Rorate Caeli

A most important historical document:
the 1969 Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani (the original GIRM)

7. Cena dominica sive Missa est sacra synaxis seu congregatio populi Dei in unum convenientis, sacerdote praeside, ad memoriale Domini celebrandum. Quare de sanctae Ecclesiae locali congregatione eminenter valet promissio Christi: "Ubi sunt duo vel tres congregati in nomine meo, ibi sum in medio eorum" (Mt. 18, 20).

"7. The Lord's Supper, or Mass, is the sacred meeting or congregation of the people of God assembled, the priest presiding, to celebrate the memorial of the Lord. For this reason, Christ's promise applies eminently to such a local gathering of holy Church: 'Where two or three come together in my name, there am I in their midst' (Mt. 18:20)."

This is the original complete definition of the Mass according to the 1969 Novus Ordo Missae: they were arguably the most influential liturgical words written in the 20th century and signaled a watershed moment - in a sense, closing the book written since late antiquity and the chapter begun in Sessions XIII and XXII of the Council of Trent. 

Number 7 of the first edition of the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani (the General Instruction of the Roman Missal - GIRM) is the end moment of the original liturgical movement. Its writers also thought they would have the final say in the history of the Traditional Mass - within a few months, the storm started by these words on the edge of acceptability would spark the Brief Critical Study of the New Order of the Mass, presented to the Pope and to the Catholic world under the auspices of Cardinals Ottaviani, first Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Bacci. 

The waves set by that text have not subsided. That famous number 7 and other highly problematic words of the original 1969 IGMR (in which Trent is not mentioned a single time) and Ordo Missae would be amended in 1970, 1975, and 2002. While much was vindicated by the swift and significant corrections of 1970 - and, ultimately, by the proclamation by Pope Benedict XVI that the traditional Roman Missal was "never abrogated -, can it be denied that the spirit of the 1969 IGMR lives on in the New Mass, or "Ordinary Form"?

While the texts of the 1970, 1975, and 2002 IGMR are widely available, it had been impossible up to now to find online the original source of the controversy. Thanks to the generous effort of a priestly source, RORATE can now present to our readers the original 1969 Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani. (Note: this is the entire IGMR, but only the first pages of the original complete publication of the 1969 Ordo Missae, promulgated on April 3, 1969, by the Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum, of Pope Paul VI.)

Who exactly is the "institutional" Church?...

We have no idea, but why are two supposedly Catholic (all right, Jesuit: Fordham and Fairfield) "institutions" criticizing the "institutional Church"? Is it self-hate?

More Than a Monologue: Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church is an unprecedented collaboration — 2 Roman Catholic universities and 2 non-denominational divinity schools are coming together to change the conversation about sexual diversity and the Catholic Church.

For too long, the conversation on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues in the Roman Catholic Church has been only a monologue — the sole voice being heard is that of the institutional Catholic Church. [Source]

Meanwhile, in the Southern Hemisphere, the Pontifical (you read that right) Catholic University of Paraná, in Brazil, a Marist university, promotes the X Theology Conference of the Pontifical Catholic University ("Theology, Gender, and Expressions: Where are we going?"), taking place from October 3-5The conferences in this congress make the ones above seem tame and mild - one is magically transported back to the sauvage days of the 1970s. These are some of the conferences of this absolutely institutional university:

Panel: Gender and Education
- Sexuality and Religion
- Myth and space in the representation of gender.
- Masculinities and Femininities: Contemporary representations of Gender in the educational context.

Panel: Ethics and Gender relations
– Gender and diversities
[Prof. Dr. Glauco Soares de Lima. Primate Bishop (Presidente of the Anglican Church of Sao Paulo)] - Questions related to Hetero- and Homoaffective (?) relations.
- Genderification (?), science, and ethics in contexts of the reproductive experience today.

Panel: Pastoral and Spirituality
- Pastoral and Spirituality, and gender issues in the perspective of Jürgen Moltmann.
– Liturgy and spirituality: gender relations and social commitment.

Panel: Gender and Family
- Family, gender, and the difficult comprehension of the transvestite.

Panel: Gender and subjectivity
– Bioidentities, gender, and theology.
– Transexuality and the social construction of gender identity. [Fratres in Unum was our source for this.]

Still in the Southern Hemisphere, but across the world, in Eureka Street, the very institutional media website of the Society of Jesus in Victoria, Australia, the main feature is:

Why I support gay marriage

So, let us be clear: THEY, the "dissenters", they are the institutional power. From America to Brazil to Australia, they are the parasites living off the sweat and sacrifices of the Catholics of old. Those  promoting the monologue of immorality, they are the ones with symbols bearing the tiara and the keys, with banners bearing the institutional IHS monogram. The very least they could do is stop with this sickening self-victimization, since they, like Judas (see St. John xii, 6), carry the purse, and since "they seize upon chairs in the seminaries and universities, and gradually make of them chairs of pestilence" (Pascendi, 43). We have got free forums and blogs...

Keep on doing what you are doing, Cardinal Vallini! It's working!

When a group of priests whine publicly that their superior is being "authoritarian", we must admit that our immediate reaction is to defend the superior; and when the "climate of fear" decried by these priests is a "climate" of "internal police" related to, shall we say, "homosexual matters" - well, then we are absolutely certain that the superior is correct and that whatever he is doing is certainly in the right direction.

Here is our support to Cardinal Vicar-General Vallini: we do not know what you are doing, Your Eminence, but you are doing it right.

[Source: Il Messaggero; Tip: Papa Ratzinger blog]

Letter of Roman priests against [Cardinal Vicar-General] Vallini - "Impressive authoritarianism"

by Franca Giansoldati

ROME - The gossip-letter writer has acted once again - but this time, the letter that arrived four days ago for all heads of offices across the Tiber [in the Roman Curia] is not anonymous, but signed by "The priests of Rome". Even Pope Ratzinger has received it on his desk, himself being the first addressee ("Your Holiness, this is an open letter, and not one of those that go around in the Curia in these weeks.")
The letter is composed of two computer-written pages, in eight paragraphs from which transpire suffering, delusion, and, in certain parts, exasperation for a sad climate of "impressive authoritarianism".

The cardinal - former prefect of the Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, chosen by the Pontiff to replace Camillo Ruini in 2008 - is accused of displaying "attitudes worthy of an officer of the carabinieri, not of a bishop". The discontent moves through the diocesan clergy and perhaps, considering the initiative, [it does] not [date] from yesterday. In the curia, this is all that is being discussed. The authors of the letter regret being unable to have serene conversations with their own superior due to a "climate of suspicion regarding everything and everyone" which has been created with time. In sum: the Lateran palace [seat of the Diocesan administration] is depicted as a place not of dialogue, but as an "unhappy place where no one is trusted and one is bound to silence."
[From the letter:] "Another painful chapter is the relationship with us, priests. We hoped - it is written - to have a day of the week at our disposal to be received without appointment. We now even fear approaching that office. We are looked upon with suspicion, judged and criticized without being able to defend ourselves and blackmailed with the possibility of being left without stipend."

But why has so much hostility been piling up against the Cardinal-Vicar, a man trusted by Pope Ratzinger, from the Roman priests, to the point of writing an open letter to the Bishop of Rome? Vallini has been blamed for an excessive firmness in moving forward with an action of internal police in order to expel from the diocese the rotten apples, gay priests [sic]. The toughness with which he has moved with no regard for anyone would have aggravated many minds? Priests would have been deposed suddently and without many explanations, without real reaons. [From the letter:] "He [Vallini] is obsessed about the suspicion of homosexuality, as if rare cases which happened in the diocese should compromise the integrity of the entire presbyterate."

"Rare cases"?... There have been magazine reports and books dedicated to just a few of them! Auguri, Eminenza! Il mondo cattolico è con voi!

Events: Pontifical TLM in D.C. Area / New regular TLM in Manitowoc, Wisconsin / Traditional week taking place in Lexington, KY till Friday.

1. "All this week through Saturday (Oct. 1), His Excellency Bishop Peter Elliott, Auxiliary of Melbourne, Australia, will be celebrating the Low Traditional Latin Mass at 10:00a.m. at Old St. John the Evangelist in Silver Spring. There is no sermon."


2. At the request of his Excellency, Bishop David L. Ricken of the Diocese of Green Bay, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest will offer a Traditional Mass beginning this Sunday, October 2nd, 2011, the External Solemnity of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, at St. Boniface Church, Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

Holy Mass will be offered by priests of the Institute on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th (when occurring) Sunday of each month at 1:30PM. Confessions will be heard beginning at 1:00PM.

St. Boniface is located at 1001 Marshall St. (corner of Marshall St. and 10th St.) in Manitowoc.


3. A Traditional Mission is taking place this week (Monday 9-26-11 through Friday 9-30-2011) at the FSSP Church in Lexington, KY. It begins at 7:00PM each night, with the Rosary said before it starts (beginning at around 6:35PM). There is confession one hour before, and then for as long as necessary after it ends. The Mission is being held at St. Peter's Church, located at 153 Barr Street Lexington, KY.

The following is a link to the website:

This is a link to the Bulletin with information about the Mission:

Not in an ivory tower

"What to do regarding current authorities? Lock ourselves in our resistance as if in an ivory tower? Or, rather, try to convince the Roman authorities? I have not taken the line of breaking off the dialogue with Rome." [Abp. Marcel Lefebvre, "Thought for the Day" of the SSPX French District.]

Crisis? What crisis?
The beast was slain

Dum proeliaretur [Roman Breviary, II Antiphon of I & II Vespers and Lauds of Michaelmas]
Fernando de las Infantas

"I saw that the beast was slain, and the body thereof was destroyed, and given to the fire to be burnt." (Roman Breviary, Matins of Michaelmas, First Lesson of the First Nocturn.) 

Thine, O sweet Jesus, are the magnificent Archangels, in whom the benignity of Thy great condescension chiefly works; for, glorious satraps of Thy palace, Thou disdainest not to dispatch them down to this poor world to support and help our lowliness, creatures of clay that we are, and close allied to dust and ashes.

Through them, by Thy command, the chiefest interests of our salvation are administered, and the profoundest secrets of Thy supreme purpose are conveyed to us by them; by them come sicknesses and health to the generations of mankind; by them the kingdoms and the empires of the world subsist.

And, chief amongst them do we own Thy Michael, the stalwart standard-bearer and the citizen of heaven, who stands in advance of the army of the living God, and brandishing his champion’s blade thunders.
Saint Anselm

Communion handling: the gravest problem

Translation problems? Mass celebrated towards the people? Altar girls? Postures?

No, the greatest and gravest problem of the liturgy of the Latin Church - that is, of the "Ordinary form", or Mass of Paul VI - is one that transcends all this, even it is related to all of them: it is the way the Body of Christ is treated. That must be the very first issued tackled by an eventual true "reform of the reform", one that is set not by fleeting example, but by hard law.


(1) Any human being who has ever had any experience with any edible object based on a milled product knows that crumbling is a natural part of the process of consuming it: loaves, wafers, cookies, biscuits, crackers, tortillas, nachos - it does not matter, fragmentation takes place. 

(2) Catholics believe that the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ are truly present in each of the Consecrated Species, and completely in every single and minute fragment of it.

Because of (1) and (2), the Church was traditionally extremely careful regarding the distribution of Holy Communion. That meant reducing to the minimal imaginable level the possibility that any Fragment of the Body of Christ, even the smallest one, might be profaned or lost - which meant only the celebrant himself touched the Body of Christ, that all Fragments could be held under control on the Altar, and that all gestures in the distribution of Holy Communion by the Priest (or Deacon) to the servers and faithful would mean that no Fragment could ever go unaccounted. (And that same process also took place with the distribution under both Species in the East, in a slightly different evolution, but with the same end result: consecrated hands distributing Holy Communion in such a way to make any loss or spillage unlikely and under strict control.)

What the liturgical innovations following the Council did was to inculcate Catholics with the notion that the Fragments of the Body of Christ do not matter - and it would be absurd to limit that only to the abhorrent practice of Communion in the hand; no, it is not just a matter of respect, but of Belief that God Himself is entirely present in each single Fragment of the Consecrated species; and Communion in the hand is only one aspect of this. In fact, all those allowances for distribution by people other than those with consecrated hands that are not purified before and after the Distribution of Holy Communion, the use of all kinds of "vessels", and all related matters - happening thousands upon thousands of times every single day around the world - also necessarily lead to abuse. Or, rather, they ARE the abuse. 

All other problems with the New Mass are intimately related with this gravest of problems. If the Sacred Liturgy is the "summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed" (SC, 10), the handling of the Body of Christ by the non-ordained is the pit from which all and every single liturgical abuse ontologically flow. Because if God present in the Most Holy Sacrament is treated as "crumbs" and "dust", then reality vanishes and all that remains, in appearance, are empty and ridiculous symbolisms - and no wonder people do not respect these, change them at will, and expect them to adapt to one's own preferences.

Motu Proprio "Quaerit semper", transferring competences
on the discipline of the Sacraments from the CDW to the Rota. / Reform of the Reform: CDW now dedicated essentially to Sacred Liturgy



Quibus Constitutio apostolica Pastor bonus immutatur atque quaedam competentiae aCongregatione de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum ad novum Officium de processibus dispensationis super matrimonio rato et non consummato ac causis nullitatis sacrae Ordinationis, apud Tribunal Rotae Romanae constitutum, transferuntur

Quaerit semper Apostolica Sedes sua moderaminis instituta pastoralibus necessitatibus accommodare, quae annorum decursu in Ecclesiae vita identidem exstiterunt, structuram ideo immutans et competentias Dicasteriorum Curiae Romanae. [Full Latin text.] [Update: English translation at the end of this post.]


Explaining this motu proprio: as we had reported in February 2011, and as the Supreme Authority himself explains in his text, when Pope John Paul II reunified the competences of the Congregation for the Sacraments and of the Congregation for Divine Worship in the general reorganization of the Roman Curia (Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus, of 1988 - it was the second unification of the Congregation in less than two decades), matters related to the discipline of certain aspects of the sacraments of marriage and orders remained with the Congregation. They were those points mentioned in articles 67 and 68 of the Constitution "Pastor Bonus", now abrogated by the motu proprio Quaerit Semper, of August 30, 2011, which enters into force on Saturday, October 1, 2011.

The matters removed from the competence of the Congregation, including those related to the "non-consummation in a marriage and the existence of a just cause for granting a dispensation", as well as to "cases concerning the nullity of sacred ordination" are to be examined by a new office established within the greater structure of the Apostolic Tribunal of the Roman Rota.

The main purpose for this, according to Quaerit Semper, is the following:

"In these circumstances, it appeared adequate that the work of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments be dedicated essentially [potissimum] to a resumption of the Sacred Liturgy in the Church, according to the renewal that the Second Vatican Council desired, beginning with the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium."

So, then: is the "Reform of the Reform", in law, about to get started, as it seems, with this new impulse planned by the Holy Father?


[English translation provided by Vatican Information Service - it is apparently a translation of the Italian version.]

"Reform of the Reform" Apparently Put on Hold - Part drei

After giving Communion in the hand to a standing (sort of) Queen Sofia of Spain last fall, it appears there may be a different standard for politicians, who seem to get a pass on the so-called "reform of the reform."

The video below, unfortunately, shows the President of the German Parliament, Norbert Lammert, receiving Holy Communion in the hand from the Holy Father. 

And please remember to follow @RorateCaeli on Twitter.

Our ecumenical effort:
...sein Ausgang eilet aus der Höhe
in euer Mutter Haus

Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (BWV 140)

It was quite compelling to learn in early September that this Cantata, based on a hymn familiar to many converts from Protestantism, has also particularly touched the Holy Father. (For those who wondered the origin of the title of this post, by the way, it can be found in the second Aria of the Cantata, at 20:15.)

The two proposals - and how the SSPX Superior General views them

Yesterday, at Ruffec (Indre Department, Centre, France), Bishop Fellay [the Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X - FSSPX / SSPX] received the first vows of a religious woman of the Society [the Sisters of Saint Pius X]. In the end of his sermon, he addressed the ongoing discussions with Rome.


If nothing, or close to nothing, has been said, it is because things are more complex than they may appear.

Rome has presented two proposals to the Fraternity of Saint Pius X: one doctrinal, the other canonical. Neither one, nor the other are clear. These two texts are modifiable, they can be rewritten, their essence being preserved. The problem is to find out what the essence is. There are lots of questions, but not many answers.

Rome moves one step towards the Fraternity. The latter must examine it seriously. The texts will be the object of a very attentive study. The Fraternity will not sign a text that is not clear. It will not do anything that may diminish its Faith or the spirit of its Faith. And it will not make a move if it is not certain of the good intentions regarding it. And, according to each different curial prelate that is questioned, a different response may be obtained.

It is a decisive phase, which, whatever its outcome, will not be without consequences. [Source: Fecit-Forum, author: Austremoine]

A decisive man
in the Rome - SSPX negotiations

A guest contribution by Harry Griffin

The Holy See has proposed to the Society of Saint Pius X a preamble that should precede a canonical recognition. Some thoughtful minds wonder what will be the decision of the Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay. On October 7 and 8, 2011, he will assemble the main authorities of the work founded by Archbishop Lefebvre at Albano Laziale, Italy, just a few meters away from the papal residence of Castel Gandolfo. Among these, a decisive character: Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta.

The Spanish-born bishop has been traveling the world since his episcopal consecration by Abp. Lefebvre at the age of only 31. He had previously seen with his own eyes the havoc that the spirit of the Council had caused in his diocesan seminary, in La Plata, Argentina, the institution which he left in order to enter Écône, whose founder detected his qualities very soon - naming him district superior and choosing him early one as one of those who should be consecrated. If he is, on one hand, the most discreet of the four bishops of the Society, he is, at the same time, the one who ascends most in authority within it. The London exile of his British colleague has only increased this aura. Some of the Society's priests go so far as to say that they see Abp. Lefebvre in this prelate, at once composed, measured, cheerful, warm, pragmatic, and firm in the faith.

In each delicate situation, he is called upon by his superior, of which he is near. In 2008, it is to him that is given the charge of announcing, in Écône, the decision of not folding before the ultimatum presented by Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos. The following year, he replaced Bp. Williamson as the head of the Argentine seminary of La Reja, in a stormy atmosphere. Some months later, he is chosen to direct, in a noteworthy manner, the commission of experts assembled for the discussion with those chosen by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. At the same time, he is the bishop of reference of all religious communities friendly to the Society but not part of it.

This man of faith, who has never been swayed by the waves of various dissensions with which the Society has been confronted, will have his say in these discussions. He knows the Society well. He also knows Rome well, after having debated with its representatives. He knows, therefore, up to what point the Holy See is willing to go. His opinion will undoubtedly be heard with great attention.

Mein Freund ist mein, und ich bin dein,
die Liebe soll nichts scheiden.

The Pope's last address in Germany, to the Catholic laity (officially, to "Catholics active in the Church and society gathered in the Konzerthaus", in Freiburg im Breisgau), is certainly the most impressive of his visit to his nation - including on the need that the "reform" of the Church begin by those who truly need reform: each Christian faithful. And, as we had mentioned yesterday regarding the Kirchensteuer, on the absolute necessity of the "organized" and "wealthy" Church to rid itself of all that renders it "worldlike". It is the official response of the Pope to the disgraceful attitude of much of the German-speaking hierarchy, priests, and lay faithful, including those making up or supporting the "Pfarrer-Initiative", in Austria - and one of his most important addresses this year.

For some decades now we have been experiencing a decline in religious practice and we have been seeing substantial numbers of the baptized drifting away from church life. This prompts the question: should the Church not change? Must she not adapt her offices and structures to the present day, in order to reach the searching and doubting people of today?

Blessed Mother Teresa was once asked what in her opinion was the first thing that would have to change in the Church. Her answer was: you and I.

Italian rumor: Pope considering resigning in April 2012?...

This same rumor was put forward repeatedly during the last decade of the pontificate of John Paul II - can anything like it be taken seriously? From Antonio Socci, writing for Italian daily Libero (mentioned by Andrea Tornielli for La Stampa).

Papal resignation… Let us pray that God may preserve him for us for a long time

25 September 2011

For the moment, it is a rumor (a personal hypothesis of Joseph Ratzinger) and I hope it will never become news. Yet, because it circulates in the most important halls of the Vatican, it deserves great attention.

In a word: the Pope does not exclude the possibility of resigning when turning 85, that is, in April 2012.
[UPDATE:] - (Reuters) - The Vatican dismissed an Italian newspaper report on Sunday that Pope Benedict was considering resigning next year when he turns 85.

"The pope's health is excellent," Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said. "We don't know anything about it. Ask the person who wrote it."

Open thread - Der Papst in Deutschland

Dear friends - at the end of a personal recess, it can be seen that the visit of our dear Holy Father to his homeland has been fruitful. Well, fruitful in the number of news items it has inspired. How about an open thread about all that has taken place in Germany in the past few days?

Will we see part drei of the Altar-Frauen saga tomorrow in Freiburg im Breisgau (the image above is taken from a paraliturgical ceremony that took place today in Freiburg)? Does that really mean, as we have often implied here, that there really is no such thing as a "reform of the reform" that is not set in law - and that, anyway, the only true "reform of the reform" has a name and a surname, Summorum Pontificum? Does the Kirchensteuer really allow the German Bishops to do anything they want - and is this German "Church tax" really a bad thing, even though based on very (small t) traditional practices, since it makes the local episcopate afraid of hurting the "sensibilities" of non-practicing Catholics who finance most of the needs of the Church? Please, feel free to discuss anything related to the Papal visit or to the Church in Germany.

"The real crisis facing the Church in the western world is a crisis of faith."

We live at a time that is broadly characterized by a subliminal relativism that penetrates every area of life. Sometimes this relativism becomes aggressive, when it opposes those who say that they know where the truth or meaning of life is to be found.

And we observe that this relativism exerts more and more influence on human relationships and on society. This is reflected, among other things, in the inconstancy and fragmentation of many people’s lives and in an exaggerated individualism. Many no longer seem capable of any form of self-denial or of making a sacrifice for others. Even the altruistic commitment to the common good, in the social and cultural sphere or on behalf of the needy, is in decline. Others are now quite incapable of committing themselves unreservedly to a single partner. People can hardly find the courage now to promise to be faithful for a whole lifetime; the courage to make a decision and say: now I belong entirely to you, or to take a firm stand for fidelity and truthfulness and sincerely to seek a solution to their problems.

Divinum Officium update

Father "Divinum Officium", the chaplain of our own Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society, sends us the latest news of this ongoing effort to bring the Breviarium Romanum to the largest possible audience - those bound to recite the Divine Office, those not bound but willing to pray the public prayer of the Latin Church, and those simply curious about it. As always, we are honored to be a part of this project, founded by the personal effort of Laszlo Kiss (may he rest in peace), for the greater glory of God.

We are very pleased to announce that Divinum Officium has had a significant number of errata corrected over the past 3 days. We have also uploaded the code for the site to Google Code, so that the website's code remains open-source for anybody to use. At the same time, we established a repository, so that those of us who have been working on developing and editing the code can do so in a collaborative way. We are also exploring the possibility of hopefully sprucing the site up aesthetically, as well as updating the versions of the "standalone" program for people to download and use offline. 
The Divinum Officium Project

canon DOT missae AT gmail DOT com

"We are all the early Church that is still present and new"

While the press coverage of this speech is focusing on Benedict XVI's call for a unified moral front with the Orthodox Churches, the following passages should be of greater interest to our readers.

...I willingly repeat in this setting what I have said elsewhere: among Christian Churches and communities, it is undoubtedly the Orthodox who are theologically closest to us; Catholics and Orthodox have maintained the same basic structure inherited from the ancient Church; in this sense we are all the early Church that is still present and new. And so we dare to hope, even if humanly speaking constantly new difficulties arise, that the day may still be not too far away when we may once again celebrate the Eucharist together (cf. Light of the World. A Conversation with Peter Seewald, p. 86).

SSPX Superiors to discuss "Doctrinal Preamble" on October 7-8 in Albano

From DICI:

Italy: Meeting of Superiors of the Society of St. Pius X

As announced in the interview given to DICI on September 14, 2011, following the meeting with Cardinal William Levada, Bishop Bernard Fellay will consult the Superiors of the SSPX about the doctrinal preamble, given to him by the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Society’s Superiors will meet together behind closed doors at the Italian District Headquarters, in Albano, on October 7 and 8, 2011.

"Reform of the Reform" Apparently Put on Hold - Part Zwei

Interview with Fr. Franz Schmidberger

An interview with Fr. Franz Schmidberger published on the website of the SSPX German District on September 22, 2011 (trans. by friends of Rorate):

Answers of the German district regarding the Pope’s visit

What is the opinion of District Superior in Germany of the Society of St. Pius X, Fr. Franz Schmidberger, regarding the Pope’s visit?

The press agency DAPD asked Pater Schmidberger nine questions in respect of the Pope’s visit.


The discussions between the Vatican and the Society of St. Pius X last Wednesday reached a critical point – the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is putting conditions. In view of this situation, what are your feelings in view of the visit of Benedict XVI?

We await the visit of the Holy Father to our fatherland with happy anticipation –after all because he is the Vicar of Christ, the Incarnate God on earth. This is true regardless of how the discussions of our Society with the Vatican proceed .

What are your expectations from the visit of the German Pope in Germany?

We all hope that this will lead to a considerable reinforcement of the faith. The Pope should explain to the German people that Christianity rests on faith in the Triune God, on our Lord Jesus Christ and on the Church founded by him and that beyond this truth there can be and there isn't any real spiritual life, no hope for the individual and no happy future for society. Pax Christi in regno Christi – the peace of Christ in the kingdom of Christ. To this must also be added love for the Church and for our Christian Tradition. To be Christian is no burdensome load but a merciful and liberating grace.

For the first time the Pope will visit the new “Bundesländer”, where the Catholics are not in the majority. What impulses may be brought to those federal states by the visit of the Pope?

The Pope may suggest to the Evangelical Christians in Germany a similar structure for the return to the Father’s house which was made for the Anglicans in England who wished to return and which proved to be most beneficial. True Ecumenism would be to return to the roots, which were the ground for the whole Church up to the Reformation.

How does the Society of St. Pius follow the Pope’s journey to Germany?

We will follow with the utmost attention the visit of the Pope in the media and distribute flyers to the believers at the various services. Moreover, we have prepared this event in our Priories by a nine-days devotion.

Do you recommend to your faithful to participate in the services held in connection with the visit of the Pope – or do you rather dissuade against them?

We have not issued any special outlines in this respect. They all know our reservations against the new Liturgy and these regretfully hold also for the masses held by the Pope.

What do you as the District Superior think of a celebration of the Eucharist in a football stadium with a colorful opening act and with both boys and girls serving as altar servers?

All those mass meeting have in them the danger of an “event”, that is they lack the sacral character, dignity and sanctity. And also, in the whole history of the Church, there have never been any female altar servers, simply because this service at the altar is connected in a remote way to that of the Priest, and according to the will of our Lord this is reserved for men. Female altar servers is an invention made by liberal churchmen, for whom the spirit of the times is more important than the faith and the consciousness of the Church, the “sentire cum Ecclesia”.

According to the wish of the Pope, one of the main emphasis of this journey laid will be the Ecumenical question – in Erfurt there will be a discussion and an ecumenical service of the word. What do you expect will come out of this?

It is always of great value and use to speak to people. However, one should above all ask churchmen the following question: Has Christ instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the Priesthood, given us the sacramental confession and built his Church on Peter? Ecumenical word services not only are not helpful, they spread confusion and contribute to religious relativism.

In the very beginning of his journey the Pope meets with representatives of the Central Council of the Jews. Dealing with other religions is one of the points where the differences between the Vatican and the SSPX are greatest. What do you think of this planned meeting?

Also here there should be a focus on the question of the truth. The first Pope, St. Peter at Pentecost answered the question of the Jews that were gathered in the Cenacle: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins" (Acts 2, 37-38). Why should not his present successor say the same?

In Berlin especially, lesbians and homosexuals wish to go out on the streets and protest against the visit by the Pope and the Church’s teaching on sexual morality – and they will probably be given much attention. Do you think that these protests will be a threat and take over the message that the Pope wishes to convey?

These protests will make clear how far Germany already is from the faith of its fathers, to what extent immorality is public and how far the hatred of God has penetrated society. Germany is far and wide a newly pagan country which has to be proselytized again. Also for these people we will pray.

Interview with Fr. Alain Lorans SSPX

(Originally published Sept. 21, 2011):

Famille Chrétienne has published an interview with Fr. Alain Lorans SSPX, the director of the Society's press bureau, on the prospects of a reconciliation between the Vatican and the SSPX.

No time for a translation now, but Mr. Google Translate's version is quite clear.

Nothing here that is new, or unknown to those who follow these matters closely.

UPDATE: DICI has just published an English translation of the interview:

Fr. Lorans, spokesman of the SSPX, speaks of the Roman press release

Second Sunday of September 2011:
Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Are we moving towards the end of a schism, the reconciliation between the heirs of Archbishop Lefebvre and Rome? Today it seems as if the ball in the Society of St. Pius X’s court.

Is this a historical moment or is it a mere rebound?

Fr. Alains Lorans: This is a step. After the preliminaries which Bishop Fellay asked from the Holy Father on the traditional Mass, the canonical sanctions against the bishops of the Society, the doctrinal meetings on the Second Vatican Council, one could foresee future perspectives. This was done on September 14. It is worth noting the great candor of the theologians of the Society during these meetings in which they made very clear the doctrinal difficulties presented by some conciliar texts. This frankness did not prevent the new step. Obviously, Rome knows exactly our positions, and it is with this clear knowledge that Cardinal Levada presented this doctrinal preamble to Bishop Fellay.

Will the Society follow Bishop Fellay if he gives his agreement to this preamble?

An agreement with Rome would solve the canonical situation of the Society of St. Pius X. But this is not as important as to give back to Tradition—often scorned, or persecuted for the last forty years—its right of existence within the Church. This process already began with the motu proprio Summorum pontificum which declared that the traditional Mass had never been abrogated. If, after the thorough reading which Rome wants him to have, Bishop Fellay may give his agreement, the Society will certainly be favorable to it.

What is the legitimate margin of debate around the texts of Vatican II?

This is the question! The doctrinal preamble being confidential, I can add nothing to the official press release: “leaving open to a legitimate discussion the theological study and explanation of expressions or particular formulations present in the texts of the Second Vatican Council and of the magisterium which followed.

Some explain this to mean that the points of contention in the Council could be open to discussion without putting into question the adherence to the Church: this would be to recognize that these litigious texts do not require the adhesion demanded for dogmas.

Others insist on the fact that this doctrinal preamble—which is not public, mind you—would demand the respect of the entire Council, of its authenticity and of the legitimacy of its teaching. For them… the mere possibility of a discussion of Vatican II would appear a little much…

What we can see is a clear difference between the press release of Sept 14, 2011 and the note dictated by the Secretary of State of February 4, 2009 which was saying: “The indispensible condition for a future recognition of the Society of St. Pius X is the full acceptance of the Second Vatican Council and of the magisterium of Popes John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II and Benedict XVI himself.”

Between these declarations, there are two years of theological discussion which allowed to “dig out and clarify the doctrinal problems” in the words of Bishop Fellay. Has there been an evolution of Rome between 2009 and 2011? Has the exposition of the theologians of the Society contributed to it? I leave it to you to reply.

The Sacred Liturgy and Mary Most Holy - Part 3

How to celebrate the Marian feasts. The Marian feasts are to be celebrated following the spirit of the Church, according to what is established in the Offices and in the Propers of the Mass. 

General dispositions: 1. Mary must be given a pure heart: which is why a good Confession is a great preparation; 2. it is necessary to meditate well: on the title, the object, and the motive of the feast; 3. One must enter in a spirit of holy joy, intense love, and full confidence. 

Particular dispositions: 
1.                  God placed grace in the hands of Mary; he has also granted her a heart that is wholly love for her children. On the one hand, Mary had all powers before God, and, on the other, she has a heart that understands all our needs.

Mary is invoked under so many titles because she was granted power over all things. The sinner calls Mary Refugium peccatorum, because he expects from her the graces of penance and forgiveness; the sick calls her Salus infirmorum, because how knows that Mary has the power to heal him; the Priest calls her Mother of the Divine Shepherd; the poor, Mother of Providence; while for other needs there are the Virgin of Perpetual Succour, the Patronage of Mary, the Help of Christians, the Comforter, the Seat of wisdom, etc.

2.   The Church also desires us to learn from the virtues of Mary, especially her goodness, in some feasts. Mary is the image of the goodness of God: Imago bonitatis illius (Wisdom vii, 26). “Mary,” Saint Bernard says, “opens to all the heart of mercy, so that from its fullness everything may be reached: forgiveness, for the sinner; grace, for the just;  joy, for the angel; glory, for the Most Holy Trinity. Quis misericordiae tuae, o benedicta, longitudinem, latitudinem, sublimitatem et profundum queat investigare? Who can ever understand, o Holy Virgin, the length, width, depth, and height of your mercy?

The Heart of Mary is full of mercy: it also has the virtue of justice, because it has all virtues in the highest degree; Mary, however, deals with us only with mercy: she is our Mamma.

Let us eagerly ask Mary for a good heart, that feels the needs of all and that has compassion for all. Let us beseech her that she may make our heart like unto hers: Fac cor nostrum secundum cor tuum, o Maria.


What does the Church intend to teach us from the Liturgy established in honor of Mary Most Holy? The Liturgy always has three ends: to instruct us in divine truths, to encourage us in the practice of virtues, and, above all, to guide us to pray.

1)   Instructing us on the dogmas and truths that the Church professes and preaches on the Virgin. Therefore, for instance, the Liturgy of the Immaculate proposes this dogma to us, explains it to us with Holy Scripture and the doctrine of the Fathers; the Liturgy of the Assumption instructs us on the blessed end, on resurrection, on the assumption, glorification, and coronation of the Virgin, Queen of Heaven and Earth. 

2)   Encouraging us to in the practice of virtues. In order to achieve this, the Church makes us consider the many duties that come with the fact of being Christians and proposes to us the examples of the Most Blessed Virgin. The feast of the Annunciation, for instance, makes us meditate on the humility of Mary; the feast of the Visitation, on her charity; that of the Purity of Mary, on her unblemished Virginity; and so forth for the others. 

3)   The liturgy has as its end to make us pray. It is the Church that brings us to Mary and invites us to celebrate her and invoke her with the prayers that the Church herself composed  under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. 

The Liturgy is instruction, edification, sanctification.

[Blessed James Alberione. The Feasts of Mary ("Feste di Maria", 1951): Introduction. Text in three parts - this is the last part.]

EVENT: Mass for and talk on Blessed Emperor Karl of Austria

St. Mary, Mother of God Church in Washington, D.C. will celebrate the Feast Day of Blessed Emperor Karl of Austria with a traditional Latin Solemn High Mass on Friday, October 21, at 7:30 p.m. After the Mass there will be a reception downstairs, with refreshments and a program about Blessed Karl. This is the fourth year in a row that St. Mary's has offered a Feast Day Mass for Blessed Karl.

Benedict XVI on Luther and the challenges to Christianity today

A speech noteworthy for its strong criticism of "a new form of Christianity" (most likely referring to Pentecostalism and / or 'Evangelical Protestantism') as well as for its statements on Martin Luther.

The following is the translation of Benedict XVI's address to the representatives of the German Evangelical Church (EKD) today:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As I begin to speak, I would like first of all to thank you for this opportunity to come together with you. I am particularly grateful to Pastor Schneider for greeting me and welcoming me into your midst with his kind words. At the same time I want to express my thanks for the particularly gracious gesture that our meeting can be held in this historic location.

The Sacred Liturgy and Mary Most Holy - Part 2

Paying homage to the Virgin Mother. But here is found a second intermediate point: Mary, as Mother of God and Queen of the Universe. Liturgical worship flows through Mary to reach God. It is a great worship, because Mary has the most worthy titles. She is the most holy creature, the Apostle, the Mother of God, the Mediatrix, the Queen of Heaven and Earth.

The Most Holy Virgin has a considerable position in liturgical worship, because she is linked, with an indissoluble connection, to Jesus Christ, who is the center. She is, together with Jesus Christ, the masterpiece with which God displayed His power and His goodness. Because Jesus was born of Mary, she takes greater part in all of His gifts and in His life; she also takes part in His glory and in the distribution of the goods of grace. She received from all creatures and presents it all to Jesus Christ. Thus we have the Mediator between God and men: Jesus Christ; and we have the Mediatrix between Jesus Christ and mankind: Mary – she sings her Magnificat, offering God all the praises, honor, and requests that the creatures send her.

"We need to grow in dialogue and mutual esteem"

From Radio Vaticana, a "provisional text' of the speech that the Pope has just given to leaders of the German Muslim community (emphases mine):

Dear Muslim Friends,

I am glad to be able to welcome you here, as the representatives of different Muslim communities in Germany. From my heart I thank Professor Mouhanad Khorchide for his kind greeting. His words show me what a climate of respect and trust has grown up between the Catholic Church and the Muslim communities in Germany.

Berlin is a good place for a meeting like this, not only because the oldest mosque on German territory is located here, but also because Berlin has the largest Muslim population of all the cities in Germany.

From the 1970s onwards, the presence of numerous Muslim families has increasingly become a distinguishing mark of this country. Constant effort is needed in order to foster better mutual acquaintance and understanding. Not only is this important for peaceful coexistence, but also for the contribution that each can make towards building up the common good in this society.

"There can be no rupture in salvation history"

In this place, remembrance must also be made of the Kristallnacht that took place from 9 to 10 November 1938. Only a few could see the full extent of this act of contempt for humanity, like the Berlin Cathedral Provost, Bernhard Lichtenberg, who cried out from the pulpit of Saint Hedwig’s Cathedral: “Outside, the Temple is burning – that too is the house of God”. The Nazi reign of terror was based on a racist myth, part of which was the rejection of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Jesus Christ and of all who believe in him. The supposedly “almighty” Adolf Hitler was a pagan idol, who wanted to take the place of the biblical God, the Creator and Father of all men. Refusal to heed this one God always makes people heedless of human dignity as well. What man is capable of when he rejects God, and what the face of a people can look like when it denies this God, the terrible images from the concentration camps at the end of the war showed.

"To serve right and to fight against the dominion of wrong is and remains the fundamental task of the politician"


Reichstag Building, Berlin
Thursday, 22 September 2011

The Listening Heart
Reflections on the Foundations of Law

Mr President of the Federal Republic,
Mr President of the Bundestag,
Madam Chancellor,
Madam President of the Bundesrat,
Ladies and Gentlemen Members of the House,

It is an honour and a joy for me to speak before this distinguished house, before the Parliament of my native Germany, that meets here as a democratically elected representation of the people, in order to work for the good of the Federal Republic of Germany. I should like to thank the President of the Bundestag both for his invitation to deliver this address and for the kind words of greeting and appreciation with which he has welcomed me. At this moment I turn to you, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, not least as your fellow-countryman who for all his life has been conscious of close links to his origins, and has followed the affairs of his native Germany with keen interest. But the invitation to give this address was extended to me as Pope, as the Bishop of Rome, who bears the highest responsibility for Catholic Christianity. In issuing this invitation you are acknowledging the role that the Holy See plays as a partner within the community of peoples and states. Setting out from this international responsibility that I hold, I should like to propose to you some thoughts on the foundations of a free state of law.

Allow me to begin my reflections on the foundations of law [Recht] with a brief story from sacred Scripture. In the First Book of the Kings, it is recounted that God invited the young King Solomon, on his accession to the throne, to make a request. What will the young ruler ask for at this important moment? Success – wealth – long life – destruction of his enemies? He chooses none of these things. Instead, he asks for a listening heart so that he may govern God’s people, and discern between good and evil (cf. 1 Kg 3:9). Through this story, the Bible wants to tell us what should ultimately matter for a politician. His fundamental criterion and the motivation for his work as a politician must not be success, and certainly not material gain. Politics must be a striving for justice, and hence it has to establish the fundamental preconditions for peace. Naturally a politician will seek success, without which he would have no opportunity for effective political action at all. Yet success is subordinated to the criterion of justice, to the will to do what is right, and to the understanding of what is right. Success can also be seductive and thus can open up the path towards the falsification of what is right, towards the destruction of justice. “Without justice – what else is the State but a great band of robbers?”, as Saint Augustine once said. We Germans know from our own experience that these words are no empty spectre. We have seen how power became divorced from right, how power opposed right and crushed it, so that the State became an instrument for destroying right – a highly organized band of robbers, capable of threatening the whole world and driving it to the edge of the abyss. To serve right and to fight against the dominion of wrong is and remains the fundamental task of the politician. At a moment in history when man has acquired previously inconceivable power, this task takes on a particular urgency. Man can destroy the world. He can manipulate himself. He can, so to speak, make human beings and he can deny them their humanity. How do we recognize what is right? How can we discern between good and evil, between what is truly right and what may appear right? Even now, Solomon’s request remains the decisive issue facing politicians and politics today.

Continue reading HERE.

The Sacred Liturgy and Mary Most Holy - Part 1

Mary in the Liturgy – But, what is the Liturgy? The liturgy is the composite of words, ceremonies, and acts of public and official worship with which the Church honors and prays to the Most Holy Trinity, Jesus Christ, the Most Holy Virgin, and the Saints.

The liturgy is the court service of the Church before the Divine King, it is the social worship, regulated by her; it is the most worthy thing that a creature may give to the Most High.

There are three kinds of prayer. The private prayer of the Christian, who, in the privacy of his room, or in the mystical shadow of the temple, elevates himself to God on the wings of faith and love, is beautiful. Jesus Christ and the Church desire this prayer, and recommend it to all the faithful (see St. Matthew, vi, 6).

Collective prayer is more efficacious; it is the one by two or more persons, joined together to praise God, to ask for His mercy, to thank the Divine Goodness. In fact, Jesus Christ said, “if two of you shall consent upon earth, concerning any thing whatsoever they shall ask, it shall be done to them by my Father who is in heaven.” (St. Matthew, xviii, 19). And the reason for it is further presented, “For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (St. Matthew, xviii, 20). It is Jesus who prays with them.

But the most sublime one is the liturgical prayer. Here, it is the Church herself, the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, who prays. The liturgical prayer is the breath of the mystical organism of the Church; it is the vital and sanctifying activity of the Eternal Priesthood and of the Visible Priesthood. The Priest, when he celebrated and when he administers the Sacraments, is, as it were, absorbed in unity of action by Jesus Christ.

Glory to the Most High. The Liturgy is, thus, the great prayer of the Church. She prays to God: each time the Holy Mass is celebrated anywhere on Earth; each time a soul, receiving the Sacraments, acquires supernatural life, either because she rises up from sin, or because she increases in grace; each time the Priest blesses in the name of the Church or in which a Christian makes use of a Sacramental.

Liturgical prayer is unceasing; for the pure Oblation is offered to God continuously from East to West; and for, without interruption, men are sanctified by the sacred rites. How pleasing is to the Lord this most perfumed incense, that rises from the thurible that is the heart of the Church. This heart of the Church is always holy, always thankful to God, because Jesus Christ has created it pure, immaculate.

Liturgical prayer is, thus, holy. And who would dare pray it with blemished heart? It has as its ultimate and highest object the Most Holy Trinity, God, the beginning and end of all things: Universa propter semetipsum operatus est Dominus, The Lord created all things for Himself (Proverbs xvi, 4).

[Blessed James Alberione. The Feasts of Mary ("Feste di Maria", 1951): Introduction. Text in three parts - two parts to follow.]