell his close friend and biographer that all his work seemed so much straw compared to his vision. Are you going to call St. Thomas a gnostic?

    No lay spirituality? I guess you're also forgetting St. Francis de Sales. (" "An Introduction to the Devout Life", a work intended to lead "Philothea", the soul living in the world, into the paths of devotion, that is to say, of true and solid piety. Every one should strive to become pious, and "it is an error, it is even a heresy", to hold that piety is incompatible with any state of life."--Catholic Encyclopedia)

    Surely, you can't deny that the laity exists? I seems absurd, once you grant them existence, to deny that a specific spirituality may be formulated for them, somewhat distinct from clerical or religious souls.

    As for the priest of the Work who never answered your objections, I can't speak to that either. Perhaps he was very busy--as most priests are--or perhaps he sensed that you really weren't interested in hearing what he had to say.

    I hope it was the former.

    With prayers,

  55. "Write positively. Say something honorable."

    Or what?

    I thought the thought police were hanging out over at Catholic Online forum.

  56. "There is no 'lay spirituality' in scripture or tradition. God's kingdom is not of this world. Lay spirituality is indeed a 'fresh perspective'; but not a true one."

    You couldn't be more wrong, and I'm afraid that in thinking this you have bought into the think of the 20th Century Liturgical Movement that posited something very similar. Such a position is the flip side of 20th century liberal clericalism.

    (Shameless self-promotion, but heh.)

  57. Adam,

    Point taken. However, I would be interested in knowing what the Orthodox position on the Pill, in vitro fertilization, etc. would be.

  58. John L12:12 AM

    All the nuts in one basket! not a bad idea. It will take up their time and energies, make them feel good, and interfere with their doing mischief.

    Mr. Ortiz, you assert:

    'I'm in no position to judge your experience of the Work. I'm sorry you don't care for it. Your comments, however, are heretical, as several, not just one, bishops of Rome, have given it approval since its early days. To say that a gnostic group would get Papal approval puts you, sadly, outside the purview of Roman Catholicism.'

    You do not know what heresy is and you do not know what Roman Catholicism is. Heresy is the denial of a divinely revealed truth. The merits of Opus Dei are not in any way divinely revealed. Roman Catholicism does not require anyone to hold that the actions of several popes in approving of some group are correct. I will make the obvious point that Fr.Maciel and his Legionaries were approved of by several popes. Catholicism does not involve a brainwashed submission to all the decisions of popes.

  59. Anonymous12:23 AM

    David Werling

    I thought they were at Catholic Answers Forum, no?


  60. "The subject-matter of both faith and heresy is, therefore, the deposit of the faith, that is, the sum total of truths revealed in Scripture and Tradition as proposed to our belief by the Church. The believer accepts the whole deposit as proposed by the Church; the heretic accepts only such parts of it as commend themselves to his own approval."--Catholioc Encylopedia

    Also:"It is also commonly and rightly held that the Church is infallible in the canonization of saints, that is to say, when canonization takes place according to the solemn process that has been followed since the ninth century. Mere beatification, however, as distinguished from canonization, is not held to be infallible, and in canonization itself the only fact that is infallibly determined is that the soul of the canonized saint departed in the state of grace and already enjoys the beatific vision."--Catholic Encylopedia

    I guess I missed the Canonization of Fr. Maciel.

    And, of course, without the "devil's advocate", reaching the truth about someone's life is impossible. Right.

    I am deeply sympathetic to Traditionalist Catholics, but I dearly wish they could figure out who their friends are.


  61. Anonymous2:12 AM

    @Mr. Ortiz:

    Perhaps you should read the article on Canonization in the Catholic Encyclopedia more thoroughly. I quote:

    "Theologians generally agree as to the fact of papal infallibility in this matter of canonization, but disagree as to the quality of certitude due to a papal decree in such matter. In the opinion of some it is of faith (Arriaga, De fide, disp. 9, p. 5, no 27); others hold that to refuse assent to such a judgment of the Holy See would be both impious and rash, as Francisco Suárez (De fide, disp. 5 p. 8, no 8); many more (and this is the general view) hold such a pronouncement to be theologically certain, not being of Divine Faith as its purport has not been immediately revealed, nor of ecclesiastical Faith as having thus far not been defined by the Church."

    I should also point out that the article mentions St. Thomas among the authorities who held the matter to be only a question of pious belief, rather than faith.

    Thus, while we should hold as certain that a canonized saint is in fact among the blessed, it is not a question of faith as such. Therefore, the most we could accuse a person who denies the blessedness of a given canonized saint is impiety and disobedience. An accusation of heresy is out of place.

    Furthermore, the mere fact of a person's canonization is not an infallible endorsement of their entire life's work. The canonization of Fr. Maciel does not assure us that Opus Dei is orthodox, only that, despite any failings in life, Fr. Maciel died in the state of grace and has now is now in Heaven.

  62. LOL: you are right, Mr. Werling, at 23:46.

  63. John L2:37 AM

    Mr. Ortiz; the question here is not whether St. Jose Maria Escriva is a saint, but whether the movement he founded is a good one. Denying the latter does not mean denying the former. Canonisation requires Catholics to believe that the individual canonised in in heaven enjoying the beatific vision; it does not commit them to approval of the things done by the saint on earth. The point about the Legionaries of Christ was that they were approved of by several popes; according to your claim, such approval is supposed to make anyone who does not accept papal approval of some group no longer a Roman Catholic. But that is obviously absurd; it would mean that the people who were abused by Maciel, and hence realised that his organisation was a sham, thereby ceased to be Roman Catholics.

  64. Anonymous4:05 AM

    New Catholic said, "About Saint Catherine ... even if she were a religious, there is still no intermediary category between clerics and laymen." NC is correct about current canon law. However, is this an innovation? I am ignorant, but it seems to me that there is a long tradition of considering professed monks and nuns "religious", not "lay". Louis

  65. Ok, Canonization is not a matter "of Divine Faith" strictly speaking, but my point was that when individuals set themselves up as a private magisterium and pronounce the CORE work and teaching of a Canonized Saint as gnostic, we have moved into non-Catholic territory. Fr. Maciel, of course, was not canonized. Sadly, quite the contrary. The approval of his organization did not include his personal life, nor laws binding his followers, which subsequently have been seen as unacceptable by the Magisterium.

    Fr. Maciel was not pushing heresy; he was, it seems, a seriously bad man.

    St. Josemaria's work was central to his life, and by canonizing him, and making the Work a prelature, the ordinary Magisterium is at work.

    Do all have to like, or even understand the Work? Nope.

    I just don't get why Trads have to condemn what they don't get or like, when that thing is clearly approved by the Church, and orthodox in its teaching.

  66. Anonymous3:39 PM

    "Can't you just feel the new "New Springtime" arriving?"

    No, but I sure can smell it.


  67. A very Conservative crew, I see.

    God bless their hearts.

  68. Anonymous5:07 PM

    Mr. Ortiz

    Since you seem to know a lot about St. Jose Maria, can you tell me if it is true that he faked insanity during the Spanish Civil War just so he could be safe?

    I am asking this question sincerely and not as a jab at either you or Opus Dei. It is something that I have read in a few books and have wondered if it is accurate.


  69. Anonymous8:06 PM

    I would like to know if, in the history of the Church, there are any canonized saints from among the laity who publicly criticized the Pope?

    I'm trying to find some to justify the kind and style of comments on this page but I can't think of any.

    19 May, 2011 13:17
    Church history is full of the harshest possible criticism and very public addressed to the whole Church by all kind of people including friars, priests, nuns, cardinals, lay people... popes : have a look on pope Adrian VI speeches. And in the Middle Ages or XVIth, they used strong words ! N.C. would pass for a peaceful lamb compared to Adrian VI diatribe ...

    To have such a secularized "nun" as a consultor is obviously and objectively a bad choice. This pope has many gifts but is lacking one which is important : picking up the right persons at the right place.
    In too many occasions, he is only rubber-stamping names suggested by various instances within the Church without weighing all the consequences.
    That being said there is no reason to be over-concerned by this new dicastery and even less by its consultors. The capacity of Abp Fisichella to reverse the trend of secularism in Europe is - let's say calmly - tending to zero.

    We all know that the liberal/neo-mod/linik type of cleric (or nun) and pastoral orientations are going nowhere. Stats are there for all who have eyes to see by themselves. Some are desperately trying to see through a ... thick blindfold.


  70. "Maybe a future liberal Pope will scrap the idea of merging the two missals..."

    You misunderstand - this is an excellent mechanism for usurping the TLM finally. I doubt if you and Koch are thinking along the same lines. A new common rite would also replace the TLM - this is how they rationalise. As I have stated many times before, dalmatics & facing the east to say Mass do not make a traditional papacy. It is only in the naive minds of those who fail to comprehend the nature of modernism.

  71. "The capacity of Abp Fisichella to reverse the trend of secularism in Europe is - let's say calmly - tending to zero."

    Well, Alsaticus, maybe his innovative defense of abortion in "difficult cases" will help bring many Europeans back to the Church, right? Perhaps it was all a plan for the New Evangelization even before this new Pontifical Council was even created! That would explain a lot.

    NC, the peaceful lamb

  72. John McFarland8:59 PM

    Dear Doubter,

    Here are a few suggestions for your friend.

    Look in the Crisis in the Church section of the Articles index on for "Opus Dei: A Strange Pastoral Phenomenon". What is to be made of the contrast between the treatment of Frs. Vallet and Escriva, and the role of the Work in the "liberalization" of Spain, are largely conjectural, although I wouldn't rule out that the author is right. The focus should be on the "theology" of Opus Dei.

    See also on, an anti-Opus Dei site, by a chap named Dennis Dubro, a former numerary, two pieces: "Government, Direction and Control in OD", and "Voluntaristic Obedience."

    There is also a book by a former woman numerary: Maria del Carmen Tapia, Beyond the Threshold: My Life in Opus Dei. There seem to be excerpts from the book on line; just google the author and title.

    Generally, Opus Dei has been fortunate in its critics. The anti-Work literature has mostly been dumb liberal scare copy (they whip themselves!), including much of the stuff from ODAN.

  73. As far as I know, St. Josemaria spent a few months hiding in an insane asylum during the worst years of the Spanish Civil War, when the communists were killing priests by the hundreds.

    Trusting ODAN on Opus Dei is like listening to a divorced person preach on the Sacrament of Marriage--there is a lot of damage there.

    The Work has plenty of people who are flawed sinners. That's not really news.

  74. Anonymous10:39 PM

    So you corrected your inaccurate implication that Sister Sara Butler was some kind of heretical appointment. Thank you.

    PLEASE... this entire blog is dangerously bound for sedevantism. Of course, you will not publish this comment.

    After all, you are "saving" us all from your perceived notion of heresy. SORRY, Give me Peter, not the cascading torrent of dissidents on the right.

  75. So you corrected your inaccurate implication that Sister Sara Butler was some kind of heretical appointment. Thank you.

    No, we did not correct any inaccurate implication, because there was no inaccurate implication. Rather, we corrected you for your lack of reading comprehension.

    Clearly you loathe this weblog, so we invite you to find something to do with your time that doesn't elicit such negative feelings and fulminations. A hobby perhaps.

  76. To have such a secularized "nun" as a consultor is obviously and objectively a bad choice. This pope has many gifts but is lacking one which is important : picking up the right persons at the right place.

    In too many occasions, he is only rubber-stamping names suggested by various instances within the Church without weighing all the consequences.

    How do we know that our Holy Father is not happy with the people that have been selected?

    Is it not possible that Pope Benedict XVI approved of the names and weighed the consequences and that the chosen consultants precisely embody our Holy Father’s vision for the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization?

  77. This is like speaking to a wall... CAN'T YOU READ???????????? BOTH comments were deleted, because we always said that Sister Butler was a DEFENDER of the CHURCH'S DOCTRINE, this was always in the post. Perhaps, as a friend, you could ask her to give you a lesson in reading comprehension.

    As for where she gives classes, that is the exact location given BY THE HOLY SEE in its NOMINATION DECREE. Go complain to the Holy See Press Office.

  78. Johannes5:22 PM

    ". . .I just don't get why Trads have to condemn what they don't get or like, when that thing is clearly approved by the Church, and orthodox in its teaching."

    And what of we who have been through Escriva's works and thought? Are familiar with the central ideals and practices of the prelature? Who have both once "gotten" it and liked it?

    What I do not understand is why some Catholics refuse to condemn clearly insidious and un-traditional ideas or movements just because they have had broad Roman approval and are so good as not to deny anything necessary to be believed for salvation - keeping well in mind that heresy is one of thousands of ways to sin mortally.

    Far from being daunted by approval by the last three bishops of Rome (whose private judgments - it is something hopeful - Catholics are less and less inclined to blindly follow) - I would mark that one could, in some time, compile a list of quotations of Escriva and set them against counter-quotations from -

    i) The Law and the Prophets. The Gospels. The Acts and the Epistles of the Apostles and the Apocalypse.

    ii) The fathers. Western and Eastern.

    iii) Holy bishops of Rome with an especial emphasis upon, but not limited to, the Magnii (Leo et Gregorivs) and those prior to the hegemony of Aristotelianism.

    iv) For good measure - from some of the greatest men of the High Middle Ages. Bernard Clairvaux, Thomas of Aquinas, Francis of Assisi, Dominic and ectera.

    v) For balance and an end - from the important Eastern Orthodox authors and gerontae and startsy.

    Hold fast to the faith you have received - not follow every innovation approved by men like Pavlvs VI and Ioannes Pavlvs II. It is a shame that we in the Western churches have become so poor for action that when the matter is purely practical - we let it pass. Sanctity and sin are, principally, in practice. To me approval of such organizations is as scandalous (and I who am little have the right to be scandalized) as approving a doctrine if not heretical - violently inimical to some part of our Faith.

    On lay spirituality - Francis de Sales, and others, strove to lead the laity to the sanctity available within the limits of their state. Escriva claims equality with those who are utterly committed for their whole lives, leaving and taking nothing for themselves, by a grotesteque bifurcation of the two main historical senses of the adjective and title - sanctvs. It is dangerous - it is wrong, even if your Mr. Ortiz do not get or like it.

  79. Johannes5:33 PM


    - The next to last sentence should read " a grotesque amalgamation of the two main historical senses of and ectera.

    Wrong big word.

    - The last sentence should read "It is dangerous - it is wrong, even if you Mr. Ortiz do not get or like it."

    3:32 am.

  80. Johannes,

    I honestly don't understand your comments. They appear incoherent.

    If you believe that proves you right, you have my sympathy.

  81. John McFarland8:02 PM

    Dear Mr. Ortiz,

    There is certainly a lot of malarkey about Opus Dei on the ODAN site.

    But Dennis Dubro's pieces are not malarkey. If he is making them up from the whole cloth, he is more accomplished a liar than any I've come across in my 66 years in this vale of tears.

    And his message is not primarily about bad people. It is about an obviously bad system.

    It is certainly true that apart from his strange theology and his strange organization, Msgr. Escriva was rather traditional. But when it came to a choice between tradition and what he deemed the good of the Work, he made common cause with the progressives, claiming that the modernist-leaning equivocations of Chapter V of Lumen Gentium were the vindication of his own rather unclear notions of the universal call to prefection and the Work's role in the process.

    But once the Work was in the belly of the V2 revolution, it started to be digested. Nor could it resist, if it wanted the canonization of Msgr. Escriva, and the acceptance of the desired canonical status?

    So nowadays we have a three-quarters Jewish priest of the Work confessing in about as many words to dual loyalty, and excoriating pre-WW II Vatican policy regarding the Jews; another numerary priest giving an energetic (though perfectly incomprehensible) defense of the Neocats, and Russell Shaw sneering at "the Christology of 1910."

    And I prophesy that once the current prelate and Msgr. Ocariz, the last of the major figures of the Work to have known the Founder, are gone, it won't be long until the Work is just another of the suit-and-tie wing of the "movements," and just as modernist-Sillonist as the rest -- to the extent that it isn't already as modernist-Sillonist as the rest. Msgr. Ocariz's involvement in Dominus Jesus is strong evidence for the "already" hypothesis.

    Let me offer a story that epitomizes what I'm telling you. In my last months of involvement with the Work, I fished out of the bookshelf in the semi-center where I went for spiritual direction and confession, a battered paperback collection of the encyclicals of St.Pius X published in the 60s by Opus Dei's Philippines publishing arm (beg pardon, a Philippines publishing house run by members of the Work). When I mentioned it to my director, probably one of two or three Thomists left in the Work, he was very surprised.

  82. "Keep struggling, so that the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar really becomes the centre and the root of your interior life, and so your whole day will turn into an act of worship - an extension of the Mass you have attended and a preparation for the next. Your whole day will then be an act of worship that overflows in aspirations, visits to the Blessed Sacrament and the offering up of your professional work and your family life. (The Forge, 69)."--St. Josemaria Escriva


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