Rorate Caeli

Traditional Benedictine Monastery regularized in the Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama

It is the Monastery of Christ the King, in Cullman, Alabama, where two Benedictine brothers now have the company of Father James Isaacson and two brothers of the Canons Regular of Saint John Cantius.


  1. Anonymous8:32 PM

    Wasn't this the sedevacantist monastery? Where Bishop McKenna used to ordain?

  2. I get their monthly newsletter, and pray for their continued success! As I understand it, many brothers vacated when they learned the remainder were regularizing. Please pray for them, and, if possible, donate to them.

    Btw: some disparage their founder's belief in the exceptions to extra ecclesiam; eg baptism by desire and blood.

    I, for one, reject those exceptions, but so many in the Church, including St. Thomas, have accepted them, that one cannot call one a heretic, when such a one believes he is espousing true doctrine, just as one cannot sin without a knowledge that the practice is sinful.

    I truly believe that without water baptism, salvation is impossible; there is no such thing as a "virtual" baptism, any more than a virtual Eucharist, virtual anointing of the sick, or virtual marriage, etc. The whole idea of "baptism by desire" is ludicrous pandering to Karl Rahner-esque protestant and liberal sensibilities!

    Is God changing, or unchangeable? I think God through His Son pretty well cleared these issues in the Bible!

  3. May God be praised!

  4. Whenever a schism is ended, or divisions are healed, we are all one step closer towards the univeral reconciliation in Christ of the Apostolic pre-Reformation Churches.

  5. Anonymous10:41 PM

    It will be interesting to see if the Vatican thinks their orders are valid if they were ordained by "Bishop" McKenna

  6. Johnny Domer10:59 PM

    From the Sixth Session of the Council of Trent (my emphases):

    "Justification is a passing from the state in which man is born a son of the first Adam, to the state of grace and adoption of sons of God [through Jesus Christ]. After the promulgation of the gospel this passing cannot take place without the water of regeneration OR THE DESIRE FOR IT..."

    "If anyone says that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary for salvation, but that they are superfluous; and that men can, without the sacraments OR THE DESIRE FOR THEM, obtain the grace of justification by faith alone, although it is true that not all the sacraments are necessary for each individual: let him be anathema."

    The Council of Trent: a regular hotbed of Karl Rahner-esque Protestant and liberal sensibilities.

    To actually get to the point of the article: it's really wonderful that these monks are getting reconciled with the Church; let's hope they can get some new young priestly vocations asap.

  7. Thank you, Johnny Domer.

    Everyone: no further off-topic comments debating or denying the Catholic doctrine of baptism of desire will be approved.

  8. Anonymous1:20 AM

    Dear Jordanes:

    Thank you for disallowing further discussion on Baptism of Desire. The issue comes up from time to time and can cause serious and endless debates which only derail everything else. Sedevacantism falls into the same category.


  9. Anonymous1:22 AM

    Nine of the monks and all the nuns, not accepting this reconciliation, have decamped to Lafayette, Louisiana, to continue their independent existence.

    Only the two monks remain. So they are being joined with the two Canons from Chicago and the priest from the Bishop of Birmingham. I don't know if the Canons will stay. I is a Benedictine foundation.


  10. Anonymous1:27 AM

    On a related topic, as at today, the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem have begun every-Sunday Masses in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, embracing all of West Virginia. This restores every-Sunday Masses to that Diocese. They had begun a few years ago but were later rolled back.

    The Canons will also be hearing confessions and celebrating Solemn Vespers every Sunday, all at their new Priory in Charles Town, W. Va.

    I am sure that they will soon move in full time and offer daily Mass. At the moment, I believe that they need help financing that, and they would appreciate donantions.

    In other news, the Dicoese of Beaumont, Texas, will restore every-Sunday T.L.M.s on Sunday, 10th July. These will be the first regular T.L.M.s there since about 1970.

    Brick by brick as that Fr. Zed says.


  11. Anonymous1:43 AM

    I know the Canons of St. John Cantius very well and they will do all they can to help out.

  12. If I understand correctly, there were originally 11 monks and several nuns, and that all of them left save for two monks who were reconciled to Rome. My question is: why wasn't it the other way around? Did the two monks who were reconciled the ones who owned the property?

  13. I hope that EWTN broadcasts the TLM from this monastary soon.

  14. Anonymous3:00 AM

    Mr. Perkins,

    Would it be possible to present a list of dioceses in the United States that still lack an every Sunday Mass?

  15. LD.Schmidt3:49 AM

    Thank You Jordanes551

  16. Anonymous12:56 PM

    My family and I have known Father Abbot for over 20 years. Honestly, he would not have approved this move to join the diocese. Everyone who has known him would certainly agree. He didn't work hard all these years, doing what he did, to "throw the towel in" on his deathbed and join the diocese. People may disagree with his independence, but this is not what he wanted. :(

  17. Thank you for reporting this news, New Catholic.

  18. Fr Cekada is not the only individual unhappy with the news. Mr Thomas Drolesky (Christ or Chaos) is also not amused by the action.

    In, "The Southland's Bleeding," ("White Mansions" CD) the great Waylon Jennings sings, " these are such sad times, that we're all living in, for killing your brother is the mightiest sin.."and that line frequently pops into my mind when I read these stories which are illustrious of the captious time we live in.

    At any other time in our 2000+ year history, such an event would be welcomed by everyone . But not any longer.

    It seems that even what ought be a joyous event is now the occasion of recrimination and lamentation.

    No matter how bad the state of the Catholic Church appears to be in , how such a reconciliation can ever be the source of ill will is beyond me.

  19. Anonymous2:08 PM

    Father Cekada,

    I am confused. According to the Diocesan press release "following years of dicussions with the Bishops of Birmingham" could the other sede monks not known about the discussions if they had been going on for years? Were they really in the dark all this time?

  20. So, father Cekada, God should "now smash the walls of Christ the King Abbey down into the dust” and all the masses "offered for him(the Abbot) in the monastery he founded will be no Masses at all”.

    And all this for reconciling with the Only true Church founded by our Lord.

    I don´t know why they call us Trads extremists and sectarian!!

  21. \\My family and I have known Father Abbot for over 20 years.\\

    I met him nearly 30 years ago. I heard him give this very good point in his sermon: Humility, charity, forbearance, and not judging are traditional, too.

    Too bad that he was basically a Tridentine rite congregationalist, as he was functioning under the authority of NO bishop.

  22. I do not think that this monastery will survive in the long run. Who would want to join a monastery with two monks that did not receive formal benedictine training, when he could join Clear Creek or other monasteries?
    The have lost their "selling point" - their abbot, who has died, and their independent position, which they have given up.
    I wish them the best, but I have my doubts - unless they manage to establish a connection to an existing benedictine monastery, e.g. Le Barroux, and are populated from there.

  23. Anonymous4:23 PM

    The Canons Regular of St. John Canitius website has more details here:

    - YoungCatholicSTL

  24. Fine, Father Cekada, you had your say. No more Sedevacantist links here, please.

    If only one monk had been left, this regularization would already be cause for endless joy - with two, then it's double endless joy!


  25. Anonymous4:37 PM

    Fr. Cekada,

    What evidence do you have that the Bishop of Birmingham took over ownership of the monastery? It appears from the press release that he has only lifted the restiction on attending the chapel since the two monks have reconcilled.

  26. "If only one monk had been left, this regularization would already be cause for endless joy - with two, then it's double endless joy!"

    New Catholic,

  27. Johannes5:50 PM

    I second Jack's first comment and agree with New Catholic's last.

    Sedevacanists are schismatics. The only people who are going to be upset by this event are - schismatics, quasi(but-not-officially)-schismatics and those who sympathize but do not commit themselves to these Western schisms. Now it can become an actual Benedictine monastery under a lawfully consecrated bishop.

    Schism has never been right. Never, even in the worst circumstances (as an example - the Arian hegemony in the middle of the fourth century under and because of Constantius II) did any of the fathers separate and section themselves off with a few handfuls of adherents and call themselves "the true Church". Hippolytus did. Novatian did. The Donatists did. The Luciferians did.

    Disagree, challenge, admonish, even repudiate - or go to a different diocese (if you are a priest this is difficult) and place yourself under a better bishop, never schism. Re-read the epistles of the holy martyr Ignatius of Antioch if any one is in doubt of the necessity of being subject to their bishop.

    Christ, not us now, shall make His Church perfect on that Day. Sicvt pastor segregat oves ab haedis et statvet oves qvidem a dextris svis haedos avtem a sinistris.

  28. Anonymous7:07 PM

    No Johannes, sedevacantists are not mere schismatics. They are heretics. Even the schismatic Eastern churches recognize Benedict XVI as the Bishop of Rome. Nor are they 'Trads' since that would mean they are Catholic, which they are not.

  29. Anonymous7:36 PM

    Father Cekada wrote:
    The majority of the chapel members in Cullman were sedes, so they've lost the church they've been supporting over the years.

    "Lost the church..."? Isn't this a monastery? Monasteries are for monks; "chapel members" are there by permission, not by right.

    In any event, the monastery is still open to "chapel members," and they may continue to go to Mass there if they choose. The only thing keeping them from doing so is their private, unprovable opinions on what constitutes validity.

    - DJR

  30. Gratias8:56 PM

    This is cause for great joy. Like PKTP says, what counts is having weekly Sunday forma extraordinaria masses. This is one more. Alabama now has three. One more than the Archdiocese of Los Angeles with it's 5,000,000 baptized Catholics.

  31. Gratias, you mean three for the Diocese of Birmingham. Half of Alabama. The other half, the Archdiocese of Mobile, only has a monthly EF Mass. Moving from the latter to the former has been a great blessing.

    God Bless Bishop Baker!

  32. \\Who would want to join a monastery with two monks that did not receive formal benedictine training, when he could join Clear Creek or other monasteries?\\

    Maybe Clear Creek monastery and similiarly minded communities can help them?

    It wouldn't be the first time.

  33. Anonymous6:44 PM

    To the poster who asked about American dioceses and the Latin Mass.

    Including two Masses which are approved and coming soon, 150 of the 176 Latin dioceses now have the T.L.M. on an every-Sunday basis. The hold-outs are as follows:

    Las Vegas, Nevada;
    Pueblo, Colorado;
    Gallup, N.M.;
    Amarillo, Texas;
    Lubbock, Texas;
    San Angelo, Texas;
    Laredo, Texas;
    Grand Island, Nebr.;
    Helena, Montana;
    Great Falls – Billings, Mont.;
    Bismarck, N.D.;
    Superior, Wisc.;
    Duluth, Minn.;
    Crookston, Minn.;
    New Ulm, Minn.;
    Sioux City, Iowa (rolled back from every Sunday to one Su. per month);
    Jefferson City, Mo.;
    Saginaw, Mich.;
    Evansville, Ind.;
    Greensburg, Penn.;
    Steubenville, Ohio;
    Springfield, Mass.;
    Jackson, Miss.;
    Nashville, Tenn.;
    Shreveport, La.;
    Metropolitan Archdiocese of Mobile, Alabama.

    Even all three sees in Alaska have the T.L.M. every Sunday. Even the Diocese of Juneau, with only 5,000 subjects, has one.

  34. Anonymous6:57 PM

    I encourage bloggers here to go over to the latest thread on "The Anglo Catholic" blog. Miraculously, the moderators over there have approved the posts of a Mr. Hanlon, who exposes what Archbishop Collins and company are really up to re the TAC in Canada. I rather doubt that Mr. Hanlon’s very fair and logical posts will be tolerated for much longer. I expect the moderators there will see to it that the TAC’s enemies ‘pile on’ Mr. Hanlon and then he is ‘shut down’ when he tries to respond. I would ask the moderators here to welcome Mr. Hanlon on this blog should he find, in time, that he needs to come here to get his message across.

    What Mr. Hanlon shows is what I have been saying for some time. The difference is that he, being a TAC member (I believe) knows more about the details. He knows more about exactly how Archbishop Collins of Toronto and the Canadian Conference of Communist Bishops is trying to exclude the TAC.

    To make a long story short, the TAC is way too politically incorrect for the Maoist bishops of Canada, particularly those in Quebec. Consider that it came into existence in the 1970s owing to its opposition to the ordination of women. This makes it anathema to the Canadian bishops. They are using every dirty little trick in the book to suppress the TAC people as a influence in the new ordinariates.

    I really wonder what will happen in Canada. Almost all the incomers for a Canadian ordinariate are from the TAC, so it will prove difficult to put all these people under non-former-TAC leadership. I put nothing past Archbishop Collins and the Quebecker bishops standing behind him in the shadows. I’m guessing that they’ll try to say that there is not enough ‘interest’ in Canada for an ordinariate but some Canadian ‘groups’ could, of course, join the American one! Get ready for this ‘solution’. They’ll stop at nothing.


  35. Anonymous7:49 PM


    Efforts are underway to rectify the situation in the A. of Mobile. Archbishop Rodi has now at least signalled his willingsness to tolerate the T.L.M.

    Then we have Bishop Pepe of Las Vegas. His solution is to organise N.O. Masses in Latin to lure away the trads. Result? There is an active S.S.P.X parish there and two independent chapels.

    At St. Bridget Church in L.V., he has a ‘dear old religious priest’ say the N.O. Latin Mass. Now, it would be cruel to ask this dear old priest to offer the T.L.M. Why, we’re just lucky to have him doing what he’s doing! How blessed we are! Alleluia! Meanwhile, another priest in the same Parish says the T.L.M.s on First Fridays ….

    Las Vegas is by far the most populous American diocese not having the T.L.M. every Sunday. By far. Fortunately, there are two Byzantine-Rite parishes in the City. One of them, incredibly, is a very rare treat: an Italo-Albanian Byzantine Catholic Parish. The only other one in the Western Hemisphere is in N.Y.C. I’d go to the Italo-Albanian Divine Liturgy any day before I’d go to an N.O. in Latin.


  36. P.K.T.P

    The diocese of Portland Maine, which makes up the whole state, has, to the best of my knowledge only 2 Sunday TLM's,
    problem is they are located in the lower southern coastal part of the state, hundreds of miles from the capital at Augusta, and the state is huge.
    This is a problem in many US states as well as Canadian Provinces.
    They have a couple of TLM's but there are huge portions of dioceses that have no Mass, and the faithful just cannot drive the hundreds of miles there.

  37. "150 of the 176 Latin dioceses now have the T.L.M. on an every-Sunday basis"

    You forgot Charlotte, NC; the largest banking center in the US next to New York, makes it the second-largest banking center in the world. Yet, no regular TLM! (Saint Anne's offers it only once-a-month; and even then you're made to feel like you're groping for crumbs from the table, which is NOT the good-intentioned Priest's fault who offers it.)

  38. St. Rafael5:39 AM

    Father Abbot wanted to be independent and did not want to reconcile with the diocese because of Modernism and the current apostasy from the faith. That is understandable and debatable.

    The problem was that Father Abbot was not a Sedevacantist, but he allowed most of the monks and nuns to hold this view, while ministering to a congreagation of laity who were for the majority, Sedevacantist. That is a recipe for disaster.

    Father Abbot should have been clear and made a decision on Sedevacantism. Either everyone adopt his position of being Independent traditional Catholics who recognize and believe there is a valid Pope, or he becomes a Sedevacantist and everyone sticks to that position. There is no room for accommodation and toleration between two opposing views of whether there is a valid Pope or not.

  39. St. Raphael said:

    "Father Abbot should have been clear and made a decision on Sedevacantism. Either everyone adopt his position of being Independent traditional Catholics who recognize and believe there is a valid Pope, or he becomes a Sedevacantist and everyone sticks to that position. "

    You're right — it was indeed the lack of clarity that caused the long-term problem, the consequences of which everyone is now arguing over, and indeed, ticked about.

    For instance, our church gave Fr. Giardina's monastery a precious stained glass window of St. Benedict. If we'd suspected that the whole operation would one day end up affiliated with the Diocese of Birmingham, obviously, we wouldn't have done so.

    Multiply this one incident by all the other sedes, SSPX-ers, and pro-independent types who supported Christ the King, and it should be easy, even for the "pro-reconciliationists" to understand why a lot of trads feel "We wuz robbed."

    Better we all should have known up front.

  40. Anonymous8:57 PM

    Knight of Malta,

    To address your question about TLM's in the Diocese of Charlotte,
    There is one every Sunday TLM in a far out of the way town almost at the Virginia border on the Northern edge of the diocese, almost a three hour drive from Charlotte proper.

    Other than this TLM there is not an every Sunday TLM in the whole diocese other than the SSPX every Sunday near Charlotte itself.
    Its confusing really.


  41. Anonymous9:29 PM

    Weren't there saints that we honor to this day on both sides of the Avignon versus Roman Popes? The problems then as now were started by the Church of Rome. If people live their lives filled with virtue today while believing Catholic Doctrine and make an honest but incorrect choice as to whether post Vatican II popes are valid, isn't this similar?

    A.M. LaPietra

  42. An honest choice between someone and no one? Between "non praevalebunt" and God has left His Church headless indefinitely? Honestly, this is not an honest mistake between Pope X and Antipope Y.

    This does not entail judging anyone's soul - your analogy is the one that is at fault here; and it is also quite dangerous, since it may lead to temerarious complacency.

    Please, let us not pursue this argument any further.


  43. Anonymous5:57 PM

    Knight of Malta:

    There is a regular T.L.M. for Charlotte on the every-Sunday basis. It is listed both on the Mater Dei site and the Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei site. To my recollection, there is a special note about it somewhere. I believe that it was once on Saturday evenings but has been quietly changed to Sunday mornings. Check both sites and then enquire locally. I'm not sure if it is in the City, however.

    I believe that they keep quiet about it because there is very limited seating.


  44. Anonymous6:31 PM

    Quite apart from the usual meanderings on sedevacantism and sedeprivationism, we now see how two approved traditionalist foundations are now offering the 1962 Latin Mass in dioceses which previously lacked this provision.

    We have approved Benedictines in the Diocese of Birmingham and now the Canon Regular of the New Jerusalem in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, Virginia. Experience shows that small foundations such as these can encounter many difficulties, so it would be helpful to pray for their good success.

    I also ask everyone here to pray for the TAC as it tries to enter new ordinariates. I am praying hard that the good people in the TAC will be accepted and granted a liturgy that is not touched in any way or even in one word by the Novus Ordo disaster. They are already being granted a Mass text that is marred by the N.O.; however, there is reason to hope that more options are conming for them.

    The TAC members are good people. In my view, the problem with many of them is that they have been independent of any established authority for too long. They have forgotten what wolves look like and they don't expect to see any in our hierarchy. So they don't see that the wolves predominate in our hierarchies. Pray for them. Their entry in the ordinariates, in the end, depends on the Vicar of Christ and not on the local bishops.


  45. Anonymous8:41 PM

    "There is a regular T.L.M. for Charlotte on the every-Sunday basis."

    Yes, but the TLM, in the village of Mt Airy, is 160 miles from the City of Charlotte itself, which is the main population centre in the diocese.
    This means that most Catholics who live in the city of Charlotte, thousands of them, have to drive 300 miles miles round trip to assist at Mass.
    How reasonable is this?


    The point is that there are 0 TLM on Sunday in the city of Charlotte.


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

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


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

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

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

Thank you!