Rorate Caeli

Four years:
Memento etiam, Domine...

The beautiful words of that great French hero of the Traditional Mass, Jean Madiran, who has lived to see the miracle, remembering the names of some who died in the battlefield:

"For thirty seven years, a whole generation of militant Catholics, religious or lay members of the Militant Church (a generation reaching from 7 to 97 years of age) suffered, without giving in, openly defying the arbitrary interdict on the Traditional Mass. We think of our dead: Cardinal Ottaviani, Father Calmel, Father Raymond Dulac, Monsignor Renato Pozzi, Monsignor Lefebvre, Father Guérard. And, among the laymen: Cristina Campo, Luce Quenette, Louis Salleron, Eric de Saventhem. The pontifical goodwill is for them as a light breeze, which sweetly brings peace to their tombs. Wherever they are now, they do not need it anymore. But it is their memory amongst us which is appeased and elevated."

And also: Bishop Castro Mayer, Father Gamber, Michael Davies, Tito Casini, and so many, many others (priests, laymen and laywomen- God knows their names!), each of whom placed his own brick, large or small, in the great dam built for decades against the tumultuous tides of the late twentieth century. Thank you, thank you, thank you dearly! The heat of the battle has caused so much personal attrition, exaggerations, and misunderstandings... Yet, justice cannot be denied: gratitude is owed to those who did not live to see, on this earth, the glorious date of July 7, 2007.

[2011 note: it was impossible not to think of the miracle of Summorum Pontificum when considering the text of the first lesson for this Thursday's Matins, in the Roman Breviary, used as the verses of our header above. As Jonathan prepares to fight, in a sort of guerrilla and with no previous knowledge of his father (King Saul), the Philistines encamped around Machmas (Michmash), near Gabaa (Geba), where the Hebrew encampment was, he tells his armor-bearer: "Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised, it may be the Lord will do for us, because it is not difficult for the Lord to save, either by many, or by few" (I Kings/I Samuel xiv, 9). So very few were left, and so many great things did they do - they saved the Traditional Roman Rite and Sacraments, in the most difficult of times, when, as the Pope himself said last week, "the boat of the Lord seemed filled with water, almost near collapse". They did so out of pure love for God and His Church, when almost all stood by or had joined the Philistines, preserving these treasures for us, and for our posterity: may their names and struggles never be forgotten. Et fidelium animae per misericordiam Dei requiescant in pace. Amen.]


  1. Anonymous1:03 AM

    Among the many, many uplifting, insightful and inspiring postings for which all of us readers owe you a great debt of gratitude, today's has to be among the very best!
    Thank you to Rorate Caeli, which gives us milk and refreshment in the midst of what so often seems to be a great wasteland. God bless you!

  2. "So very few were left, and so many great things did they do - they saved the Traditional Roman Rite and Sacraments,"

    Thank you dear Lord for all these men but especially Your thunder who is louder than the roaring lion...


    Five times banished
    Exiled seventeen
    Excommunicated champions
    God puts at each scene.

    Saint Athanasius,
    Feast day of worth
    On the second of May
    The month of great mirth.

    Out in the deserts –
    As history has charted –
    You preserved the true Mass
    Great lion-hearted.

    Now Lefebvre,
    And the sixties egalitarians,
    Like Athanasius
    His time his Arians.

    For He who abolished
    Death by death
    Sent him to absolve
    Sin width and breadth.

    And yes the same moon
    The same sun we're all under…
    We venal rain - but Lefebvre

    Righteous thunder!!

  3. M. A.2:57 AM

    "They did so out of pure love for God and His Church, when almost all stood by or had joined the Philistines,..."
    How true, how true.

  4. Gratias6:59 AM

    Congratulations to the Holy Father on his 60th anniversary as a priest, und vielen Dank fur Summorum Pontificum. This law was a true lifeline for the Holy Mass. When the Enemies of the Church think they have us on the canvas we rise again, as promised. Deo Gratias.

  5. Anonymous7:38 AM

    A beautyful post. Indeed, the acts of justice and rehabilitation are important steps on the road map to peace among Catholics. Could we hope for many more of this kind of postings? Nobody ever claimed infallibility from traditionalist champions but I believe their good heart, love and Catholic honour was never questioned.

  6. Yes Long-Skirts,

    Bishop Athanasius stands out for his ardent courage & traditional faith - a beacon to us all who sometimes lose heart in the midst of this terrible battle for the soul of the church. May we also thank Pope St Gregory The Great & Pope St Pius V whose outstanding liturgical works bear enormous fruit today in spite of the liberal modernist onslaught.

  7. Anonymous10:47 AM

    An honest, sincere question: is the analogy in any way suppose to suggest that those in the Latin rite who do not attend TLM, those who actually prefer Novus Ordo for whatever reason, are Philistines or the liturgical equivalent of Philistines?

  8. Anonymous12:09 PM

    I join the chorus of joyous thanks to all who helped preserve our rich Catholic Tradition for the benefit of the Universal Church.

    Summorum Pontificum changed my life as now I have found my home in the Church Militant and have never looked back.

    A special thanks to Pope Benedict XVI and Rorate Caeli Blog from which I have derived so much comfort, profit and enjoyment - and even fun sometimes!

    God bless you all!


  9. Celebrating on my blog, too.

    Hope you don't mind my sharing and thank you for this post.

  10. Although I understand a traditional Latin high Mass was to be celebrated this morning at Mother Angelica's Shrine in Hanceville (AL) on this auspicious 4th anniversary of the 7/7/7 promulgation of Summorum Pontificum, EWTN did not choose to telecast it. I wonder whether anyone can provide a reason.

    EF Masses celebrated at the Shrine were telecast by EWTN on a quarterly basis for three years, from 9/14/2007 (the implementation date of Summorum Pontificum) through 10/2/2010. However, I understand that no more such TLM telecasts are scheduled in the foreseeable future.

    I believe EWTN has denied that there is now a policy against telecast of the TLM. But clearly there has been a change in their practice. One could wonder whether the problem is the TLM itself, or whether the long-standing prohibition of telecasts of ad orientem NO Masses is (in effect) being applied to traditional Latin Masses. Or is there some other reason?

  11. Anonymous1:40 PM

    Thank you Holy Father.

    Deo Gratias et Mariae.

    For the most part SP and UE have not really changed MUCH.

    But the little they changed was this:
    - A priest who secretly desired and wanted to offer the Ancient Ordo was now legitimized rather than stigmatized - and free to offer it privately without excessive fear of suspension.
    - The faithful who wanted the Ancient Ordo were no longer called schismatic or outside of the Church (although they are still largely called right wing nuts, fanatics, loonies, etc)
    - Bishops who were willing could openly permit the freedom of the Ancient Ordo

    Since regarding all 3 groups I mention above are few in number, we have only seen germinal improvement globally (which I would take any day over the pre-SP era), but significant improvement where the will of bishops and priests already pre-existed.

    As a layman, my confessor no longer looks at me over-suspiciously because I love the Ancient Ordo, and my aunt who is a faithful nun (of the NO, but faithful in habit, morals, faith, etc) can't argue that my love fo the ancient Mass is a concern that I may be bordering on the disobedient. So that indeed is fundamental and significant.

    The next step is for more bishops and priests to WANT (and KNOW HOW) to say the Ancient Mass.

    This could come through papal edict that forces more Ancient Masses in more parishes at more times, and for a papal mandate that all Catholic seminaries worldwide teach the Ancient Ordo and Latin on penalty of no consecration, but conversion of hearts is a grace of God. May bishops and priests experience a Divine softening of their hearts towards the Mass of the Ages, and in so desiring then begin to offer it more and more.

    May the seeds that Pope Benedict XVI has planted reap fruit 100 fold very soon.


  12. Anon. Toronto said:

    "(although they are still largely called right wing nuts, fanatics, loonies, etc)"


    The Holy Mass that cannot die
    Was said amidst the oaks
    While pin-oak leaves came floating down
    Around the simple folks

    Who knelt upon the acorn floor
    All dotted nutty brown
    The acorns cracked and old knees snapped
    Yet still there was no sound...

    But the tinkling of the golden bells
    As the White Host Son rose high
    On priestly limbs like mighty oaks
    They branched up to the sky.

    And in that wood I laughed with joy
    Amongst the souls bowed down
    For the mighty oak was once a nut
    That merely held it's ground.

    So Christian souls like acorn nuts
    Must burrow all around
    And be the seed that sprouts new oaks
    On consecrated ground...

    Where the Holy Mass that cannot die
    Is said around the oaks
    While pin-oak leaves come floating down
    Amidst a mighty folk!

  13. 10:47 Anon.: Isn't your question one of those where asking it is answering it?

  14. Anonymous4:15 PM

    God reward our Holy Father! He set a process in motion that in gaining in speed.

    God is with His Church, and all is well!

    Delphina the "Pious" Simpleton

  15. Anonymous5:06 PM

    Anon 10:47

    Well, I wasn't totally sure, New Catholic. I was asking for some elaboration if, by chance, I've read too much into it or somehow otherwise have misunderstood it.

    I never thought I'd be one of the more moderate voices here, but Philistine sounds a tad harsh. So our Latin rite hierarchs up to and including the pope are celebrating the Philistine rite? Who knew?

  16. Dear friend, do we really have to speak of the New Mass? On such a joyous occasion? Do we have to mention it every single day? It wasn't even mentioned in the post!..., even if you read so into it. Please, let us leave it at that.

  17. Anonymous6:37 PM

    May Almighty God richly reward those who have fought the good fight for Tradition while here on earth - so many souls, so many heroes and heroines. God bless them all!

    LtCol Paul E. Haley, USAF(Ret)

  18. Richard2:40 AM

    Let's not forget Hamish Fraser either. God rest his soul. In he end, he was denied an Old Rite Requiem I believe. In hope his bishop is happy now.

  19. Of course the TLM is superior to any other liturgical form. It embodies to perfection the Western Latin Rite Roman Catholic Faith and, objectively speaking, equates the lex orandi with the lex credendi as validated by the immense unity of norms, values and mores of the pre-conciliar church and its impressive statistical records relating to regularity of Sunday attendance at Holy Mass. The Holy Mass in Latin accords with a liturgical Rite whose essential elements, as Fr Adrian Fortescue makes clear, were laid down in the first century; significantly added to in the interim period, for example Pope St Leo I, and codified by Pope Gregory The Great by the early seventh century. It is older than any of the Eastern Rites and it has grown and developed organically being recodified but not altered by Pope St Pius V. It contains all the necessary infallible doctrinal reinforcement required and all perpetual papal guarantees that accord full rights for all Roman Catholics, priets and laity throughout all ages the relevant documents such as the Papal Bull, "Quo Primum", have referred to.
    It has also inspired generations of musicians and artists to produce an infinitesimal corpus of musical and artisitic works, to the extent that many non-Catholics mourned the apparent abandoning o The Roman Rite by Pope Paul VI (RIP).

    No other Rite of Holy Mass has such an impressive history. This is why many Roman Catholic priests and lay throughout church history have demonstrated to us today that it is worth dying for.


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