Rorate Caeli

Humble souls in unity with the Roman communion

The first [favor I ask of God] is that you may receive the grace of rendering to the true Church that which she is owed. ... The spirit of the Savior is a spirit of peace, of love and of union; he wished that those who were his own would be completely involved by unity: he did not satisfy himself with an interior and invisible unity, he wished to establish a complete interior and exterior unity, in a way that it would be due to this visible and remarkable sign that we would recognize his true disciples. Therefore, woe to those who separate themselves or who remain separated from the rod that takes the sap to all branches! Woe to those who divide in two, or who leave divided that which Jesus Christ wished to make one.

Notice, please, that the greatest saints, and the writers of interior life, who possessed the most touching marks of the spirit of grace, were, as Saint Francis de Sales, in the Roman communion, and more prepared to die than to leave it.

The humble and peaceful souls, who live only by virtue of meditation and love, are always small before their own eyes, and enemies of conflicts; they are very far from rising up against the body of the pastors, of judging, of condemning, of insulting, as Luther and Calvin did countless times. Their style has nothing that is bitter, prickly, or scornful. They do not work for a reform that is dry, judgmental, or haughty, that aims to sever unity and to defend that the husband has abandoned the wife. If they witness abuse or superstition, they mourn sweetly: and the mourning of the dove is always discreet and modest; it mourns only for a tender and calm love. They never raise their voice in presumptuous arguments ... their voice is but love and obedience. Their interior gifts, far from inspiring in them a proud elevation and a sentiment of independence, are used only to humiliate their own selves, to make them more pliant and less sure of themselves ...  .

Oh, how much they are horrified by bitter zeal and all battles of words! Instead of argument, they make use of guidance, patience, and edification; instead of speaking of God to men, they speak of men to God, so that he may touch, persuade, transform them in a way that none other can do. Prayer vanquishes all arguments. In true prayer, no one is overwhelmed by his own sentiment, each one silences his own mind. ...

Search as much as you want outside this holy unity, and you will find only haughty, contentious, and dry hearts; you will find doctors who are dried up and blinded by their own knowledge, who languish in endless disputes, who vaporize in their own reasoning ... . It is necessary to let the chaff and the wheat grow until the harvest, so that a reckless reformation will not carry away the wheat along with the chaff, so that it will not devastate instead of reform. The true Church is the one that nourishes the pure wheat along with the chaff, and that tolerates the chaff with the hope that the Lord will one day separate the pure wheat himself.

Once again, sir, it is only in the Catholic Church that you will find this prayer that you love so, and that gives you such an attraction for God. ... In the ancient Church, we calm down, we make ourselves small, we rejoin childhood by way of simplicity, we count for little, we renounce our own selves, we are the sacrifice of love. ... Only unity leads to such fruits.

Abp. F. Fénelon 
Lettres sur l'autorité de l'Église (Letters on the authority of the Church)
1719 (posthumous - written between 1700 and 1711)

 Omnipotens et misericors Deus, qui ad defensionem populi christiani in beatissima Virgine Maria perpetuum auxilium mirabiliter constituisti: concede propitius; ut, tali praesidio muniti certantes in vita, victoriam de hoste maligno consequi valeamus in morte. Per D. N. ...


  1. Our Lady, Queen of Peace's petitioner10:45 PM

    "Veni Sancte Spiritus"

    To New Catholic, May the Word Incarnate manifest the depth of our gratitude for your docility in echoing these words inspired by His Holy Spirit:

    ". . .Instead of argument, they make use of guidance, patience, and edification; instead of speaking of God to men, they speak of men to God, so that He may touch, persuade, transform them in a way that none other can do. Prayer vanquishes all arguments. In true prayer, no one is overwhelmed by his own sentiment, each one silences his own mind. ..."

    This is the true preparation of the humble children of God for an Eternity of Adoration confidently resting in the Will of the Holy Trinity.

    In these last days before Pentecost, may we adoringly enter into this Silence of the Holy Trinity, there to humbly supplicate the Holy Spirit to imbue with His illumination and Fortitude the Sovereign Pontiff and H.E. Bishop Fellay that they may do the Will of Our Father always and forever.

  2. Bravo New Catholic!
    Keep 'em coming.

  3. These posts on humility just keep
    getting better. Bravo!

  4. NIANTIC12:31 AM

    Such wise counsel from Archbishop Fenelon written long ago and still so very relevant for today. Thank you for posting this NC.

  5. A Faithful Reader1:19 AM

    Thank you.

  6. Thank you, you improved our translation with your comment.

  7. Thank you. This really hit the spot. A lot of stresses and concerns - personal, profession, political - all washed away on reading this. It's so easy to get caught up in our anxieties and forget it's all in God's hands. It was exactly what I needed to see at exactly the time I needed to see it.

    Thank you again!

  8. Ora et Labora5:53 AM

    Thank you Rorate great posting!!!

    Mary Help of Christians pray for us!!!

  9. Anonymous5:59 AM

    God bless you, and your nature given you by our most blessed Christ. For a 'new catholic', you have an intensely clear and humble understanding of the truth of the One, True, Faith by which all things are made manifest.

  10. Waning12:00 PM

    So, we really are playing the quoting game. For each quote like this, there's one saying how saints stood up and how other saints demand action. It's no better than the SSPX related quoting Archbishop Lefebvre at different points. The sides have already been decided.

  11. Thank you for this inspiring post. I keep re-reading it and it gets better each time.

  12. Tina in Ashburn1:12 PM

    Very good, edifying, and a lesson to me and all of us. Thanks for posting.

  13. Peter1:13 PM

    What a timely post !

    I couldn't agree more with the commenters who mention humility and docility. These things are essential to a receptivity of Catholic truth and Catholic teaching, but I fear we are losing these very virtues as, in these modern times, we are forced, as the teachers and shepherds fail us, to become our own experts in theology and liturgy.

    Pride comes before a fall, they say, and we traditionalists have to walk a dangerous tightrope.

    Truly to live a Catholic life, we need all the humility and docility we can get.

  14. "Quoting game"?... The Church is much greater and much deeper than current affairs.

  15. I've always found that, when I take a saint's words as a personal attack, they've hit close to home.

    It is possible to be both humble and true to the faith.

  16. @New Catholic.

    This is now the second time you have used a quote from a discredited Catholic officical against the SSPX. Last time, with Bossuet, you pretended it was merely a coincidence.

    It is clearly not a coincidence but a deliberate propaganda campaign on your part.

    If you do not retract these quotes or at least inform your readers that men like Bossuet and Fenelon fell into trouble and out of favour in their day for their heterodox views about what the duty of Catholics in the Church Militant are as regards our adversaries in the Faith, then I will message every SSPX blogmaster I know and can find, provide them with the proof and expose this malicious propaganda campaign for what it is.

    And I am sure not a few blogsites would love the opportunity to discredit Rorate and gain some audience and readership in the process.

    Your choice, New Catholic.

  17. Thanks very much for this article today. As already noted, timely.

    It is a great blessing to have reminders of such leaders and their words of inspiration.

  18. If you think Bossuet and Fenelon, among the greatest writers in the History of the Church, who were born, lived and died in the fullness of the Church, who submitted peacefully whenever legitimate authority (both of the Church and of the State) asked them to submit, who were examples of holy life and care for their dioceses, if you really think these luminaries both of our Church and of France are "discredited", then you show exactly the sentiments described by this post. And, which is actually sadder, you show your great ignorance of the history of the Church, devotional literature, of European culture and literature, as well as your lack of common sense and propriety.


    For those who are interested in a first notion of the biography of the great Fénelon, we recommend the article by Father Antoine Degert in the old Catholic Encyclopedia, with this remarkable conclusion: "[Fénelon] remains one of the most attractive, brilliant, and puzzling figures that the Catholic Church has ever produced."

    As for Bossuet, what else could we say than what his own words say? Blessed is the nation which in its history has orators who, all put together, reach at least half of the intellectual height of this king of oratory.

    Blessed is the religion that can count both among its ministers.


    P.S. We are so afraid of this threat, you have no idea... When will this paranoia end? Mail whomever you want, friend, we could not care less! Please, "discredit" us, please, please do! The more humiliation in this world the better it is...

  19. MConstantine17 - If you think a statement praising those willing to die before leaving the Roman communion is "against the SSPX," make sure you mention it to those high officials. You will be informed that the SSPX has never left said communion, that it is precisely the Society's refusal to leave this commmunion that gives rise to the false appearance of disunity. Your defense of the Society is doing her no favors.

    By the way, I'm confused, can somebody tell me about this title of "blogmaster" to which we may evidently have recourse for objections against fellow Catholics? Where does it fit into the hierarchy of the Church? More than a monsignor? Less than a canon regular? "Thou masters of blogs, I cometh with grave report of delict and infamy committed by my brother New Catholic and humbly implore thy gracious condescension to hear and give just rendering to my plea."

    Is this the plan?

    I don't know the details of Fenelon's history with the Church, but WHO wrote this passage is nowhere near as important as WHAT it says. If the devil called bananas yellow, it seems that you'd call them pink and be launching a campaign against all believers in yellow bananas.

    This was a beautiful text and I thank you again for sharing it with me. The timing of this particular post was providential for me.

  20. MConstantine17,

    Why do you interpret this and the other post as being "against the SSPX"?

    I think it's fair to say that Rorate and New Catholic have been consistently pro-SSPX.

    There is much tension at the moment between SSPX supporters who favor a reconciliation, and SSPX supporters who do not. I see posts such as this as timely reminders of the need for a proper Catholic sense of humility, patience, faith, and holy obedience, on the part of all. I appreciate New Catholic sharing them.


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