Rorate Caeli

They are expelling Jesus from the churches

Newly remodeled Seminary Chapel of the Diocese of Hildesheim, Germany [Source]: in the center, the ambo ("Tisch des Wortes" - Table of the Word) and, farther away, the altar ("Tisch des Brotes" - Table of the Bread)

by Antonio Socci

One day, while chatting with some friends, Cardinal Ratzinger quipped, “The way I see it, the proof that the Church has Divine origins is the fact that it has survived the millions of sermons delivered every Sunday!”

We do indeed hear about all sorts of things. And not only the story in yesterday’s news about the priest who led an Islamic prayer extolling Allah – in a basilica in Brianza. 

There are those who recommend reading Mancuso’s [Vito Mancuso, Italian laicized priest and celebrity theologian] or Augias’s [Corrado Augias, Italian Atheist journalist and author] books….and you see “installations” of contemporary art in cathedrals that would make your hair stand!

What do you expect when even the cardinals of Milan give free play to “creativity?”

I read this on Sandro Magister’s site: “On May 11 of 2005, an invitation to speak in the cathedral to introduce the cycle dedicated to the book of Job was extended to professor Massimo Cacciari: in addition to being the mayor of Venice, he is a 'nonbelieving' philosopher like others who in past years have taken part in meetings promoted by cardinal Martini under the title of 'Nonbelievers at the pulpit.' Cacciari spoke in glowing terms of living without faith and without certainty.”

In short, you can witness all sorts of things going on in the churches….all but the one thing necessary -  that Jesus Christ is the center.

Indeed, in this widespread inattentiveness, even the Italian bishops have cast Him out from the churches ( least visibly removed from the High Altar and set aside in some corner).  He, Who is the rightful owner, namely the Son of God, present in the Most Blessed Sacrament. 

I do not want this to sound like just a banal remark. At the National Eucharistic Congress that is opening [and currently taking place] in Ancona, they ought to consider the devastating effects produced by that unbelievable document issued by the Episcopal Commission on the Liturgy in 1996 which is the overall basis from which new churches and the position of the tabernacles have been planned and where the older churches have been “ re-thought-over.”

It is difficult to understand what theological statute some Committees of the CEI [Italian Episcopal Conference] hold, (in my opinion, none). But the strange thing is this: in ecclesiastical environments – starting with the seminaries and the theology schools – you come across legions of “prepared” theologians, who, without any serious motivation, question the words of the Pope and the Gospels, ( i.e. in their historical reliability). But this questioning disappears when the texts are born of their know-it-all-brains and approved by some Episcopal commission; they will then tell you that these texts must be considered sacred and untouchable.

So, in this text of 1996, among the other doubtful things, we find this: “it is strongly suggested” placing the tabernacle not only at a distance from the altar where Mass is celebrated, but even away from the so-called presbyterial area – relegating it to “a place set apart.”  The reasons, as always, are apparently “devout.” The tabernacle could distract from the Eucharistic celebration – so we are told.

A preposterous reason – and with the emphasis of the celebratory event and the tabernacle being a detriment –  it is also dangerously close to Luther’s theories.

The unthinkable consequences of these norms are the following:  for years we have witnessed a progressive distancing of the tabernacle, which holds the presence of the Lord, from the most important place in the church. First it was placed in a remote place, (a column or a side altar), afterwards in a partially visible chapel. Eventually it will probably be completely ousted from the churches. This can be seen in the unbelievable building at San Giovanni Rotondo where the body of Padre Pio was placed. The building, designed by Renzo Piano, has no kneelers and the central, overhanging figure is the huge and terrifying red dragon of the apocalypse, represented triumphant on the immense stained-glass-window; well then, the tabernacle is not there.

I have no idea who had the bright idea of progressively hiding the tabernacles in the churches, which would have absolutely horrified Padre Pio.  It does not correspond at all to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, given that the post-conciliar instruction “Inter Oecumenici”, of 1964, affirmed that the customary place for the tabernacle must be the high altar.

The Pope does not like it either as we can see from the post–synod Exhortation “Sacramentum Caritatis”  where he outlines the very close link that must exist between the Eucharistic celebration and adoration. Also, the centrality and prominence of the tabernacle was emphasized by the XI Synod of Bishops in 2005.Could this be enough to get it back on track? No way. This is manifest in the behaviour of certain bishops – at times in open contestation to the Pope, as we well remember when his famous “Motu Proprio”  restored the liberty of using the Missal of the Old Rite.

Unfortunately, the “unusual” ideas of the “creative” liturgists will continue to prevail over those of the Pope, of the Council, and of the Synod (perhaps they will make way for other foolishness such as “First Communion” at the age of 13).  Further, as a consequence of ousting Our Eucharistic Jesus from the churches, we have the inconceivable practice of entrance tickets instituted even in certain Cathedrals.  Thus, churches are degraded to the level of museums.

The protestantizing or the “turning into museums” of churches is a phenomenon with frightful consequences to the Catholic Church.  Immediate action should be taken to bring it to a halt. So that we might understand what a Catholic Church was and what it should be like, I would like to recall the stories of two significant people.

The first is Edith Stein, an extraordinary woman, an agnostic philosopher born into a Jewish family, who became  a Catholic, then a Carmelite nun and who died in the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz. She was declared a saint by Pope John Paul II and, in the following year, co-patron of Europe.

Stein recounted the first episode that brought her nearer to her conversion. It happened in 1917 when she was a young girl. She saw a working woman with her shopping basket going into the Cathedral of Frankfurt to pray:
“This was  something entirely new to me. In the synagogues and protestant churches that I had attended, the believers would go only to the functions. Here, however, a woman went into an empty church, as if she was going to have an intimate meeting. I have never been able to forget this incident.”
She could not, indeed, for there in that church was Our Eucharistic Jesus.

Another story is about the famous French intellectual Andre Frossard, the son of the secretary of the Communist Party.  He was a 21-year-old Atheist and that day he had a date with a girl. The friend walking with him was a Catholic and he asked Andre to wait for a moment while he went into a church for a visit. After some minutes, Frossard decided to go and call him because he was in a hurry to meet up with “his latest fling.”  The writer emphasizes that he had no religious torments whatsoever, unlike many others. For those young communists, religion was an historical heap of old junk and God was a problem “that had been resolved in the negative sense for two or three centuries.”  Yet, when he went into that church, Eucharistic Adoration was in progress.  Frossard recounts: 
And then something unforeseeable happened.”  He says, “The boy that I was then has never forgotten the astonishment that took possession of him, when from the end of that church devoid of noteworthy beauty, he saw rising suddenly before him a world, another world of unbearable splendor, of insane density, which revealed and hid at the same time the presence of God, that God, which, an instant before he would have sworn had never existed, except in the imagination of men; at the same time he was engulfed by a wave from which sweetness and joy overflowed, a wave with a power that broke his heart and which he has never forgotten.”

His life turned upside-down.  He wrote: “I am adamant. It was an objective experience, it was almost an experiment in physics.”  Frossard became one of the most renowned Catholic journalists. He would never have met the Word become Flesh in a church nowadays - only idle prattling. 

Libero, September 3, 2011.
[Contribution and translation: Francesca Romana; translation authorized by author.]


  1. Glad to see that the so-called "hermeneutic of continuity" has firmly taken over after the compelling example of the Holy Father.

  2. Frossard's experience of Eucharistic Adoration at the Church reminded me so much of my first time at a High Mass. I couldn't understand how or why anyone in their right mind would want to abolish such a liturgy. Novus Ordo services have not been the same since.

  3. Anonymous12:57 AM

    I'm with you, shane. My first time at the TLM I thought, "why did they hide this from me?" And, indeed, why did they hide it from everyone?

    This chapel looks like the waiting room of a dentist's office.


  4. Brian1:52 AM

    A cold, impersonal, Godless, mausoleum

  5. Nice auster worship space! Jansen and Calvin would be proud! So would Paul VI, since, according to Alfons Cardinal Stickler, it was Paul's intention to make the new mass as close to protestant worship as possible.

  6. Anonymous2:16 AM

    Perfect setting for a Black Mass, no?

  7. Anonymous2:20 AM

    My only disagreement with the article is this: there is no such thing as a High Altar at NO churches in the first place and, therefore, it would be impossible for the apostates to have move anything.

    Other than, one word: Tradition!

  8. Anonymous2:46 AM

    Île Saint-Honorat has been a monastery off the coast of France since the year 410. Pirates, Saracens, changing times, political rivalries, nothing could stop this monastery.

    When I visited in May I saw what I estimated to be a Vatican 2 demolished Church. No relics on the alter (that I saw), no paintings or decorations. A chair in the center of the alter and of course the requisite V2 communion table. And mass being celebrated in Polish in a small side chapel.

    So this monastery survives it all for 1600+ years until Vatican 2. Unbelievable. Arch Biship LeFebvre pray for us.

  9. Anonymous2:53 AM

    This is a disgrace!

  10. Anonymous3:04 AM

    The Stations of the Cross are lovely!

  11. It looks like the inside of a New Age space-ship. The Germans especially cannot be left to their own devices, without a firm hand guiding them in the right direction. A lot of them have a weird obessesion with Indian gurus, I have noticed (especially Osho).

  12. LD. Schmidt4:11 AM

    As disturbing as this is and the last article on the Priesthood, I thank those who expose it( New Catholic) Are these kind of atrocities ever going to cease?These things have got to be Diabolical, no doubt.

  13. Gratias6:56 AM

    The picture of the interior decorations of the Hildesheim seminary made by blood freeze. I have seen myself in such a church in the Cathedral of Wurzburg, also in Germany. It was a beautiful old church redesigned into something similar to what you see above. We will have to fight the evil in the Church all the way back.

  14. Gratias7:48 AM

    I have been most fortunate in my life. For example, I have never visited the new Taj Mahony Cathedral in my own hometown. If some of you have had the misfortune, pray tell whether it resembles the German seminary church shown above.

  15. Anonymous8:37 AM

    The spatial arrangement and floor plan of the chapel, if not its style, appear to be almost exactly what one would have seen when a bema was part of church architecture.

    With the exception of the red-cushioned chair (=throne) the same arrangement of choir lectern and altar at the East end is what one observes in the choirs of great medieval cathedrals.

  16. Anonymous8:39 AM

    As we can see in the photograph, all the seminarians are present.


  17. Anonymous8:41 AM

    It would be a very becoming Modernist corridor in an airport were it not for the clutter of chairs and tables.


  18. Anonymous8:57 AM

    It looks diabolical. It looks masonic. It reflects perfectly just where the men spoken of in the previous article (Sodom in the Diocese) are taking us. May God have mercy on us.

  19. Tulkas11:43 AM

    Please have a look at this:

    This is a piece of news in the spanish journal "El norte de Castilla" regarding the presbitery of the cathedral of Avila. Please note the XIIth century proto-gothic architecture and the XVIth century retable. Just in front the terrible Vatican II stile.

    Sarcastically, the reformation was piad with public/statal funds (initially destined for maintenance works, because the building is almost ruined in some of its parts) and finally, the diocesis was forced to dismantle the new presbitery (WITHOUT TABERNACLE, WITHOUT THE REAL PRESENCE OF OUR LORD) by judicial decission.

    As the Holy Church is destroyed the Devil dances in the deepest pit of the hell!!!

  20. Anonymous12:51 PM

    Are they starting to call young Freemasons seminarians now? I guess I didn't get the memo.

  21. Anonymous1:07 PM

    Wreckovators! Of the liturgy and of the sanctuaries. God have Mercy on them.


  22. Anonymous2:43 PM


  23. Creepy. Imagine finding yourself in a place like that ...

  24. Anonymous3:15 PM

    Indeed! They are not only expelling Our Divine Saviour from
    churches, but favor the building of
    Mosques, too; as the following indicated:

    Bishop of Mosques

    Auxiliary Bishop of Hamburg, Hans-Jochen Jaschke has spoken out in an interview with the daily newspaper "Die Welt" on building new mosques in Germany.

    He went even further. He called on Christians to support the opening of such symbolic buildings. "I think it is conceivable that Christians do to Muslims to open a new mosque, a gift - as a sign of sympathy, of good neighborliness and religious [sic] relationship," said the Commissioner of the German Bishops' Conference for Inter-religious dialogue.
    Another option is about "a plaque with a verse from the Bible and the Koran." The financing of the gift could be done through a collection in church.

    "As Christians, we support the construction of beautiful mosques," the bishop - without having asked all Christians.
    The people must feel that "faith [sic] something to do with beauty and culture" had.

    Comment: The new doctrine of the Second Vatican Council of the freedom of religion is driving more new flowers. Until 1965, probably not a Catholic bishop has come up with the idea to promote the gathering places of a religion that rejects the revelation of the Trinity and the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity sharp.

    What missionary initiatives supports the auxiliary bishop in his diocese, to bring the Gospel to the Muslims in Germany? Bishop would also use the collection to the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X. to make a gift to the opening of a chapel. It is to doubt. Unfortunately.

    Excerpted from the FSSPX German

  25. Anonymous3:16 PM

    That should have been SCHISM

  26. Benedicta3:23 PM

    I apologize but I do not agree with your readers. This chapel does not look like my dentist's office. My dentist's office is much more inviting that this, not so austere. This chapel reminds me of a "Liturgy committee" that I unfortunately belonged to for 10 months (until I was expelled)where I was hearing that "less is better". I was a new Catholic at that times, and could not comprehend the phrase, and how it applies to the worship of God.

  27. J G Ratkaj4:28 PM

    In march and april I have extensively visited the northern parts of Italy (Emilia-Romagna, Vèneto, Liguria and Friuli-Venezia Giulia)
    Most of the churches have been fatally "accommodated to the guidelines of the council", as I have been told upon request by various priests and guardians. Many holy sites are destroyed
    beyond recognition.

  28. Anonymous6:21 PM

    I concur with Shane and Jason. The first time I experienced the TLM was at Fr. Rutler's Church of Our Saviour in New York. My first thought was, "That was different." I could not shake the feeling of one who had been deprived of one's rightful inheritance.

  29. Lee Lovelock-Jemmott7:48 PM

    Atrocious. Should be entirely destroyed. This is iconoclasm on the highest level akin to that pre-dating the 1054 schism. Please Lord, run these heretics and heterodox out of Your Holy Faith.

  30. A couple of comments:

    The Taj Mahoney is pretty bad especially from the outside but inside it at least has a large traditional crucifix (probably 2x or 3x life size) and the tapestry of the saints all marching toward the altar is to me anyway somewhat inspiring. It also used to inspire the thought that some of those saints (e.g. St Pius V and St Pius X) were revolving in their graves at the thought of what His Eminence was doing. Hopefully Fr. Jose (oops, Archbishop Gomez) is not causing them such concern.

    Also, does anyone else remember the hospital scenes from "There be Dragons"? The old hospital, of the Foundation for the Sick, in the pre-Civil War 1930s, was full of crucifixes and images of Our Lady, while the new hospital, no doubt in 2000s Madrid, shows an altar and prie dieu with no tabernacle, no crucifix, no images, showing the drastic decline of the Faith in Spain. I think that loss of faith is exactly what one should conclude is what is represented by these Christ-less chapels.

  31. This is a really creepy and nocommittal space. It doesn't look like it's made up its mind to be a church (much less a Catholic church), but reserving its right to be a banquet, dance or conference hall, or exhibit gallery.

  32. Anonymous4:44 AM

    J G Ratkaj

    I did a similar trip around France, Switz, Germany, and Spain in May visiting every apparition of our Lady and dozens of churches. Most in France were what I would call "museumized".

    One of the more astonishing was the tomb of St Thomas Aquinas at the "church" of the Jacobins in Toulouse was more of a large hall than anything else. The whole thing is stripped bare of with some sort of round mirrored artistic display at one end. I joked that they should have a sign that read "if you seek the source of all your problems, kindly gaze into the mirror."

    Since it was May, I also saw lots of Communist style, massive propaganda posters of "blessed" JP2 in and plastered on nearly every church and cathedral in France. I guess that was so we know he was a saint.

    The faith was most alive and vibrant in Spain especially at the Cathedral of our Lady of the Pilar in Zaragoza. The faith is pretty much dead in France. I saw a priest during a evening NO mass sing lovely counterpoint hymns, then drift off to sleep, then answer his cell phone right before the consecration. He checked to see who it was then slipped it back into his robe.

    C'est la vie. The faith with return of course but the times now sure are low.

  33. Anonymous9:24 AM

    It looks like they have too many chairs for the number of seminarians they have....3-4 I think. Shold be be surprised?


  34. Alex Benziger G1:14 PM

    hancytThis is the out come of the 2nd Vatican Council. They never believe Our Lord Jesus Christ but just a fashion show.

  35. Anonymous2:08 PM

    A bowling alley has more warmth.

  36. Anonymous4:26 PM

    Anon. 14.08:

    Hold that thought! This town may very well need a bowling alley and this would be the perfect location.

    I like all the large, empty spaces, wonderfully suggesting the Eternal Absence of a non-existent god--the god of Freemasonry.


  37. Gratias2:09 AM

    Thank you Woody for your assessment of the Taj Mahoney in Los Angeles. Next time I might just go inside to pray for Archbishop Jose Gomez, especially now that Cardinal Roger Mahoney no longer lives in the Cathedral complex. He has returned to the parish of his childhood in Hollywood!

  38. Anonymous2:24 AM

    It's too bad they didn't make it wider though for conversion into a bowling alley. If it were wider you could get about 25 lanes in there, no waiting on league night or cosmic bowling

  39. While saddened by its present state, I am happy to see that a couple of old men could clean it out in ten minutes in preparation for traditional worship after its being handed over to the only Catholics that will be left in thirty years.

    Further, as a consequence of ousting Our Eucharistic Jesus from the churches, we have the inconceivable practice of entrance tickets instituted even in certain Cathedrals. Thus, churches are degraded to the level of museums.

    Ugh, I know, and you don't get a pass saying you just want to go pray. The guard looks at you like you're mentally ill or a homeless man trying to sneak into a movie theater. It's only slightly better than most of the churches simply being CLOSED when not in use for Mass, etc.

  40. Anonymous6:36 PM

    It's a beauty. Looks like my parish church in a different color.

    I wonder who gets to sit on the hot seat in the middle.


  41. When I first saw this, I thought, "austerity", but now I think more "sterility". How can the life of the Church be born from such a sterile environment? This looks more like a morgue than a living, Catholic, worship space....

  42. just a simple catholic4:05 PM

    the church interior reminds me of a masonic temple.


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